Is Faith Dangerous? A Question for Believers...

by AllTimeJeff 85 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • thetrueone

    Putting your faith in a supreme being that has goodwill and attentions to mankind is not dangerous in a whole and might be considered good direction for the individual.

    Where it does get dangerous though is when you seek that direction from dumb corrupt power hungry men, who use the power of the supreme in intent to empower themselves.

    Exploilting people to contain that power, is where the danger of faith lies.

    In short faith in men means expoiltation and power !

    Once a person agrees that a man or group of men are the unquestionable voice of the supreme one therein lies the potensional danger !

    When each varied group puts their undivided devotion to these men it creates a culture of bigotry and hatred in society and this is why so many wars are fought as history shows and still

    contunes today. Unfortunately most secular religions will not give up that power very easily including the jws. and they strongly protect for which they have obtained.

  • Apostate Kate
    Apostate Kate

    Hi Penguin!

    Why are we so attached to our beliefs and thoughts? Have we defined ourself by them? Is that who we really are? Can we be separated from our thoughts and beliefs? Who would we be without them?

    These questions are so very important, questions we should all ask ourselves. I had to go on a journey of self discovery after the WT, and then God discovery to come to terms with these questions as we all have to do.

    If I was raised in an Arabic country would I be a Muslim or would I be dreaming of freedom in another land? How about China, would I be communist and cling to my culture? Hindu in India and accept the cruelty of the caste system and not try to change it?

    There is a world full of followers, that much we know just by looking at the world. It is scarey! Would I have hid Jews or supported Hitler? Would I have been an abolitionist or would I have accept slavery?

    Personally I have answered these questions and know who I am and what defines me.

  • JamesThomas
    Your view is simply not logical nor coherent.

    Are you suggesting, Perry, that it's best to believe that the true Source of an infinite expression of life and universe should be so diminutive as to fit into the extremely tight confines of the human mind?


  • Perry


    Not at all. I suppose what you're trying to say is that the finite (us) cannot know that which is infinite (God). We may not all but we can know part. There's alot about computers that I don't know about but I know enough to make a living with a web site.

  • AllTimeJeff

    I thank everyone for a lively debate on this matter. I just had to retype my entire reply, as I have been busy at work all week, and thus, this will be my last comment on this thread. I have observed a couple of points that I think argue against faith. I said at the beginning....

    I look forward to a lively debate on this. I think about it often. Please note that it is not my intention to attack believers, but rather, to ask believers to defend their beliefs. I hope that it will not be taken personally.

    Here is a quote from the first post on this thread, with questions that I asked, that were often ignored, danced around, but never addressed directly or answered directly:

    I highlight FAITH because frankly, what other reason is there to belive that Muhammed flew away to heaven on the back of a horse, or that Jesus was born of a virgin, died for our sins, was resurrected, and will return to judge the earth? People believe in such things for a variety of reasons, but why? Isn't it a fact that we all assimilate the faith and culture of our land of birth? We have to be honest and say that if we were born in the middle east, we would likely be Muslim, and many of us would probably in all sincerity think Islam was THE way, and that Christians were pagan, desrving of death through Jihad. Those of middle eastern descent who are born here in the west and absorb western culture, values, and religous beliefs, so they too believe in the cause of the USA against terrorism...... Other then the accident of ones birth, how can one quantify claims to faith and truth? Look at the damage it causes.

    Some of you in response tried to argue that it is wrong to even question faith, or people of faith. Of course, I asked in the very first post for the reasons for your faith. In this PC world that we live in, some religionists would have you believe that to suggest god doesn't exist is the highest insult, that to ask for actual evidence for belief is not necesarry at all. It is a happy accident that we don't live 500 years ago, where the same question I posed would no doubt have resulted in my being tied to a stake and set on fire.

