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Thread: Perspective from athiests/agnostics

  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    And what makes you think the proof of MY personal beliefs/convictions must be supported by scripture? And anyway, my beliefs/convictions are NOT anchored in scripture. They're anchored in having had the experience of some sort of portal opening to another realm, and having Christ extend His hand to me, and my accepting it.
    And there you prove my point. My statement about "It says so in this book" is perhaps not quite correct. I should perhaps have said "Because of what I think it says in this book."

    You speak of your moonshiner as virtuous, and no doubt he was. Many people profess hearing God. One such was a man named Peter Sutcliffe. otherwise known as the Yorkshire Ripper, who murdered 13 woman and attempted to murder seven others on the orders of God, so he believed. That's what the voice said anyhow. Not so good but completely sincere as any preacher at least.

    So, me, as a seeker of truth, who do I ask? You, or another Christian who happens to believe differently from you? This assuming I limit myself to enquiring about Christianity. I might ask help from a devout Muslim and I have met quite a few who seem to be very good people indeed, in fact I am certain they are. If I ask a hundred different Christians about this I am likely to receive about a hundred and ten different answers. Catholics? Presbyterians? Seventh Day Adventists? Quakers? Church of England? Eastern Orthodox? Baptists? Methodists? Anabaptists? Mennonites? Amish? Pentecostalists? Mormons? Who do I follow? Tell me which one is right and then tell me why all the others are wrong? quickly now, because my soul appears to be at hazard. Oddly enough I suspect I would receive more consistent answers at least from Muslims. An interesting thought but they would certainly not convince me.

    The next advice, from those professing to be Christians at least, is for me to read the Bible, which I have, and to open my heart to God and or Jesus, which I have with all sincerity. Few people are more sincere that patients in the Coronary Care Unit! All this to no good effect. When it comes to saving my soul it appears that the game is rigged. No wonder I prefer my own philosophy.

  2. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Notice too that you are not answering any questions posed you are only offering a quip of no substance.
    The problem is no one listens to your nonsensical arguments because they are not based on any reasonable logic. In other words you are only making sense to yourself. If you cannot persuade others then all your preaching is wasted...
    Gee whiz, EDG! You keep going further and further off the ledge, and getting more and more spiteful and accusative! And all without the least reason for it, too! You're really getting tiring. If you don't want, and have no intention, of ever really making a serious search for truth, and dismiss every effort on your behalf, then so be it. You can always have your way in your life, and that's guaranteed by God himself! So no man can change one iota of your beliefs, or desires to belief. Have it your way, as they say at Burger King. But don't for a second stand there and cast aspersions and mock belief and believers! You reveal yourself to be a simple ongoing malcontent, that has no intention of really listening to anyone or anything, except that and those which support your haughty and spiteful beliefs.

    It's always sad to meet someone like you, but you are definitely not alone. Nobody here can man-handle you, and MAKE you believe. You must believe as you wish, for your own sake, or whatever reason you choose. And if you think, or are depending, on anyone or everyone here to screw your head off and pour it all into you, you're barking up a very empty tree, sir! WE are not responsible for ANYTHING you think, do or feel. That's YOUR job, and if you choose to do or not do it, then that's how it'll be for you. But nothing you'll ever do, nor all the efforts since the resurrection, can ever change even the least particle of what we Christians know to be true and valid and our promise to the end. You can't take anyone away from belief. And all pretensions and efforts toward that view are all in vain. You really ought to see a good psychological counselor to help you work out some of your resentments and spite. It'd make your life so very much more interesting and joyful and satisfying. You'll never find satisfaction trying to destroy a believer's faith. If you did, it wouldn't be true faith that he had to start with! But I really don't think you care much about that. I believe all you care about is dominating God, and casting aspersions toward anything and anybody that counters any of your willful "beliefs." They're not very promising tenets to base a good, satisfying life on.

