"All religious belief distills down to faith in utterly unprovable stories."

by Franklin Massey 50 Replies latest jw friends

  • Franklin Massey
    Franklin Massey

    I read this today on the board and want to ask, is the statement true?

    All religious belief distills down to faith in utterly unprovable stories.

    I feel this way sometimes. But then I have to consider that my exodus from religion is relatively new. My bias is too strong for me to be totally objective. I don't think I've yet acheived my balance when it comes to these types of questions.

    So I'm asking you, no matter what your persuasion, is the above statement true? And why do you answer so?

  • Shador

    Would not that be the very definition of "faith"? Keep in mind that these "stories" can't be DISPROVEN either.

    As I mentioned in another topic, I am pagan, and personally believe the "gods" may be highly evolved aliens. Can't be proven, can't be disproven.

    As for any holy books or religious works (even the Edda of my own beliefs), they must be taken with a grain (or more) of salt. Ultimately they were all written by men and subject to error and personal bias.

    I suggest you read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Of course, he is what you might call an "evangelical athiest", so keep that salt handy. Pay particular attention to "the invisible teapot" illustration, which kind of highlights the can't be proven/disproven thing.

  • Giordano

    Yes they are unproven, a blend of myths, cultural inventions etc. The interesting thing about these storries is that many people are willing to believe (especially if you were brought up with them) in writings dating back 3500 years or as modern as 2050 or so years ago. Considering how far mankind has come in science and other areas it's amazing how many still cling to this stuff.

    But there is good news according to PEW the third largest group in the world Following Christians and Muslims are Non Affiliated with any religion!They now number 1.1 billion person's and I imagine they just might be the largest group since people don't feel comfortable saying they are non believers etc.

    It's not a race it is the inevitable result of access to knowledge and the growth in mankinds understanding about the nature of our world.

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    I think to sort things out, you need to look for patterns. Ask yourself:Does this fit into a pattern of people making shit up, or is it true? That's a good start.

  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill

    In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I would have to agree with the above statement.(Furthermore, I won't exactly be holding my breath waiting for any such evidence to appear, either!)

    All too often, religion is something either concocted - or adapted - to allow one group to manipulate the many;

    - more than a little bit silly when you think about it i.e. to allow yourself to be manipulated by a " faith in unprovable stories!"


  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    If you read Carl Jung and myth scholars, the stories serve a purpose, whether they are provable or not. Certain themes repeat throughout human civilizations and time b/c certain things are common to the human condition. I no longer care whether the story actually happened. Christianity speaks to me b/c I was raised in a Christian culture. How can I say Christ only and not Buddha?

    The WT and other fundamentalists have a very unsophisticated postion. The stories are true beyond proof. It doesn't mean they actually happened. Altho sometimes when I read my Bible in consecutive verses, I come across a comical, odd story that does not fit into the author's grand scheme or one that is so over the top I believe no one would invent it. I doubt most Christians today believe in a literal view of the Bible.

    Within the past few years I read Karen Armstrong's book on God. During a specific sliver of time, economic, political, and social condtions aligned throughout earth to produce what we call the great religious traditions - sans Christianity. Judaism, Buddhism, HInduism, and can't recall what else. The Axis religions.

    I have a personal take on the gospels. Many things may have happened as recorded, some things are clear embellishments and knowing the author's purposes and social history gives insight into why certain events are exagerrated, and some I don't think happened. One item I don't believe are the geological and weird events like the curtain in the Holy of HOlies being ripped at Jesus' death. If such events did occur, they would be reported in Roman and Jewish sources, too. I find much more proof and truth in a nuanced view than in the Witness system.

    I can't prove something but not every Witness is ignorant. The writers and GB must have some savvy. I've always wondered if they just go through motions b/c they know no else what to do. Priests do it. My own faith waxes and wanes and I know not why.

