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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 196934  
Subject: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 10:54 AM
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Although I considered myself a faithful Christian, I was so more in name than in actual belief. I didn’t begrudge those who wanted to believe that Jesus was more than simply a good man who had suffered at the hands of the world. I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.

In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.

I know how pronouncements like mine sound to skeptics, so I will tell my story with the logic and language of the scientist I am.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/07/proof-of-he...
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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183422 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 11:11 AM
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Beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.
Ray

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183425 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 11:14 AM
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"Today many believe that the living spiritual truths of religion have lost their power, and that science, not faith, is the road to truth. Before my experience I strongly suspected that this was the case myself.

But I now understand that such a view is far too simple. The plain fact is that the materialist picture of the body and brain as the producers, rather than the vehicles, of human consciousness is doomed. In its place a new view of mind and body will emerge, and in fact is emerging already. This view is scientific and spiritual in equal measure and will value what the greatest scientists of history themselves always valued above all: truth."

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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183428 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 11:22 AM
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It is amazing to me how consistent the stories like this are.
I don't know what to make of them all. They certainly aren't evidence enough for my faith. But there is a story here. I enjoy reading this.
I guess my faith is built on testing internally. I mean the most I follow the words Christ said, the happier I am. And I'm so much happier now at 39 than I ever thought I'd be. There's so much joy from helping my fellow man. I don't do any of it for the promise of an eternal reward, but I will say the idea of a restful eternity filled with love and peace sounds like something I'll sign up for.
Ray

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Author: feedmeNOWhuman Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183432 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 11:40 AM
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Which is more likely, that magic butterfly beings exist, or that his brain was still functioning in some hallucinatory state?

We know that our consciousness can become damaged by alcohol, mental illness, and Alzheimer's Disease.


Anything that can be wounded is mortal.


It is possible to recreate these NDE's with properly-placed electrodes on the brains of people who are still conscious. And there are plenty of people who were clinically dead who experienced nothing.

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Author: GardenStateFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183438 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 12:35 PM
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I believe you all are aware that I am an atheist and do not believe. Some of you may be aware that I have wanted to believe, mostly due to the fear of my own mortality. It is something that I have struggled with for a long time.

I do love stories like this, and I have always envied those who either, through their own faith or through an experience like this one, achieve that peace and certainty that allows them to draw comfort from it.

I believe that I am wired similarly to the scientist at the beginning, that without evidence based on what I believe to be fact, I would not believe in any kind of deity or afterlife.

This isn't for lack of desire to believe that there is one, but simply that I cannot believe in that which I cannot experience. (To a certain degree. I believe there's a dark side to the moon, though I've never seen it).

It is a beautiful story, but there is a single line in there that brought me back to my usual mindset:

According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent.

While I do not believe in an afterlife, etc., neither do I believe that we have exhausted the limits of what science understands. I believe that we have barely scratched the surface of what there is to know, scientifically speaking, and so that single phrase: "current understanding" is what brings me back to the fact that our current understanding is oh, so limited.

In the last several weeks, my older son and I have been experiencing a variety of health problems. Nothing horrible, nothing chronic, nothing permanent, but serious nonetheless (We both had bad lung infections, he broke his arm and came down with a mystery viral fever, those last two were both this past weekend).

For the entire month of September, I struggled with my own health and never felt an urge to appeal to any kind of power.

But when my child was in pain, sick without me understanding it, and miserable, then I felt that wish, that desire, to want to believe in a higher power, because then there might be something to which I could appeal, something that could intervene, something from which I could draw comfort that it would all be okay.

I wanted to believe, quite badly this week. But at the end of it, I still don't know how.

Perhaps if I underwent a similar experience that I interpreted as true evidence, I might.

But if I had evidence, would what I came out with actually be faith? Or something else? As I understand faith, it is that lack of evidence that truly permits faith to BE faith, and not simply accepting something which is handed to you.

I don't know. I liked the article, but for someone like me, it's not going to be the thing that changes my mind.

GSF

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183440 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 1:08 PM
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As I understand faith, it is that lack of evidence that truly permits faith to BE faith, and not simply accepting something which is handed to you.

I've never understood faith that way, at least not as the sole description of faith. though I suspect you can find Christians who do.

What I understand the Bible to be saying about faith is that it is belief that goes *beyond* the evidence at hand to a certain conclusion based on that evidence.

Think about Jesus' disciples. They didn't know initially who he was, or believe that he was God's Son. The gospel accounts of them have them struggling to figure out the implications of what they saw and experienced with Jesus.

He wanted them to come to the right conclusion about who he was, but it was obvious that some saw the same things and came to a different conclusion. They had plenty of evidence, but no one was forced to conclude that he was who he claimed to be.

Just some musings,

-Bryan

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183441 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 1:14 PM
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They had plenty of evidence, but no one was forced to conclude that he was who he claimed to be.


And who did he claim to be?

AM

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Author: 0x6a74 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183442 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 1:27 PM
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Anything that can be wounded is mortal.


It is possible to recreate these NDE's with properly-placed electrodes on the brains of people who are still conscious. And there are plenty of people who were clinically dead who experienced nothing.




i think there's a kind of consistency to NDS stories because most of us have heard the stories and our minds are 'primed'

and we don't hear about NDEs that don't fit the pattern,
sometimes a kind of "Genuine Scotch Fallacy" -- <o! you didn't experience what you were supposed to? then you weren't .really. Near Death> (BTDT)


*i* put NDEs in the same box with Past Life experiences (BTDT)

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Author: 10talents Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183443 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 1:27 PM
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Perhaps if I underwent a similar experience that I interpreted as true evidence, I might.


Perhaps. I read a very interesting book last year titled "Did Man Create God"

http://www.amazon.com/Did-Man-Create-God-Spiritual/dp/187826...

The author talked a lot about near death experiences. There are several causes of them: lack of oxygenation to the brain (sometimes astonauts/fighter pilots have them when doing their g force training), and blocking (or maybe activiating) certain dopamine receptors in the brain. Interestingly, when they blocked those receptors some people had near death experiences, others had alient encounters.

People from all around the world have NDEs. One of the things they have in common is that they reflect the culture of the person having them. In other words, Americans see God or Jesus who tell them live good lives or whatever, Hindus see Brahman and experience oneness with the universe, etc. Another thing they have in common is that the people experiencing them absolutely believe they are real (even when it happens in a lab) and it profoundly changes their lives for years and years afterwards.

Most likely, it is the brain's way of comforting us when it is (or thinks it is) dieing.

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Author: feedmeNOWhuman Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183444 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 1:32 PM
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The message had three parts, and if I had to translate them into earthly language, I’d say they ran something like this:

“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”

“You have nothing to fear.”

“There is nothing you can do wrong.”




Wow, so Hitler got to go to heaven, too. So there are no rules and no Judgement?



A fatal conflict with the Christian religion, isn't it? How could any Christian look at this as a positive message?

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Author: 10talents Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183445 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 1:32 PM
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It is amazing to me how consistent the stories like this are.

They stories are only similar in the west. In the east they are quite a bit different.

"Two persons caught me and took me with them. I felt tired after walking some distance; they started to drag me. My feet became useless. There was a man sitting up. He looked dreadful and was all black. He was not wearing any clothes. He said in a rage [to the attendants who had brought Vasudev] "I had asked you to bring Vasudev the gardener. Our garden is drying up. You have brought Vasudev the student." When I regained consciousness, Vasudev the gardener was standing in front of me [apparently in the crowd of family and servants who had gathered around the bed of the ostensibly dead Vasudev]. He was hale and hearty. People started teasing him saying, "Now it is your turn." He seemed to sleep well in the night, but the next morning he was dead."

In reply to questions about details, Vasudev said that the "black man" had a club and used foul language. Vasudev identified him as Yamraj, the Hindu god of the dead. He said that he was "brought back" by the same two men who had taken him to Yamraj in the first place. Vasudev's mother (who had died before the time of the interview) had been a pious woman who read scriptures that included descriptions of Yamraj. Vasudev, even as a boy before his near-death experience, was quite familiar with Yamraj.


There are a few others at this website:

http://near-death.com/hindu.html

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183447 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 2:04 PM
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They had plenty of evidence, but no one was forced to conclude that he was who he claimed to be.
--------------
And who did he claim to be?


Messiah.
Son of God.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The Light of the World.
The Resurrection and the Life.
The Bread of Life.
The Bread that came down from heaven
The Gate for the Sheep
The Good Shepherd

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183449 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 2:22 PM
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And who did he claim to be?


Messiah.
Son of God.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The Light of the World.
The Resurrection and the Life.
The Bread of Life.
The Bread that came down from heaven
The Gate for the Sheep
The Good Shepherd




I could be wrong but I don't think Jesus ever claimed to be any of those. He did claim to be the "Son of Man" though I don't have the particular verse in my head.

Do you have references that show where Jesus actually claimed to be any of those things you listed? I'm not saying you are wrong, but I am saying that, to MY knowledge he never claimed those things.

If you have references for those claims from Jesus himself, I'd like to see them. Really. Oh yes! I believe he did say he was the "way, truth, light." But I really don't think he EVER claimed to be the Son of God.

AM

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183451 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 2:43 PM
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I could be wrong but I don't think Jesus ever claimed to be any of those.