  3. #203
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    I have never observed any one that was transformed other than in their imaginations. I do not take your word for it.
    Before and after they are the same old person. You make many assertions yet none are backed up as if I am stupid enough to merely take your word for it just because you say so or just because the bible says so. There is no prophesy that I have witnessed that has come true. Just as you cannot prove that Christ ever rose from the grave. You make those statements as if they are true yet your claims could not pass the smell test in a court of law.
    From my perspective I must have proof. I do not accept anything based upon your word and your bible.
    You are the one with the imagination based faith. I require facts. You make claims therefore the burden is on you to provide the proof. Faith does not get the job done. As we say in engineering "in god we trust all others must bring data". Since you are not god your statements mean very little.

    Of course you have to play the scary bogey man card since that is the foundation of most religions and faiths. That is how the game works. God gets to control your life if he provides you with the insurance policy that guarantees you a safe cozy eternity. It is all about the ROI that you seem to think will eventually pay off. If you were not greedy and did not care about eternity you would have no motivation to listen to your imaginary friend in the sky would you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    Wow! What an eruption of doubt and disparaging accounts of believers! If the Bible is just a "book of old goat herders' tales," then how has it transformed so many millions (billions?) of lives? How has its prophesies all come true, except the Revelations, which is prophesied yet to come? What "evidence" is it upon which you base your denial that Christ was risen from the grave? What is it that supports your view that there couldn't be another realm beyond the one we now live in, that may be vastly different from what we know here? What makes you think that there is no God, or that he has never spoken to us mortals, or that he couldn't?

    You make a lot of pat statements, but never support them with anything other than "I don't believe what I have never seen for myself." You're like the ultimate "doubting Thomas." So be it. It's your life, and your soul, to do with as you please, and conduct yourself and your life any way that you choose. But to find, you must first seek, don't you? Then why have you never made a true and sincere effort to find God? Why can't you humble yourself before your much superior and more powerful God, and insist on dominating HIM instead of approaching Him much more humbly, as would befit the Supreme Deity?

    Sometimes, I get the feeling you're just showing off your disbeliefs. I hope that's wrong, but it'd be hard to avoid that take as at least one possibility. Are you here to learn and consider others' views and beliefs/convictions, or are you merely here to disrupt, or try to? Mostly, we believers have dealt with you and all other believers in a very courteous manner, but there seems to be a very hard edge on most of your posts, as if you were spitefully challenging us to change you, rather than letting you change your own self, so that you might actually find a way to open that portal I've described here a number of times now.

    But it's your life, and your soul, and it's up to you what to do with it. But seriously, if there IS a real God, and a Heaven and Hell, do you seriously expect Him to allow one with your attitude into Heaven? He can't. It wouldn't be Heaven any more if He did. So there's really no other available place for those who mock and taunt and try to challenge God, and that's Hell, and it's for all eternity with no end. It seriously pains me that any man should choose that route. But they have that right, given to them by God himself, and no man can change or minimize that one iota. So all I can do, is try my best to reason with you, and wish you well. God be with you. All that mocking will be thrown as far away as the east is from the west when and if you come to belief, and commitment. What a joyous day that will be for all. Even the angels in Heaven rejoice when a man like you comes to them!
    EDG

  4. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Notice too that you are not answering any questions posed you are only offering a quip of no substance.
    The problem is no one listens to your nonsensical arguments because they are not based on any reasonable logic. In other words you are only making sense to yourself. If you cannot persuade others then all your preaching is wasted...
    On the contrary, sir! Our beliefs are based on EVERY reason and logic! EVERY one! We don't pick and choose our "reasons." We look at ALL the evidence - and don't turn away from things we find simply because we don't like them, or that they don't support what we WANT to believe. We are humble enough to accept what we find, without culling anything. And we've listened to faithless non-believers like you for millenea now, and we've known MUCH better than to limit ourselves so severely as you do. It's as plain and clear as anything in this world could possibly be! But you don't care. You're determined to "believe" what you wish, and so be it. Nobody here could, much less would, change your mind about anything. That's your duty, and yours alone. Not ours. We will not pay for your mistakes. Only you can do that. So take your venom and spite and hatred, and leave this place to folks who are seriously interested in finding deeper knowledge and inspiration here, as was the original intent here. You're just a nasty interloper who is determined to destroy, and not to ever build anything, and we don't need that kind here. You'll find no pleasure here, only anger and spite and affronts to your ridiculous beliefs, and your inability to support them beyond the simplest things, like "I don't believe anything I can't see, and I believe any god ought to act like I think he should, and not as how God and Christ do it."

