Stuff in My Head (1)

When the facts and your knowledge/experiences don’t match up with your beliefs… you either bury your head or change your beliefs. To believe otherwise in the face of the facts is to be at best, in denial, and at worst, delusional.

45 thoughts on “Stuff in My Head (1)”

  1. How do you think those who live in the God paradigm differ from those who chalk up mystery to an assumption of rationality? I mean, two people can look at the same evidence and choose to believe different things regarding it. Ultimately, belief is a choice, and it seems to be driven by little more than personal disposition.

  2. <>Uhhh… you East Coasters are so myopic. What time do you think NFL Games start out here?? 🙂 Hence another reason we are such a pagan culture on the West Coast.<>makes sense… sinner.🙂

  3. No, suspending disbelief means to will yourself to believe, despite what you think you know. That’s not what I meant.Suspending belief is more like admitting that you don’t know, despite what you think you know.

  4. Yeah, what you said makes sense to me too, I think. Is there then, a higher form of rationality, that trumps reason within the context of a paradigm? I guess you would say that Christian belief is “unreasonable.” But, to who, I would ask? To everyone not a Christian. Would it not be the same then for every paradigm? Every other belief system becomes irrational, other than the one you choose to follow. Therefore, the debate on rationality becomes irrational when two people of different paradigms engage. Even worse, when two people of the same paradigm try arguing about rationality from the perspective of a paradigm not their own, things get looney. But here’s a question: Is the object of my belief not a reality until I believe? What about Saul of Tarsus who was knocked off his horse by a blinding light and then Jesus spoke to him? The deity of Christ proved to be a reality despite Saul’s aggressive disbelief.In the same way, I placed my faith and trust in Christ, when, in my mind and heart, God called me to surrender. I remember fighting against believing, because I didn’t know if I could accept it all yet. But, that day I was compelled to give in. And I did. And I began a real relationship with Jesus, not just a head game with myself and others.So, realities do exist without our believing.As far as Christ being who He said He was, isn’t the fact that his life fulfilled nearly 300 Old Testament prophecies and that He rose from the dead (we’d have to believe the Bible on this one), enough reasonable evidence to make a rational decision that he was God? I mean, the Roman soldier at the crucifixion made his declaration because of the timing of the weather. To him, the evidence was irrefutable. Jesus was innocent and righteous.To bring this back to Steve’s post, I think it’s possible to believe something, but reality isn’t dependent on belief. Reality is something we look for, but we may not ever fully grasp. Some people think we are getting more intelligent and closer to reality. But, I’m sure it’s not only about intelligence. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. Discovering reality is more about surrendering.

  5. Steve, sure. Most religions would fall under a definition of cult, especially a definition from a sociological point of view. That’s why I chose carefully to say, “…Christianity from all <>its<> cults.”What I meant by that is to take the definition of cult as meaning a sect of a religion considered unorthodox or extreme. The doctrine of the Trinity is missing or grossly changed in these sects of Christianity, such as Jehovah’s Witness or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.But, to add further to your point, The Way (Christianity in general) began as a Jewish cult. It made Jesus a prominent figure within the religion and therefore changed Judaism in an extreme way.So, my use of the term cult was technical, not derogatory.For example, the Mormons can say their church falls under mainline Christianity and even call themselves Christians, but without the doctrine of the Trinity, they are unorthodox when compared to the two main branches of Catholicism and Protestantism and all organizations that fall under them. Therefore, I believe they are technically a cult or spinoff of Christianity. That’s not to slander them in any way, but to clarify the facts and point out the difference, which is mainly the lack of Trinitarian belief.

