Singapore Expats Forum

Faith

A moderated forum for serious discussions only.
User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Faith

Postby ksl » Thu, 06 Mar 2008 2:04 pm

I was discussing religion, with a friend of mine in the Caribbean, she goes to church every weekend and prays every day.

I am not a follower of church gatherings, because i have over the years formed my own opinions on preaching the faith.

When asked if i believe in god, I say "I do believe in god" So why don't you go to church is the next reply.

Having faith in god and faith in people is quite a clash of differences, because I have lost faith in the Church and the people that represent god, having been witness to all the publicity of sexual abuse, committed by church representatives.

One may wonder, that the publicity is an over reaction, but how can one condone, the cover ups, by the Churches involved...

Ever since i was in the salvation army and boy scouts, I sensed feelings of scout masters and clerics, pushing the limits of body language, one can get those feelings, that say, hey why are you getting so close to me, without anything really happening.

We has children used to laugh about it between ourselves, I guess being street wise at a very young age, may have saved us from unpleasant experiences..

Although I do have faith in god! whoever he, it, or she is, I cannot help, but wonder over all the pain and suffering in the world...So today I have chosen another path...my own, it is a combination of knowledge of many faiths, and more buddhist orientated, for I wish no one any harm, and want to live in a peaceful world.

My christian friend, who follows a jehovah god, and means, that if one doesn't follow christian beliefs, then one doesn't transend above the primitive life, because one has no faith in god...and that is why, so many are at war with eachother.

Could it not be, that my belief of one god, is shared by all, and that the warring fractions, are fighting for their own beliefs, in the one god, so there must be something wrong, with the preachers!

She argues, that islam is not a religion, of which i disagree, I know, the faith quite well, and I have a great deal of respect for the Koran...and others religions too.

My only point is that humans should know, what is right & what is wrong, and yes, we can see differences around the world, how, people react to violence for example, in Malaysia, we often read of brutal muder, with parang attacks, these offences also happen in Singapore, too.

Yet do these kind of attacks, happen in USA or UK on a daily basis?

What is your belief? That if one has faith in god, one transends above the savage ways of those, with no god?

Do you believe, that having a god, helps you to be a better person?

Do you believe one should go to church to pray?

Or do you believe that in general it's all down to human instinct, of knowing what is right and what is wrong?

I believe in the last one, of knowing what is right and what is wrong, I don't need to be preached to by Church representatives, my belief is that the church hides, to many secrets, and attracts, the predators of abuse, and that is why I refuse to allow my daughter to attend these gatherings.

Yes it is sad, that I feel, this, but we must also realise, that God is not tangible, and the Church has much to answer for!

I hope no one takes offense, of this, because no offence was intended, I just wanted to make my point, that I am a believer in god, that I do not follow any religion, only my instincts, and my instincts tell me, there is good in all, and that I don't need anyone, to preach anything different.

User avatar
ScoobyDoes
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1664
Joined: Wed, 29 Nov 2006
Location: A More Lucky Spot

Re: Faith

Postby ScoobyDoes » Thu, 06 Mar 2008 3:35 pm

ksl wrote:What is your belief? That if one has faith in god, one transends above the savage ways of those, with no god?


I sometimes consider religion an acceptable cult, at least when considering the way they started and what they turned into.

The fact that people believe in a God is up to them and i have no problem with it so long as you don't force me to thing the same way. I am a scientist / engineer in the head and heart and for me it's tough to believe in an all-singing, all-dancing power, especially if you consider the evil in the world. I know many scientists and engineers also believe in God but the rationalisation of that must be different to my own.

I look at mountain sides in the Philippines or Indonesia and you'll hear locals bring up "the Will of God" after their village is wiped out in a landslide. Sorry, it was greedy government officials that allowed illegal logging not God's Will however if this allows the villagers a more comfortable explanation then i don't see why i should argue.

Do you believe, that having a god, helps you to be a better person?


No.

Do you believe one should go to church to pray?


No need, but it may bring comfort.

Or do you believe that in general it's all down to human instinct, of knowing what is right and what is wrong?


I do believe this. Whilst i am not a firm follower, i like the teachings in Bhuddism simply for the thoughts on how to make a person better. Was Bhudda a real person? He stands a higher chance of being real than a Christian God. The synical would say this is why Jesus was "invented", to prove the existance of God, although which came first God or the religion?

I am not THAT synical.

phil30k
Regular
Regular
Posts: 118
Joined: Fri, 04 Jan 2008

Re: Faith

Postby phil30k » Tue, 11 Mar 2008 3:27 pm

I'm agnostic.