  • flipper

    FRANKLIN- If you get a chance watch the Bill Maher documentary called " Religulous " . It's well done, smart, informative, funny - yet really makes a person think about the validity of religions in a " candid camera " type of way. It was filmed live of Maher & his crew going into different churches and interviewing religious members asking them candid questions. The emotional responses many times had little to do with fact , just a belief based on credulity and unproven thoughts based on tradition of various religious beliefs.

    Bottom line is everybody has to find their own beliefs that they can be at peace with. Some people need religion as a crutch to lean on out of fear of the unknown, or fear of what happens when we die. Some of us ( like myself ) don't need that crutch as we don't fear death , but accept that death is a natural occurrence that every human being will have to face eventually. That's why I'm constantly telling people it's important to live in the here and now because this life MAY be all we've got ! So it's important not to waste it. Like Bill Maher, I'm of the school of I DON'T KNOW. I'm not ashamed to feel that way. It's realistic. We may live on after we die, we may not. But I'm leaning towards the thought that this life we have is our main game we should be playing , because there are NO guarantees of something else.

    I guess I subscribe to John Lennon's views as well in his song called " God " . I do believe in myself and a few others , but don't put much stock in politicians or religions. Here's the you-tube of John's song.


  • mindseye

    Band on the Run makes some good points. The problem with coming out of the JW mindset is that the Witnesses have a very simplistic, undeveloped approach to theology. Unfortunately, thanks to the rise of fundamentalism in America, Christianity in general had taken on this regressive approach. So it's understandable that many of us are turned off to religion and spirituality totally, and turn to the atheistic/agnostic path.

    This is the path I was on for a while. I had a downright antagonistic attitude towards religion. I dismissed the stories as irrational nonsense, stories only relevant to a people of a bygone time.

    Then something happened. I began to read authors with a more sophistacated approach to religion, like Karen Armstrong. I also read some Jung and Joseph Campbell, and learned more about mythology (and the similarity between myths). Most significantly, I very recently met someone with a strong academic background in theology and philosophy, and discussions with this person had me reexamine many of my reductionist positions towards God and mythology.

    Somewhere in the evolution of our ancestors consciousness evolved. Eventually spirituality and rituals also developed, and the mythological narratives around them. From archeological evidence, many of the early developments probably were fertility rituals. Others may have involved hunting and reactions to natural phenomena. Imagine being one of our early ancestors and moving to an area with an abundance of thunder storms for the first time. The raw power would be awe inspiring. It would be sublime. This would be GOD!

    This is the deal: the mythology may not be real in the literal sense, but it says something real about US. It's woven into our very consciousness. People like Dawkins are brilliant, I enjoy his work immensely, but in his eagerness to throw out God he's throwing out something vital in our evolution as a species. There is room in our dialogue for both mythos and logos.

  • sizemik
    If you get a chance watch the Bill Maher documentary called " Religulous " . . . . Flipper

    This doco is actually available on YouTube in about 10 parts. Interestingly it prompted a call from some Christians to boycott the film . . . a sure sign it has something worthwhile to say. Part one here . . .


  • tec

    All religious belief distills down to faith in utterly unprovable stories.

    I'm not sure if that's true or not. I don't have religious belief. I have faith in Christ... but I am not religious. So I'm not really sure what the person who posted this actually meant. My faith is based on more than just stories.

    But there is good news according to PEW the third largest group in the world Following Christians and Muslims are Non Affiliated with any religion!They now number 1.1 billion person's and I imagine they just might be the largest group since people don't feel comfortable saying they are non believers etc.

    There are a lot of people of faith who do not affiliate with any religion either, and they make up some of those numbers. Is there a separate category for atheism? Not that numbers matter even one whit, regardless of which direction they go.

    I've seen Religulous, too. It was funny in parts. He's a funny guy. It was hurtful to some people he spoke to as well though; and he, himself, was caught off-guard once and made to think twice, even if only for a moment. I did not, however, see anything in it that in any way threatens my faith in Christ.



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