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Ask a theist "What do you believe and why?" What happens next?

Kevbo 4 Jan 2

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They'll answer they believe in god and he did it all like the good book sas.


The next thing that happens will not likely be a concise explanation of presumptions, limits and definitions. Does anyone ever actually ask this question? It is more the content of a major work or series of books than the answer to a question, casually posited. If anyone is asked this question it can only open a conversation on the meme scrabble that are the contents of our thoughts.


Been there done that bought the t shirt and I couldn't stop laughing.


My dad is an episcopal priest. Over the years we've had some in depth conversations. It comes down to the emotion. He very much wants to believe. To dismiss belief to him means giving up all of the art and architecture of the Western World (an absurd position I know, but we are talking about emotional not rational arguments.)

I too am moved by some of the Christian art of the Western World but this isn't a sufficient reason to believe

thats a first for me

Religion has to have appealing art, architecture, stories and ritual to keep it going. Without it it is nothing but empty threats and more emptiness. On can fully appreciate all of it without imaginary beings. Like appreciating mythology or going to a movie knowing that it's fiction, by appreciating the makers of the art and stories therein that are human beings. All of the art and architecture of life and philosophy was created by talented human beings, some inspired by brain abnormalities, eating moldy bread, nightmares, insanity and the fear of a hell that does not exist. There is nothing wrong in giving credit where credit is due - which is to some amazing human beings - some of which you can thank personally and that is a far grander reality than any religion could ever conjure up.

Art works do not belong to the artist. Once finished, art is appropriated by the beholder. In other words, what the artist "wanted to say/express" is as important as what the work of art, not the artist, tells the beholder.


In the case of my father, I don't even have to ask. He just feels compelled to share his wealth of misinformation, often including a personal testimonial about his "road to Damascus" moment that "proved" to him God was real and caused him to be "born again." Very moving, except that it's not. Could lead to a talk about psychosis, though. 😉


They are the direct apointees of God.


It is a fact, in my view, that for a great many theists, their religion is not about beliefs at all, but about identity and ritual. They identify with the religion and the rituals involved with it. Oh, if pressed they will trot out a brief list of what they "believe". Often it will be a few generalisations they know. But press them on these and they become uncomfortable. Not all are like that, but many are, from my experience. I have even heard religious apologists say that this is a good thing and we atheists should respect that and we don't get it. Like it's a good thing. Well I don't think it is. US religionist academic and author Reza Aslan often makes this point about identity and religion. Truth be told, it's what religions thrive on.

I am inclined to agree with your statement about identity. It reminds me of Bertrand Russell's statement: "History is replete with men and women who have gone to their death for their beliefs. There is nothing new in this and it will continue into the foreseeable future. Personally, I would never die for my beliefs because, after all, I could be wrong."

Further to your statement with regard to identity and the part that religion plays in the formation of an identity, surely ,the same line of thought could be extended to words, concepts and ideas and how we form a sense of identity with them?


Don't mind I f I don't ask.


Something I'd never try...but expect about an hour of their god's beauty and "realness", possibly followed by its wrath, probably followed by getting evangelized to.

No thanks. I have better ways to spend an afternoon.

  • "Cuz I have faith".
  • "Cuz it was how I was raised, and God has blessed us."
  • "Cuz I am comforted by God's love."
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