Which is to say, I believe in God, just not a specific God of a specific religion. More of in a general sense.

And that's about it.

Sorry I don't have something more interesting to add.

User avatar
cutiebutie
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 286
Joined: Sat, 01 Sep 2007
Location: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Home

Postby cutiebutie » Tue, 11 Mar 2008 6:12 pm

Do you believe, that having a god, helps you to be a better person?


It depends if you believe in the words of your God and act accordingly.

Then, yes. It does make you a better person.
- Thank God for Darwin -

Turtle
Regular
Regular
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri, 25 Apr 2008

Postby Turtle » Fri, 25 Apr 2008 12:43 pm

I think that I would be classified as a Latitudinarian. I'm spiritual, I believe in some higher power or purpose, I believe that having some sort of spirituality is helpful to humans and to society. I believe that the conscience and the ability to judge and reason are the most important parts of humanity.

However, I am not religious. I think that on the balance, religion has done far more harm than good over the centuries. I think that religious texts and doctrines are the words of fallible men, not god(s). I think that religious people who condemn/attack those who have chosen other religions are evil.

I believe that the individual should follow their conscience, and may require guidance or assistance in learning how to do so or understanding how they truly feel. But at the end of the day, they should listen to how they truly feel, rather than what a robed individual tells them to believe.

I think that if there was a supreme being who created all of us in his or her image, it would have been done with this intention: given that what separates humans from animals is this conscience and ability to reason, surely a creator would want us to use this as a guide. It makes no sense to me then that the only path to salvation would be through blind belief in something that there is no evidence of - i.e. denying the gifts given to you. If you were created a specific way by a higher power, then surely doing good would mean doing good by your deepest, most inner beliefs.

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Sat, 26 Apr 2008 11:50 pm

Very nice reply, I feel also that spirituality, is better for me too, I have never been one to listen to others, not even my employers, I'm a free spirit, and there can only be one...my conscience rules my heart, and my life...I have a very good conscience :D

I also believe religion may have done more harm, than good.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35120
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 27 Apr 2008 10:00 am

Turtle, you have said what I would have liked to say but a lot more eloquently than I ever could. Spot on.

I've tried in the past to explain my agnosticism without success but my language capabilities are hampered by my ole farmboy upbringing and lack of higher education. Excellent post.

User avatar
Global Citizen
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon, 07 Mar 2005
Location: Still looking for Paradise

Postby Global Citizen » Sun, 27 Apr 2008 10:13 am

Turtle, it seems quite a few of us can relate and identify with your post. Beautifully said and right on the mark as far as I'm concerned.
One man's meat is another's poison.

Turtle
Regular
Regular
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri, 25 Apr 2008

Postby Turtle » Sun, 27 Apr 2008 11:45 am

Thanks, people - it's something that came to me years back, when I was young and being forced to go to church. I just find that there's a huge gap, on the one hand humans, created by hand by God in His image - which I think mostly everyone would agree to mean reason, logic and conscience (as animals do not have these) - yet on the other hand, saying that you can't go to paradise unless you refuse to use your reason and logic, i.e. you reject your gifts and just believe what someone else tells you.

The conclusion I draw from it all is that if there is "something more", you get there by being a good person, regardless of how many oaths you take and hymns you sing and sermons you listen to. These things may help you become a better person, but in the end it's all very internal - I think spirituality is the most personal thing there is in the world, which is why trying to force somebody to change theirs is hugely pointless and probably dangerous. What's even more dangerous are religions that make a follower's passage to paradise contingent on converting others, I couldn't imagine living a life like that.

andy21
Regular
Regular
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri, 18 Apr 2008

Postby andy21 » Mon, 28 Apr 2008 1:41 pm

Good posts ksl, and everyone else. Mostly that is.

I too am not religious. A diet of George Orwell when younger, and some of Bertrand Russell for example later on in life does not make for a good christian (or muslim or anything else for that matter!).

I do not believe in a supreme being who created the universe, for the question of how the supreme being came about will never be answered either. Is it inherently any more believable that the world must have been created by omnipotent being than that it the world is the way it is, created and evoloving, and possibly ending by laws that may or may not be physics as we humans understand it.

What I mean to say is this: someone I knew once was laughed at for being a fan of silly wrestling entertainment. Everyone said he was silly for watching anything as 'made-up' as that. His retort, plain yet beautiful was: is it any more or less real than anything you watch in the movies or on tv?

Anyway, my disagreement with religion is the way it throws up as many questions as it does answers. Enough so to convince me that god, in his (his being more convenient to say than he /she!) mostly widely acknowledge guise, and with his guiding principles on how humans should behave does not exist.

