Living It Versus Believing It

Casual observations provide evidence that faith is essential to gospel longevity, while applying the precepts of faith will be its undoing.

Faith in god and the traditions that come with religion creates a powerful testimony and deep convictions that what you believe is true. Many of us believed the gospel message and lived it, then, when bewilderment replaced anticipated joy we began our investigation. We encountered the contradictions and fallacies but continued to embrace the importance of faith to navigate the world with security, hope, and perspective, leading us to ultimate inner peace and joy—we doubled down. Prayers and scripture study became more intense while doubt mounted against our efforts. We lived it and gave our all—then left it because nothing added up to cover the horrors, excuses, vagaries, evidence, contradictions, and failings of prayer.

Reading this week in CS, IB, CT and various others including comments from MW and JB, I had a profound epiphany of sorts—we that lived it with all our devotion wound up leaving, while they continue preaching it’s effectiveness and truth because they have yet to live it. Their strong belief has not field tested the words they speak and write—convincing words and writings that they have heard and read without application. They are virulent and rude, cocky and smug, which is not the gospel at all, whether it’s authentic or not. The hypocrisy and guile of these bloggers is an embarrassment to their faith, and a poor representation of every day Christians that I know. Those “believers without knowledge” that are good people, would be good people even without religion.

  • Good people that believe what they are told, live the gospel well.
  • Good people that live the gospel very well and gain knowledge—leave.
  • Those that profess the truth through faith are the most vile and toxic of them all, and the only reason they still believe it is because they’ve never lived it. It is obvious they only know the words.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

81 thoughts on “Living It Versus Believing It”

  1. Excellent observations, Jim.
    My mother is a devout Christian and is still an active member of her church, yet she has never made any attempt to proselytize to any member of her family.
    When she passes she will take god belief in our family with her.

    When one reads the Giant Nobs you have listed above there are still times when I blink and think: Nah, this is a wind up for sure. It has to be. No one could possibly be such a Dickhead. And yet, they never fail to disappoint.

    The trauma/guilt issue seems to run through so many ”born-agains”, and especially those who become hyper evangelical.
    Porn, drugs , and/or booze addiction frequently feature in one form or another and we have all encountered examples of this type of re-born I’m sure?

    One of the common features of their (collective) blog style is the impression they give that they are trying (too hard ?) to convince themselves – or at least maintain the illusion/delusion rather than genuinely reach out to the non-believers they interact with, as I cannot recall a single positive argument any of them have ever presented in any sort of reasonable manner. A point that is perfectly expressed in your final paragraph.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. The only time I can recall is when JB stumbles across a new blog. He starts slow (agree with thine enemy while thou art in the way with him lest he esteem you as an enemy) then the real Byawn comes out in the later paragraphs. Great comment Ark. always enjoy your viewpoint.

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      1. Branyan is a disingenuous slime ball. He always suckers in ”Newbies” who then go out of their way to be reasonable toward him as you have noted,
        He did this with Jonathan, and is currently doing it with David over on Steve’s blog.
        He has, however, managed to coax out the real Mel Wild, and wouldn’t you just love him as your pastor!
        I am not sure I would feel predisposed to piss on Branyan if he was on fire.

        Liked by 3 people

          1. I love reading his ignorant tripe. He reveals himself fully when sitting on Branyan’s knee making goo-goo eyes.
            ”The sycophant and the psychopath.
            A sure fire hit at parties.”

            Liked by 2 people

    2. Part of me wonders if JB just likes to wind us up too, but it doesn’t seem to (quite) add up. I kinda wonder if he has some deep seated doubts of his own, but instead of dealing with them, he decides to attack us and try to make us look bad somehow, like it will somehow make everything go away. Very mature of him (snigger). Why is it that he spends SO MUCH time writing blogs (badly) analysing every little snippet of our posts? It’s fascinating but he also seems to really care a lot about what we’re saying, for some reason. Does it bother him? Maybe, who knows?

      Liked by 4 people

      1. It’s pretty apparent from his “copy-cat” blog posts, along with his inane comments on others’ blogs, that his ability to communicate has left the building.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. As a never believer and not associated with religious people until much later in life at work occasionally or a few neighbors here and there, I cannot relate to ever believing, believing now or will someday believe.

