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How to Maintain Religious Faith

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Why can it be so difficult to maintain religious faith? No doubt there are many answers to this question. I think that one of the biggest reasons is that all the religious person can do is tell people why they believe what they do. Believers have nothing to show for their beliefs nor can they demonstrate any of their religion's claims. If tough skeptics come along who want more than words, then the believer is left empty-handed.

Nevertheless, psychological bulwarks are available to the religious person to maintain the otherwise most defenseless religious claims. Defenders of most faiths are ready to offer the doubting Thomases of their sects food for faith. Books, websites and videos meant to convince believers with floundering faith to continue to believe are not hard to find.

Another way believers fend off tough skeptics is to demonize the skeptics and critics of their beliefs, very often literally. The skeptics are bad people, "fools and blind," who are not to be believed nor trusted. If possible they are to be silenced and very frequently silenced by force if necessary.

If all else fails, the faithful will simply avoid the skeptic. If the dialogue with a skeptic gets too hot, and the promises of the religion appear to be ready to crash and burn, then the believer will flee. As he does so, he may lob some barbs at the skeptic as a way to get him back for inflicting the painful doubt.
 

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The flip side of faith is doubt. Unless one is delusional, a belief held without the support of evidence can never be reasonably certain.
 

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This is as a good a straw man premise as I've seen lately. I know a great many people who profess religious faith and believe they have plenty to show for their beliefs. There's even an expression for this, "Count your blessings." Don't get a believer started counting their blessings, unless you have no other plans for the afternoon.
 

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The flip side of faith is doubt. Unless one is delusional, a belief held without the support of evidence can never be reasonably certain.
The other day on Next Door (a neighborhood social media site that's mostly recommendations for a plumber or "did you hear that loud noise just now...is that gunshots?" and such, someone made a post along the lines of "the world is depressing, but not to worry...Jesus will return shortly and the Kingdom of God" yada yada yada.

I pointed out that people have been making predictions of Jesus' imminent return for quite a long time, and it hasn't exactly happened. "Well those people aren't using the Bible" came the response. I pointed out that it is literally IN the Bible, but that wasn't enough. "The time cannot be known, but rest assured, it is coming soon."

"So you're making a prediction, but you're also saying no one can know when?" (while responding, I was watching the "when will then be now?" scene from Spaceballs).

The retort was that the return 'o Jesus was maybe not coming on a certain date, but was nonetheless inevitable. Someone else chimed in and asked if Santa Claus would be coming back as well, and the person deleted the entire post.

This is why - for the most part - I've stopped arguing with believers over predictions of imminent Rapture. They're convinced that it's just around the corner, and little or nothing will change that belief. On this particular thread, I said something along the lines of "instead of just bemoaning the fact that the world is awful and sinful, maybe you could instead work towards making it a better place. You know...fix the place up for when Jesus arrives?"

Nope. They need their Armageddon. Flaming sword and sinners punished. If Jesus came back, looked around and said "wow...this is better than I expected" the prophecy wouldn't be properly fulfilled.
 
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steve_bank

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I'd argue it is easy to maintain in thje case of Christianity, if it were hard Christianity would not be so popular. Faith makes you feel good.

The principles of Buddhism IMO are relatively hard. No alcohol or recreational intoxicants. Self moderation. Occupation and work consistent with the moral principles. Action and speech moderated by the principles.
 
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Another way believers fend off tough skeptics is to demonize the skeptics and critics of their beliefs, very often literally. The skeptics are bad people, "fools and blind," who are not to be believed nor trusted.
Or, "dishonest trolls", perhaps? 🙄
I realize that you are trolling, but your comment here serves to validate what I said in the OP. Many times I've encountered religious trolls on forums who only insult those who disagree with their religion having nothing intelligent to add to the debate. It is ironic how the biggest trolls troll by calling others trolls. It's a way to maintain religious faith, I suppose.
 
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This is as a good a straw man premise as I've seen lately. I know a great many people who profess religious faith and believe they have plenty to show for their beliefs. There's even an expression for this, "Count your blessings." Don't get a believer started counting their blessings, unless you have no other plans for the afternoon.
Oh sure, they might believe they have plenty to show for their beliefs. I never said they didn't. What I did say is that they have nothing to (actually) show for their beliefs. So watch your own "straw men."
 
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I'd argue it is easy to maintain in thje case of Christianity, if it were hard Christianity would not be so popular. Faith makes you feel good.
Actually, nowadays with skeptics coming out of their closets to criticize religion, Christianity is in sharp decline in many parts of the world. As faith comes under fire, it becomes ever harder to maintain.
 