Don't know anything about this particular website, but a quick search turned this up:

http://www.letusreason.org/trin16.htm

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Author: NigelGlitter Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183453 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 3:26 PM
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i think there's a kind of consistency to NDS stories because most of us have heard the stories and our minds are 'primed'

Yep. And the author admits being quite familiar with NDE's.

And as a neurosurgeon you'd think he'd know that we create inaccurate and false memories all the time that are very real and genuine to us.

And that time while dreaming/unconscious has no relationship to real time. He's really stretching things to assume his consciousness floated about for 7 days when the subconscious brain regularly stretches short dreams into a sense of hours or days passing. He didn't need a long period of subconscious activity as he exited the vegetative state to be left with a sense of a very real conscious event having occurred.

That's why physical evidence trumps eye witness accounts in court these days. We fill in lots and lots of blanks with the familiar and what we think should be there. Our brain models reality all the time as there is a lag between when we sense something and when it's chemically transmitted and interpreted by the brain. We have to operate in real time, but can't process the inputs in real time.

His physical evidence does not include anything to substantiate his eyewitness account. Having experienced an NDE, I read nothing particularly scientific in his account to lead me to believe either one us experienced anything beyond a brain experiencing the equivalent of intermittent power supply. Just like all calculators tend to show a full row of partially lit led lights as a battery goes dead, so we too experience a similarity when our brain starts to short out at the end.

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Author: AdrianC Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183454 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 3:54 PM
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Most likely, it is the brain's way of comforting us when it is (or thinks it is) dieing.

I wonder why the brain would try to "comfort us"? It doesn't seem to give any natural selection advantage.

Perhaps he simply had a dream coming out of his unconscious state.

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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183455 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 4:12 PM
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I wonder why the brain would try to "comfort us"? It doesn't seem to give any natural selection advantage.

Perhaps he simply had a dream coming out of his unconscious state.


That's what is compelling to me. Not that he saw what he saw, but that he still believes it this much later.
It isn't evidence to me in either direction, but it is compelling.
Ray

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183458 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 4:40 PM
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Thanks, bdhinton.
Sorry it took so long to reply - we are in the process of moving and everything is in chaos. Much appreciate the answer.

AM

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183460 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 4:45 PM
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<<
But when my child was in pain, sick without me understanding it, and miserable, then I felt that wish, that desire, to want to believe in a higher power, because then there might be something to which I could appeal, something that could intervene, something from which I could draw comfort that it would all be okay.
>>

Once long ago I started asking, many time thinking "if you are listening" or "if you exist" etc... little if any faith really, I was simply desperate..... I think sometimes he listens to prayers based on persistence or because of the love that draws such prayers from an unbelieving heart. And if he does not exist, the prayer does no harm,

Luke 18 (New International Version)

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183461 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 4:47 PM
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<<
And who did he claim to be?
>>

"the Son of Man."

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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183462 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 4:49 PM
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I wonder why the brain would try to "comfort us"? It doesn't seem to give any natural selection advantage.

I wondered about that also. But I am aware of one case, my pseudo-aunt. She ended up in hospital. Very weak. Barely able to talk. Then one day she was a bit perkier, felt a bit better. Much more her usual self. She was dead the next day. Apparently it is not uncommon for the brain to pump out dopamine (IIRC) in copious quantities before death.

I see no way this can be "selected", as you say. But evidently it is fairly common.

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Author: AdrianC Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183463 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 5:17 PM
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Apparently it is not uncommon for the brain to pump out dopamine (IIRC) in copious quantities before death.

I see no way this can be "selected", as you say. But evidently it is fairly common.


Is this related to the "jogger's high"? It would be advantageous to be able to push oneself further physically, to evade a predator or catch prey. Maybe a near death awareness causes the same effect?

I've been working out a lot lately and I feel great!

(Though partly that's because I fit in my jeans again)

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183465 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 6:13 PM
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(Though partly that's because I fit in my jeans again)

So is this a miracle, or answer to prayer (not necessarily yours)?
;-)

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Author: AdrianC Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183466 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/11/2012 7:17 PM
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So is this a miracle, or answer to prayer (not necessarily yours)?

In the Bruce Almighty sense of miracle, then it's a miracle:

"Parting your soup is not a miracle, Bruce, it's a magic trick. A single mom who's working two jobs, and still finds time to take her kid to soccer practice, that's a miracle. A teenager who says no to drugs and yes to an education, that's a miracle. People want Me to do everything for them, but what they don't realize is, they have the power. You want to see a miracle, son? Be the miracle."

Excuse me, I'm off to do another 1.5 hours of eliptical hill climb... ;-)

PS I admit that my five year old has been saying "We hope Daddy gets better" quite a lot. A form of prayer. He has this idea that I'm sick, since he and Mommy made special "Daddy" bannana bread instead of the usual kind (apple suace in place of shortening). Plus, I've not been claiming the "Daddy Tax" from his candy stash...

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Author: jimialvin Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183470 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 3:20 AM
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I really don't think that I have very much faith , yet I've never felt the need to see a miracle in order to believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ . Thomas would not believe Jesus was alive unless he saw him and felt the Lord's wounds . In John 20:28 , Thomas said , "My Lord and my God !" In verse 29 , Jesus told him , "Because you have seen me , you have believed ; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."




... James ....

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Author: JoshRandall Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183471 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 7:26 AM
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Faith is a grace, a gift of God,(Ephesians 2:8) not something we can bring into existence by or drum up in ourselves, faith comes from hearing the word of Christ, (Romans 10:17) and we can pray for faith, "Lord, increase our faith."(Luke 17:5)

143 By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.2 With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, "the obedience of faith".3

144 To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.

159 Faith and science: "Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth."37 "Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are."38

The freedom of faith

160 To be human, "man's response to God by faith must be free, and. . . therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act."39 "God calls men to serve him in spirit and in truth. Consequently they are bound to him in conscience, but not coerced. . . This fact received its fullest manifestation in Christ Jesus."40 Indeed, Christ invited people to faith and conversion, but never coerced them. "For he bore witness to the truth but refused to use force to impose it on those who spoke against it. His kingdom. . . grows by the love with which Christ, lifted up on the cross, draws men to himself."41

The necessity of faith

161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since "without faith it is impossible to please [God]" and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life 'But he who endures to the end.'"43

Perseverance in faith

162 Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: "Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith."44 To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith;45 it must be "working through charity," abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.46

Faith - the beginning of eternal life

163 Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below. Then we shall see God "face to face", "as he is".47 So faith is already the beginning of eternal life:


When we contemplate the blessings of faith even now, as if gazing at a reflection in a mirror, it is as if we already possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us we shall one day enjoy.48

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Author: GardenStateFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183472 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 9:16 AM
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Faith is a grace, a gift of God,(Ephesians 2:8) not something we can bring into existence by or drum up in ourselves, faith comes from hearing the word of Christ, (Romans 10:17) and we can pray for faith, "Lord, increase our faith."(Luke 17:5)

So this is the crux of what I do not understand.

If faith is bestowed by god, if you don't have any because you do not believe in god, you can't pray for faith, because you don't believe in the prayer itself.

This is where I have never been able to truly resolve the question of faith at all, and where I have never been able to comprehend christianity specifically.

Judaism is a religion of action. To act rightly is to be in accordance with the laws of god, and regardless of the belief in that god, if you act rightly you are living rightly, there is no true requirement for faith in god in the same way christianity requires it.

However, christianity says that without faith, you simply cannot be a true christian, regardless of right actions or deeds, without faith you are still denied.

And if faith is a gift from god and you simply do not have it, how is one to obtain it?

I'm not being snarky, I'm not even trying to point out circular logic.

But I do actually frame my own worldview in terms of logic, and I am not sure the vocabularies of faith and logic are compatible.

GSF

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Author: NigelGlitter Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183473 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 9:34 AM
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I see no way this can be "selected", as you say. But evidently it is fairly common.

I passed on the VP debates last night and watched several segments of a new series on The History Chanel called How the Earth Made Man. It goes through the historical environmental changes and cataclysms that correspond to evolutionary changes as well as the how the particular habitat an organism lived in shaped not only physical form, but brain development.

Channeling the show, I'd venture that an adrenaline shot when attacked was clearly selected. But death isn't always the result of some violent action, and remaining calm to not attract attention while in a den, cave, or nomadic campsite would certainly have benefits, as would chilling quietly on the ground after being injured.

I highly recommend the series. It's an interesting watch.

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Author: Wradical Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183474 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 9:49 AM
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I wondered about that also. But I am aware of one case, my pseudo-aunt. She ended up in hospital. Very weak. Barely able to talk. Then one day she was a bit perkier, felt a bit better. Much more her usual self. She was dead the next day. Apparently it is not uncommon for the brain to pump out dopamine (IIRC) in copious quantities before death.
====================
Or maybe that extra dopamine caused a fatal stress to the system, to a patient in a weakened condition.

Bill

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Author: AdrianC Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183475 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 10:27 AM
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That's what is compelling to me. Not that he saw what he saw, but that he still believes it this much later.
It isn't evidence to me in either direction, but it is compelling.


I remember many of my dreams. I had one a few months ago where I was with Jesus in some kind of after-life scenario. It was pretty weird (as most of my dreams are). I didn't wake up and assume I had been given a new revelation. I wrote it down, out of interest.

I know they are dreams, not reality.

I wonder if this guy's brain injury could have caused the dream to seem more "real"?

Maybe I should write a book? Not compelling since it wasn't an NDE?