    But I’m so glad all of you here have gotten freedom from religion and are aware of how much more magnificent the universe really is than any Middle Ages fantasy gods could begin to imagine. It is incomprehensible to me that anyone could believe in gods and this eternal punishment idea and all this hateful judging of others who are of different races and different beliefs or non beliefs.

    Only a disturbed individual would or could support a god that would behave like that.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Mary, this is the problem of faith before knowledge. You gained knowledge first, and highly unlikely one of your rebellious, backward approach could ever have faith. You put the cart before the proverbial religious horse and messed the entire game plan.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. As regards being free of/from religion, I am reminded of the song Hotel California, “We are programmed to receive.
      You can check out any time you like, But you can never leave!” I doubt that (in life) I will ever be free of religion. It is all around and effects my life in many of the same ways as does an intrusive government. That will not stop me from trying and resisting. They want us to be silenced, but our silence is approval of the oppression that is religion. Religion should be a free choice made by knowledgeable adults, not brain-washing and programming done to children. Once that is done, there can be recovery, but freedom?

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I quote, “then left it because nothing added up to cover the horrors, excuses, vagaries, evidence, contradictions, and failings of prayer.”
    None of this is true for me, I guess I left religion too soon, or something, I never reached this point. And now that you have given your “point to exit,” I realize I do not know mine. I know I have written about things before, things that added up to my leaving religion behind, but what the final straw was I do not know. Nor am I even sure I want to know, although it sounds like something I should want to know. But I hate “shoulds” as reminding me of authority, and I rebelled against authority, and maybe that was my leaving point, religion was just another “authority” to me, another thing to rebel against.
    No, why I left doesn’t really matter to me, whatever it was was strong enough to motivete me, and the moment itself was anti-climactic.
    I guess religion never really had a hold on me like I thought it did. I can pretty much definitely say I never led another person to “christ,” so I do not have that guilt hanging over me. Prosethelytizing was not a big thing in my childhood religion, or at least it wasn’t at my age level, so that was a good thing I guess. But I don’t really know…

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  4. I think you are about 98.99% accurate on this assessment Jim. Well done! And I use that percentage because in this phase of my life — i.e. much much broader understanding, knowledge, and as you say, “LIVING IT” on 4 of the 6 inhabitable continents in many cultures — I know, as science and mathematics has proven, that very very little in life (from the subatomic up to the macro-cosmic) is simply binary and certainly NOT monistic. There are degrees and percentages and probabilities in/for EVERYTHING!!! 😄 This is NOT a reflection of external reality/life… it is — and read/listen really close people — it is a reflection of the varying degrees of limitations, gullibility, ignorance of HUMAN BEINGS! Now, go back and reread that! LOL 😉

    That said, Jesus of the Hellenistic canonical Gospels had a whole lot to say about the arrogant, “virulent and rude, cocky and smug” in the Temple, didn’t he? I wonder…

    …do CS, IB, CT, MW, JB, and any other religious loud, cymbal-crashing zealots — throw in extreme Muslims and Jews too, there’s no difference! — remember everything Jesus taught about the Temple priests? 🤔

    P.S. That last question was rhetorical, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was rescued from a breakdown of sorts. He’s not living it, he feels obligated because of a neurological experience that can be duplicated with a good therapist.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. He found his *faith* through trauma, huh? Didn’t know that, but it’s certainly not surprising. We can believe in anything if the pieces seem to fit. When I was a kid I played competition tennis. I was alright at it, but my service game was a hit-miss affair. I could whack the living Christ out of the ball, but had a bugger of a time controlling it… Until I found magic! I’d come in late on some TV show about eastern religions and just heard the word ‘Mantra’ and how it helped people focus and brought about amazing effects. Cool, I thought, this is some magic i can use. And I did. Whenever I really, really, really needed to land a serve I would repeat to myself, “Mantra, mantra, mantra, mantra, mantra,” and without fail, I kid you not, I would land an ace. It was remarkable, and because it was remarkable I didn’t abuse the magic I’d found myself in possession of. I’d only use it when absolutely needed, and it never let me down. It was only years later when I come across the word Mantra again, and then I saw a little deeper into how things work.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. We’ve got it all in there, just have to pry it out. When they finally find god he will be a anticlimactic us. He’s right between the ears. Great story too, John. You still play at all?