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Another way believers fend off tough skeptics is to demonize the skeptics and critics of their beliefs, very often literally. The skeptics are bad people, "fools and blind," who are not to be believed nor trusted.
Or, "dishonest trolls", perhaps? 🙄
I realize that you are trolling, but your comment here serves to validate what I said in the OP. Many times I've encountered religious trolls on forums who only insult those who disagree with their religion having nothing intelligent to add to the debate. It is ironic how the biggest trolls troll by calling others trolls. It's a way to maintain religious faith, I suppose.
I haven't called anyone a troll. You are calling everyone who disagrees with you a troll. This is, of course, entirely against forum rules to do, and I wouldn't stoop to it myself, especially since I don't think you are a troll in any case; you're just an ideologue who refuses to answer any significant questions about any of your claims. That's not trolling, it's just annoying.
 

steve_bank

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I'd argue it is easy to maintain in thje case of Christianity, if it were hard Christianity would not be so popular. Faith makes you feel good.
Actually, nowadays with skeptics coming out of their closets to criticize religion, Christianity is in sharp decline in many parts of the world. As faith comes under fire, it becomes ever harder to maintain.
Polls I have seen over the last decade would say the drop in Christianity is generally balanced out by adoption of other beliefs.
Starting in the 60s young people went from western Christianity towards the mysterious east for something they thought was better. Timothy Leary turned LSD iton a religious like cult.

Chinese and Japanese traditional mysticism is pervasive in our culture in the from of martial arts.

In my 70s Hartford Ct neigborhood was a house with American Sikh converts. The men grew beards and wore turbans, and had the ceremonial Sikh knives. They took on Sikh names. In the day I got up early for a few weeks to do their yoga in the morning. One of their cnants or matras was Sa Ta Na Ma. Repeated while touching thumb to the other fingers in seaquence.

There is an American convert Hindu church. There was the Bagwan, te Indian guru who brought a ranvh in Iregon with his wetern followers. That was bizarre.Then tose who may say they are atheist if yiu ask, but will also say they have a beilef in some intagible unversal force or higher power.
ple wnat thier Islamic idenity, they wantt to get rid of the theocracies lie Iran and Saudi Arabia.

From reports that do get out there is an underground Christian church in NK despite the harsh police state.

Religion is not going away.

If like Agnostic Christain you take a very narrow view you will miss the 'big picture'.
 

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This is as a good a straw man premise as I've seen lately. I know a great many people who profess religious faith and believe they have plenty to show for their beliefs. There's even an expression for this, "Count your blessings." Don't get a believer started counting their blessings, unless you have no other plans for the afternoon.
Oh sure, they might believe they have plenty to show for their beliefs. I never said they didn't. What I did say is that they have nothing to (actually) show for their beliefs. So watch your own "straw men."
If you contend that anyone who disagrees with you is lying about their situation in life, there's no real basis for discussion.
 
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Polls I have seen over the last decade would say the drop in Christianity is generally balanced out by adoption of other beliefs.
Rather than just disagree with your assertion here, I looked for evidence for my claim that Christianity is on the decline most notably here in America. Here's what one source, “Nones” on the Rise, has to say on the subject:
The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.

In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%)...

...While the ranks of the unaffiliated have grown significantly over the past five years, the Protestant share of the population has shrunk. In 2007, 53% of adults in Pew Research Center surveys described themselves as Protestants. In surveys conducted in the first half of 2012, fewer than half of American adults say they are Protestant (48%). This marks the first time in Pew Research Center surveys that the Protestant share of the population has dipped significantly below 50%.
I see nothing in that article that claims that this decrease in Christianity is being offset by "other beliefs."
Religion is not going away.
Sad to say, I think religion will always be with us, but I'm optimistic that some day it will no longer be a significant threat to human welfare.
If like Agnostic Christain you take a very narrow view you will miss the 'big picture'.
My narrow view didn't keep me from missing the relevant information in that article. I'm not going to believe what you say without good reason to.
 
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This is as a good a straw man premise as I've seen lately. I know a great many people who profess religious faith and believe they have plenty to show for their beliefs. There's even an expression for this, "Count your blessings." Don't get a believer started counting their blessings, unless you have no other plans for the afternoon.
Oh sure, they might believe they have plenty to show for their beliefs. I never said they didn't. What I did say is that they have nothing to (actually) show for their beliefs. So watch your own "straw men."
If you contend that anyone who disagrees with you is lying about their situation in life, there's no real basis for discussion.
Backing up one's words with some substance helps immensely to demonstrate that one is not lying.
 

