Introduction - Any Believers?

by Believer 240 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Phizzy

    As soon as someone starts a statement with " I believe...." I know that what they are about to say has no validity with me. Like Cofty, I decided long ago to lead an evidence based life.

    To "believe", in the sense such people use the word, is to trust that something is true without evidence. (Evidence that would convince me and Cofty and millions of others).

    Faith does not need evidence, but to me, basing decisions on such "faith" does not make sense.

    It is that kind of belief/faith and subsequent decision making that leads to the death of many, unnecessarily.

  • closed

    I believe too.

    To accept evolution or divine origin is matter of faith in both cases. There is no 100% proof to believe or nor. At least, it is my point of view.

    But I guess I don't love God. I do respect him or fear (if you like). But I can't say I understand him enough to love.

  • cofty
    To accept evolution or divine origin is matter of faith in both cases. There is no 100% proof to believe or nor.

    I agree. The odds are approximately 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999% evolution and the remainder for creation.

    So yes you are absolutely correct there is no 100% proof. If we want to be pedantic (the last refuge of creationists) then the word proof belongs to mathematics. In every other area of life we use our intelligence to weigh the evidence.

    A more important point is that the majority of christians accept the fact of evolution and still worship Jesus.

  • Vanderhoven7

    My Dad was with the JWs for about 5 years when I was in elementary school; never baptized, became an evangelical Christian, ordained in the Mennonite church to serve the deaf community in Montreal. I believe in God, His Son, Jesus and accept the Bible as God's word.

  • GrreatTeacher

    " I get upset when, first, people think they are not animals, and second, that they are better or superior to all the other animals. "

    That is the actual quote. Nowhere did I say that I can't stand people who don't believe they are animals.

    I don't have a problem with the people! I'm on this site to support other people. And, if I haven't said so yet, "Welcome!"

    It's the belief that bothers me; the belief, not the person.

    This inability to separate the belief from the person frustrates me to no end. It often leads to people misrepresenting others.

    As to why I'm here: to sharpen my critical thinking skills and to support others who are going through the misery of exiting.

    I had no one when I left and it was tough. So, I think it's really important to be the help that I didn't have.

  • jwundubbed

    So, my dad is a scientist. And I was born into the JW cult. My mom was one of the annointed. As you might imagine, those two mindsets are very different and I found myself in need of a little of both in my life. I need evidence just as much as I need to believe in something greater than myself that I don't understand. I fall much further into the believers than the non-believers. But I'm not religious. I am very spiritual in my own way. I rarely tell others what I believe because it is personal to me and I do NOT believe in trying to convert others to my way of believing.

    What I believe in more than anything else is possibility. I believe that everything is possible. It is just as possible that there is no God, as it is possible that there is only one God, as it is possible that there are millions of Gods, and even that it is possible that all the other possibilities are possible to exist simultaneously. That is my belief. It isn't evidence based. It doesn't seem to align with any specific religion out there. And I am okay with that.

    I came to my belief when I left the cult and found that I had no foundation to start with. It all crumbled away and left me feeling bereft. I lost the foundation because I couldn't find anyone who could give me evidence that the Bible was real and not just a made-up story. But I found my belief by learning about religion, science, and listening to myself when my instincts said, 'Whoa... that is it!"

  • OutsiderLookingIn

    Sorry for the delay, Cofty. Out of town and on my phone. I hope the formatting turns out okay.

    I don't need the references. I've read all of the Old Testament.

    Yes, God can do as he pleases. That's just what it means to be sovereign. Fortunately for us, He withholds the full weight of his power: He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities (Psalm 103:10).

    Now as for God condoning these things in giving the law, the law was never perfect or complete. It was a tutor (Galatians 3:24) that was supposed to make the Israelites realize their need for a Savior because without God, it was impossible to comply with the letter and spirit. You could make all of the sacrifices you wanted and be just as messed up and disinterested in God. So it wasn't following all the rules that ever made anybody righteous, it was always reverence for God and belief in God for his provision, his mercy and his own righteousness, which is Jesus (Romans 10:3). Jesus ultimately was the fulfillment of the law (Matthew 5:17; Romans 10:4).

    So the law wasn't perfect as much as how to live best in a fallen world. At that time in antiquity, there were a lot of things historically that we don't experience today. To follow the letter irrespective of cultural context really misses the point.

    One point I've thought of is that the law didn't always exist. The Ten Commandments (and more) obviously didn't come until Moses so people before Moses weren't under the law. (I pointed this out once when a JW tried to say that Adam was a murderer by some law of Moses. Adam didn't have the law).

    My point was just that the law was given to help the Israelites avoid some of the mistakes that their forefathers had made. An example: don't take your wife's sister as a rival (Leviticus 18:18). That's obviously the case of Jacob. There was intense jealousy between Leah and Rachel then that hatred flowed down the line with Joseph being sold by his brothers into slavery. Which is never what was intended. The family is always supposed to be the strongest link as human relationships are concerned; that's the only "organization" God ever gave.

    As for some of the things you mentioned--

    Forced marriage/rape: this was unfortunately a protection to women, who were the most vulnerable in society. A woman who had been raped was essentially disqualified from marriage, which meant no one would take care of them or keep them in their household. So you see the example with Tamar after she was raped, she went into Absalom's household and he supported her (2 Samuel 13:20). Why? Because she was never going to be married after being violated by someone else. She even says to her rapist half-brother Amnon, not marrying me would be worse than what you have already done to me (2 Samuel 13:16). Because he wouldn't be taking care of her and would have had already subjected her to shame.