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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183476 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 10:53 AM
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I remember many of my dreams. I had one a few months ago where I was with Jesus in some kind of after-life scenario. It was pretty weird (as most of my dreams are). I didn't wake up and assume I had been given a new revelation. I wrote it down, out of interest.

I know they are dreams, not reality.

I wonder if this guy's brain injury could have caused the dream to seem more "real"?

Maybe I should write a book? Not compelling since it wasn't an NDE?


That's my point. This guy isn't gullible. He's learned in the area of brain activity. Unlike a dream, he woke up and still believes he had the experience.
I'm not convinced the guy saw heaven, but I don't find it quite as easy to just explain it away.
Ray

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183477 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 10:58 AM
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However, christianity says that without faith, you simply cannot be a true christian, regardless of right actions or deeds, without faith you are still denied.

And if faith is a gift from god and you simply do not have it, how is one to obtain it?

I'm not being snarky, I'm not even trying to point out circular logic.

But I do actually frame my own worldview in terms of logic, and I am not sure the vocabularies of faith and logic are compatible.


I think you ask some excellent questions GSF! I can give what I understand, which might amount to a partial answer.

Faith is an abstract noun. Underlying the "thing" faith, is an action, putting your trust in something. So it's not merely believing something is true-- that's belief, but acting on that belief is what defines how the Bible often uses the word faith.

In the book of James, he asks the rhetorical question, "You believe God is one?" He says "Great, but even Satan's minions believe that". He is arguing that mere intellectual assent to a fact is not enough, and it can't in and of itself save someone. "Faith" to be faith requires a further step, which is putting yourself in a position to rely on the object of faith, in this case God.

As far as how to get faith, I think the best an atheist can do is to ask God, if he exists, to make it clear. Once you have reasons to believe he exists, then you have to decide whether you are going to put your trust in him or not.

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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183479 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 11:20 AM
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Judaism is a religion of action. To act rightly is to be in accordance with the laws of god, and regardless of the belief in that god, if you act rightly you are living rightly, there is no true requirement for faith in god in the same way christianity requires it.

However, christianity says that without faith, you simply cannot be a true christian, regardless of right actions or deeds, without faith you are still denied.

And if faith is a gift from god and you simply do not have it, how is one to obtain it?


Christianity is also a religion of action. James and Jesus himself indicated that you must act. Often in the gospels when someone wanted to be healed, Jesus made them do something. The 'something' indicated faith in action and they had their request filled.
In my personal life it is like a walk. I step out in faith, I see personal evidence, and my faith is increased. What doesn't happen is a huge leap of faith without action, or action alone and no faith.
I agree with bdhinton that you ask really good questions. It isn't easy but when I was an atheist I also started small. If there is a God, He should reveal himself to you, right?
So I asked that. Small steps. Faith, then action, then faith.
Ray

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183481 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 12:10 PM
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As far as how to get faith, I think the best an atheist can do is to ask God, if he exists, to make it clear. Once you have reasons to believe he exists, then you have to decide whether you are going to put your trust in him or not.



Bzzzzt. I'm not buying that.
You can't just "decide" to believe something.
If you could, then go ahead and decide to believe you can fly - then go to the top of the highest building and give a leap.
But you won't do that - because you know there is more to believing something than "deciding" to believe it - which is impossible.
You either believe something or you don't.
It's like a light switch going on. Or off.
I'm not sure what triggers it - and the trigger is different for everything, it seems - but, once triggered, you either believe or cease to believe. You don't sit around pondering whether or not to believe.

The best an Atheist can do is seek information. And demonstrable proof of such information. Somewhere along the way of gathering and digesting information, the light switch will be triggered.

Good example: Bestest friend :) told me once that there were just as many even numbers as there were numbers. Hmmmmm... I says to myself. I don't believe it. Show me. And he did. Step by step he explained it to me and, even though I've forgotten how it works, there was a moment when the light switched on - and I believed it. I still believe it, even though I can't explain it - and one of these days, soon, I'd like him to take me through it again.

AM

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Author: GardenStateFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183486 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 1:27 PM
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If there is a God, He should reveal himself to you, right?
So I asked that. Small steps. Faith, then action, then faith.


I've been giving it some additional thought this morning, and I think that my other issue is: I am essentially selfish.

I ask myself why I want to believe in anything. The answer, of course, is, all for my own benefit: I want comfort, I want to believe that there is some kind of afterlife, and why do I want that? Because I am afraid of the mathematical concept of eternity. (Really. It's not that I'm afraid of nothingness, etc. It's the dissolution of self and the concept of eternity that scare me).

This is not to say that I live my life as a selfish person (or at least I hope not!!!). I volunteer my time. I donate to charity. I try to be mindful of my impact on the planet. I try to be a decent human being in my interactions with others, etc. I give a lot of consideration to my actions and really, really try hard to figure out what the right course of action is in any given circumstance.

The only time that I feel I want to believe is when I want something. This time around, it was comfort and the desire to feel as if there were something else useful I could do for my child. Most often, it is associated with confronting my own mortality.

But the fact remains that I tend to view my actions in regard to my impact on humanity, and making the world in general a better place. Looking for a presence in that simply never, ever occurs to me.

It only occurs to me when I'm at my wits' end and I'm looking for something from someone. Essentially, a selfish wish.

I have to admit, if that were the dynamic of a human relationship, my advice to the person would be "Well, that's certainly not healthy."

But I cannot call to mind the idea of god at any other time. Or if I do, it's an academic exercise and usually ends with the rejection that there is such a thing at all. The idea that there might be a god doesn't inform my actions, only my wants and desires.

(Please note, I'm almost talking this out with myself as I'm writing it. It's the first time its really occurred to me this way).

So, if all I want from a god is my prayers answered, that makes me a pretty lousy worshipper.

And if I do all my good actions without giving god a thought at all, then I am certainly not considering faith in that thought process either.

I'm not sure where the next step on this thought ladder is, though.

GSF
(I ask LOTS of questions. By odds, a couple will turn out to be halfway decent eventually...)

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Author: AdrianC Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183487 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 1:30 PM
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You either believe something or you don't.
It's like a light switch going on. Or off.
I'm not sure what triggers it - and the trigger is different for everything, it seems - but, once triggered, you either believe or cease to believe. You don't sit around pondering whether or not to believe.


Then there is no room for doubt? If you doubt, you don't believe at all?

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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183488 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 1:35 PM
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So, if all I want from a god is my prayers answered, that makes me a pretty lousy worshipper.

And if I do all my good actions without giving god a thought at all, then I am certainly not considering faith in that thought process either.

I'm not sure where the next step on this thought ladder is, though.


Let me turn your question on its side. What if the interest in a Deity isn't selfish?

For example:

This is not to say that I live my life as a selfish person (or at least I hope not!!!). I volunteer my time. I donate to charity. I try to be mindful of my impact on the planet. I try to be a decent human being in my interactions with others, etc. I give a lot of consideration to my actions and really, really try hard to figure out what the right course of action is in any given circumstance.

What if you were brought into a certain situation for a given purpose? Would it be worth asking a deity for clarity in that moment? Rather than, say, asking for a winning lottery ticket (as some do)?
What if there were a Deity that simply wanted a relationship with you to provide you with deep fulfillment?
Ray

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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183489 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 1:36 PM
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Then there is no room for doubt? If you doubt, you don't believe at all?


From the Christian perspective, this isn't true. Doubts are a part of being human. Doubts are a part of faith.
Ray

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183490 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 1:37 PM
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I'm not sure where the next step on this thought ladder is, though.


The next step is the acceptance of reality.
You will not be aware of "eternity."
This is because you will no longer exist except in the memories of those who know you.
Fearing death is very strange to me.
There is nothing there to fear.
When you go to sleep at night it's very like being dead (if you are not dreaming). You wake up and hours have passed but you don't recall any of them. But so peaceful! No worries. No pain. No sadness. No nothing.

Fearing death is also futile because we will ALL die. Every last one of us.

It's the actual dying part that is uncomfortable to me.
As Dorothy Parker once said, “I know this will come as a shock to you, Mr. Goldwyn, but in all history, which has held billions and billions of human beings, not a single one ever had a happy ending.”

:)

AM

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 1:38 PM
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You either believe something or you don't.
It's like a light switch going on. Or off.
I'm not sure what triggers it - and the trigger is different for everything, it seems - but, once triggered, you either believe or cease to believe. You don't sit around pondering whether or not to believe.

Then there is no room for doubt? If you doubt, you don't believe at all?

--------------


Of course you don't.
Think about it.

AM

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183492 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 1:57 PM
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As far as how to get faith, I think the best an atheist can do is to ask God, if he exists, to make it clear. Once you have reasons to believe he exists, then you have to decide whether you are going to put your trust in him or not.
-------------------------

Bzzzzt. I'm not buying that.
You can't just "decide" to believe something.



Might not be talking about the same thing.

You can decide to put your trust in something. Like a doctor's recommendation/prescription. Initially, you don't have personal experience with the proposed "fix" for the problem. In fact, before going to the doctor you had no belief about the drug he will prescribe because (lets say) you never heard of it.

You might just trust the doctor because he's been to med school. You might need more than that, and research it yourself and find others saying that it helped them. You may come to believe that it might work for you too, that it's worth a try.

But you are not putting that belief into action, acting on that belief, until you take the pill.