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This is as a good a straw man premise as I've seen lately. I know a great many people who profess religious faith and believe they have plenty to show for their beliefs. There's even an expression for this, "Count your blessings." Don't get a believer started counting their blessings, unless you have no other plans for the afternoon.
Oh sure, they might believe they have plenty to show for their beliefs. I never said they didn't. What I did say is that they have nothing to (actually) show for their beliefs. So watch your own "straw men."
If you contend that anyone who disagrees with you is lying about their situation in life, there's no real basis for discussion.
Backing up one's words with some substance helps immensely to demonstrate that one is not lying.
A person says, "I am happy," and you say, "You don't look happy to me." Not a lot of substance in that.

If a person says, "My God has blessed me with many things", would you be satisfied if they shared their personal financial statement, or is there some other evidence which you would demand?
 

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I have looked at religious polls since the 90s. You can find a poll to back whatever you want. A poll 'The rise of bones' is likely to be biased. Conformation bias. How the questions are framed and asked can be highly biased in favor of getting a specific result.

I go by my experience going back to the 70s.

What I consider one of best polls was doe in England. The actual questions were published. The general comclusion was asking if you are atheist has no meaning. One can be atheist and belive in a cosmic spirit.

If you narrowly define religion by attendance at church as some polls do, then you could say religion is declining. In an objective broader scope people look for something to believe in. I have known people who would say I don' go to church but I belive in the bible, god, and Jesus. It is impossible to quantify all of it in a single small sample poll.


A poll on religion depends on how you define religion and word the questions.

Atheists are as susceptible as theists to confirmation bias when making claims about religion.

There are a number of groups that are still around like Ekankar and EST from the 70s. Older traditions like Theosophy. There is a Church Of Satan.
 
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A person says, "I am happy," and you say, "You don't look happy to me." Not a lot of substance in that.
I'm the skeptic. The person making the claim has the burden of proof, not I. They need to offer the substance; I don't.
If a person says, "My God has blessed me with many things", would you be satisfied if they shared their personal financial statement, or is there some other evidence which you would demand?
Any evidence to back up the claim is a plus, of course. If the claim is that God gave me A, then my seeing A is obviously better than my not seeing A. And obviously I would need some good evidence that the religious person received A from God.

If you disagree, then you would believe religious claims simply because you are told. To do so is very gullible.
 

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I'm actually reading a rather well researched, dare I say, scholarly book about the rise of the nones. Surprisingly, I've learned that the majority of Nones still hold religious or theistic beliefs. One calls himself a "Jesus follower". He doesn't like what organized religion has done to the teachings of Jesus, but he does believe in Jesus.

Some hold other beliefs regarding the supernatural, or have found interest in other religions. So, one could correctly say that organized Christianity is on the decline, but religious beliefs are pretty static or maybe declining by a very small percent. Oddly enough, some of the atheists or agnostics who were interviewed by the author, claimed that they enjoy participating in religious rituals with family members, not because they believe these things in the literal sense, but because they enjoy the. unity and fellowship that prayer and such often bring. That's not my personal position, but I've found it very interesting learning about how other atheists perceive religion.
 

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I'm the skeptic. The person making the claim has the burden of proof, not I. They need to offer the substance; I don't.
That's not quite true. If you're so bleeding right, then just what are you right about? If religious people are wrong, then they're wrong compared to what?

Even hellfire bible-believers are the sort of skeptic who finds it easy to declare other sorts of believers are wrong and demand proof of others only.

I don't see a problem with anyone counting their blessings. I would disagree that it's a supernatural being that gives the blessings, but I don't see how that matters at all in this context.

-------

I'm going to add... I've considered your notion (stated in another thread) that "truth matters more than happiness" and decided that's wrong. I'm not saying truth doesn't matter. But, what exactly is the truth that matters more than happiness? The sentiment "truth matters most" as a stand-alone item is just an empty moralism. It needs context - you need to say what truth you have in mind. It's too easy to say "truth matters more than anything" when maybe what you have in mind isn't true.
 

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A person says, "I am happy," and you say, "You don't look happy to me." Not a lot of substance in that.
I'm the skeptic. The person making the claim has the burden of proof, not I. They need to offer the substance; I don't.
If a person says, "My God has blessed me with many things", would you be satisfied if they shared their personal financial statement, or is there some other evidence which you would demand?
Any evidence to back up the claim is a plus, of course. If the claim is that God gave me A, then my seeing A is obviously better than my not seeing A. And obviously I would need some good evidence that the religious person received A from God.