    Do you have no more personal character, than to behave and post as you have here? If you really wanted to learn anything, anything at all, you'd conduct yourself much differently from the way you conduct yourself at present. All we've ever done was try to show you the counter arguments to yours. That's all. That's all that's supposed to happen here. But you turn it, or try to, into a contest, and that's not what this place is all about. Believe or not. It's up to you. Search or settle into the lap of whatever you wish. It's up to you. But it's self evident that those who refuse to seek, can never find, isn't it? God be with you.

  5. #205
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    I have read parts of this thread and learned a lot. The difference between agnostic and believer in my mind comes down to faith. I have none. I watched my wife die slowly. That killed any thought of an omniscient and omnipotent being watching over us. I taught history at a major institution and know that every culture save the Chinese has a creation myth. IMO, these are all stories to help us with our fear of the dark.

  6. #206
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKShootist View Post
    You haven't identified any evidence. Please, share some of it. Not all for that must surely take too long, but if it's that common then quite a bit will do. Not, of course, evidence of any God at all, but of your God. Not 'evidence' that's in the book either for that will prove nothing (see below) but things that are observable.





    And there is the problem. It's all in just about every different book there is on the subject, and all different. Why can't people understand the simple fact that something written in a book is not proof of anything other than something has been written in a book. Should I read the book on Greek, Norse, Roman, or even Hindu mythology? There are such books, what do they prove?
    UK, non-believers always ask for evidence, when it really is all around us, every day of the week. They just don't recognize it. And as to the Book, first you ask for evidence, and then say you won't believe anything that comes from a book. Actually, that's not entirely a bad view. I don't believe anyone can truly come to Christ just from reading the Book. One has to have that personal experience with Him, where it's as if a portal opens up into a realm, where Jesus stands, with those wounds in his outstretched hands, and bid you come to Him. Lacking that, one can WANT to believe, or anything else, but once one has that experience, it'll never cease to amaze and humble us. And we couldn't forget it if we wanted to.

    However, it IS a searching process. If we don't search, and consider, we can't find, or enjoy, can we? Most who don't belief simply don't want to, or have no stomach for a serious search. Either way, they'll never know the conversion experience. They simply can't. They haven't completed the requirements which enable us to understand it, as it appears. But anyone CAN have this experience. It all depends on whether they're really seeking it, or at least investigating the possibility. And all that's necessary is a humble spirit, and an open mind and heart. It's amazing to me that so many today are so averse to even a search!

    Good - God equals 0. It's really as simple as that. A man could act morally and ethically all his life, and yet, if he never spent any time even searching with an open heart and mind, then how could he be fit for Heaven, which is the largest part of the reasons for belief? He'd be as out of place as the proverbial "***** in church," wouldn't he? So is it so evil and un-understandable what happens to him when he dies??? Our lives are to try and make us fit for Heaven, even with all our obvious flaws and faults and weaknesses. If God can grant us eternal life, then how is it so impossible to believe that He can forgive us all these faults, and "make us white as snow" again? If God is truly God, does He not deserve, merit and shouldn't He demand at least some smidgen of reverence and respect? Why should he not keep Heaven spotlessly clean? Isn't that why He fogives us, to make us fit for Heaven??? How can you not see these things???

