Belief to non-belief

by Awen 15 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Awen

    I realize now my error with religion. I wanted to believe.

    I was talking with my best friend today at work about this subject and getting his opinion on it. In the course of the conversation it was brought to my attention that there have been many things in the past that we once thought were irrefutable facts or truth only to have them shattered at a later time. In fields of philosophy, biology, physics, medicine and the list goes on and on. What was once thought irrefutable was changed to a mere myth somewhat over night by the discovery of new methods of research or a new hypothesis put forth that challenged the core of our "beliefs".

    So what are we to do in cases such as these? Do we cling to our old beliefs in the hopes that the news ideas will be proven false? Some have done so, for example. Some embraced it others did not. So to it is with religion.

    Hundreds of religions have come and gone over the centuries. Some we have vast quantites of information concerning them and others only scant knowledge. What about when we "outgrow" a religious path or it no longer speaks to us? Do we abandon it simply because we haven't found the answers or do we stick with it because it has carried us this far and has been a source of comfort to us?

    It's somewhat like science. Ever growing, ever changing with the advent of new discoveries and ideas. The discovery of an ancient manuscript can cause us to question the foundations of our faith, just like the the CERN project in Switzerland has recently caused people to rethink Einstein's special theory on relativity. Some scientists are embracing these new findings whereas others aren't.

    So what is a believer to do when evidence comes to light that seems to refute their long held ideas about God and the nature of the universe?

    Should we immediately embrace these new ideas or do we stick with what has carried us through to this point, even though we may be vilified for it?

    It's quite the conundrum.

    As far as belief goes I have found many scholars on both sides of the issue stating that their ideas are the correct one and the others are false. As a non-scholar/scientist how can I possibly refute any of what they say? Should I even try? What is the basis of my belief? So far it's been based not upon scripture but my own experiences. To be sure I don't know why bad things happen to good people or why wicked people seem to enjoy such good lives while the humble live in poverty. There have been many reasons put forth in the Bible for why this is. There have been many philosophers who have tried to answer the question up to and including the idea that there is no God and that we're all just dust in the wind.

    A believer could just trust in the word of the scholars. However as an exJW this goes against what I have learned about trusting those in authority whom I have never met and have no personal knowledge of. Unless I cant test it for myself and get a satisfactory result the ideas of others should be as hearsay simply for the reason that the other person might have an agenda which conflicts with what is actually true. The WTS is a prime example of this. The old addage "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me" seems applicable here.

    So while I do not know why bad things happen to good people or why the wicked seem to prosper. Nor do I know if Jesus actually existed as a historical person. What I do know is the personage I've interacted with spiritually over the past decade and who identifies himself as Christ has never led me astray nor told me an untruth (unlike some scholars or would be prophets). So what do I trust? Words on a page that I cannot read and whose context has been changed countless times or my own experiences? We do know from the Bible that some things have been altered. Jeremiah and Jesus both spoke of these things. So how do we know for a fact that the things Jehovah supposedly did to his own people actually occurred? We don't.

    The measurement of what is real to me and what is not can only be measured by myself and not someone else. It was once said "We are walking by faith not by sight." I now think what this means is the things outside a person can fool them, whereas the spiritual things inside a person don't even try. But we are encouraged to "test the inspired expression to see whether it originates with God" which I have also done. My conclusion is that yes, my relationship is with God and Christ and it's a dependable one. Could I be in error? Of course. But until new data comes along that refutes what I currently hold to be true, I will just stick with what I "know" rather than what others "think."

    So far my relationship with Christ has gotten me through some very tough times that I don't think I could have handled on my own. Does this make me delusional to have trust in someone I cannot see or touch? As far as modern psychiatry in concerned, yes it probably does. Then again we have Psychiatrists who are Christians themselves, so how do they come to grips with this belief in the face of their own profession? I guess I should ask them.

    So I stated before that my belief in religion is what caused me problems. But as I have also said elsewhere on these forums, I don't follow a religion. I follow Christ. Religion to me is a set standard of traditions, rituals, and dogma (ideas which cannot be changed). My relationship with Christ is just that, a relationship. I don't feel I need the trappings of a religion to enable me to come to know someone I already consider to be family. It would be akin to introducing myself to my brother every time we meet so that He would know who's speaking to him. Kinda irrelevant really.

    So I said in my initial post that "a lie becomes a truth if you want to believe it" which still holds true. But who's lying to whom? Are we lying to ourselves and believing the lie? Or are we allowing others to lie to us and beleiving them?

    I'm reminded of the phrase "To thine own self be true" which seems to indicate we should not allow ourselves to be over influenced by the ideas of others. In the final text of Revelation we are reminded that we will each have to answer for ourselves. We cannot be like Adam who tried to blame his sin upon God or his wife. God knew better but He wanted to hear it from Adam's own lips, just as He also knew what Adam and Eve had done, but wanted them to admit it openly. So it is with ourselves. Do we try to put the blame upon others (scholars) for certain beliefs? Or will we closely examine what he hold to be true and give an accurate and thorough witness about ourselves to God if asked?

    I know my answer.

    What's yours?

