Michael Battalio


Sunday, June 28, 2009

This I Believe (comments from last post)

I think it would be better for me to respond in posts instead of commenting because then there won’t be 100 comments on one post.

I agree that hoping that God exists will never help me; that doesn’t keep me from hoping though. Hoping and having faith are two different things. I hold out this hope because I want God to exist even though at this point I do not think he does. I want there to be an omnipotent, loving being that looks out for me and that created the universe. Isn’t hoping that God exists better (in your opinion as a Christian) than giving up on God altogether?

As far as childhood indoctrination, I don’t think this is an important point. I’m never going to be a child again, so I don’t particularly care if this is true at the moment. I will reconsider this when I have children. The main point of it is this: the child should not be forced into a religion. The problem is that it would be difficult for any child to choose a religion when they have no way of getting to nor communicating with other people from other religions. Children may not be forced into a religion, but at least all children are predisposed towards the religion of their parents. The thing about religious children being more well behaved children is that when children are not indoctrinated with religion it is because they are instead left on their own. Although many of the statistics sited are probably correct, the flaw is that when children are not indoctrinated with religion it is because the parents aren’t around enough to teach them anything. For those studies to be valid you would have to take a group of loving religious families and compare them to equally nurturing and loving atheist families. If you were to take atheistic parents that were around and showed just as much affection as religious parents, I would be the results on the child’s behavior would not be conclusive.

I am still Catholic because the Church is more than just what its beliefs are. The Church is also the people that are members of the Church. The feast for that concept is the Body and Blood of Christ that we celebrated not too long ago. I still call myself Catholic because while I do not espouse all the beliefs of the Church, I value the people and their ideals. One can be a member of an organization and not believe everything the organization believes.

I also agree that faith and reason are two different things, but just because they are different doesn’t mean I can’t use both of them. But yes, reason cannot help you in areas of religion, and faith is not useful in science and logic. Presently we can’t use reason because to find answers because we lack information. Should the answer in those situations automatically be faith? No (for example in deciding if the big bang proves the existence of a creator). As Wesley said every atheist is infinitesimally agnostic because there is the chance that God exists in the same way there is a chance that the force of gravity could stop working tomorrow. That chance is not a reasonable doubt, but merely a chance. That is where I hope. That is where I try to apply faith, but my faith is not strong enough to fill in this chance, and that is why I do not believe in a personal God, but that I hope.

The thing is though that there is free will. God doesn’t stop the heart of callous, blasphemers. And calling God a megalomaniac is probably blasphemy, but I don’t believe, so it doesn’t bother me.

I understand that prayer is two way conversation and that most prayers are asking for things that are not willed by God, but the fact is that most prayers are essentially wishes to God. I do still pray. Let me just say what I pray for. Under the hope that God exists, I ask him to show me the “Way and the Truth” wherever that may take me and to help others with that same goal. I also acknowledge my talents and gifts, and I express where I would like my life to go. Lastly I pray for the decrease of misery and pain in the world.
If God doesn’t exist there is still a use for prayer in my mind. It helps solidify my desires and wants, and makes me grateful for what I have been given and helps put into perspective the misfortune of others. I think that level of awareness is a good thing.
I have a question. Didn’t Moses convince God not to destroy the people of Israel when they made the Golden Calf? Wasn’t that changing the will of God?

The problem with saying that the Bible has 2,000 fulfilled prophecies is that those prophecies were recorded by the Bible and then purportedly fulfilled and recorded in the Bible. I would be much more interested in independently proven prophecies made by the Bible, and even then there is now no way to prove anything from 2000 or more years ago actually happened.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anon 2 posting...
I'm very pleased to see this new post response by you. There may be hope for you after all. Hope, that is, of becoming a spirit-filled believer, and remaining that way...After reading your latest post, it seems as if you are quite introspective, and I respect your thoughts and deep insight...
However, I must disagree with you on some issues, and I have read your post very carefully...So allow me to elaborate on your post.

1. Dr. Charles Stanley, First Baptist Church of Atlanta, GA...very good pastor...and who cares if he is baptist...I'm not baptist..but he preaches the word of God and is an extremely well-versed deliverer of the word. If you have a chance to see his service on television this week, please do this...there are some questions answered for you in this message...