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183493 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 2:08 PM
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From the Christian perspective, this isn't true. Doubts are a part of being human. Doubts are a part of faith.

I agree. They are a part of everyone's experience, even of God.

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183495 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 2:30 PM
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So, if all I want from a god is my prayers answered, that makes me a pretty lousy worshipper.

And if I do all my good actions without giving god a thought at all, then I am certainly not considering faith in that thought process either.


I'd say it is not a good place to end up in, but it might be a great place to start.

Consider some of Jesus' appeals to people to believe. He often appealed to selfish motives (all quotes New Living Translation):

"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" (Mat 11:28, NLT);

"If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water" (John 4:10, NLT);

"And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too." (Luke 13:4-5, NLT)

"Salvation" is repeatedly described as a "gift" from God. Something God wants you to have. So I don't think it is wrong to want to receive a gift. Selfish? If you kept it to yourself, maybe it would be.

People came to Jesus all the time because of what they hoped he'd do for them. And he honored their faith, and accepted them where they were.

We love God, because he first loved us. That is the natural order. After we believe, receive, and live in what he has done for us, then our motives naturally change. Then a person can do things for others and for God because she appreciates whats been done for her.

-Bryan

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 3:31 PM
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Might not be talking about the same thing.

You can decide to put your trust in something. Like a doctor's recommendation/prescription. Initially, you don't have personal experience with the proposed "fix" for the problem. In fact, before going to the doctor you had no belief about the drug he will prescribe because (lets say) you never heard of it.

You might just trust the doctor because he's been to med school. You might need more than that, and research it yourself and find others saying that it helped them. You may come to believe that it might work for you too, that it's worth a try.

But you are not putting that belief into action, acting on that belief, until you take the pill.




Yes, I can agree with this.
But you DO believe in the POSSIBILITY of whatever is being put forth. You have "hope", in other words, that whatever it is will actually work.

But you don't actually know until whatever it is that MIGHT work, actually DOES work. But yes, I can agree with what you have said here.

AM

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 3:34 PM
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Then there is no room for doubt? If you doubt, you don't believe at all?

From the Christian perspective, this isn't true. Doubts are a part of being human. Doubts are a part of faith.
Ray

----------


Ray, think about it.
From any perspective it's true.
If you doubt that something is true, then you don't really believe that it's true.
How can you doubt that something is true while absolutely believing that it is true? It just makes no logical sense whatsoever. It's not possible.

AM

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183498 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 3:41 PM
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Yes, I can agree with this.
But you DO believe in the POSSIBILITY of whatever is being put forth. You have "hope", in other words, that whatever it is will actually work.


And in the same way, many people evaluate the claims of Jesus and decide there are enough reasons for them to decide to put their trust in him.

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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183499 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 3:48 PM
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Ray, think about it.
From any perspective it's true.
If you doubt that something is true, then you don't really believe that it's true.
How can you doubt that something is true while absolutely believing that it is true? It just makes no logical sense whatsoever. It's not possible.


There is room for doubt.
The agnostic position is valid simply because there are still people weighing what they see and what they know. It is true that if you doubt something is true than you don't believe that very thing is true. But it doesn't mean you are ready to plant a flag and assert that it isn't true.
Some people are still investigating.
When I hear someone say they are agnostic, I hear them not ready to believe, but not ready to say definitively that it isn't true.
Ray

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Author: MacNugget Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183500 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 3:57 PM
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When I hear someone say they are agnostic, I hear them not ready to believe, but not ready to say definitively that it isn't true.

Lacking belief is not asserting that something is definitively not true. The atheist position doesn't require any assertion. To be an atheist is to simply not believe.

I don't believe that leprechauns are real but I do not claim to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they do not. I am an aleprechaunist.

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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183501 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 4:07 PM
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Lacking belief is not asserting that something is definitively not true. The atheist position doesn't require any assertion. To be an atheist is to simply not believe.

I don't believe that leprechauns are real but I do not claim to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they do not. I am an aleprechaunist.


I won't argue with that. I just mean when a poster here said he was agnostic, I didn't necessarily mean the same as he was atheist. I don't see them as the same, but I don't have a strong position about it.

I meant to assert that there is room in Christianity for levels of doubt.
Also, I'm leprechaun agnostic.
Ray

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183502 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 4:12 PM
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<<
Then there is no room for doubt? If you doubt, you don't believe at all?
>>

Thomas doubted, other of the Apostles doubted... I think they believed.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 4:17 PM
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<<
The next step is the acceptance of reality.
>>

Faith is an integral part of reality!


I do not fear death.
I wonder if I were suffering would I consider death a friend?
If I die today then that is not too soon, if I die 100 years from now that is not too late. Death will come when it comes, like the rain and like the dawn.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 4:22 PM
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<<
If you doubt that something is true, then you don't really believe that it's true.
How can you doubt that something is true while absolutely believing that it is true? It just makes no logical sense whatsoever. It's not possible.
>>

Excuse me but you are no expert of faith nor believing!


Hebrews 11
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 4:24 PM
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<<
And in the same way, many people evaluate the claims of Jesus and decide there are enough reasons for them to decide to put their trust in him.
>>

The teachings of the Christ resonated within me like a great song. Who else has the words of life?

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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183506 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 4:26 PM
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<<
If you doubt that something is true, then you don't really believe that it's true.
How can you doubt that something is true while absolutely believing that it is true? It just makes no logical sense whatsoever. It's not possible.
>>

Excuse me but you are no expert of faith nor believing!


Hebrews 11
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.



Are "conviction" and "assurance" not the same as complete confidence?

I am assured that if I step out of the front door of this building, there will be a sidewalk for my foot to land on. I have such conviction that I won't even look down to check. If I had any doubts, I'd check very carefully before striding out. I don't see how the two are compatible.


Frydaze1

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183509 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 5:09 PM
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And in the same way, many people evaluate the claims of Jesus and decide there are enough reasons for them to decide to put their trust in him.

-------------


Then I would have to say that those people already believe that Jesus exists. Otherwise, it makes no sense at all to put trust in someone you don't already believe exists - even though you have never laid eyes on the person and there is no tangible proof that he does now nor ever did exist. At some point, that "light switch" had to be thrown and the person came to believe that Jesus is who it has been said that he is.

AM

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183510 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 5:12 PM
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When I hear someone say they are agnostic, I hear them not ready to believe, but not ready to say definitively that it isn't true.
Ray

-----------------


You should "hear" the same thing when you hear someone say they are Atheist. All Atheists are open to scientific, provable evidence that whatever (or whomever) it is under discussion actually exists.

I'm an Atheist - and I'm absolutely ready and willing to accept proof of the existence of God. That there never has been any is why I'm still an Atheist. But that doesn't mean that that "light switch" won't get turned on if such evidence ever comes to light (no pun intended ;o)

AM

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183511 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 5:13 PM
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Lacking belief is not asserting that something is definitively not true. The atheist position doesn't require any assertion. To be an atheist is to simply not believe.

I don't believe that leprechauns are real but I do not claim to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they do not. I am an aleprechaunist.



Still, if presented with undeniable evidence of their existence you would become a believer, yes?

:)

AM

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183512 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 5:16 PM
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I won't argue with that. I just mean when a poster here said he was agnostic, I didn't necessarily mean the same as he was atheist. I don't see them as the same, but I don't have a strong position about it.




But they really are the same.
If you don't believe in something then you don't believe it.
That makes you an atheist on that something.
Doesn't matter if it is God, leprechauns, or tooth fairies.

Except for the name, of course, which would be different in each case.

AM

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183513 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 5:18 PM
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Thomas doubted, other of the Apostles doubted... I think they believed.

--------


Sorry, but that is not possible.
Thomas, however, didn't doubt the existence of Jesus since the man (according to Bible) was right there in front of him. His doubt was on something else, apparently.

If you doubt the truth of something there is no way you can believe in that something. It's just not possible.

AM

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183514 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 5:19 PM
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Excuse me but you are no expert of faith nor believing!



I'm every bit as much of an expert as you are.
Pride goeth before a fall, you know. :)

AM

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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183515 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 5:20 PM
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But they really are the same.
If you don't believe in something then you don't believe it.
That makes you an atheist on that something.
Doesn't matter if it is God, leprechauns, or tooth fairies.

Except for the name, of course, which would be different in each case.


I suppose. I just don't have that strong of an opinion about the difference. I know some people describe themselves as atheists and some as agnostic somehow separate from atheist. I'm willing to listen to whatever someone uses to describe their position. I just don't feel very attached to the labels.
Ray

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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183516 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 5:20 PM
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Bryan,

This isn't original, but replace "Jesus" with "Captain Kirk" and see if it still makes sense to you.

You can't put your trust in someone you don't believe is real. You wouldn't ask God (or Captain Kirk) for guidance if you didn't already believe on some level that there was a God (or Capt Kirk) to ask.

1poorguy

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 5:30 PM
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I suppose. I just don't have that strong of an opinion about the difference. I know some people describe themselves as atheists and some as agnostic somehow separate from atheist. I'm willing to listen to whatever someone uses to describe their position. I just don't feel very attached to the labels.
Ray



I guess I'm more attached to the words because I feel that words are important. It's also important to acknowledge who and what you are. To say that you are "agnostic" tells me several things. It tells me first that you don't actually believe whatever it is that you are agnostic about. That just goes by definition. Secondly, it tells me that you are (on that particular subject) an atheist, but are reluctant to own up to the word because of societal mega-frowns associated with it. I get that. I understand that. It's very much like trying to preserve your own safety and well-being in this society if you are gay by not coming "out of the closet." After all, who wants to be shunned by something they really cannot help.

