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Is faith a choice?

Posted by elly_nj NJ z6 (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 17:51

I was listening to NPR's Radiolab and came across an intriguing idea expressed by someone on the show. She and her fiancé were having trouble because he stopped believing in God. They were both very devout Christians, and he stopped believing in God.

This threatened their relationship. They tried to work on it.

Something she said was very interesting. She said believing in God is a choice you make.

Since we have many believers and atheists here, I wonder what you think. Me, I don't think my non-belief in God is a "choice." I am interested in what you think.

A request: Can this be done without nastiness? There is no straw man here in my post.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is faith a choice?

I believe it is a choice because I have the free will to accept it or reject it.

It could be as simple as a response to something presented or as complicated as being endowed by the Holy Spirit with the gift of Grace - with the understanding that I am still free to initiate and control what I do (or don't do) with that gift.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Well... to put it bluntly, I wasn't given a choice when I was a child. I was baptized into the Catholic religion without my knowledge or consent... though everyone knows that children cannot give legal consent.

It wasn't until I was older that the concepts I was fed began to ring with an untruth. I chose to stop practicing the religion I had been inducted into... but I really had no choice but to follow what my heart and head told me... that religion and god was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo created by human beings for various, and obvious, reasons.

So, no... for me it's not a choice. My brain... my entire being... tells me that no god can exist. It's not logical or rational. But there is no shortage of persons willing to take advantage of others and their beliefs or choices...

And those are my opinions on the subject.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

This is funny to me, because ime, this idea that faith or non faith are choices is seemingly much more important to believers than to non believers. As an agnostic, I had many, many Christians who seemed to find it very important to emphasize to me that I had chosen not to believe. I am not seeking to be nasty (just playful) when I say this was a point of almost legalistic importance when it was made to me, as if they were arguing in a courtroom for my salvation vs my damnation!

And I guess my answer is, I didn't see then, or see now (as a Christian) why it matters? I mean as a point of personal curiousity, as you seem to be asking, I can understand why it would be a fun philosophical debate, but I feel like I am missing some greater urgency that some groups apparently tie to the answer, be it yes or no. And I'd be interested in understanding that, but it has continued to elude me and those that insisted it was a choice so vehemently never offered up a reason either.

But, in the spirit of satisfying personal curiousity, I would come down casually on the side of yes, it's a choice, merely because I cannot think of any other personal beliefs, theories, opinions etc that I hold that are not choices. So I cannot see how a belief that requires faith could be excluded from my belief that red is prettier than blue, or that chicken is tastier than beef, or what have you, as all being choices too (I assure you no one has ever coerced me to like red most!) even if those are clearly much more mundane matters.

I'd be happy to hear why others feel differently though ... I am amenable to being outwitted on this matter. ;)


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RE: Is faith a choice?

No matter how you slice and dice it, Jodi, your rejection was a choice.

Being baptized into the faith was a "thing" bestowed on us by our parents and for many of us it wasn't exactly an albatross. I can't understand something I don't know. If sometime after the age of reason, a child has some real adult doubts - well it happens. Many of the rest of us got comfortable with being lapsed; perhaps more comfortable with being lapsed than with no longer choosing to believe anything.

I still "accept" a lot of things about my faith. Acceptance doesn't necessarily entail believing it. But acceptance is a voluntary action - it's a taking on of a positive attitude toward something.

Pretty much just my opinion.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I grew up going to church when I was young, was baptized etc. yet I wasn't a believer. When I was faced with what I considered overwhelming evidence, I actually felt that I had no choice but to believe. Of course realistically, being a person of free will, I know I always have a choice to accept or reject the gift that was offered to me.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I don't know if it's a choice to believe or not. However, I do know that I don't know if there is a God or not. So what does that make me? Ignorant or atheist or agnostic?

I don't go to Church but I try to live my life, as most of us do in a giving, loving, morally-upstanding way that makes my mom proud of how I turned out. Unlike my sister who professes to be religious and to believe in God and goes to Church and yet is one of the most unforgiving and unaccepting of other people's foibles that I know.

So, what does one gain or what does the world gain from you if you say you believe in God. I've always wondered and so perhaps that is why I'm not sure if there is a God. Apparently God gave us free-will and so perhaps he then also gave us the free-will to believe or not.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I didn't say I don't believe anything... I said that my heart and head give me no choice but to reject that which seems unnatural and man made to me.

What I believe is that the Universe is comprised of energy, both of a positive and of a negative nature... and there is a sort of balance maintained between the twain... which is why what goes around eventually comes around.

Some call it karma... others have different descriptions...

The truth is... I just don't really know anything beyond this life I live... and when I cease to exist in this world, I'll find out. I don't have all the answers, and as I go through this life, I find that it's not necessary to have them all.

I will continue to enjoy the journey, and let everything else work itself out.

Why should I be afraid of dying or death? It's completely natural. Why should I require some incentive to be a decent human being? Like the threat of hell, or the reward of heaven? And if my sins can be forgiven, where's the incentive to remain decent?

I just don't have a choice but to follow that which my inner being tells me is right and true...

As for religion, I never really understood much of it, or felt any of it, or saw any of it... it seemed quite false to me, and I felt a certain guilt because I couldn't grasp or feel what I was told I was supposed to understand and feel.

It's quite the inveterate thing, organized religion is... and those are my feelings and opinions on it.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

As far as I'm concerned, having faith that there is something greater than any one of us is a choice which feels right to me. If I chose not to believe that, however, I'm not sure I could actually stop believing what I do Therefore, I have no idea.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I don't know where free will came from - some will say from a Higher Power, others will say it's something we've got just by the very nature of our human-ness. Unless defective, one has free will to believe/not believe in any number of things, including a Higher Power. The truth is incidental to many things we might hold.

But we're not discussing truth.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I would suppose its a choice. I believe in the creator but not so much in religion. The bible is a story written by man. The creator created life, then left us to make of it what we will. Simple to me, not so simple to others. I think its a crutch for some believers, I only need a support when my back is bad.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

All very interesting to me.

I meant is believing in God a choice you make? You can choose to go to church. Can you choose to believe in God?

I'm with Elvis and ff, so far. I think.

Interesting what everyone has to say.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 19:54

Have tried several times to come up with the words to explain how I feel on this thread ... never have been good with words like some here.

For me it is just something I believe, can't really point to one moment in time and/or awe inspiring event and it wasn't always there ... or maybe it was and I was not ready.... but (again for me) I just know.


Well that was as clear as mud :)


Elly I meant to add that I attended church for many years without any true "belief", it was actually when I stepped away from the church that I found God. I wasn't exactly looking either, it was something that found me. So I guess my answer would be no, it wasn't a choice.

This post was edited by ohiomom on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 20:00


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Ff & Elvis have each done an excellent post that expresses my opinion as well.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Thanks. Ohiomom. You are good with words and your words were very enlightening to me.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Elly, I am trying to answer your question from a Christian
heart and don't for a second want you to feel like I'm
preaching because that is not my intent.
I hope this explains "choices" to your satisfaction.

The following is an excerpt from my notes during a Sun
class a few years ago. I held onto it because I thought
it explained free will or "choice" so well.
I can't take credit for the [ content ]

[God gives the gift of salvation to those who choose to believe.
Salvation is God's gift but faith itself is our choice.
God inspires faith within us by giving us all the reasons necessary to believe, and in this way he "helps" our "unbelief" , but we ourselves must do the believing. He helps our unbelief but He does not irresistibly force us to believe.
He presents the truth to our minds but we ourselves must yield to the truth and embrace it, we ourselves must choose to believe.
The word "heart" in the Bible is commonly used as a metaphor to refer to a man's will.
Heart is figurative or symbolic for the human will. And the Bible says it is with the heart that men believe. "If thou believest with all thine heart...." (Acts 8:37) and "....believe in thine heart....for with the heart man believeth.". Jesus commanded men not only to repent, but to "repent and believe".
This means that believing is a person's choice just as repenting is a person's choice. A command is a declaration of what you should choose. Telling men to "repent and believe" is nonsense unless repenting and believing is their choice.]

