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Understanding religion better

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by shadow2, Feb 12, 2019 at 2:06 PM.

  1. shadow2

    shadow2 New Member

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    Not religious and never will be. But I don't understand religion at all when I study history/philosophy/geography. I don't like gaps in my knowledge of the world. Hopefully I can learn something here and you don't mind atheists on this site.

    I'll probably just look around but a couple noob questions are:
    Why is the bible so influential... do you need this kind of text to guide your life as opposed to just living by your own moral principles?
    Do you actually take the bible literally or is it kind of like a piece of literature or art that you would interpret in different ways?
    What happened with Jesus, how does 'sacrificing himself for our sins' work?
    Prayers/miracles, doesn't this seem a bit like confirmation bias? Have you guys considered that and are cool with it anyways?

    Thanks, hope to have some conversations here. Don't want to be converted and don't want to convert/debate you guys, just curious about how Christians view these things more than anything.
     
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  2. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life O Lord, do not treat me as I have treated others! Supporter

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    Welcome and great questions! I would suggest heading over to the Exploring Christianity forums and devoting a thread to one question at a time. That would produce the most fruitful discussion. Also be aware that you are interacting with Christians and non-Christians of all stripes and flavors from all around the world on this forum.
     
  3. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of His Creation! Supporter

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    Hello. How does this famous poem strike you? (always good to read again) --

    Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

    I ask because it will help me better answer your questions. Welcome to CF!

    (also, perhaps best to do as post #2 suggests, going to the forum meant for discussion on such. You could PM me or start a new thread and let me know).
     
  4. devin553344

    devin553344 My Brain's Offline But My Heart Isn't

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    Well Jesus performed all the miracles and was sacrificed which fulfilled prophecy in the Old Testament. So we believe in God the Father, Jesus the Christ and the Holy Ghost. Why do we believe? Well many of us have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. And the Holy Ghost blesses us with knowledge of God in faith. The Holy Ghost lives in us and is a miracle for those that desire to believe. And we hope for the resurrection of the dead that Jesus promised. To live again forever with Heavenly Father in peace and love in heaven. Cheers :)
     
  5. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    Understanding religion begins with an understanding of the human conscience. There exists in all societies, and has always existed in all societies a need to acknowledge and to worship some thing greater than oneself.

    Within any number of societies there exists as part of that need also a need or desire to irrevocably destroy some thing or another to appease that seen as greater than self. The ancient Jews sacrificed animals, as did the ancient Romans. Many Arab and other semetic groups, as well as the Mayans and Incas, and others, went so far as to irrevocably destroy even human beings in the effort.

    All that begs the question, where does that desire come from? Within Christianity that desire is the calling of God. All societies hear the calling of God but often respond in imperfect and often unacceptable ways.

    To some of your questions, we may or may not need the bible as a moral guide, or the teachings of Christianity, but look at the state of society now that we have collectively abandoned that. How many abortions, how many fatherless children, many of which have not much to look forward to except life in prison. In light of all of that the bible is not so much a book of commandments as it is a book of really good advice.

    We can continue if you like.
     
  6. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Steven

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    We view the Scriptures as divinely inspired, meaning that men wrote it either by direct dictation or under the guidance of the Holy Spirit when penned. It isn't some book for mere moral living, but is the very written word from God about everything we should know, do, and believe. He revealed his will to certain persons throughout history, known as prophets and apostles, and had everything written down for future posterity and propagation of that truth to the world among other things. It is the very standard for faith and life, and we come to know God through it.

    We cannot understand morals apart from God, so Scripture informs us as to what is objectively true and right.

    Scripture is full of different literary styles: historical, poetic, parable, prophetical, etc.

    He suffered the penalty of what our sin deserves when he was at the cross, while he was being crucified as well. He atoned for the enmity that stood between us and God, so that sinners can be reconciled through his suffering. This was what he meant when he said "It is finished" before he died. He resurrected after three days, proving that he truly died through all of that and that his body did not stay long enough to decay, as well as securing this redemption for sinners and justifying them in the result of his perfect obedience in life and death. He stayed for an additional forty days before he ascended to heaven and will one day come back to judge the living and the dead, restore all things, punish sin, and bring his kingdom to earth.

    I don't see how.

    Many people saw many miracles and still denied them and the person's message who performed them.

    I've had prayers answered in ways I could not explain.
     
  7. PloverWing

    PloverWing Episcopalian

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    Welcome to CF! :wave:

    I would be happy to discuss any of those questions with you, but each of the answers would be rather long, so (as Tree of Life noted) those lengthy conversations would be a better fit for one of the discussion forums.

    One partial answer to one of your questions is that living by my own moral principles is, of course, very important; but it's useful to me to have those moral principles informed by the wisdom of those who have gone before me. Sometimes other people have insights that I haven't thought of. So I study the writings of Christians and Jews of the past, and the most important of these writings were collected into the Bible.
     
  8. shadow2

    shadow2 New Member

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    What a beautiful poem.
    "To watch his woods fill up with snow."
    Ha, I am guilty of spending far too much time doing just this :)

    I don't know if you are familiar with the concept of the flâneur, but it reminds me of such. There is some great peace and wisdom in stopping to observe the world, and it is many of our social, political and economic systems that keep us from doing so as much as we would like. Not that this is a bad thing, productivity is a great virtue. All the same, too much focus on passing along the road without watching the woods fill up with snow... I think is a detriment to one's health and human experience. The best understanding of this I have come up with so far is that life is best balanced between the two. I had not read this poem before but I am not surprised to hear something so beautiful from Robert Frost.
     