          Liked by 2 people

            1. I played baseball and soccer. Never very good at tennis. I did play soccer in junior college. I do see your old tennis skills in your back and forth with MW. Lol

              Liked by 2 people

            2. It’s nice to be able to lob as many into the stands as you want and count your own points. It’s 40-love all day long but he never counts any point but his own. This could go in all day. Lol

              Liked by 2 people

  5. Jim – Your first two paragraphs are almost a scarily accurate description of what happened to me. At one point in my life I managed to convince myself that my doubts and fears were my problem, not the church’s. I was doubting because there was something wrong with me, not with the religion. I pushed deeper into the faith, getting involved in more and more things, went to training sessions and classes, met high ranking clergy and bishops. But…

    The more involved I got, the more high ranking members of clergy I met, the more troubled I became. These bishops I was meeting were almost universally arrogant, condescending jackasses who were more concerned with keeping the collection plates full and how successful the latest attempts to squeeze even more money out of the parishes were than in the actual welfare of the people. They were doing and saying things in private that were about as far from the “Christian ideal” as you could imagine.

    Rather than helping me deal with my doubts, my becoming more deeply involved with the church had exactly the opposite effect.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. This is common. Thank you GF. The more I applied myself the deeper my commitment and the less I believed it. I always have an been independent sort. I rarely will go the way of the crowd, see popular movies, buy the latest things, go against the flow of the crowd—except religion. That was a pivotal thought for me a few years ago. Everywhere in my life I have lived my own style and against the grain, everyone is in religion of some kind, maybe I shouldn’t be. Thanks for the great comment and affirmation.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I can remember all the times I spent praying asking god to remove the spirit of doubt that satan had sent into me
      I guess, he didn’t get my call or the number I was calling does not exist

      Liked by 4 people

      1. You just have try so harder so that the neuropathways hard-wire to something you focus on as a single discipline long enough. Then it’s a physiological problem no amount of reason can undo

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Assuming I correctly understand your thesis here — that the people who most determinedly live in accordance with the precepts of religion are most likely to abandon it because it doesn’t bring the promised results — how would you account for the fact that widespread atheism is a phenomenon of only the last century or so? (In the US, more like the last 20 years.) I’d think many people in centuries past were equally fervent with equally disappointing results.

    They are virulent and rude, cocky and smug…..The hypocrisy and guile of these bloggers is an embarrassment to their faith

    I suspect that people who are rude, cocky, and smug by nature gravitate to belief systems (or emphasize ostentatious devotion to them, if they grew up with religion anyway) which provide them with a satisfying basis for feeling and acting superior and for talking down to people. That would explain why such people don’t usually deconvert. For them, religion does fulfill an important psychological need.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good points as usual. To answer the question of the last hundred years, choices—The availability of literature. In my religious bubble the options to not believe were smoke screened. After indoctrination the phrase I remember as a kid; “people can leave religion, but they can’t leave it alone”. Very true in most cases. Rebelling against the church did not equal atheism, and labeling the apostates as sinners did not equate to atheism. And most believe that I still believe in god. It is a cultural, humanist purveyance and gradual acceptance that has forced the issue to even be heard or considered as an atheist. Even Mark Twain and many of the founders had to disguise their atheism (keep it on a anonymous blog) that even their friends and close family don’t know about it. Only recently have people been allowed to speak openly about their atheism, and even today, when I left the church I lost all my friends but one. It is not cut and dry here, but my observations are mostly correct, and the atheist I am acquainted with that were formerly religious, have a moral fiber about them that proves once they saw the evidence (or lack of) they had to leave. They could not align with a system that whitewashed the atrocities of the supposed god even if they believed in him. The apologist bloggers are disingenuous truth benders to suit their belief, belief that has not been field tested, but a belief that was cemented because they believe they were rescued from some tragedy. They believe because it gave them something, when in actuality their perspective was the only thing that changed. The power is in themselves to be rescued from psychological tragedy, addiction, marital problems, etc. but timing answered a plea to god and he gets the credit for their mends.