My opinion:
If man's faith was God's choice, instead of man's choice, it would make more sense to ask God to give us faith than to ask man to believe. But you never see anyone in the Bible asking God to give faith to others, but you see lots of examples of men in the Bible telling sinners to believe.
Everyone has faith in something.......we all rely on something to secure and satisfy us.

Faith means turning from whatever you use to trust and trusting Jesus to take its place.
Faith is a choice.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for , the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I believe we are here, as are other entities, because we want to be and have a need to understand mater in the myriad forms we are immersed in. The mysteries of the physical universe are beyond the ability to be contained in our minds, or are they? The mysteries of our minds are only to be filled by our understanding of how other minds and physical matter interact. Life is an adventure way beyond belief in a omnipotent being. Carry on.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Faith is not religion. Faith is spirituality.

What is god?

To me, god exists and is bigger than than all of us both individually and collectively. My definition of god is close to elvis's definition.

Having faith in what I define as "god" is absolutely a choice.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I am an atheist, but do not have a problem with religious folks. Just because I'm not religious doesn't mean that people who practice a formal faith are automatically my adversaries.

I was baptized into the Catholic Church too, but I find it hard to be angry or hold a grudge about that. It was a family tradition, even though no one in my family was particularly religious, and baptism was a big deal for most families back then. It was just one of the many ritual milestones in family traditions.

We (my sister and I) went to religious instruction once a week and to mass just about every Sunday when we were in elementary school. It is what people did. We met a lot of friends and schoolmates there, so it was a pretty mainstream thing to do.

As we hit adolescence we stopped going. Both my sister and I became increasingly skeptical as time went on. Well, we were already pretty skeptical and I questioned an awful lot of doctrine that didn't make sense. No one had any good answers to those questions. I don't take much as an article of faith, either literally or figuratively. :-)

Like most things, religiosity is inherited. So is skepticism.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I think we are hardwired to believe in something. Since time immemorial, all cultures seem to have faith based myths. Faith in something/someone outside of our daily life seems to be an important way to make sense of the world around us, when life is short, brutal and forbidding.

Religious belief offers explanations for what's happening, not only in the natural world, around us, but about the past and the future. Religion offers comfort and brings order to life. Belief seems to be the norm, from the earliest days in our pre-literate world and it seems to be built in to our brains.

IMO, choosing not to believe in the customary gods is the choice we make as we become more aware, more intelligent and less fearful of the world around us. Even those of us who choose not to believe in the traditional gods still look for explanations - but now we have science and medicine and art and literature and music to make sense of the world and bring comfort and joy to us.

The sad side of religious belief and faith is how, as it becomes codified, it becomes a requirement, an obligation, and ultimately a government. We can see that, down through the ages, theocracy, no matter who the gods behind it are, just doesn't work. It makes life short, brutal and forbidding for those who don't adhere to the laws.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Apprehend vs comprehend.
(here apprehended as different than conscious awareness reality testing but that state of mind which is beneath the level of consciousness but is still present)
I can stand in front of a great visual scene & be awe struck by it using some of my senses. Often what is apprehended seems greater, transcendent in these moments.
The experience of the event happens in a moment not in a minute or a second. It is beyond the bounds of time and space & yet I am involved in an event with something completely natural in time & space
My later explanations to myself or while trying to convey it to others maybe couched in superlatives & possibly even supernatural terms in order to bring to life again this moment.
If the event involves great violence other natural defenses may come into play & I may start having dissociation or out of body experiences going along with it (try using ordinary expressions to convey that experience) outside of a psychiatrists office or a rape support group you merely might get strange looks while fumbling about for the words to convey the experience of being outside of the body while violence is being done to it.

I have the ability to comprehend the words of many scholars on their passing on variations of that which was apprehended 2000 years ago.
If i merely pay attention to the death of Theodosius I wonder at what might Christianity be today had his sister Pulchera not arranged that next council which truly married the purposes of Church & empire.
What would it be like today had Athanasius not ordered the suppression of so many then current & earlier texts.

I know a few former clerics now atheists (I find most of them just bitter) a life that was planned & ordered by an organizational formal form of belief suddenly gone, few will ever go near that other part the loss of (what was that uncertain certainty)

The term faith isn't unique but it best applies to Christianity as Moksha would apply to Hinduism.

I presume from experience that Faith is experiential & that people often intertwine their dogma SOLA FIDE, their culture & their terms.
I am a non theists by choice!

I've liked this for years. It's a non biblical lamentation I think of the million if not billions who ever were calling out to end their confusion or at least their suffering to the countless proscribed deities that they worshipped, honored or at least feared.

1. I advanced in life, I attained to the allotted span:
Wherever I turned there was evil, evil--
Oppression is increased, uprightness I see not.
I cried unto god, but he showed not his face.
5. I prayed to my goddess, but she raised not her head.
The seer by his oracle did not discern the future;
Nor did the enchanter with a libation illuminate my case;
I consulted the necromancer, but he opened not my understanding.
The conjurer with his charms did not remove my ban.
10. How deeds are reversed in the world!
I look behind, oppression encloses me
Like one who the sacrifice to god did not bring,
And at meal-time did not invoke the goddess
Did not bow down his face, his offering was not seen;
15. (Like one) in whose mouth prayers and supplications were locked,
(For whom) god's day had ceased, a feast day become rare,
(One who) has thrown down his fire-pan, gone away from their images.
God's fear and veneration has not taught his people
Who invoked not his god when he ate god's food;
20. (Who) abandoned his goddess, and brought not what is prescribed,
(Who) oppresses the weak, forgets his god
Who takes in vain the mighty name of his god; he says, I am like him.
But I myself thought of prayers and supplications--
Prayer was my wisdom, sacrifice, my dignity;
25. The day of honoring the gods was the joy of my heart
The day of following the goddess was my acquisition of wealth
The prayer of the king, that was my delight,
And his music, for my pleasure was its sound.
I gave directions to my land to revere the names of god,
30. To honor the name of the goddess I taught my people.
Reverence for the king I greatly exalted,
And respect for the palace I taught the people;
For I knew that with god these things are in favor.
What is innocent of itself, to god is evil!
35. What in one's heart is contemptible, to one's god is good!
Who can understand the thoughts of the gods in heaven?
The counsel of god is full of destruction; who can understand?
Where may human beings learn the ways of God?
He who lives at evening is dead in the morning;
40. Quickly he is troubled; all at once he is oppressed;
At one moment he sings and plays;
In the twinkling of an eye
he howls like a funeral-mourner.
Like sunshine and clouds their thoughts change;
They are hungry and like a corpse;
45. They are filled and rival their god!
In prosperity they speak of climbing to Heaven
Trouble overtakes them and they speak of going down to Sheol.
(At this point the tablet is broken. We do not know how many lines are wanting before the narrative is resumed on the back of the tablet)


