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Why is it so hard to admit “I don’t believe in God” ?

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posted on May, 28 2014 @ 03:29 AM
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As a person who has struggled his whole life with Religion, I want to address this question that still frustrates me. My first question ever that I remember was 'Why am I here?' I think I was four at the time.

I was not raised very religiously and went to church only occassionally. But I strongly believe, or should I say “I am convinced", that our essence is a spiritual, non-physical form that we return to after death - and that we were made of before we were born.

But even the non-physical is subject to the laws of nature, it doesn't require the existence of a God, in my view. Eversince my childhood I have tried to "find God". But this is difficult if not impossible when the most fundamental belief is in the laws of nature.

(For another thread, if I may do so, I would like to suggest that 'atheists' stop referring to themselves by what they do not believe in, and start calling themselves by what they DO believe in, say for example 'Law-of-Naturists'. Even if this doesn't sound as congenial, maybe I will join them if they do.)

I am describing this because, when asked if I believe in God, I find myself torn between answering No, for not believing in the Christian idea of God, and, answering Yes for four reasons:

1) the spirit is part of the trinity, and thus I believe in one aspect of God,
2) the belief/faith in God (regardless of whether it is correct or not) appears to have a positive influence on people, in that it provides them a foundation, stability, encouragement to adhere to a moral standard, hope for questions we cannot answer, and a goal to strive for,
3) lets face it, it’s easy, it’s easy to give up one’s independent thinking and give in to the paradigm that knowledge is not for humans to have, and
4) self-praise, which is the issue I want to address in this thread.

I chose the word self-praise because when people proclaim “Praise the Lord’, it strikes me as them padding their own back, not just the Lord’s, because he views himself as being with the ‘Lord’. (did you notice it is usually men who do this?). In other words they are proclaiming that they believe in God. Anybody can do so quietly, at home or at their place of worship. If they do so in public, I don’t see that as a message to a higher being, I view it as a message to his fellow bus-riders (or wherever he may be), suggesting – no, claiming! – that he has a higher position, he has greater priority in being saved from the traffic accident (or whichever the case may be).

I am not discussing if God really exists, nor if the person has the right to his belief (which of course he does). I am discussing his proclamation outside the context of his place of worship. Does he have the legal right to do so? Of course. But we also have the legal right to insult each other, that does not make it right. Should others tolerate someone’s self-praise? We don’t have a choice at that moment but we can choose not to socialize with people that do.

If somebody asks ‘Did you succeed at xyz?’ and you didn’t really succeed you may feel obligated to claim that you did succeed anyhow, just because it is defeatist to acknowledge the truth. Similarly, if somebody asks you ‘Do you believe in God’, the self-praising answer may make you feel better than the truth. (Also, you don’t want to offend the Believer who asked you).

Why does it make me feel better when I claim to believe in God, when asked? Because I thereby state that I possess the qualities listed above: I have good morals, I have a strong foundation, I have hope/optimism, I have a goal, I know what I want! And it sends the message that I am not to be excluded, I am better than those who don’t believe (by one’s own definition), I have been accepted by God.

Answering ‘No, I don’t believe in God’, is defeatist. To which the other person often replies “I pray that you will be able to see the light also one day”. What an insult! It means, only if you believe as he does will you become superior.

The same applies to people who evangalize, who approach others in an attempt to sway others towards their brand of Christianity. (“you are not Christian until you are born again"). Evangalizing is self-praise. I understand that they believe it is their duty to ‘wake up’ people to the word of God - but it is still self-praise.

Notice that in the question (whether you believe in God) itself is already the hint of the coming insult. Otherwise the question would not be asked by somebody who believes in God (other than in a mutually frank philosophical discussion).
***************************

To answer my title question: Because a negative anwser fails to provide a positive message. Instead the answer should be ‘I do believe in the Laws of Nature, that through courageous endeavors we will be able to learn more and more of them, I have faith in our Humanity and our Spirit to provide the foundation for the continued growth of our Spirit and Consciousness’.

Bottom line: While seeing the benefit of faith (even if it be misguided), I view the act of self-praise not as a good act (and should be considered un-christian IMO). What do you think about self-praise? Do you perceive something blocking you from admitting “I don’t believe in God” ? (that is, only, if indeed you don’t believe in God”)


(Mods: I posted here because I am not trying to debate Creationism vs Evolution, nor, whether Religion was designed by somebody as a control mechanism. If this is not the right forum please move it accordingly)




posted on May, 28 2014 @ 04:12 AM
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originally posted by: ThinkingHuman

4) self-praise, which is the issue I want to address in this thread.

