On faith

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Magical Realist, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Same reason I use heroin.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    You need me to say you have to believe in God, prior to believing in God.

    All I'm saying is that you have to actually believe in God to be a theist. Saying you believe in God does not mean you believe in God, unless it is true.

    You can't be taught to believe in anything, you have to believe, naturally.

    You can be taught to believe that God will grant x, if you do y, but that is faith in the source of that information.
    It can be construed that the person is a theist because they speak the words of their masters.

    One good example is Malcolm X. He spread the teachings of Elijah Mohammad, with the utmost conviction, only to find out it wasn't the word of God, as cited in the Quran.
    He realised he wasn't serving God, but the Nation of Islam.

    You see, theism is a lot more complex than you seem to think. It incorporates your whole beingg, including the very perception you hold, and the actions you perform .

    Atheism is simply the belief that God does not exist. You can intellectually claim that we cannot know God, or there is no evidence whatsoever, of God.
    But your current status is that God does not exist, and that's how you see the world.

    No. This is what I meant...

    However you see it.

  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No, I don't need you to say that. Why would you think I would?
    Actually, it's not "unless it is true": saying you believe in God never equates that you believe in God. It simply means that you have said you believe in God. One can intend it to mean that, but it doesn't actually mean that.
    But being a theist one merely has to believe in the existence of a creator god.
    No, it simply means that you believe in the existence of a creator god who intervenes with their creation. It need incorporate nothing more than a casual thought, a conclusion that you believe, and nothing more.
    You clearly want it to be more, but it isn't.
    That is not a belief that God does not exist. It is simply not holding the belief the God does exist. You have been explained the difference many, many times before but for some reason you always choose to ignore it and instead go with your own flawed understanding.
    My current status is not that God does not exist... it is that I don't know. My practical position is an assumption that God does not, but that assumption is not synonymous with belief in the non-existence of God.
    Please, for once, when you say you understand the difference, actually respond as though you do. Please?
    Theism entails a belief in the existence of one or more gods, specifically a creator god that is capable of interacting, and either has interacted and/or will interact, with their creation. It entails no religious adherence, no thought of the matter beyond having that belief.
    There is no need for it to inform one's actions, or to form any part of one's daily life or thought. Simply a belief in the existence of a creator god etc.
    Jan Ardena likes this.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    If it is true that you believe in God, then you are being truthful with what you say.
    If you don't believe in God, but say you do, then your assertion is simply words, nothing more.

    Believing in in the existence of something does not mean you believe in that thing. For example I believe that St Paul's Cathedral exists, but I don't believe in it.

    You have no way of knowing.

    Your so called explanations are flawed, and I have pointed it out to you many times. You are in the business of creating a position that is acceptable to your sensibilities.

    You believe that God doesn't exist because for you, God simply does not exists. Anything else you add is intellectual.

    No one believes in all singing dancing teapots, because they don't exist. If we say that there may be such things, and don't actually know they exist, we still don't believe they exist. Because they don't. That is your position regarding God.
    Speaking from the point of view of a person who believes in God, there is a lot more to it.

  8. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Believing in God requires faith, since one can't depend on their sensory systems for verification. The same is true of all creative things. The artist believes in the existence of their next art project, even before it is created for sensory viewing. The faithless have to wait, until after it is done, so they can use their sensory system to verify that it does exist.