Into my prison my house is turned.
Into the bonds of my flesh are my hands thrown;
Into the fetters of myself my feet have stumbled.
...................................................................... .........................
5. With a whip he has beaten me; there is no protection;
With a staff he has transfixed me; the stench was terrible!
All day long the pursuer pursues me,
In the night watches he lets me breathe not a moment;
Through torture my joints are torn asunder;
10. My limbs are destroyed, loathing covers me;
On my couch I welter like an ox;
I am covered, like a sheep, with my excrement.
My sickness baffled the conjurers,
And the seer left dark my omens.
15. The diviner has not improved the condition of my sickness-
The duration of my illness the seer could not state;
The god helped me not, my hand he took not;
The goddess pitied me not, she came not to my side;
The coffin yawned; they [the heirs] took my possessions;
20. While I was not yet dead, the death wail was ready.
My whole land cried out: "How is he destroyed!"
My enemy heard; his face gladdened;
They brought as good news the glad tidings, his heart rejoiced.
But I knew the time of all my family;
25. When among the protecting spirits their divinity is exalted.
A third tablet is considerably broken but the parts which are legible are as follows:
...................................................................... ....
...........................................................
Let thy hand grasp the javelin
Tabu-utul-Bel, who lives at Nippur,
5. Has sent me to consult thee;
Has laid his...............................upon me.
In life....................................has cast, he has found. [He says]:
"[I lay down] and a dream I beheld;
This is the dream which I saw by night:
10. [He who made woman] and created man
Marduk, has ordained (?) that he be encompassed with sickness (?)."
...................................................................... ..............
15. And............................in whatever............................
He said: "How long will he be in such great affliction and distress?
What is it that he saw in his vision of the night?"
"In the dream Ur-Bau appeared
A mighty hero wearing his crown
20. A conjurer, too, clad in strength,
Marduk indeed sent me;
Unto Shubshi-meshri-Nergal he brought abu[ndance];
In his pure hands he brought ab[undance].
By my guardian-spirit (?) he st[opped] (?) ,"
25. [By] the seer he sent a message:
"A favorable omen I show to my people."
...................................................................... ................
...he quickly finished; the.........was broken
........of my lord, his heart [was satisfied];
30...........................his spirit was appeased
................my lamentation.........................
..................good ................
Reverse Side
.............................................
..............................................
.............................like....................................
He approached (?) and the spell which he had pronounced (?),
5. He sent a storm wind to the horizon;
To the breast of the earth it bore a blast
Into the depth of his ocean the disembodied spirit vanished (?);
Unnumbered spirits he sent back to the under-world.
The................of the hag-demons he sent straight to the mountain.
10. The sea-flood he spread with ice;
The roots of the disease he tore out like a plant.
The horrible slumber that settled on my rest;
Like smoke filled the sky......................
With the woe he had brought, unrepulsed and bitter, he filled the earth like a storm.
15. The unrelieved headache which had overwhelmed the heavens
He took away and sent down on me the evening dew.
My eyelids, which he had veiled with the veil of night
He blew upon with a rushing wind and made clear their sight.
My ears, which were stopped, were deaf as a deaf man's--
20. He removed their deafness and restored their hearing.
My nose, whose nostril had been stopped from my mother's womb--
He eased its deformity so that I could breathe.
My lips, which were closed--he had taken their strength--
He removed their trembling and loosed their bond.
25. My mouth which was closed so that I could not be understood---
He cleansed it like a dish, he healed its disease.
My eyes, which had been attacked so that they rolled together--
He loosed their bond and their balls were set right.
The tongue, which had stiffened so that it could not be raised
30. [He relieved] its thickness, so its words could be understood.
The gullet which was compressed, stopped as with a plug--
He healed its contraction, it worked like a flute.
My spittle which was stopped so that it was not secreted--
He removed its fetter, he opened its lock.
...................................................................... ......

He may have a good whine going but that sounds like a crisis of faith going on there!

Here is a link that might be useful: Fordham mumbo jumbo

This post was edited by labrea on Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 10:13


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I don't hold it against my parents that they baptized me or brought me up within the Catholic faith... how could they know that I wouldn't find it as assuasive or as useful as they did?

I don't hold others' beliefs against them, either. If something makes someone happy, more power to them.

What I am angered about, however, are the obvious negative behaviors within the organization of the Catholic religion, or any religion that behaves within its ranks as poorly, and their obvious lack of attention in purging such things and persons from their ranks... and instead, hiding the criminal behavior. That's what raises my ire. It should raise everyone's ire!

Also, it's just a little bit hypocritical to preach the things preached, and yet do the exact opposite.

Those behaviors, right there, are enough to make me question the institution and think long and critically about the bigger picture.

When added together, the way I felt as a youth and the things I know now have brought me to a place where I realize that none of it is as I was taught, and much of it has been co-opted and twisted by men, and even some women, and without it I'm a much more whole and content individual. Everything needed to live a decent, happy, fulfilled life was inside me all along... I just needed to access it and let it flow...

If other beliefs work for other people, that's a good thing... as long as they allow that everyone will not share their beliefs, and they keep them to themselves... it's all good.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Jodi, you put emphasis on the Catholic church: "within the organization of the Catholic religion, or any religion that behaves".

I want to add to that the same observations, like this one: "their obvious lack of attention in purging such things and persons from their ranks... and instead, hiding the criminal behavior." and this one: " much of it has been co-opted and twisted by men, and even some women", should be made (in a notable manner) regarding other mainstream religions like say, Islam.

I'm certainly not defending the Catholic church; I agree with what you posted, Just want to expand on your points and add some equal-opportunity criticism.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

(((labrea))) Glad you're back!


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Hi Joe, good to see your writing.

"You develop an instant global conciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, 'Look at that, you son of a botch.'"

- Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell

altered last word to post it.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward. every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan

Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself - and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is.
Jim Morrison

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
Albert Einstein

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
Albert Einstein

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
Albert Einstein

After the death of his old friend, Albert Einstein said "Now Besso has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us ... know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

"The influences of the senses," said Ralph Waldo Emerson "has in most men overpowered the mind to the degree that the walls of space and time have come to look solid, real and insurmountable; and to speak with levity of these limits in the world is the sign of insanity."

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. ~Buddha

You would not exist if you did not have something to bring to the table of life.
Herbie Hancock

Kill the snake of desire in the beginning;
or watch out: your snake will become a dragon.
But everyone considers his own snake to be just an ant: if you do, seek knowledge of your real state from one who is a lord of the heart.
Until copper becomes gold, it doesn't know that it's copper: until the heart becomes a king, it doesn't recognize its poverty. Rumi

My Soul gave me good counsel, teaching me to listen to the voices not produced by tongues, nor shouted from throats.
Now...
I sip at silence and listen to its inwardness that chants songs of the eons, reciting praises of the sky, announcing the mysteries of the Unseen.
~Kahlil Gibran

"And So We Say, May It Be So."
~Rumi

Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.

Hafiz

We are
People who need to love, because
Love is the soul's life,

Love is simply creation's greatest joy.

Hafiz

Your love
Should never be offered to the mouth of a
Stranger,
Only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.

Hafiz

"There are things in the Universe billions of years older than either of our races. They are vast, timeless, and if they are aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. We know. We've tried and we've learned that we can either stay out from underfoot or be stepped on. They are a mystery and I am both terrified and reassured to know that there are still wonders in the Universe, that we have not explained everything. Whatever they are, Miss Sakai, they walk near Sigma 957 and they must walk there alone."
Ambassador G'Kar, Mind War, Babylon 5


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RE: Is faith a choice?

This topic could be a two part question. The title "Is Faith a choice"

But the post content and where most seem to be going is "Is accepting God" a choice. I do look at both as the same.

I think everything you do is faith and you have a choice to have faith that the whatever you are considering will be what you believe it is or will be in the end .

I feel faith is as described....confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability. 2. belief that is not based on proof

My choice my life and how I live my life. I do not need nor do I think anything is absolute and everything is proved to you before you believe it will happen.

I go by my gut feelings. It has served me well. If I had to have absolute proof for everything before I would believe or feel it is possible I would not get out of the bed.

Everything you do is faith.

Faith that you will get up tomorrow
Faith that when you plant a seed it will grow.
Faith that the man you marry will make you happy for life
Faith that there is no God
Faith that there is a God

Faith is your belief and is a choice to believe or not.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Well establishing what faith is or isn't would a good place. Some religions & gods require submission, some practice of proscribed rituals & with christianity depending on the sect, some require rituals, certain mandatory attendance, good works, & at least nominal faith proved by recitation of one of the many Creeds, the Catholics have the additional prayer the act of faith which proves you not only accept the catholic church but the whole trinitarian idea of god. You may not have to feel anything or necessarily believe anyhthing as long as you get the words right. That would also be then a case for indoctrination over faith. Has anyone ever noticed that faith along these lines is often geographical?


