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OT: What do you believe and why?

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by pharphis, May 19, 2015.

  1. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    This thread is for those who are willing to explain what religious and/or supernatural beliefs they hold and why.

    I think we're all old enough to understand that questioning of said beliefs is not "being intolerant" and mocking said beliefs is different than mocking a person.* People hold a huge variety of beliefs that aren't justified, and I don't believe ANY belief should be put on a pedestal. If you believe that NO beliefs should be questioned, then this thread isn't for you (and I would encourage you to learn about things that EVERYONE would challenge, like autistic children being "treated" with bleach enemas and justify not challenging those parents' beliefs...)
    *The problem, it seems to me, is that people identify AS their beliefs, and so questioning a belief is often construed as attacking the person.


    I'm starting this thread because I think it's important for both believers and non-believers to understand what we believe, why we believe it and how this should fit into society. Ofc, I doubt that I will be converted or that anyone else will be deconverted in this thread. These processes take a lot of time and aren't necessarily the point.

    The more I learn about holy books like the Quran and the Bible, the more I realize that nobody actually reads them, despite claiming to be strict adherents to their religion. It is a fact that we are most likely to take up the religion we were raised into (understandably), but this is ofc not good justification for holding those beliefs into adulthood.
    So why do you believe or disbelieve? Do you think the belief is justified itself or do you believe that belief itself is justified for various reasons like the moral argument or pascal's wager?


    I'll start by explaining that I am an agnostic atheist. Yes, this sounds like a contradiction in terms to most because most people don't understand what they mean. At it's simplest, it means that I do not believe and I do not know whether a god exists. I think it's important to use both simultaneously to avoid confusion. If you do not understand what I mean above, then I encourage you to read this webpage which explains it very clearly and within just a few paragraphs. Part of the reason I want to emphasize this is that many people (my past self included) believe that saying one is agnostic is an adequate answer to the question of "do you believe in X"
    It is not, because it is an answer to the question "do you know X". Both the majority of atheists and agnostic are actually agnostic atheists, but forego better terminology because they've been taught a variety of things culturally like "atheists are arrogant" or simply have not thought about it because it's not important to them.

    Ofc, when it comes to a specific god (not just a deistic god) I am much more likely to be a gnostic atheist, meaning I know it does not exist (to the best that I can "know" anything, anyway). This is limited to logically inconsistent gods and those which fly in the fact of science like the 6 day creator, for example (challenging evolution).

    edit: also please try not to interpret any question as an attack or dishonest. I honestly am curious what people believe and why
     
  2. kestegs

    kestegs D3 Monk Moderator

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    This may come off as overly simplistic, but my faith really isn't complicated IMO. So ask me a question if something isn't clear.

    I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe he is the son of the one true God. I believe that believing in those things is the only path to heaven, and an eternity spent with God. I believe that it's his desire for all people to come to know him, and have a relationship with him.

    And for the record, I do read the Bible every day. And I've read through it in its entirety at least 3 times.

    I also believe that God created the universe, and the earth, and all the things on it. Along with anything else stated in the Bible.
     
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  3. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    The underlined is pretty standard :p I think I understand that fine. I believe this came up in the other thread but I don't remember exactly what you said about what you believe hell is and its purpose? Eternal suffering or just a "lack of god's presence" as some define it.

    I don't have the numbers, but I'm sure you're in the minority for people who read the bible regularly or who have even finished it once that claim to be Christian. I'm sure this depends on sect but I don't know much about the differences between sects or the stats so I can't even guess.

    I guess your last two statements are somewhat vague. Do you accept the bible literally or do you believe that some things are either 1) wrong or 2) a metaphor or some other similar explanation?
    Are you aware of parts of the bible that contradict scientific consensus (germ theory, evolution, cosmology, etc.) and if so, do do you believe them?