    The Wright brothers had faith in manned flight, even before it was demonstrated. Einstein has faith in relativity even before the math was worked out. Those without faith will not believe anything, until they can see with their eyes. The faithless come in later, after the faithful, yet the faithful are often treated as second rate by the faithless. This shows how irrational faithlessness can be; can't always see cause and affect.
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Of course. I was merely pointing out that it is never the case that claiming to believe is syntactically the same as actually believing. One can, as I mentioned, intend them to be synonymous, and therein lies any truth or false value.
    If you wish to make that distinction then go for it. Only belief in the existence of God is required for theism, as per any definition you care to look at. Whether one wishes to also "believe in" God is neither here nor there.
    Can you conceive of someone believing in the existence of God but otherwise give it no thought whatsoever? I can. Thus giving it other thought is not necessary. Thus, because I can conceive such a situation I do indeed know that it is not necessary to give it any other thought in order to be a theist.
    You will undoubtedly say that you can not conceive of it. But if so then that is your limitation, not mine.
    And none of your accusations have stood up to scrutiny. Instead you simply cover your ears to what people say, to the explanations people give, you cry foul and then cover your ears again.
    So, let's see what you've come up with this time.
    So right off the bat you haven't actually listened but instead wish to steamroller the issue with your own interpretation.
    1. I do not have the belief that God doesn't exist.
    2. I do not have the belief that God does exist.
    3. To live day to day one must make an assumption, not a belief but an assumption, and I choose what I consider to be the rational option of not assuming something exists when I have no evidence that I can rationally attribute to God existing compared to God not existing.
    Indeed. But since my practical life is, in many ways, guided by my intellect, one can not so easily separate them. The intellectual informs the practical for all but the most instinctive of tasks.
    Not at all. That is merely the position you want me to have because it is easier for you to comprehend and subsequently try to knock over. As is the way with such straw men.
    We don't believe in the all singing dancing teapots because we have evidence of what teapots are, what it takes to make them all singing and dancing, and it is the very nature of their almost certain non-existence that highlights the issue for which the concept was created. I.e. We know it was a fabrication, thus we can confidently believe in their actual non-existence.
    I'm guessing you still don't see the difference between that and the agnostic atheist's view of God?
    Sure, there's undoubtedly a lot more to "belief in God" (as distinct from "belief in the existence of God") but theism is simply "belief in the existence of God".

    If theists want to also "believe in God" that is great, but it is not necessary for theism. What you see as theism, this "belief in God", is a subset of theism.
    You asked me what thought theism entails, not what any specific subset entailed.
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    That would appear to be a contradiction.

    I think that Jan might have a stronger point if he/she reworded it like this: "Believing in the existence of something does not mean that you have faith in that thing", where 'faith' means something like 'trust', 'confidence' or perhaps 'dedication'.

    There is something about a religious deity that makes worship appropriate, something about it that makes devotees want to fall on their knees. That does seem to go beyond just believing in the existence of the deity. It's the mysterious something that a god has and a super space-alien lacks.

    At the very least, the deity has to play an appropriate role in the devotee's psychology.
  11. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    This means that being a "theist" is to be something other than the statement"I am a theist".

    The St Paul's explanation shows that is not the case. But for you, that is the case, because your issue begins and ends with the existence of God.

    Gods existence is your limitation, which is why you think it is all that is required to be a theist. A theist has no problem with existence.

    This is pure intellect. God does not exist as far as you are concerned. That is a fact. Is it not?

    Is God, in anyway, in your life, other than not not existing in your reality, other than a concept, or idea, that remains illusive?

    You may be open the the idea of God, you may claim that there is no evidence of God. Or you may claim there is no way to know if God doesn't exist.

    You may claim to not believe that God does not exist, as you have. But it is true at this moment in time, for you, God does not exist.

    You have no choice but to believe God does not exist until such time that you believe He does.

    Your belief status isn't a choice, it is your default position.

    I don't think it is as simple as that. I agree there are some who use intellect a lot more than others. But I don't think their lives are unevenly guided by intellect.

    I've never attempted to knock over your position. I accept your position.

    From your perspective, you have evidence of what God isn't (you've spent years of your life refuting all notions of God). So you must have some of what God is, or what God is perceived to be by people who believe.

    You must have a good idea of what it takes for God to be God (if not, what are you refuting).

    You and I, alone, have spent years in argument on a good amount of issues.

    In light of this, you do not need to be reassured that God is a fabrication, as for, it is more than likely than not, a probable possibility.

    After so many years of discussion, you still remain as ardent an atheist as you ever were, despite your intellectual agnosticism.

    It may not be as simple singing and dancing teapots, but you are just as convinced in the belief that God does not exist, as they don't.
    If I am wrong then tell me the difference.

    I do see the difference, but I take the agnosticism at face value. An explanation of your position. In your case, what you present, amounts to an atheist pie, with intellect topping.

    How does believing that God exists, make one a theist?

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    You're either overestimating God, or underestimating heroin.
  13. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Please point out the contradiction .

    If I believe you are male, it doesn't mean I believe in male. That much should be obvious to anyone. Once I know you are male, belief automatically gets upgraded.

    In order to believe in you, I have to at the very least know something about you, either from direct experience, information, or both.

