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6 years ago  ::  Dec 13, 2008 - 1:57AM #1
runawaycow
Posts: 20
Well, actually, it wouldn't really be "converting" me seeing as my beliefs have never really changed.

It's just that I've been doing a lot of research lately on different religions/religious beliefs/philosophies, and I have found so many "titles" and "labels" that describe mostly what I believe.

I am sure what my religious beliefs are, but I am not sure what my religious "label" should be. Get it?


The labels that seem to describe me most are:
Freethinker
Agnostic
Deist
Humanist (Possibly Secular or religious. I'm not sure)

Do I have to choose one of these or can I be all of them?
Sometimes I even find myself thinking like an "Atheist"!
I've always described myself as simply being "Agnostic", but then I've recently started calling myself "Agnostic Humanist". Then, even more recently, after doing the research, I'm starting to think I could possibly be a "Deist".

Are Deists also "freethinkers"? And are they also "heathens"?
I like the concept of Deism, but I don't think I could become a Deist if it meant I would no longer be a heathen. I quite enjoy being described as a "heathen" :)


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My beliefs

I'm not sure if there is a God or not so I can't really say that I do believe or that I do not believe, but I do hopethere is a God. However, if I must choose between believing and not believing, I must say that I lean more towards believing. Just as I think the concept of there being a God could possibly be true, I also think the scientific concept of evolution also has a possibility of being true. I also think there is a possibility that there is no God at all and it was a concept simply made up by humans to help them cope with the hardships of life.

If there is a God, I do not think he/she/it/them would  be the "God" depicted in the Christian bible or in any other religious texts. I believe they were written by man, therefore they are corrupted and imperfect just as the rest of mankind. I believe we ourselves, as humans, created all these worldly things and it is impossible to even fathom the concept of God and what he may be or look like. I don't think God would care about something as petty or arrogant as whether or not people pray to him, and I don't believe he would damn anyone to hell simply for not believing in him. I believe that the concept of God is beyond human comprehension so I tend to concern myself more with Humanist principles and compassion towards humans rather than devoting my whole life to supernatural beliefs. I am not religious, I believe in reason and questioning everything, and I think that whole heartedly following a religious text can lead to blind faith and distorted morals.

I also believe in fate and nature. I think, if there is a God, he is so powerful that his plan on how life should work out is already set and it is up to him to decide what happens to us in the afterlife (if there is one). I believe everything happens for a reason and I think it's possible to connect with God through the natural and the simple things in life that we can't control such as tornadoes/hurricanes/rain/etc and overly complex things in life such as child birth and how the body works.

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So... could I possibly be a Deist? Or just Agnostic? Or both? Or just a Freethinking Humanist?

I'm sorry. I know you guys must have this question asked to you a lot and it's probably annoying, but I am really lost right now and confused. I just really want to find my place in this world.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 13, 2008 - 2:59AM #2
runawaycow
Posts: 20
Oh, and one more important question on Deism:

When Deist refer to "God", which God are they referring to?
Simply just an almighty creator? Or the Christian God? Or any other other specific set God in an organized religion?
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2008 - 2:00AM #3
RevKeithWright
Posts: 137
I think that everything you stateed in your post makes you out to be a Deist (and a heathen as a heathen doesn't follow Jesus)...with one challenge.

In Deism, you are free (and a freethinker) to believe what you wish...including fate...but Deism encourages its members to challenge their personal beliefs based on reason...call it delils advocacy.

If you believe everything happens for a reason, and fate, then this life is worthless as we have no free will.  We are merely actors in a play.  If this were the truth, then I would kill myself as this life is worthless.

If you look at God as the Creator.  The Architect of the Universe...the catylist of Creation and that God ONLY wrote the laws of physics which ENABLE the universe to function and end it at that, then life, supported by Chaos Theory and observed on the subatomic level...is completely random.  If life were directed by God, then the laws of nature have no reason for being as God controls everything...including the contradiction to your belief that God doesn't sweat the small stuff.

If you remove God from everything except creation itself, you allow for free will and keep God out of cruel and perverted actions (killing babies in fires, tsunamis, etc).

I challenge you to exame the logic of your belief in fate.  If you remove fate, then life has unlimited possibilities.  With fate, life has no choices, is empty and futile.

Take on the label of Deist.  We're here to answer any other questions you may have and I welcome your response on my challenge to your belief in fate.