    Is it safe to assume you were raised to hold your current beliefs? (not that it makes them automatically wrong, ofc)
     
  4. Gripphon

    Gripphon IncGamers Member

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    I don't believe in anything specific when it comes to deities or supernatural beliefs. I'm person with high curiosity for many things so I've read about various religious and similar beliefs about this world. There are too many things people believe into. Let's simply say I did come up with some interesting theories, but none with enough evidence to my liking. Did I say evidence? Right. I don't want to believe, I want to know stuff. Perhaps that's the reason I don't believe in anything with deities/supernatural/whatever, I'm simply not interested in believing because I don't really see real personal profit from it. I can only guess or almost blindly choose one of hundred beliefs that I like most, but what then? You get the point I hope so.

    Ok, I do have opinion about various believing people say and I still think it is interesting to find out what and why people believe. It helps me understand people better too.

    I'm closest to agnostic atheist, but am not sure am I really it since I simply don't care to believe. To me there can be god, gods, whatever, and there can be none of this. I accept possibility we are just blood and flesh and this life is only one, special, no heaven or hell after death, no final justice for sins either. Some people used to ask me isn't that kind of "cruel" to accept world like that, with no real meaning to life or no godly justice for sins and so on... My answer is no, I don't think that is cruel nor does it mean life doesn't have a meaning. I mean, for people who think there must be some kind of god for a life to have a meaning it will be hard to understand such perception of life without god and I know that cause I talked with various people. But that is one small possibility I consider. Other is that some mystical god created universe etc etc, and then story goes on in million possible ways. Again I can blindly choose one that I like most based on... aesthetic reasons I guess.

    Hmmm but I do believe something. Whatever truth really is, I believe we must live our lives in efficient ways, to do something meaningful in life, achieve something, grow as persons and such stuff. After that if I die to be nothing than a worm food, so be it, at least I had a good life. If after that I go into hell cause of not worshiping christian god and his son, so be it. If I go into heaven cause I followed words of muhammad/jesus/whatever and lived great life, so be it. No, I don't have something that I believe most into, to me it is possible life is only flesh and blood + death as well as possibility there is some god that created all with whatever reason. 50/50. I don't care to choose to believe, I care to choose to investigate and collect evidences, experimental proves and various experiences from other people.
     
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  5. BBS_Agonistes

    BBS_Agonistes IncGamers Member

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    In! This sort of stuff really interests me, and I'm always excited to talk about it with others who enjoy that kind of conversation. I adhere to a fairly orthodox Christian faith--something which is today associated with "stupid" or uniformed beliefs. I actually just finished my Ph.D. in Literary and Cultural Studies at a secular university, so hopefully my adherence to this isn't based on ignorance of other traditions, although just being a teacher doesn't automatically mean one's beliefs are coherent.

    It's funny you posted this, because I am actually researching the problem of evil at the moment.- I just finished reading through all the classic works on the subject from Epicurus and Lactantius, then to Augustine and Irenaeus to Leibniz and Hume, and then to Mackie and Plantinga and Hick!

    I'd love to write more later when I have time, but essentially I'm fairly widely read in the traditions of both Continental and Analytic Philosophy, and I haven't really found any of them that make as much sense of the world or human experience as Christianity does. Of course, coming from a more atheistic/agnostic perspective, someone might ask why I'd expect a belief system to be relevant or sensical in such a nonsensical universe!
     
  6. BBS_Agonistes

    BBS_Agonistes IncGamers Member

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    I'm curious as to what you are referencing here. If you mean statements about the sun and moon, or things of that sort, I don't think that really contradicts cosmology, as we still use these sort of terms in everyday conversation all the time. For example, we say the sun rose at X time this morning when really the earth just rotated.

    Similarly, for creation, it doesn't really reject the concept of evolution at all. For one, some read this figuratively (a story explaining the creation of the universe would need to be metaphorical or figurative on some level, as explaining the mechanics to man would be impossible, even if it was literally in seven days, etc.). Secondly, however, just because one might believe that the world originated from creation doesn't mean that this person rejects the concept of evolution, post creation.

    I have read the Bible through many, many times, but that doesn't mean I have it memorized, so you may be able to supply some typical inerrancy-challenging verses I'm not aware of.
     
