What do you believe?

Getting to know more about a specific belief

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OnceConvinced
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What do you believe?

Post #1

Post by OnceConvinced »

One of the difficult things about debating on a site such as this is trying to keep track of who believes what. Sometimes you can be arguing a point with say a Christian, only to find out that person has a different opinion to what you assumed. Eg Debating the concept of eternal suffering in Hell and finding out the Christian you debated with doesn’t believe Hell is eternal suffering.

I thought it would be handy to create a questionnaire that we can all answer (not just Christians all though it mainly revolves around biblical philosophies) that tells everyone our stance on certain issues. I’m hoping it might be a database we can refer to, to jog our memories of a person’s particular stance. I know I enjoy doing surveys like this, so perhaps there are others here too. It may be that people don’t want to do it, it may be that only a few will even bother, but I thought I’d try it out anyway.

The idea is to answer the questions with very basic answers. Hopefully one word answers, but no more than a sentence. (I have given sample answers, but you aren’t limited to those). No need to back up your views with scripture or anything. The idea of this thread is not to debate issues but just to allow people to know where each of us stands. Some of the questions do assume there is a God, but an atheist should still be able to answer them eg if the question is “Is God omniscient� then you can answer “no� based on the fact you don’t believe in God. Or you can answer based on what you believe God would be according to your observations.

Feel free to skip any questions you don’t want to answer or just can’t answer.

1. Do you believe in God? Yes/No/Uncertain Who?
2. Do you blame God for what’s wrong in your life and in this world? Yes/no? How can I blame something I don’t believe in?
3. The only way to God is through Jesus Christ yes/no/Unsure/Not relevant to me
4. Christianity is a religion Yes/No
5. Christianity is a relationship with God Yes/No
6. Catholics are Christian Yes/No
7. Believing in Christ is a choice Yes/No/You can’t choose to believe something, you either do or you don’t believe.
8. The Bible is… The infallible word of God/Inspired by God/Man’s beliefs about God
9. It requires the holy spirit to understand scripture. Yes/No
10. There are contradictions in the bible Yes/No
11. The gospels are eye witness accounts Yes/no/It’s all heresay
12. The creation story is literal history Yes/No
13. Noah’s Ark and the great flood is a true story Yes/No
It was a local flood Yes/No
It covered the entire world Yes/No
14. God is omniscient (knows everything there is to know including future events) Yes/No
15. God is omnipotent (all powerful) Yes/No
16. God is omnipresent (everywhere) Yes/No/If he chooses to be
17. God is loving Yes/No
18. God is just Yes/No
19. God is merciful Yes/No
20. God is perfect Yes/No
21. God answers prayer Yes/No/Some times
22. God protects his followers Yes/No/Some times
23. God requires works rather than faith Yes/No
24. God violates freewill yes/no/some times
25. God always keeps his promises: Yes/No
26. God sins (based on the bible definition of what sin is) Yes/No
27. Morals: Come from God/Come as a result of evolution
28. Miracles do happen these days Yes/No
29. Hell is… Eternal suffering/Death by fire/the Grave/On Earth
30. God created Hell Yes/No
31. God created Satan Yes/No
32. Young children and babies will go to hell if they are not saved Yes/No
33. People who have never heard the gospel will go to Hell Yes/No
34. Suffering is: God testing us/A result of Satan’s activities/Adam and Eve’s fault/A result of evolution
35. The earth is: around 6-7000 years old/Millions of years old
36. God used evolution to create life Yes/No/Evolution has no intelligence behind it.
37. Sin = Evil things that people do/Actions God hates/ Actions religious leaders hate/Human nature
38. Homosexuality is a sin Yes/No
39. Atheists are evil Yes/No
40. Salvation = Once saved always saved/Requires actions to maintain/There is no such thing
41. You must be baptized to be saved: Yes/No/Unsure
42. Ex Christians were: Never true Christians to begin with/Were Christians but deconverted for some reason
43. Rank in order of importance: Faith, Knowledge, Critical thinking, Belief, Hope
44. What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit = (describe in one or two sentences if possible)
45. What does it take to consider yourself a true Christian? (Try to keep your answer as brief as possible)
Last edited by OnceConvinced on Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

Prayer is like rubbing an old bottle and hoping that a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.

There is much about this world that is mind boggling and impressive, but I see no need whatsoever to put it down to magical super powered beings.


Check out my website: Recker's World of Fantasy

cnorman18

Re: What do you believe?