If you disagree, then you would believe religious claims simply because you are told. To do so is very gullible.
I don't believe you are a skeptic. Your claim to be a skeptic, or skeptical behavior are not sufficient to support your claim to be a skeptic.

Cicero would love this thread.
 

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Why can it be so difficult to maintain religious faith? No doubt there are many answers to this question.
Because too many people make things about beliefs (instead of about universal happiness ;-) ). If they're in a group of fellow believers then there's support. But if they get exposed to a bigger world and come to feel like oddballs by social comparison, or it causes them discomfort some other way, then doubts need to be fought off.
 
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I'm the skeptic. The person making the claim has the burden of proof, not I. They need to offer the substance; I don't.
That's not quite true.
It's the way I do things. If you disagree, then how much time do you spend disproving every crackpot claim people tell you? If you make a claim without proof, then I may not believe you especially if it's an outlandish religious claim.
If you're so bleeding right, then just what are you right about?
I'm not sure what you're referring to, but I've found that it's best to let the claimant prove her claim. I don't want to waste a lot of time disproving nonsense (unless I'm debating in this forum, of course).
If religious people are wrong, then they're wrong compared to what?
Uh, they're wrong compared to what's right. What else would they be wrong compared to?
Even hellfire bible-believers are the sort of skeptic who finds it easy to declare other sorts of believers are wrong and demand proof of others only.
I wish they would demand that of me!
I don't see a problem with anyone counting their blessings.
They can count anything they want. Just don't count on me to believe what they say.
I would disagree that it's a supernatural being that gives the blessings, but I don't see how that matters at all in this context.
Actually, what you've been arguing is mostly irrelevant to what I said in the OP. So what you're saying doesn't matter "in this context" either.
-------

I'm going to add... I've considered your notion (stated in another thread)...
I'm glad you're paying attention.
...that "truth matters more than happiness" and decided that's wrong.
Then drink a bottle of whiskey and go racing down the road in your car. The truth of the dangers of drunk driving shouldn't deter you from the happiness you'll experience flying along in your car high as a kite! Remember: Happiness matters more than truth as you say.
I'm not saying truth doesn't matter. But, what exactly is the truth that matters more than happiness?
See my example above demonstrating the value of truth over happiness. In general, truth may not necessarily bring happiness, but it sure can help you avoid the misery of costly mistakes made while being currently happy.
The sentiment "truth matters most" as a stand-alone item is just an empty moralism. It needs context - you need to say what truth you have in mind. It's too easy to say "truth matters more than anything" when maybe what you have in mind isn't true.
Respecting truth isn't nearly as hard as you seem to believe. Just use your head and investigate evidence to see what's correct and what's baloney. That's what I have in mind.

Finally, happiness and truth need not be either/or; you can have both. I often experience happiness when discovering the truth.
 

steve_bank

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I'll bite, what is happiness and how do you know you have it????

If you are in love, how do you know and prove it???

This and other profound quetions, enquireng minds wnat to know the answers.
 
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Why can it be so difficult to maintain religious faith? No doubt there are many answers to this question.
Because too many people make things about beliefs (instead of about universal happiness ;-) ).
I don't know what you mean by "make things about beliefs."
If they're in a group of fellow believers then there's support. But if they get exposed to a bigger world and come to feel like oddballs by social comparison, or it causes them discomfort some other way, then doubts need to be fought off.
Congratulations--you're maybe the first person here who has engaged the issues I raised in the OP.

And you brought up an additional way people maintain religious faith. Yes, I neglected to say that people maintain religious faith socially surrounding themselves with the likeminded. That way they seem to be less of an "oddball" as you have pointed out. It's rare to see religious loners who maintain their beliefs in spite of their fellows rather than because of them.
 

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I pose, as strangely as this may seem coming from someone who is "a wizard", that there is no reason I see to maintain faith, other than in the idea that each and every one of us, and a good deal of things besides, are capable of pursuing mutually compatible self-actualization and rejecting a good deal of otherwise likely violence to quite a bit higher level than we do today.

It is the faith in the existence of a society of people who love each other, and love having peace between themselves.

But that's faith in something REAL! I can see that and love what it is about with my own two eyes.

Is this not enough?
 
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I pose, as strangely as this may seem coming from someone who is "a wizard", that there is no reason I see to maintain faith, other than in the idea that each and every one of us, and a good deal of things besides, are capable of pursuing mutually compatible self-actualization and rejecting a good deal of otherwise likely violence to quite a bit higher level than we do today.

It is the faith in the existence of a society of people who love each other, and love having peace between themselves.

But that's faith in something REAL! I can see that and love what it is about with my own two eyes.

