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A conversation about faith

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posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 01:59 PM
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I am going to try to make this discussion as broad as possible, because I know ATS folks are a very, very diverse group.

I would love to hear different peoples opinions on faith.....what is, what it means to them, where it comes from, what purpose it serves, how did they find it.......

I think that one of the major reasons we are so screwed right now in the USA is our lack of faith in anything.

I will start with a bit about my ideas concerning faith. I think faith is fundamental for a persons sense of well being. I think people who have no faith are walking around very empty and lost. If people do not have at least one thing that they can believe in, they cannot possibly be very happy people...I could be wrong, someone is free to prove me wrong on that statement.

I was raised by a agnostic father, a LDS/baptist/new age mother and my brother was roman catholic. I was never forced to go to church except by my brother who made me sit through mass which I never understood. My mom taught me astrology and the ten commandments. My father taught me logic and evolution, he preached philosophy and science.

I got so many conflicting messages growing up, by the time I was 11 I questioned everything. My dad told me to go to the library, study each religion and pick the one that worked best for me. I read them all, none of them seemed rational, they were all contradictory, so I became an atheist. Later I found paganism and I enjoyed that and choose it as my religion, but I still lacked faith. I did not know if there was something larger that existed whether I called it Allah, Buddha, mother goddess, or Jesus Christ...

However, eventually there came a point in time, when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was something.....something that was very very real.....not in the physical sense of real, but spiritually very real. I found faith in a higher power, you could say.

That was my experience, I would like to hear from others, whatever their religious background, or even if they are not religious, I would like to hear what they have faith in whether it is faith in themselves, their friends, their families, their pets, star wars.....any and all constructive thoughts are welcomed. All I ask is the religious and non religious people do not mock or make fun of what each other believes in, because this thread is not about what you believe in, only that you do believe in something.




posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 02:11 PM
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reply to post by Mijamija
 


When I grow up, in Sweden.
We all had the Religions classes (Wich I finds odd, that it is no such classes here in USA).
Where we learned about all major religions, one every two weeks or so.

I could not connect with any of those.
Because they all seem a bit out of touch, from reality.

I have inner peace anyway.
I do not need any artificial beliefs, or hope of beeing saved by a God, or Gods.

Some people feel they need something extraordinary observing them.
Something to look forward to when they die.
And a presence that protects them, while they are alive.

I can accept peoples need for that kind of things.
But I have no need for that.
I feel confidence in my self. And the nature around me.



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 02:24 PM
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Though I was raised Christian and moved away from my faith at a very young age, I spent several years genuinely searching for faith elsewhere and learning to have faith in myself, as I felt I could not rationally put faith in something I could not see at the time. My life as an agnostic was very comfortable... I was both confident in myself and lived the way I wanted to. Though most of my moral choices aligned with the bible, my choice to not declare myself as Christian came about more out of personal pride rather than a mistranslation between the scientific and the biblical.

My choice to put faith in God came about not by hitting a rock bottom, but by realizing I was at the top and that this self pride was in a theater of the absurd. I think this is a struggle that any Christian faces, finding the balance between faith in God and having enough faith in self to follow what he teaches as the best way to live. It's quite easy to tip the scales and have more faith in yourself, or more faith in God. The more my Faith is reinforced the more I come to realize that this world is not my own. That being a world in which the morally and spiritually bankrupt people own everything. I also realize that faith in myself has drastically improved under the guise of self control, peace, and patience since I have come to know Him. I'm able to overcome more struggles than anything I could have handled on my own.

Good topic.
edit on 21-11-2011 by DarkKnight21 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 02:28 PM
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Faith by definition is something that is affirmed to be true, without supporting evidence.


Another way to put it is, Faith = Gambling


Gambling like faith, is acting without sufficient information.


When someone like "Jesus" (whether he existed or not) talks about God, he doesnt do this on faith, he does it from a place of understanding, he is not gambling, he is talking in a calculated and precise manner.


You will find that acting in faith is not "acting on faith" at all, because this person does not understand the underlining principle behind his belief, thus he will not be able to apply the belief in an accurate and effective manner.


You tell an amateur learning a craft that he must "do this and that", he takes it in faith that it is correct, but he is unable to apply these principles. Only when he puts in the time to understand the craft and practise it, will he succesfully be able to apply those principles he had initially belived in as a matter of faith.


edit on 21-11-2011 by Keiju because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 02:29 PM
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reply to post by Mijamija
 





I would love to hear different peoples opinions on faith.....what is, what it means to them, where it comes from, what purpose it serves, how did they find it.......