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RE: Is faith a choice?

"Has anyone ever noticed that faith along these lines is often geographical?"

Well, sure. Of course.

BTW, good to see you, Labrea ;D


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RE: Is faith a choice?

snip- "It was a family tradition, even though no one in my family was particularly religious .... It was just one of the many ritual milestones in family traditions. -snip-
As we hit adolescence we stopped going. ... we were already pretty skeptical and I questioned an awful lot of doctrine that didn't make sense. No one had any good answers to those questions. - "
"

I don't remember any particular sudden epiphany or particular turning point, for myself and siblings, it was just a slow realization of - 'nope'.

"I can stand in front of a great visual scene & be awe struck by it using some of my senses. Often what is apprehended seems greater, transcendent in these moments.
The experience of the event happens in a moment not in a minute or a second. It is beyond the bounds of time and space & yet I am involved in an event with something completely natural in time & space
My later explanations to myself or while trying to convey it to others maybe couched in superlatives & possibly even supernatural terms in order to bring to life again this moment.
"

Which describes why I like to go trout fishing on remote, small, isolated, streams and rivers. A deeply calming, timeless, near transcendental experience and why I live and raise my kids where I do.

As for faith, I tend to define it more in a day-to-day way, as in I continue to have faith that I can make a positive difference in the lives of others that depend on me. And that is a highly conscious motivating choice.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

•Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 9:13

IMO, choosing not to believe in the customary gods is the choice we make as we become more aware, more intelligent and less fearful of the world around us. Even those of us who choose not to believe in the traditional gods still look for explanations - but now we have science and medicine and art and literature and music to make sense of the world and bring comfort and joy to us.
********************************************************************** *
This statement I feel I want to respond to because this
comment as been made before regarding others differences in one's belief in religion and politics.
"as we become more aware, more intelligent and less fearful of the world around us.
How does this apply across the board?
What of the intelligent , fully aware and ones not afraid
to meet the world around one?

"science and medicine and art and literature and music to make sense of the world and bring comfort and joy to us."

These are "things" (which I love....use.......and highly regard) of the world that you can see , touch and feel.
No stretch of faith is demanded for wordly objects.
I personally think it takes a super awareness, intelligence and no fear whatsoever, to trust in faith
of and allow a God , sight unseen to help guide our daily lives.

Intelligent people don't believe .........but then you have
intelligent people who do.
It's choice.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I think faith is a choice for free thinkers, but there are very few free thinkers. Most follow the religion (and often, politics also) of their parents. No doubt any human can think deeply about a subject and arrive at the same conclusion as their parents had, but I don't believe many of us do. Most of us are hard wired to obey authority and accept the beliefs given to us.
We have free choice, but somehow can't access it.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Well, CW, I heartily disagree.

I grew up in a evangelical protestant church. My parents took me, twice on Sunday, once in the middle of the week, but never had to drag me, I enjoyed it, and believed.

But as I got older, better informed, more thoughtful, I came to realize that a cosmic god makes no sense at all, that the exclusiveness of religions is misguided, they are all equal, that praying changes nothing, but is a lazy way to allow circumstances to determine choices. To think that an unseen, and non-existent god is going to guide our life is, to me, the height of folly.

I decided that I am responsible for my choices, for how good or bad I am. I am responsible for my life. It can be hard sometimes, I had to give up things that meant a lot, but it's no less fulfilling than faith in a mythical god.

My children and grandchildren are not burdened with the baggage of religion, so it's easier for them. And yes, if they decide to believe in some faith or other, that's fine with me.

I think you'll find that there really are very few truly intelligent people who do believe any more.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I guess that means the President is not intelligent.
He says he believes.

I find your last remark very egotistical, biased and very
self-serving.
I have found intelligence in many non-believers and believers alike.

I have found ignorance in many non-believers and believers alike.
I think its very biased to say one can only be intelligent if they are a non-believer or the reason ..........is because
they are intelligent.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

From the OP:

"A request: Can this be done without nastiness? There is no straw man here in my post"

Amen to that. ;-)


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RE: Is faith a choice?

No, CW, the President is very intelligent. He made the choice to believe. That indicates that he studied, and questioned, and thought about his decision. Nice try, though.

I find that people who are willing face their doubts, to question their beliefs, are more credible than someone who just goes along without giving it a thought. We all have doubts. Facing them scares most people, and they won't do it, they are afraid of what might happen.

Plenty of people question their religious beliefs and find that the questioning has made them stronger - just off the top of my head, I think of C.S. Lewis and Mother Teresa.

Other people face these doubts and questions and find that they don't hold up to close scrutiny.

That willingness is what, to me, makes them intelligent.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I see stupidity limited no one group. Let's move on.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Elly, I can't speak for other people because Im but only one person, having ownership of only my own thought processes and deductions. I was brought up as a practicing Catholic, was educated in Catholic, English speaking schools if available ( mostly, they were) by parents who deeply believed first in the God as outlined in the book of the bible and then in the specific Catholic religion which they chose to pass along to us. We were the sort of family who had the base or parish priest over for dinner once a week and in many places we lived, my parents became good friends with many of them - a friendship going beyond the respect of having the base priest for dinner into actual good friendship with men who had the title of "Father" before his last name - friends for life.

And yet, I have no faith or any belief in a Supreme Being. None. Not because of some terrible event or lack of an event, though. It began slowly in my early teens when the answers to my questions weren't real answers, no matter how I tried to phrase the questions. That was the beginning of loss of belief, of faith in accepting non answers as being a good enough foundation for acceptance in the Christian God.
I tried to keep that belief for years because it felt better to believe than to not, so I faked believing through a lot of prayer both formal and informal, in order to keep the door open to a return of a belief. I attended church every Sunday without fail and at the end met frequently with a wonderful priest who really tried to help but finally, with great regret, I let it go. Then later let go of the idea that not believing in a supreme being was some sort of personal failing. It wasn't, it wasn't even a choice. If it were a choice I could make, I would choose to believe in the kind and just God I was taught to believe in and that would make my life much easier - living in a world who's vast majority believes in a Supreme Being and in a country who's vast majority which believes that their one and only true God is that upon which all Christianity is based.
But I don't, because I can't.
Anymore than I can ever believe that the arithmetic of 2+2 alone can ever have any other answer but 4 - even if my very child's life depended upon believing that the answer was actually 5, I am unable to have a belief in any Supreme Being and more specifically, the God as outlined in the book called the bible. I have no issue with those who do, I just personally don't.

If someday an idea is presented to me that would make sense for an explanation of a supreme being, Id certainly accept it for as long as it continued to have logic based sense in any questions I might have. There would be no point in the to rejection of the idea.

However, I every confidence that I will never, ever believe in the God as outlined by anything written anywhere in the bible. For me, that non belief is not an issue anymore than it is any longer a choice.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

P.S.
Its wonderful to have you with us again Joe.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I was baptized at age three months and enrolled in cradle call at age one year. I'm sure I got a lot out of Sunday School at that age. It didn't help we lived across the street from the church till I was 12. I went to SS and church every Sunday of my life, and Luther league on Wednesday night. I taught bible school and my mother even had me teaching Sunday School. I was thoroughly indoctrinated, and then left the house of my parents never to attend church again. Oh, I had the kids baptized mainly to stop my parents nagging.

When I went to college and studied many different religions in sociology, I just questioned why Christianity is the ONE. I don't know what I am, maybe not an atheist, more an agnostic. My kids never attended Sunday school and church and as adults they don't either. Daughter and family belong to the Lutheran church but don't attend except on our annual Xmas eve pilgrimage. Both kids had church weddings.

The more I see in the behavior of some so called Christians, the less likely I ever will call myself one.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I am not set on believing choice or no choice, but I'll tell you this. My son wanted me to think he belived and so would read a bible someone gave him. I wasn't even the one who gave it to him. I didn't have my own in the house. It was in storage and I just look(ed) online when I wanted to read something. Because I wanted him to make his choice all on his own. Matthew 6:5 was goind on here. That is, it was a conscience effort not to influence. What's the point of him pretending? Or being forced?