    Yes, I'm glad to live in 2016 where I can support myself, live by myself and report a rape to the proper authorities. But again this is the cultural context that I was referring to--these things didn't exist. That's not how it was so it was the best solution.

    Infanticide/genocide: this was a warrior/avenger culture and to leave even one behind was a liability. We see that sometimes where Doeg the Edomite comes and tells on David and gets all those priests killed or one person from the household remains and comes back and revenge is the house. So if one child remained in the family line, he would come back and avenge them. Also as a matter of worship, other cultures with showy overtures to their gods led Israel astray into the demeaning pagan rituals. We see that repeatedly throughout the Old Testament when they were around other nations, Israel did what they did, adopting those gods.

    No intermarriage: because it would be a snare and lead the people to go after other gods and serve them. Solomon is the best example with his thousand wives that turned his heart from God. Also the Israelites returning to foreign wives in Ezra after the Babylonian captivity. Even though it wasn't a perfect solution, what do they do? They divorced their wives and put them out so that they wouldn't fall back into this system of idol worship (Ezra 10).

    So all of these rules are meant to keep Israel under the protection of God, the only true God, the Lord. That's how I see it. In terms of God being a God of justice and righteousness, that is still there. The Old Testament is full of so many accounts where the Israelites go astray and then cry out to the Lord and he saves them. That's a repeated occurrence. The forgiveness of God is the exact exhibition of his mercy.

    There is also His provision under the law for the poor-- not gleaning the corners of the field (Leviticus 19:9-10, 23:22) and the year of Jubilee when debts were released and land restored (Leviticus 25).

    As I see it, the New Testament just adds a new "angle" to the Law and the Prophets. It doesn't really change anything, it fulfills it.

    Jesus got angry, most notably throwing the money-changers out of the temple but pretty much any time the Pharisees tried to burden the people with their own rules or displayed their hypocrisy. Jesus's message was one of repentance that is turning back from sin and back to the Lord. The law which had become an instrument of oppression was given back its original intent of mercy and justice. The greatest commandment is the same as what we find in the Old Testament because Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. Then love your neighbor as yourself (or do unto others as you would have them do unto you) is the second half of the Ten Commandments (also Leviticus 19:18). That's what those things are about. If anything, the New Testament just expands the concept of neighbor, not just fellow Israelites but all mankind.

    The belief in life after this one (resurrection) is key to the Christian faith if you're looking from a justice perspective. Because obviously there are many instances of injustice in this world. Cases of poverty or illness or anything that might happen isn't necessarily a "judgment". It's just how Solomon says, time and chance happen to us all. But that itself is not always judgment on the person. The judgment on the person is always going to be based on what they did in their own lives, the decisions that they made. If you look at Revelation 20:12-13, when they're raised again, the dead will be judged according to their works whether good or evil.

    But as I said, this isn't pie in the sky, do nothing faith. If you can do something to help right now, you should. Don't withhold good from someone who deserves it when it is in your power to do it (proverbs 3:27).

    The law was always meant to look at how you're treating your neighbor. And I think that's what God is concerned about: how we treat other people and love for Him (which is made manifest in how we treat people, i.e., love one another).

    I haven't had a chance to scroll through the latest pages but hoping that answers the questions so far.

  • Phizzy

    I often say on here that I am not a believer, that statement explains my position. I do believe in Humans though, this is evidence based so not mere credulity.

    I see more good humans than bad, many, many more.

    I also know that there is, as jwundubbed said above, "something greater than myself that I do not understand".

    That "something greater" is the Universe and the unexplained bits within it.

    I am open to looking at evidence for a Supreme Being, but am convinced beyond doubt such an entity will not be the god of the Bible.

    I am a happy Rationalist, Humanist non-Theist Beer Drinker, if you want to change me, you are welcome to try !

  • cofty

    OLI - You have just made yourself an apologist for rape, slavery and murdering babies.

    Well done

  • OnTheWayOut

    I have only read the opening post, so I don't know how this thread has probably morphed into some kind of huge argument about beliefs and logic and all that.

    I will say that the reason "the Watchtower organization simply churns out atheists" is that so many start proper research into the flawed doctrine and keep going beyond dismissing Watchtower. They get to a point where they can, just as a JW dismisses Islam or Buddhism, dismiss the flood and the young earth and, somehow they discover that science is more correct than blind faith.

    I must say that even if you are sure that a "God" is "the only logical explanation for why we are here," have you defaulted to the "God" of Christianity? Why? Why do you say "He" is "an all wise benevolent Creator" ? Are you ready to defend that in the face of birth defects, tsunamis, earthquakes, mass killings?

    And I believe in God because God is the only concept that opens the possibility of more life after our physical bodies no longer work for us. I can’t subscribe to the idea that this life is all there is.

    I just want to say on that subject, the truth is the truth no matter what we can or cannot subscribe to. The limitations or hopes of your beliefs does not dictate what reality really is. No more on that.

    So as a believer, is the Bible literal? Did we evolve or were we created in the Garden? Was there a flood so many thousands of years ago despite science screaming how many ways that it could not have been?

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