  7. japanzaman

    japanzaman IncGamers Member

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    Most people's (including myself) belief systems are not solely rooted in a purely theological/philosophical standpoint or rationale but are intertwined with their emotional interpretations of themselves in terms of being an individual and member of a particular community or society. We are heavily invested in this identity, which is why our reaction to views that contradict our own are usually met with an emotional reaction rather than a logical one. We are often entrenched in this position by the time we hit our mid 30's because questioning some of the positions can cause not only personal but also social and professional repercussions in our lives.

    I grew up in a pretty Christian environment and identified as one until my early 20's. I understand that world, but no longer hold those beliefs and this has caused some distance between myself and part of my family. I'm also not really all that interested in trying to explain or justify those beliefs to others, sympathetic or not, for precisely the reasons listed above.

    If your beliefs allow you to find meaning in the things in your life, then to me they are serving their purpose. The minute those beliefs get forced on others is when they cross the line.
     
  8. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    @Gripphon and even if you "chose a belief" (something I think is technically impossible) it is still just choosing a label of many for the sake of choosing one. I think by the definitions I used you are an agnostic atheist. If you haven't read the link I provided, I'd quickly read it to see it if applies.

    I've recently listened to some lectures/debates done by Bart Ehrman. So if you haven't heard him and want to hear another person who deconverted the more the studied their faith, he's a good one. He talks about the problem of evil, ofc. You're much better read than me :p
    I've actually read very little philosophy and all of that would have been second-hand, anyway.


    I should say upfront that I've only perused parts of the bible. I've never read the whole thing or even a large portion of it, because I know I would find it boring :p
    One example (as shown on this page) is that plants were "created" before sunlight existed.

    I understand that many of the verses can be reasonably interpreted such that it does not contradict reality, but there are a multitude of them that contradict other portions of the bible or reality regardless of flowery language like "sun rising"

    The order of creation is backwards, and I don't think that can be handwaved away unless you claim that it is purely metaphorical. so it doesn't matter if it was 6 literal days or 6 "god days" or whatever. The order is incorrect.

    I've heard claims that of verses that reject germ theory... it might have had to do with demons being the cause of disease but I can't recall.

    There is a database of contradictions though they ofc vary in severity and possibly nitpicking:
    http://bibviz.com/
     
  9. srrw

    srrw IncGamers Member

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    I'm pretty much on the same page as Gripphon is.

    I do not believe anything my eyes haven't seen and my hands haven't touched. Is it possible that a god/higher power/etc exists? Sure, nothing is impossible. Many things have been thought to be, some have been 'proven' to be, yet years, decades later they're proven and done.

    And to be completely honest, I don't care. I don't really care what people believe in, what gods they worship, what religion they preach etc. as long as they're not obnoxious about it. I don't like conversations about religion because I think it's complete crap and some people need to believe in something or are taught in it, raised in it or whatever. I'm fine with that, just don't bother telling me about it - it's your life, you can do whatever you want with it.

    I can write a much longer post justifying my point of view, but it's 3AM and as I said it's not my preferred conversation topic. Rereading my post I think it might sound a bit offensive, sorry about that.
     
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  10. Grishnakh

    Grishnakh IncGamers Member

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    I do not believe there is a "God" in the commonly accepted judaio-christian traditional sense of the term. I was raised a Catholic but as I grew older I saw many contradictions in religion in general. I believe in people, and that sometimes we can be kind.

    Religions generally give people a moral framework for decision-making or a set of rules to guide your life. I no longer hold to the standard Ten Commandments, but I try to hold myself to what my father would do. I may not agree with him on every topic, but he is what I would call a good man. In and of itself that means nothing to most people, but you'd have to meet him =).

    I guess the real trouble with religions for me is the contradiction and hypocrisy. So many preach love and compassion out one side of their mouth and hatred out of the other. Nowhere was this more evident to me than in Iraq and Afghanistan. The things I have seen done, and the atrocities committed by many religions before, really ended any chance I will ever change my beliefs. I believe (and I am not attacking anyone for their beliefs) that a benevolent omniscient being would have ended this kind of strife long ago. The part I never really understood was why fight at all. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the same god, and all claim that he teaches them love.