    Edit: And as to equating the Bible with any other book written on the subject of, or the principal text of, any other religion is far more than just comparing apples to oranges. Our Bible is the only one that consistently has been tried and found valid. All the prophesies are one example. And all other parts and principles of the stories in the Bible have now been proven by quantum physics and other science to have been imminently possible, even to the point of having Christ's physical body pass through the locked door in the upper room after the crucifixion! So if you don't want to believe, then don't. Plain and simple. But it is FAR from rational or valid to think we Christians have no substantial and well established reasons for our beliefs. Our beliefs are FAR more rational than those of the disbelievers, how ever much those like to deny that. No Christian can make a non-believer see what they don't want to see. And simply denying things, does NOT destroy them, or affect them one whit. Truth is like the monolith in the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey." It's just there, and it doesn't change, and never will. But those "reasons" of the deniers WILL one day, all pass away, and be gone forever. What more reason could anyone have for beginning a real and true search of discovery for what it is that we believers have that you don't currently have? Do you simply not want to find it? If so, so be it. If you simply want to continue with whatever temptations and sins you currently enjoy, and don't want anything interfering with them, then you decide that. But make no mistake. "Karma," or whatever you wish to term it, will one day bring from you a price for your choices of that type. How can anyone not believe in God? He is so very apparent, if one simply wishes to see things as they truly are, and not as we want to see and define them. God's creations are immaculate! Ours? Let's just say we can build nothing that lasts forever. He can. What a difference that is!!!
    Last edited by Blackwater; 08-14-2019 at 03:48 PM.

  7. #207
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    My interpretation/opinion/logical deduction is the various creation myths helps man cope with his fear and knowledge of the 100% certainty of death.

    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyB View Post
    I have read parts of this thread and learned a lot. The difference between agnostic and believer in my mind comes down to faith. I have none. I watched my wife die slowly. That killed any thought of an omniscient and omnipotent being watching over us. I taught history at a major institution and know that every culture save the Chinese has a creation myth. IMO, these are all stories to help us with our fear of the dark.
    EDG

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    UK, I always enjoy talking with you, because you're immune from temper, and you write well your thoughts.
    Well, I've got to tell you, to (mis)quote the Duke of Wellington, it's been a damned close run thing at times.

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    Anthony, my heart breaks for you. But God made each of us, and only He has the right to take us Home whenever He feels like it, or has some reason to do that. He has promised us that He will never forsake us, and He does that perfectly and always for those who believe in and trust Him. If your view of God is a big depository for all your desires, then no, He has never been a god of that sort. He's a parent, and when we're headed in a wrong direction, He curbs us, and challenges us. It's His only real way to discipline us, and if there's ever been a mammal that needed constant correction, it's man. We may not SEE the errors in our lives, or their true importance and criticality, but that doesn't mean they're not there. And taking someone from us isn't necessarily a "punishment," either. What right have we, the subordinate creature, to demand our way from a real and all powerful God? What right have we to always know His reasoning, or purposes? We don't have those rights. We CAN explore the things that He might have in mind, and maybe even settle on a reason for what happens. But we'll never have the right to expect of Him all the things we WANT or desire. Sometimes, He wants to give a person or group, some reason to believe, and something that might curb them from working their way into the fire. Is he wrong to do that in your mind? And sometimes, to provide that example, we or someone we love that's very close to us, has to provide that example. Since He made us, doesn't He have that right to use us in order to achieve His perfect plan and will? You don't say how her death affected anyone else. Is it possible that someone, or several people, were reminded of the brevity and impermanence of our life here, and the promise of eternal life if we but do a few simple things??? Why don't you believe that you'll be reunited with her one day in Heaven??? We all lose those close to us, and know the sorrow of that. But if you thought of yourself as a believer before, and then lost it, you were never really a true believer to start with. Faith can overcome anything, and any amount of adversity and pain. Just look at the story of Job, and all he went through, mostly just to prove to all of us that our lots aren't nearly as bad as we may like to think, and that Christ does indeed provide us with all the support we need, if we'll simply allow Him to do that, and enter into our lives.