  9. Basil the Great

    Basil the Great Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Welcome to the forums, Shadow2, and Happy Tuesday to you!
     
  10. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    1 Corinthians 2:14

    14 The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.


    the natural man ... the man who is not a Christian

    beyond your understanding at this point

    I do have a question for you tho ... do you believe in any life after death?
     
  11. Gregory95

    Gregory95 You will know them by their fruits

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    Hey friend, if you'd like send me a message. we can discuss whatever question s you have.
     
  12. shadow2

    shadow2 New Member

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    Thank you all for the welcomes! This seems like a very nice forum.

    Sorry for posting in the wrong subforum, perhaps I will move more specific questions to one intended for discussion before diving in.

    No, not at all.
     
  13. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of His Creation! Supporter

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    I spent plenty of time in my 20s especially trying to slow down and observe nature for a few hours here and there, total leave the business behind and experience that wonder, notice the wonder of the natural world. I like it that you appreciate something like that. It's easy in the modern word to get so busy one loses touch with that part of oneself, one's 'soul'. We actually lived near Concord, Massachusetts a couple of years (when I was in my 40s), and often stopped by Walden Pond, where Thoreau stopped the rush for a while to try to find the transcendent through nature. A good friend that liked to swim a lot from Austin came to visit, and got me to go swimming in it. The water was fine. It was funny to swim in it as the tourists walked around it. :)
     
  14. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of His Creation! Supporter

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    A good question by itself, which you could start in another area like the Exploring Christianity area. I'd be delighted also to address your OP questions, but I understand we shouldn't get into theological discussions much in the welcome forum here.
     
  15. AvgJoe

    AvgJoe Member since 2005 Supporter

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    Hi shadow2 & welcome to CF! I know this isn't an answer to one of your questions but I thought you might find this video interesting:

     
  16. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Fire for the Earth !!! Luke 12:49 Supporter

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    Welcome to CF, shadow2. I like your avatar. :rolleyes:
     
  17. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Sinner Supporter

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    Welcome to CF. I hope you find answers to your questions and have some cordial conversations here.

    My quick, poorly thought out, first answers to your questions...

    I find the Bible influential because I believe it to be divinely inspired, and further fleshes out the encounters I have had with God. I don’t know that, if left to my own devices, others would find my moral principles very compatible with a functioning society.

    Parts of the Bible I take literally, parts are metaphorical or allegory. Parts of it are directly relevant to me, parts tell someone else’s story; parts are examples for us and other parts are warnings for us.

    The incarnation, Crucifixion and Resurrection are a big topic and beyond my ability to give you a complete answer. I would say, quoting one of the Saints, that “God became man so man could become like God”.

    Perhaps it is confirmation bias. Perhaps it is all an illusion. My core, my experiences, my emotions, my rational examination (to the best of my limited ability) of the evidence, and the witness of others, all tell me of God’s existence and reality, so I choose to accept it, as the alternative seems very bleak to me. So I guess, yeah, I’m cool with it.
     
  18. sunshine100

    sunshine100 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hello and welcome
     
  19. KimmyO

    KimmyO New Member

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    Hi there, welcome! =)
    I hope you learn what you are searching for. I think it's great to widen our knowledge even on things we don't agree with or understand. Josh McDowell has some good books out for those who want to know the why's. One is Evidence Demands a Verdict.
    For now, I will try to answer your questions:
    The bible is so influential because it is written outside of time, by God thru the fingers of people, as a very well written guide in life. It holds The Truth, The Way and The Life.
    Yes, I Need this book, we are sometimes fools and if we go by our own morals, we make a mess of things, creating our own god and rights and excuses to everyone's detriment.
    Some of the bible is literal, some is history, some are parables which are not true events but life lessons in story. Some of it is prophesy and that is very visual and with a true meaning, but we only have limited understanding of it, like a dream, and when it is all done that is when we have that 20/20 vision looking back.
    There is much artistic writing, but in interpretation, read the before and after for full understanding, and take it into context of time, place and audience. Much of the old testament has good lessons but much is written to or about the Israelites, if you don't like it, don't read other people's mail. =) Also, when trying to deem what it means, don't twist it around but take it at face value and then also look around bible for clarification: word search or theme search and you'll find more understanding of it.
    Jesus is The Word, He was before time and always with God, as part of the Trinity, and then came to earth as a baby, born of a virgin and in perfect harmony with God. He is the perfect sacrifice. Everything has a cost, sin has a great cost, someone had to pay it that we might be made free, and God sent His son/part of him to earth to be that sacrifice and pay once and for all that cost of sin that we might be accepted into heaven for eternity.
    Prayer changes us, not God. It gets us right with Him and ready to hear his answer. He doesn't always answer yes or according to our requests but He has a plan for us that is for our good, not always for temp good but for eternal God.
     
  20. shadow2

    shadow2 New Member

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    Thanks. Funnily enough it's actually a gif, it just didn't work when I uploaded it as my avatar.

    [​IMG]

    It just shows time passing endlessly... well not endlessly... for at some point we reach our last moments. At some point the universe will end, I think, and from that so will this gif. I found it for a powerpoint presentation I was putting together and then I started thinking about it, just watching time pass as the gif spins, and got all nihilistic about it ^_^
     
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