I wasn't trying to hide it, but I wasn't really discussing it with him, and I couldn't attend a church from the time he was very small until about four years ago. I either had to rest or work. Remodeling a house while working a very difficult more than full time job, and attending university, makes for very little personal time. So not hidden, but not shown either. Neutral. He decided to consider things more on his own after reading.

He's in a deeper relationship than any adult I know. To the point of, he's asked to lead the prayer a couple of places we go. They're always on target and creep down into my personal space, and he couldn't have know because I didn't tell anyone what was in my heart. Not even admitted it to God. That boy is like a little bolt of lightning! He actually didn't tell me he had "pretended" at any point until many years later. What's funny is, I never once saw him pick up that bible; his pretending had no effect on me. I gave him a bible once he'd begged to attend church, did so on a continual basis, asked so many quesitons, and was so dedicated it could no longer be denied.

But do some sublimate and pretend to make people happy? Yes, I think those people exist. But I also think there are some that absolutely know. Do I think they're "chosen". Nope. I cannot see anyone who truly wishes to be in a sincere relationship with Him being denied. If you choose Him, surely He chooses you right back?! Right? That is the opposite of being chosen as used in past connotations.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Elvis, I place emphasis on the Catholic church mainly because they stand out... and quite publicly... as one of the biggest offenders when it comes to religious hypocrisy within our country.

I'm sure you, yourself, have read many articles about the pedophilia, the countless victims of such abuses, and the church's handling of these crimes... not to mention the wealth hoarded by said organization that could so wonderfully ease the suffering of so many... and of how the Vatican, which amounts to a small sovereign "nation" with certain immunity, has kept quite a few crimes and the criminals perpetrating those crimes as secret, hidden and protected... and/or from being tried, convicted, and punished.

In this country, the USA, it's the Catholic religion that is most talked about in the respect of what's wrong with such large religious organizations...

I can't really speak to too many other religious organizations as I'm not all that familiar with their texts... such as the Koran and the Muslim religion... or how how far they stray from their own writings into hypocrisy... though I do condemn the violence I read about in world news, and the too often female or lgbt victims of that, or of any other religious organizations. From what I understand, the Muslim faith is as peace loving as other religions, and holds to many similar tenets.

Joe, it's wonderful to have you among our ranks, again... I do hope the many others that left under mysterious and/or puzzling circumstances will also soon return.

And now, back to the previously scheduled program... is faith a choice?

I think it probably more on point to ask: is religious faith a choice? Or, is faith in a deity a choice? And I actually think there could be both yes and no answers to those questions, neither of which would be wrong answers. I think it depends upon a person's individual view of gods and/or religions, and their experiences in life... as a start.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

My mom was raised in a Roman Catholic household and grew up resenting the religion. When she had my sister and I, she left it up to us as to what we wanted to believe in. We were taught about ALL religions equally and the choice was ours. So for us, it most definitely was a choice. A couple of posters have touched on this, but my decision was based on the fact that, since ALL religions claim that theirs is the one true god, best case scenario is that all but one of them is wrong. Since that is the foundation of the religion, if they are wrong about that, chances are they're wrong about other stuff too, so my decision was to reject all religions.

I struggled for a long time during my teenage years because, even though that was my decision and I was very comfortable with that, I always had the feeling that there was something bigger than myself. So even though I'm not a religious person, I am a spiritual person.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 11:25

No. For me faith (or not) doesn't seem to have been a choice.

I found out about god and all that at school from the other kids. At the time I found it all very interesting from an intellectual point of view and still do. But, to me it was a cultural thing, something other families believed or did.... part of their traditions but not mine. I've read quite a bit and when young actively sought "belief", "faith".... never took.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

"...but my decision was based on the fact that, since ALL religions claim that theirs is the one true god, best case scenario is that all but one of them is wrong. Since that is the foundation of the religion, if they are wrong about that, chances are they're wrong about other stuff too, so my decision was to reject all religions."

Thank you, Steph... this is something I have mentioned a time or two... or three or four... but really haven't received much useful feedback on.

I will say one thing about religion, though... once a particular religion is implanted and fed, it's very difficult to undo, to untie all the ropes that bind one to such thought patterns. There's a sort of guilt that one must push past... and it's not an easy feat.

One second guesses and constantly thinks, "but, what if?"... which is pretty much what agnosticism is, or it's a part of being agnostic...

I definitely think there's something much bigger than our world, than our Universe... but I refuse to name it or place a restriction on it... because I simply do not know.

I do not have those answers to the bigger questions... but it's okay. There's nothing I know of that says I MUST have those answers.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Mylab123: Thank-you for outlining your thought process about choice. It helped answer some questions that I had about reconciling the change from belief to non-belief and how it can definitely be a choice.

Many people do question the religious book of their faith and find that the answers they receive are enough to continue their choice to believe and others do not. People should question.

I too wonder how many people continue to pretend to believe when in fact they no longer do. Does it become habit or is it an expectation or is it a desire to not disappoint? I would think pretending could create unhappiness.

stephf: That is also something I have wondered and you have articulated it very well for me. I remember studying religions in about grade 7 and having my eyes opened about the fact that boy - I thought everyone was Anglican. Turns out they aren't.

I started to question what makes my church so sure that their God was the only one worth celebrating and every one else's was wrong. I wanted to believe that everyone's God was equal and good and forgiving. My 13 year-old brain was particularly taken with the Hindu gods and specifically Vishnu and following that year of study I chose to give up religion.That is when I decided that Sunday School and Church were no longer for me.

Thanks elly nj for asking this question. It has made me think.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Marketing & salesmanship, sword or cookie or combo.
When it comes down to creeds & formulas it's all just a Parker brother version for me & the psychological games of the one or 10 things you must not do or say or must do or say in order to be worthy in he she or it's eyes.
Lately I've been fond of the New Apostolic Reformation crew & what they pedal particularly Cyndi Jacobs and her purported ability to multiply food and raise from the dead.
Now that is living in the age pf miracles if true but alas this crew anointed Rick Perry and claimed him to be THE ONE


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Stephf:
my decision was based on the fact that, since ALL religions claim that theirs is the one true god, best case scenario is that all but one of them is wrong. Since that is the foundation of the religion, if they are wrong about that, chances are they're wrong about other stuff too, so my decision was to reject all religions.
**********************************************************************
Was it Muhammad Ali who said, "Rivers, ponds, lakes
and streams. They have different names but all contain
water. Religions have different names, but all contain truth." I agree.

Religions basically seem to be varients of a theme to me.
Ideas and concepts are slightly wrong and contradictory.
I was taught it was the devil who invented different
schools of religion to divide people not God.

With just a bit of selective acceptance of religious
teachings, these would probably be considered mostly,
as all telling different parts of the same story.

They are at least of a common descent when you think about it.

I have enjoyed reading this thread....thank you elly for starting it.
We all love having choices and being able to make the choice
that is right for us whether it be choosing a mate,
choosing a car or choosing to have children.
Thats what I love about faith and religion. It is by choice.

I respect a person's right in any decision one
makes because we each live that choice right or wrong
and that is called free will.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

At least most current religions don't demand direct sacrifice of children. Some of them still exert or attempt to exert their primacy through attempted manipulation of politicians baptized into their "game: rules. That was an intended slight.
I'll ask that question again of the faithful the Thomas Gospel only contains the sayings & words of Jesus no miracles no resurrection would that have been enough?