    God is not, and never will be, the grantor of all our wishes, even the biggest of them. He is our Father and Lord, and has certain rights, plans and intentions, and all he really has to use in our world, to achieve His perfect will, is US! So, he uses us, and sometimes, in ways we initially consider harsh or punitive. But He never puts a rock in our path without providing a way around it. It's just up to us to see these things, and to keep our faith, and know He is always Lord. Even amid our greatest sorrows. God be with you my friend. There is more solace and contentment in Him than you have yet ever realized.

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    Gee whiz, T McD! Those scriptures would be from Genesis 1:1 all the way to the end of Revelations! I'm not about to post all that! And what makes you think the proof of MY personal beliefs/convictions must be supported by scripture? And anyway, my beliefs/convictions are NOT anchored in scripture. They're anchored in having had the experience of some sort of portal opening to another realm, and having Christ extend His hand to me, and my accepting it. The scriptures just provide edification. That's all. So no scripture would be sufficient, but all of them together form a very powerful indication of His nature ..... if you'd read them, and seriously and humbly read them. It's all up to you, my friend, and I wish you well. Those that come to faith after a period such as yours make some of the finest Christians that can possibly be. One of the best sermons I've ever heard was preached by an ex-moonshiner. He was as humble as anyone you'll ever meet, and very joyous in nature. He chewed tobacco, and had a red bandana to wipe the corners of his mouth with when needed. This man had spent considerable time in his life disbelieving and making moonshine. He'd likely have killed anyone who meant to take him to jail or ruin his still! And yet, someone brought him to Christ, and his moonshining days were over, and it was of HIS volition that he did this. What could cause such a man to veritably overnight change his ways, and even his occupation, but something VERY powerful! And you speak of doubt. THIS man was the king of doubters, until he had a personal experience, and that portal opened up for him. Something humbled him enough for him to see it, and the rest is history.

    Maybe it will be that way for you. Just remember, when one comes to God, God casts all his sins as far away as the east is from the west, and a totally new life begins. Yes, we have to stay in these mortal bodies we now wear, but that could never prevent us from starting a whole new life. I think you know that. Just imagine, your soul will again be as white as snow, like when you were born! And it's all right there in front of you, just waiting for you to become humble enough to see it, and join in the wondrous and holy throng. The other alternative, as you know, is rather grim. But you are far more than intelligent enough to know that this warrants a closer look, and at least a few moments of real humility and sincerity, don't you? God be with you my friend. I hope you find something that leads you to that moment that you've so long sought to put off, or abandon. You'll be SO glad when it finally occurs, if you'll but simply let it.
    That’s all I needed. We cannot have a valid discussion based your personal out of body “experience”.

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    Well DUH!!! Yep. We all die, and as one who's been very very close to dying a time or two, let me say that nothing can be more edifying and motivating than that. Recently had a heart attack. But I never lost my faith, nor the joy of being a Christian. It's all in the attitude, EDG, and yours obviously isn't suited to that sort of satisfaction. You impress me as one who's just not destined to ever be satisfied, or truly edified, because you simply don't want to be satisfied. Well, let me just clue you in that if you became a Christian, you'd be in BIG trouble, because Christians become the most satisfied people the world can know. Once one matures in Christianity, something that doesn't come overnight or easily, usually, we become very satisfied with whatever we have ... and don't have.

    And to us, death is not some "punishment" or something to fear, it's just a transformation, and one that promises us an eternity with our Lord in Heaven, where there's no dissension as there often is here. There'll be no pain, no sorrow, and everyone will love everyone else, and praise God for it, and because it's due Him.

    You can mockingly declare whatever you wish as our motivation, and see us as cringing liars, grasping desperately at "goat herders' tales" if you wish, but that doesn't change what it truly is one whit. It just shows how averse to belief and believers you truly are. That's all. But in spite of all that, I wish you well anyway, and sincerely so. When and if you ever come to light, it will be a super glorious day!

