Why believing in god helps me

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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#41  Postby the mouse » Jan 18, 2011 2:26 am

Goldenmane wrote:
Bullshit.

Asking "which one?" is equivalent to "define your terms". "I believe in God" is properly responded to with "What is this god thing you speak of?" or, "define your terms"... or "which one?".


No, it's not. I would assume that someone who asks me "which one" is asking which particular religion I subscribe to, in which my God belongs to, rather than what do I mean by "God". In fact, if that is what you are looking for, then you should start using the question, instead of which one. I understand the question your trying to ask, and that is what is the nature of this God that the poster believes in, but this is not evident in the question "which one?"

Because the word "god", even capitalised, is not defined. It's vague, and essentially meaningless until it is defined.


Meaningless to whom?

Just get two believers talking and see how long it lasts before they start disagreeing about the nature and properties of the thing they both claim to worship.


Here's your problem. Two people can believe in Richard Dawkins, but disagree about his nature, such is he a good father, and a kind man, an intelligent human being, etc..., in the same sense two people can believe in God, and disagree about his nature, such as if God is concerned with affairs of his creature, if he can or does intervene supernaturally, if he loves us or not, or if his nature is revealed in Jesus Christ, etc....
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#42  Postby the mouse » Jan 18, 2011 2:29 am

Bribase wrote:
We can easily verify the existence of powers higher than ourselves. The energies attained within suns, supernovae and close to the event horizons of black holes are many times what the combined abilities of what homo sapiens can achieve at present.


Yes, and using this bit of wisdom, we shall announce that all atheist believe in a higher power.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#43  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 18, 2011 2:30 am

the mouse wrote:
Because the word "god", even capitalised, is not defined. It's vague, and essentially meaningless until it is defined.


Meaningless to whom?


Meaningless as a noun. Nouns are supposed to convey sufficient information for both people to understand the same concept. When talking to believers in gods and God, very rarely do you find that 2 of them share the same ontological descriptions of their shared divine being.

When I say 'Richard Dawkins' you know precisely who I am talking about, even if neither of us know anything about him as a person.
Last edited by Spearthrower on Jan 18, 2011 2:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#44  Postby Peter Brown » Jan 18, 2011 2:30 am

NineOneFour wrote:
the mouse wrote:A number of our newly minted atheist have an unfamiliarity with the word "God".


That's a load of bullshit.

Most atheists I know are more aware of god or gods and holy books than are theists.


Quite true. God is not its name anyway, its a noun that gets a capital G because those that worship it think it needs to be better than the other gods out there. If they worshiped milk, it would be called Milk, but as milk isn't a god it isn't called Milk, and their sky daddy doesn't exist, so god is the correct spelling just like all the other gods out there.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#45  Postby Peter Brown » Jan 18, 2011 2:32 am

the mouse wrote:
Bribase wrote:
We can easily verify the existence of powers higher than ourselves. The energies attained within suns, supernovae and close to the event horizons of black holes are many times what the combined abilities of what homo sapiens can achieve at present.


Yes, and using this bit of wisdom, we shall announce that all atheist believe in a higher power.


you mean the forum mods who move posts in mysterious ways.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#46  Postby Bribase » Jan 18, 2011 2:35 am

the mouse wrote:
Bribase wrote:
We can easily verify the existence of powers higher than ourselves. The energies attained within suns, supernovae and close to the event horizons of black holes are many times what the combined abilities of what homo sapiens can achieve at present.


Yes, and using this bit of wisdom, we shall announce that all atheist believe in a higher power.


Sure! I doubt any nonbeliever here will tell you that they can warp spacetime or fuse helium into heavier elements. Just as well this has nothing to do with a god or gods. Do you have a point or are you simply trolling?
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#47  Postby Skinny Puppy » Jan 18, 2011 2:40 am

Why does this thread and another one in particular remind me of this video game? :think:


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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#48  Postby Goldenmane » Jan 18, 2011 2:42 am

the mouse wrote:
Because the word "god", even capitalised, is not defined. It's vague, and essentially meaningless until it is defined.


Meaningless to whom?


Meaningless for the purposes of rational discourse. It's impossible to have a proper discussion if you don't define your terms.

Look, it's a lot like someone asking "do you believe in karma?"