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Unless one is a child or a coerced adult, (in a cult,) how can faith not be a choice? Part of the basis of all religions is that we have free will and from birth are not controlled by a puppet master. And who says every religion believes in only "their" god? Millions, perhaps billions of us believe there is one God, who appears and is seen in different ways. I feel as if one must apologize on this board if one follows a religion, though you'd never hear that from me. I also hear a lot of deep resentment from those who don't care to separate their childhood "church" from personal belief. As a Catholic, I abhor the sins and crimes of those responsible for the terror of abuse, and the Curia which is hoarding vast fortunes and would like to see the guilty parties imprisoned. But I will not allow that to dictate whether I believe in God or not. I give very little money to my church and find much beauty in the Mass. I live in an area where there are few practicing (don't like that word,) people and it is renewing for me to go to Mass. As I have mentioned before, until the last few years I never realized there was such a conservative brand of Catholicism, supposedly on the East Coast and in Minnesota. The actions of these Catholics are VERY different from the actions of Catholics I have know/know on the West coast.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 16:37

Actually sjerin only "Christians" have to apologize on this board, we are fair game .... bashing of other religions is not allowed and great offense is taken. Why it has been mentioned that Islam is a peaceful religion ... guess the Shiites and Sunnis did not get the memo.

Notice the "two step" moves after it was stated that intelligent people don't believe in God until the president was mentioned, and that it was dosey doe to my partner ... oh my that is not what I said.

Uh huh

The OP is not about religion but whether you believe in "God", but lets not let the opportunity to stomp on Christians go to waste.

I have yet to see a single Christian on this board defend the abuses of priests.

Nice try Elly, but it was never going to work....


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Sjerin, I don't know that Catholics in Minnesota are particularly conservative. As anywhere, the hierarchy, a few Monsignors, and a scattering of priests are a bit unwavering, but parishioners tend to take the expedient route. It's that free will rearing its head.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Ohiomom great post and points.

I find it curious that there are people that say they do not believe in God and dismiss those that do as not as intelligent or being gullible are the ones that spend the most time disparaging this non existent God and believers.

Religions are just that--religions. Not God. I like the water analogy

We are all God and the product of God in my viiew

Details do not matter to me.

To answer Elly's question--I have faith because it is my nature.

Do I doubt sometimes? Yes

Do I know there is a God more than I know anything else sometimes?
Absolutely

I would have this faith if I never heard of the Bible or entered a church

My faith is based entirely on personal interaction with God


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RE: Is faith a choice?

It has been an interesting read. I am sure a lot of us could spend a lot of money on a psychiatrist couch to understand the reason(s) why.

The good thing is "choice".....I think as long as you are comfortable with your choice I see no reason for anyone to say who should or should not believe.

It is your choice.

If your choice makes you happy and it has served you well there should be no issues.

If I have to keep asking why someone believes, and convince me to believe there are still questions running around inside. I do not question, I am happy with my choice and that is all that should matters.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Never would I have thought religion could have been discussed on this forum without any bad vibes (other
than the one remark about intelligent people don't believe).
I had said in the past I would not discuss faith or religion
on this forum because I didn't think it could be done.

I think I was proven wrong.

I have found this thread to be enlightning and have been able to understand reasons why some non-believers ended with a non-belief.

Over-all Elly I think you ended up with alot of remarkable
thoughts from alot of remarkable people (in their own way).

Demi, I love that you said this. It is so true that we as
Christians sometimes have doubts. The best part is
even during the doubting moment the door is not closed.
My mother use to say, "the door is not closed darlin,
you just have a screen over the entrance, you can still
see inside".

Demi:
[[Do I doubt sometimes? Yes
Do I know there is a God more than I know anything else sometimes?
Absolutely

I would have this faith if I never heard of the Bible or entered a church
My faith is based entirely on personal interaction with God]]


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Jodi: "Elvis, I place emphasis on the Catholic church mainly because they stand out... and quite publicly... as one of the biggest offenders when it comes to religious hypocrisy within our country."

Jodi, I am, of course, not defending the horrendous crimes perpetrated by some respresentaives of the Catholic church. But! Your statement about the Church seemed like an unnecessary attack to me, even if you didn't mean it to be so. I simply felt that pointing out that that particular sect of "religion" shouldn't be singled out (yet again) as an example of what is "wrong" with religion. That's all.

It was also dangerously inciteful, if we are to respect
Elly's plea for peace on this thread. On a thread dedicated to pedophile priests, fair enough. I don't mean to offend, you either, right?


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I'm guessing you didn't get any further into my post than you wanted to, Elvis...

You'll note, toward the bottom of the post in question, I state: "And now, back to the previously scheduled program... is faith a choice?" After which I continue with the discussion.

How could you possibly get "an unnecessary attack" or "dangerously inciteful"... (which isn't a word, just as a footnote) out of my post? I was simply responding to your post further above, in which you called me by name and said: "Jodi, you put emphasis on the Catholic church: "within the organization of the Catholic religion, or any religion that behaves..."."

If you don't WANT me to respond to you, explaining what I mean within a post in further depth, I would be more than happy to oblige.

I had thought that the whole purpose of a message board was to respond in kind to the opinions or facts posted by others, and when I see my name mentioned, I make it a point to address that person, explaining in detail what I'm trying to say, or answering a question they may have... just in case they are under some impression that is not correct. But, truly, if you would prefer not to have me call you by name and explain anything, I am perfectly willing to hit the ignore button.

It would be remiss of me to exclude the reasons I find faith to be out of reach for myself, or as I explained earlier, not a choice for me. And since I was raised within the Catholic religion, it's the one I know best.

I suppose some of us comprehend the written word differently... but I am taking your admonitions for what they are.

So sorry for the completely unnecessary interruptions, Elly... please, carry on...


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Here you go:
"inciteful Definition of inciteful
adjective
(of words, actions, etc.) offering incitement."

As opposed to "insightful".

______

Yes, Jodi, I did address you; and I'm glad to have you do the same. And yes, I did read your whole post (the first time, and several times after that, all the way through).

Good enough, I hope?


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RE: Is faith a choice?

1. "It would be remiss of me to exclude the reasons I find faith to be out of reach for myself, or as I explained earlier, not a choice for me. And since I was raised within the Catholic religion, it's the one I know best."

2. "I definitely think there's something much bigger than our world, than our Universe... but I refuse to name it or place a restriction on it... because I simply do not know.

I do not have those answers to the bigger questions... but it's okay. There's nothing I know of that says I MUST have those answers."

Jodik, based on these statements ....you do have faith. And I think that's what many in this thread have described for themself. Faith is not religion. The name assigned to the larger power is irrelevant but for many of us, the name is/has been a block based on life's earlier experiences.

Gardening brought many of us to this site. I've never encountered a gardener who didn't have faith.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

jmc I believe that the context of this thread is "religious: faith.

Elly please feel free to correct me if I am wrong in that assumption.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

From my earlier life as an English major and teacher, there is no faith without doubt. Otherwise it wouldn't really be faith, which I understand, is supposed to test the subject.

Faith = faith in God's presence.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Do I know there is a God more than I know anything else sometimes?
Absolutely

demi is very right. Some days, this all I know and all that gets me through. He keeps me close when no one and nothing else does, when it is all crashing down. This world! I wish everyone could feel that kind of peace.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 9:12

"I wish everyone could feel that kind of peace."

I really don't care what kind of peace people find in their lives or how and where they find it.... just that they do find it.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Me too kwoods. Me too. Too many people don't know peace. However they can get it is great. I merely meant it's the how I found peace. Totaly cool if you get it by ploaying with kids, or watching the sunset, or whatever floats your boat. Peace to you in your way!

:)


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RE: Is faith a choice?

"I've never encountered a gardener who didn't have faith."
As an aside, I thought this was beautiful JMC.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 9:28

Gotcha Robin, I made no assumption otherwise just wanted to stick my heathen two cents in.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

No, I don't have faith as the word applies to this discussion.

I said, "I think..." which is quite far from having any faith, unless an opinion is suddenly given to the same definition as faith.