  12. #212
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    Quoting Blackwater

    "And anyway, my beliefs/convictions are NOT anchored in scripture. They're anchored in having had the experience of some sort of portal opening to another realm, and having Christ extend His hand to me, and my accepting it. The scriptures just provide edification. "

    I was once mistaken for "Big Foot" by a bunch of drunken high school class mates. Their imaginations were just as real as yours. Neither story is believable. I know for a fact that I am NOT Big Foot....I know for a fact you cannot prove yours.
    EDG

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    Quote Originally Posted by UKShootist View Post
    Well, I've got to tell you, to (mis)quote the Duke of Wellington, it's been a damned close run thing at times.
    It's always a pleasure to talk with someone who's capable of intelligent thought and discourse. I learn from most of them. All I wish for right now, is for you to - however briefly - just lay down all your ego and desires, and forget all the accomplishments I sense you have under your belt, and just consider the possibility that there really IS something beyond what we know here, and that God just might be real, and exactly like our Bible describes it. I'm now reading a book on the other 4 biggest religions of the world, and it's very interesting. Each one contradicts itself very solidly and inescapably at some point. None has a Savior that has conquered death, and risen bodily from the grave. And there are many other things that none of those other religions or faiths have, that we Christians have, and have the promise of. Buddhism, for instance, promises only that one might eventually, after much self denial and aceticism of all types, reach a state of "Nirvanna," which is simply described by its most ardent and advanced adherents, as "nothingness." So, when we die, that's it - the end of everything, including any sort of being! What do people find in that that's appealing? It's self-denyine, and life denying! Hinduism doesn't really offer anything most would be interested in, either, even to include an existence after this one. And it also seems to be a smorgasboard of a religion, where one can pick and choose what they will adhere to, and what they'll ignore. That's not much of a religion either!

    I want a religion that promises me something substantial, and hopefully, everlasting, so this soul of mine can grow and mature even more than it has here. That's what Christianity, but one doesn't come to belief simply by wanting it. We have to have REASONS for that, and as CHristians, we have more than could ever be posted here. But that's all for you to discover, and most pleasurably so, as you begin and make your own search for reasons to believe. All you need is a humble spirit, and an open heart, and you will find all the reasons you could ever want or need. But you have to find them for yourself. Nobody can do it for you. Just you and you alone, if you're so motivated. But if not so motivated, you can continue as you are, and wonder if maybe ..... just maybe ..... you're missing something that's far more than just worth while, but life changing, life affirming, and more joyous than you ever imagined it could be.

    You're obviously a very stubborn man, too. That's good, if you let it be. I'm about as stubborn as a mule with a burr under his blanket, and an empty stomach to boot. So I well know the advantages and disadvantages of being unmoved unless reason is given for it. Myself, I've always believed, for as long as I can remember. Church just drew the edges around what I knew, and filled in blanks for me as I went along. So I don't and can't know why people disbelieve. I simply can't understand it. I've known the reasons for my belief for decades - so long that I now pretty much take them for granted. But if you'll make your own search, you'll find those same reasons, and you'll be perfectly satisfied with them because not believing just seems impossible from that point onward. I promise you, a real and sincere search, with an open heart, will eventually lead you to Christ, if you just make that search in earnest, and humbly, and with an open heart and mind. And you'll NEVER regret making it, either, but you'll be so very, very thankful that you finally discovered and accepted what has no price in all the world. You will always be rich thereafter, no matter how much money you have, or don't have. You'll always be satisfied, whether you're in the midst of sorrow or joy. Yes, we'll have times when we sorrow, but we'll rejoice that it can't defeat or overcome us, if we have real faith. Is that not something to aspire to??? And worth a real investigation???