    There would no need to have any faith in you, unless I had no choice but to rely upon you for something I needed, that could only come from you.

    Faith would be an automatic state of mind. I could not just turn it on and off at will, anymore than I could love my enemies, at will.

    To summarise, to believe something is true, is not the same as believing in something.

    It is the etiquette, a sign of humility, to kneel, or prostrate one self before God.
    Something like standing when judge enters a court room.

    And so does the judge when we go to court. The more you attend court, the more you automatically perform the etiquette. Law students most probably are well versed in this discipline before practising law.

    The public has adopted the habit of worshiping celebrities, sometimes by raising their arms above their head and bow repeatedly in a "we're not worthy fashion".

    People put up pictures of other people, and objects on walls. Follow idols, change their lifestyles in order to show their devotion.

    Worship is natural to human beings, we're just not fully aware of it. Most likely because we only equate worship with religion.

  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    This is trivially true, no matter your desire to dress it up as wisdom: to be something is syntactically different than to say you are something.
    Your St.Paul's explanation does not show that it is not the case; it merely highlights the difference between "belief in the existence of" and "belief in". It in no way whatsoever shows that theism requires anything more than "belief in the existence of" God.
    My issue does not "begin and end with the existence of God". But until I can adequately answer that question I don't feel there is any point in moving forward.
    Most theists have no problem with the existence of God: to be a theist one merely needs to believe in the existence of God. One does not need to then believe in God, which is merely an addition to the definition which you are trying, for some reason, to insist upon. That most theists probably do believe in God is neither here nor there.
    No. I can not say, nor do I say, that God does not exist. As far as I am concerned it is unknown whether God exists or not. Why do you struggle to comprehend this position?
    It is more than an idea... it is a possibility. It is simply unknown to me whether the possibility is an actuality or not.
    No, it is not true. I can no more say that God does exist than I can say that God does not exist. Sure, there are some varieties of God that I think are less likely, but in terms of the "original cause" base concept - no, it is not true that at this moment in time, for me, God does not exist.
    No. I do not have the belief that God does not exist. Belief is not a digital matter in that you do not have to believe either in the existence or non-existence of something. That is a false dichotomy. My position, as with most agnostic atheists, is one of non-belief either way. Consider it part of a fuzzy logic if you will, where there are grey areas between the affirmative and the negative.
    One day you may actually understand, but today is not that day. And until you do understand, perhaps you should not argue against what you want my/others' position to be but rather refrain, until such time as you do understand.
    Can you give an example of where someone's actions are not informed by their intellect? Maybe then I can better understand your position here.
    No, you accept a position you have constructed with my face/name on it. A straw man if you will. You have yet to understand the position of the agnostic atheist, at least to the point where you can converse meaningfully with them without reverting to that straw man view.
    I have evidence of what people purport God to be. I have no evidence that supports the underlying nature of God (the cause of all causes etc) in favour of the alternative god-less hypothesis.
    I can not distinguish between God performing what God is supposed to do and the God-less version of events. I make no a priori assumption as to which is the truth, and nothing I have seen/heard/felt/understood leads me to conclude one way or the other, nor do I see how it could.
    You think on the basis of time spent in discussion with you that I should accept God as a "probable possibility" rather than a fabrication? You over-estimate your arguments, I'm afraid. If nothing else the time spent in discussion with you has strengthened my agnosticism and my position that God's actuality or otherwise is unknowable. If you, as an ardent theist, have thrown at the debate all you can then it's rather depressing, to be honest: the issue of God is as elusive as ever. Until such time as one believes... and then one believes.
    Atheist as in the "lack of belief in the existence of God", yes. And not despite my intellectual agnosticism but very much because of it.
    We have evidence of what teapots are. We can see them in front of us. They are manifestations of the physical world in which we dwell. We know the steps required to make them all singing, all dancing, and for them to be in orbit etc.
    What evidence do we have of God that can not also be attributed to the God-less version of events? And please, no question begging by arguing that God by definition is the cause of all, thus all must come from God and thus be evidence of God.
    You might like to think that. I'm sure it makes it you all warm and fuzzy to think of it like that. But if anything it is an agnostic pie, with an atheist topping, and the main ingredient of the agnosticism is intellect.
    By definition.
    The same way that holding a British passport makes one, by definition, British.
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Some Manner of Title Goes Here

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Click to complete her faith.

