Should I believe in God?
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Shouldn’t your question be “which definition of God should I believe in?” since the arguments surrounding the word God are so broad?
Even then it would not matter though because, like love, God is subjectively defined by the individual since both are terms referring to states of being (whether personal or universal) which cannot be measured objectively. You either feel love or God to be present and existing in some fashion or you don’t. The thoughts, arguments, beliefs, and ideas surrounding these words are all pretty much bullshit justifications for people to one-up their past selves and each other. Its a big ego game we play with ourselves and each other.
You can’t escape it until you just let go of it. Understand, I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I have no evidence, no arguments, I’m not preaching, only typing words which I find exiting my brain.
Point is, you should not sit around trying to figure out what you should believe. There is nothing you “should” believe, or even do for that matter because, in my opinion, the debate is pointless; and it will be for a very long time, if not forever. I suppose I would be considered an Agnostic Theist, though it matters little to me.
This quote by Kierkegaard says it quite well “If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe.”
@liammcfeely, It is interesting (to me) how my perspective on this has changed over the years. Went from growing up indoctrinated by my parents in a religion and thought there was a god (old pissed of man sitting on a cloud judging us). Then left home to go to school and had my mind expanded a bit and became an atheist…I think partly as a form of rebellion to my parents. Then I read a book by Karen Armstrong which started with the idea that whether you believe or don’t believe in god, you can’t deny the impact that the word ‘god’ and the way that other people’s belief in god impacts your life. I mean most of us are off from work today (Sunday) and that is a biblical/god thing (not to mention so many wars around the world fought over religious beliefs).So then I decided that even if I don’t believe in god as a deity or an old man sitting on a cloud, I can’t deny the impact that the concept of god has in my life. Then my mind expanded some more and I found a lot of peace in my life and I felt an overwhelming force in life that was more Buddhist in philosophy along the lines of the Tao….not God as a judgmental being, but just that the general nature of all things filled me with some sort of spiritualism. So then when people referred to god it made me thinks of the Tao–which isn’t god, but I thought might be a similar passive ‘force’. Then I got into comparative religion and I started to realize that while I was really anti-christian for the dogmatic way it was practiced, that when I squinted through the lines at the new testament and read the gnostic gospels that at it’s fundamental, non-bastardized core, perhaps people like jesus were channeling this tao like force too and I sort of became accepting of people’s belief in god, but thought they were just a little misguided and were missing the zen like nature of things. Then I got into plant medicine (entheogens) and got a chance to see and experience things and started to feel that there was so much more to all of this then we could hardly ever know with our limited senses….and now I just know that I don’t know and I’m Ok with that. I do not believe in a religious sense in a controlling god, I do believe in the god-like nature of all things and I am accepting of the beliefs of others as long as it brings them peace and is not controlling, but, to me, the question of god or no god is flawed….limited by our lexicon and semantics, formed by our experience…there is so much more to all this then we could possible and will possibly even know…even to the extent that we are most likely not even here to ask the question. For instance who is the god in your dreams? The other ‘reality’ where you spend a third of your day and no one else except you gets to experience. Maybe your the god in that dream world and don’t even know it. So many questions. No answers. God or no god. It just is and isn’t.
I know none of this is helpful and I am mostly just rambling. But keep searching with an open mind and I hope the journey is a peaceful one for you.
@liammcfeely, do it if you want…..just don’t count on an afterlife. I’m not saying that I know it isn’t there, I’m just saying I don’t know that it is, either. It’s not something I would bet on more than I already have to by default, merely by existing. What I’m saying is, enjoy this life whether there is a deity or an afterlife or not, because this is either all we get or it’s at least something more than nothing. I personally find it easier that way….I don’t need a deity or heaven and hell to know the difference between good and evil. If there is an afterlife then, it will be so much the better. But I’d rather not worry about stuff like gods and devils, paradise and the inferno….I’d rather just have fun.
@liammcfeely, adding to what i said earlier, also don’t take time in your life for granted either….like childhood, teenage years, 20s, etc living like you have forever to waste, and don’t take people and pets in your life for granted either thinking you will just see them again in heaven or something…..treat everything as if it is temporary until it’s proven to be permanent.