Is this not enough?
I'm not sure what you're talking about.
 

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Having evidence to support a conviction is not faith. Trust built on experience is not faith.
 

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I don't believe you are a skeptic. Your claim to be a skeptic, or skeptical behavior are not sufficient to support your claim to be a skeptic.
You can disbelieve anything you want. If you doubt what I say, then by all means don't believe it.
Cicero would love this thread.
Have her join the board!
Unfortunately, Ciscero died in the year 43.
When I saw Cicero I thought it was a screen name, not Cicero the person. Then you confused me further by adding the s. But I assume that was a mistake and we're still talking about the person.
 

steve_bank

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I pose, as strangely as this may seem coming from someone who is "a wizard", that there is no reason I see to maintain faith, other than in the idea that each and every one of us, and a good deal of things besides, are capable of pursuing mutually compatible self-actualization and rejecting a good deal of otherwise likely violence to quite a bit higher level than we do today.

It is the faith in the existence of a society of people who love each other, and love having peace between themselves.

But that's faith in something REAL! I can see that and love what it is about with my own two eyes.

Is this not enough?
Does it stand up to observation of human history? I'd say no.

Its like expecting chimps to stop being agressive and combative.
 

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Having evidence to support a conviction is not faith. Trust built on experience is not faith.
I'm not sure how one separates religious faith from religious behavior. Maybe we should call the phenomenon "faith behavior." My experience sees two distinct manifestations of the phenomenon. One behavior is sincere where a person actually believes this stuff is real, finds community and support in their behavior and goes along in life as part of a community where those dogmas are not openly challenged or even discussed. The other form is faith behavior as business for profit. Put the clerics and those making money off the community into this category.

In both cases it's pretty easy to maintain your faith because it literally yields your survival. If you mix in some scientific knowledge and curiosity then those foundational dogmas become less secure. But lacking new knowledge things never change. Kids grow up in a different world in many cases and so their experiences cause them to leave their "faith" in many cases.
 

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I pose, as strangely as this may seem coming from someone who is "a wizard", that there is no reason I see to maintain faith, other than in the idea that each and every one of us, and a good deal of things besides, are capable of pursuing mutually compatible self-actualization and rejecting a good deal of otherwise likely violence to quite a bit higher level than we do today.

It is the faith in the existence of a society of people who love each other, and love having peace between themselves.

But that's faith in something REAL! I can see that and love what it is about with my own two eyes.

Is this not enough?
Does it stand up to observation of human history? I'd say no.

Its like expecting chimps to stop being agressive and combative.
Might as well get rid of all these "law" things then, and quit with all that useless "philosophy" and "ethics" and "rules" junk then ya?

Just be just as aggressive as the chimp?

Maybe you can go eat someone's face off at the nursing home, or oh! I know! Beat someone down with your cane for taking the last of the jello pudding! (Don't actually, this is purely rhetorical!)

I'd say the whole of human history fairly well demands that it IS true. We have always been moving towards a love and better faith in each other's fundamental ability to live with one another.

I CAN expect chimps (ok, baboons) to become as unaggressive and noncombative as their society allows.

There are, in fact, baboon troops who have accomplished this, mostly through removal of members who showed unilateral aggression, and social communication of standards and behavior to newcomers.

At any rate, such love for each other requires no incapability to violence, it merely requires a capability to identify unilateral violence and to direct the remaining violence entirely at such unilateral acts.

 

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For weather reason some of us here are not religious, have some background in science, and are skeptics.

For the vast majority of humans that is not true.

In some ways we are like the theists, we expect after hearing the arguments we make people will make a logical rational choice to be like us. We are puzzled when they do not and keep getting the same results. That endless loop expecting adifferent response is not rational.

At some point the logical conclusion is that there is something to religion we may not be getting. Hypothesis, test hypoyeis, modify or accept hypothesis. The Scientific Method. What is the evidence faith is hard to maintain?

We may not need the community and support f a religion., but many do.

To the OP it is simple observation that maintaiing faith is not hard In the face of the obvious trying to broadly proclaim faith is hard is irrational and obsessive, proselytizing.

Is it hard to listen to music? A large part of religion is theater especially the Catholics. It simply feels good to participate.No more complicated than that.
 

steve_bank

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There is an old video where a baboon is run over by a car. When the same car approches on the riad a cry goes out and the troop throws rocks at the car.

Or the Japnese Snow Monkees. A film maker happed to be around and shot monkees lerning to use a hot spring. In the end they were swimming and hanging around grooming each oter. Put wine in one hnad and cheese in the oer and they coud be Europeans in hot tubs.