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    2. “how would you account for the fact that widespread atheism is a phenomenon of only the last century or so? ”

      I don’t think it’s actually true that it is recent. Atheism has always been around and I think it has always been far more common than most people would believe. You have to remember that for most of human history, publicly declaring one’s atheism would have resulted in imprisonment and even death in many cultures. Or at the very least being shunned and cast out by the community. That’s true even today in some societies, alas. There are some places in the world today where being suspected of being an atheist can get you beaten to death by a mob.

      Even in situations where there wouldn’t be physical danger, there is all the drama and discord that can be caused by expressing one’s beliefs publicly. I know a lot of atheists and agnostics who simply keep quiet to avoid having to deal with all of the strife that would result if they were open about it. Is this being hypocritical? Perhaps. But if it prevents arguments, distress and even screaming matches over the dinner table or even worse?

      “I suspect that people who are rude, cocky, and smug by nature gravitate to belief systems (or emphasize ostentatious devotion to them, if they grew up with religion anyway) which provide them with a satisfying basis for feeling and acting superior and for talking down to people.”

      I think that is very, very true, and that statement very much agrees with my own observations over the years.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. To add to what Jim and grouchyfarmer has said, for the most part of human history we didn’t know much about the natural world and how nature worked that invoking god was “okay”, but as off now we know a lot about nature and the universe ( not everything ) but enough to know that god is no longer necessary to be invoke due to our lack of knowledge
        Before, Darwin it would have been really difficult to answer the question regarding the origin of plants and animals without invoking god

        I would say that in times past deism would have seem more likely than atheism

        Liked by 5 people

    1. Time running a blog has nothing to do with anything, in my mind, MS. What is important is that Jim and the rest of us are speaking our truth now. I cannot tell you the exact day doubt started, or belief ended. They happened, and the outcome is atheism. Atheism is not exactly the same for any of us, we all have our own ideas of what atheism is to us. Beyond no belief in a superbeing controlling us and the universe, there are subtle differences between us, but we don’t find that troubling, at least not IMO. It is right that we are not all the same, we all have our own life experiences, and our own journeys through life.
      Religions, on the other hand, give no value to individual experiences, they want and even require that all people think the same way, act the same way, believe the same thing. How can that be? Experience can never be a group thjng, everyone sees an event differently, that has long been a fact. We see the event through a personal yet historical lens. This is what life is, individual. I say that knowing that for me all life is connected–I am a spiritual atheist. But connection still requires jndividuality, because that is how all things are understood, from all different directions, and possibilities. All In My Opnion.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Of course. I am also an atheist and I have my own ideas.
        I am a 14 years old aspiring physicist.
        As I went deep inside Physics, Physics took me out from religion and god.
        I was just asking when this blog was started. 😁😁😃😃

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I stil see no need to know that, but I’ll let Jim answer that.
          Good for you, Madhur. May you become as you aspire. But, don’t lock yourself into what your 14 year-old self wants. Things may change as you gain more experience in the world. It is always good to have an open door to walk through…

          Liked by 1 person

        2. You might do yourself a favor and not force a decision of any kind at your young age. Unless you are truly a prodigy of some kind, 14 is pretty early to lock on to one ideal of any discipline. Broaden your horizons, learn from everyone, be open to the possibilities and live honorably. I have a great friend that reminds me of you a little, only his love was biology and neuroscience. After graduating with honors he decided it was more appealing to live an interesting life and explore the world. He lives a minimalist lifestyle and travels the world as a professional volunteer. All his possessions are carried in a duffle. He is an awesome individual and wicked smart, but found his truth, his happiness, in living! Not by any pre arranged dogma or philosophy, but is his own person. He is also an atheist, but could be a poster child for the ultimate Christian, or Buddhist, or hippy, or scientist, or teacher or friend. He serves, he has no possessions, he doesn’t drink (not even coffee or soda) his integrity is off the charts and is truly one of the best people I know. But the point is, to contribute to society he has made his life’s work helping others and not pigeonholing his potential at a young age has allowed him to be a variety of happiness. He is multitudes of kindness and ideas and helping one person at a time. He’s a philosopher, mathematician, handyman, biologist, avid learner, and a computer genius. Make yourself capable. Just curious, do your parents know your atheism and that you frequent this blog? The point is this; I have read your blog. That is how we met as I have an interest in physics, but your blog is full of others accomplishments and ideas and theories. When you can start having your own ideas is probably a good time to make important decisions in life if you are determined to lock into one way of life. As for me, atheism is just a side job. A hobby writing about atheism doesn’t mean that is all I am, but only after developing a wide variety of interests will you find what you love and who you are.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. Yes, my parents do know my atheism, my blog, and everything I do, and they don’t have any problem with this because my academics, health etc. isn’t affected by these factors. (My father is an assistant professor of Physics and mother is a Chemistry lecturer. But, they are theists.)
            And yes, atheism doesn’t mean that is all I am. I learn from everything I see, I make out the meaning of what I see and I am passionately curious. I read books and I am my own teacher. 😁😁
            (By the way, you are an interesting person.)