    Another interesting thing that comes to mind is that the dates of so many Christian Holidays were chosen arbitrarily because they fit in with widely celebrated Pagan Holidays (Christmas is the Pagan feast of the unconquered sun etc.) simply to ease conversion.

    I will admit that I know little of Buddhism or Hinduism. I haven't seen or experienced much of them in my life so I can't say much about them. Something to read up on I guess.
     
  11. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    Do you believe in the existence of Greenland? :p
     
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  12. srrw

    srrw IncGamers Member

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  13. BBS_Agonistes

    BBS_Agonistes IncGamers Member

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    Yeah, I'm pretty familiar with Ehrman. I don't find most of his stuff very convincing, it feels more like recycled scholarship from the beginnings of Higher Criticism, and a lot of these contradictions were actually anticipated by Hugo Grotius in his 1617 work De satisfactione Christi. In a similar way, much of Richard Dawkin's work is just restatements of typical Enlightenment arguments, like those of Voltaire. Of course, just because they are restatements doesn't mean they aren't correct or logical. I'll give a more in-depth response tomorrow--having dinner with the extended family tonight, but I think there are much better arguments against Christianity from the past centuries. As far as recent arguments go, I think J. L. Mackie's arguments against the Christian God are at least intellectually rigorous, although I of course don't ultimately agree with them; I think his claims are answered conclusively by Nelson Pike and Alvin Plantinga.

    A lot of this has to do with starting points, which I'll write more about tomorrow. But I understand why my views would seem fairly ridiculous to those coming from an agnostic/atheist perspective. I'll do my best to explain the basic approach to reality that I take so that my views don't seem so baseless.
     
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  14. TheNix

    TheNix IncGamers Member

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    I grew up a Catholic and I went to church every Sunday, but 13 years of the Catholic education system ground any Christian belief I had out of me. Something that I will not go into any details here! I dabbled in Wicca, and darker thinks as well (again something that I would rather not discuss here), in my late teens early 20s and I came to the conclusion that there really wasn't any difference between them. Different oral traditions, different rituals, different symbols, same mind set. This ground out any belief in religion in general.

    So, what do I believe? I don't believe in god, but I realise that god doesn't need MY belief in order to exist. Perhaps all god needs to exist is people to believe that they do! Do I believe there is some overseeing force guiding my life? That would be nice, but no. Afterlife? Again that would be nice, but not really. We live, we died, we rot, just like all the billions of life forms that lived on Earth in the past and those that will live in the future. Heaven/Hell? As someone who doesn't believe in good and evil per se, this idea baffles me. The supernatural? Sure, I believe all that the "supernatural" is is stuff that science has yet to prove. Some of it will be hocum of course, but some of it will be proven to be true, in time!
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  15. coju

    coju IncGamers Member

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    True, and not true. From what I remember, we all come from Abraham, but Muslims and Jews are split on which son their lineage progresses. God says that Ishmael (Muslim) is not part of the promise and through Issac (***) the promise God made to Abraham will continue. This is what I believe, and have faith in. I have faith that the Holy Spirit is real and dwells in me. Faith, I have faith, like everyone here.
    There are "Christians" that have never had or seen a Bible. (Believe Pharphis was questioning the validity of being a Christian and not reading the Bible? At least that's how I took it :) )
    Everyone has faith. It takes a great deal of faith to believe in something that will not ever get scientifically proven and that goes against the world's mindset.
    /rant/ What is real? What is truth? Where do morals come from? Why do we have a conscience? I think it is fine to pull out in front of this car because I am in a hurry, but if someone does the same to me, so help me!!!!
    (horribly quoting from CS Lewis, Mere Christianity here:) We have 'laws' that we expect others to follow and to treat ourselves: being truthful to us, courteous, letting us in in traffic, scooting over so we can sit down on the bus, but we do not follow our own 'laws' that we have set up for others to follow. We know ourselves and the excuses we make for the reasons we won't let that person in front of us, for lying to mom, for not being generous when it won't hurt or put me out one bit...
    /end rant/
    These questions make me think all of this. Mainly this; The faith it takes to believe that the Earth (not even thinking about the Universe) came to existence from a singularity is mindboggling. How everything formed just so to be what they are. That dinosaurs lived long enough ago that their beings would decompose into a substance that we can use today (right?) as oil to power machines that were made by beings that evolved from beings that evolved .... ... ... from beings that were single-celled organisms. That flowers glow in ultraviolet (I believe) in such a way that bees are able to see them and see which part of the plant contains the nectar. That the flowers also send off signals to tell the bees that they are out of pollen that way the bees don't go to this one set of flowers and see, "Hey, this has no food for me. Let us not go here anymore. It is a waste of time." When it gets pollen/nectar again, it informs the bees in the way it does that it is fruitful again.