I would say live like there’s no afterlife until you know there is one. And don’t think or worry too much about life and death because, for me, i find it depressing to think of such things. Just have fun!
@liammcfeely, I don’t think concerning yourself with wether or not there is a god will really be very fruitfull – just be a cool dude, that’s all you need, if god exists and want’s more than for you to act cool then God is an overly ambitious dick, and you shouldn’t worry about him/her) – wether or not there is a god, the world is an awesome place to spend your life, so just focus on that.
@arenotlost, If you believe in God you should believe in God, if you don’t, you shouldn’t. Personally I am an atheist, but not an anti-theist like many of my contemporaries. As someone said earlier God is subjective, nobody should try to tell anybody what God is, you believe or you don’t. I’ve had the argument and watch the argument countless times and nobody ever wins or becomes convinced one way or the other, both side just become infuriated because they cannot possibly explain their argument successfully and cannot understand the other sides. The argument is void. Besides I don’t see why so many people feel it’s important that other people believe the same thing as them, maybe it’s validation, maybe they are Nazi’s. Believe what you want, fuck the rest.
@chekovchameleon, Not quite sure I agree with if you believe in god you should believe and if you don’t you shouldn’t….so many lovely shades of gray in between and on the peripheries. To me it is not a litmus test. There is nothing but multiplicity and uncertainty and different things people mean by god. I both believe in god and don’t (and also have many viewpoints inbetween)…and feel pretty ok about that. But definitely agree with the rest of your points.
I believe that throughout history humans have been conditioned into believing that they need a higher authority or power to make them feel like they have a belonging or a place in the world , personally i believe that people can believe what they want to believe as long as they don’t try to force their beliefs upon you.
@notmanyregrets, I would temper that ‘human history’ aspect of your comment. Throughout relatively modern history I would agree. But long before organized religion, maybe even before speech we were running around the earth and invibing all kinds of curious fungi and plants that don’t just make you stoned, but transport you to mystical places. I mean even without any drugs, last night you went into some sort of unconscious trance for 8 hours and interacted with beings in a whole other realities….but for some reason we just taking dreaming for granted or discount as not being a religious or mystical experience. Yes the modern god of the last 5000(?) years is a controlling one (and frankly he sucks), but there is something wonderful and crazy and awe inspiring out there. Call it god or magic or label it with some sort of lexoconic symbol. We either don’t exist or there is WAY more to any of this then we can even imagine. It seems really unlikely that this reality is it by itself. Totally concede that it could be, but I doubt it. Seems really egocentric to think that with our limited senses and experience that we know it all. This concept doesn’t make me feel like ‘I have a belonging or place in the world’, it just makes me awestruck! God or no god….that’s just human language making an attempt to describe and quantify something that is so beyond our horizon. I suspect it is so much more than that and nothing at the same time.
@arenotlost, I like the way you put your two posts… very similar to my thoughts/transition through the whole “spiritual experience”
I said this in another thread a couple weeks ago and I’ll say it again here… I have come to the point in my life where I freely admit I don’t know what’s out there, I don’t know the “truth” and I accept that I never will. To some people, that may seem like a limiting belief, a negative, but to me it’s the exact opposite. That thought gives me peace at night, it gives me comfort (or as Neil Degrasse Tyson would say, “when I look up, many people feel small because they’re small and the universe is big… but I feel big”).
I have NO IDEA what is really going on behind the veil of reality. The only thing I do know, is that whatever the truth is, whatever is really going on, it is far more awesome and perfect than anything any human can possibly imagine (heck, even if there is “nothing” for our beings after death, that in and of itself is pretty amazing. Not to mention theres still a whole hell of a lot going on on a trillion different levels besides our own being). Either way, whatever the “truth” is, it is so far beyond our ability to understand it’s not even funny, and I’m ok with that.
