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Author Topic: What if we're wrong?  (Read 29494 times)
Wanderer894
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« Reply #60: November 06, 2008, 03:11:14 pm »

It's one of those questions that always gets asked by people trying to convert - what if you're wrong.

This isn't an attempt to convert, just a thought-game.  Take a good long look at your religious beliefs - and ask.

What if you're wrong?  What would change?  What wouldn't change?  Can you accept the doubt, or is doubt the enemy?

Mmkay, two ways to answer:

1) If there was no god at all - well OK, I wasted part of my life, no reason I can't make up for it with the years I have left.  I don't see any reason why this should lead me to not try and be a decent person anymore.  I think if it was proven no gods exist, it might even be a good thing for some.  Get them to actually take responsibility and BE good people instead of using god as an excuse.

2) I can only hope the fundie Christians aren't right, if only because it means so many wonderful people were duped and are now roasting forever.  I'm not sure about what I would do if it turned out a different religion had it right, would probably depend on which one it is.  Still wouldn't stop me from trying to be a good person, although maybe what would define "good" would change.

Really, if I had to choose, I'd rather there be no god than a god like the ones Fundies worship.  I think partly why I'm fairly comfy with the idea of there being no god at all is because I've gone from being in deep to kind of swimming near the surface regarding religion.  Meaning, there's some importance to it, but it is not my life and I can't let it be my life.  Another reason might be my fascination with the idea of alternate realities - if there's at least one out there with no god in charge, who's to say ours isn't the same? 

Also, talking with atheists has shown me that morals don't have to come from religion.  They can just as easily be taught with logic, and heck, they make even more sense that way than just "because so-and-so said this and that makes it true."  I guess in general, it's life itself that has made me open to the possibility of there being no god/s.
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« Reply #61: November 06, 2008, 07:52:31 pm »

I would venture to suggest that if we're talking about a Jewish perspective here, the New Testament isn't really relevant.

Jesus wasn't a Christian.  So his Jewish perspective is quite relevant.
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« Reply #62: November 06, 2008, 08:08:59 pm »

Only if you insist on reading the Bible through a particular interpretive lens with no understanding of the genres and conventions of the couple thousand years over which the Hebrew Bible was written. It also sounds like you're reading a small section of it and generalizing to all of it.

You're basically doing the same thing as someone who reads Harry Potter and thinks its a literal description of modern witchcraft -- totally refusing to recognize the genre and purpose of the story, and relating it to certain preconceived notions that please you.

What makes you think I have no understanding of the genres and conventions?  The Pentateuch reached a final form somewhere between 600-200 bce.  The wording hasn't changed much to this date.  And the book of Exodus has all kinds of Yahweh induced massacres and nastiness.

And remember, this thread is about being proven wrong.  If I'm proven wrong by the Jewish Messiah returning, then the writings about Yahweh aren't stories and cultural propaganda.  They're true, so what you read in the earliest writings - closest to when all the action was supposed to have happened - not latter commentaries and redactions - are probably what's closer to the actual truth of things.
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« Reply #63: November 06, 2008, 08:10:16 pm »

I would also add that the Bible is not the only text important to, and considered sacred by Judaism.  Thus, it doesn't make sense to decide the nature of the Jewish God based solely on the Hebrew Bible.

Sperran

No, we would want to use the oldest material available.  That is probably what is closest to what the people actually believed about their god.
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« Reply #64: November 06, 2008, 08:15:54 pm »

Number one, I agree with Koi's response, number two, I'd like to add:

You know, if we're going to play this game, I'm gonna have to point out that a lot of the old pagan gods were a bit smite happy too. That's just the making of a good story. What's different between the Hebrew Bible and the Roman and Greek Myths for example? I mean, come on. If I read the myths literally I'd have to worry about being raped by a swan. If that sounds ignorant and silly, it's probably because I'm generalizing one sentence of a myth out of context. You just can't pick up components of a religious text and extrapolate them out to characterize a people's faith and the nature of their deity.

True, but it's not one line.  It's whole chapters.  Plus, Yahweh was only one god.  At least other pagans had gods who loved and had families and actually offered salvation and compassion and love - to anyone who worshipped.  Not Yahweh. 
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« Reply #65: November 06, 2008, 08:51:39 pm »

At least other pagans had gods who loved and had families and actually offered salvation and compassion and love - to anyone who worshipped.  Not Yahweh.

Don't you think that salvation is really a Christian concept?

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« Reply #66: November 06, 2008, 09:12:36 pm »

Don't you think that salvation is really a Christian concept?

Sperran

What do you mean by salvation?  Salvation from what?  Sin or death?  Isis and the Eleusian Mystery religions apparently offered a less gloomy afterlife.
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« Reply #67: November 06, 2008, 10:51:08 pm »

What do you mean by salvation?  Salvation from what?  Sin or death?  Isis and the Eleusian Mystery religions apparently offered a less gloomy afterlife.

Salvation is usually tied up with the idea of sin and Hell.  To be saved, you must have something from which you are saved.

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« Reply #68: November 06, 2008, 10:59:59 pm »

Salvation is usually tied up with the idea of sin and Hell.  To be saved, you must have something from which you are saved.