    Okay ... so:


    Okay, Jan, this is a matter of basic definitions: Accepting that "God" is real is the functional definition of theism.

    One doesn't "believe in male" in this context. More directly: "If I believe you are male"? Okay, who do you believe is God?

    If you are tempted to say the question doens't follow, that's kind of the point. This part of your response is non sequitur at best.

    It's also worth pointing out that if you believe one is male, you must necessarily believe that "male" exists. I get what you're after, but that particular formulation just didn't work.

    What you seem to be mixing here is theism and religious faith; the two are not the same thing. Proper panenthism, for instance, not so much requires no specific faith, but would tend to speak against it until one can properly and objectively determine the will of God, which in any case will never happen, anyway.

    To wit, Adilbai Kharkovli, on Sufism:

    It has been said that there is no human community yet known which has no religious system. Certain it is that everyone who comes across the Sufi activity in any form will related it to what he (or she) already assumes to be religion. A study of the words and doings of the Sufis, however, seems to show that they will at one point appear to be supporting the local relgiious exprssion, and at another opposing it. The confusion arises simply because the Sufis are teaching, not promoting their beliefs. Where their teaching accords with local beliefs, they will appear to support these, where it deviates, it will appear to oppose the religious structure of belief. (170)​

    This is a straightforward religious argument, regardless of how Sufis prefer to portray themselves. That is, were Sufis perfectly consistent in this, then, yes, Kharkovli would be penning a basic truth instead of postulating a religious argument, but were Sufis perfectly consistent they would not be Sufis.

    The fascinating aspect is what that paragraph sets up:

    The Sufis themselves are frequently on record as teaching in this vein; though their attitude is generally expressed in terms which were better understood in the past. As an example, the phrase, "Sufism is the inner aspect of religion" can quite easily be seen as meaning: "Sufi teachings, over a period of time, become coverd by social, emotional and other accretions which are established into religions. The living tradition of Sufis, however, continues. Viewed from the religionist's standpoint, of course, the Sufi element is the inward component, and the rest is the balance of religion.

    Put even more succinctly, the Sufi is saying, "Sufism is a teaching designed to re-establish a link with the divine. From time to time this is revitalised when religious systems have become too covered with accretions to operate as teaching entities and have subsided into organisations of social action, power-seeking or mere panoply."

    Like I said, it's a straightforward religious argument. And the bit about re-establishing a link with the divine comes up in various movements. But setting Sufi hubris aside―re-establishment of a link with the divine is itself a religious accretion―Kharkovli's claim chases an element deeper and more occulted than everyday religious discourse tends to account for.

    The Sufi expression makes it stand out more: There is an abstract truth, an abstract reality, an abstract cause that transcends perception and comprehnesion; this is the core, the inner aspect―this is why we have religion at all. Oracles have sought answers within the mysterium; monotheism acknowledges ineffability; the legend says no mortality can rightly countenance God Itself. Consider your or my finite brain; consider the size of the Universe―it seems unlikely we can conceive of the actual truth represented by the abstraction.

    This difference stands out to me: Perhaps I wouldn't have noticed except I have before encountered people who would define religion as "belief in God". That particular rhetoric is intended to lighten the study load for critics; in throwing out all other elements affecting religious belief, expression, and development, some atheistic evangelists hope to make their task a bit easier. Ordinarily I would say set them aside, but in this case it provides a reasonable contrast.

    You seem to be arguing in some strange, rarely―if ever―delineated rhetorical territory.

    For instance, you argue: "There would no need to have any faith in you, unless I had no choice but to rely upon you for something I needed, that could only come from you."

    In the first place, do you believe that anyone exists? Just the idea of a person.

    It's easy enoughy to accept that people exist. Ironically, we Americans went through this weird chapter where it turns out a man named John Barron never actually existed.

    Do I believe people exist? Yes.

    Do I believe John Barron exists? Not that particular John Barron. While there are real people in the world named John Barron, the record persuasively suggests this particular person named John Barron did not actually exist.

    Do I believe Yazata exists? How about Jan Ardena? Yes. Do I believe you are human beings? I mean, actually people? Yes. Indeed, anyone who proposes otherwise will be offering an extraordinary proposition: Nothing about the produce of either of your postings suggests you are bots. Is it possible that neither of you exist as individuals? It is possible that you are composite characters authored by multiple people for each name, but that would be an extraordinary assertion. It is easy enough to believe that Yazata exists. It is easy enough to believe that Jan Ardena exists.