    All of that just happened from pure chance and evolution and survival of the fittest. That takes a great deal of faith.
    I have faith in the one God that made all of this so we could see the beauty in creation and see the beauty in Him. Yeah, there is a lot of evil in the world. Yeah, a lot of those who claim to believe in the same God are causes of this great evil, but the judgment is the Lord's.
     
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  16. pharphis

    pharphis IncGamers Site Pal

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    We don't know for certain that the universe could have been any other way. I know this sounds weird but to assess the likelihood of the universe being the way it is (the fine-tuning argument at it's most basic) is based on the premise that the universe could be any different to begin with.

    The rest of what you have argued is about stuff that evolution explains quite adequately, actually. There are multiple definitions of the word faith, and I think you're equating two different ones which is very common. My "faith" that the sun will rise tomorrow is based on experience and evidence. Faith that things evolved from simpler organisms to many more complex organisms is also backed up by loads of evidence. Faith that is not evidence-based is a different category and this is the one that typically is used only for religious beliefs.
     
  17. Kitteh

    Kitteh IncGamers Site Pal

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    I have no religious beliefs and I don't believe in the supernatural, except The Kraken, but that is mostly a case of hope. When I was younger I believe in Nessie. It is my belief that religion is the infancy of our intelligence and that in days gone by it explained the world. We need an explanation for our existence and the world around us, and religions once filled that gap, but for me they no longer do. Nobody has ever given me any evidence of any deity or existence of Heaven etc. For that reason, I have zero reason to believe any of it, whilst science (although not foolproof by any means) is beginning to explain more and more the questions that we have. I don't doubt that big parts of what we 'know' will turn out not to be entirely correct, but not by any vast margin.

    Having said that, I think that there are great attributes of religion, primarily the aid and social work that they do and the hope it gives some people. For me personally, false hope does me no good, but I understand that others do not see it as false hope. I also see a lot of evil in the world formed from religion, and in some cases (IS in my personal opinion) I think it is simply evil people manipulating a religion for justification.
     
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  18. Gripphon

    Gripphon IncGamers Member

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    Actually, continuing on response from Pharphis and as I understand word "faith", it doesn't take "faith" at all. I'll try to explain why.

    Evolutionary processes were already observed, understood and figured out. Well maybe not in 100% de facto matter, but it's pretty close to it at least. That's why there is theory of evolution (in scientific world word "theory" is ultimate level of understanding things and is nothing like word "theory" we all use in common language). They say evolution is the fact and the theory, for a reason. Reason is not faith, reason are experimental evidences of such processes. In contrary to some people's beliefs, evolution was in fact seen to be happening right before our eyes, on some bacteria and not completely sure where else. So evolution is in fact really happening and is there.

    Now comes the tricky part. Most common question is how do we actually connect evolution of bacteria with evolution of say birds and humans, how is that possible to connect together? I'm not expert on the matter, but let's say it like this. Evolutionary processes that are observed and understood are actually part of every living being on the world. The same processes that made bacteria evolve are also a part of us, dogs, whales and so on. Anyway, point of this post is not to put knowledge I have about evolution since it is in no way complete, so let's move on. Such things can be read on the net to much greater detail.

    Point is this. How can we actually connect two thing together when it comes to understanding evolution? How does, say, witnessing evolution of some dog help us understand evolution on some lizard, how do we know there are same processes going on? How can we come up with whole evolution story about evolution of eye or that bees-flowers things if we didn't de facto see all that in front of our eyes? Well, here comes the beauty of scientific theory. Not only do we have understanding of things based on experimental evidence, we can also use that same knowledge to predict the outcome of some event. Same as with theory of gravity which help us predict what speed must rocket have to leave Earth. There is no chance in all that in other words, its simply a bunch of facts and evidences connected together to help us understand and predict something.