I chose the word self-praise because when people proclaim “Praise the Lord’, it strikes me as them padding their own back, not just the Lord’s, because he views himself as being with the ‘Lord’.
well a religiously inclined person saying ''praise God'' is a declaration of faith NOT self praise as you have perceived it. Muslims have the principle of 'dhikr', which is rememberance of God, done in private thought. However Muslims include phrases like ''alhamdulillah''(praise God) and ''inshallah'' (God willing) in their daily conversations. On the other hand, I have seen a lot of people, even those NOT inclined towards religion... say things like ''thank God, it stopped raining'' or refer to ''God' in everyday conversation, without intending to portray himself as a man of faith.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 04:20 AM
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a reply to: ThinkingHuman

I want to tell you a story which I think is…..

Father O'Malley walked down the road and stopped at a front garden that was overgrown and neglected for years. Thomas was leaning on his shovel looking at the tiny patch he had just cleared.

Morning Father mutters Thomas and the good Father smiles and says I see you and the Lord have been doing good work on one of Gods beautiful little gardens.

Yes Father says Thomas turning to him face on. Its a pity the Lord was so neglectful about his garden until I came along with a spade!

Religion gets into our heads from tiny kids because we are taught it so young and don't question its hooks into our personalities and the fear it has instilled in us. Lloyola said give me a child till he is 7 and he is mine for life. Yes because he had been brainwashed and would probably never question this brainwashing. Up till the generation after the war who started questioning authority en masse probably for the first time. We are slowly looking at the world with eyes that say, this is a car crash and not good enough or acceptable for the 21st century.

It isn't until you read other religions take on our spiritual side that one realises that in truth, the spiritual side in the desert religions has been pretty much crushed to death. It is all dogma and rules but spirituality is only a tiny part of some of Christ's teachings which include pay yer taxes and don't expect too much out of life, be satisfied with the crumbs under the table. For Christians I wonder they don't ask why the hell is the amount of the Bible allotted to Christ himself such a tiny portion of that book and what exactly is the good of the rest of it. How about his esoteric teachings because all we have are the exoteric teachings - where are they?

When one sits through a service and the reading comes up it is usually so dry and nonsensical that, with our past generations they would have sat quietly nlot understand much of it or, probably caring today though with our educations and reasoning we need better information for discerning minds if religion is to last.

A very good thread and terrific read as usual.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 04:27 AM
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a reply to: sk0rpi0n

Muslims have a very different mind set to Westerners. I watched on tv a Lebanese father pick up and carry off his dead son, killed by a group of Israel soldiers who obviously didn't give a damn. The media filmed him walking away with his little boy in his arms saying 'Allah is Great, Allah is Great. My heart went out to that poor grief stricken man, but my mind said you think Allah is great over this do you. Its time like this when I wonder exactly what God is and how he could have accepted praise from a man who had lost so much honourably. I will never forget the Israeli war and the sights I saw and the misery of ordinary people. But religious belief has no credibility or accountability when it comes to men killing.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 04:41 AM
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originally posted by: Shiloh7
a reply to: sk0rpi0n

walking away with his little boy in his arms saying 'Allah is Great, Allah is Great. My heart went out to that poor grief stricken man,
Yes, I agree, and certainly would not criticize somebody in a situation like this. He wouldn't be human if he didn't break down at that moment.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 04:54 AM
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a reply to: ThinkingHuman

Because we've been conditioned and brain washed.

I'm still open to the idea of a "supreme architect" but I'm way past the monotheistic version of "God" brought to us by Judaism, Christianity and Islam.


edit on 28-5-2014 by gladtobehere because: wording



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 04:56 AM
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originally posted by: sk0rpi0n
well a religiously inclined person saying ''praise God'' is a declaration of faith NOT self praise as you have perceived it.
I understand it is to them, but I described what it is to me. We have different beliefs. I also described why. I don't believe anybody should go around proclaiming their religious beliefs in a non-religious public arena because we have different beliefs.

If they want to "praise God" they can go to an appropriate place to do so (or do so quietly) - just like we do for other emotional activities.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 05:02 AM
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originally posted by: gladtobehere
a reply to: ThinkingHuman

Because we've been conditioned and brain washed.