To me, and I think most of us who have posted in this post will agree, god is a human construct. Why such a construct? And why it appeals to people?

To reduce it to it's most simplistic, it is the fact that humans have a capacity to think and feel that almost no other animal can. And the most primal fear any human can have, is that of death. Religion solves that.

Except to those of us who think about it, and find that it doesn't, or at least not in a way we can accept in our heart of hearts.

I had dinner with my wife's friends who are very pious christians. Over dinner, they quizzed me on my religious beliefs, which of course I told them. To which they said.' but surely you must think there's something bigger than you, that I should think about what happens after death'. The presumption of it all! The cheek!

My mother-in-law frequently asks me when I will allow myself to be baptized, and when she feels like it, demand that I should convert to christianity if I love my wife! Wow...

I would very much like to tell her why I am not christian, but I know I will get nowhere.

That is the problem.

Religion is not what causes humans to go at each other's throats, religion is not what makes some homosexual people feel persecuted.

Religion is merely the outlet, the convenient excuse for these people to persecute others. And some people don't even need religion to deny other people their dignity on the grounds of these other people being 'different in a lesser way'.

The real problem is human ignorance, and there is no easy solution to this. In fact. I'd say there isn't.

Most of you who have posted are not religious, yet believe you are capable of making a positive difference to the world, because of the way you think and feel. And where do you think you got these ideas from? From being educated, and taking it upon to educate yourself on many issues.

But this kind of mindset is the exception rather than the norm. Personal enlightenment is what the world needs, but there are as many factors working against it as there are for it. Religion will die out in such a world because it has no relevance.

Hopefully in time.

cutiebuttie,
'It depends if you believe in the words of your God and act accordingly.

Then, yes. It does make you a better person.'


You'd be surprised how many of us disagree, and we aren't murderers, rapists or even plain swindlers. And how contradictory we find the 'words of god' as well.

I think some of you are aware of the so-called new ten commandments, and obviously, you will have guessed it has nothing to do with religion at all.

I first came across it in Richard Dawkin's 'The God Delusion'. A book with a strident tone, comes across as sounding unduly harsh until you consider the fact that he does not intend anyone who has read his book and disagreed with it to burn in hell for eternity.

Anyway, I have dug out these commandments from some website:

1) First Commandment: Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.

2) Second Commandment: In all things, strive to cause no harm.

3) Third Commandment: Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.

4) Fourth Commandment: Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.

5) Fifth Commandment: Live life with a sense of joy and wonder.

6) Sixth Commandment: Always seek to be learning something new.

7) Seventh Commandment: Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.

8) Eighth Commandment: Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.

9) Ninth Commandment: Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.

10) Tenth Commandment: Question everything.

A lot of us have followed at least one, probably more of them without even consciously knowing so, but simply because we have felt somewhere deep inside, that's how we should live.

Apologies for this rambling.

As for death, yes I am still afraid of it and found no solution yet. :) I think I'd better just get on with this life as it is first, not like there isn't enough to do here.

edit: Thought about it and maybe the link, if permitted would be interesting to some here: http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/new10c.html
It's a html link, no keylogger there.

Turtle
Regular
Regular
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri, 25 Apr 2008

Postby Turtle » Mon, 28 Apr 2008 2:03 pm

Religion is merely the outlet, the convenient excuse for these people to persecute others. And some people don't even need religion to deny other people their dignity on the grounds of these other people being 'different in a lesser way'.

I definitely agree with that. I remember bits and pieces from a Philosophy class about how groups find it easiest to define themselves by defining "the other", the opposite, the outsiders, and therefore find it easiest to feel better about themselves by convincing themselves how "the other" is worse. In a religious context, this is woven right into the beginnings - "the other" goes to hell. Non-believers are traitors against their very creator, so on and so forth. Therefore it is very easy for people to use religion to "prove" their own superiority - and from history we can see that it is probably the most common method of all. The Crusades for example - if you did not risk your life or donate all of your wealth to the Crusades, you were an enemy to your own religion.

I have been told this is a very good book to read: Man Made God: The Meaning of Life by the philosopher Luc Ferry. It's about how over time, spirituality and divinity have become less about some untouchable, omnipotent creature, and more about humans and humanity. I have yet to read it, but my significant other reminds me about it all the time, so I thought I would pass it along.

User avatar
QRM
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1831
Joined: Mon, 17 Oct 2005
Location: Nassim hill

Postby QRM » Mon, 28 Apr 2008 2:10 pm

Lets not forget religion came about in a period when 99% of the population were illiterate and total education as we know it today did not exist it was a simple and convenient way to instill some form of social order to the masses.