Yet at the same time, I will continue the eternal search. I will continue to delve into my own mind to try and find what is at the core and beyond. And who knows, maybe one day my beliefs may change yet again. It is the ultimate contradiction, but again, that is ok. I am content with that. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
@arenotlost, well said but in respect to the post ‘Should I believe in “God” ‘ it does not have much relevance , that state ”stoned” or that dream like alternate reality can also be achieved threw meditation , not your sit in the full lotus position like many are led to believe but being in deep focus of yourself and of your breathing. to find out if you should believe in a “God” you must first figure out what your concept or idea of what ”god” is. yes i agree that there is something we cant comprehend but i feel it goes way down to a cellular level .
For me it was all about how the universe started; one camp (and I’m not referring to the Biblical God here) believes in intelligent design, the other believes everything came out of nothing. No matter how hard I try I can’t get myself to believe that everything came out of nothing, out of nowhere, out of no-thing. My mind rejects the idea no matter what I do. So it’s intelligent design for me but for others the idea of this enormous thing having been created by something is ridiculous so they choose the Big Bang. Either way no matter what camp you choose you will just have more questions; if it was intelligent design, then who designed the designer? If it was the Big Bang, what was the driving force that set it off? Try not to think about this stuff too much, you’ll go mad if you do.
@arenotlost, Fair enough, I don’t think you shouldn’t question your beliefs, I just meant it in the sense that he who chooses to believe something is going to believe that and are rarely open to opposing opinions (probably not applicable to HE), especially on an issue as complex as theism. I agree that it is an issue of extreme uncertainty, probably why it is so attractive to fanaticism. That’s why my opinion is to hold your own beliefs but keep an open mind and let the fanatics think they’re in the right, and hope they don’t start any wars XD
Believe in yourself first. I feel like you wrote this knowing you are questioning being agnostic. Know what you want and know what you need. I’m encouraging you start being more active in your spiritual life and come to know God. This will take a while I promise you, no one’s relationship with God comes in an instant, It takes time. But I am definitely strongly encouraging you to start on this path. God is here, God surrounds us. He loves all of us and wants a relationship with all of us but you have to start reaching for him first. You make the first move. Being agnostic, this will be hard for you, but please start to open your mind. Start reading excerpts from the Bible. Not only are they a great way to start coming to know God, you can relate to them and they are great stories. Knowing they actually happened with be the challenging part for you. God will help you once you believe he may be able to. I promise you he is able to, but you have to believe it. you have to believe in yourself. If you need to, ask God for a sign that he’s with you. He will answer you and it may take time but he will. I dont know what form and I dont know how but he will and you will know when he does. I promise you. Start accepting that there is something of a higher power that controls this universe. It will lead you to God.
@thecolorofvertigo, Really well written post…and don’t mean to step on your advice but would maybe offer to @liammcfeely to not just read from “THE bible”, but also from all the other spiritual texts out there…..plus look inside, stare out at the cosmos, find the inner light, meditate, be appreciative, possibly explore plant medicine and generally just be in a general state of reverence at the world….lots of different paths to find ‘god’ or come to terms with there not being one. Blayne, your path seems like a bountiful one for you and you seem to walk it with grace ;-)
Thanks for all the answers. I guess I posted this topic out of my ignorance of religion as I have never been exposed to any religious doctrine by those around me, and I was kindof hoping someone would have more solid evidence to believe one way or another, considering all the reasons I have been told to believe in God have been along the lines of “Jesus died for all our sins and that was a pretty awesome thing for him to do, so we should thank him by believing.” or similar ideas that seem equally unbelievable or unconvincing to me. But after reading all these posts my idea of what a god could be is much broader, so I guess I have my answer.
@arenotlost, the idea of god as a force surrounding us as opposed to a singular being makes sense to me.
@thecolorofvertigo, I guess I am sort of questioning my agnosticism, but I feel like the state of being agnostic is a state of always questioning my beliefs. Being agnostic means I haven’t made a decision about the existence of God, so i’m always searching for something more definite.
@liammcfeely, just my opinion but the resurrection story of jesus got a little convoluted over time…it is more an eastern Buddhist parable. Jesus, a man, was resurrected into the moment (as we all are) and his sins (the past) were washed away. There is only the present, the now, and we are resurrected from moment to moment. At least for me, and only when I’m mindful, this is a really important and spiritual truth. Let the light shine, brother. The secret nobody has told you is that you are god….and your radiance is brilliant.