Drawing conclusions form one time observation of animlas s is hopelessly anthropomorphic. I doubt yu woyd want to be cught in the open by angry banboons.

Ferl cats and dogs revert to their instincts. Male cats kill kittens to bring females into heat. Dogs form packs with alpha males.

Ukraine is yet another example of human male aggression. Putin and Biden are waving their erect dicks in each others face.

Some here seem to have a myth of a logical, rational, scientific human. Get rid of religion and humans will become rational. In our brias emotion can over ride logic, it is chemistry and hormones.
 

Jarhyn

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There is an old video where a baboon is run over by a car. When the same car approches on the riad a cry goes out and the troop throws rocks at the car.

Or the Japnese Snow Monkees. A film maker happed to be around and shot monkees lerning to use a hot spring. In the end they were swimming and hanging around grooming each oter. Put wine in one hnad and cheese in the oer and they coud be Europeans in hot tubs.

Drawing conclusions form one time observation of animlas s is hopelessly anthropomorphic. I doubt yu woyd want to be cught in the open by angry banboons.

Ferl cats and dogs revert to their instincts. Male cats kill kittens to bring females into heat. Dogs form packs with alpha males.

Ukraine is yet another example of human male aggression. Putin and Biden are waving their erect dicks in each others face.

Some here seem to have a myth of a logical, rational, scientific human. Get rid of religion and humans will become rational. In our brias emotion can over ride logic, it is chemistry and hormones.
Steve, I am not drawing conclusions except the conclusions that your claims are false, and that creatures ARE capable of adopting rules that do not comport with their initial emotional impulses, and that when they do, this yields survival value.

From THAT knowledge, I have some latitude to make other statements.

And that this, when applied to socially capable organisms, yields better outcomes as regards the survival of the members of that society.

It is as observable as Darwinian evolution.

This is about game theoretic principles, and those are just as true when the players are chimps, or baboons, or humans.
 

Politesse

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Having evidence to support a conviction is not faith. Trust built on experience is not faith.
I do not think that is a matter of common agreement. Or, if that is so, then the relationship a lot of people have with God, the gods, spirits, kami, etc, which is based on experience to a large degree, is not faith. Faith is about degree of trust, not the source of trust. You are faithful to those who you would never under any circumstances turn away, and you have faith in those who likewise commit to you. You may believe in your feelings of mutual goodwill even when there is no evidence of it in a a particular situation, but if you are still confident that your sister loves you even when you are having an argument, it doesn't make it "not faith" simply because that trust is partially built on a memory of many shared experiences. Likewise, I think most people see their relationship to God or the other spirits that be primarily in social/relational terms, not as a philosophical claim, and when they talk about their faith, that social relationship is what they're referring to. VERY few people have any strong interest in philosophy or apologetics, or even any patience for talking about them.

I note that in non-personal spiritual systems, such as Taoism, it's extremely rare to hear anyone reference "faith" or "faithfulness" in relation to themselves.
 

Politesse

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Unfortunately, Ciscero died in the year 43.

Then how do you know that Cicero (please use spell check) would have loved this thread? It's best to offer your own ideas regarding the issues raised in the OP.
I assumed this was a reference to Cicero's very well known perspective on rhetoric - as a kind of public melodrama built on the roles assumed by the speakers over and above any of the facts at hand - rather than the living man's personal likes and dislikes in forum perusal.
 

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Having evidence to support a conviction is not faith. Trust built on experience is not faith.
I do not think that is a matter of common agreement. Or, if that is so, then the relationship a lot of people have with God, the gods, spirits, kami, etc, which is based on experience to a large degree, is not faith. Faith is about degree of trust, not the source of trust. You are faithful to those who you would never under any circumstances turn away, and you have faith in those who likewise commit to you. You may believe in your feelings of mutual goodwill even when there is no evidence of it in a a particular situation, but if you are still confident that your sister loves you even when you are having an argument, it doesn't make it "not faith" simply because that trust is partially built on a memory of many shared experiences. Likewise, I think most people see their relationship to God or the other spirits that be primarily in social/relational terms, not as a philosophical claim, and when they talk about their faith, that social relationship is what they're referring to. VERY few people have any strong interest in philosophy or apologetics, or even any patience for talking about them.

I note that in non-personal spiritual systems, such as Taoism, it's extremely rare to hear anyone reference "faith" or "faithfulness" in relation to themselves.

Perhaps the relationship that people have with their God or gods is not with a God or gods, but the images of these entites being created in their own minds? In which case their relationship with God is not evidence for the existence of their God.