            Liked by 4 people

            1. Thank you for the compliment. I was more interesting as a young man, but I was the good son and abandoned many of my interests because they didn’t align with faith. Good job young padawan, sounds like your parents are pretty awesome people.

              Liked by 3 people

            2. I was more interesting as a young man…HAHAHAHAHA!!! Yeah, right! And I am the Pope. 😆 😉

              I know better than that YOUNG MAN! You got all sorts of “fascinating peculiarities” about you!!! 😛

              Liked by 2 people

  7. An interesting examination of the loss of faith. Very astute.

    Living the gospel, and even through secular morality, can drive an individual to great achievement. To learn amazing things.

    This knowledge does establish a sort of shield against the more…archaic…texts. Obviously snakes don’t talk. At least, not the respectable ones.

    However, I found the opposite is true as well. Knowledge begins to drip power on the one who carries it. Power opens possibilities. Possibilities that are normally closed to others.

    Over time, Knowledge can manifest a being powerful enough that they would comfortably be considered gods.

    Even now, with your limited technology, can you not emulate many feats achieved by the Judeo-Christian god? Pillars of fire, destroying an entire city instantly, even creating new life forms…

    I might suggest not dismissing God so quickly. For atheists who have the intellect you do, I just remind them:

    There are three kinds of people.

    1. Those who don’t believe in gods.
    2. Those who worship gods.
    3. Those who become gods.

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    1. What exactly are you saying here? God exists, but he’s some sort of being from a more advanced civilization whose technology is so superior we mistake it for miracles? If that were the case, I’d expect that there would actually be evidence for miracles having happened, since this “God” would display his ability to fake them in order to fool us. As it is, we have no evidence at all for miracles, except the most obvious and crudely faked kind which don’t require any special ability.

      I suppose a person who controlled superior technology could convince primitive people he was a god, but this would be just as much of a scam as all the other cult leaders who have convinced people they were gods, or spoke for gods, down through the millennia.

      It’s important to note that the process of developing technology is utterly unlike how gods supposedly obtain power, even if some of the eventual results are superficially similar. Technology depends on science, which is a process of deducing how things work by testing evidence; it requires a skeptical attitude and a willingness to believe what the evidence is telling you, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Faith, deep beliefs, or even failure to adequately screen out one’s own biases can cripple and invalidate science.

      Finally, category 3 is an empty set. There’s not a trace of evidence that any human has ever literally become a god, any more than there’s any other evidence for any gods existing.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I agree completely.

        The stories and explication of gods often fall short. The mechanism of action is never defined, and to dwell on it is blasphemous.

        I’ll write a post about it later, explaining the third group.

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    2. I haven’t dismissed god quickly at all. I spent fifty years propping up the faith and making excuses for its lack. Even one point to hang on to would have sufficed, but virtually every single point requires miles of endless explanation. In other words, the simplicity of the gospel requires a lifetime of distraction, delving into every possible, plausible explanation and coming out with nothing. The way to belief and faith is to discourage actual application. That is why faith by grace is so important. Someone very astute to human psychology came up with that idea. If you live the precepts, one can’t help but know, not by faith but fact, it doesn’t work.

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      1. “miles of endless explanation…a lifetime of distraction…”

        Yes, it takes at least a lifetime to become me. Why is this surprising?

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        1. Not sure what point you’re trying to make other than agreeing with my point. The evolution of the Christian god has moved the goalposts to incomprehensible, unimaginable, and beyond human comprehension. No words to refute that cop out, default argument. Gods ways are too mysterious for us to comprehend generates endless conjecture and uniendo. It wasn’t that way when I was younger, but as science has explained many things, god has to become more obscure to stay in the Christian dialog.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Who in history claimed to possess perfect knowledge of God? First I’ve heard of that.