I noticed the school we have been looking at for our child is religious free. Only has religious classes to highlight the difference and origins of the worlds religion.

I was talking to a normal middle age family man here, and he reckons Mas Selmat escaped using black magic powder :shock: , so much for the education here, but its no dafter than some educated westerners, really think Jesus walked on water, and was born as a result of immaculate conception.

Everyone need a crutch in life, be it drink, drugs or religion, etc. but my pet dislike is when they try and force it on you. Nothing worse than a heavy drinker saying go on have a drink you got to enjoy life, or some happy clapper saying go on believe in the bible you got to get a meaning in life :x

User avatar
ozchick
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri, 21 Sep 2007
Location: Germany

Re: Faith

Postby ozchick » Mon, 28 Apr 2008 3:51 pm

ksl wrote:I was discussing religion, with a friend of mine in the Caribbean, she goes to church every weekend and prays every day.

I am not a follower of church gatherings, because i have over the years formed my own opinions on preaching the faith.

When asked if i believe in god, I say "I do believe in god" So why don't you go to church is the next reply.


Although I do have faith in god! whoever he, it, or she is, I cannot help, but wonder over all the pain and suffering in the world...So today I have chosen another path...my own, it is a combination of knowledge of many faiths


Need to say that it's easy to declare that one doesn't believe in God. Anyone can do that. No courage required. Proof is there. What we can't see is clearly NOT there.
Much harder and courageous to say that I believe in God (or a higher being) OR I believe that this scenario is possible.
As for me, well I prefer the tougher stance. I can't prove a damned thing and never will be able to. And like you ksl I don't need anyone to tell me how to live this belief. Some of the most un-Christian people I've met in my life are the adult Catholics from my Primary Catholic school yrs and Catholics with whom I've worked as an adult. A complete turn off for me. I was brainwashed as a child with the 'you better love God or else' nonsense. Unforgiveable R.E. as I see it now. If the ship was going down I would pray like there's no tomorrow- but in my own way.
'Are you trying to tempt me because I come from the land of plenty?'

Turtle
Regular
Regular
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri, 25 Apr 2008

Re: Faith

Postby Turtle » Mon, 28 Apr 2008 6:42 pm

ozchick wrote:Need to say that it's easy to declare that one doesn't believe in God. Anyone can do that. No courage required. Proof is there. What we can't see is clearly NOT there.
Much harder and courageous to say that I believe in God (or a higher being) OR I believe that this scenario is possible.


Is it more courageous to just believe what you are told to (and therefore admit that others may know better than you, which is courageous), or to make a decision based on your own knowledge, knowing that it may have consequences if you are wrong (i.e. if you refuse to believe, knowing that you may go to hell)?

It isn't an easy question to answer. Descartes (I think it was him) said that everyone should believe in a supreme being because even if there's only a 1% chance (or whatever) of this being existing, should he exist then the payoff is either eternal salvation or damnation. Since the outcome is essentially infinitely good or bad, it's always worth believing no matter how small the chance may be. I imagine that lots of people go to church for the same reason - what's an hour a week when so much might be at stake?

To complicate matters, nobody really knows what the "required amount of devotion" to go to heaven is, even if such a thing exists. Is it enough to say you believe? Pray occasionally? Go to church every week? Help a less fortunate person once a week? Once a day? What if you can only go to heaven if you consciously think of the 10 Commandments (or similar for other religions) every time you want to do anything, and try your hardest to never break them? What if only priests, nuns, monks and other completely devoted individuals are allowed in? What if these people don't get in because they spend all their time purifying themselves and don't think about others? That would seriously suck, is all I can say.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35120
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 28 Apr 2008 10:35 pm

*climbs up on soapbox*

Interesting premise but one that I cannot subscribe to.

From my view, if I live my life morally (and I do - at least comparatively so) and die, I will go to heaven if there is one. (at this juncture however, I believe more in ashes to ashes, dust to dust) But if there IS something else, I reckon my life will have held me in good stead and whether I believe in a "god" or not will not have any bearing on my transit if there is one. I doubt seriously, that a "god" would hold it against me (if in fact he does exist in some fashion other than the minds of mortal men) for not believing in a supreme being as long as I walk the earth with basically good acts & intentions. As far as the investment of time in going to church? What for? Use it to help someone, go to an old folks home for an hour and visit somebody who you don't even know. They will love you for it. You cannot buy your way. Going to church is a social function only. It's performance oriented and most that I see in churches are NOT that performance oriented when it come to helping their fellow man.

*getting off of the soapbox*


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Strictly Speaking”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests