Is Faith Enough? - page 2

I use to think that faith was enough- that if I had enough faith, I could accomplish anything. Faith is something that I think can lead us into the belief of being able to have a stronghold on life.... Read More

  1. by   GitanoRN
    Quote from mn-nurse
    you can almost hear them continue, "god wants me to have a full and healthy nervous system, but he wants you to be in constant pain, paralyzed, impotent and incontinent...isn't that wonderful???"

    i know this is harsh, but is is about the *patients*. not us.
    needless to say, at times it makes you think on the reality of some issues~
  2. by   madwife2002
    Depends on what you mean by saying

    'I can't just blindly believe things will work out, when I know they wont"

    Things often work out differently that you would expect but does that mean that it didn't work out? or does it mean they did
  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    Good answer, madwife!

    It's disappointing that so many people, both here and in the world at large, still seem to be incapable of discussing their beliefs WITHOUT slamming somebody else's and/or being slammed in return. Some are, as evidenced by the presence of several well-thought-out posts in this thread; unfortunately, these are almost always overshadowed by the kind of synaptic misfirings which, in other times and in other parts of the planet, have given birth to wars.

    Just saying...
  4. by   GitanoRN
    Quote from vivalasviejas
    good answer, madwife!

    it's disappointing that so many people, both here and in the world at large, still seem to be incapable of discussing their beliefs without slamming somebody else's and/or being slammed in return. some are, as evidenced by the presence of several well-thought-out posts in this thread; unfortunately, these are almost always overshadowed by the kind of synaptic misfirings which, in other times and in other parts of the planet, have given birth to wars.

    just saying...
    i'll 2nd that emotion as well....aloha~
  5. by   Esme12
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    Good answer, madwife!

    It's disappointing that so many people, both here and in the world at large, still seem to be incapable of discussing their beliefs WITHOUT slamming somebody else's and/or being slammed in return. Some are, as evidenced by the presence of several well-thought-out posts in this thread; unfortunately, these are almost always overshadowed by the kind of synaptic misfirings which, in other times and in other parts of the planet, have given birth to wars.

    Just saying...
    I couldn't agree more. If it doesn't hurt anyone and it makes them feel better I see no reason not to allow each their belief. I happen to believe in faith. That there is "something" out there....I call him God.

    Is it real to someone else? I don't know........ but it makes me feel better.
  6. by   GitanoRN
    is faith enough?... to put into perspective i shall say is a strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. however, faith is believing the real world behind the material world around us which can define faith in many forms...just saying
  7. by   Phil-on-a-bike
    "Is faith enough?"

    Far from it, in my view.
    Religious faith is the conviction that 2+2=5.
    The more sincere, committed and ardent that conviction, the more we're supposed to admire it.
    The concept of faith carries within it a pernicious and harmful idea:

    2+2=5 is a Perfect Truth. Therefore, if you look around you, and see that 2+2 does NOT =5... the fault must lie with you.

    "If you opened your heart, 2+2 WOULD =5."

    If you prayed harder, if you tithed more money, if you turned to OUR denomination, if you read OUR book, if you accepted (insert prophet of choice here).

    I don't buy it, and what's more, neither do the vast majority of purported believers.
    When illness or injury strike, the faithful may well pray... but they also seek medical treatment.

    The central flaw in this article, for me, lies in the phrase; "How do we know our religion, our belief - is the "right" one?"

    That phrase shows that the questioner is locked-in to a very specific mindset - the conviction that there IS a "right one" - that there is a single, all-explanatory 'Answer to Life's Great Questions', and that it does without doubt lie within the field of religion.

    This is like an alcoholic lying awake wondering why vodka hasn't offered a solution to life's problems, asking himself if maybe whisky is the answer.

    This way of thinking has always struck me thus:

    There are a gaggle of people clustered around a sack of coal.
    Each - for whatever reason - is convinced that somewhere in this sack is a diamond.
    Each, in turn, reaches into the sack. First guy is extatic - he's found the diamond - Catholicism!
    Everybody else just looks at him. Is he crazy? That's not a diamond - it's just a lump of coal. Next guy reaches in - Islam! Now THIS is the diamond, he proclaims.
    And so it goes on.
    Theyre all holding coal.
    They can all plainly see that the others are holding coal. They can clearly see the others are deluded in the conviction that they possess a diamond.
    They cannot see that they themselves are holding coal, and will not entertain the notion that it may be so.
    The very same arguments which to their minds, prove beyond doubt that the others hold coal, seem easily explained away when levelled at their own precious diamond.
    Why? Faith. Each has faith that they're not just clutching coal.

    There can be no progress from that impasse unless someone is willing to consider the possibility that there may be no diamond in that sack.

    So is faith of any use?

    Of course it is. It can be used to justify, in the minds of the devout, actions which could not possibly be justified by rational thought alone.
    This comes in particularly useful when flying airliners into skyscrapers.

    Be happy!
  8. by   Proverbs16:24
    Spiritual needs can sometime be overlooked and although physical needs are important, compassion also repair (re-repair) neurons and create new synaptic connections.
  9. by   GrumpyRN
    Quote from Proverbs16:24
    Spiritual needs can sometime be overlooked and although physical needs are important, compassion also repair (re-repair) neurons and create new synaptic connections.
    What???
  10. by   ChryssyD
    Quote from Phil-on-a-bike
    "Is faith enough?"

    Far from it, in my view.
    Religious faith is the conviction that 2+2=5.
    The more sincere, committed and ardent that conviction, the more we're supposed to admire it.
    The concept of faith carries within it a pernicious and harmful idea:

    2+2=5 is a Perfect Truth. Therefore, if you look around you, and see that 2+2 does NOT =5... the fault must lie with you.

    "If you opened your heart, 2+2 WOULD =5."

    If you prayed harder, if you tithed more money, if you turned to OUR denomination, if you read OUR book, if you accepted (insert prophet of choice here).

    I don't buy it, and what's more, neither do the vast majority of purported believers.
    When illness or injury strike, the faithful may well pray... but they also seek medical treatment.

    The central flaw in this article, for me, lies in the phrase; "How do we know our religion, our belief - is the "right" one?"

    That phrase shows that the questioner is locked-in to a very specific mindset - the conviction that there IS a "right one" - that there is a single, all-explanatory 'Answer to Life's Great Questions', and that it does without doubt lie within the field of religion.

    This is like an alcoholic lying awake wondering why vodka hasn't offered a solution to life's problems, asking himself if maybe whisky is the answer.

    This way of thinking has always struck me thus:

    There are a gaggle of people clustered around a sack of coal.
    Each - for whatever reason - is convinced that somewhere in this sack is a diamond.
    Each, in turn, reaches into the sack. First guy is extatic - he's found the diamond - Catholicism!
    Everybody else just looks at him. Is he crazy? That's not a diamond - it's just a lump of coal. Next guy reaches in - Islam! Now THIS is the diamond, he proclaims.
    And so it goes on.
    Theyre all holding coal.
    They can all plainly see that the others are holding coal. They can clearly see the others are deluded in the conviction that they possess a diamond.
    They cannot see that they themselves are holding coal, and will not entertain the notion that it may be so.
    The very same arguments which to their minds, prove beyond doubt that the others hold coal, seem easily explained away when levelled at their own precious diamond.
    Why? Faith. Each has faith that they're not just clutching coal.

    There can be no progress from that impasse unless someone is willing to consider the possibility that there may be no diamond in that sack.

    So is faith of any use?

    Of course it is. It can be used to justify, in the minds of the devout, actions which could not possibly be justified by rational thought alone.
    This comes in particularly useful when flying airliners into skyscrapers.

    Be happy!

    Kudos, Phil--don't worry, be happy!

    For me, THAT is the essence of faith. It's not about "sky-gods," or flawed mathematical sums.

    I had the "When injury or illness strike, the faithful may well pray...but they also seek medical treatment" idea explained to me thus: There was a great storm, followed by a terrible flood. One man climbed up on his roof to escape the waters. After a day, a man in a rowboat came by; "Come down, and get into my boat! The waters are still rising!" "No," said the man on the roof. "God will save me." The waters continued to rise. On the second day, a woman in a motorboat roared up to the house: "Quick, climb down and get in--you can't stay here! I'll get you to safety!" she cried. "No, thanks," said the man on the roof. "God will save me." Still the waters climbed higher. On the third day, with the water lapping at his feet, the man on the roof heard a helicopter approaching. Over the loudspeaker he heard, "Grab this rope and get in the basket, or you will drown!" "Nope," said the man, "I know God will save me!" On the fourth day, the man drowned. When he got to heaven, he cried out to God, "Why didn't you save me?" God shrugged and said, "I tried--I sent the rowboat, the motorboat, and the helicopter, but you wouldn't get off that %#@&ing roof!" Life isn't a movie, where miracles happen by magic; this is reality, and God works miracles through people.

    Like the OP, I too wonder whether I believe the "right" things. I don't see this as a weakness, but rather as a strength; humility is almost always good, arrogance almost always bad. When I reach into that bag and pull out my lump of coal, my tendency isn't to pretend it's a diamond: I tend to look for other people who also have a lump of coal so we can combine them and grill something tasty! Or maybe just stay warm. Faith isn't supposed to be a glowing jewel jealously guarded; it's meant to be shared.

    And I must respectfully disagree that it is faith in the minds of the devout that justifies flying airliners into skyscrapers; it is ignorance and hatred in the minds of psychopaths that justifies such actions.

    I'm a believer, but I'm also a rational person! Please don't call faith irrational--it's simply a matter of perspective. Those who are red-green color blind have to take it "on faith" that such colors actually exist. How many other colors are there that humans simply can't perceive? My dog can hear a dog whistle, but I can't; does that make me less rational than my dog? He definitely hears something--the fact that I don't hear it is not de facto evidence that his hearing is more or less "right" than mine...it just encompasses a wider range.

    Food for thought?
  11. by   Phil-on-a-bike
    Thanks for your civil and reasonable swing at my pitch, Chryssa!

    Random thoughts, in the spirit of chewing the topic over in a friendly way:

    I've always disliked the 'I sent a boat, etc' trope, for two reasons...

    First, the 'seeing evidence of G's handiwork in everyday events'.

    To me, this suggests the mindset of a medieval peasant!
    A partridge flew widdershins round the watermill on St. Swithin's eve? It's a sign!
    Perkin Thickett overturned his spelt-bucket, and the grain fell in the shape of a benedictio? It's a siiiiign!

    This is looking for omens, pure and simple, much as the Greeks did in the entrails of sacrificed animals, the Romans in the patterns of smoke from burnt offerings, or the ancient Britons in the blood-spatter of human sacrifice.
    Granted, you're looking for small moments of happiness and optimism in everyday life, but make no mistake, you're looking for omens.

    The insidious thing is - those who choose to go looking for omens will always find them.
    It says nothing about the supposed "cause" of these so-called omens, but it says a great deal about the person looking!

    Also - have you noticed how geographically convenient omens tend to be?
    Child pulled from floodwaters in Uttar Pradesh? It's a sign from Vishnu and the 330 million divine beings of Hinduism!
    Child pulled from floodwaters in Louisiana? It's a sign from God!
    A cynic might even say that these are everyday events being interpreted as confirmation of whatever belief system is locally prevalent anyway.

    Second: here's how I see things from the perspective of the Guy With The Boat:

    "I'm going to help.
    My community is in trouble, and I identify as a part of that community.
    My parents raised me with a sound set of values, and I know they'd want me to do the right thing.
    I can see my neighbour on the roof of his flooded house - personal friendship and common humanity move me to help.
    Normal, healthy psychology gives me the ability to empathise with others and being part of a functional society has shown me the benefits of altruistic action, and to be mindful of how my actions will be viewed by the rest of society.
    And my culture is one in which personal bravery and selfless action is celebrated.
    In short... pass us me wellies, Gladys; I'm going to get roof-guy off his roof."

    BUT... the point of the story is: LOLno, none of that matters, free will is irrelevant, individual human morals and societal mores count for nothing, God sent you. By magic.

    Wow. Seen from that POV, it's one depressing story.


    On to "ignorance", "hatred", and "psychopaths" as reasons for flying planes into skyscrapers:

    "Hatred"? Granted, but so what? Those engaged in any sort of conflict usually hate their perceived opponents.

