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The Heaven Lottery and Faith in Man

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posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 10:57 PM
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The teachings of Christianity attribute a lottery system to heaven - where God gives out passes to heaven based on lottery numbers. Here's how:

Take a single man who has decided there is more to this life than what we see and has decided to seek out religion. It is the nature of religion and faith that no proof exists to prove any claims over any other. Therefore, his choice of religion is based on no more certainty than his choice of lottery numbers that he plays every week.

Except that if he loses this lottery, he's not out a couple of dollars - he's faced with eternal suffering. Christianity makes a big song and dance out of our personal responsibility, but how responsible can we be made when the choice we are given is essentially a guess? Responsibility is borne out of knowledge, knowledge is borne out of facts, facts contradict faith.

Now, faith in God is one thing, but religion is faith in man. Here's why:

All religion is founded by men. Whether or not you believe any or all of these men were inspired by God is moot, they remain men. And all of these men claim to be inspired by God, otherwise they wouldn't be the origins of a religion. Therefore, to be religious is not to put faith in God, but rather to put faith in the men who claim to be inspired by God.

Now sure, this may be twisted to say that it is to put faith that God has allowed his message to be spread - but when you boil it down, if you are claiming one religion to be right over other that are wrong, your faith lies with the men at the beginning of your chosen religion over the men at the beginning of other religions - not with God.

Thoughts?




posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 11:27 PM
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Me to God: "Hi, well, can I get into Heaven?"
God: "Sorry, I have this thing about foreskins. They just annoy me. Dunno why. The Jews were right on that one."
Me: "Bugger." Goes to suffer eternal flames because my parents didn't believe in circumcision.

[edit on 6-3-2007 by emjoi]



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 01:29 AM
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Originally posted by TheStev
All religion is founded by men. Whether or not you believe any or all of these men were inspired by God is moot, they remain men. Thoughts?


Interesting point...people believe so strongly in what was passed down to them.

God the all powerful, all knowing, he is everywhere and everything... - more true than they know, but not how they think or know, because the way evangelical christians look at them, and try to convince you of who 'god' is, you would think that this 'god' would bother to speak to you and me. oops, hasn't done that.

They argue, "but he speaks through nature, etc." Again, true, but they dont understand it.

What is it they dont get...here we go.

God is everywhere and everything, speaking through nature...this is all 'new age' we are god. (Which is true, we are the body of Christ who was God, or in Judaism the body of Adam - of which the 'head' remained above.) So all creation is 'God manifest'...so you dont pray to any aspect, per say, of creation.

But the way the evangelical Christians define 'god'...no, it/he does not exist.
If so, then it would have talked to any number of us with an audible voice, etc.
No, their God is like the one the prophet mocked in the OT..."where is your 'god' is he deaf?", etc.


Peace

dAlen



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 10:05 AM
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Originally posted by emjoi
Me to God: "Hi, well, can I get into Heaven?"
God: "Sorry, I have this thing about foreskins. They just annoy me. Dunno why. The Jews were right on that one."
Me: "Bugger." Goes to suffer eternal flames because my parents didn't believe in circumcision.
[edit on 6-3-2007 by emjoi]

Whahaaaa....
very cute.

I believe that the some religions may have been corrupted by those who seek to take advantage of others.

It is indeed difficult to see through any lies or deception (governments, religions, businesses, girlfriends, pets
...etc. etc.), questioning is the only freedom one has of finding the truth behind anything when possible.

It is the dream of every dictator to have followers who follow blindly, people who question, are a dictators nightmare.



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 10:31 AM
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Therefore, to be religious is not to put faith in God, but rather to put faith in the men who claim to be inspired by God.


That's not an entirely true statement. Not for me, at least.

I began seeking out God on my own terms, to see for myself, regardless of what any man, including Jesus, had to say about it. "Religion" was never a thing that was pushed on me. I came have faith in God FIRST; then the more I read the words of Jesus (I'm talking about the "red letters") the more I thought, "that's a guy who's talking about the same God I have faith in."


I believe that the some religions may have been corrupted by those who seek to take advantage of others.


That is an ENTIRELY true statement.




posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 04:07 PM
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I think in your general discussion you need to clarify more carefully what exactly you mean by "religion" and "proof", these two terms are very loaded culturally and philosophically.