I'm left-handed. There was a time when teachers would whack children on their left hands and force them to use their right hands. Society can be ultra cruel.

But I believe an agnostic is nothing more than an atheist who is afraid to say so. Otherwise, there is no difference between the two. It's like saying "I have a bun in the oven" instead of "I got knocked up." One just seems to be more socially acceptable - but both statements are equally true. ;o)

AM

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Author: NigelGlitter Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183518 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 5:44 PM
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When I hear someone say they are agnostic, I hear them not ready to believe, but not ready to say definitively that it isn't true.
Ray


Ray,

for those of us who are accustomed to always leaving the door open, agnosticism is the default position.

For all intents and purposes, I am an atheist, but I recognize that is impossible to recreate the moment of creation. We might be able to provide a mechanistic explanation that can be recreated, but that will, at best, offer a plausible explanation.

Although I find many current scientific theories and explanations highly plausible, I still try and weigh new evidence with an open mind, so an a(x) approach is employed with everything from evolution to string theory to god(s) and ghosts.

The burden of proof to demonstrate that intelligent supernatural being(s) are responsible for the universe and/or continue to operate within it is upon those that believe it to be so. If provided with actual evidence I would be open to it as I am to any other evidence that doesn't fit with my previous understanding of how life and our universe work and function.

I suspect this post is already Greeked out the wazoo.

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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183519 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 6:13 PM
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If provided with actual evidence I would be open to it as I am to any other evidence that doesn't fit with my previous understanding of how life and our universe work and function.


That. I don't believe in god for the same reason I don't believe the moon is made out of green cheese. That (for me) isn't a doubt, it's a certainty. That doesn't mean I'm not open to new evidence, or that I won't change my mind if that new evidence is presented. It just means that the current strong evidence has formed my current strong conviction.


Frydaze1

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Author: AdrianC Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183520 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 6:50 PM
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Thomas doubted, other of the Apostles doubted... I think they believed.

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

I've wondered about verse 17. They saw him, but some doubted?

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Author: AdrianC Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183521 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 7:09 PM
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Thomas, however, didn't doubt the existence of Jesus since the man (according to Bible) was right there in front of him. His doubt was on something else, apparently.

Thomas doubted that Jesus was alive. When Jesus appears to him he believes. He believes based on the evidence of his own eyes. I find that interesting.

John 20:29

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183522 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 8:12 PM
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The teachings of the Christ resonated within me like a great song. Who else has the words of life?

Exactly

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183523 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 8:19 PM
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You can't put your trust in someone you don't believe is real.


Of course not, you'd be jumping past step 1: determine if it's possible that God exists.

If its possible, I see no harm in asking him to convince you.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 9:37 PM
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<<
Then I would have to say that those people already believe that Jesus exists. Otherwise, it makes no sense at all to put trust in someone you don't already believe exists - even though you have never laid eyes on the person and there is no tangible proof that he does now nor ever did exist. At some point, that "light switch" had to be thrown and the person came to believe that Jesus is who it has been said that he is.

AM
>>

I beleived that the teachings of Christ were TRUTH before I believed He was the Son of God, actually I began to believe in the Father only as a result of the TRUTH in the other teachings of Jesus Christ.
Many other accept him as the Christ and as the way to the Father before they learn or accept his other teachings.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 9:44 PM
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<<
Thomas doubted, other of the Apostles doubted... I think they believed.

--------
><

Sorry, but that is not possible.
>>>


LOL

On you of no faith are not an authority on faith. I have faith and I have doubts. Peter had the faith to walk on water and yet he doubted or became afraid and began to sink. You do not understand faith, how could you think you are an authority on doubt. Doubt is not the same think as unbelief, You are an unbeliever not a person of many doubts.

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183526 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 9:46 PM
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<<
Excuse me but you are no expert of faith nor believing!

><

I'm every bit as much of an expert as you are.
Pride goeth before a fall, you know. :)

AM
>>

You know little about either. I have experienced faith and doubt but you are correct I am no expert...

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Author: 10talents Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183527 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 9:52 PM
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I don't believe in god for the same reason I don't believe the moon is made out of green cheese. That (for me) isn't a doubt, it's a certainty. That doesn't mean I'm not open to new evidence, or that I won't change my mind if that new evidence is presented. It just means that the current strong evidence has formed my current strong conviction.

This, in a nutshell, is the difference between atheists and theists, and the strengths of their positions. I have read lots of Christian apologetics books. I have watched numerous atheist/theist debates as well as creation/evolution debates. I have read several of the New Atheist books etc etc. One thing that is a very very common thread with the atheists: they almost to a person, say, "I will change my mind if the evidence is strong enough. I rarely hear theists say that.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 9:52 PM
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<<
I've wondered about verse 17. They saw him, but some doubted?
>>

One of the many verses that comfort me when I am doubting..... Some would tell you that doubt is a sin but it is not.....

Matthew 12
“A battered reed He will not break off,
And a smoldering wick He will not put out,
Until He [a]leads [b]justice to victory.

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183529 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 11:22 PM
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<<
Excuse me but you are no expert of faith nor believing!

><

I'm every bit as much of an expert as you are.
Pride goeth before a fall, you know. :)

AM
>>

You know little about either. I have experienced faith and doubt but you are correct I am no expert...

----------------------------------



You don't know what I know or have experienced so you should not pass judgment. But I respect you for admitting that you are not an expert.

AM

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/12/2012 11:32 PM
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This, in a nutshell, is the difference between atheists and theists, and the strengths of their positions. I have read lots of Christian apologetics books. I have watched numerous atheist/theist debates as well as creation/evolution debates. I have read several of the New Atheist books etc etc. One thing that is a very very common thread with the atheists: they almost to a person, say, "I will change my mind if the evidence is strong enough. I rarely hear theists say that.

-------------------


To be fair to the theists, you can't expect them to say that because there will never be any evidence for the non-existence of something. This is why the proof that there is a god is theirs to come up with. This is why the Atheist can justly ask for proof when someone claims the existence of a god, but the believer has no logical ground upon which to stand if he asks the Atheist to prove there is not one. The burden of proof lies with the person making the claim FOR the god, not the person who denies its existence.

AM

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183531 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 8:06 AM
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<<
You don't know what I know or have experienced so you should not pass judgment. But I respect you for admitting that you are not an expert.

AM
>>

I do not respect you for telling me what I know is true is impossible... Impossible is a powerful word, sort of like 'never' and 'always', they are used way too much in our culture.

You define words in such a way in your mind that the truth becomes impossible, I have a tendency to search for truth and then see what words will best describe reality. Sometimes I read a description of that truth and realize the most accepted definition of those words is not correct in that context.

I did not pass judgement on your experience, only on your arrogance.... but as you have pointed out I am arrogant also.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 8:14 AM
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<<
To be fair to the theists, you can't expect them to say that because there will never be any evidence for the non-existence of something. This is why the proof that there is a god is theirs to come up with. This is why the Atheist can justly ask for proof when someone claims the existence of a god, but the believer has no logical ground upon which to stand if he asks the Atheist to prove there is not one. The burden of proof lies with the person making the claim FOR the god, not the person who denies its existence.

AM
>>

God proves himself to those who are HIS. I have nothing to prove to you or any other atheist, if you were searching for truth and willing to live by it if you found it, God might prove himself to you. Maybe you are searching, but God makes HIS choices as well.
You are correct, the rock I stand on is not logical, if it was Rev would tell us that the teachings of Christ were 'natural law'. The teachings of Christ are not always logical, but they work for me and others who will accept them.

There is no burden to prove anything for you or for me.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 9:35 AM
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I did not pass judgement on your experience, only on your arrogance.... but as you have pointed out I am arrogant also.



How is it arrogant to point out a logical impossibility?
With those kinds of restrictions, conversation is not impossible.
I'm not a bobble-head. I actually think. It's ok if you don't agree with my thoughts and conclusions. I won't even call you arrogant for it. But you should at least pause for a moment and give it some thought.

AM

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 9:44 AM
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There is no burden to prove anything for you or for me.



I understand what you are saying.
But I think maybe you don't understand the ramifications of it.
If you feel you have no burden to prove the existence of your God, then you should cease forever trying to influence others to believe in him/she/it.

It is insulting to the intellect to be told you will burn in hell if you don't accept a certain "being" as god - and yet told at the same time that there is no proof that can be offered for the existence of that god.

Yet missionaries go out all the time and do just that.
I find it intellectually insulting - but more than that, I find it intrusive.

I'm not saying that you, personally, do this - only that Christians, historically, and even today do this.

I know that you (the generic Christian you) look down on me as an Atheist. You probably have some idea that I'm some kind of nasty, untrustworthy person. But I would never steal from you. I won't lie to you. I would pull you from the path of an oncoming car if I had the strength. I would not perform any kind of character assassination on you - as I have had done to me by Christians.

All I have sought here is conversation. Not agreement. Just conversation in which we exchange ideas - and in which we REASON. Perhaps it is too much to expect a Christian to reason. You just seem to accept illogical and contradictory notions without the slightest hesitation. That makes it difficult to communicate.

Still, I don't hate you for it. I don't even dislike you for it. I always hold out some hope for reasonable exchange of ideas based on reality - because reality is where we live. Like it or not.