    "Ignorant"? I'd be careful with that label.
    The average Middle-Eastern activist has a thorough knowledge of the sociopolitical situation in a region which the average American can't find on a map.
    These guys learn to recite the Koran by heart, in Arabic - even if Arabic is not their first language.
    If somebody had studied the Bible so thoroughly they could recite it by heart - in its original Greek/Latin/Hebrew - would you seriously describe them as 'ignorant'?

    I'd consider the possibility that rather than being 'ignorant', they may be, y'know... religious.

    The 9/11 hijackers included several university graduates including an architect, an Imam, the son of an Imam, several war veterans from the Bosnian and Chechnya wars, and men who were trained agents who'd operated successfully from the Phillipines to Malaysia.
    And yes... one guy with a history of mental health problems.

    Lastly, psychopathy: It's maybe a tad undiplomatic to ascribe so much of the world's problems to mental illness... on a Nursing Forum!
    But since we're here, I think it boils down to this: holding a radically different view from you in the matter of religion is NOT a definition of mental illness.

    But here's the thing: hatred, ignorance and psychopathy are equal-opportunity phenomena.
    They occur right across the board, affecting the religious and irreligious, believers and non-believers alike.

    So...

    That being the case...

    Where are all the agnostic suicide bombers?

    Where are the atheist mobs lynching albino children in Africa? Why don't the religiously uncommitted bomb abortion clinics? Why is Joseph Kony's organisation called the "Lord's Resistance Army" rather than the "Humanist Resistance Army"?

    Face it.
    There are several irrefutable common threads which run through violent extremism, and one of the strongest and vilest is that of religious faith.

    Okay, where are we? Red/green colour blindness? Taken "on faith"? Really, that's how you'd describe it?
    I'll see you one better: There are some parts of the light spectrum that nobody can see.

    X-rays, for example.

    So... do you really think we "take it on faith" that there are such things as X-rays?

    Or.... do we actually have plentiful, solid, verifiable evidence that they exist?

    I'm going with option 2.


    Lastly, the dog-whistle?
    Now, I'm aware you're not being literal here, I do realise it's just a metaphor, but...

    I would respectfully point out that you are employing the same argument you just refuted when applied to 'planes into buildings'!
    You weren't willing to entertain the notion that violent extremists are 'receiving a signal which you cannot hear' when it comes to religion.

    Anyway, enough of that.
    Please give your dog a good rub behind the ears and a nose boop from me!

    Cheers,

    Phil.
  12. by   ChryssyD
    Phil, I could do this all week. I love committed atheists...they're so much fun!

    God bless you (honestly) for being willing to don your mac and pull on the wellies to drag roof-guy to safety; because that's God--working through YOU! Surprise! Human beings, like all social animals, from ants to elephants, are supposed to engage in altruistic acts from time to time. But you and I both know that not all people give a rip about some dumb shmuck who won't come down off his roof. Lots of people would say, "The heck with him--he's too stupid to come down, he deserves to die." They aren't heeding the voice of God (so to speak). When I see human altruism, human goodness, I see God at work because I see God as the source of the altruistic impulse. I don't see omens. And critter guts really gross me out--whoever came up with stirring entrails as a method of divination was all kinds of twisted.

    And, yes, ignorant is the right word. Ignorant isn't the same thing as stupid or uneducated. Ignorant is not knowing things that you probably should know; there is a reason these people are called extremists--the vast majority of their co-religionists do not support the murder of innocent civilians. All beliefs are valid; not all beliefs are OK. Murder is not OK, and most human beings know this. To not know something so basic is, I think, definitely ignorant. Many Islamic extremists who advocate the wholesale slaughter of innocent infidels know the Koran, yes. What they often do not know is how to separate their religion from their politics. Several of the 9/11 hijackers spent their last night on Earth partying, not praying. One of them had an "infidel" girlfriend. They were cherry-picking their literal interpretations of the religion to suit their socio-political views. As for their being psychopaths--I don't happen to care that there isn't a defined diagnosis for what terrorists do: People who can murder fellow human beings they've never met in the service of an idea or to make a political point are sick. Their behavioral choices are based on an unacceptable belief structure, such as: I read in a book dictated by an angel of God to an illiterate man that I should kill infidels wherever I meet them just because they're infidels. (Incidentally, I find it strange that an atheist doesn't consider this a slam-dunk in the "yup, he's a Froot-Loop" department.) And I can say the belief structure is unacceptable because no society anywhere considers murder OK. I think this is why most Muslims draw the line at random bombing and beheading--it's maladaptive, it tends to upset people, and it's...messy. Besides, every culture decides what is "normal" and what is "abnormal." I hope we can all agree that acts of mass murder tend to fall on the side of crazy.