The only way to respond to which is to try to delineate what the hell they're talking about. Do they mean "karma" as in the sort of wishy-washy "what goes around comes around" insta-karma that many people sort of claim to vaguely believe, and which seems to be nothing more than a general wishfulness? Or do they mean "karma" as in the more specific "how you behave in this incarnation dictates the form of your next incarnation". The two notions are entirely different, and you can't have a meaningful discussion about it without the clarification. (Quite aside from the fact that neither of them is actually the same as the notions espoused by, for example, Gautama - but that's another discussion).

You contest that the OP meant "a higher power", but even that much isn't clear, and is merely a fucking assertion. And it still leaves things undefined and nebulous. What is a "power"? Higher than what? What does it do? None of these things is clear in the functionally vacuous phrase "a higher power". You could be talking about three-phase, for all I know.

Just get two believers talking and see how long it lasts before they start disagreeing about the nature and properties of the thing they both claim to worship.


Here's your problem. Two people can believe in Richard Dawkins, but disagree about his nature, such is he a good father, and a kind man, an intelligent human being, etc..., in the same sense two people can believe in God, and disagree about his nature, such as if God is concerned with affairs of his creature, if he can or does intervene supernaturally, if he loves us or not, or if his nature is revealed in Jesus Christ, etc....


Who the fuck believes in Richard Dawkins? What does that phrase even mean? How does one "believe in" a person?
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#49  Postby the mouse » Jan 18, 2011 2:43 am

Bribase wrote:

Sure! I doubt any nonbeliever here will tell you that they can warp spacetime or fuse helium into heavier elements. Just as well this has nothing to do with a god or gods. Do you have a point or are you simply trolling?


If the point alludes you, we shall just leave it at that.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#50  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 18, 2011 2:46 am

the mouse wrote:
Bribase wrote:

Sure! I doubt any nonbeliever here will tell you that they can warp spacetime or fuse helium into heavier elements. Just as well this has nothing to do with a god or gods. Do you have a point or are you simply trolling?


If the point alludes you, we shall just leave it at that.


/pedant

allude?

to refer casually or indirectly

Are you saying Bribase is that higher power?

/pedant
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#51  Postby the mouse » Jan 18, 2011 2:48 am

Spearthrower wrote:
Are you saying Bribase is that higher power?


yes, since he has a higher post count.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#52  Postby Onyx8 » Jan 18, 2011 3:04 am

the mouse wrote:
Goldenmane wrote: And here we run into the problem of non-rigorous thought.


It has nothing to do with rigorous thought, and all to do with language. A number of our newly minted atheist have an unfamiliarity with the word "God". The poster said that he believes in a higher power that gives him comfort, an atheist who is familiar with the vocabulary should have asked how does this God/Higher power give him comfort, and from such question one would garner more about the nature of this higher power that he believes in.



My bold.

What is this 'newly minted' atheist? Why is it 'our'?
The problem with fantasies is you can't really insist that everyone else believes in yours, the other problem with fantasies is that most believers of fantasies eventually get around to doing exactly that.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#53  Postby Bribase » Jan 18, 2011 3:27 am

the mouse wrote:
Bribase wrote:

Sure! I doubt any nonbeliever here will tell you that they can warp spacetime or fuse helium into heavier elements. Just as well this has nothing to do with a god or gods. Do you have a point or are you simply trolling?


If the point alludes you, we shall just leave it at that.


This is becoming ridiculous, although I did enjoy my brief moment as a deity. :levi:

It has been shown to you that higher power god. Now all you are doing is embarking on a series of obfuscations about "believing in" Richard Dawkins, who at least is an entity that has some qualties that we can readily verify. The mouse, I'm astounded that you can simply assert the existence of something without at least clarifying what the thing you are talking about is. I would assert that the only reason you won't define your god is because you cannot conceive of a definition that is internally consistent.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#54  Postby reisender » Jan 18, 2011 3:39 am

I don't know what it is, but I believe in it :thumbup:
SpeedOfSound wrote:I also held my last puff before I went into a non-smoking Establishment and gleefully exhaled a half a cigarette inside.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#55  Postby Mr.Samsa » Jan 18, 2011 3:54 am

Bribase wrote:Does finding a notion pleasurable or reassuring constitute a reason to determine a notion as true for you?


I don't think it's a matter of what's "true", but simply a matter of believing what makes him feel good. In a sense, it's more like a kind of 'hope', in the same way the parents of a lost child "believing" that they'll find their kids alive doesn't mean that they know or think that the claim is true, but simply that they want it to be because it makes them feel better than the alternative.