For all I know, we were created from a race of aliens far out in another galaxy, maybe as a means to salvage genetic material... or perhaps as an experiment. Or perhaps alien DNA was spliced into our early evolutionary process... who really knows? Or maybe we did begin as a single celled organism that made its way out of the primordial ooze. Who can really be sure?

Since I lack those answers to the bigger questions of why and how in the subjects of life and death, I've decided not to sweat it... death and decomposition are quite natural to the cycle of life that feeds everything on this planet, and since nothing walks away without dying, what have I to fear?

I'm more interested in the journey of here and now, and I imagine I will find more answers when I expire and leave this body within this plane and move on to whatever it is that's next... if there is something next.

The only thing I have faith in is that one day, I will cease to exist in human form. And until such time, I can't imagine restricting myself to any belief system or organization thereof, for the purpose of allaying any fears I might have or convincing myself that the answers given by such things are the only answers. The truth is... no one really knows... no one really has all the answers.

Science has made some very interesting leaps and bounds in exploring our past, in exploring what's beyond our planet in space... but even science continually changes and expands as new theories are tested.

Faith, as it pertains to this discussion is ever elusive to me... not that I require anything more than I already have.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

The truth is... no one really knows...

In this context of Faith you cannot say "no one really knows" You can only speak for yourself. Because it is a personal choice of what you feel you know and cannot blanket statement that "no one" really knows.

Just as you find comfort in your choice of not knowing another can have the same comfort of feeling they do know.

The truth can only be you do not know. Which is good because it is your choice.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Too often to many, Faith is simply a lack of logical thinking. Those people are ones that NEED a faith in order to carry on their lives from day to day.

Others have decided that the chance for a worthwhile life is on their own shoulders and not those of another "Being"

One group never outlived the need for a Mommy or Daddy guiled life. Call it Faith or Whatever.....they need and want it. We should give thanks that Faith is there for them to use. I can't imagine what they would do withhout a belief that sustains them throughout life.

I consider myself to be one of those that uses a logical way of thought. Therefore, I do not have Faith. However, I do think that there is some sort of Ultimate Force that guides the over all Universe. God? I have no idea, nor does it matter.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

There are many logical thinkers of great faith - one being St. Augustine who came to his intellectual certainty by realizing the wrongheaded will of his youth: "For it was no iron chain imposed by anyone else that fettered me, but the iron of my own will.”

Logical thinking and faith are not mutually exclusive.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

During the time of the great thinkers, like St. Augustine, it was easier to have Faith in a Supreme Being. There was so much about the universe that they didn't know.

Now, we know that the earth isn't flat, the sun doesn't revolve around us, there are Zillions of other universes that we may never know anything more about. It seems as if the more we find out, the more it becomes obvious that there is more to this life than just US.

I think it may be harder and harder to accept the world and its strangeness than it was back in the olden times when the Church led the way in just about everything, including thought.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 12:36

Agnespuffin, I do think that Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama is one of our modern great thinkers/philosophers.

It would be interesting to know whether a modern religious figure could cause "disruption" to society/culture in the same way that scientific discovery and technology has recently.... or whether one ever will again. It's an interesting idea.

Maybe we are just in a fallow period of religious thought?

Edited because I think Agnes brings up some interesting stuff including this...

"There was so much about the universe that they didn't know."

What we don't know, even today, is infinite. So, maybe it isn't that we are so smart.... just that we aren't smart enough to know what it is we don't know?

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.” ~Einstein

This post was edited by kwoods on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 12:47


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Faith is simply a lack of logical thinking

Purely for curiosity/discussion's sake: When one is the most dire of straits, and logic tells you it cannot be done, is it not faith that gets one through? Like Aron Ralston (movie 127 hours) or many others like him? It's an example. We need not get side tracked on the particulars of this example.

In case you haven't seen the movie or read any accounts, I haven't, so it's all rumor. But here's an snippet from IMDB:
"Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he can be rescued..."

Logic says, how can someone survive a severed limb considering where he was at the time? But he made it. It was more than logic. I think writing off faith so dismissively denies that there is a faith that transcends deities.

Don't you think? It's ok if you say no. But I am interested how logic alone can get one through life? I can't envision that.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I find it curious that there are people that say they do not believe in God and dismiss those that do as not as intelligent or being gullible are the ones that spend the most time disparaging this non existent God and believers.

I do not believe in god, but I do not dismiss those that do. Whatever works for you is fine with me as long as it's not forced on me.

But, I do find it curious too. Because to be fair, there is also a lot of dismissing of atheists on this board. We're told we cannot have morals. We've been told my some they would never vote for an atheist for national office. And, this by someone on this thread that now claims it's ok to believe or not believe.

Which is it? Is it ok to believe or not believe? Or are those that don't believe devoid of morals and not qualified for national office?


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Rob....perhaps we can disagree on what logical thinking is. In your example, you say it's not logical to think it can be done. MY logic says that it is possible with extra effort, and a little luck. But first you can't say, "it can't be done." The first and foremost thing that the logical mind says is "maybe" everything else comes after the first step.

So faith, in God or anything else, has to start with the "Maybe." Then the logical though process begins. Some of us never reach a solution that satisfies ourselves. But it's OUR decision, not something that another person talked us into.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Jill I can answer your question.
I would not vote for a President that is an atheist.
I think anyone can believe whatever they want..........but
its my choice to not vote for him or her..........regarding
that .
Thats not to say I don't think they would be qualified nor that they wouldn't be a good person .
Its my personal feelings and my choice.

This post was edited by citywoman2012 on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 14:28


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Hey Agnes, I appreciate answer--I am more talking about your first paragraph. That part...

So what you're describing, the luck part, isn't necessarily logical. Bleeding to death from losing an entire limb is fully logical (medically), but with luck, he will not die if he decides he will not die. That kind of faith. I'm not saying to believe in a diety or not. I'm saying, everything cannot be attributed to logic. So that is where we can likely find common ground, does that make sense? One may call it faith or one can call it luck, but neither is really all that "logical". Right?

_________
That second paragraph, just doesn't apply to me in any way. I didn't even want to "convince" my son. Promise. It's so personal, it aint even funny. I am not trying to convince you :)


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RE: Is faith a choice?

CW, if you wouldn't vote for an atheist, you obviously think there is something inherently wrong with that. Would you vote for a Muslim? A homosexual? A Hispanic? Even if you agreed with all ideologies and proposed policies?

All those things have nothing to do with performing the job. Being a Christian or a Muslim or an athiest have nothing to do with what goes on in the White House. You're right that it's your choice and in the end you don't have to justify it anyone but yourself. But I truly feel sorry for you. You are passing over a lot of amazing people.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Yes, bleeding to death from loosing a limb is the logical medical result.

BUT, is it logical to try and stop the bleeding by trying the leg off with some clothing, a shoe string and a stick? It could stop it. Just to say that it can't be done is not logical.....I hope you can see the difference.

You could even use a vine, or pinch the artery together. there is no way that we could say that it is impossible. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? No.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Yes, I can see the difference. How about the converse?

Is luck logical?


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RE: Is faith a choice?

"But it's OUR decision, not something that another person talked us into."

If we are inducted into a religion as an infant, as most people are, we have very little choice in which way our early thinking will progress. We're taken to church, sent to catechism or parochial school, made to memorize and recite prayers, taught to give our little allowances to the church in envelopes they provide... and we go through the process of receiving certain sacraments, attending the stations of the cross, and all that... depending upon the religion in question.

It's often only when we become adults, more or less in the legal sense, that we can make up our own minds about what we believe, and what we'll do about it... and either leave the ideas of our parents or families behind, or continue the generational process of indoctrination, church, tithing, and the whole nine yards.

I think parents that give their children a choice in the matter are to be commended. Many do not.

And when you think about it, it's really the perfect set of recruitment tools... according to the church, babies are born with "original sin", so we must baptize them in case something happens... so they won't go to purgatory, or wherever innocent infants go when they die... then begins the process of being taken to church, taught all the prayers, receiving the sacraments, giving 10% of your earnings to that church, etc...

