Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

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Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
What can you, as a class agree on in terms of spiritual belief?

Your job this week is to begin the discussion by posting a personal spiritual or religious belief you think almost everyone in the class shares.  Take at least a few sentences to explain why you hold the belief you profess.  

Anyone in the class then has the right to post saying they don't share your belief.  They do not have to say why, as I don't want to start a fight about which beliefs are right and which are wrong.  Instead, I want the class to search for a set of spiritual beliefs on which they can come to consensus.  

The idea is to put Jefferson's idea that religion can be profitably discussed in the public sphere to the test (See the Virginia Statue of Religious Freedomto review this idea). In particular, re-read and think about this quote:

"...truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them: ..."

If Jefferson is right, we may not come to consensus, but you should learn from the discussion and by listening and thinking about the beliefs of others.  Moreover, there are spiritual beliefs which are shared by most, if not all citizens.  See if you can ferret them out.  There is extra credit for the discussion involved for those who go through and list those beliefs no one has vetoed, and there's extra-credit for posting a belief which no one vetoes and to which the class, in consensus agrees.
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Jenica
I believe that there is a higher being.  That this world,  and the universe was not a chance of random chaos, but of creation.
Jenica Dodge
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Antonio Lewis
Jenica,

I agree with your opinion that there is a higher being.  That is the strongest belief that I have.  

A common spiritual belief I think that most of share is that of the "golden rule."  It basically states to "Treat others how you would like to be treated."  For example we wouldn't want a thief to break into our house and steal so why would we steal from others.  We all want to be seen as equals in the eyes of others and treated with decency.  
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Cynthia
In reply to this post by Jenica
Hi Jenica,
I do agree with you as well. I do not believe the creation of life was an accident. Everything is so perfect and so detailed that it is hard to believe that came out of nowhere. Every thing, person and animal has its function and all work together to keep the cycle of life.
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Roland Simmons
Hi Jenica, and Cynthia
I to believe as well that the creation of life was not an accident. I believe that everything was created for a reason and by a force that is stronger than ourselves. I believe that all things was placed here for humans to make contact with or be a part of. I believe that every person was placed here with a purpose to serve the force that is  greater than us. And that force is which we have our spiritual beliefs and understanding to live together as one.
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Nina
In reply to this post by Antonio Lewis
Hello everyone! I myself do agree with mostly everything that has been discussed so far. I myself truly believe that there is a greater power or higher being (...whatever anyone wants to call it) We are here for a reason and didn't just appear from thin air, we are very unique and very detailed creatures, including everything that surrounds us, that someone or something had to of created it all! Spiritually I believe we are here as a whole, and when we come together we can have the power to create something extravagant. There is a reason for our existence and a deep meaning to our lives!    
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Antonio Lewis
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hello all,

It seems that we all agree that there is a higher spiritual being that created us.  I was just curious as to what you think of the so called "God particle" that physicists are in search of and do you believe it exists?  There had been talk of this particle existing but no scientific evidence of it existing until now, or so scientists claim.  Scientists believe this particle could explain why objects have mass and help prove the big bang theory as the source of the universe's creation.

I have provided a link with more information on this topic.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1379844/Science-world-buzzing-rumours-elusive-God-particle-found.html?ITO=1490

Antonio
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Courtney
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hey everybody! I have to completely agree with everyone and the discussion that there is some kind of a higher being out there. Someone made us who we are, and we cannot dismiss that factor. We are all here for a reason and purpose, even though we may not know what it is at the current moment. But one day, it will all become clear. As for today, I know that we were all put her to live in harmony and do something great.  
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Alexa Smith
Hi everyone! I agree with the posts presented so far. I believe whole heartedly that there is a higher being and that we were created by that higher being. That we were made with purpose; we were not accidentally thrown into existence. I of course also agree witht the system of ideals that go along with the golden rule; and that everyone should follow the principles of the golden rule.