    Do I believe in God? It's a tricky question, but only because of market demands about the answer. I acknowledge the word "God" describes something that must be accounted for. The closest thing to divinity that would include is akin to an Unmoved Mover or Unnamed Namer, and in that context the actual name of God will be written as a mathematical formula. As it is, "God" is a three-letter, one-syllable word that, in its abstract monotheistic context represents a valid factor in philosophical calculation. Until we find a better word, certain statements like, "God works in mysterious ways", and, "We are fashioned in God's image", can actually be construed as true. (To the one, we are finite beings; to the other, chaos constrained reflects its constraints.) But that's it. Monotheism, to me, becomes inherently panentheistic; anything else limits God, thus making a the concept of boundlessness and oneness into a finite and severely delineated concept.

    Do I believe in the monothestic godhead named Jehovah? No. Allah? No.

    I am neither theist nor atheist nor agnostic; I am apathetic. I genuinely don't care whether or not God exists, because in the end it's all the same, anyway. The math is the math, and the reason we spend time developing intricate rituals and concomitant obligations―the creed, code, and cult of religion―is pretty much because we don't like what the math tells us.

    To wit, I don't need God to tell me to not get on my daughter. My Ferenczi shields are deployed to maximum right now, but the thing is that I'm a father. My job is her best interest. I don't need God to tell me it's wrong; I don't need the law to tell me it's wrong; I don't need Szandor Ferenczi to explain why it's wrong. But that's the thing. Apparently there are a lot of people who do.

    Right and wrong are right and wrong. The only thing God ever seems to do is complicate that notion because, as the Sufis put it, the rest is the balance of religion.

    Theism itself is a word that describes belief or acceptance that God exists. The faith you're describing is more particular; the difference between the acknowledging belief and effective faith is much akin to the difference 'twixt God and religion.

    Abstractly, you seem to be asserting a particular distinction whose form is best applied in a different context; I don't think it properly applies here. I think Sarkus is correct on the basic point, and Yazata's advice sound. The difference seems a matter of definitions, and yours seem shifted one or two places in an abstract direction. That is to say, I recognize the form, but not according to the name you're applying. You seem to be looking at the difference between acknowledgment of God as an abstract proposition and faith unto a particular God within a specific religious construction.


    Kharkovli, Adilbai. "Those Astonishing Sufis". Sufi Thought and Action. Assembled by Idries Shah. London: Octagon Press, 1990, pp. 167-177.
  16. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Trivial? Not all.

    It shows the difference between to believe, and to believe IN.

    Meaning Gods existence is the issue. At least the issue you present.

    It seems you cannot get passed that. So for you theism is a matter of believing the existence of God. That is an atheist perspective.

    ]No it's not. That is an atheist perspective.
    That is all it can mean for you.

    Believing purely in the existence of God, doesn't even make real sense unless you are atheist. As in you cannot define what believing IN an existence of anything, does for anyone. Believing God exists makes sense, but you are not theist because of it.

    I believe St. Paul's Cathedral exists. That means I've never seen it, but I believe it exists for whatever reason.
    It does not suggest that it means anything more than existence.

    I believe IN St.Pauls Cathedral. This suggests that I have, at least, placed my trust in it.
    It's existence is a forgone conclusion, and not the reason why I believe IN it.

    Do you get it yet?

    It matters not what you say. For you God does NOT exist. So you have no choice but to believe that. All the word salad in the world can not get you out of that reality. Get over it.

    There are no varieties of God.
    There is one God. There are many gods (demigod).
    Another atheist misconception.

    God either exists, to you, or God doesn't exist. There is no middle ground.

    Your position is what it is. You are am atheist. Agnosticism is an intellectualp osition, not a practical one. You can say what you like. Heck you can even SAY you are a theist. But your real position eventually reveals itself, whether you like it or not.

    Why are you asking me this question?
    Have I stated that intellect can be dissociate?

    Of course you have no evidence. Why would you? How would you even know what would be classed as evidence?

    You have rejected all information f God, because you don't believe it. According to your mindset, you will accept of, as and when you choose, and in a manner that is acceptable to you.