AM

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 9:45 AM
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How is it arrogant to point out a logical impossibility?
With those kinds of restrictions, conversation is not impossible.



Argh. My mistake. I meant to say:

With those kinds of restrictions, conversation IS impossible.

Sorry about that.

AM

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Author: AdrianC Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183540 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 12:39 PM
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AM,

How about toning down the insults?

It might improve the conversation.

A.

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183542 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 1:08 PM
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<<
I'm not a bobble-head. I actually think. It's ok if you don't agree with my thoughts and conclusions. I won't even call you arrogant for it. But you should at least pause for a moment and give it some thought.
>>

If your logical conclusion is not true either your logic or your assumptions are faulty.

In this case you think faith and belief are the same and even though they may be synonyms with similar meaning they are not the same.

For example:
James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
....
22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

Faith is belief coupled with actions. We are able to do that and doubt at the same time. When we doubt the outcome of our faith/actions is put in jeaopardy.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 1:15 PM
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<<
If you feel you have no burden to prove the existence of your God, then you should cease forever trying to influence others to believe in him/she/it.
>>

Actually your arrogance exceeds mine, why do you think you should tell someone what they should do forever?

<<
I would not perform any kind of character assassination on you - as I have had done to me by Christians.
>>

You have told me that what I stated as my experience is not possible, which is you saying I am a liar or delusional... either way it is something like character assasination.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 1:17 PM
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AM,

How about toning down the insults?

It might improve the conversation.

A.

---------


I hadn't realized I had insulted anyone.
Could you point out the exact insult and to whom it was directed?

Believe me, when I insult someone you and I and the entire world will know they've been insulted. I don't pull punches.

But here I haven't insulted anyone.
If offense has been taken at something I've said, perhaps the "listener" needs to examine himself. No offense was intended.

AM

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 1:20 PM
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<<
But here I haven't insulted anyone.
If offense has been taken at something I've said, perhaps the "listener" needs to examine himself. No offense was intended.
>>

Maybe you should examine yourself....

For someone who hates for Chistians to tell others what to do... you seem to spend a lot of time telling Christians what they should do or not do!

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183546 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 1:21 PM
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Faith is belief coupled with actions. We are able to do that and doubt at the same time. When we doubt the outcome of our faith/actions is put in jeaopardy.



I think I see the difference in how you are using 'faith' and 'belief' - but I still contend that you cannot truly have faith in some/one/thing and still doubt it. You cannot truly believe in some/one/thing if you doubt it. It just doesn't make sense.

Or..maybe you feel there are degrees of faith/belief such that you can partially believe in something. But that still leaves me with a logical quandry because that just doesn't logically work.

AM

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183547 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 1:31 PM
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<<
If you feel you have no burden to prove the existence of your God, then you should cease forever trying to influence others to believe in him/she/it.
>>

Actually your arrogance exceeds mine, why do you think you should tell someone what they should do forever?

<<
I would not perform any kind of character assassination on you - as I have had done to me by Christians.
>>

You have told me that what I stated as my experience is not possible, which is you saying I am a liar or delusional... either way it is something like character assasination.



Very well then. I apologize.
If it makes sense to you to try to convince others to believe in someone for which there is no shred of proof, go right ahead. But do not be surprised when you are turned, rightfully, away for insulting their intelligence.

Christians have an amazing capacity for short-sightedness and dismissal of others who think differently.

Before I retired, I received a Christmas/Holiday card from a Christian co-worker. It was a very overt Christian card and he signed it with his name and wrote a religious message and then added a little Christian fish symbol beneath.

I asked him how he would feel, being a Christian, if I gave him a card on which I had drawn a darwin fish symbol. I think he would have been insulted. But it never once occurred to him that I might not be altogether thrilled with the religious message and the little fish symbol on a card to me.

I'm not objecting to the card - even a religious one. After all, to him it was a nice thing to do and I thought so, too. The wrong was in handwriting the fish symbol and the "god message" on the card to someone he knew did not share his religion.

If I had given him an Atheist card, I will wager nearly anything he would have been insulted. Would you be insulted?

AM

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183548 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 1:35 PM
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Maybe you should examine yourself....

For someone who hates for Chistians to tell others what to do... you seem to spend a lot of time telling Christians what they should do or not do!

------------


What, exactly, have I told you to do - other than to present proof of your god before telling someone they are going to burn in hell if they don't accept him/she/it?

And...I don't think I've actually told YOU in particular what to do. I've merely said that Christians (as a group) should either put up or shut up - to put it clear enough a 6-year-old can understand it. It's really insulting and rude to be told I will go to hell if I don't accept YOUR god - which you cannot even prove exists. You don't see ANY problem with that at all?

AM

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Author: feedmeNOWhuman Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183553 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 3:22 PM
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Good example: Bestest friend :) told me once that there were just as many even numbers as there were numbers. Hmmmmm... I says to myself. I don't believe it. Show me. And he did. Step by step he explained it to me and, even though I've forgotten how it works, there was a moment when the light switched on - and I believed it. I still believe it, even though I can't explain it - and one of these days, soon, I'd like him to take me through it again.




Please define what you mean by numbers. Integers? Rationals? Reals? Complex?

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 3:25 PM
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From the Christian perspective, this isn't true. Doubts are a part of being human. Doubts are a part of faith.



That's nothing more than a rationale for a lack of evidence.

On one hand, Christians claim that there is irrefutable evidence for God, and that we are without excuse for not believing. Then they claim it's natural to have doubts, because there is no firm evidence. Which is the true statement, and which is the false one?

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183556 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 4:15 PM
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<<
I think I see the difference in how you are using 'faith' and 'belief' - but I still contend that you cannot truly have faith in some/one/thing and still doubt it. You cannot truly believe in some/one/thing if you doubt it. It just doesn't make sense.
>>

You can contend all you want but unless you have faith... how would you know if you can or cannot doubt and have faith at the same time.

Do you have faith in anything?

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 4:18 PM
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<<
If I had given him an Atheist card, I will wager nearly anything he would have been insulted. Would you be insulted?

AM
>>

No clue what an atheist card would look like... but I get happy holiday cards all the time and am not insulted. I have friends who are not beleivers who will invite me over for for a winter soltice party or a summer soltice party and I am not offended and go when I can.....

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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183559 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 4:20 PM
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On one hand, Christians claim that there is irrefutable evidence for God, and that we are without excuse for not believing. Then they claim it's natural to have doubts, because there is no firm evidence. Which is the true statement, and which is the false one?

A very succinct way of stating it. I have been told exactly that (in almost those exact words) in the past.

I also think "doubt" needs to be defined clearly. I take it to mean "a lack of certitude". Under that definition then I also see a contradiction between having "faith", "belief" and "doubt". For example, I firmly believe the Theory of Evolution is correct. I do not doubt it. If, hypothetically, it is replaced in the future then that means I was wrong. But it doesn't mean I have doubt now. Because I don't. If I did doubt it then I could not say I believe it. I do not doubt it because I have seen some of the mountains of data that support it.

So when someone tells me they believe in a personal deity (or anything else), I take that to mean they don't have any doubt. If they do, then they lack certitude and it becomes "I believe there might be" instead of "I believe there is". I can only think of one regular here who might say "there might be". Everyone else (non-atheists, of course) seem to possess certainty.

I saw an interesting TED talk about being wrong. What does it feel like to be wrong? Exactly the same as being right. Because that's what everyone thinks they are (i.e. correct). It's discovering you are wrong that has a different feeling. :-)

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Author: 0x6a74 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183560 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 4:20 PM
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integers <-> even numbers


but there's also a proof


integers <-> rational numbers

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183561 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 4:24 PM
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<<
It's really insulting and rude to be told I will go to hell if I don't accept YOUR god - which you cannot even prove exists. You don't see ANY problem with that at all?
>>

Some people on this board were all for free speech when the prophet Muhammed was being insulted, now you think Christians should shut up about our faith!

I have not told you that you will go to hell if you do not accept my God by the way. But since you ask, I have no problem with someone speaking the truth to me or to someone else. But as someone once said if you break it then yu should be ready to take ownership.
For me I am told to speak the truth in love. That is an important distinction from what you seem to have experienced.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 4:24 PM
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On one hand, Christians claim that there is irrefutable evidence for God, and that we are without excuse for not believing. Then they claim it's natural to have doubts, because there is no firm evidence. Which is the true statement, and which is the false one?



i think part of the answer is that very few Christians say both.

very very few say the former... "convincing evidence (if you'd open your eyes!)" not "irrefutable evidence"


and ,seems to me, they don't say doubt is natural because there is no evidence, more like doubt is natural because we are imperfect and sometimes ignore or discount the evidence

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Author: NigelGlitter Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183566 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 10:47 PM
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From the Christian perspective, this isn't true. Doubts are a part of being human. Doubts are a part of faith.
Ray


I'm genuinely curious. As I posted, I am for all practical purposes an atheist and live my life as one. BUT, I do concede I am agnostic when it comes to whether or not a creator may exist.

If painted into that same corner, are you agnostic also (recognizing that you live your life as a theist)?

Responding to your post, but I'll take any response from anyone.

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183567 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 11:03 PM
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I'm genuinely curious. As I posted, I am for all practical purposes an atheist and live my life as one. BUT, I do concede I am agnostic when it comes to whether or not a creator may exist.