As for trust, that is built through experience with actual people and things, which is evidence that provides an estimate of trustworthiness.
 

Politesse

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Having evidence to support a conviction is not faith. Trust built on experience is not faith.
I do not think that is a matter of common agreement. Or, if that is so, then the relationship a lot of people have with God, the gods, spirits, kami, etc, which is based on experience to a large degree, is not faith. Faith is about degree of trust, not the source of trust. You are faithful to those who you would never under any circumstances turn away, and you have faith in those who likewise commit to you. You may believe in your feelings of mutual goodwill even when there is no evidence of it in a a particular situation, but if you are still confident that your sister loves you even when you are having an argument, it doesn't make it "not faith" simply because that trust is partially built on a memory of many shared experiences. Likewise, I think most people see their relationship to God or the other spirits that be primarily in social/relational terms, not as a philosophical claim, and when they talk about their faith, that social relationship is what they're referring to. VERY few people have any strong interest in philosophy or apologetics, or even any patience for talking about them.

I note that in non-personal spiritual systems, such as Taoism, it's extremely rare to hear anyone reference "faith" or "faithfulness" in relation to themselves.

Perhaps the relationship that people have with their God or gods is not with a God or gods, but the images of these entites being created in their own minds?
Most certainly, though the same can be said I think of all but the most intimate of social relationships. No, I don't think "evidence" comes into it at all, except in the explicit case of apologetic discussions. Even if someone feels that their conversations with God, the miracles they've experienced, etc could be considered evidence in the case of God, evidence and proof are the language of court cases and forum arguments, not the language of everyday faith. The idea of "Witness" comes close in Christian circles, or "Testimony" in Islamic communities, but if you actually pay attention to the content of either genre, you notice that the language is almost always more interpersonal than ontological in focus.
 

Bronzeage

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Unfortunately, Ciscero died in the year 43.

Then how do you know that Cicero (please use spell check) would have loved this thread? It's best to offer your own ideas regarding the issues raised in the OP.
I assumed this was a reference to Cicero's very well known perspective on rhetoric - as a kind of public melodrama built on the roles assumed by the speakers over and above any of the facts at hand - rather than the living man's personal likes and dislikes in forum perusal.
In Cicero's defense of Archias. he made the point that the prosecutors were ignoring all the evidence offered, while demanding evidence they knew had been destroyed in a historic fire.

The OP proposes, "Believers have nothing to show for their beliefs nor can they demonstrate any of their religion's claims. If tough skeptics come along who want more than words, then the believer is left empty-handed."

In this case, a believer can claim they have been blessed, but anything they believe to be a blessing is dismissed as insufficient evidence, while something impossible is demanded.
 
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In Cicero's defense of Archias. he made the point that the prosecutors were ignoring all the evidence offered, while demanding evidence they knew had been destroyed in a historic fire.
I don't ignore evidence offered nor do I demand evidence that I know has been destroyed or evidence that can't exist. You appear to be implying that convincing evidence for religious claims does not exist.
The OP proposes, "Believers have nothing to show for their beliefs nor can they demonstrate any of their religion's claims. If tough skeptics come along who want more than words, then the believer is left empty-handed."
You may be taking what I said a bit too literally. What I meant to say is that as far as I know believers have nothing to show for their beliefs nor can they demonstrate any of their religion's claims. I've never seen any such proof after thirty-five years of asking for it! So it looks very likely that no such evidence exists--so likely that I'm justified in saying there is no such evidence. If you can prove me wrong, then you are more than welcome to demonstrate any religious claim to me.
In this case, a believer can claim they have been blessed, but anything they believe to be a blessing is dismissed as insufficient evidence...
If there is no sufficient evidence for the claim, then yes, I will say the evidence is insufficient. I'm not going to be gullible.
...while something impossible is demanded.
If you're saying that proving religious claims is impossible, then we may actually agree. If my asking for sufficient evidence for religious claims is impossible for the religious to grant, then I would be right in deeming religious claims to be bogus.
 
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steve_bank

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There is an old video where a baboon is run over by a car. When the same car approches on the riad a cry goes out and the troop throws rocks at the car.

Or the Japnese Snow Monkees. A film maker happed to be around and shot monkees lerning to use a hot spring. In the end they were swimming and hanging around grooming each oter. Put wine in one hnad and cheese in the oer and they coud be Europeans in hot tubs.

Drawing conclusions form one time observation of animlas s is hopelessly anthropomorphic. I doubt yu woyd want to be cught in the open by angry banboons.

Ferl cats and dogs revert to their instincts. Male cats kill kittens to bring females into heat. Dogs form packs with alpha males.