          Why would it be surprising that God is beyond our comprehension? We can barely comprehend the extent of his creation. How many millions or billions of intelligent civilizations are there in the universe? Undoubtedly many are distinguished by far greater intelligence than ours, and far more advanced theologies. Yet as creatures they still lack perfect knowledge of the Creator.

          On a natural, human scale, as I said above, it takes a whole lifetime to fully know even ourselves, much less our loved ones, let alone God.

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            1. That’s ridiculous. No. I reject the growth/evolution of god and the origins of the small and all the gods that have ever existed. You want a god to rule you so he has to be super god, when In reality, reality is much more interesting and responsible way to live.

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            2. Whatever floats your boat. But the fact remains that traditional conceptions of God include pretty “super” attributes — e.g., “supreme”, “omnipotent”, “omniscient”, etc. And God always has been the Creator, maker of all that is, seen and unseen. So the notion that God somehow became more special very recently is, at the very least, specious.

              I agree we should align our philosophy of living with reality. I’d add that God is the source of reality, and the most real thought possible.

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            3. By faith alone can one subscribe to a prearranged dogma, a one size fits all life is not really much of a life imo. I tried it, and aside from getting good at covering for the lack of god, there’s nothing in it I couldn’t do without it. After comparing what is said and written to what we observe, it was an easy choice to make after sifting through all the props

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            4. One last thought Loy, you mentioned all the millions of other civilizations? Is that a faith statement too, or do you have some info for us?

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            5. Jim, in my experience, it’s the exact opposite of “one size fits all” — that is, God creates every person as an unrepeatable phenomenon with a unique vocation, and glories in each person becoming fully human, fully alive, fully developed — the best and wisest versions of themselves.

              Sure, maybe some people can do just as well while denying any transcendent dimension of their personality and vocation. Maybe. Personally I don’t buy it, but I understand and respect that that is their path. Happily, I’ve never encountered the weird, extremely cramped form of fundamentalism (for lack of a better word) that many of the comments describe. Getting back to your original point, faith is about living, not believing. And idolizing the Bible is the opposite of faith.

              Sorry, I don’t have any more information than anyone does about other intelligent civilizations. It seems plausible, if not inevitable, that (a) there are many; and (b) at least some know more about God than we do.

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            6. Since we were talking about the notion of God’s incomprehensibility, and whether it’s a recent proposition or a traditional theological premise, here’s a citation from Aquinas:

              “For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not.”

              Summa Contra Gentiles, Chapter 14, Paragraph [2]

              http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles1.htm#14

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            7. Thomas Aquinas was also indoctrinated at an early age, and joined the Dominican friars at 19. Here’s the problem with people trying to describe something that does not exist; philosophy and reason may be believed to link to god, but as any one line discipline has proved out in neuroscience, that after intense, time consuming and committed study, neuropathways actually hardwire to the topic at hand. It is no wonder christians can overlook the multiple, obvious contradiction because the problem has now become physiological. At that point the subject quite possibly will spend the rest of their life trying to prove something that they believed before they had knowledge. Belief that is hard wired and can be duplicated in most any university study, neurotheology is making huge strides, duplicating the “spiritual” experience with medication, brain injury, seizure, dreams, and manipulation. The philosophy has become as convoluted as the religion, and the most cleverly worded presentation wins the day whether true or not (like the council of Nicaea) when the fact is most likely the god they seek is right between your ears. The church’s are created on spectral evidence. Evidence of dreams and visions during neural cleansing can be very convincing, as so can an lsd trip put a person on a spiritual path for their entire life (I know some) because the brain and consciousness have convincing misfires does not make it god. Sorry for the long response, but these things all compound into one, and aquinas not being able to clearly identify what is not there, does not mean it’s an incomprehensible god.

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          1. Calling god incomprehensible at least how many theist use it seems to me to be a convenient excuse when carrying out an inquiry on the existence of god
            It is like me claiming to have a unicorn and upon inquiry I say it is unseeable

            Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not.

