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Consistency of Behavior and Relevance of Belief

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Kilgore Trout, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    Most people claim belief in some type of god, if not in a specific religious doctrine itself. Additionally, most of these people claim to have some idea of what this god wants them to be doing, and what the consequences are for not doing so.

    My atheism, isn't a belief or a worldview, but is rather a result of a more encompassing perspective and worldview. None of my decisions are based on me being an atheist, but all my decisions are consistent in that they all are a sincere extension of a rationalist worldview, and thus, consistent with atheism as well. In effect, being true to my worldview makes it impossible for me to be anything other than an atheist, as long as I'm being honest with myself - which is part of my fundamental worldview.

    However, if I were a theist, particularly if I thought I knew what god wanted of me, my behavior would always consistently reflect this. Knowing that my immortal soul was on the line, and an all-powerful god was judging me, would render it impossible for me to do anything which I thought would disappoint or anger this god. Not only would I worry for my soul, but my desire for internal consistency and honesty would make me constantly aware of my actions and how they would be interpreted.

    In my observations of people, I find that very few people seem to display any consistency of behavior in accord with what they express their god wants them to do. If people's immortal souls were on the line, wouldn't they constantly be aware of this? In fact, any other considerations would be meaningless, in the face of being judged for eternity. Does this mean that people don't understand the weight of what they're saying? Do they not comprehend eternity? Or, is it more simply, that their expressed beliefs aren't as all encompassing as they would have you think, and that very few of their decisions even provoke them to think about their purported beliefs and what their god wants them to do? Does this type of belief have any value - and, even if it does, why vehemently push your beliefs on others, when your behavior belies the relevance of these beliefs to your own life?
     
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  2. Zadok

    Zadok Zadok

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    I think you have everything backwards. Behavior is what is always consistent - it is what a person thinks they believe and what they say they believe that displays all their inconsistencies.

    For example someone may claim that a person is responsible for who they are, how they think and what they do; then in the next breath say homosexuals have no say in what they are. The truth is, when they make inconsistent exceptions they demonstrate they really do not have a firm belief structure but that they are happy to make inconsistent exceptions based on personal biases and prejudices.


    Zadok
     
  3. 6Michael6Bennett6

    6Michael6Bennett6 At The Left Hand Ov God

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    It would make it impossible for you to do anything that dissappoints that god?
    Well you stated that this god is judging you, so there must me right and wrong according to this god. Let's take christianity for an example. We all know most of the sins such as hatred, lying, lust, etc. But these are things that humans naturally do. We naturally hate people when they deserve hatred, we lie for multiple motives depending on the situation, we also all have lust. We CANNOT avoid commiting these "sins", even a christian would say that. So saying that it would be impossible just isn't correct.
     
  4. Just_me_Mike

    Just_me_Mike Well-Known Member

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    Frubals for the longest post I ever seen by ATS, I mean Mr Trout...
     
  5. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    In my experience, it's because people who talk about a belief in God and a knowledge of what they want God to do for them really don't believe it. When it comes right down to it, they can say that God believes X is right and Y is wrong, but inside they believe that no matter what they do, God will accept them for who they are and it really doesn't matter.

    That's just been my experience anyway.
     
  6. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    I think you misunderstood. I'm not saying that behavior isn't consistent. I'm saying it's not consistent with their purported beliefs. This inconsistency belies the depth or meaning of their beliefs.



    Well, you made an interesting attempt to segue this topic into a homophobic rant, but not only is your example unrelated to my OP, it is also internally inconsistent, as you're comparing things that people do have control over with things that people do not have control over.
     
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  7. Just_me_Mike

    Just_me_Mike Well-Known Member

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    Speaking for myself, I find that I have such odd interactions with people because I try to keep my beliefs consistent with my actions. I truly do, which just makes me an oddball. :shrug:
     
  8. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    Good point. Controling something which is a natural, uncontrolable response - assuming these responses angered your particular god - would be impossible not to do. However, I'm speaking more about behaviors, not automatic responses. Religions seem to have a plethora of rules regarding behaviors we can control. I'm speaking more of these, and how, despite how passionate people express their belief in this god and these rules about behavior, it has little to no impact on them not controlling these behaviors.
     
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  9. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    Yeah, and what happens when I make long posts? No responses. Might as well stick to the pithy witticisms.
     
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  10. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    Oddly, that does make one an oddball.
     
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  11. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    Right, but do they really think that god will accept them, or is their reflection on, and understanding of, their beliefs meaningful enough to even consider whether there are consequences to their actions? Does the actual existence of this god with these rules occur to them on any substantial level?
     
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  12. 6Michael6Bennett6

    6Michael6Bennett6 At The Left Hand Ov God

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    Ok, sorry about that, misunderstood. And now, I would have to agree; as I often see many religious people whoes behaviors are not consistent with their beliefs.
     
  13. 839311

    839311 Well-Known Member

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    I dont buy this for a second. You may genuinly believe that you would be a flawless follower of whatever faith youd believe in, but your as flawed as the rest of us. That is why those who do believe fail so often, because they have human nature within them.
     
  14. Tathagata

    Tathagata Freethinker

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    As a Buddhist, my actions and attitude may not resemble that of a bikkhu, though as a lay-Buddhist (non-monk) I'm not required to. Buddha was very favorable towards lay-Buddhists as well, not just bikkhus.

    I think it would be more appropriate to call myself a philosophical Buddhist (as opposed to practicioner), but in a huge way, my philosophical beliefs do affect how I live and act thus making me a practicioner by default :p





    .
     
  15. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    Yeah, that's a good point too. It very well may not.
     
  16. joea

    joea Oshoyoi

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    First of all, life is not consistency. When you look for consistency in life, you are repeating yourself, imitating the past. What you said yesterday is not the same in what you say today. You were my enemy yesterday, but today you are my friend. There is no consistency in life because every moment is different..this moment ( the now ) is different from yesterday; Therefore how can you be consistent?
     
  17. autonomous1one1

    autonomous1one1 Well-Known Member
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    Greetings Kilgore. When judgment of one's own experience with people leads to quite the opposite conclusion, the basis for the premise of this thread can be puzzling. Would you care to offer greater specificity to aid the understanding? If you feel that such specificity would get into forbidden areas on RF please disregard my comment.
     
  18. Just_me_Mike

    Just_me_Mike Well-Known Member

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    Oddly enough, being the oddball I am, I was bowling with an oddly type ball because I don't own my own, and upon throwing the ball towards the pin, something odd must have taken place, cause it bent my middle finger oddly in an odd way, and now it hurts bad!

    Very odd indeed.
     
  19. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    Seems as though sticking one's fingers in holes generally either results in something really good or really bad.
     
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  20. Eliot Wild

    Eliot Wild Irreverent Agnostic Jerk

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    I disagree. Oddly enough, my personal faith allows me to do whatever I want as long as I don't infringe upon another's personal liberties. So, in that regard, I can drink excessively, do any sort of recreational drug I choose, engage in weird sexual perversions, and pretty much do whatever I want as long as I don't harm others. I am a flawless follower of this particular faith.
     
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