My faith lies with science. I have faith that science will continue to help me better understand the reality around me. i have faith that science will continue to made new advancement in technology that will better the human life.

I have faith in the notion that the universe has a set of laws that allow it to function, and through sheer determination, humans will eventually uncover and understand these laws.

Not religious, but if I were to say I believe in "god", god for me would be the laws of physics and the universe itself.

And no, I'm not talking about worshiping Einstein for Fayemen, merely the universal truths they happened to uncover.



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 02:32 PM
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reply to post by Mijamija
 


There is a higher power of sorts but it is not separate from you. It is peace , joy and contentment. Hidden in you is the key to unlocking Heaven. It is you, the true you. The true you has been hiding behind the fear and conditioning that has built up to make you what you 'think' you are today.
The picture we have about ourselves colors the world that we inhabit. Thoughts about the world and about myself produce the fear and anxiety and guilt that torture most people.
Can throw away the picture you have about yourself and see yourself directly, know yourself directly, look at yourself and find the true you?
You are what you seek.
edit on 21-11-2011 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 02:33 PM
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Originally posted by Keiju
You tell an amateur learning a craft that he must "do this and that", he takes it in faith that it is correct, but he is unable to apply these principles. Only when he puts in the time to understand the craft and practise it, will he succesfully be able to apply those principles he had initially belived in as a matter of faith.


edit on 21-11-2011 by Keiju because: (no reason given)


Could not have said this better myself. Faith is a gamble, but it certainly pays off with time and experience. The initial leap is the hardest part.



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 02:40 PM
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reply to post by Mijamija
 
Episcopal. My faith provides comfort in uncertain times, provides strength in dangerous situations, provides peace when I need it most.

Faith is a singular, personal expression of trust.

Ever heard of "A leap of faith?" Trust, especally in this day and age, is a rare commodity. To trust someone unknown, unseen based on a belief system requires a need on the individuals part.

And that need, no matter how vague or amorphous it is, is met.

Or else religion would have died a few millenia ago.

Just my two cents.



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 02:59 PM
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I spent 44 years neither believing nor unbelieving.
Then out of the blue I experienced evilness and could start sensing it. In a new manager, in society etc.
I finally attempted a prayer one night, you know one of those "God, if you are there" sort of prayers. I asked Him what this evil was, and I promptly dreamed of Satan within a couple of days.
And I knew the Truth. I knew that God had to show me what the evil was in order for me to turn to Him.
He knew how my brain and heart worked, that I was forever living in a "proof required" analytical world. I cannot explain, but I knew that He sent the dream.

Once I read His Word that nobody could believe in Jesus Christ without God making it happen - flipping the switch so to speak - I knew the truth.
And I know without a shadow of a doubt that He will be returning soon, most likely in my lifetime.

I went from "I have no idea if Jesus existed" to "I have no doubt whatsoever that He died for me" within the span of a few weeks. It's a journey now, full of discovery.



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 03:08 PM
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reply to post by tomten
 


I agree about not needing religion. It is not necessary in my mind to follow such a structured path, but some people need structure more than others, some people blaze their own trails. I do not think it really matters which method people choose, as long as they remain tolerate of those with differing methods.

I spent a long time in Germany and over there you have a choice in school either religion or ethics. I like that because it does teach good values either way. In the USA we are not allowed to teach religion in public school, we have a law where the state is separated from the church, so any organization funded by the state cannot teach religion.

I do strongly think ethics should at least be offered as an elective in the US school system. But that is another topic I guess. Thanks for the input!



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 03:13 PM
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For me I had an internal feeling that there is a 'God' when I was three. Then I began to hear about these religions running about. I then thought to myself, if I was never introduced to these religions is that really important to 'god'? I reflected this concept onto animals which by my empirical studies concluded they don't have a religion. So, then I knew religion could not solve anything. As time progressed, I realized religions only divided humans. Of course the countless wars waged over them that continue to this day persist. Well, except maybe the Buddhist and pagans. They have some good messages, but for the most part people don't practice their preaching. When those people do and you don't entirely agree they immediately cast you out like you're not worthy, but the underlying fact is we all came from the same place. So, I haven't read the Bible, Koran, Torah, or twilight. My own personal 'story' I believe that makes complete sense, at least in my heart, is the emerald tablets of Thoth. Although, it's authenticity has never been proven and some of it is a little out there, I find it's underlying message rings true to me. Also, it's a shorter book. :p



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 03:16 PM
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Originally posted by Mijamija
reply to post by tomten
 

In the USA we are not allowed to teach religion in public school, we have a law where the state is separated from the church, so any organization funded by the state cannot teach religion.