2. Okay, now for my reponse to your post...
First of all, you are confused regarding your definitions of hope and faith. There are over 7000 promises in the Bible and we can have them all if we meet God's conditions. All scriptures are from the King James' version Bible. Hebrews 11:1--Faith is not the same as hope. Hope is wishing for something. Faith is having it in a faith dimension. The prayer, of faith, should be made in the name of Jesus. It should be in the will of God. A search of God's word on the subject should be made first. A large number of scriptures have been presented which cover most subjects. Since the subject is according to the will of God, we can pray with expectation for an immediate manifestation to result. If it does not we are to hold on to the request in faith, not hope. When you pray, your request should be made once for each subject. Any additional requests for the same subject would be made in un-belief. Prayer in the future, on that same subject, should be a praise and thanksgiving prayer for the finish work. Since the first prayer was done in faith, then the work is completed in the faith dimension. When God manifests the work, in this dimension, is in His timing. We are to believe it has been completed already. This is your problem. You really need to understand this, or you can never possess faith, and my friend faith is NOT hope...

Anonymous said...

Continued from last post...

3. I believe you are very knowledgeable in your response about childhood indoctrination, but you are not entirely correct in every dimension. What you do not understand is that we are dealing with children here. According to God's holy scripture, parents are required to train their children in the way of righteousness, and the scripture states that rearing a child in the way he should go is right. Well, if you believe in scripture, this makes sense. I don't know if you believe scripture. If you do not, there is a problem. All children that are not indoctrinated with religion are not all left alone. Mbat, come on now, you've got to give me something more powerful than this statement. I personally know many atheists whose children are physicians, teachers and attorneys. Parents purchased material items for them and loved them fully. There was no religion however. But, their spiritual lives are non-existent, and they grew up callous and cold-hearted, and still remain this way. Richard Dawkins wrote in The God Delusion that religion is a dangerous form of child abuse, a claim he reiterated in an online essay titled "Religion’s Real Child Abuse." He explicitly says that while sexual abuse by priests may be bad, what's worse is raising children to think of themselves as members of one religion or another, or saddling them with the fear of hell. Psychologists and sociologists have worked out a clear, empirically-based picture of how abuse affects children. If religion is a form of abuse, it should have some of the same identifiable negative effects on children that abuse has. Research shows, however, its effects are generally quite the opposite...according to the National Study of Youth and Religion, American youth who are devoted to religion (predominantly Christians in this study) come out better than non-religious youth in every one of the 99 life-outcome dimensions that were measured. But as far as I’ve been able to observe, no one has raised a word of good scientific objection on this point. That raises questions in my mind, which I will leave for discussion here: Has there actually been some response that I’ve missed, some scientific or journalistic call to accountability? If not, what does this say about the consistent application of self-correction in science? Why is it not being applied in this case?
What’s really going on? How do we explain Dawkins's anti-scientific stance on this issue, and the lack of response from the scientific and journalistic world on it?
Dawkins is clearly biased and is not open to ANY religion whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Continued from last post...

4. There are very real issues that trouble some Catholics about the Church, and their disagreements are honest and heart-felt. It’s often that way with families. But the Church is big enough, and family enough, to find room for those who don’t always agree with it. However, if you find yourself disagreeing more than agreeing, it is high time you either changed religions OR become atheist. If you do not agree with the majority of Catholic teachings, why are you Catholic? What is the point in playing church each Sunday? Why don't you move away from it? This, I don't understand! Can you provide me some things you don't agree with, and perhaps I could expand on my thoughts a bit on this issue...

5. You cannot state that you do not believe in a personal God yet hope. If you state you do not believe in a personal God, then you have cut ties with God. You have made a clear-cut decision. Hope is not faith, mbat! You need to understand this before we can move on at all...Faith is the only substance that will guide you into eternity with Christ, NOT HOPE! I can hope all day that I will make it to Heaven, but if I have faith, and inherently in my heart KNOW that He will take me, then He will perform what He says in scripture. No, I can never know for sure, but I have faith He is real...I have faith He will guide me to eternity with Him. No one knows, Mbat! That's the purpose of faith! Even Wesley doesn't know if God exists or not! If you don't believe in a personal God, then you are an atheist...plain and simple. You have no need to attend mass. You should cut ties. If you're courageous enough!

I will address your last point in your paragraph of your post at a later time...It's going to take some more reflection on my part to answer your question.

 
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