    There is no middle ground.

    Ah! Let's assume that God isn't as comprehensively defined, and argue from an atheist perspective shall we.

    Sorry mate. I'm sticking to the most comprehensive definitions and descriptions of God.

    I think you misunderstood the question.
    How does believing that God exists, make you believe in God?

    Is it possible to believe that God exists, and not believe IN Him?

    If your answer is no, please state why not.

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    In everyday speech if MR says 'I believe in ghosts' or 'I believe in interdimensional visitors', he means 'I believe in the existence of ghosts' or 'I believe in the existence of interdimensional visitors'. That's how our language works. 'I believe in photons' means 'I believe in the existence of photons'. And in everyday speech, 'I believe in God' means 'I believe in the existence of God'.

    Having said that, In my earlier post I was agreeing that you might be on to something with your distinction, when I wrote-

    In other words, I agree that those who have religious faith in God are doing something more than just believing in the existence of God. It's important to acknowledge that. They are adopting a prescribed psychological attitude regarding God. They are letting 'God' play a particular kind of role in their psychology.

    After all, we might come to believe that a super space alien exists out there with powers far beyond our own. But that belief would be very different than religious faith in God, even if we imagine that the alien is effectively omnipotent compared to us.

    Interestingly, our response to that alien would probably be similar to the devil's attitude towards God in some of the myths. The devil presumably believes in God, believes in the existence of God, but lacks that extra something that I'm calling 'faith'. He lacks the prescribed psychological attitude towards God, seeking to evade and to thwart God, setting up his counter-kingdom in the bowels of being. The devil doesn't worship God and doesn't defer his own will to God's. He insists on remaining an autonomous personality and not just a pet.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  18. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    That is a theist concept, particular to specific forms of theism. Other theists disagree, so I have to acknowledge that there are different forms of theism, with different conceptions of Gods or God.
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It is trivial. I'm surprised you don't think so, but I suggest you just move on.
    No, it doesn't. Yazata has covered this above, but in this context it merely distinguishes between belief in the existence of God, and belief IN God.
    It starts there but does not end there.
    I am merely usiing the definition from wiki, from dictionaries etc. that clearly define theism as belief in the existence of God.
    As said, that you want to add to the definition "belief IN God" is not a necessary requirement for theism. It may be what you wish theism to be taken as, but it is not what theism is defined as. Live with it.
    It's a dictionary perspective. For the sake of this discussion, please just accept that theism - as defined in English - is belief in the existence of god. Don't try to force anything further upon it. Otherwise this is just going to deteriorate into a matter of semantics and you stubbornly refusing to accept what everyone else already understands the definition to be.
    Nonsense. There are many theists who merely believe in the existence of God and otherwise pay it no heed whatsoever. They are theist. They just happen to not let their theism play any other part in their life.
    Believing God exists makes sense to some, and if they hold that belief then they are, by definition, theist.
    Exactly. Theism also does not mean anything more than belief in the existence. You are trying to make it more. Pick another word or phrase for it if you want. But theism is generally taken to mean belief in the existence of God.
    Oh, I get the distinction. I always have. The issue you're arguing against is not the distinction but the definition of what theism is.
    Given that we agree on the difference between "belief in the existence of X" and "belief in X", and given that theism is generally defined as the former, let's compromise: let's call belief in the existence of God "weak theism" and belief IN God "strong theism". Will that suffice?
    But if you continue to blindly or obstinately use theism to mean "belief IN God" then people will continue to misunderstand you given the general definition of theism as simply belief in the existence of.