    Others, notably Little Toe, tried to change the question or suggest that I was asking the wrong ones. (with respect, if you want to change the questions, feel free to start your own thread. My questions were perfectly legit) Changing the subject is a tactic when you can't answer the question in the first place. At least it created that impression with me. For that matter, to claim that "god" or someone similar communicated personally doesn't answer the question and must be met with extreme skeptisicm. I offer two excellent pieces of reasoning on the reliability of "personal messages from god". This first one is by Richard Dawkins from "The God Delusion":

    You say you have experienced God directly? Well, some people have experienced a pink elephant, but that probably doesn't impress you. Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, distinctly heard the voice of Jesus telling him to kill women, and he was locked up for life. George W. Bush says that God told him to invade Iraq (a pity God didn't vouchsafe him a revelation that there were no weapons of mass destruction). Individuals in asylums think they are Napoleon or Charlie Chaplin, or that the entire world is conspiring against them, or that they can broadcast their thoughts into other people's heads. We humour them but don't take their internally revealed beliefs seriously, mostly because not many people share them. Religious experiences are different only in that the people who claim them are numerous.

    This is from Sam Harris in The End of Faith

    We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no rational justification. When their beliefs are extremely common we call them 'religious'; otherwise, they are likely to be called 'mad', 'psychotic' or 'delusional' . . . Clearly there is sanity in numbers. And yet, it is merely an accident of history that it is considered normal in our society to believe that the Creator of the universe can hear your thoughts, while it is demonstrative of mental illness to believe that he is communicating with you by having the rain tap in Morse code on your bedroom window. And so, while religious people are not generally mad, their core beliefs absolutely are.

    While I have noted a wide variety of opinion, I would be remiss if I didn't point out the sheer lack of evidence brought forth to say,"I know god exists because of facts A,B, or C." Instead, people gave emotional arguements ('faith helps people get through tough times') but not reasons. It seems that Christians for example are more then happy to accept the couple of verses that says Jesus is our saviour and that we need faith, without being able to tell anyone much at all as to why the source material is itself trustworthy and accurate. The sheer amount of contradictions in both the Old and New Testament are staggering. But a believer expresses "faith" that what he believes is the accurate, unerring 100% truthful word of god. That is quite a claim, quite a belief to have, without really knowing why you believe it, or where you got your beliefs from..... Or being unable to answer the questions that were posed at the beginning....

    I say this as a commentary. It does disagree with many of you, but I mean no harm by these words. I hope that a request for evidence and fact as a basis for faith doesn't cause upset. I do think it demonstrates that faith is dangerous because it in fact cannot be proven with evidence. You either believe what you are taught and/or read in ancient scrolls, or you have no faith. You either need to hear or see something no one else can see, or else you have no faith.

    I end with the quote from Mr Harris that I put in my first post on this thread. I think this is the quote that scares believers the most, with respect.

    "It is time we conceded a basic fact of human discourse: Either people have good reasons for what they believe, or they do not. When they have good reasons, their beliefs contribute to our growing understanding of the world. We need not distinguish between "hard" and "soft" sciences here, or between science and other evidence-based disciplines, like history. There happen to be very good reasons to believe that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Consequently, the idea that the Egyptians actually did it lacks credibility. Every sane human being recognizes that to rely merely on "faith" to decide specific questions of historical fact would be both idiotic and grotesque-that is, until the conversation turns to the origin of books like the Bible and the Koran, to the resurrection of Jesus, to Muhammad's conversation with the angel Gabriel, or to any of the other hallowed travesties that still crowd the altar of human ignorance.
    Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world. If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that Muhammad flew to Heaven on a winged horse, these beliefs would necessarily form part of our rational description of the universe. Faith is nothing more than the license that religious people give one another to believe such propositions when reasons fail. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a willingness to dispassionately consider new evidence and new arguments and a passionate unwillingness to do so. The distinction could not be more obvious, or more consequential, and yet it is everywhere elided, even in the ivory tower."

    From here on out, I will stick to commenting on JW issues on this board, although those of you who have read this now know how I feel on the matter. Thanks!

  • Fungasm

    Sorry if you took it personally. Some like to defend what they believe, others don't. I was ready to assume that if they joined in the discussion, they were the kind who wanted to defend their beliefs. Please, if you don't mind, don't defend those that aren't attacked. I didn't attack those who lost daughters and wives to cancer. You are defending pure fiction, because I never said that! Defend an idea or answer the question. You could have framed that example better without implying that it is my goal to take away a persons hope. Sheesh......