Originally posted by TheStev
The teachings of Christianity attribute a lottery system to heaven - where God gives out passes to heaven based on lottery numbers. Here's how:

Take a single man who has decided there is more to this life than what we see and has decided to seek out religion. It is the nature of religion and faith that no proof exists to prove any claims over any other.


You need to define the nature of proof and religion as stated above. Are we talking about mathematical proof? Scientific? Philosophical? Legal? There are many ways one can speak of seeking proof of something. One could examine, for example, testimony from mystics that claim experience of a god. One would need to adjudicate their claims against other factors naturally.


Therefore, his choice of religion is based on no more certainty than his choice of lottery numbers that he plays every week.


"Certainty" is another very loaded term. What would that mean in this context? Couldn't someone develop a means of evaluating religions that left one with more certainty than the basic random decision to play a lottery number? I'm not arguing the religious certainty in this sense is sound, I'm just arguing it's not necessarily identical to lottery playing.


Except that if he loses this lottery, he's not out a couple of dollars - he's faced with eternal suffering. Christianity makes a big song and dance out of our personal responsibility, but how responsible can we be made when the choice we are given is essentially a guess?


Why would it be a mere guess? There are forms of reasoning such as abduction, sometimes called inference to the best explanation, where one takes multiple sources of "evidence" and produces a composite where by it points to a likely conclusion. It's not deductive the way we would prove a geometric theorem, but it certainly isn't mere guessing.


Responsibility is borne out of knowledge, knowledge is borne out of facts, facts contradict faith.


Wow, more terms to define. "Responsibility", "fact", "knowledge". If I claim I know my wife loves me, what fact do I point to? Is it a behavior or standard of conduct? Are those facts?


Now, faith in God is one thing, but religion is faith in man. Here's why:

All religion is founded by men. Whether or not you believe any or all of these men were inspired by God is moot, they remain men. And all of these men claim to be inspired by God, otherwise they wouldn't be the origins of a religion. Therefore, to be religious is not to put faith in God, but rather to put faith in the men who claim to be inspired by God.

Now sure, this may be twisted to say that it is to put faith that God has allowed his message to be spread - but when you boil it down, if you are claiming one religion to be right over other that are wrong, your faith lies with the men at the beginning of your chosen religion over the men at the beginning of other religions - not with God.

Thoughts?


I'm running out of characters, but not all religions even claim to be inspired by a divine being. Buddhism is a good example of this.

I'm not trying to defend religion. I'm a philosopher by training. However, I do think it's important we be clear about what we mean when engaged in these discussions. This a rich topic to explore methodically.



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 05:00 PM
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eyes2see - At some point, though, you have put faith in the men who claim to have written down what Jesus said. Even if you were around when Jesus was, you would be putting faith in a man. Even if you saw miracles, this is not proof of divinity and you would be putting your faith in that man. As it stands, though, there are many men between when Jesus allegedly spoke those words and when you read them - this is the faith in man that is required to accept any religious doctrine.

'Defining one's terms' can quite easily turn into a semantic argument I find, but nonetheless I'm more than happy to define my terms.

Religion: any spiritual organisation which hands down pre-written doctrine to its members.

Proof: irrefutable evidence

Responsibility: I'm not sure that this really needs defining. Perhaps you could suggest some of the different meanings you see for this term and I will try to tell you which one best fits my meaning.

Fact: a claim supported by proof (see above)

Knowledge: awareness of a fact (see above)

I think that's best and simplest explanation for my terms. To address your specific points:


One could examine, for example, testimony from mystics that claim experience of a god. One would need to adjudicate their claims against other factors naturally.

One certainly could examine those claims, but balanced against the hundreds of thousands of other claims of divine experiences, they hold no more or less weight. Therefore, all of these claims needed to be adjusted against the other claims made by others and with all of these adjustments we essential end up back at the zero point.


Couldn't someone develop a means of evaluating religions that left one with more certainty than the basic random decision to play a lottery number?

If one could, wouldn't the other religions become obsolete? If someone could determine which religion was correct with any degree of certainty, then the other religions would cease to be viable. My understand is that faith is necessitated by most if not all religions.


There are forms of reasoning such as abduction, sometimes called inference to the best explanation, where one takes multiple sources of "evidence" and produces a composite where by it points to a likely conclusion.