Ukraine is yet another example of human male aggression. Putin and Biden are waving their erect dicks in each others face.

Some here seem to have a myth of a logical, rational, scientific human. Get rid of religion and humans will become rational. In our brias emotion can over ride logic, it is chemistry and hormones.
Steve, I am not drawing conclusions except the conclusions that your claims are false, and that creatures ARE capable of adopting rules that do not comport with their initial emotional impulses, and that when they do, this yields survival value.

From THAT knowledge, I have some latitude to make other statements.

And that this, when applied to socially capable organisms, yields better outcomes as regards the survival of the members of that society.

It is as observable as Darwinian evolution.

This is about game theoretic principles, and those are just as true when the players are chimps, or baboons, or humans.
I am not attacking you or arguing with you. Just expressing thoughts that the OP raises for me. There is no resolution to these quetsions.
 

steve_bank

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Pne thing religion provides is a way to express feelings.

'I feel blessed' may be related to a belief in god, but t also a way to express feeling good and thankful.

Thank god San Francisco's defense is holding Green bay and Aron Rodgers....SF is only up by 7.
 
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Pne thing religion provides is a way to express feelings.

'I feel blessed' may be related to a belief in god, but t also a way to express feeling good and thankful.

Thank god San Francisco's defense is holding Green bay and Aron Rodgers....SF is only up by 7.
I can express feelings without religion.
 

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In Cicero's defense of Archias. he made the point that the prosecutors were ignoring all the evidence offered, while demanding evidence they knew had been destroyed in a historic fire.
I don't ignore evidence offered nor do I demand evidence that I know has been destroyed or evidence that can't exist. You appear to be implying that convincing evidence for religious claims does not exist.
The OP proposes, "Believers have nothing to show for their beliefs nor can they demonstrate any of their religion's claims. If tough skeptics come along who want more than words, then the believer is left empty-handed."
You may be taking what I said a bit too literally. What I meant to say is that as far as I know believers have nothing to show for their beliefs nor can they demonstrate any of their religion's claims. I've never seen any such proof after thirty-five years of asking for it! So it looks very likely that no such evidence exists--so likely that I'm justified in saying there is no such evidence. If you can prove me wrong, then you are more than welcome to demonstrate any religious claim to me.
In this case, a believer can claim they have been blessed, but anything they believe to be a blessing is dismissed as insufficient evidence...
If there is no sufficient evidence for the claim, then yes, I will say the evidence is insufficient. I'm not going to be gullible.
...while something impossible is demanded.
If you're saying that proving religious claims is impossible, then we may actually agree. If my asking for sufficient evidence for religious claims is impossible for the religious to grant, then I would be right in deeming religious claims to be bogus.
I'm saying you propose an impossible test and then feel superior when the test is failed. It's not much of an accomplishment, but congratulations, none the less.
 

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I can fairly well say that all the concepts that religion discusses, all the gods and spirits and demons.... All that is a primitive discussion using imprecise words to discuss things that they had only a tentative grasp on and a woefully incomplete model of, but most or all the underlying observations, even if their descriptions of the explanation of those phenomena are lacking, really are phenomena.

This includes that feeling that people feel when they contemplate "the love of God", which I think I've fairly well described in secular terms and outlined how one may feel of it without believing in (or worshipping) a vindictive hellmaker.
 

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And obviously I would need some good evidence that the religious person received A from God

Why?
If there was a god handing stuff out, what would obligate that god to make its delivery mechanism apparent to you?

Whose purpose would that serve?
(Hint: YOURS)
 

steve_bank

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Pne thing religion provides is a way to express feelings.

'I feel blessed' may be related to a belief in god, but t also a way to express feeling good and thankful.

Thank god San Francisco's defense is holding Green bay and Aron Rodgers....SF is only up by 7.
I can express feelings without religion.
Are you just being inseminate or are you completely detached from culture?

We all use metaphors and analogies. My fanily ws Catholic but not very religious, but I grew up hearing biblical metaphors. It was in the culture. Along with a number of Jewish Yiddish metaphors like being a schmuck. Schmuck. If rember right the word literaly refers to the leftover skin after circumcision. Or putz or schmaltz.

To be 'religiously' catnapped all the time would be mind numbing. Get it,I p;layed on the word religious to make a point.

IMO psychologically god can simply be a talking point, a point of reference.

In response to all your posts I might say, 'Who do you think you are, Moses down from the mountain?'. or 'Who do yu think you are, I don;t see you walking on water'.

How's the view from way up there on Mount Olympus looking down on all us ignorant fools?
 
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