Post #61

Post by cnorman18 »

Just for laughs -- plus, it’s a long night and there’s nothing much else to do -- I thought I’d take another run at these and then, afterward, look back at my earlier answers and see how they compare. I have no idea what I’ll find; might be interesting.

1. Do you believe in God? Yes, but not in the conventional old-man-in-the-sky sense. I have no way of knowing what kind of Being God is, or if He is a Being at all; I have no idea if the concept of “existence,� as things are understood to exist in this universe, applies to Him. I rather doubt it. I don’t presume to know the answers to any of those things; my devotion is to the tradition of Judaism, not to a specific doctrine or claim of objective fact. God is, as is said in several strands of Jewish thought, the Totally Other. Unknowable? I don’t know that either, but I certainly don’t know. “God� may be no more than a metaphor; but if so, He is a damned useful one, and that’ll do for me.
2. Do you blame God for what’s wrong in your life and in this world? No.
3. The only way to God is through Jesus Christ No. Obviously. I’m a Jew.
4. Christianity is a religion Yes.
5. Christianity is a relationship with God Can’t say; not my religion. Maybe; I have no warrant to say that it isn’t.
6. Catholics are Christian Yes.
7. Believing in Christ is a choice Depends on what is meant by “believe� and “choice.�
8. The [Hebrew] Bible is… The collected literary heritage of the Jewish people. On the New Testament, I decline to give an opinion. Not my book.
9. It requires the holy spirit to understand scripture. No. Some actual scholarship and study, of history, language, and about three thousand years of commentary, maybe. It’s not possible to get much from a set of Bronze Age documents on one’s own, unassisted by anything but one’s own prejudices and assumptions.
10. There are contradictions in the bible Duh. Of course.
11. The gospels are eye witness accounts Decline to give an opinion.
12. The creation story is literal history No.
13. Noah’s Ark and the great flood is a true story See my signature. “Truth� in Scripture rarely means literal, historical truth. If you mean it really happened -- no.
It was a local flood Origins of the oral tradition that ended up as the Noah story may have had something to do with that.
It covered the entire world No.
14. God is omniscient (knows everything there is to know including future events) Unknown. Who could claim to know?
15. God is omnipotent (all powerful) Same.
16. God is omnipresent (everywhere) Same.
17. God is loving Same.
18. God is just Same.
19. God is merciful Same.
20. God is perfect Same.
21. God answers prayer Depends on what is meant by “answers,� but in general -- unknown. Who could claim to know?
22. God protects his followers I’m a Jew. 1933-45. No.
23. God requires works rather than faith For what?
24. God violates freewill No.
25. God always keeps his promises: What promises?
God sins (based on the bible definition of what sin is) Unknown.
This might be a good place to draw a distinction between the literary character called “God� in the Hebrew Bible and the real God, if there is one. The God of the Bible clearly does “sin,� or can; Abraham charged Him with it directly. The real God? Unknown.

27. Morals: usually self-evident, otherwise worked out by human rational thought and consensus. God gave us that job. :D
28. Miracles do happen these days Depends on what is meant by “miracle.� My falling crazy in love and being incredibly happy at 60 is a miracle by any standard, but it doesn’t prove anything to anyone who doesn’t already believe it.
29. Hell is… a Christian concept. Not my book.
30. God created Hell N/A
31. God created Satan Another literary character; Satan in the OT was just one among the angels, a sort of “accuser.� The “Devil� is, again, a Christian concept -- and even Christians aren’t required to believe in him. He’s not in any of the Creeds.
32. Young children and babies will go to hell if they are not saved Saved from what? “Salvation� in this sense is yet another Christian concept.
33. People who have never heard the gospel will go to Hell See above.
34. Suffering is: part of real life in the real universe.
35. The earth is: around 4-5 billion years old. The Universe, a little over 13 billion. Interestingly, a Jewish kabbalist worked that out from the Torah in the first century CE...
36. God used evolution to create life Evolution is a fact. Whether God was involved -- unknown.
37. Sin = A Christian concept in the way it’s usually understood. The Jewish view is a bit different. It’s “bad things that people do.� And that’s all.
38. Homosexuality is a sin No.
39. Atheists are evil No.
40. Salvation = a Christian concept. Not my religion.
41. You must be baptized to be saved: Maybe if you’re a Christian. I don’t claim to know whether that religion is true or false; it just isn’t mine. That’s as far as I go.
42. Ex Christians were: Christians once, but aren’t any more. I am one, and that’s all I can say that makes sense to me.
Rank in order of importance: Critical thinking, Knowledge, Hope, Belief, Faith
What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit = Beats me. Again, not my religion.
45. What does it take to consider yourself a true Christian? I would think professing to believe in Christ. If there’s more to it than that, I’ll let the Christians work it out among themselves. None of my business.