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Quoting Blackwater

    "And anyway, my beliefs/convictions are NOT anchored in scripture. They're anchored in having had the experience of some sort of portal opening to another realm, and having Christ extend His hand to me, and my accepting it. The scriptures just provide edification. "

    I was once mistaken for "Big Foot" by a bunch of drunken high school class mates. Their imaginations were just as real as yours. Neither story is believable. I know for a fact that I am NOT Big Foot....I know for a fact you cannot prove yours.
    Baloney!!! You just don't WANT to admit there just MIGHT be a real God, that is just like is described in the Bible. OK. That's your right to choose to be that way. But simple denial will never dissipate or eliminate the absolutely real reasons we believe. If you don't WANT to believe, then don't. But don't tell the rest of us who do, that we're wrong, or stupid, or willful, or don't have any reasons for our beliefs, and that they're not substantial and/or proven. That's a fool's errand, EDG, and I believe you to be far better than that. Just because you don't believe doesn't make you stupid. It just shows that you don't WANT to believe, so ..... you don't. Again, that's OK with me, and it wouldn't matter if it wasn't. Once again, I bid you farewell, and may God be with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    It's always a pleasure to talk with someone who's capable of intelligent thought and discourse. I learn from most of them. All I wish for right now, is for you to - however briefly - just lay down all your ego and desires, and forget all the accomplishments I sense you have under your belt, and just consider the possibility that there really IS something beyond what we know here, and that God just might be real, and exactly like our Bible describes it.
    I cannot consider such a possibility without considering it's equal and opposite.


    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    I'm now reading a book on the other 4 biggest religions of the world, and it's very interesting. Each one contradicts itself very solidly and inescapably at some point. None has a Savior that has conquered death, and risen bodily from the grave. And there are many other things that none of those other religions or faiths have, that we Christians have, and have the promise of. Buddhism, for instance, promises only that one might eventually, after much self denial and aceticism of all types, reach a state of "Nirvanna," which is simply described by its most ardent and advanced adherents, as "nothingness." So, when we die, that's it - the end of everything, including any sort of being! What do people find in that that's appealing? It's self-denyine, and life denying!
    Nirvana nothing? Not hardly. I think that your suggestion is one often heard among Christians who dare not face the truth that another quasi religious philosophy bears some potential for truth. Personally, I do not regard Buddhism as a religion although some sects have made it so. I consider it more of a philosophy of life. Christians consider the search for the truth as an option. A Buddhist, particularly a Zen Buddhist, has no option but to seek the truth though constant rebirths. It's like a trip to the top of a mountain. Everyone is going there whether they like to or not, they have no option, but some take the hard way straight up, others wander around and around, up and down, until the learn their goal is the top. Not the best analogy, but it'll do for now.

    Nirvana literally means “quenching” or “blowing out,” in the way that the flame of a candle is blown out. But what are we blowing out, here? Is it one’s soul, one’s ego, one’s identity? It cannot be the soul that is blown out, since Buddhism denies that any such thing exists. Nor is it the ego or one’s sense of identity that disappears, although nirvana certainly involves a radically transformed state of consciousness which is free of the obsession with “me and mine.”

    What is extinguished, in fact, is the triple fire of greed, hatred, and delusion which leads to rebirth. Indeed, the simplest definition of nirvana-in-this-life is “the end of greed, hatred, and delusion”. It is clear that nirvana-in-this-life is a psychological and ethical reality. It’s a transformed state of personality characterized by peace, deep spiritual joy, compassion, and a refined and subtle awareness. Negative mental states and emotions such as doubt, worry, anxiety, and fear are absent from the enlightened mind.

    Saints in many religious traditions exhibit some or all of these qualities, and ordinary people also possess them to some degree, although imperfectly developed. An enlightened person, however, such as a Buddha or an Arhat, possesses them all completely.

    AFTERLIFE?

    What becomes of such a person at death? It is in connection with final nirvana that problems of understanding arise. When the flame of craving is extinguished, rebirth ceases, and an enlightened person is not reborn. So what has happened to him? There is no clear answer to this question in the early sources. The Buddha said that asking about the whereabouts of “an enlightened one” after death is like asking where a flame goes when blown out.