    Sheesh is right! I've just caught up on this post and it seems to me that many posters are busy getting offended rather than taking the time to understand what is being written. From what I have seen AlltimeJeff has consistantly been interested in other's opinions and polite.

    This is a DISCUSSION forum. There is nothing wrong with bringing up an interesting topic to discuss.


  • AuldSoul

    Faith is not dangerous. We all have it and daily demonstrate we have it in hundreds of ways. Sometimes this is based on previous personal experiences. Sometimes it is based on information received from others.

    I can prove this to anyone who think otherwise about themselves. There is no sane human that is purely rational. There is no human that is objective.


  • AllTimeJeff

    Well, this was a lively one... (I am NOT bumping this up to re-argue the point... but I will be happy to discuss this more if anyone wants to. I actually don't feel as motivated as I did when I first proposed this idea....)

    I am bumping this to the top for a reason, firstly, for me. I don't write diaries (maybe one day that will chage) so these little exchanges and essays give me a glimpse into where I was.

    Secondly (and less importantly) its instructive to me in how the value of these debates are to the individual. (well speaking for myself...)

    ...and speaking for me, I can see how I needed to work this out for myself. When I read of the passion and anger of some posters here, even ones I strongly disagree with, I am reminded of how helpful it can be just to put it out there, defend it, and listen to differing viewpoints....

    You might be interested in knowing that I have changed a bit in my views on the matter.... I left thinking that all religion and faith were bad. (obviously)

    I still think a 'turn off your brain, group think' faith that questions nothing and accepts everything, esp where there is a seperate agenda for the group that is apparant is not helpful.

    But as I have calmed down a bit after I first left the borg, I have come to see the value of faith in others. And I have to admit, I feel I underestimated my need for some kind of "spiritual grounding", to replace that void/chasm that I had to rip out.

    This doesn't mean I believe in "god". It could mean I believe in a higher power. I am still working it out.

    I am not interested in turning my life's work into the discovery of whats correct, atheism or theism. It goes against my uptopian, pragmatic ideals. But my goal in all of this has been to be as honest as I can be, but also, to make sure my life is as full, positive, and healthy as it can be.

    Anyway.... just an interesting time warp for me. I appreciate what Little Toe in particular was trying to say a bit more now, although I am still not in agreement personally. But that isn't the point, and I hope Little Toe, Auld Sole, and others who participated, that your beliefs and faith bring you much peace and fullfillment.

  • passwordprotected

    I don't really understand the self-perpetuating cycle of pulling out quotes from this sceptic or that believer to vilifiy or justify faith.

    It shoud always be down to an individual's personal experience. I am a person of faith, but I didn't reach that place due to reading what so-called experts have to say on the matter. But then, maybe that requires faith in the first place...

    I was talking to a physicist on Friday evening about the idea of faith. He said that, as a scientist, faith is essential to him; his work in the lab is more often than not faith-based. Think it through.

    The question in the OP is "Is Faith Dangerous?" The answer, IMO, is "of course not". If it is, then it should be applied across the board which means that scientists around the world better get the hell out of the lab.

    Faith within scientists has led to them changing the world.

    Faith within Christians has led to them changing the world.

  • Chalam

    Hi Jeff,

    Interesting thread. I think it is good to explore the possibilities to some extent. It is clear you will not be happy with atheism but neither have you found God, hence the "no man's land" of agnosticism, neither faith nor total unbelief.

    That said, I think although one needs to explore, we need to be careful what we absorb-"you are what you eat". Take the book you read for example. It soon became part of your thinking.

    Secular humanists would probably make that accusation against myself reading the bible I suppose.

    Luke 6:43-45 (New International Version)

    A Tree and Its Fruit
    43 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Creation points the way. Does secular humanism ultimately bear good fruit? Will they fix the world of its woes? The jury is still out but I suggest not. There have been plenty of plans to do that for thousands of years and no solution yet. At some point you will run into more born again Christians. Watch for the fruit. It won't be be abundant in some as much as others but you should see it. Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

    Its interesting, with JWs I see a veneer. Looks attractive at a first glance but the veneer keeps coming off and exposing what lies underneath, cheap chipboard.

    Myself, I like solid oak Isaiah 61 :) The Lord comes round and does some pruning one in a while or cuts off the deadwood John 15

    All the best,


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