I do strongly think ethics should at least be offered as an elective in the US school system. But that is another topic I guess. Thanks for the input!


Well..
The US Constitution, also claims that all have Freedom of Religion.
So, that in my mind. Schools should teach about all religions that exists, so the kids knows what is out there.

Sweden also have the Church separated from State.
But that does not stop us from teaching the kids what's availible.

Anyway, this is a good thread.
And I believe there will be lots of good stuff to read here, by tomorrow morning..



edit on 2011-11-21 by tomten because: spell correction



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 03:26 PM
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reply to post by Keiju
 


So would you say that faith is more than just believing in something, it is a understanding? I also like the comparison you drew about taking something on faith versus having faith in something, that is important because when a lot of people discuss faith they think it might be naive to have faith in something, especially something that cannot be seen like god for example, but that is where people have to go beyond the physical world and enter into a spiritual world, some people can do this more easily than others.

My dad loved facts, math, logic, physical things.....he never ruled out a intelligent guiding principle organizing the universe but he was not down with the dude on the cloud. He lacked a lot in a spiritual sense. My dad never had much faith in anything that I knew of, and I think often how that colored his rather pessimistic outlook on life.

Thanks for responding!



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 03:36 PM
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reply to post by phishyblankwaters
 


Yes, I agree, my concept of god is based off science. I believe science is the physical way of explaining god, religion is the creative or symbolic way of explaining god. When I was little and everything was so confusing to me, I would look at the sun and know the trees only bore fruit because of the sun and the rain and the earth. I only existed because I could eat the fruit of the tree, drink the water, everything was due to the earth, the sun, the trees and grass....that is why I liked paganism, it was practical to worship and honor the things that allowed me to live, but as I got older another level of understanding developed in me....I looked past the trees and sun and began looking at supernovas and atoms and DNA and I saw gods work in those things as well.

Thanks for adding your thoughts I appreciate the science view it adds another level to the discussion!



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 03:37 PM
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reply to post by Mijamija
 



I would love to hear different peoples opinions on faith.....what is, what it means to them, where it comes from, what purpose it serves, how did they find it.......


What it is ----- To me what faith is, is to make the choice to beleive in something that cannot be "proven" definitavely, this is similar to courage/bravery in the sense that bravery is doing what you need to even when you feel scared about doing it, so it resembles faith because it's a choice, and because one may feel it is something they must do despite current situations.

What it means to me ----- IMHO faith doesn't "technically" mean anything specific; i.e: there is no inherent meaning built into what faith is(on some level its the same all across the board.) but the meaning of faith is specific to the individual, and to me it means many different things.

Where it comes from ------ I think that faith comes mainly from the choice you make to want to have faith, but what leads to make that choice is the "prospect" of any sort of meaningless existence. IMHO, because capturing the essence of existence is extremely impractical at the least, we must make a choice in what we beleive, because there is not enough time in the world to figure that out(at least in this lifetime)

What purpose does it serve? ------- For me faith is what i need to pull myself up from the edge. That creative spark in your mind that allows you to show yourself the possibility that something more could be out there, and if you so choose to beleive in whatever it is your imagining, than you can draw on a very, very large amount of spiritual, mental, and even sometimes physical strength. It is the light within the darkness, and the flame in the night. It is what helps guide me, alot of the time

How I found faith -------- Through a series of intensly personal mental experiences, that in my own opinion, showed me the most desirable and fulfilling meaning for myself. This is not my faith, but it is what lead me to beleive in what i do, and ANY beleif IS faith. That's why the call it faith........because you have to beleive, you cannot know.

Hope you enjoy, good post



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 03:47 PM
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reply to post by Itisnowagain
 


Yes, I agree that fear and conditioning keep people from seeing themselves as they truly are. I think man created god in his own image, just as much as god created man in his own image, we are a reflection of our god and god is a reflection of who we are.

That goes back to microcosm/macrocosim or as the ceremonial magicians say " as above so below"

I see the terrible things happening in the world and know it is a reflection of us as humans, that is enough to make a lot of people have zero faith in god or humanity, but then I see people doing amazingly wonderful things which is also a expression of god in my mind and my faith in humanity is renewed.