ETA after reading earlier answers: Well, I seem to be a good deal more long-winded now, and more reluctant to comment on Christian beliefs, but otherwise seem to have much the same views. Interesting exercise.

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Baz
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Re: What do you believe?

Post #62

Post by Baz »

cnorman18 wrote:Just for laughs -- plus, it’s a long night and there’s nothing much else to do -- I thought I’d take another run at these and then, afterward, look back at my earlier answers and see how they compare. I have no idea what I’ll find; might be interesting.

1. Do you believe in God? Yes, but not in the conventional old-man-in-the-sky sense. I have no way of knowing what kind of Being God is, or if He is a Being at all; I have no idea if the concept of “existence,� as things are understood to exist in this universe, applies to Him. I rather doubt it. I don’t presume to know the answers to any of those things; my devotion is to the tradition of Judaism, not to a specific doctrine or claim of objective fact. God is, as is said in several strands of Jewish thought, the Totally Other. Unknowable? I don’t know that either, but I certainly don’t know. “God� may be no more than a metaphor; but if so, He is a damned useful one, and that’ll do for me.
2. Do you blame God for what’s wrong in your life and in this world? No.
3. The only way to God is through Jesus Christ No. Obviously. I’m a Jew.
4. Christianity is a religion Yes.
5. Christianity is a relationship with God Can’t say; not my religion. Maybe; I have no warrant to say that it isn’t.
6. Catholics are Christian Yes.
7. Believing in Christ is a choice Depends on what is meant by “believe� and “choice.�
8. The [Hebrew] Bible is… The collected literary heritage of the Jewish people. On the New Testament, I decline to give an opinion. Not my book.
9. It requires the holy spirit to understand scripture. No. Some actual scholarship and study, of history, language, and about three thousand years of commentary, maybe. It’s not possible to get much from a set of Bronze Age documents on one’s own, unassisted by anything but one’s own prejudices and assumptions.
10. There are contradictions in the bible Duh. Of course.
11. The gospels are eye witness accounts Decline to give an opinion.
12. The creation story is literal history No.
13. Noah’s Ark and the great flood is a true story See my signature. “Truth� in Scripture rarely means literal, historical truth. If you mean it really happened -- no.
It was a local flood Origins of the oral tradition that ended up as the Noah story may have had something to do with that.
It covered the entire world No.
14. God is omniscient (knows everything there is to know including future events) Unknown. Who could claim to know?
15. God is omnipotent (all powerful) Same.
16. God is omnipresent (everywhere) Same.
17. God is loving Same.
18. God is just Same.
19. God is merciful Same.
20. God is perfect Same.
21. God answers prayer Depends on what is meant by “answers,� but in general -- unknown. Who could claim to know?
22. God protects his followers I’m a Jew. 1933-45. No.
23. God requires works rather than faith For what?
24. God violates freewill No.
25. God always keeps his promises: What promises?
God sins (based on the bible definition of what sin is) Unknown.
This might be a good place to draw a distinction between the literary character called “God� in the Hebrew Bible and the real God, if there is one. The God of the Bible clearly does “sin,� or can; Abraham charged Him with it directly. The real God? Unknown.