I have no problem with people holding this line of reasoning - if they don't think they have logical or scientific reasons for believing in god, then their claims are completely their business and I see no reason to try to change their minds (assuming that their beliefs don't impact on the happiness of others).

Oldskeptic wrote:
A lot of challenges in life can be handled with the right mindset and a belief in god is an example of a mindset which can be of benefit.


You have made a positive statement about benefits concerning a belief in god. We, or at least I am interest in which god/s gives the most comfort, and is/are the best mindset.

You have announced that you are a believer and in this thread you contend that there is a benefit to being a believer. Stop being coy and tell what it is that you believe.


As far as I know, there is no difference between the benefits provided by each specific religion - they all increase lifespan, happiness, number of friends, as well as reducing the rate of depression and other mental disorders. You can find numerous articles on these findings in a number of psychology journals, they're very common. Most notably: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Obviously the main point that these researchers raise is that it's not the case that there is something supernatural going on, it's not like their gods protect them from the bad things in life, but belonging to a religion naturally brings about a number of personality traits that shield us from developing mental disorders (they give us purpose in life, belief in ourselves, etc) and they also provide us with huge social support networks. These are the reasons why the religious live such better lives than the non-religious (on average), so whilst it's true that we can say "Oh but we can get those things without religion!", it seems to be the case that a lot of people can't. Religion is just like a cookie cutter approach to achieving stable mental health.

Whether what they believe is "true" or not is irrelevant.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#56  Postby natselrox » Jan 18, 2011 5:34 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:I don't think it's a matter of what's "true", but simply a matter of believing what makes him feel good. In a sense, it's more like a kind of 'hope', in the same way the parents of a lost child "believing" that they'll find their kids alive doesn't mean that they know or think that the claim is true, but simply that they want it to be because it makes them feel better than the alternative.

I have no problem with people holding this line of reasoning - if they don't think they have logical or scientific reasons for believing in god, then their claims are completely their business and I see no reason to try to change their minds (assuming that their beliefs don't impact on the happiness of others).


I think I agree. Quite a flimsy thread to hang your happiness by but whatever floats your boat I guess.

As far as I know, there is no difference between the benefits provided by each specific religion - they all increase lifespan, happiness, number of friends, as well as reducing the rate of depression and other mental disorders. You can find numerous articles on these findings in a number of psychology journals, they're very common. Most notably: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.


I'm highly sceptical of these claims. Are you claiming that followers of Islam and Buddhism experience the same benefits when other variables are controlled? The religions vary significantly in what they preach and how they expect their followers to behave. In fact, if the religions have anything in common, I think, it's their tendency to instill guilt in the followers, their tendency to teach the followers to ignore the reality and assign external anthropic causes to natural events etc. A pathetic life, I'd say.

And you said, "they all increase lifespan, happiness, number of friends, as well as reducing the rate of depression and other mental disorders"? A fleeting glance at how the religious fuckwits lead their lives tells us that couldn't be farther from reality. The kids inflicting wounds on themselves (Muharram), the Catholic confession box, the Hindu temples and their obscenities all clearly point to the fact that the religious are in fact, most likely to die early, the unhappiest, and the greatest sufferers of mental disorders. Religion, does however, provide a social support network. I'll give you that.

And given how closely you scrutinise the studies in leading scientific journals, I'm a tad disappointed to see you quote the Journal of Religious Psychology or whatever the fuck it's called without a grain of salt. :naughty:

Obviously the main point that these researchers raise is that it's not the case that there is something supernatural going on, it's not like their gods protect them from the bad things in life, but belonging to a religion naturally brings about a number of personality traits that shield us from developing mental disorders (they give us purpose in life, belief in ourselves, etc) and they also provide us with huge social support networks. These are the reasons why the religious live such better lives than the non-religious (on average), so whilst it's true that we can say "Oh but we can get those things without religion!", it seems to be the case that a lot of people can't. Religion is just like a cookie cutter approach to achieving stable mental health.


Explains why the most troubled regions of the world invariably turn out to be the most religious. From Bible Belt to Pakistan, religion is the source of all evil.

