We don't agree about everything and that's OK. What we do agree on is the need to carry on the discussion in a civil way.

Before you contribute to a discussion, familiarize yourself with logical fallacies. Ad hominem attacks will not be tolerated.

The goal here is for civil conversation so be nice; no profanity. Anyone who calls another person an idiot will be banned.

Lastly remember, when someone disagrees with your views it does not mean they like you less as a person. If you can't handle being disagreed with then go away.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What I do believe ...

I laid out in my previous post what I don't believe, which basically boils down to everything I was taught in various churches through my life. Many people have wrongly assumed this means I believe nothing, that I've made up my mind and declared there is no God. That's not true.

Yes, I attended the Minnesota Atheist Convention and in many ways my views are aligned with atheism. But there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what atheist means and how it is perceived - atheism like it's counterpart theism is a statement of belief, while agnosticism is a statement of knowledge. I don't believe  in the God taught by the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions. I think any attempt to anthropomorphize God are simply human attempts to comprehend the incomprehensible.

There is a Buddhist proverb I think explains how I understand God:
 Several blind men were gathered around an elephant and each of them ran their
 hands over different parts of the elephant. The man who felt the leg declared "an
 elephant is like a tree!" The man who felt the torso declared "an elephant is like a wall!" 
The man who felt a tusk declared "an elephant is like a spear!" The man who felt the trunk
 declared "an elephant is like a snake!"

Each of the world's religions offer truth and beauty and meaning. It's impossible to study other world religions and maintain that yours is the one true religion. I think each religion is humanity's attempt to describe their experience with something numinous. 

I believe the divine can be found within rather than without. I believe the divine can be encountered in the beauty of nature, in the moments of love between people.  I believe any religion that leads you to treat other people with love and compassion is a wonderful religion. I believe any religion that leads you to demean and abuse other people is a bad religion. 

I don't fully know what I believe. I am still searching and I don't think I will ever have a definitive answer, but that's OK with me because I enjoy the search.

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