The "God particle?" I'll have to look into that link you provided and post a reaction soon. (Thanks for providing the link.)
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Kendall
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hey Y'all,
I too, believe there is a higher beging that created everything and everyone. I don't however think that everyone is going to agree with this. I do think that everyone believes that "doing good" will get you somewhere after death. Whether they think it is Heaven or a form of reincarnation, I do not know, but I believe that most people think doing for others is what gets one to an "after life".
I will tell you now, that I am a Christian and I believe that Jesus is my Savior and through Him is how I get to Heaven. Doing good is part of being a Christian but only doing good is not what will get me to Heaven. I know for a fact that not everyone will agree with this, but since religion is the topic I figured I put my two cents worth out there!
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Jeff
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
I agree with everyone that has posted so far that there is a supreme being who created the universe, and human being are not here by chance.  Kendall, I agree with you in that good works isn't the only way to get to heaven, or any form of afterlife.  I personally believe that one is saved through the grace and sacrifice of Christ, and living a life of faith and service to others, and God, is what will ultimately save one after death.  I have a very hard time with the supernatural aspect of faith sometimes, but faith is meant to be challenging.  I don't believe that human being will ever understand the mind of God, or whomever created the universe, and many things will always be a mystery.
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Kristi Kesler
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Not to be the black sheep of the class but I do not believe that there is a higher being.  What so ever.  That concept has always seemed sort of bizarre to me.  My family was not raised religious at all so perhaps that is why the concept seems...strange.

On a different note, the individuals that had wrote about "heaven" and what not and also that doing good/being good in your lifetime will pay off I can somewhat go with...although I think this is some sort of yet another bizarre way to entice people to "do right".  I do although believe that when your loved ones pass...part of them is still with you...perhaps a "soul"...or just the knowledge that they are gone simply makes you stronger.  The thought of a heaven or hell seems as bizarre to me just as this almighty being that overlooks us all...but I strongly believe that my brother and sister that have passed influence my life and decisions I make because they are constantly in my thoughts (not that their actual beings/spirits/souls are literally doing anything to affect me)

Hope that makes sense....
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Keith Vertrees
Along with Kristi, I don't believe that there is a divine presence. I hesitate to say "higher power", as that could imply another naturally occurring intelligent being that is superior to us in some way (yes, aliens. Gosh.) which, I suppose, could be possible somewhere out there in the vast universe.

I want to take a moment to present my arguments against both intelligent creation and divine providence (or the eternal nature of the human soul, if you prefer.)

1) All interpenetration of "God" is based on very human constructs. God behaves in a way that is appropriate for purposes of the church or clergy at the given moment in history. God's actions are driven by emotions that, when expressed in humans, are considered to be unjust. This logical fallacy is then swept away by claiming that God may express and act on anger, jealousy, and hatred because he is our creator and without blame. These arguments are circular, and when pressed enough lapse back on an earlier justification.

2) Faith may be established through the revelation of God in nature. The apparent perfection in nature is evidence of intelligent design, therefore we should believe in God. This is, again, a very human concept. The church (Particularly the Roman Catholic church in the 16th and 17th centuries) often suppressed logical explications for natural phenomenon due to the divisive effect it had on it's hold on society. For thousands of years (at least) man has used the unknown to coerce each other into belief systems developed entirely by man itself. By reducing the amount of 'unknown', the church loses control and must focus more on ever thinning and reaching assumptions.

3) A life of sin is punishable by eternal damnation to a place where your worst fears are played out over and over in agonizing pain with no possibility of relief for ever and ever. This concept sounds a lot like the exaggerated threats made by parents to impress upon their children the importance of avoiding certain behaviors. Once again, a very human concept. Let's take this particular argument a bit further. If God is just, how can a human commit any crime that is worth eternal punishment? There is a fairly well known argument called 'the problem of hell' which asks the fairly obvious question: Is it ethical for God to condemn a person to a punishment that no man is capable of inflicting on another; eternity in perpetual pain and torture? If God is just and omni-benevolent, and is the source of all morality for man, why then do are morals tell us this behavior would be immoral?