27. Morals: usually self-evident, otherwise worked out by human rational thought and consensus. God gave us that job. :D
28. Miracles do happen these days Depends on what is meant by “miracle.� My falling crazy in love and being incredibly happy at 60 is a miracle by any standard, but it doesn’t prove anything to anyone who doesn’t already believe it.
29. Hell is… a Christian concept. Not my book.
30. God created Hell N/A
31. God created Satan Another literary character; Satan in the OT was just one among the angels, a sort of “accuser.� The “Devil� is, again, a Christian concept -- and even Christians aren’t required to believe in him. He’s not in any of the Creeds.
32. Young children and babies will go to hell if they are not saved Saved from what? “Salvation� in this sense is yet another Christian concept.
33. People who have never heard the gospel will go to Hell See above.
34. Suffering is: part of real life in the real universe.
35. The earth is: around 4-5 billion years old. The Universe, a little over 13 billion. Interestingly, a Jewish kabbalist worked that out from the Torah in the first century CE...
36. God used evolution to create life Evolution is a fact. Whether God was involved -- unknown.
37. Sin = A Christian concept in the way it’s usually understood. The Jewish view is a bit different. It’s “bad things that people do.� And that’s all.
38. Homosexuality is a sin No.
39. Atheists are evil No.
40. Salvation = a Christian concept. Not my religion.
41. You must be baptized to be saved: Maybe if you’re a Christian. I don’t claim to know whether that religion is true or false; it just isn’t mine. That’s as far as I go.
42. Ex Christians were: Christians once, but aren’t any more. I am one, and that’s all I can say that makes sense to me.
Rank in order of importance: Critical thinking, Knowledge, Hope, Belief, Faith
What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit = Beats me. Again, not my religion.
45. What does it take to consider yourself a true Christian? I would think professing to believe in Christ. If there’s more to it than that, I’ll let the Christians work it out among themselves. None of my business.

ETA after reading earlier answers: Well, I seem to be a good deal more long-winded now, and more reluctant to comment on Christian beliefs, but otherwise seem to have much the same views. Interesting exercise.


Just a thought following your review, how about finding somebody, possibly somebody like yourself that from time to time has a moment or two to spare and has been around the site for a bit to make up a revised list of questions, like this one but with the intention of being revisited periodically by us all to see what, if any, changes we go through in our views on religion.
I think it would be better if less Christian centred and with some why do I think that stuff.
Perhaps collaboration would be required to make something relevant and possibly useful in some way to all site users.

Any takers?
\"Give me a good question over a good answer anyday.\"

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Re: What do you believe?

Post #63

Post by McCulloch »

Baz wrote: Just a thought following your review, how about finding somebody, possibly somebody like yourself that from time to time has a moment or two to spare and has been around the site for a bit to make up a revised list of questions, like this one but with the intention of being revisited periodically by us all to see what, if any, changes we go through in our views on religion.
I think it would be better if less Christian centred and with some why do I think that stuff.
Perhaps collaboration would be required to make something relevant and possibly useful in some way to all site users.

Any takers?
This is, after all, debating Christianity and religion, so the questions probably should be somewhat related to Christianity. I think that one of the reasons for this list was to help keep straight the vast variety of positions held by debaters on theological issues all being labeled as Christian.

The new proposed set of would serve another different need. To perhaps demonstrate the effect of debating. Have opinions and beliefs been affected by debate?

I'll start:
God's existence, select the statement which best describes your belief about God:
  1. I know and am certain that there is a God and He is the God described in the Christian Bible.
  2. I believe that there is a God and the Bible probably provides the most accurate description of Him.
  3. I hope that there is a God and think that it is possible that He inspired the writers of the Bible.
  4. I think that there is a God, but the Christians are not correct about all that they teach about Him.
  5. I am not sure about anything regarding the god. What do you mean when you use the term God?
  6. I do not believe that there is a God.
  7. I believe that there is no God.
  8. I am sure that there is no God.
The Afterlife, select the statement which best describes your belief about the afterlife:
  1. Death is the end.
  2. I think that there is a possibility that death is not the end.
  3. Death is the end for some, but for others, there will be an eternal reward.
  4. I prefer not to think about it; it is a matter for God not for us.
  5. Eternal torment awaits the unbelievers and unrepentant. God will reward the faithful.
  6. Everyone will be eternally blessed by God.
The Bible, select the statement which best describes your belief about the Bible:
  1. The Bible was literally inspired by God. Every word in the original manuscripts was chosen by God.
  2. The writers of the Bible wrote of what they knew and were essentially honest and true, writing from their own experiences.
  3. The Bible is a collection of stories and teachings about God, revealing the deeper truths about human nature and about God without being necessarily literally true.
  4. The Bible is the writings of the ancients about their understanding of God and this world. While there are some profound teachings contained in it, it has been superseded.
  5. The Bible is a dangerous and evil collection of superstitions; continued reverence of it will impede human progress.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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Post #64

Post by ThatGirlAgain »

McCulloch’s list

God's existence, select the statement which best describes your belief about God:

Between
e. I am not sure about anything regarding the god. What do you mean when you use the term God?
and
f. I do not believe that there is a God.

The word ‘God’ carries a lot of baggage. I happen to be of the opinion that there is some principle responsible for existence. Whether this principle incorporates anything resembling consciousness is doubtful but not impossible. But I do not believe in anything resembling the God of any religion.