If painted into that same corner, are you agnostic also (recognizing that you live your life as a theist)?

Responding to your post, but I'll take any response from anyone.


I think everyone is confusing degree of certainty and the different uses of doubt.

One use of doubt: "I doubt it". It can mean that you don't have enough reason to believe x is true.

On the other hand, someone may also say "I'm pretty sure about x" which means to me that they are more than 50% sure it is true, but not 100% certainty. This is what I mean, and I suspect other Christians mean by doubt. Lack of 100% certainty.

In my experience with belief in the God of the Bible, I can't say where my level of certainty exactly is, but it's way more than 50% and somewhere less than 100%. That gap between my level of certainty and 100% is the amount of doubt I experience. It fluctuates too.

I have more than enough reason to believe God exists (greater than 50% certainty), so I decided to put my faith/trust/belief in him and try to live as one of his people.

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Author: NigelGlitter Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183568 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/13/2012 11:26 PM
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I think everyone is confusing degree of certainty and the different uses of doubt.

One use of doubt: "I doubt it". It can mean that you don't have enough reason to believe x is true.

On the other hand, someone may also say "I'm pretty sure about x" which means to me that they are more than 50% sure it is true, but not 100% certainty. This is what I mean, and I suspect other Christians mean by doubt. Lack of 100% certainty.

In my experience with belief in the God of the Bible, I can't say where my level of certainty exactly is, but it's way more than 50% and somewhere less than 100%. That gap between my level of certainty and 100% is the amount of doubt I experience. It fluctuates too.

I have more than enough reason to believe God exists (greater than 50% certainty), so I decided to put my faith/trust/belief in him and try to live as one of his people.


You're agnostic, but you can't say it out loud cuz it may effect your status in heaven?

I know, sounds snarky, but I'm not afraid to say I might have it wrong, and I've yet to meet any theist who will take the same position, even with "doubt."

Since I'm wired differently, if it's not fear, then what? You're no more nor less certain than I am in a mechanistic explanation.

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183570 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/14/2012 9:09 AM
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<<
In my experience with belief in the God of the Bible, I can't say where my level of certainty exactly is, but it's way more than 50% and somewhere less than 100%. That gap between my level of certainty and 100% is the amount of doubt I experience. It fluctuates too.

I have more than enough reason to believe God exists (greater than 50% certainty), so I decided to put my faith/trust/belief in him and try to live as one of his people.
>>

Including the chance of being delusional... I am 99% sure that God exists, I beleive with 95% certainty that Jesus as written about in the scrptures is the Christ. I am 99% certain the Jesus taught the truth as revealed to Him by God the Father, I am not as certain that I am reading those teachings... but I do have confidence that if the scriptures are anywhere close to accurate then He can still reveal the Truth to those who seek it.

My doubts increase as I live by traditions that have been passed down to me, my own interpretations of the scriptures, the life I live, my own actions, so I probably live with 50% - 80% certainty of my own faith! I frequently doubt my own actions are what God intends for me to do. I question my own beleifs as I question the beliefs of others.

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183571 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/14/2012 9:16 AM
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You're agnostic, but you can't say it out loud cuz it may effect your status in heaven?

Nope, if that is your conclusion, I've done a poor job or you're reading me wrong. I'm a believer, just honest that I could be wrong about God's existence, even with a high level of confidence.

I believe one can know God exists, and believe he does. I've taken it a step further and confessed my rebellion against him and received his gift of forgiveness and restoration, and I try to live my life in line with his will.

All the "heros" of the faith throughout the Bible experienced doubts. It seems to be a near-universal experience of Christians.

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Author: bdhinton Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183572 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/14/2012 9:18 AM
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Including the chance of being delusional... I am 99% sure that God exists, I beleive with 95% certainty that Jesus as written about in the scrptures is the Christ. I am 99% certain the Jesus taught the truth as revealed to Him by God the Father, I am not as certain that I am reading those teachings... but I do have confidence that if the scriptures are anywhere close to accurate then He can still reveal the Truth to those who seek it.

My doubts increase as I live by traditions that have been passed down to me, my own interpretations of the scriptures, the life I live, my own actions, so I probably live with 50% - 80% certainty of my own faith! I frequently doubt my own actions are what God intends for me to do. I question my own beleifs as I question the beliefs of others.


Same here, well said.

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Author: NigelGlitter Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183575 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/14/2012 11:27 AM
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Including the chance of being delusional... I am 99% sure that God exists, I beleive with 95% certainty that Jesus as written about in the scrptures is the Christ. I am 99% certain the Jesus taught the truth as revealed to Him by God the Father, I am not as certain that I am reading those teachings... but I do have confidence that if the scriptures are anywhere close to accurate then He can still reveal the Truth to those who seek it.

My doubts increase as I live by traditions that have been passed down to me, my own interpretations of the scriptures, the life I live, my own actions, so I probably live with 50% - 80% certainty of my own faith! I frequently doubt my own actions are what God intends for me to do. I question my own beleifs as I question the beliefs of others.

Same here, well said.


Okay....I am 99% certain that the mechanistic explanation is accurate, but I am not so certain that current mechanistic explanations are exact or accurate. Because I am honest, I will admit I am agnostic when pressed on the debate. I am certain that 2+2=4, I am certain the keyboard I touch is real, but there are some things in life that no honest person can say are certain. The existence or lack thereof of god is just one of those things.

You two are just as agnostic as I am, OR, you simply cannot admit under any circumstances god just might not exist. In which case, you can't even claim the possibility of being delusional. That 1% makes you agnostic, like it or not.

Why? It's not lack of explaining well Bryan. I can understand that fear of loss in standing with god can lead to this. As much as we both consider each other obstinate and closed minded at many times, I know you are a reasonable person, so I don't consider you a sheer hard head.

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Author: RayKinsella Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183579 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 9:38 AM
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I'm genuinely curious. As I posted, I am for all practical purposes an atheist and live my life as one. BUT, I do concede I am agnostic when it comes to whether or not a creator may exist.

If painted into that same corner, are you agnostic also (recognizing that you live your life as a theist)?

Responding to your post, but I'll take any response from anyone.


I started down the road of a long winded reply about my journey, but I thought better of it at this point.
Its a good question. There are levels of doubt. As one's Christian faith increases, doubt changes. For example, you first need to believe there is a God. If you don't, it sounds silly to expect you to be 'all in' on the Christian faith.
Secondly, once that doubt is removed, you can consider Christ. If you accept that Christ is the Son of God, there is another level of acceptance of His words.
For example, John the Baptist grew up with Jesus Christ. He babtised Jesus and heard Jesus proclaimed the beloved Son of God. Then, when imprisoned, John saw his death as imminent. He sent word to Jesus to ask Him if He were indeed who he said he was.
John believed in Jesus, then required a whole new level of faith when he faced death. I believe facing death would do that to a person! And John was right to fear, because Herod lopped off his head.
I mean when you face a crisis of faith, it is natural for doubt to set in. John the Baptist didn't face doubt and become agnostic. He was already convinced there was a God and convinced that Jesus was a big part of it ("His sandal I am not worthy to untie").

Jesus, Himself, pleaded to have His fate set aside. He was facing crucifixion and sought clarity. He didn't suddenly question wether God existed. He needed clarity about His fate. No sense being humiliated and nailed to a tree if there is another way, right?

When a Christian has a doubt, it doesn't necessarily go back to wondering if God exists. It is about the next level of faith. The sacrifice in front of you. Then you walk through that door and on your journey.
You ask a good question. I hope this clears it up from the Christian perspective.
Ray

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Author: lhaselden Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183580 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 10:06 AM
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<<
Its a good question. There are levels of doubt. As one's Christian faith increases, doubt changes. For example, you first need to believe there is a God. If you don't, it sounds silly to expect you to be 'all in' on the Christian faith.
Secondly, once that doubt is removed, you can consider Christ. If you accept that Christ is the Son of God, there is another level of acceptance of His words.
>>

I do not think I started with a belief in God, I started with a belief that Jesus was teaching TRUTH, then I had to consider if the Father in heaven He spoke of was God. As you get to know the Son then you begin to know the Father as well.
Faith in Jesus as Messiah, Christ and Savior came later as I became aware of the sin in my life, the lack of love in my heart for others...

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Author: AdrianC Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183583 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 10:32 AM
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But here I haven't insulted anyone.
If offense has been taken at something I've said, perhaps the "listener" needs to examine himself. No offense was intended.


I thought this could be seen as a little bit offensive written on a Christian message board:

Perhaps it is too much to expect a Christian to reason. You just seem to accept illogical and contradictory notions without the slightest hesitation. That makes it difficult to communicate.

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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183585 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 12:48 PM
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Good example: Bestest friend :) told me once that there were just as many even numbers as there were numbers. Hmmmmm... I says to myself. I don't believe it. Show me. And he did. Step by step he explained it to me and, even though I've forgotten how it works, there was a moment when the light switched on - and I believed it. I still believe it, even though I can't explain it - and one of these days, soon, I'd like him to take me through it again.


There would have to be, wouldn't there?

There are an infinite number of numbers. There are an infinite number of even numbers (You can't have half of infinity).
If they are both infinite, infinity = infinity. They are equal.

That was pretty fun to think about!


Frydaze1

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Author: Wradical Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183588 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 1:02 PM
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There are an infinite number of numbers. There are an infinite number of even numbers (You can't have half of infinity).
If they are both infinite, infinity = infinity. They are equal.