PS  to me, fate=a paycheck..expected and planned...boring/blah.  chaos/random=lottery unexpected and joyful
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 15, 2008 - 6:02AM #4
runawaycow
Posts: 20
Oh, thank you for the reply :)

Hmm I don't know if I'd say life is "worthless" simply because of fate, but it is interesting to think about.
In a way, I believe fate is the worth of life. We still have free will and we can still choose. It's just that whatever choice you make was part of fate. It was meant to happen and it shapes who you are today. And who you are today has a possilbility of shaping the thought of the others around you (positively or negatively). I believe we all have goals and we all have a purpose in life. The fun in life is figuring out for yourself what your path in life is. I believe that all the good and the bad happens for a reason and whether that reason is "negative" or "positive" depends on how the person takes it. I believe the chaos in life is part of fate. I believe that if there is a God, he uses the bad things in life to make us grow stronger as a person in spirit and I believe that if someone dies it was their time to go and their purpose was fulfilled.

I don't think I'm a Deist in the fact that I do not believe God left Earth though. I believe God is still here and it lives within all of us. You just have to channel it. Are there some Deists who believe God never left? I think my beliefs on that matter match more closely with Wicca or Buddhism or Mysticism. I'm not sure.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 15, 2008 - 2:09PM #5
RevKeithWright
Posts: 137
[QUOTE=runawaycow;957109]Oh, thank you for the reply :)

Hmm I don't know if I'd say life is "worthless" simply because of fate, but it is interesting to think about.
In a way, I believe fate is the worth of life. We still have free will and we can still choose. It's just that whatever choice you make was part of fate. It was meant to happen and it shapes who you are today. And who you are today has a possilbility of shaping the thought of the others around you (positively or negatively). I believe we all have goals and we all have a purpose in life. The fun in life is figuring out for yourself what your path in life is. I believe that all the good and the bad happens for a reason and whether that reason is "negative" or "positive" depends on how the person takes it. I believe the chaos in life is part of fate. I believe that if there is a God, he uses the bad things in life to make us grow stronger as a person in spirit and I believe that if someone dies it was their time to go and their purpose was fulfilled.

I don't think I'm a Deist in the fact that I do not believe God left Earth though. I believe God is still here and it lives within all of us. You just have to channel it. Are there some Deists who believe God never left? I think my beliefs on that matter match more closely with Wicca or Buddhism or Mysticism. I'm not sure.[/QUOTE]

I would have to contend that fate and free-will are mutually exclusive and contradictory...much like a Christian Atheist, or a Christian Jew.  Norman Mailer had some interesting things to say about believing in ONE thing instead of a multitude.

If you believe in fate, then there is absolutely no way that you have free-will.  It is an illusion.  No matter what choice you make, there is no escaping your ultimate future.  You may think you have free-will but you don't...you can't.  If you make a choice in life which alters your "fate" then the fate wasn't fate in the first place.  it is a logical impossibility.

If your fate is to be a Christian, and die a Christian and you become a Buddhist and die a Buddhist then fate doesn't exist.

Do you understand the impossibility of fate and free-will existing at the same time?

To have God taking an active part in Creation at this time makes God imperfect.  When the David sculpture was created, it wasn't constantly altered through time...it was finished.

The beauty of Creation, from the Deist perspective, is that EVERYTHING which is, all of the workings of Creation were completed at the moment of the Big Bang.  When you understand how truly amazing this is, and can appreciate that for billions of years that the universe has operated WITHOUT intervention...That is an amazing thought to ponder.  To ponder a God that must constantly work at his Creation is not very awe-inspiring...the normal way we see our world is by us constantly changing it by active participation...this makes God to be just like us instead of creating a framework for which Creation constantly grows without intervention.

The removal of God from constant intervention also removes the question as to why God would "allow" evil to happen and why certain things are not done.

Chaos, as part of Creation, allows for diversity and by observing matter on a subatomic level, we can see that there is no order.  If fate were true then chaos could not exist.  We would see order on a subatomic level which would indicate the active hand of God moving particles about to create fate.

You may want to read the Tao Te Ching.  It is a great companion to Deism and may help you to let go of the need to see control.  Abandoning fate is a wonderful feeling.  I used to believe as you do, but saw the contradiction.

I'm not trying to convert you.  I'm merely trying to challenge your process of thought using logic and reason.

You are not "wrong" in your belief as your belief is yours to own...I'm merely asking you to work out the logical problems associated with your statements.

I find that certain aspects of Buddhism, namely mindfulness, are wonderful concepts and ones that I have adopted into my life...but the constant focus on pain and suffering and the need for reincarnation again makes this life less precious as one life to "get it right" instead of a myriad of lives to keep going at it again and again.

Yes...we do "connect" with God through Creation...nature.  It is this very observation which makes us Deists unique.  We believe in God based upon this personal "revelation" and not through written words.  We see Creation and through that, we see a Creator.
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5 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2009 - 3:33PM #6
Bear_Claw
Posts: 6

RevKeithWright wrote:

The beauty of Creation, from the Deist perspective, is that EVERYTHING which is, all of the workings of Creation were completed at the moment of the Big Bang.  When you understand how truly amazing this is, and can appreciate that for billions of years that the universe has operated WITHOUT intervention...That is an amazing thought to ponder.  To ponder a God that must constantly work at his Creation is not very awe-inspiring...the normal way we see our world is by us constantly changing it by active participation...this makes God to be just like us instead of creating a framework for which Creation constantly grows without intervention.

The removal of God from constant intervention also removes the question as to why God would "allow" evil to happen and why certain things are not done.

Chaos, as part of Creation, allows for diversity and by observing matter on a subatomic level, we can see that there is no order.  If fate were true then chaos could not exist.  We would see order on a subatomic level which would indicate the active hand of God moving particles about to create fate.


Thanks RKW, that was an awesome explanation on Creation! I'm definitely going to re-read this a few times! :)

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5 years ago  ::  Aug 28, 2009 - 7:52PM #7
shawnf
Posts: 73

 


I know this is a pretty old discussion, but I've been away a while and I felt compelled to respond regarding the question of Fate.  I'm more inclined to side with runawaycow than RevKeith on this issue. 


 I believe in fate.  I don't think it has an effect on my day-to-day decision making, because I can't tell the future and therefore have to make decisions without knowledge of the fated outcome.  However, it does allow me to put aside some degree of doubt, because I can fall back on the knowledge that things work out how they are supposed to.  So my decisions don't have to be based on a particular outcome that I want to achieve, but can instead be based on acting in accordance with my own will and my own values in each instant -- from my subjective point of view, free will exists. 


It may be true -- as RevKeith pointed out -- that fate and free will are mutually exclusive from an objective point of view, but it is impossible to have an objective point of view on the universe.  The example of someone whose fate is to die a Christian but who then converts to Buddhism is flawed for exactly this reason.  It is not possible to know what a person's fate is beforehand.  While that person is alive, there are infinite possibilities open to him.  His fate can only be known from a perspective that takes in all of that person's lifetime, so it cannot be postulated that his fate "is" to die a Christian.  Our experience happens within time, so all we can know of fate is based on things that have already happened.


So why believe that fatalism is the objective reality?  Because it actually makes more sense to me that way.


Fatalism fits my view of God as not actively intervening in the universe, but nonetheless manifesting it.  The only way I can conceive of that is if God is the totality of Time and Space and Consciousness (and potentially more), so basically everything exists as a manifestation of God.  A god that is completely separate from time and space is just too theistic for me, and unless He did intervene in the universe, such a god would have no relevance at all. 


But if God is the totality of time, then time must necessarily be a totality -- even if I am aware of only a tiny portion of it unfolding in one direction.  That version of god is extremely relevant to me, as I am thus a manifestation of the divine.


I must also specifically address the following: "Chaos, as part of Creation, allows for diversity and by observing matter on a subatomic level, we can see that there is no order.  If fate were true then chaos could not exist.  We would see order on a subatomic level which would indicate the active hand of God moving particles about to create fate."   The existence of chaos and diversity does not necessarily rule out fate.It is important to remember that neither Order nor Chaos are real.  Both are products of the nervous systems of the people who observe it.  You can use certain conceptual frameworks to order some signals, but those frameworks necessarily create chaos out of the signals that do not adhere to the frame.  Different conceptual frameworks can make order out of different sets of signals.  So maybe what we "see" as chaos, actually IS the order; and we just don't yet have a sufficient means of understanding how it works.  (Again, this could be the result of our orientation within the time-stream.)


  Ultimately, even with quantum uncertainty, the vector states DO collapse when you make a measurement -- Schroedinger's cat is either dead or alive when you open the box.  It's conscious experience within the passing of time that makes the final determination.  Once that determination is made and the reality manifests in space/time, it cannot be "unmanifested" or made different.  Could it not therefore be said to have been fated?

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