Whether what they believe is "true" or not is irrelevant.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#57  Postby epepke » Jan 18, 2011 5:45 am

fastonez wrote:I'm not saying that you should believe in god, but for me, it helps me a lot in certain situations where I need to be strong. A lot of challenges in life can be handled with the right mindset and a belief in god is an example of a mindset which can be of benefit.

I wondered if other theists here (where are you?) could relate to that.


I'm not a theist, at all. Perhaps uncharacteristically, though, I respect that.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#58  Postby Mr.Samsa » Jan 18, 2011 5:49 am

natselrox wrote:I think I agree. Quite a flimsy thread to hang your happiness by but whatever floats your boat I guess.


Indeed, I'd prefer unhappiness yet consistency and a better grasp of reality, but I'm not going to force people to view things my way when they're happy and harmless.

natselrox wrote:
As far as I know, there is no difference between the benefits provided by each specific religion - they all increase lifespan, happiness, number of friends, as well as reducing the rate of depression and other mental disorders. You can find numerous articles on these findings in a number of psychology journals, they're very common. Most notably: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.


I'm highly sceptical of these claims. Are you claiming that followers of Islam and Buddhism experience the same benefits when other variables are controlled? The religions vary significantly in what they preach and how they expect their followers to behave. In fact, if the religions have anything in common, I think, it's their tendency to instill guilt in the followers, their tendency to teach the followers to ignore the reality and assign external anthropic causes to natural events etc. A pathetic life, I'd say.

And you said, "they all increase lifespan, happiness, number of friends, as well as reducing the rate of depression and other mental disorders"? A fleeting glance at how the religious fuckwits lead their lives tells us that couldn't be farther from reality. The kids inflicting wounds on themselves (Muharram), the Catholic confession box, the Hindu temples and their obscenities all clearly point to the fact that the religious are in fact, most likely to die early, the unhappiest, and the greatest sufferers of mental disorders. Religion, does however, provide a social support network. I'll give you that.


My claim about all religions having similar effects was a bit of guess, I imagine as you move towards the "atheistic" religions where it's more about being spiritual rather than congregating with others like you, there might be less of an effect. All major religions though consistency score higher in these important life variables, it's a weird phenomenon that has received a lot of attention in psychology. Obviously this doesn't mean that every single religious person is happier than the happiest non-religious person, as there are of course very messed up and very unhappy religious people, and of course there are atheists who are on cloud nine, but the point is that in all major studies the religious come off superior.

The reason for this is your last line: Religion provides a support network. The biggest and single most important protection against developing a mental disorder is having a strong social support network. Religion provides this. The same applies to a lot of the other issues, like life expectancy (since you have people to take care of you when you're sick, etc).

natselrox wrote:And given how closely you scrutinise the studies in leading scientific journals, I'm a tad disappointed to see you quote the Journal of Religious Psychology or whatever the fuck it's called without a grain of salt. :naughty:


:lol: Don't worry, it's a high ranking peer reviewed journal, it's published by the American Psychological Association (the governing body behind practically all of psychology). It might have one or two articles that shouldn't have made it past peer review, but all journals do. Lazar has had a couple of articles printed in it.

natselrox wrote:Explains why the most troubled regions of the world invariably turn out to be the most religious. From Bible Belt to Pakistan, religion is the source of all evil.


Fair point. The studies I allude to above are concerned with individual health. As far as "societal health" is concerned, I'm pretty sure that you're right about their being negative impacts of being overly religious.
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#59  Postby natselrox » Jan 18, 2011 6:38 am

Fair enough. :cheers:

I am so biased against religion! I should stop now. :lol:
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Re: Why believing in god helps me

#60  Postby Sciwoman » Jan 18, 2011 6:45 am

epepke wrote:
fastonez wrote:I'm not saying that you should believe in god, but for me, it helps me a lot in certain situations where I need to be strong. A lot of challenges in life can be handled with the right mindset and a belief in god is an example of a mindset which can be of benefit.

I wondered if other theists here (where are you?) could relate to that.


I'm not a theist, at all. Perhaps uncharacteristically, though, I respect that.

Yep, whatever gets you through the day. As long as it's not causing him or anyone else harm, I'm glad fastonez has found something that helps him. However, I have found that I am a stronger and happier person who is much better able to handle the ups and downs of life since I became an atheist.
Religion is not the answer-it is the problem. Everything considered, we would be better off without it.~Baubles of Blasphemy~Edwin F. Kagin
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