    There is similar analogy with evolution thing between various species. For example, we have physical laws here on Earth, we see them every day and experiment with them every day. How do we know that those same physical laws exist in some other galaxy? We never were there and whole understanding of universe is also based on assumption that same laws apply everywhere. Can we know that for sure? Why don't we simply assume physical laws can be different on some distant world? The thing is, we can assume that, but we have zero arguments for that, while we do have arguments on claiming that laws there are the same as here on Earth (we were on Moon and Mars, right?). So why would we then assume laws on other planets that we never visit are different than on Earth? Isn't that some kind of blind faith based on nothing but pure imagination?

    Same thing is with evolutionary processes between various species and in various time periods, with difference there might be plenty of evidences that processes are connected (not completely sure, didn't read that deep). So, story with bees and flowers, and anything else. Evolution does not happen by chance at all the same way that physical laws are not happening by a pure chance. We have strong foundation to connect pieces together to recreate evolutionary time-line of something like bees and flowers. Things are like this cause they developed like this, no other reason. Everything seems balanced cause things evolve and adapt to surrounding, so naturally some kind balance is stored. But there is no balance on this world whatsoever, but that is story for another time. Everything we see as fascinating and precise is in fact not like that at all.

    So, faith is not required at all to consider evolutionary processes as logical explanation to how things got as they are today and there is no chance (de facto "chance") involved into all that. Behind that is understanding of evolutionary processes, evidences, facts and logic of connecting things together to one piece to form a realistic story. What is required then? Understanding evolution and seeing logic in it, that's all. No faith there at all, at least not as I understand word "faith". On the other hand faith is required if we talk other way around, after evolution explains things around based on stuff already said several times, we must have faith that things are not really like that and are actually different.
     
  19. kestegs

    kestegs D3 Monk Moderator

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    Hell is both eternal suffering and the separation from God. There's actually not a ton in the Bible about Heaven/Hell, but there's enough to get a basic picture. I'd say they're both grossly misrepresented by our society. Heaven will be infinitely better and Hell will be infinitely worse than we can imagine. The presence of God or lack of it is a huge part of it. Everyone will see God and know the truth after death, there will be no denial anymore.

    I would expect I am as well. And I didn't always read the Bible every day, but have been lately at least.

    I accept the Bible mostly literally, but it cannot be taken completely literally, as God doesn't exactly fit into a literal box. I do not believe anything in the Bible is wrong, the Bible is fact to me. I have never seen anything disproved in it to a high enough degree. ( I didn't read all of that site, but I know there are a couple things that could likely be translation errors and such like that) I'm not sure where you get the light/plants confusion. Light was on day 1 and plants were on day 3. Here's a cute picture of the basic outline of it.
    edit: That is confusing I guess. He created light on day 1, but the sun on day 4. Even without the sun, plants aren't going to die in a day.

    I don't know how the Bible contradicts germ theory. I do believe it contradicts evolution on the scale it is currently taught. I believe that God made us to change and adapt, but we did not evolve from a single cell to what we currently are. As stated before, I believe God made everything as the Bible states. Both of our beliefs are theories at this point, neither have been proven or disproven by science. To ME the Bible has been proven, but I know the world is not me.

    Yes, I was raised Christian. I have had times where I've doubted my beliefs, but those doubts have always been unfounded after being tested. My Christianity is not a book, or a teaching, or a set of rules. It is a relationship. I can feel that they are true, and I have had experiences that "prove" it to me. These would all be anecdotal of course, and I know your feelings about anecdotes from the other thread already ;)

    And my phone is broken, so I'll have less of a chance to respond to things, so be patient with me. I would probably respond to some other stuff if I had more time, but I don't.
     
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    Username is not in use IncGamers Member

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    i believe in death, destruction, chaos, filth and greed because i like it
     
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