But the only 'evidence' we have for any of these claims is word of mouth. And so any determination of what is more likely hangs on how much weight you put on any individual's claims. That is in no way a reasonable determination to make. Particularly if your 'multiple sources of evidence' are all tied up in the same belief structure and doctrine. For example, you wouldn't consider the claims of the apostles as multiple sources of evidence for the claims of Christianity.


If I claim I know my wife loves me, what fact do I point to?

If you claim to know that, then you are in error. You don't know that. I'm not saying your wife doesn't love you, I'm sure she does. But you have no proof of that. You have plenty of evidence, and you have faith that she does, but you don't 'know'.

And faith in man, to me, doesn't hinge on any kind of divine being. Any time an organisation has a structured doctrine which they hand down to members, those members are required to put faith in the men handing these doctrines down - as well as every man between and including the original man who wrote the doctrine. Faith is required to accept that these claims are true. Sure, buddhism may not claim that faith in God is required to believe and accept the claims - but nonetheless, faith in man is still required.

[edit on 7-3-2007 by TheStev]



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 05:21 PM
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People should just believe in God but not in a religion. And by believing in God then believing in him not as a figure of man but as a creator whatever he should look like i think there is no need for religion. God did not put us on this earth to understand the way the place works this is what we have to work out for ourselves. Each and every one of us on our deathbed will realise exactly what lessons we learned here on earth and this will enlighten us further on a journey of education/understanding/enlighment.

God is probably sat wherever he is looking down thinking "Look at you all trying to work this out" and is probably having a good laugh at us all.

I believe there is no such place where you suffer eternally (Not that god controls anyway) isnt this world full of enough suffering for you????

We should be on a mission to love, accept, forgive etc if we could all do this on this planet there would be no need for a religion just the fact there is a creator/god and we are all following the same path of enlightment should be enough to banish racism, war, etc

God is the life of the good and religion is the bowel of evil we are immersed in.

Accept god for what he is and feel him within you not what you read in some old books and he will accept you.

Just a little rant from a very non religious person here


But a believer in God

[edit on 7-3-2007 by thesaint]



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 05:42 PM
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From my point of view, the whole heaven/hell idea is primitive and illogical.

The way I see it, free will is an illusion anyway.

Genes, upbringing, culture, external influences, etc. affect who we are. Do we really have a choice in how we turn out? I don't think so.

Personally I believe we're all of the same spirit, essence, consciousness... whatever you want to call it. The only thing that makes us different are our experiences. Try to look at this world from outside the concept of time. It's a story that's already written and we're just characters in the story playing our part. Having some of us go to heaven or hell is just ridiculous in that it's not at all fair.

Ask a Christian this: Who has the better chance of going to Heaven? Someone born into a Christian family, or someone born into a Satanic family.



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 05:55 PM
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Many a man has had faith that their wife loves him, then discovered otherwise.
Divorce is quite a common thing.



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 06:45 PM
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Originally posted by TheStev

Religion: any spiritual organisation which hands down pre-written doctrine to its members.

Proof: irrefutable evidence

Responsibility: I'm not sure that this really needs defining. Perhaps you could suggest some of the different meanings you see for this term and I will try to tell you which one best fits my meaning.

Fact: a claim supported by proof (see above)

Knowledge: awareness of a fact (see above)


Asking one to clarify terms isn't necessarily asking to debate semantics. When you make an argument using terms that have thousands of years of religious and philosophical thought behind them, it is necessary to clarify what you mean by them, since your reader doesn't necessarily understand the terms the way you do.

Unfortunately your clarification needs more clarifying.

In your definition of "religion" what does spiritual mean? What would it mean for a doctrine to be "pre-written"? I am especially unclear of that last term. Would a person such as Jesus or Buddha, who never wrote down anything, be considered a founder of religion? Or would their followers be the founders? If that latter is the case, are the sort of speeches and acts engaged in by Jesus or Buddha religious?

Looking at your various definitions, your use of knowledge in your post reduces to "awareness of a claim supported by irrefutable evidence." Can you give an example of knowledge that fits this definition? I am especially worried about the condition of "irrefutable evidence." An aggressive skeptic can undermine almost any claim to knowledge. For instance, "I am currently staring at my computer monitor, watching letters move from left to right as a type." Would this be knowledge in your understanding? I could be deluded into seeing my monitor, or dreaming it.

