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Featured The struggle between faith and reason

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Epic Beard Man, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Epic Beard Man

    Epic Beard Man Bearded Philosopher

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    Last few weeks, well actually months, having to deal with the loss of not just one friend but two it began making me realize the frailty of human life. One of my friends was murdered, and the other died from a massive heart attack, I've began doing some of my own self-reflection. I'll admit I've questioned my own mind in the beliefs I've held teeter tottering between belief and agnosticism. Part of my reflection is the thought of working in the medical field where human frailty that leads to death can either be caused by the person, the environment, or just through the body giving up. I must admit after recently losing a friend of mine who made health changes due to his diabetes die from a massive heart attack I started thinking if I'm going to share the same fate and if so is it an accident, my destiny or by God's hand?

    I have watched my own parents, decent human beings live only to suffer from cancer and die, while a regular drug addict who abuse their body and continue to abuse their body with no concern for getting help live and continue to live. I've asked the age old question to God "why them and not them?" Then the other part of me struggles with the scientific mindset that there are certain people born with certain genetic predispositions where their body is able to survive these kinds of abuse. Some of it is environmental. and some of it is just maintaining a healthy diet. Then I fall back into the understanding that maybe that is God's intent, then I fall into this line of thinking regarding myself and I ask "what is God's intent for me?"

    Does anyone find themselves struggling with similar concerns?
     
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  2. Rival

    Rival Noachide
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    All the time; I have a healthy doubt, but never quite enough to destroy my faith. I like being able to entertain different ideas instead of feeling boxed in and being one of those people who is too afraid to consider new ideas. I am very happy with my faith, ultimately, though. I never expect to understand everything and have stopped trying.
     
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  3. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Over my 74 years, I did a lot! But in recent decades I put much more emphasis on informed reason than some sort of blind faith, and I do believe "My Faith Statement" at the bottom of my posts reflects that this is my approach.
     
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  4. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    I don't know how you do it. My younger sister died of cancer. She was the nicest person in the world. A much better human being than I was. However I had long since given up on any idea of a benevolent God looking out for anyone's best interests.
     
  5. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    The questions you pose are outside my wheelhouse but I wanted to pop by and say that I'm so sorry for your losses. I hope whatever path you take grants you a modicum of peace and grace.
     
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  6. Landon Caeli

    Landon Caeli What's your stoyle?

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    I do. Disgustingly, in my mind, I would see another woman who looked like my mother and think to myself, why my mom, and not this woman?

    ...It didn't seem fair.

    My mom passed away about a year ago. It's very hard to continue on, after losing someone so close. I now know, there is nobody left I can explain my accomplishments and achievements to, who will be genuinely happy and excited to hear them. Other people only 'pretend' to care.
     
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  7. Road Less Traveled

    Road Less Traveled Active Member

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    My condolences.

    The cold reality of truth here: that we are all going to physically die, can happen at any time/age, in an array of different ways.

    The sooner I really felt that, knew that, and made peace with that... the stronger I became. Valued others more, grew to lose the futile petty arguing, fear, etc.

    The deeper that I saw the conditions we are all in, the more I learned this existence here isn’t all that cracked up to be what it is.

    I also hear a lot of people say things like, ‘I’m so thankful that’s not me or happening to me or mine.’ I’m personally not thankful for anything in this existence, because it would feel selfish. For even if I’m well, someone else is not. It is silly to be thankful for health while another has poor health, etc.

    As far as a more powerful entity in regards to potential creation: only a maligned entity would put people through these random, auto-genetic conditions. But that wouldn’t mean there could not be a better entity to put trust in. Perhaps there is nothing this better entity can do about this dump, until after a physical expiration. Who knows. All I know is that I do personally have a profound trust inside that we are all okay, and everything will be okay. Can’t explain it or know what that may be, but it’s there.

    Anyhow, again... my condolences.
     
  8. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    The loss of that which we value - especially relationships with family and friends - often leads us to ask some probing questions. I definitely empathize with what you are going through, @Epic Beard Man , as I've been having to deal with that myself lately. One of the major roles of religion is to provide orienting narratives or a worldview that helps us make sense of the world around us. They do this in different ways and tell very different stories. How much does it really help in the end? Hard to say.

    But there's one thing it doesn't have to be - some "faith versus reason" dichotomy. In the end, it's all stories. Find the story that helps right now. The stories we tell ourselves can (and in many cases should) change over time as our lives and needs do.
     
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  9. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I am an out and out atheist so no, i dont share your concerns regarding a god plan, my view is what will be will be.

    Sure, medical science and related persons can and do help but in the end we all die.