I'm still open to the idea of a "supreme architect" but I'm way past the monotheistic version of "God" brought to us by Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

You know, monotheistic religions are nowadays taken as the highest/best form. One day we may become non-theistic. The Bible actually contains a lot of wisdom about that IMO.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 05:13 AM
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a reply to: ThinkingHuman

God is so far away

www.evawaseerst.be...



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 06:42 AM
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a reply to: ThinkingHuman

I don't understand why you find it hard.

Just look at all the evil done in the name of religion, day in, day out, across the globe. Do you want to be part of that?

Deny ignorance. Deny religion. Deny brainwashing. Deny being told whom you should hate based on which version of the fairy tale they believe in.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 06:43 AM
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originally posted by: Shiloh7
a reply to: sk0rpi0n

My heart went out to that poor grief stricken man, but my mind said you think Allah is great over this do you. Its time like this when I wonder exactly what God is and how he could have accepted praise from a man who had lost so much honourably.
Muslims tend to invoke the name of God, during good times and bad. What is so wrong with that? The statement 'God is greatest' is a fact independent of human condition. May God bless that man for acknowledging God's greatness even during the worst moment of his life.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 06:46 AM
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originally posted by: ThinkingHuman

originally posted by: sk0rpi0n
well a religiously inclined person saying ''praise God'' is a declaration of faith NOT self praise as you have perceived it.
I understand it is to them, but I described what it is to me. We have different beliefs. I also described why. I don't believe anybody should go around proclaiming their religious beliefs in a non-religious public arena because we have different beliefs.

If they want to "praise God" they can go to an appropriate place to do so (or do so quietly) - just like we do for other emotional activities.
what happened to free speech? And if you feel people of faith shouldn't express faith in a public area, then the faithless shouldn't express their lack of faith in a public area as well.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 06:55 AM
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I think it is unfortunate that the stigma of proclaiming what you truly believe is holding you back. You are not alone. Very few will openly proclaim their true beliefs for most of the reasons you described.

You said you do not want to be viewed negatively by others for lack of belief as if it would make you look subpar. Is it that you do not wish to be judged?

Judge not, that ye be not judged. It is a great saying, but honestly I don't see anyone following it. Well you know the person you are and that is what matters not some judgmental holier than though type.

As far as declaring what we do believe I don't see why that is necessary. Why does it matter what I believe if it can't be proven. I may have some grand delusion of the afterlife like no other but if I declare it then that invites judgement. My beliefs are my own and I am secure with them. If I am to be judged then judge me for my actions my life and how I live it but not for what I believe comes after life.

Atheist just means you do not believe in deities and that is all. One can be an atheist and still be spiritual, a good person, have strong morals, or just the opposite but the same can be said for theists.

No, I am not afraid to declare I do not believe in deities and if someone judges me for that then that is their problem and their shortcoming not mine.
edit on 28-5-2014 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 07:07 AM
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Would this mean I'd have to (or should) start describing myself as a 'Megalodonist'?

Tbh I would prefer that.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 07:12 AM
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originally posted by: sk0rpi0n

originally posted by: Shiloh7
a reply to: sk0rpi0n

My heart went out to that poor grief stricken man, but my mind said you think Allah is great over this do you. Its time like this when I wonder exactly what God is and how he could have accepted praise from a man who had lost so much honourably.
Muslims tend to invoke the name of God, during good times and bad. What is so wrong with that? The statement 'God is greatest' is a fact independent of human condition. May God bless that man for acknowledging God's greatness even during the worst moment of his life.


It's hardly restricted to Muslims, either. Have you never said "Oh God!" or "Oh my God!" when something bad happened? I sometimes say that and I'm an atheist. It's just a cultural idiom, rather than necessarily any great appeal to the almighty. Same as "inshallah", which means "God willing". You'll hear that all the time in Arab countries, and it doesn't even really have anything to do with God, per se, it just means "hopefully", as in "the bus will leave at 10am, inshallah" - ie, believe it when you see it.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 09:03 AM
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Your thoughts are fascinating to me. Look into "humanist" because to me, it sounds like you are one.


On the topic of self-praise, I never really thought about it but it DOES seem to me, that when people proclaim their connection with their God in public, by saying "Praise God", it's like a code that actually means, "I've got something you don't" or "I am in cahoots with the big guy. I'm protected, I'm safe". It's almost like showing off.