I don't mean to punt on the responsibility question, but this article on the internet encyclopedia of philosophy summarizes the issues better than I can:

www.iep.utm.edu...

Again, I don't mean to be argumentative, I'm just trying to fully understand your position.



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 07:21 PM
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Oh certainly not - and I believe the clarification of terms is necessary. I just think given the nature of semantics it's easy for the discussion to become about the terms and not about the subject.

I would define spiritual as anything pertaining to a world beyond that which we can observe. To expand on that, basically anything outside of the fields which science covers. Quantum physics starts to get a bit tricky, so I'll leave that out of science for now. It's a tricky term though and I'm not really sure how to define it.

In terms of pre-written doctrines I am considering the situation from my own personal view. I think the term 'doctrine' itself sums up what I'm trying to say, I just use 'pre-written' because I believe doctrine can be used to describe any set of beliefs - I'm referring to a set of beliefs that has been decided on and agreed upon and delivered 'as-is'.

Personally, I wouldn't consider Jesus or Buddha to be founders of religions - rather the people who compiled the teachings of those people into a set of structured beliefs and who then hand those beliefs out to other as 'the way it is'. But I don't really see the relevance in terms of who is considered the found of religions. The point is that these organisations hand out doctrine today. I am thinking from my own perspective, not from the perspective of someone living in the days of Jesus or Buddha. But no, I don't believe the speeches engaged in by Jesus and Buddha are to be considered religious. For me, they were spiritual. For me, religion is defined by the structuring of doctrine and belief. But again, I don't think this is essential to the point I am making.

Look, I agree with your point that there is technically no such thing as irrefutable evidence, but it's an argument that gets us nowhere. I would say the sky being blue is an example of knowledge. Sure, determining a colour depends on visual perception and all perception is subjective, but this is an unproductive way of thinking. Not untrue, just unproductive.

Your example, I think, is a little flawed. An example of knowledge would not be 'I am currently staring at my computer screen', the knowledge would be 'there are currently letters moving across my computer screen'. The fact that you are staring at your computer screen is certainly knowledge, but I don't think it's the part you were addressing. In terms of the letters moving across your screen, yes, you could be deluded or dreaming, but that's easy to test. You can take a video of your computer screen while you type and share it with others. Others will look at the video and either see the same thing, making it knowledge, or will see no letters moving, making you deluded or dreaming.

Now perhaps you might take this down the path of 'what about religious experiences that many people witness' - here I would call in the scientific demand for a repeatable experiment. Mass religious experiences are not repeatable because they depend on an uncontrollable external stimulus. With the video of characters moving across your computer screen - we can show that same video to different people over and over again and will receive the same results.

I read quite a bit of your link, but it seems to be addressing different types of responsibility and not an actual definition of the term. The fact that it uses the word over and over again to me says that it is working from a generally accepted definition of the term. I think the first definition from dictionary.com sums it up:


answerable or accountable, as for something within one's power, control, or management

Source

I hope that's helped clarify things a bit.



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 07:46 PM
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Having a personal religion is putting faith in yourself as well then? Realizing that knowledge and mythology passed down does affect our perceptions is simple honesty from my POV.

It's a very good point about the lottery and "accepting" a religion as putting faith in man.

The purpose of religion to me, has nothing to do with heaven. Is it so bad to have faith in yourself? And to me, it is impossible to deny that MAN does effect our lives, our relationships are undeniable, we learn so much from eachother, faith or no.



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 08:35 PM
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Hmmm...

Whenever I hear that line "I believe because that's what I feel to be true inside", I remember the Halle Bopp kids.

Their whole belief was obviously nuts. Die, and travel to live on the Comet. But they believed in it deeply. They must have because they gave their lives for it.

There are endless other examples of deluded Belief.

"I feel it is True" aint enough for me.



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 08:47 PM
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Originally posted by emjoi"I feel it is True" aint enough for me.

I understand your reasoning, but what other options do we have? As I see it it's either 'I feel it is true', 'Someone else told me it is true', or 'Nothing is true'.



posted on Mar, 7 2007 @ 08:52 PM
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Well the major reason I use phrases like "I FEEL it is true" is because I think that is more correct than saying "That is true" like some people in the post tend to do.

I am just saying, "Hey, this is what I think, it is subjective, it is not fact for anyone, maybe for me." I am NOT saying - "Hey, this is what I think, and what I think is fact."



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