    This is simply a matter of definition.
    As said, one day you might understand, but even today is not that day, it seems. Do you even try to understand or are you happy with the straw man you construct?
    Not at all. While there may ultimately be just a single deity, there are many different understandings of what that God is and does. Theists believe in the existence of a creator God that reveals itself through scripture etc. Deists believe that God created the universe but then leaves it to its own devices, and that God does not reveal himself.
    This is what is meant by varieties, Jan. Just as there are varieties of potato chips, but they are all potato. And it is still up for grabs as to which God, if any, actually exists in reality. But of course, you believe in the existence of your variety of God, so you don't think it is up for grabs at all. Hey ho.
    So your misunderstanding has it.
    Agnosticism can very much be practical. When one does not know (agnostic) and one wants to (curious) then one asks questions, one visits forums, talks to both sides. These are practical matters. When asked a question one also says "I don't know" - which can have practical implications.
    You claim atheism is practical and agnosticism intellectual. I am arguing that since the intellectual informs the practical, agnosticism is itself a practical matter. I am asking you to provide an example of where intellect does not inform the practical, so that I can understand why you might think one's agnosticism is purely intellectual.
    I ask people, Jan. That's the way of it when one doesn't know. But when they put forth their notions of what constitutes evidence, I see no rational way that it supports the notion of God's existence more than God's non-existence.
    Care to offer some evidence, and we'll see where we go?
    I have not rejected all information of God. The same way that I have not rejected all information of Bilbo Baggins. But just because something is defined does not mean it necessarily and meaningfully exists, even if it is defined as something apparently necessary. It could simply be a valueless label to an unknown (including its property of existence).
    So your continuing misunderstanding has it.
    Okay, you stick to meaningless question-begging. I choose not to.
    It doesn't necessarily. And for those for whom it does, I imagine that feel a desire or personal need to. But you'd have to ask them.
  20. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Think that a person can believe in God or not, and still those same outcomes could happen...people find a way to carry on after tragedies. For me, I choose prayer and my faith to carry on.
  21. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    I don't wish to add to the definition.
    It is from an secular/atheistic perspective.
    It doesn't make any real sense from a theistic perspective, even though it is a commonly used definition.
    It merely sounds as if it does.

    You agreed that an atheist can believe in the existence of God and remain atheist. So where is the distinct?

    You're the one who lacks understanding, clinging to a secular definition as though it is the epitome of truth, and not something to try and appease the whole of society.
    It is a politically correct use of the term which lacks real meaning.

    How does that even work?
    Do you really think peoples reasons for believing in God stem from desire or personal need? Really?

    This is exactly the same ideological nonsense that adorn secular and atheist notion of God, and what it means to believe in God.

    It has to be the same oneness.
    One person may be an impersonal benefactor to children in poor countries,
    whilst simultaneously being a personal benefactor to children on his doorstep.
    One person , different perspectives.

    Seriously, just give a little serious thought, and you'll realize just how closed minded you're being.

  22. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    You don't wish to, but you are doing so. This is a secular forum, so let's just stick with what you see as the secular perspective and definition, shall we? Or do you wish to simply derail the thread with this semantic nonsense?
    ??? Where have I agreed that? Please provide a link to where I have said that, and then your thinking as to how that means what you think it does?
    It has meaning, Jan. It means, as I have explained, that one believes in the existence of God. You wish it to mean more. I understand your desire, but it confuses the matter when people talk of theism with the two different meanings. If you wish theism to mean "belief IN God" then clarify your meaning each time you use it, otherwise people will simply take it to mean "belief in the existence of God".
    As said, Jan, I don't really know. I can only go by what people tell me. And it seems, from what they have told me, to stem from a desire or personal need, whether that be a desire for things to make sense to them, for security of meaning, for guidance, for an authority etc. Something compels them. If you think differently, feel free to explain.
    So when you disagree with someone in discussion your only response is to claim that they're wrong and how poor you think their understanding is? No wonder discussions with you really don't move forward.
    So - how do you think believing that God exists makes one believe IN God, given that there are people who believe in the existence of God but do not believe IN God?
    Yet when the definition of one is purely impersonal, non-interactive, and the definition of the other is personal and interactive, they are clearly NOT the same. That you think it has to be the same oneness is merely your belief. Not theirs.
    Perhaps learn to think critically and you may make progress in understanding the other's position, rather than continually erecting straw men views of them.
    But in what way do you think I am I being close-minded? By not agreeing with you? If that's all it takes then yes, I am close minded. But better that than to hold what I would consider irrational views.
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Isn't that confusing things?

    The earlier distinction was between (A) believing in something and (B) believing in the existence of something. My claim is that those two are typically synonymous in everyday and in philosophical speech and mean the same thing.

    Now you are distinguishing '(A) believing in' something and (C)'believing' something or someone. I think that those mean very different things. If I 'believe in fairies', I'm saying that I believe in their existence. If I 'believe fairies', then I'm effectively saying that I accept whatever fairies are supposedly telling me. That's obviously something very different.