It ALWAYS turns me off. To me, that's a personal thing. It's akin to them proclaiming something about their sex life or personal grooming. I get uncomfortable when people I barely know start talking about their personal stuff.


originally posted by: ThinkingHuman
Do you perceive something blocking you from admitting “I don’t believe in God” ? (that is, only, if indeed you don’t believe in God”)


I would be totally uncomfortable if someone asked me if I believe in God. That is something that I will share if I feel like it, but asking me indicates that:
A. Judgment is coming.
B. A sermon is coming.
C. I'm about to be very uncomfortable. (Why? because I don't WANT to insult people and I know they get insulted if I don't share their beliefs.)

This is the reason someone might claim to believe, even if they didn't. To avoid judgment, proselytizing and/or discomfort.


originally posted by: ThinkingHuman
Why does it make me feel better when I claim to believe in God, when asked? Because I thereby state that I possess the qualities listed above: I have good morals, I have a strong foundation, I have hope/optimism, I have a goal, I know what I want! And it sends the message that I am not to be excluded, I am better than those who don’t believe (by one’s own definition), I have been accepted by God.


Excellent observation! Most believers don't understand how a person could have good morals, a strong foundation, hope, etc., and be absolutely happy and secure, without being tied to their God. It was very hard for me to accept that I didn't believe any longer because it WAS scary. I had had this foundation in religion all my life and it was a false security. Giving it up still felt scary. But the more I lived as a humanist, the more comfortable and free I felt, knowing that I make loving, generous decisions on my own.

To answer the title question, I'd have to say, "Define God" and then I can give an answer of sorts. Because I don't believe in the biblical God, but I think there's a chance that there is some kind of source. And I don't really carry any beliefs about that, because there's no way to know that. Yet.


Provocative thread.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 09:24 AM
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originally posted by: Benevolent Heretic
Your thoughts are fascinating to me. Look into "humanist" because to me, it sounds like you are one.


On the topic of self-praise, I never really thought about it but it DOES seem to me, that when people proclaim their connection with their God in public, by saying "Praise God", it's like a code that actually means, "I've got something you don't" or "I am in cahoots with the big guy. I'm protected, I'm safe". It's almost like showing off.
Ridiculous. Thats like saying gays who parade on the streets announcing they are gay are basically 'showing off', basically acting out a code for ''we are something you aren't''. How is it okay for gays to literally parade expressing what they think. But its offensive when a person of faith simply utters ''praise God'' in a conversation...even with a fellow theist. Absurd.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 09:38 AM
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originally posted by: sk0rpi0n

originally posted by: Benevolent Heretic
Your thoughts are fascinating to me. Look into "humanist" because to me, it sounds like you are one.


On the topic of self-praise, I never really thought about it but it DOES seem to me, that when people proclaim their connection with their God in public, by saying "Praise God", it's like a code that actually means, "I've got something you don't" or "I am in cahoots with the big guy. I'm protected, I'm safe". It's almost like showing off.
Ridiculous. Thats like saying gays who parade on the streets announcing they are gay are basically 'showing off', basically acting out a code for ''we are something you aren't''. How is it okay for gays to literally parade expressing what they think. But its offensive when a person of faith simply utters ''praise God'' in a conversation...even with a fellow theist. Absurd.


1. Gay people aren't trying to convince me that I'm "wrong" for not being gay - and they're not trying to change me to make me gay. Having said that, I think there IS an amount of "showing off" in a gay pride parade. But I can EASILY avoid going to a gay-pride parade. I've never been to one.

2. I didn't say that "praise God" was offensive, I said I was uncomfortable being exposed to something I feel is private. I can assure you that I would also be uncomfortable (not offended) at a gay pride parade.

3. I have no problem with what fellow theists say to each other and didn't imply such. I am a strong advocate of the first amendment, including the right to practice one's religion. I just don't want to be involved or have it pushed in my face. But you have every right to say whatever you want.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 10:20 AM
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1. Gay people aren't trying to convince me that I'm "wrong" for not being gay - and they're not trying to change me to make me gay..
and theists are not trying to convince anybody that they are wrong for not believing in God when they utter 'praise God' in public. Its simply an expression of faith. You can CHOOSE to ignore it.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 10:30 AM
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a reply to: sk0rpi0n

These are my feelings and observations. Not something I wish to defend or argue about. I'm sorry if you don't like them.



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