            I think this statement is nonsensical , reason being that, the first statement is saying that we can’t know what god is, then the second says that we can know what god is not.
            If Aquinas did not know what god is:
            How did he know that god is the creator
            How did he know that god is good
            How did he know that god is not evil
            How did he know that it is god not gods
            How did he know what god is not

            You can’t claim to know what A is not, if you don’t know what A is ( atleast some knowledge )

            Liked by 1 person

            1. As for whether something can be both knowable and incomprehensible, just consider the proverbial blindfolded men with the elephant: Each of them has correct but utterly incomplete knowledge. And each of them certainly can say what the elephant is not: e.g., a tree, a book, a teapot.

              Now, it’s possible that you’ve managed to outwit one of the giants of Western intellectual history, but it seems more probable that you should invest just a little more time and effort in understanding his thought.

              In any case, the point of citing this quote at all was to demonstrate that “incomprehensibilty” is a long-established doctrine, not some ad hoc rhetorical subterfuge. And it’s hardly suprising to say that, whatever accounts for the existence of the vast universe we observe, and the seven billion minds that we know of, let alone whatever other intelligences inhabit this universe with us — whatever it is, it is well beyond the comprehension and expressive faculties of a single finite human mind.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Loy, for people who choose to believe, this statements of mind bending colloquial jargon (if those terms can be used simultaneously, religion would be the time) it sounds brilliant. But under examination of any peer reviewed subject, the flaws come to the surface. Jonathan’s counter statement points out the glaring deficiencies in this cleverly worded philosophy. Trying to make sense out of an unimagination would be just as difficult and just as productive.

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            3. @jim: My main aim (again) is to show that your fervent belief that this proposition emerged during your lifetime is quite mistaken. Whether the proposition itself is valid or not, it’s nothing new. If Aquinas is over your head, you can refer to various historic creeds, for instance:

              Fourth Lateran Council (1215): https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/lateran4.asp
              Westminster Confession of Faith (1643): http://www.ccel.org/ccel/anonymous/westminster3.i.ii.html

              Liked by 1 person

            4. I’ll concur that in my circle of religious upbringing, god was more practical or personal than you are showing and that may be our disconnect. Others see it differently but then again, others besides me think god has evolved to ridiculous levels in apologetics. Thank you for the civil discourse. Aquinas’ search, though eloquent, was a search outside of reality to explain something that does not exist. That takes some pretty fancy wording to get there.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Loy I do know that we can know what something is not without fully knowing what it is

              Like for example, physicist know that dark matter is not a book. ( This sounds ridiculous ).

              But for me to know what something is not, I have to know what it is ( maybe not fully but I will need to have some knowledge of what the thing is )

              But from that Aquinas quote, it is based on us not knowing what god is. So that was why I responded the way I did

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            6. My main aim (again) is to show that your fervent belief that this proposition emerged during your lifetime is quite mistaken. Whether the proposition itself is valid or not, it’s nothing new

              Loy, though you are not responding to me here, but I want to add my thoughts
              Just like most of the arguments for the existence of god have been around for centuries ( atmost they get modified ), so also I think that calling god incomprehensible have been around since they have been skeptics

              Just like calling my unicorn invisible is a convenient route to take when pushed in a corner to show that I have a unicorn. Calling god incomprehensible ( atleast how many christians I know use it ) is a convenient route to take when pushed to a corner

              Liked by 1 person

            7. And each of them certainly can say what the elephant is not: e.g., a tree, a book, a teapot.
              Though I don’t need to know fully the nature of an elephant ( i don’t yet know the object is an elephant ) to know that the object in question is not a book. I need to be able to have some knowledge about the object before I can say that it is not a book

              What i’m saying below doesn’t apply to all conceptions of god, it largely applies for a theist god
              Theists are specific on the nature of god, many of the characteristics ascribed to god including many of what was said in the articles you linked above can only be arrived if you know what god is.
              For example god is all powerful
              Can only be gotten if you are able to know ( at least partially ) what god is

              Liked by 1 person

    1. I was embarrassed too, and apologetic for all the people I tried to convert. Lol. Hey, I’m not going to let it spoil my vacation though. Lived and lesson learned!

      Liked by 4 people

        1. There are those too, like my brother. I applied myself into the way with all I had. It never added up to anything but excuses for the lack of god and the more I learned, the less I believed. But I’m pretty certain these apologist bloggers haven’t lived it based on their crummy natures

          Liked by 4 people

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