    Of course C, believing what fairies supposedly tell me, suggests (but doesn't imply) that I believe in the existence to fairies, since if fairies didn't exist it would be hard for them to tell me things. But it still might be possible for me to believe that fairies are my own hallucinations and for me to still believe whatever I imagine them saying.

    I would say that (C)'believing' God, or alternatively having religious faith in God, suggests but doesn't imply belief in the existence of God. It certainly does in the Western (Jewish/Christian/Islamic) context. Having said that, I can imagine somebody believing that 'God' refers to the deepest arguably divine level of their own self (let's call it 'Krishna consciousness' for the sake of this argument) and to nevertheless believe in whatever it supposedly reveals.

    That metaphysical issue is of most interest to me.

    It's certainly the Christian perspective. Otherwise theologians wouldn't have spent so much time trying to concoct 'proofs' of the existence of God. I think that you will find that it's a subject of great importance in the Indian traditions too, as exemplified on the centuries long philosophical dispute between the orthodox Hindus and the Buddhists on the subject.

    There you go again, suggesting that you possess some superior perspective on the subject of religion. Once again, WHAT IS YOUR RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND? Don't run away from the question, throwing 'Why do you ask?' and 'It doesn't matter!' over your shoulder as you flee. If you want to convince anyone that your understanding of religious issues is in any way superior to that of others, you need to explain what that understanding is, where you acquired it and make some plausible arguments for it.

    Or a Greek philosopher like Aristotle. Or a deist. Or Satan, arguably.

    I'm inclined to agree with you there, as I explained in my posts up above. To be truly devout in the Western Semitic-derived theistic manner (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), one must not only believe philosophically in the existence of God (as Satan presumably does) but also have the proper psychological attitude towards God. It's why the Bible always seems to be calling God 'Lord', a title of respect given to ancient kings. One is supposed to subordinate one's own personal autonomy to that of the 'Lord', which is precisely what Satan is unwilling to surrender to God. (I've always found Satan to be one of the most attractive characters in that myth.)

    And there you go with your suggestions of your own superiority in these matters. WHAT JUSTIFIES IT? What makes you believe that you are better attuned to the divine than others? What makes you believe that you understand religion better than they do?

    It's a 'misconception' seemingly shared by all of the monotheist religions. You will have difficulty finding people willing to accept that the Old Testament Yahweh, Jesus, the Allah of the Quran and the Krishna of the Gita are all one and the same. Just because one believes in a single God, doesn't mean that anyone who believes in just one God is worshipping the same deity. The whole problem of idolatry, a central concern of Judaism and Islam, suggests that people can and do worship what isn't God as if it was. Even if they accept the theological belief that believing in one God implies that any concept of a monotheist God held by anyone else must therefore refer to the same divine entity, members of the traditions will still insist that traditions other than their own have false beliefs about the one God. Christians don't believe that God really dictated the Quran to Mohammed, and Muslims and Jews don't believe that God incarnated in Jesus. All three religions would probably agree that Krishna has nothing to do with their deity.

    But it goes deeper than that mythological stuff. Divinity, even if it is imagined as One, is imagined in very different ways. Some of the ancient Greeks thought of it philosophically, as whatever fulfilled various metaphysical functions, such as first cause, most basic substance, source of order and purpose, designer, teleological goal, savior and so on. We see that approach being continued by medievals like Aquinas in his 'Five Ways' and by some of the early modern deists. Other ancients imagined God in terms of pure transcendence, as that which exceeds all language and concepts, with more comprehensible aspects of reality emerging from The One as emanations. Plotinus and the Neoplatonists thought that way and that kind of idea was continued by Christian Neoplatonism and by the Christian mystical tradition. It's still found in Eastern Orthodox theology today. We see similar ideas in Shankara's Advaita Vedanta and in several of the Upanishads. Compare that to the concepts of the divine in the more theistic vedantins or in popular Hindu theism such as Krishna worship, which emphasize the supposed personal qualities of God. The historical Hebrews and today's Muslims have yet another idea, imagining God as their Lawgiver, as their heavenly King. Much of the current problem with Islam is due to the collision of that God-given Islamic Law idea with modern Western secularism.

    There are countless ways of conceptualizing the divine. Examples are found all around the world and within each tradition.

    And you do know? How?
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016

Share This Page