Thanks for the post, I can't believe this tread has not died on me, I guess I should have more faith in ATS people that actually want discussion without verbal bloodshed



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 03:59 PM
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reply to post by beezzer
 


You mention trust and I think that is important to discuss, because it is very hard for many people to trust, they have been hurt, they have been rejected, neglected, a thousand terrible things have happened to people no wonder if is hard for them to put there trust in something. People have stopped getting married for this same reason. Many people say they trust others, but they do not fully trust them...many people can't even trust their own families, so how can they really trust in anything be it themselves, god, the church, friends, significant others....it is terrible and I think it is this lack of trust that is ruining our society.

I do not blame people who do not trust, they have usually very good reasons, they have been stabbed in the back and let down so much, it is no wonder they feel like they do, but I worry about what kind of impact that has on society when no one has trust or faith in anything, our societal foundations are so corrupted and they just keep disolving, it is almost becoming primitive again, dog eat dog, every man out for himself...everyone is hyper alert waiting for someone is screw him over. It is so sad.



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 04:25 PM
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reply to post by WhoKnows100
 


Isn't that amazing how things can happen so suddenly like that? My experience was similar, and it too was not really pleasant. But I am happy that it happened the way it did, or else I think I'd still be lost in a sense. I wandered for many years before I found a home spiritually speaking.

I think that belief is a powerful thing and somethings that people put their faith in can be dangerous, like when we put our faith in the our stock broker and he swindles us, or we put our faith in a plastic surgeon who screws up our nose job, or when we put our faith in a preacher that takes our granny's life savings, or we put our faith in a wife to be faithful in marriage and she turns out to be the towns bicycle......

But overall I still think most people are willing to put their trust in something and take that risk, because belief drives people in such a way.



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by Mijamija
 


For me, faith is not mine to work out. Faith is something God works out in me daily. We are all being walked in this life to a certain degree. My evidence for this is the following: Prophecy is a primary reason to believe in destiny. Natural laws counter my actions like a mirror. I can steal from life, but a debt is created. I can give in life and reward is bestowed. Apart from natural laws, I can really only think and reflect on what is happening as I walk through a set reality. The one thing that I can do apart from set laws is create something form nothing. I can write a book or compose a symphony. Creation is the one freedom we posses.

Faith must come first before salvation. Most people believe that works lead to salvation in religion. Not true. Faith comes before we initiate change. We must have faith that an action will cause change. The secret in faith is to know where to place faith. Faith is tightly paired with suffering and reward.

When a person seals from life, a debt is created. The faith was placed in the reward and suffering follows. This can be seen easily with a simple example. Get drunk and suffering follows the reward that was taken. Smoke and get cancer. All rewards that are not earned end in suffering. Where we place our faith and trust determines the suffering.

Flip this to the correct faith and we see that suffering leads to reward. If we put forth the faith to earn a college degree, this faith leads to the suffering of work toward a goal. The faith in this case is aimed at the suffering first. Suffering always leads to reward. Suffer a car payment and get transportation. Faith that is placed in suffering for others brings about the greatest rewards. Take care of your family and you see the fruit of your efforts when you are old. Your family will love and take care of you in return when you are no longer able to work.

The question is not about faith so much as where that faith is placed. Have faith in your desires and suffering will follow. Place faith in God and you will suffer greatly. The difference is this: Suffering for God is suffering for the reward of a job well done and the benefits that extend to those who do work for their reward.

I wrote an article about this on my blog if anyone is interested. Here's a quote.

"For instance, you may assume that birds fly, but I assume they are flown. You possibly assume that fish swim, but I say they are swum. As I reflect on my own choices in life, I see that God is continually there pointing me in the correct direction. I think I am walking. In reality, I am being walked. I think that I have a choice. In reality, I only choose how easy or difficult the path will be as I follow God’s lead. My only act of free will is the choice to believe God is capable of leading."

Related post on faith HERE.


edit on 21-11-2011 by SuperiorEd because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 21 2011 @ 04:37 PM
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I was raised in the Christian Faith. Do I believe? Yes. Some of what I believe is old school, along with my faith.
That includes morals, respect, honesty. and trust. I live that way and expect no less from those around me.

It is somewhat teachable, but more inherent from what I have witnessed over the years.I know it is easy to discern within other people what is right and wrong, good and bad, upon meeting people. Anymore, I avoid new contacts and have become more introverted. Lack of Faith in others..yes, lack of Faith to allow myself to exude myself.
I look more towards people's actions anymore to formulate an opinion.




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