Well dang, when I first made this thread I was simply expecting to see which of us believed in what. Then again, this is the place for highly intellectual discussions, so it's unsurprising to see some people going in-depth of why they believe the way they do.
I'd just like to make perfectly clear that I am not trying to disrespect anyone's point of view with this post, I am simply stating my opinion on the matter. Whether or not I condone/agree with a particular viewpoint is irrelevant; I will attempt to the best of my ability to treat everyone's viewpoint with respect, and regardless of what I think of your viewpoints, I still view all of you with respect as members of VCO, as humans, and as friends.
That being said, I claimed at the beginning that I identify as a Christian, as I do believe in God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit/Ghost. I also said that I'm not entirely certain of what denomination I fall into. Personally, I feel I fall into the Protestant denomination of Christianity, as I do not believe the Catholic Church has the holy authority to do some of the things it is doing, such as creating holidays to praise God that stem from paganism (e.g. Easter) and those religions' worship of their own gods. I also do not believe that the Catholic Church has the authority to carry out reconciliation. During the very few times I've done the sacrament of Reconciliation, my class from the Catholic school I used to attend seemed to get the same penance order as everyone else, in that we each had to say the same prayers the same amount of times as everyone else. The short amount of time it took the priest to give us that order, to me, seemed like it was more of a personal call than one from God. That's not to say I disrespect or denounce the priests from my church, in fact I have complete respect for them for their religious devotion. To me, I just feel that we should be exercising faith and devotion to God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit/Ghost, and only THEY/HE have/has the ability to forgive us of sins, not the church.
One of my reasons for following God involve the concepts of Good and Evil. You might be wondering what I mean by this, and it's a bit hard to put into words, but I'll see what I can do here... OK, how about this: who is to decide what is good and what is evil? If there is no God like some claim, then that only leaves mankind to decide what is good and what is evil. There's one problem with that; our morals and ethics have changed over time. Centuries ago, slavery was OK (good) while today we see it as a sign of racism and wickedness (evil). Likewise, homosexuality was frowned upon centuries ago (evil) while today it is highly celebrated (good). Even other countries have different morals; in the U.S., UK, and other nations, women are seen to be equal to men and are (mostly) treated as such (I say mostly because there is still debate raging on about wage gaps, discrimination, sexism, etc., but that's a story for another thread). In other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, women have less rights and are subjected to Sharia Law. We might classify the subjugation of women as evil, whilst others see it as good. Another example are the terrorists of Isis, Al Queda, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. I'm sure there are members in those organizations who know what they are doing is wrong but carry it out for their own wiles, but a lot of them believe what they are doing is good, whilst we believe it is evil. My point is, humanity is too divided and too wishy-washy to be in the authoritative right to dictate what is good and what is evil.
That got me thinking, as I remembered back in my sophomore year in High School, during our health class, they talked briefly about defense mechanisms. For those who don't know, defense mechanisms are basic methods your brain uses to cope with situations such as extreme stress, anger, sorrow, etc. Some of these include projection (projecting your issues/problems onto others as if they are the ones with the problem), displacement (taking out your feelings on someone unrelated to the situation), daydreaming (we all know what that is), etc. I found it interesting that the human brain can play mind tricks on itself (and by extension, us) in order to deal with life. That got me thinking; what if, and just hear me out, what if good and evil were defense mechanisms, perhaps the largest defense mechanism the brain has constructed, a way for us to keep ourselves from doing things that would harm fellow humans on the basis of "no, I shouldn't do that, that's wrong", or those who do perpetrate acts considered "evil" would be punished by the overwhelming majority who believe in "good"? If that is the case, then there really is no such thing as good and evil as we have believed it to be, but rather an elaborate illusion created by the mind to allow large quantities of humans to (mostly) co-exist with one another. Under such circumstances, people like Adolph Hitler, while his actions of mass genocide and crimes against humanity were viewed as evil by many, would technically not have done anything wrong under the notion of what we believe the concept of good and evil is, as it wouldn't exist. While many argue that what he did was evil, there are those who argue what he did was good.
I know some of you might interpret this the wrong way, and like I said, this is something that is hard for me to put into words to convey the message, but my overall point is that without a central, omnipotent entity (God) to decide what is good and what is evil, there can never really be a force of good or a force of evil, as it would entirely be subjective to the human population and its factions. Now I know some of you are about to quote WalMartGreeter
's post to Dicerson about how wanting to believe does not equate to believing, and I would just like to say that again, I do believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit/Ghost. It is not a matter of me WANTING to believe, I DO believe, and not just for the reason listed above. My main reason is faith, although that's just what I can think off of the top of my head at the moment. I mean, sure, I was born and raised in a God-worshiping household, and if I were raised in an atheist or other family, I probably wouldn't hold the same faith I have. Nevertheless, I do believe in the Holy Trinity, and it is my firm belief that God is the almighty, creator of Heaven, Earth, and of all things, Jesus Christ is his only begotten son, who came to us in order to save us from sin through suffering and dying on the cross, and the Holy Spirit/Ghost is God's spirit sent to us.
, your post about disbelieving in God got me thinking back to when I was 12. My parents had moved me out of my Catholic school years before (because they didn't believe it was giving me enough of an educational challenge), so to make up for it we had to do a home-school bible course to make up for my lack of religious education at the public school I attended. Before I turned 13, however, I was attending a summer program for the second time at the Catholic school, where they condense all the biblical learning into two weeks, spending about just four hours a day at the school (which was a pretty good deal). In my second year there, before I turned 13, I started to feel the same way you did, although it was for different reasons. My anger towards God stemmed from the plagues brought onto Egypt as punishment to the pharaoh for not releasing God's people from slavery. While I could deal with the other plagues, it was the last one, where God had the spirit of death claim the firstborns, that got me upset. In time, I turned away from God, went through a bad phase through my Junior High and Freshman High School years where I fluctuated between God and Satan before finally coming out of it in Sophomore year. Despite my open rebellion, there were still times where I could not turn away from God. I remember trying to flip crosses upside down in my house, but my parents begged me not to and I found myself unable to carry through with it. Personally, I felt God might have been trying to send his love to me through them, and while that may seem corny, cheesy, and just plain stupid to some, I have had a couple things happen to me that could not be explained via rational means, and even if they could, the timing of when they happened was way to convenient for them to be simple coincidences.
In time, I learned to accept that there is no middle ground, there is either God or Satan. I also found that no matter what we suffer in life, it is infinitely worth it if it means spending eternity in paradise with God. After all, the after life is forever, so nothing you suffer in life can compare to eternal paradise since life has a limited span, whilst paradise with God lasts forever.
Again, not trying to criticize anyone here, I'm just stating my opinion. Take it however you want.
NerdRising Spoiler: Oh no, PLEASE tell me this is not what you worship...Show
You should know that Khorne is a cult, based upon how I blew the whistle on our secret step to promoting people within VCO
and how two members of the VCO community (the two posts following mine) did not denounce my claims, AS WELL AS catching BILLLLLLLLL in an occultist ritual during his alleged "vacation".
As for everyone else, I did not include Paganism in the list, because to my understanding, Pagan includes a wide variety of beliefs that either differentiate from Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, or are a religion that professes a polytheistic belief, in other words, not one specific religion or a denomination of a religion, but rather a category for miscellaneous. Rather, I included "Other", although now that I'm typing this out I realize I should have put "Other/Pagan" (whoops). Actually, I guess you could say I should have PAGAN'd more attention to that small detail.
Anyways, thanks to everyone who participated in the thread thus far!