That was pretty fun to think about!

==============================
Ok, some people have an odd idea of fun. That's nothing new.

But not all infinite, or undefined, sets of numbers are really equivalent (I hesitate to say "equal".)

Example:
How many numbers are there between 1 and 2? [call this Set A]
Answer: Infinite

How many numbers between 1 and 3? [call this Set B]
Answer: Likewise, infinite.

BUT - it can be shown that for every number N in Sets A and B, between 1 and 2, there exists a number (N+1), in Set B, located between 2 and 3.

THEREFORE, while both sets of numbers are infinite, inductive reasoning tells us that Set B should be twice as large as Set A, even though both are innumerable.

Bill

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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183590 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 1:11 PM
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BUT - it can be shown that for every number N in Sets A and B, between 1 and 2, there exists a number (N+1), in Set B, located between 2 and 3.

THEREFORE, while both sets of numbers are infinite, inductive reasoning tells us that Set B should be twice as large as Set A, even though both are innumerable.


Oh I totally understand that. But I still think they're equivalent. You can neither halve nor double infinity. There are not portions of infinity, nor ranges of infinity.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?


Frydaze1

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Author: benjd25 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183594 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 2:00 PM
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Narnia is Real: A Skeptic's Experience in Another Dimension

http://skepchick.org/2012/10/narnia-is-real-a-skeptics-exper...

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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183601 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 2:25 PM
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You are correct. Not all infinities are created equal. We've discussed this a few times on AF (helps that one of our members is a professor of mathematics!).

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/CountablyInfinite.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleph-1#Aleph-one

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 3:06 PM
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There are not portions of infinity, nor ranges of infinity.



Actually, there are. Some infinite numbers are bigger than other infinite numbers.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinality

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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183613 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 4:16 PM
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Actually, there are. Some infinite numbers are bigger than other infinite numbers.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinality


Cool, thanks for the link! Though I admit that a bunch of it is over my head.

On the other hand, it doesn't appear to say what you're claiming (see above disclaimer that I don't really understand a lot of it). For example there's this section:

Infinite setsOur intuition gained from finite sets breaks down when dealing with infinite sets. In the late nineteenth century Georg Cantor, Gottlob Frege, Richard Dedekind and others rejected the view of Galileo (which derived from Euclid) that the whole cannot be the same size as the part. One example of this is Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel.

The reason for this is that the various characterizations of what it means for set A to be larger than set B, or to be the same size as set B, which are all equivalent for finite sets, are no longer equivalent for infinite sets. Different characterizations can yield different results. For example, in the popular characterization of size chosen by Cantor, sometimes an infinite set A is larger (in that sense) than an infinite set B; while other characterizations[which?] may yield that an infinite set A is always the same size as an infinite set B.

For finite sets, counting is just forming a bijection (i.e., a one-to-one correspondence) between the set being counted and an initial segment of the positive integers. Thus there is no notion equivalent to counting for infinite sets. While counting gives a unique result when applied to a finite set, an infinite set may be placed into a one-to-one correspondence with many different ordinal numbers depending on how one chooses to "count" (order) it.


Which seems to me to say that some scholars agree with you and some with me. But there isn't a definitive answer.

In fact, it links to the Paradox of the Grand Hotel, which quite nicely explains AngelMay's bff's statement about even numbers:
Some find this state of affairs profoundly counterintuitive. The properties of infinite "collections of things" are quite different from those of finite "collections of things". The paradox of Hilbert's Grand Hotel can be understood by using Cantor's theory of Transfinite Numbers. Thus, while in an ordinary (finite) hotel with more than one room, the number of odd-numbered rooms is obviously smaller than the total number of rooms. However, in Hilbert's aptly named Grand Hotel, the quantity of odd-numbered rooms is no smaller than total "number" of rooms. In mathematical terms, the cardinality of the subset containing the odd-numbered rooms is the same as the cardinality of the set of all rooms. Indeed, infinite sets are characterized as sets that have proper subsets of the same cardinality. For countable sets, this cardinality is called (aleph-null).

Rephrased, for any countably infinite set, there exists a bijective function which maps the countably infinite set to the set of natural numbers, even if the countably infinite set contains the natural numbers. For example, the set of rational numbers—those numbers which can be written as a quotient of integers—contains the natural numbers as a subset, but is no bigger than the set of natural numbers since the rationals are countable: There is a bijection from the naturals to the rationals.



And, yes, I'm weird enough to think this is a lot of fun. ;-)

Frydaze1

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Author: NigelGlitter Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 183637 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/15/2012 9:19 PM
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When a Christian has a doubt, it doesn't necessarily go back to wondering if God exists. It is about the next level of faith. The sacrifice in front of you. Then you walk through that door and on your journey.
You ask a good question. I hope this clears it up from the Christian perspective.
Ray


Thanks Ray. You highlight the chasm, and I do understand the perspective.

My kids love to watch news shows about crimes, and a lot of times a jury finds a defendant guilty based on circumstantial evidence. I couldn't do that. I gotta have finger prints, DNA, a size 12 Bruno Magli shoe print.

I differentiate between believing and knowing. To function, I have to operate as if many of my beliefs are knowledge, but there's always that "with a grain of salt" that comes with the beliefs. It leaves the door cracked open.

Thanks again.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 10/16/2012 3:17 AM
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If you think of the term Cardinality is being a measure of 'how infinite' the set is, it might make more sense.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinality#Finite.2C_countable...


Thus we can make the following definitions:

*Any set X with cardinality less than that of the natural numbers, or |?X?| < |?N?|, is said to be a finite set.



The Natural numbers are 1, 2, 3 . . .


They go on forever, but there are infinite sets that are "bigger".



*Any set X that has the same cardinality as the set of the natural numbers, or |?X?| = |?N?| = ?0, is said to be a countably infinite set.



For example, the rational numbers (fractions) can be put into a one-to-one correspondence with the Natural numbers. In other words, they are countable, so you can 'number' them by making a grid that contains every possible fraction.
Top row 1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 . . .
Second row 2/1, 2/2, 2/3, 2/4 . . .
Third row 3/1, 3/2, 3/3, 3/4 . . .
etc

So the chart goes on forever to the right because there is no limit to the denominators. And it goes on forever downward because there is no limit to the numerators. But it starts in the upper left corner, right? So I can start numbering them (in other words, assigning a natural number to each fraction) by starting with 1/1 and working my way diagonally down and to the right through the chart (skipping the duplicates).

If you look at the diagram here:http://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching/rational-numbers-coun...

You'll see what I mean. So the number of Rationals is countable, just like the Naturals. That is, for every Natural number, there is a Rational. Or, the Cardinality of the set of Rationals is the same as the Naturals.


*Any set X with cardinality greater than that of the natural numbers, or |?X?| > |?N?|, for example |?R?| = c > |?N?|, is said to be uncountable.


The set of Reals (the continuum) has a higher cardinality. You can't 'count' them the way you can the Rationals. You can't organize them in a systematic manner and then assign a Natural number to each one, because no matter how you list them, there are always more of them that are left out of the list. Pick any two real numbers, add them, and divide by 2 and you've got another one in between that wasn't listed. They are uncountable. Or, they have a higher Cardinality.



Cardinal arithmetic can be used to show not only that the number of points in a real number line is equal to the number of points in any segment of that line, but that this is equal to the number of points on a plane and, indeed, in any finite-dimensional space.



So a subset of the Reals is as infinite as the entire set of Reals. And a Real number line is as infinite as a Real number plane (imagine the line twisting and curving around so that it intersects every point in the plane).

Levels of Cardinality are represented by the Aleph number.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleph_number


And that's about where my understanding peters out....

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Author: feedmeNOWhuman Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 189927 of 196934
Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 7/2/2013 5:43 PM
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The 'Proof of Heaven' Author Has Now Been Thoroughly Debunked by Science

http://news.yahoo.com/proof-heaven-author-now-thoroughly-deb...


perhaps the most damning piece of testimony comes from a doctor who was on duty in the ER when Alexander arrived in 2008. Dr. Laura Potter explains that she "had to make the decision to just place him in a chemically induced coma." But that's not how Alexander tells it, according to the Esquire investigation:

In Proof of Heaven, Alexander writes that he spent seven days in "a coma caused by a rare case of E. coli bacterial meningitis." There is no indication in the book that it was Laura Potter, and not bacterial meningitis, that induced his coma, or that the physicians in the ICU maintained his coma in the days that followed through the use of anesthetics.



Note that back on post 183432, I asked:

Which is more likely, that magic butterfly beings exist, or that his brain was still functioning in some hallucinatory state?

We know that our consciousness can become damaged by alcohol, mental illness, and Alzheimer's Disease.

Anything that can be wounded is mortal.

It is possible to recreate these NDE's with properly-placed electrodes on the brains of people who are still conscious. And there are plenty of people who were clinically dead who experienced nothing.



I was right. He was hallucinating.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 7/2/2013 5:44 PM
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This guy isn't gullible. He's learned in the area of brain activity. Unlike a dream, he woke up and still believes he had the experience.
I'm not convinced the guy saw heaven, but I don't find it quite as easy to just explain it away.




It's easy now that we know the facts.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 7/3/2013 4:16 PM
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This board is infected. For sure.

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Subject: Re: Heaven is real Date: 7/3/2013 7:02 PM
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Infected with facts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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