From the cradle to the grave, the church owns you... more or less.

And just for the record, I have no issue with being charitable and giving to those in need. But it's rather obvious that certain churches and religious organizations are not in any such need, and could use a good dose of tithing to the poverty stricken and hungry within the world, themselves.

If I sound a little bit critical of the religion I was brought up in, I think I have every right to feel that way. They have not exactly shown themselves to be paragons of virtue in practicing what they preach. I'm rather angered by the number of victims they've left floundering in their wake...

To have faith in anything could be said to be a choice... but not for everyone. I don't think the question has a concrete answer.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

"I think parents that give their children a choice in the matter are to be commended. "

I wonder what percentage of children whose parents do not bring them up to believe in God end up adopting a belief when adults? I would guess very few and am currently thinking about the reasons for that guess.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 17:30

Christianity: 2.1 billion
Islam: 1.5 billion
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
Hinduism: 900 million
Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
Buddhism: 376 million
primal-indigenous: 300 million
African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
Sikhism: 23 million
Juche: 19 million
Spiritism: 15 million
Judaism: 14 million
Baha'i: 7 million
Jainism: 4.2 million
Shinto: 4 million
Cao Dai: 4 million
Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
Tenrikyo: 2 million
Neo-Paganism: 1 million
Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
Scientology: 500 thousand

These break down into countless subsets, so many to choose from.
So apparently there is a choice involved, even to choose none of the above.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I would not vote for a President that is an atheist.
I think anyone can believe whatever they want..........but
its my choice to not vote for him or her..........regarding
that .
Thats not to say I don't think they would be qualified nor that they wouldn't be a good person .
Its my personal feelings and my choice.

Yes, it's obvious that it's your choice who you vote for. You don't even need a reason. You could walk in the booth and close your eyes and randomly push a button too. But, most use logic when deciding who to vote for. Eliminating someone who is qualified and may promote policies you support because they are an athiest (or Muslim or Buddhist or black or green or purple) is short sighted and illogical, IMO.

This post was edited by jillinnj on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 18:00


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I am a bit liable to conflate various ideas such as 'faith', in a generalised philosophical way of behaving - a belief in something despite either no evidence or even contrary evidence (and I don't want to get tangled with the term 'evidence' either). I am quite dubious about attaching much credibility to 'faith' since it often implies adherence to failed schemes (such as the current 'faith' in neo-liberal economics).
Then there is specific faith, which, in this forum, I take to be read as 'religion' or at least a belief in something numinous, not explainable but somehow greater, more authoritative, all-knowing......a godhead....and I have REAL difficulty with that. Then finally, I guess I am OK to go with the idea of Jesus as a historical figure....but that isn't faith, really so........
As for whether there is any choice in this - I guess the nurture part which defines us as people has a fair part to play and, having been brought up by atheists, I suppose you could say that my feeling of choice, in also being an atheist, is altogether illusory...and not a choice at all.
I dunno Ellie, this is a far cry from general ranting and is hurting my uneducated brain as well as having zero clarity and relevance - going back to loathing Thatcher - a simple hate I can understand, and even articulate.
Not daring to go back and attempt to edit rambling on a subject I usually avoid.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Purely for curiosity/discussion's sake: When one is the most dire of straits, and logic tells you it cannot be done, is it not faith that gets one through?

Uhh, no.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Yes it was curiosity. Please reserve your judgments until you've asked me to clarify.

I will have to say luck is as mystical as anything one can name. Unless you want to suggest sa different way to see it. Which is probably more what I meant. I'm willing to learn why one less tangible thing is more logical than another?


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Purely for curiosity/discussion's sake: When one is the most dire of straits, and logic tells you it cannot be done, is it not fear that gets one through?


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RE: Is faith a choice?

They have not exactly shown themselves to be paragons of virtue in practicing what they preach. I'm rather angered by the number of victims they've left floundering in their wake...

My faith is not based on others and what others do. Faith is not the church. It is a building with each and every sole in that church responsible for their actions. It is obvious the teachings were not followed by all in the Catholic Church. What about the ones that were following the teachings of the church?

From the cradle to the grave, the church owns you... more or less.

My faith has everything to do with me. What I do. How I feel. I am only responsible for my actions. There is no ownership when you are an adult of free will and free thinking. If we are going with rational intelligent adults that can read and make their own decision I do not think I can be owned. Maybe I am to hard headed I was told that a lot growing up.

My training was I am responsible. What I say how I feel and what I do I will be held accountable for those actions. I cannot blame someone else for my actions.

I do not care what religion any political figure claim to have. That is not what will get or not get my vote. I have met some mean as a snake professed Christians that will say anything if it fits their agenda. They sound like they never picked up a bible and read it in their lifetime.

How does that saying go........
Just because you go in the garage does not make you a car. Just because you go to Church does not make you a Christian or a person of faith.

I think those priest that did what they did will get their just deserts so will the garage kept Christians.


 o
RE: Is faith a choice?

"is it not fear that gets one through?"

I say yes, absolutely. Fear CAN get one through; fear can also paralyze. Faith is meaningless to some, some find that faith can set one free.

When I say "faith", I'm not talking about worshipping a deity that has some sort of form. I'm talking about my own interpretation of what many call "God". See early part of thread above.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Wind Up
When I was young and they packed me off to school
and taught me how not to play the game,
I didn't mind if they groomed me for success,
or if they said that I was a fool.
So I left there in the morning
with their God tucked underneath my arm
their half-assed smiles and the book of rules.
So I asked this God a question
and by way of firm reply,
He said - I'm not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.
So to my old headmaster (and to anyone who cares):
before I'm through I'd like to say my prayers
I don't believe you:
you had the whole damn thing all wrong
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.
Well you can excomunicate me on my way to Sunday school
and have all the bishops harmonize these lines
how do you dare tell me that I'm my Father's son
when that was just an accident of Birth.
I'd rather look around me - compose a better song
`cos that's the honest measure of my worth.
In your pomp and all your glory you're a poorer man than me,
as you lick the boots of death born out of fear.
I don't believe you:
you had the whole damn thing all wrong
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.

AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull

Here is a link that might be useful: Jethro Tull - Wind Up


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Ah. Jethro Tull. The Yoda of what faith is or is not (Yoda is wise and powerful in the ways of the Force)


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Is faith a choice?

Certainly, Jesus thought so. From the Gospel of John:

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

You have to choose to believe in God to take the Gospel as Gospel.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

I like your question elly. It's really thought provoking. Is fear what gets me through? I don't think fear gets me through, but it does motivate me to find answers. That part is at the crux of it, I think.

It's good for me to think about it in this way, towards a middle ground. I sometimes just have no idea from where people are coming. Maybe this might help others see from where someone like me would be coming? Hopefully.

We all certainly get our answers and cope in different ways. Humans are funny creatures.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

As someone who does NOT want an unhealthy dose of religion mixed in with our legislation process, I would agree with Jill...

Separation of church and state was even very important to our forefathers, who saw what could happen when the two are heavily mixed together. A Theocratic nation would not be the free nation with all the rights we enjoy now.

I don't understand how the private religious practices of our President would make any difference. I'd be looking at a much greater list of qualifications and weighing those pros and cons, religion being last on the list of things to consider.

Lucky are we that there are three branches of government, created to balance one another... regardless how corrupt they've become. Could you imagine living in a Theocracy, where the religion wasn't your own?

"You have to choose to believe in God to take the Gospel as Gospel."

Precisely, Elly... biblical quotes hold no meaning for those who have no belief in a deity.


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Free will is an illusion.

Hay


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Right, hay, and generated by a consciousness that is itself illusory.

Have you been reading Victor Stenger or something?


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Free will is an illusion.

And from there to "Free markets are an illusion."


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RE: Is faith a choice?

Illusions and allusions are a steady diet on this illusory compendium of whine & cheese!


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RE: Is faith a choice?

So true. It's really great to have you back ;D


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