Sperran

True, but apparently salvation from this mortal coil is an older idea that one would think.  In a few pagan religions, the afterlife wasn't a better life than this one.  How could it be?  You were dead.  You didn't rejoin the universe, you didn't walk with the gods.  You were mortal and you went to a mortal afterlife.  You had fought hard in life to keep from being dead, so obviously death was something to avoid.  Odysseus' Hades was dark and gloomy, people flitting around like bats, fresh blood the only thing that would revive them, however temporarily.  The Roman afterlife was better, but only great people and heroes got to the Elysian Fields were the grass was always green and the sun shone.  Some of the mystery religions and gods like Isis and Dionysus offered a happier afterlife.  So that's what kind of salvation they were offering.  Salvation from a not so great afterlife.
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« Reply #69: November 07, 2008, 12:02:45 am »

So that's what kind of salvation they were offering.  Salvation from a not so great afterlife.

While I see your point, I think the term is pretty bound up with Christianity.

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« Reply #70: December 15, 2008, 10:21:38 am »

It's one of those questions that always gets asked by people trying to convert - what if you're wrong.

This isn't an attempt to convert, just a thought-game.  Take a good long look at your religious beliefs - and ask.

What if you're wrong?  What would change?  What wouldn't change?  Can you accept the doubt, or is doubt the enemy?


If I am wrong and something terrible would happen to me because I am wrong, then naturally I would want to avoid that. And because I came from a religious background that taught that, I am sometimes very afraid of that. 

So why, then, did I not just stay with my original religion? Quite frankly, I found it depressing. The way I understood it, I was supposed to spend my life in a guilt trip and live a life that felt wrong to me so I could avoid a bad afterlife for one I didn't think was much better. Women were seen as inferior to men. I wasn't supposed to stand up for myself when people bullied me in school because I was supposed to turn the other cheek. And there was just something off about a lot of the people who followed it. (I mean no offense to anyone, because I realize not everyone views that particular religion that way. But that was how I felt growing up.)

If I am wrong, I would rather not find out until right before I die. Because if I am wrong, at least I was happy. At least I didn't spend my life with concepts I found extremely depressing. At least I enjoyed my life, because for all I know, it could be the only one I've ever had or ever will have.

Naturally, I hope I'm right.  I do not want to base my life on wishful thinking. But I hope that if I am wrong, that whatever is right is at least something I don't find incredibly depressing.

But if I am wrong, at least I learned something.
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« Reply #71: December 15, 2008, 01:05:34 pm »

So, next?  What if you're wrong?

If I were wrong then I'd admit it and adjust my life, as I did eventually. But it can be a shock. It took me a while to realize where my errors were and then rectify them.

When I think on my own personal evolution, I see that in order to know my "errors" I had to leave them behind, to pass through another threshold and enter into another, basically the same, yet different way of tackling those beliefs. The strange thing about it all is that I felt I was being guided, as it were, towards this change. Now I see had much to do with Karma, for my relationship with my husband and coming to live in France has a great deal to do with finshing up previous karmic acts; this could also explain why I have a hearing disability, buth that is another story. To complete them, I needed to leave my "former" life and its "errors" and understand that beliefs are a way of life, a personal philosophy, and as such how one lives it and how he practices it, is his/her own personal choice. Religion doesn't have the last word; one either believes in it or one doesn't. After going through culture shock and a long period of self analysis (some call it the "dark night of the soul") I cam to realize through contact with friends and others of like mind right here that my true beliefs were basically pagan. I don't believe I would have had this revelation in my American life, because my associations and friends then weren't anything like they are now; it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for me to meet any pagans in the kind of life I was living back in the U.S. I discovered I was living a mistake and changed my life accordingly, making sure that my children were raised in an openminded environment of religious tolerance; they are free to choose their own beliefs, lifestyles and how they want to live them.

Doubt is not an enemy; it's a thought process. Sometimes it can be very dark, as in the so-called "dark night of the soul," and it can last for years. But it does make one think. The trick is to be able to take the time to analyze the doubt, to surround oneself with those who could help, then take steps to correct the error or wrongdoing. 
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« Reply #72: December 29, 2008, 12:14:50 pm »

If I have reason to believe than part of my belief system is wrong I will change what I believe.  As Buddha told his followers, only believe that which feels right to you.  What is right for you is not static, it changes as you change.  In my opinion, your spiritual beliefs should come from you heart, not your mind.  In the long term, you can't go wrong if you listen to your heart
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« Reply #73: December 29, 2008, 12:23:51 pm »

If I have reason to believe than part of my belief system is wrong I will change what I believe.  As Buddha told his followers, only believe that which feels right to you.  What is right for you is not static, it changes as you change.  In my opinion, your spiritual beliefs should come from you heart, not your mind.  In the long term, you can't go wrong if you listen to your heart

Dreamer27,

Could you please leave the quote code in when replying to a thread?  Thank you!

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« Reply #74: December 29, 2008, 05:33:04 pm »

Dreamer27,

Sorry. I should have read the rules more carefully,  I will leave the code in future entries
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