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Science & The Supernatural: A Discussion of the World Around us - Based on Science with an Interest in the Supernatural ...
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 Post subject: Faith: shaking it.
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2008, 11:43 
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Grand Poobah
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Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
Posts: 5793
Location: Buffalo, NY
Since, although there are as few people as there are here, we have a wide range of beliefs, I thought this would be a good place to ask---

What shakes your faith?

I mean that in both directions. What things, moods, events make you doubt that your belief system is real, and what things restore it to you?

As this isn't a black and white board, a simple shift in grey counts as a 'shake of faith' if it is a move.

(yes, there is no reason atheists can't answer this one. )

One thing, for me (and I plan to answer this more fully later (how often do I say that?) is Hex's runes. As strong as my disbelief in everything can be, his readings are generally accurate past the 'cold reading' stuff. Sometimes they are the only thing that makes me think there is more out there, and possibly the only thing that stops me from being a 'strong atheist'.


Last edited by jess on 03 Jan 2008, 11:43, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2008, 15:26 
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First Circle Initiate
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Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 09:42
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Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Since leaving Catholicism about four years ago and constructing the worldview that I currently hold, I haven’t come across situations that I would describe as genuinely threatening to my beliefs. Perhaps it’s still early days and I will meet them somewhere down the line. Part of the reason is that my views are largely rooted in personal experience, rather than in what I’ve read or failed to experience. Once there, it’s hard to disregard it, especially when it is shared by members of my family and friends.

Externally acquired views are easier to shake. I remember reading about Pam Reynolds’ near-death experience, thinking that it is rock-solid, and feeling a profound sense of disillusionment when I saw it demolished in Keith Augustine’s article on near-death experiences. It made little difference in the final analysis as it was just one case, but having created expectations around it, it was painful to let them go.

I also remember feeling threatened by an article that described the research on out-of-body experiences which used cameras to enable the participants to look at the back of their head. Then I realised that the resultant phenomenon wasn’t actually an OBE and felt much better. Criticism of findings that I have come to accept (mostly in the field of parapsychology) can be difficult to handle if it appears genuinely convincing, though I have learned to balance it with additional sources soon thereafter as it often focuses on weaker cases and merely creates an illusion of deficiency. I have since decided to change my attitude and welcome material that challenges my views, though it takes time to put this into practice. I think (or at least hope) that I’m slowly getting there.

What makes it easier for me to hold the views that I do is that I have relatively low standards of evidence (at least relative to other members of IIDB; perhaps this isn’t saying much). I definitely don’t need proof before allowing something to influence my worldview. This makes it quite resilient against shaking as well as falsification. Perhaps this isn’t such a good thing, but it certainly works for me.

Restoration of faith is easy – all it takes is to meet with a friend or a family member, or even a stranger from a book, and learn about their unusual experiences.


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PostPosted: 07 Jan 2008, 23:54 
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Grand Poobah
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Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
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Location: Buffalo, NY
My faith in Christianity was shaken by logic and reading. I went to a Catholic school where I read the Bible and was taught how to think. And I eventually thought myself away from it all.

The whole pagan thing made sense to me, and I was happy. I thought magic and power were real. Then my life fell apart... let me see... nope, I don't think I can count the times, and I realized that if anything were real it was impotent or uncaring.

That's when I discovered IIDB.

There are still enough things that simply don't add up for me to completely not believe, magical things that have happened, weird things, coincidences, shared experiences. But I'm too rational to go all the way in.

I do understand about how skeptics seemt o attack only parts of the arguement, or the weakest cases. Sometimes, it really seems like there is something unexplained going on. But then again, chemistry was born from the magic of alchemy,a dn I am not so foolish as to think that this time right now is the pinnacle of human development in the sciences.

So I guess, my faith gets shaken a bit in either direction several times a day. Uncomfortable experience, but it keeps me on my toes. :)


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