    That of course does not alleviate the feeling of loss felt and i offer you my condolences.
     
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  10. 3rdAngel

    3rdAngel Member

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    Sorry for your losses. Everything makes sense if you understand that there is God and that this life is only probation for a new life to come. What matters here in this life are our decisions that we make to believe and follow God's Word or not to believe and follow God's Word. According to the scriptures it is appointed men once to die but after this the judgment *Hebrews 9:27. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should be saved *2 Peter 3:9. Science and the Gospels are not in conflict. It is believers and unbelievers. Many nobel prize winning scientist are Chrsitian. The religion of those who do not believe God's Word however is the big bang theory and evolution that those who seek not to believe God use as their crutch and religion. All of us are only believers or unbelievers. Which religion you are depends are what you believe.

    May God bless you as you seek him through his Word.
     
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  11. leov

    leov Well-Known Member
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    When I was around 8 there was a funeral down stairs in our apartment block, that was the first time I understood my own mortality. I was terrified. At some point many years later I came to know that there is no death of I. I am sad a bit because I will go away at some point in time leaving my wife and children behind, that is real sad part. I know that I exist and my physical body is not I. Terror of physical death is gone I am looking forward to new beginnings.
     
  12. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    Naw... Life is way to short!!!! Kierkigaard said life is to be experienced not explained. He then went on to explain that in multiple books!!!! The curse of the introspective!!!
    See the Aretha Franklin "Amazing Grace" movie its the best and its intense.
    Music is amazing this is some of the best ever recorded on film.
     
  13. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Life has a sobering effect. If a faith/religion does not accommodate that then it'll be very difficult to follow I think.
     
  14. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    When I was young, I had severe asthma and nearly died several times. I knew from a very young age how fragile life is and that I could expire at any minute. But I have lived a good life so far. I have loved deeply, thought about life, the universe, and everything, and experiences some amazing wonders.

    I am sorry for your losses. Nothing takes away the sting of losing a loved one, except perhaps time. But we all die at some point.

    The question is whether you ever actually manage to live.

    For me, reason wins over faith. Maybe that is because of my awareness of mortality so early, I don't know. But I do know that to experience life to the fullest means we occasionally experience pain also.

    May the pain you feel be brief and the questions you ask lead you to fuller understanding.
     
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  15. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg A World Citizen
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    I think you have summed up the purpose of life in the comment, "what is God's intent for me?".

    I see that is the aim of life, exploring what is it within us, that enables as to ask questions and discover answers.

    Personally I see life is to submit to God's wisdom and that God doeth as He Willeth. All events in our life then become a guide and we reflect on possible answers and ask for clarity in prayer.

    Regards Tony
     
  16. Diana Montgomery

    Diana Montgomery God is Love.
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    That is so hard. My heart goes out to you. My brother, who I loved dearly, died two years ago. He had a hard life and had been severely disabled by a stroke for many years until another stroke killed him. I miss him and dream about him. He is always on my mind. He was such a loving person. That is why I think God took him home. But I can't explain people who are loving but live long lives unless they are happy so God let's them remain here. And I can't explain people who are not loving dying before they learn to love. Maybe they are living a sad, painful life so God let's them leave this world to be happier. I'm not God so I can't know all of the answers but I do know that there is a God and that God is loving. God acts in my life constantly. So much that it is sometimes spooky. I pray and my prayers are answered. I think of things and coincidences happen - things which I personally could never dream up. I know that they come from God. Thank you for your kind words, saying may the pain I feel be brief and the questions I ask lead to fuller understanding. I can tell that you have a good heart. God loves you!
     
  17. Enoch07

    Enoch07 It's all a sick freaking joke.
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    First of all my condolences for your recent losses.

    Yes I certainly sympathize with your entire post.

    A few years ago my cousin got diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia. She was in and out of the hospital a lot, had to receive platelet transfusions constantly, and eventually had a bone marrow transplant. After the transplant she struggle with GVHD and had a restricted diet. Her immune system was also compromised, so she got sick easily and had to report to the hospital for any fever at all. One trip to the hospital for a fever a doctor gave her a antibiotic that she reacts to negatively. This caused her to go into brain swelling, sepsis, organ failure, and eventually a coma.

    I had the same thoughts you do because she always took care of her body. She ate healthy, exercised, doesn't drink, smoke, or do drugs. But still she fell ill, and went through hell. Meanwhile I went through a majority of my life like a bull in a china shop. Abusing drugs, alchohol, food, and sex with little to no regard for myself. Yet there I was 10 years older than my cousin, and healthy as can be. This definitely messed with my head.