  • nateb

    Your comment about wanting to believe reminded me of what Sagan wrote about the Witnesses and 1914:

    One prominent American religion confidently predicted that the world would end in 1914. Well, 1914 has come and gone, and - whole the events of that year were certainly of some importance - the world did not, at least so far as I can see, seem to have ended. There are at least three responses that an organized religion can make in the face of such a failed and fundamental prophecy. They could have said, Oh, did we say '1914'? So sorry, we meant '2014'. A slight error in calculation. Hope you weren't inconvinenced in any way. But they did not. They could have said, Well, the world would have ended, except we prayed very hard and interceded with God so He spared the Earth. But they did not. Instead, the did something much more ingenious. They announced that the world had in fact ended in 1914, and if the rest of us hadn't noticed, that was our lookout. It is astonishing in the fact of such transparent evasions that this religion has any adherents at all. But religions are tough. Either they make no contentions which are subject to disproof or they quickly redesign doctrine after disproof. The fact that religions can be so shamelessly dishonest, so contemptuous of the intelligence of their adherents, and still flourish does not speak very well for the tough- mindedness of the believers. But it does indicate, if a demonstration was needed, that near the core of the religious experience is something remarkably resistant to rational inquiry. [Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain]

  • J. Hofer
    J. Hofer

    @talesin, that's funny how you don't believe in god but spell it like a jew (g*d)

  • dogon

    God is a myth that can not be proven to be true in any sense of the word. Not one single fact has ever been found to show that god is real but many misdirection’s have been shown to try to prove the existence of a god.

    Argument by design, See that tree or deer, see how complex it is in design? It could not possibly have happened by evolution so god [not just any god but my god] must have created it so by extension god exists. BS totally. First this does not prove what god would have created life even if you jump the Grand Canyon of scientific evidence that supports evolution. Second, it could have been aliens that seeded [I do not believe this] life on earth not your Jewish created version of god.

    You can go on to the first mover, ocams razor and many more theory’s of god having evidence. You then come to the drivel posted above about finding some tablet that shows the existence of some city that the bible said existed that archeology had not previously found. This is a red herring and not reality. If this is the case than because Troy was not thought to exist and now is a factual city that has been discovered than it must follow that Ulysses was trapped by sirens because Neptune was pissed that he offended him, and Medusa turned men to stone with a look of her snake for hair head. Its stupid logic and does not hold up to the most basic of tests.

    If god existed he is a dead beat dad or he in fact does not exist and there is a different explanation for life. Science shows how we share a common ancestor and our genes are 99 percent the same as a Chimp. Let's review the bible explanation

    God was lonely or wanted to share life or whatever, he created the earth, and then created dinosaurs for whatever reason and then got rid of them with a comet or whatever or they lived and Noah used them to move lumber to build the arc,LOL, then after he created the earth and life he created man from dust, evidently even god needs some base building material, then he created woman from the rib of the man who was made of dust, then he let a sprit [another form of life he created that we cannot see but can inhabit inanimate objects and snakes] inhabit a snake that talked the woman made of rib from the man made of mud into eating a piece of fruit that dispensed all knowledge. This was forbidden for man to know things and then he knew he was naked and sin was born. So we needed another sprit [gods son or god depending on which BS you want to believe] to come to earth and die on a cross or stake again which BS you like, so that man could have a chance to live forever after going through thousands of years of wars, rape, murders, slavery and bad behavior, starvation, drought, disease ect. so that god could prove that some people wanted to worship him with free will or what other f u ck ing sh it you want to spew. Yep this is the proof that people use to show god exists.

    No god does not exist and its a fantasy that will not come to pass. You and I will die and we will not see god come to save the earth or us, we do it ourselves or we die out as a species. I think human greed and stupidity will eventually destroy us and possibly the planet but that’s another argument.

  • MrFreeze

    That would be me! Once you take the JW glasses off, you start to look at everything critically. When you make a change that dramatic in your life, it's no wonder many who leave lose belief in the Judeo-Christian God. Looking at it from a critical eye, I cannot say for sure. I like sure proof, and I don't see it.

  • Retrovirus

    Great thread and OP, Awen!

    I've been reading and asking questions about religion all my life. The Bible is certainly not the definitive word from God unless S/He has a warped sense of humour or cannot avoid self contradiction.

    So what do we really have that is reliable? If the Bible isn't a reliable source then how do we know that the spiritual experiences many claim to have (myself included) aren't products of our shared experiences with the JW and our own unconscious minds via intuition?

    IMO, we don't have anything "reliable", ie, self-consistent, provable and logical to us. I have also had what I think is a spiritual experience, possibly more than one. Where it came from, I simply don't know, but it helped me get through a very bad time in my life.

    And that is the single reason why I don't reject it or explain it away.

    One thing I do believe is that there are many things we don't yet know. I choose to fill the unknown areas with optimism, and rely on facts, probabilities and the Golden Rule for day to day living. Not having certainty is a lot better than the dry, materialistic, narrow-minded doctrines of fundamentalist religions. Let alone when they are demonstrably wrong!

    So far my relationship with Christ has gotten me through some very tough times that I don't think I could have handled on my own. Does this make me delusional to have trust in someone I cannot see or touch? As far as modern psychiatry in concerned, yes it probably does

    As sciences go, psychology and psychiatry have spotty track records at best!

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