    And I have to confess I'm confused as to why so many people want to blame the ills of the world on religion. Or even just terrorism. The IRA killed innocent people, but Catholicism had precious little to do with it. The Red Brigade were communists. The suicide bombers at Pearl Harbor were at war, but their faith (Buddhist or Shinto, most likely) was probably far less important than honor and service to the emperor. People do bad things for a multitude of reasons, but I think being angry, selfish, and greedy are the most common.

    Of course color-blind people have to take it on faith that there IS a color called red and there IS a color called green, even though they will never be able to see them. They put their faith in the evidence of billions of people who would all tell them the same thing: There IS such a thing as a color you can't see. Trust us--we all see it, and we are the majority. The weight of evidence is on our side (apocryphal as it must seem to you, who cannot see).

    And finally: Oh, yeah. The suicide bombers of the world DEFINITELY hear stuff I don't. And the stuff they hear is wrong. Like, totally.

    The doggie loved the nose boop, by the way!
  13. by   Phil-on-a-bike
    I appreciate the congratulations about roof-guy, thanks... but you'll have to join the queue to pat my back.

    See, I've got a Zoroastrian here telling me that it was Ahura Mazda - working through ME!
    And a Sikh, telling me it was Ik Onkar - working through ME!
    And behind them... Shintoists, Taoists, Buddhists, (Eastern Animist and Zen) Muslims(Sunni, Shi'a and Sufi), and a whole slew of Variegated Christian denominations.
    (there was a lot of coal in that sack!)

    They're all terribly happy to see the Gods at work through my actions, although none of them would be so crass as to call such confirmation an "omen"... after all, when you put it like that, it sounds so primitive and superstitious!

    And of course, they all see confirmation of what they already believed anyway!
    The Amerindian Animist, for example, sees the hand of Gitchi Manitou - but of course, he's holding coal.

    You see God. Of course you do - after all, you're holding the diamond.

    Yeah, the hijackers partied.
    Newsflash - they belonged to one of the many religions which posit the idea that sin can be washed away!
    By confession and repentance, by baptism, or specifically in their case, by martyrdom.
    If that's crazy, it's no crazier than any of the other varieties of redemptionism.
    More messy, more noisy, more violent, but no more out of touch with reality.

    Yes, they cherry-picked their interpretation of their religion.
    Don't all religious believers?
    I don't want to be one of those tiresome bible quote-miners. (Seriously, they're unbearable.)
    Suffice to say that if you know your scripture, you know exactly what I mean.

    I don't consider killing in the name of religion a 'slam-dunk in the froot-loop department' (although I love the phrase!) and here's why: it's a cop-out.
    It's lazy-minded avoidance of a huge issue - that rational, functionally well-adjusted human beings can commit horrendous acts, and successfully rationalise their commission.

    More often than not - that rationalisation involves religion.

    Its hard to deal with the implications of ordinary people operating gas chambers.
    Way easier just to label them 'monsters' - after all, monsters are beyond all understanding, and that excuses us a lot of difficult questions.

    Suicide bombers at Pearl Harbor? There weren't any. Pearl: 1941. Kamikazes: 1944/5.
    A damaged aircraft crashed into the airfield at Kaneohe during the raid there at the same time as the Pearl attack, but those guys were there to drop their bombs, turn round and fly back.
    (Yeah - massive history nerd, here!)

    As for 'putting faith in the evidence' ? That... that's hurting my poor little brain.
    The entire concept of religious faith is 'belief without evidence'.
    If you have evidence, then whatever degree of trust you place in that evidence... it's not 'faith'. Not in the religious sense of the word.

    Doggy PS: this is where I volunteer on my days off: Bryson's Animal Shelter | Join the Bryson's Animal Shelter Community
    Last edit by Phil-on-a-bike on Mar 20 : Reason: Spellcheck was possessed by Santa

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