Religion and Spirituality – part 1

Basilica Rome

When I was younger it seemed that religion was the default setting that we were programmed with; this is a view I no longer have. As soon as someone told me that God ruled everything, I asked ‘who made God?’ I have never been given a suitable answer to this question. In fact, I have only ever been given two answers; the first is: ‘He has always been there’. The second, ‘we cannot know’.

The first of these answers is insane, and I am not sure how absent-minded you have to be to swallow that without hesitation. The second is more compelling, although it is more dangerous. The reason I say it is more dangerous is that there are people who claim to know about God, and these people have real power over you in the only Universe we can be sure exists. They say they know what ‘God’ wants and command us to do what ‘God’ says, whether it is to mutilate our children’s genitals or my personal favourite commandment, the tenth. Not only is keeping up with the Jones’ a sure fire way to remain in debt to the man, but it is also a sin. It would seem marketing is even eviler than I thought.

‘You must not be envious of your neighbour’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.’

Shortly after this, I heard about the ‘Big Bang’. My question was almost precisely the same ‘what was there before the Big Bang?’ The only answer I have been given to this is ‘ We cannot know’. The difference is, with the Big Bang, the numbers add up, and those numbers tell us that the universe is roughly 14 billion years ago.

When I was a teenager, I started to ask my peers if they believed in a God. Most of them did not. In my family it is only my grandmother that believes in any form of spirituality; I don’t know precisely what her beliefs are, but she does believe in heaven. I was lucky not to have anyone’s beliefs thrust upon me: I was allowed to think for myself.

Since I have learned that there are people that do believe there is some supernatural being or an entire supervisory Justice-Leagueesque team of supervisors, I have been interested in why people believe this answer. I have never heard an argument for the existence of anything supernatural where you do not have to make big leaps in imagination and except things because someone else says so. It is not often in my discipline that I come across anyone willing to believe; whenever I do come across them, they are never above average regarding their ability to use their initiative.

If you’re willing to believe a negative, because you cannot disprove a negative then you must surely think the following. There is a tiny invisible, undetectable penguin that accompanies each of us around. If you cannot prove me wrong, it must be true.

I will write about life after death in my next post, but before we depart ways, I will leave you with one final thought.

There are estimated to be 4200 different religions I believe in zero, and therefore I believe in zero percent. If you do believe in one, you believe in 0.0002% of religions. Of all the different God’s that have been dreamed up by humans which is well more than 100,000, what are the chances the one you believe in is correct?

 

P.S –  The term atheist… Do you think it is stupid as I do? After all, why do you need a word to say you do not believe in something? I don’t have a word for my non-belief in the penguin I previously mentioned, should I have?

Author: ljphd

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

47 thoughts on “Religion and Spirituality – part 1”

    1. IF YOU GOT A MINUTE, I HAVE EXPERIENCE A DIRECT COMMUNICATION OR RESPONSE FROM CHRIST, THE REASON I KNOW IT WAS CHRIST BECAUSE I FOUND MYSELF TALKING TO HIM, SAYING HIS NAME IN A VERY QUIET PLACE AND SITUATION IN MY LIFE. PEOPLE OFTEN WANT TO BELIEVE IN SOMEONE OR BODY, THE WAY THIS WORLD IS AND HAS BEEN , WELL WHO REALLY KNOWS THE REASONS FROM WHERE WE COME FROM AND WILL GO OR WHY. SO , I SAY TO YOU, IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE, OF COURSE IT IS A CHOICE. THERE IS ONE THING I MUST SHARE HOWEVER, WHAT IF YOU ARE WRONG, THEN WHAT ?

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          1. If I lose Pascal’s wager? I will at least learn one more thing! If they lose, they have wasted a little bit of time worrying about things they perhaps shouldn’t have. Looks like someone made a nice infographic about what would happen.

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  1. Good thinking! I don’t believe in religion. God (or the Universe, or anything we want to call them) became terrifying and covered in a plethora of rules only in the hands of power-hungry humans. I am however a believer and I also accept that God might very well be a figment of my imagination. But that imagination helps me go through everything that happens in my life. It helps me to accept that I don’t have control over anything nor anyone but myself. It also helps me get in touch with my intuition and make better decisions for myself, since it pushes away fear of death and every insecurities I have that might stop me from moving forward. There are as many Gods and spiritualities as there are people living on this planet. We’re just social animals, we like doing things in group, hence the 4200 religions that now exists.

    Have you ever felt awed and grateful for the existence of this universe? For knowing that parts of your DNA is shared by everything that exists? That we are built of elements that created the stars? Does it make you feel somewhat in love with existence? If you can feel at ease knowing that you are to remain a part of this universe, even after your death, inside the wombs of worms, who will feed birds, who will feed other predators, that’s what the idea of God is for. For you not to feel scared and to do what you truly want to do anyway. For you to be patient in your experiments, of life, art and science. For you to learn as you go when you are right and when you are wrong.

    Is God real? No matter what you believe in, if it makes you love yourself, your neighbours, the whole universe, and be at peace with the idea that we all will die one day, this is all that matters. That’s what faith is for. We don’t need God. But we sure need something to hold onto that will get us out of our own fears and do something good for ourselves and, as a side-effect, the people around us too. And if we need to call this thing God, why not?

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    1. Did you say that you are a Believer?
      God is not a myth or an idea to ease our way through life. He is real, and He is amazing! I can honestly say that I know Him. He is so kind and gentle and absolute perfection in everything good. His love is so powerful and transforming that when He Spoke to me every fear and insecurity immediately vanished, and I was afraid of everything after years of torment by the devil who is also very real.
      I truly thought I was going crazy for awhile, because of the things that were happening to me. God finally came and spoke to me, because He knew that I was not going to make it if I didn’t have actual evidence and proof to continue fighting a battle against the most evil and ruthless powers of darkness that were working to destroy the children in foster care and everywhere really, but my specific focus at that time was children being sold into sex trafficking and children in foster care.
      I didn’t know if God was real at first, but I had no options left. I had tried everything that I could to stop the evil, and no one seemed to care or want to bother with helping these children that were suffering severely in our own communities. I was heartbroken and exhausted, so I cried out to God for help. I asked him to please save Just one kid a day. I said that if he cared enough to create this world than it would only make sense that He had to care about these evil crimes against the innocent children. After my prayer, I felt a peace about me, but didn’t think much of it. Three days later I get a call about a girl that was rescued from a motel room over the weekend, and she was going to a safe house that I was helping. As soon as I heard this, a voice whispered, “She is alive, because of your prayer.”
      I had never heard that voice before, so I was freaking out. The story is too long to continue here, but I can tell you that thousands of children have been rescued, because of my willingness to ask God to help. That weekend he rescued around 185, and he told me to pray bigger, because he wanted to save more than one a day. I can share hundreds of stories to prove how real God is, but you don’t need to find out second hand. You only need to ask Him to reveal himself to you and show you that He is real. He is real! And He is awesome!!! He told me that most people that say they know Him, have never known Him. That should tell you something about the religious people in the world. They don’t know the living God, because they are living in religion and following the things that Jesus actually came to set the people free of over 2000 years ago. Laws that bind and oppress people and keep them from coming to God for help. He is real. He is perfect love and once you meet Him, you will never want anything more in your life than just to be close to Him. He protects, provides, heals, helps, teaches and fills you with love that overflows to all the people you meet. He is too good to ever turn away from. The people that turn away or preach hatred or use judgement against people don’t know God. They only know what they were taught by people or a Book. I will pray for all of you that posted on this sight and ask God to open your spiritual eyes, so you can enjoy the Blessing that He is waiting to pour into each of your lives right now! Please feel free to share with me after you are freed from the lies and you know the Truth. I believe that all of you will be saved and find perfect love this week!

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        1. He only has authority over what we give him authority over in the earth. He won’t intervene in matters that no one has asked for him to help. That is just the way He is. He desperately wants all of us to pray to him to intervene and help these kids and all those suffering! But if no one is willing to pray and ask for him to help, then it is up to people to fix the problems. I am not making that up. He wants to see all of us happy and healthy even more than we want it!

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        2. He isn’t causing those things. People that are filled with evil do those things. Obviously those people don’t know God, or they wouldn’t behave in such a vile and horrific way to other human lives.
          Start praying for him to help rescue them! I can only pray for so much everyday, and I have seen thousands rescued, so if everyone would cry out for help, think how quickly we could see good flowing across our nation and world?!
          I know that I have been slacking on my prayers for these issues, but it is tough to know what to pray for when a person is no longer in that area of work. If all the people would pray for all the things and people in their area of focus or job, it would be enough, because there are plenty of people that claim to be Believers, but if they were really all Believing, they would also be praying for others and not just themselves. I pray for the police, the firemen, the nurses the doctors, the teachers, the government leaders, the church leaders the church members, the people I pass on the roads everyday, and anyone who asks or that I see need help. I pray over the streets for protection, over the communities to be set free from poverty and oppression, I pray over accidents, cars broken down on the side of the road, the schools, the nation’s, the crimes that are unsolved and seriously everything that I can pray over, because I know that God will help every one of those people and issues after I ask. He has transformed my city and over leadership and much more through this one voice crying out continuously for help!
          You have a voice and one day you will see and understand everything that you have been blinded to in the past was because of your choice to be in darkness and speak against God’s existence and love for you. He didn’t blind your eyes, your own words caused you to be blinded and hardened. All that you have to do is ask God to forgive you and open your eyes. It isn’t like it takes a lifetime of begging to find God’s love. He said that anyone that calls on His name will be saved.
          He has made it so easy that even a gay man that I was sent to help one night was saved because he was saying, “Please Jesus, just don’t die right now!” To his cell phone! I found him on a bench at 1am after his mother had just passed away. He was so upset that he could barely speak. I asked if he had been praying for help, because most people that I am sent to help usually are, but he said, “I am gay. I didn’t even know that was an option for me!” He then said that he had been stressing about his phone and saying, “please Jesus! Just don’t die right now!” Although he didn’t know he was calling on Jesus to help, because the name Jesus had become a slang for his vocabulary, that was enough for him to be rescued that night and saved for all eternity! It was heartbreaking that he thought that he couldn’t be loved by the one that created him because he was an outcast by the churches. God has sent me to heroin addicts, drug dealers, prostitutes and even church leaders to help them, because they don’t know the real God and they don’t understand how great his love is for all of His creation. You should get a copy of the Passion Translation of the Bible. It is a great interpretation viewed through the true Heart of the Father. I met God and He told me some really cool stuff. He isn’t an angry and mad God. He is a lot of fun and always full of love and joy. He is wonderful. He did actually tell me that U had to avoid negativity and to not watch the news anymore. He doesn’t work with negative, but he turns everything into a positive! Just believe and ask him to forgive and help you. He is waiting for you to ask him.

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  2. The tiny penguin remind me of Bertrand Russell’s teapot.

    I don’t pressure others or look for universals. We all kind of mature from being self righteous, eventually. I think religion is a response to bring some significance to the void of our life. Our consciousness is where we all fight socially on acceptable behavior to sustain a way of life. That is where the murky origin theories exist between the micro cultures Catholicism being the largest. We choose religion however impractical because, number one we are selfish and don’t want to die. Number two we are social and don’t want to die alone.

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      1. Ha. Well I’m sure believers appreciate your tact. We forget that most of the celebrated martyrs lived, what they believed and in our current atmosphere. It is sold. If we are to be a reflection of the best of humanity then why start with the worst? Money. If all it takes to be a Messiah is to be broke and half of humanity lives on less than three dollars a day. Well, you’re smart. The “second coming” would not come from a developed nation. So why does it have that control in the richer countries? We like stories. We like taking sides.

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          1. Causality proves origin. Sounds fun, like a God phone. We already have Jesus appearing on those profane gluten items toast and pastry. Don’t Jesus know our struggle? I forget he’s always ripped and has unlimited breadsticks like those chain restaurants. A message, would give back all the years kneeling and all the Sundays but who’s Sundays. Who’s God? Every religion has a message from an original mover so I kind of, disagree. I feel like that’s part of the problem. Humans are pattern seeking which gave us many solutions to human problems but, a God solution to our God problem? Would make the receivers also God’s, oh my bread is burning looks like oh, maybe St Michael. Damn.

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  3. Thanks for you post throwing science in the face of hypocrisy! I too am a PhD (1973 pre internet) who came from and reacted against a very fundamentalist religious upbringing. You cant argue with “faith” and, if you are a scientist, you cant argue with facts. SO…again, what’s a person to do? VOTE DEMOCRAT! The Republicans have been waging a war on science for decades and now they have a stooge in power to enforce their idiotic assault on ideas, logic, facts and oh….wait for it…our PLANET. I was cheered to see the reception he got in the UK recently. I hope you were there.

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    1. Hello there!
      I describe God as the one and only non-contingent being, the un-caused cause, the one entirely independent being, the ground of all being, the unmade maker. There are really only two possibilities for the existence of the universe; either it had a beginning and therefore a cause outside of itself, or it has always existed, and is self-causing. Many non-theistic scientists recently have been affirming their view that stuff created itself (their actual literal wording), which is unintelligible to me. The modern view of the big bang, that all stuff emerged from “an infinitesimally small point” is not far removed from the theological view of creation “ex nihilo,” or “out of nothing.” It think it takes more faith to believe that there was not cause, or that stuff caused itself, than to believe that there was an intelligence behind the design. Otherwise, how do you explain the complexity of, for example, DNA, which is a code of information complex enough to be identified as a language in and of itself.
      Anyway, just a few of my thoughts for consideration. Cheers!

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  4. I enjoyed your post- very well thought out, though we would disagree on some points.

    We were raised Catholic (though I no longer consider myself Catholic per we due to the atrocities committed against the children and the shuffling around of predators by the Vatican), but were always told to think for ourselves first– that is to say don’t just swallow what you are told, but explore life and religion and spirituality for yourself, otherwise you end up being nothing more than one of many automata.

    I’ve come to believe in God through my own personal experiences. I can’t prove something so subjective to you. I have no desire to. I have no need to. Your belief in something or nothing has no bearing on my life whatsoever.

    What irritates me about hardcore atheists and solo scriptural Christian is how alike they are, at least in how they perceive the world: they are absolutely terrified, or too conceited to admit that there are things out of their field of study to admit there are things they do not know (science and religion).

    Every individual, and therefore the institutions they form are naturslly aware of right and wrong. And every such institution, whether religious or secular has done terrible things. Nobody can claim the moral high ground. This is why balance is necessary- because any force, unfettered, will ultimately become oppressive and destructive. It is foolish to believe otherwise.

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  5. If you believe that something created it, then surely you believe that something created the creator and then you have an infinite loop on your hands.

    It is very simple to explain the complexity of life if you have an understanding of biology and statistics.

    Furthermore, people who believe in the big bang, don’t know what came before it and do not claim to know, that is the difference between believers and non-believers in my eyes.

    Thanks for stopping by and adding to the debate, I love this subject!

    I wish you all the best.

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  6. atheist is a word for one who isn’t content to not believe, but instead want to recruit others to not believe also. I believe that I do not know enough to state with certainty that there is no God

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  7. I believe there is an Infinite Source of energy that rules this entire creation. Some call it “Creator”,”God” or “the Universe”. It is just a matter of perception and belief system that determines whether God exists or not.
    Some say the Creator has created us who is so powerful that nothing is required to create the Creator. That’s still a mystery unresolved. By the way, I loved your insights about this topic.! 🙂

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  8. Even if you are right and there is no God, I who am a believer don’t care who made God, if someone made God He would not be God and you would be right. I will say this if the atheist is right and the Christian is wrong, I would rather live my entire life with my faith in God and the Traditional Catholic religion because it brings me great peace of mind, happiness, and joy. Whenever I read blogs here speaking about this subject it seems they are confused and find themselves believing fantasies anyway!

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  9. If you truly “have been interested in why people believe”, perhaps you would consider reading the following books written by incredibly intelligent, deep thinkers, some of whom set out to disprove the existence of God, only to become convinced otherwise. “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel, “Cold Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace, “The Reason for God” by Tim Keller, “Can Man Live Without God?” by Ravi Zacharias, “Mere Christianity” by CS Lewis.

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      1. Nevermind the books, Faith is a gift from God and you would receive it if you asked for it in prayer, sincere prayer.
        Pray for the gift to love the Truth and to know the Truth. My husband was an atheist and I begged him to pray for Faith finally he received it, after several years. One time we were speaking about values and he said his Faith is most valuable because it took him a long time to get it.

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      2. My first choice would be the one by Ravi Zacharias. He is an amazing thinker and speaker who has world-wide, cross-cultural appeal and is very knowledgeable about non-religious thinkers and world religions. He is in high demand at prestigious universities at home and abroad and has also spoken to gatherings of diplomats. I believe that includes UN officials at some point.

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  10. I respect your views but I don’t agree with them. I feel sorry for those who have no hope of eternity, and I would never want to live in a universe where God is not present. He is the One who holds all things together. He is the reason that evil hasn’t completely taken over the world. We are promised that evil will increase, but that God will triumph. And I’m sorry you can’t believe that He is eternal and self-existent. It had to start somewhere, and it started with Him.
    Please read the series I am starting about why I believe. Even if it doesn’t win you over, you may get a better glimpse of why others believe. It isn’t always the blind following the blind, or upbringing. It can be a conscious decision based on evidence and a personal interaction with the Almighty.

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    1. Hi Brenda thanks for sharing! I respect you as a human being, but I do not respect your beliefs as they are not grounded in evidence. I will read your series, I can’t wait!

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  11. My first choice would be the one by Ravi Zacharias. He is an amazing thinker and speaker who has world-wide, cross-cultural appeal and is very knowledgeable about non-religious thinkers and world religions. He is in high demand at prestigious universities at home and abroad and has also spoken to gatherings of diplomats. I believe that includes UN officials at some point.

    Like

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