    But, my cousin stayed in a coma for 6 months, eventually came out of it. Re-learned how to talk, walk, and make facial expressions etc. And now 1.5-2 years after coming out of her coma, she is married, and just found out she is pregnant, even though she was told the chemo therapy used to kill her old bone marrow would more than likely sterilize her. I am going to her baby shower in a few days.

    But on the other hand about 5 months ago I got diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. A particularly bad case at that, as my heart and lungs have quit working several times from being over fatigued.

    So now it was my turn to ask what God had in store for me. Tbh, I still don't know. I feel like if he truly wanted me to come home, I'd be dead. But since I am still here I just have to wait and see. Either way I am ok with it. I've lived a long hard life, I'm ready to go when He is ready to take me. But at the same time, I can enjoy life while I'm still here so I might as well, within reason of course.

    I don't really have any advice to give. Seems like you have figured out about as much as I have so we are pretty much on equal grounds there. Just figured I would show ya you are not alone.
     
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  18. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    It was actually the sudden death of my father at a young age (52) that prompted my own quest for the meaning of it all. Did God take my father from a loving family because "only the good die young"? That sounded OK until it happened to me, then it rang very hollow. What kind of loving God makes family relationships so strong, and then tears them apart? It made no sense. I heard all the platitudes...."God wanted another angel in heaven"? Seriously? What a load! Why didn't he just create one? I was getting angry, and confronted with my own mortality and those of the rest of my family, I wanted answers.

    Then I started a very intense Bible study and one by one, the answers came.....and I mean all of them.

    Death is a very foreign element in the human psyche....it happens to all of us at some point, but that still doesn't make it feel 'natural'.....its as foreign to us now as it has always been. We never get used to losing the people we love. And when we look at our mate or our children and wonder what would happen if we lost them....it stirs up very strong emotions. Fear of death is common in most faiths it seems, especially those who believe in life after death. There are some very scary scenarios. But I found out that the Bible does not teach that we have a conscious part of us that survives death. Belief in an immortal soul is almost universal in most faiths, but it isn't actually a Bible teaching.

    Finding out what caused death, and how God never intended for it to happen, explained why it felt so wrong. We have no 'program' for it.
    Also finding out that God implemented a solution to defeat death at the beginning, but that he had a serious rebellion to deal with in the meantime, also made sense as to why it has taken so long to get us some relief.

    It made me feel better knowing that God has not forgotten a single person who has lost their lives and that after his promise to restore the earth to it former beauty is achieved, he will bring all our loved ones back to us...that filled me with hope.

    In the Bible, death is likened to a 'sleep' (John 11:11-14)....an unconscious, state of suspended animation. One who dies, just sleeps. When they are awoken by Jesus in the "new earth" it will be as if they closed their eyes only a moment ago, because time has ceased for them. (John 5:28-29; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; 2 Peter 3:13)

    My biggest fear was that my father was in heaven (or somewhere else) pining the loss of his family as we were pining the loss of him. If those who died have gone to heaven and can see all that is happening to us on this earth, then I figure that it must be a very unhappy place.

    To find out that my Dad was just sleeping peacefully in his grave, lifted all my angst and allayed my fears. His future was in God's hands now.....I see that as no safer place to be.

    To know that I will see him again when the earth is a clean and beautiful place once more, restored to its former paradise condition, and that my father is not aware of anything that has taken place since he closed his eyes almost 50 years ago, is comforting.

    That is my experience.
     
    #18 Deeje, Jul 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  19. Epic Beard Man

    Epic Beard Man Bearded Philosopher

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    [QUOTE="metis, post: 6197353, member: 47735"My Faith Statement: "Whatever caused this universe I'll call 'God' and pretty much just leave it at that." -- Me'tis].[/QUOTE]

    Very direct and to the point.
     
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  20. Epic Beard Man

    Epic Beard Man Bearded Philosopher

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    I consciously try to not ascribe perceived human qualities to something that is not human or not of this world, although the limits of my mind cannot allow me to experience nor truly understand so I guess what I try to do is make sense as humanly as possible. My ideas of God are changing, and with that being said I don't think the benevolence of God as we see in the actions in the world cannot be completely defined scripturally. I try and bring a more pragmatic understanding of benevolence. I try looking at the human body for examples and the "engineering" behind how it works. As you know the body everyday works to maintain its existence, fighting, creating antibodies to continue to survive. The multitude of species that exist on this planet is special and in my opinion nothing short of being engineered. It's amazing that we humans can have this dualistic mentality of both describing ourselves as bother the experiencing and the observer.
     
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