    The flame, of course, has not “gone” anywhere. It is simply the process of combustion that has ceased. Removing craving and ignorance is like taking away the oxygen and fuel which a flame needs to burn. The image of the blowing out of the flame, however, does not suggest that final nirvana is annihilation. The sources make quite clear that this would be a mistake, as would the conclusion that nirvana is the eternal existence of a personal soul.

    TO QUESTION NIRVANA

    The Buddha discouraged speculation about the nature of nirvana and emphasized instead the need to strive for its attainment. Those who asked speculative questions about nirvana he compared to a man wounded by poisoned arrow who, rather than pulling the arrow out, persists in asking for irrelevant information about the man who fired it, such as his name and clan, how far away he was standing, and so forth.

    In keeping with this reluctance on the part of the Buddha to elaborate on the question, the early sources describe nirvana in predominantly negative terms. These range from “the absence of desire” and “the extinction of thirst” to “blowing out” and “cessation.” A smaller number of positive epithets are also found, including “the auspicious,” the good,” “purity,” peace,” “truth,” and “the further shore.”

    Certain passages suggest that nirvana is a transcendent reality which is unborn, unoriginated, uncreated and unformed. It’s difficult to know what interpretation to place upon such formulations. In the last analysis the nature of final nirvana remains an enigma other than to those who experience it. What we can be sure of, however, is that it means the end of suffering and rebirth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    I want a religion that promises me something substantial, and hopefully, everlasting, so this soul of mine can grow and mature even more than it has here.
    There you have it! A wish for something that you desire to be true.

    Buddhism is quite capable of providing that also. For me, I want entirely the truth. If I am to die and cease to exist, so be it. In that case I would be doing nothing that countless billions of people have done before me. Hardly a big deal. If there is life after death then I will find out when I die. All I ask is, as Australians say, a 'Fair Go' and I do believe I would be more likely than not to get one. Fairer than what is offered by Christians I would say.

    An interesting thought is contained in Pascal's Wager.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_wager

    All the more interesting because it pretty much applies exactly to Zen Buddhism as much as Christianity. Possibly more so.

  17. #217
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    Why do you think that a supernatural law of karma and rebirth is the way despite no evidence?
    "There are no solutions there are only tradeoffs" ~ Thomas Sowell

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    Quote Originally Posted by UKShootist View Post
    There you have it! A wish for something that you desire to be true.

    Buddhism is quite capable of providing that also. For me, I want entirely the truth. If I am to die and cease to exist, so be it. In that case I would be doing nothing that countless billions of people have done before me. Hardly a big deal. If there is life after death then I will find out when I die. All I ask is, as Australians say, a 'Fair Go' and I do believe I would be more likely than not to get one. Fairer than what is offered by Christians I would say.

    An interesting thought is contained in Pascal's Wager.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_wager

    All the more interesting because it pretty much applies exactly to Zen Buddhism as much as Christianity. Possibly more so.
    It’s quite telling that this disagreement is not a new phenomena.

    I will disagree with the concept of “the wager” outright, but agree with the result. There is no reason to live an amoral life. It is as I said in one of these threads, there should little difference in the actions of believers and reasoned unbelievers.

    Thanks for the link.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PerpetualStudent View Post
    Why do you think that a supernatural law of karma and rebirth is the way despite no evidence?
    Because it has more logic and sense than the rest of them put together. There is sound evidence that both Jesus and Mohammed existed but none to contradict the possibility that they were deluded, or in the case of Mohammed, the world's biggest lying conman. Why do Mormons believe the tale that Joseph Smith told? And why might anyone equally believe the supernatural tales of the Bible?

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    Quote Originally Posted by T_McD View Post
    There is no reason to live an amoral life.
    That will depend upon the morals in question. I can think of some excellent reasons for certain amoral pastimes when the morals in question are, well, questionable. By way of example there are activities that might be considered perfectly moral in the Western World that will get you killed PDQ in an Islamic one.

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