3) The omniscient and omnipresent nature of God presents a predestination paradox. Foundational tenants of Christianity state that man is born into sin by inheriting original sin. This, combined with the belief that God knows the ultimate disposition of all the souls of mankind, creates a paradox in which free will is impossible. This means that God has created a situation in which people are remanded to eternal damnation before even being born. Again, this speaks to the unjust nature of divine law. Additionally, it illuminates some strange inconsistencies with supposed directions by God: If we have been predestined, why is it a directive to act as missionaries and spread the religious doctrine? It will do no good, it will not help save others nor will it change our own salvation.

4) General complexity of pro-religious arguments. As more people ruminate on the specifics of religious doctrine, ever more complicated conditions and clauses are necessary to maintain referential integrity with the remainder of the doctrine. While not a typical logical fallacy, arguments that become excessively conditional and complex are often times posited to be correct by means of verbosity. The reconciliation of advancing scientific knowledge and social norms create a need for either specific, complex, conditional arguments, or belief through obscurity (which is in part a Calvinistic ideal, as God's law is unknowable to man).

I have more, but I think this is a good start.

So, what do I believe?

I believe that all religion is a work of man. I believe that if there is a divine component to the universe, it is unknowable or unknown to man. Lastly, I believe that all organized religion has been a persistent and pervasive negative influence on society for all of recorded history.
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Ben Morgan
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hi folks... I definitely believe in a higher being. I believe that God in heaven created us in his own image. It is hard for me to look at anything and refute Gods handiwork in that organism. For instance, let us look at our bodies. This concept blows my mind! How are we a physical standing structure when the majority of our body is fluid? How does every organ and muscle seem to run into each other perfectly and somehow fit inside the shapes of our bones and structure? How does our mind fire neutrons and electrons which spark the reaction in my arms to tell my fingers to hit certain keys to type my feelings on this topic? Chance??? I think not. I live every day in gratitude, awe, and wonder that a God who infinitely created everything with perfection and detail still chooses to hang out and have a relationship with me.
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Sha Trent
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
I find it ‘extremely’ difficult to come up with something that everyone in this class agrees with regarding religion, as there seems to be quite a few in here that believes in ‘nothing’. I almost didn’t post to this discussion, as I find it ‘bizarre’ to fathom that people have faith in absolutely ‘nothing’ and think that to do so is a ploy and ‘enticement’ to do ‘good’. What’s wrong with doing and being good? How can one think that people can be bribed into being a good person? Wow. I believe in people and people’s rights to believe what they want, but ‘wow’. I’m honestly unable to conceive how anything I say regarding faith and/or religion can be universally accepted in this class, therefore I won’t attempt it. Dr. Brandon, I’m so glad you saved this doozey for last. Perhaps, during the time of Jefferson, people were more inclined to have faith, as it was a part of a lot of people’s society where religion played a major role. From what I’ve read about the time period, the issue was more about which religious beliefs people adhered to, opposed to the total absence faith and religion that many people in this period have.
How about this, here’s my stab at a consensus regarding the matter: People believe that there is a reason that the world came into being, does what it does and that everyone has a certain level of spirituality that is unique to their personal situation.
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Woubet Gebreab
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
I agree with Jenica and most of you who believed in a higher Spirit and being that created humans and the universe.  I believe in one God and I think there is only one God for all humans, no matter how divided by religion, country and race.  

 I learned a lot from my science classes about evolution and how the “Earth was made” and plants, animals and humans evolved.   As much as the science facts seem believable, I still believe in God and a higher being.  Some science facts and books change from time to time but God’s words and the Holy Bible does not change.   Even if we belief in different religions and doctrines, I believe all of them teach positive ideals and morals.  I came to a point where I don’t need to be in church to pray or read the bible.  
My religion is Orthodox Christian I inherited from my parents.   I don’t go to church as much as I used to however, I want to improve on my religious beliefs and practice.  
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Re: Week Fifteen, Discussion Starter, Part A

Rich Sena
In reply to this post by Jenica
As stated in my reflective essay, Im a man of science who believes in a higher power. I look at things scientifically, and logically, I do not discriminate, and I am a man of virtue. I think that is all that is needed to be said about religion and my personal beliefs.