The Afterlife, select the statement which best describes your belief about the afterlife:

a. Death is the end…

…for the individual consciousness. But what we do, how we act, the ways in which we influence the world go on and on. Keep that in mind.


The Bible, select the statement which best describes your belief about the Bible:

Modified d. The Bible is the writings of the ancients about their understanding of God and this world. There are some profound teachings contained in it, but these need to be understood in the context of the author’s / redactor’s intent and audience and the historical context they lived in.

Nothing is ever superseded. From the cave paintings of Lescaux to the tales of the Greeks and beyond, every sincere attempt at human expression can tell us something about ourselves, where we came from and where we might be going.


BTW, McCulloch. Your use of the list function is not very friendly to those who like to Quote and c/p into Word. :P
Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.
- Bertrand Russell

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Post #65

Post by Baz »

What I was suggesting was not to exclude Christianity in any way but for it not to be the basis for the question. As this can easily exclude so many points of view.

During the time I have been with this site I have been impressed by its format and methods of moderation.
I would personally like to see wider discussion around all beliefs and probably a bit less Christian v Atheist (understanding that this is probity the core reason for its conception)

For me the (and religion) is an essential, and I believe it could offer exceptional debating as well as site and members personal growth.
\"Give me a good question over a good answer anyday.\"

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Post #66

Post by McCulloch »

ThatGirlAgain wrote: The word ‘God’ carries a lot of baggage. I happen to be of the opinion that there is some principle responsible for existence. Whether this principle incorporates anything resembling consciousness is doubtful but not impossible. But I do not believe in anything resembling the God of any religion.
I suppose that I should have included a deist option. Thank you.

ThatGirlAgain wrote: BTW, McCulloch. Your use of the list function is not very friendly to those who like to Quote and c/p into Word. :P
Select the list; Search/Replace [*] with ^p; format list.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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Post #67

Post by ThatGirlAgain »

McCulloch wrote:
ThatGirlAgain wrote: BTW, McCulloch. Your use of the list function is not very friendly to those who like to Quote and c/p into Word. :P
Select the list; Search/Replace [*] with ^p; format list.
Nice! My home turf is Excel, where I part seas on a regular basis. Word is just something I use here and there.
Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.
- Bertrand Russell

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Post #68

Post by McCulloch »

ThatGirlAgain wrote:
McCulloch wrote:
ThatGirlAgain wrote: BTW, McCulloch. Your use of the list function is not very friendly to those who like to Quote and c/p into Word. :P
Select the list; Search/Replace [*] with ^p; format list.
Nice! My home turf is Excel, where I part seas on a regular basis. Word is just something I use here and there.
For editing BB code, I find editors intended for programming or HTML better than Word or Excel.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

Haven

Post #69

Post by Haven »

Here are my responses to McCulloch's version of the quiz:

God's existence, select the statement which best describes your belief about God:

I do not believe that there is a God.

The Afterlife, select the statement which best describes your belief about the afterlife:

Death is the end.

The Bible, select the statement which best describes your belief about the Bible:


The Bible is the writings of the ancients about their understanding of God and this world. While there are some profound teachings contained in it, it has been superseded.


I agree it is too Christian vs. atheist oriented. I would suggest some options to incorporate the beliefs of other religions.

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Post #70

Post by Baz »

I don’t think I would be very good at producing a comprehensive review / questionnaire but some of the questions I would add to a review list go something like;
In what way dose my relationship with (or lack of belief in) god improve my personal life?
In what way dose my relationship with (or lack of belief in) god improve the lives of others?
What religious practice, if any, gives me the most satisfaction?
If any, what way do these practice benefit myself?
If any, In what way do these practices benefit others?
What is the most recent significant change in my religious outlook?
How do I think that change came about?
What conscious decisions have I made specifically to improve my spiritual awareness?
What groups (religions churches etc.) have I joined or left that profess access to spiritual knowledge?
In what way dose being part of this or these group/s help to improve my life?
In what way dose being part of this or these group/s help me to improve the lives of others?
Dose any of my personal religious practices if any have a detrimental effect on others?
Dose any of the groups I belong to have an unreasonable detrimental effect on others?
As part of a group what can I do/have I done to improve the ability of the group for the better?

Then I suppose some stuff about how I feel about the effect other groups are having etc.
\"Give me a good question over a good answer anyday.\"

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