  6. kay…I’ve chimed in a few times recently with the big nada in response….wasn’t sure if I had missed the memo about being shunned from the SCP….;>my point exactly about the eddie…but maybe that’s precisely what he was going for.I left the Rob Bell link because he also refers to the creation story as a poem. “Everything is Spiritual”, in my humble opinion, tackles some of the “big” questions in an amazing way I’ve never heard (which might not be saying much), but I would love to hear some critical feedback from y’all.Here’s the link again (and no I’m not getting paid to advertise for him…though I really should be!):<>www.everythingisspiritual.com<>

  7. <>“…why is that no indigenous cultures think this way?”<>I think an honest examination of that question might reveal more about us than anyone cares to uncover. When your priority is surviving, metaphysical contemplation isn’t exactly on the front burner. I recall the words of an elderly lady I once knew: “When Jesus was all we had, Jesus was all we needed.” More than once, I have wondered just how much of all the spiritual exploration in the “civilized” world is merely the result of boredom.

  8. As I’m reading the conversation on faith and rationality, it seems so lifeless, for lack of a better word. Let me try to explain.When I choose to believe, it is both a rational and faith issue. I’m convinced that Jesus is who he said he was, that the Bible is accurate and from God, and that when I pray, God hears me. When I worship Christ I feel his presence and he speaks into my conscience about things he wants me to know or do. Yes, sometimes I realize that those things are in conjunction with things I’ve recently read in the Bible or heard from a teacher, but many times things come to me that are brand new and did not originate from me. I believe that God is speaking. He’s alive and interactive with me.So, when I believe, I don’t think it’s just a matter of choice, despite evidence. I think it’s a choice with good cause – He’s calling to me! I must answer.I believe fully in the Holy Spirit and how he directs us.

  9. “But I’m not in a position to adopt a fully contrary posture, because from where I stand, I have to admit that I simply don’t know.” (Dorsey)I tend to agree Dorse – even though I disagree with a lot of Christian doctrine as we know it – I am not 100% sure – there is still a level of questioning. I am not a Trinitarian – but I hear a good discussion on it and maybe I revert back? But I am not going to suspend my reasoning faculties for my beliefs either.

  10. Ahh, Trinity. One of the greatest mysteries of Christianity. I think more than anything, it’s THE core belief that separates Christianity from all its cults.Funny, today we were just chatting in High School Sunday School about eschatology. The unholy trinity was mentioned: The Father Satan, his Son The Antichrist, and his Spirit the False Prophet. The devil just has to mock God.

  11. I’m just reading from the dictionary man…Suspend Disblief – “temporarily allow oneself to believe something that isn’t true, esp. in order to enjoy a work of fiction”So the opposite “suspend belief” would mean – “temporarily allow oneself to not believe something that is true”.Regardless of the phrasing, I think I understand what you are getting at here… and it goes back to a certain fear that keeps many from admitting that they don’t know. Many equate faith and belief with certainty…and for me it isn’t even close.

  12. For the record… this post was originally jotted down in my journal as a passing thought I had in regards to my beliefs about my marriage… but it certainly applies to faith as well.

  13. …guess I’m just invisible, so I’ll just blend back in to the wall…*poof*…I’m gone.<>www.everythingisspiritual.com<>

  14. Dorse… I think you might mean “suspend disbelief” since that means “allowing yourself to believe something that isn’t true”. What you describe is common if one wants to enjoy a sci-fi movie for example.I just get tired of saying “I don’t know” when what I think I mean is that I do know, but I am just too afraid to admit it.

  15. I’m always up for a get-together, and Steve knows how to reach me.On the subject of the post, I have been telling MZ that I simply don’t know what I believe anymore, and it’s been quite a while since that bothered me. I have so totally rejected Christian culture that I don’t know how to put my Christianity back together again, and the very prospect of trying just makes me think of church again. Which, I told her pretty straight up, I will have nothing to do with anymore.I guess the strength of my reaction means I still have some stuff to work through.

  16. I don’t disagree at all, Steve, but faith and rationality both seek to explain the mysteries. I’m not suggesting either is wrong, only that we’re all biased in one way or another. I guess where my question was headed is how much of that bias is driven by environmental influences and how much is a function of personality. Most of us tend to define the world in terms of our place in it. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.Personally, I’m growing more comfortable with the mysteries. Not having to find a reason for everything is much easier on the temperament.I’ve seen Carlin do that bit, and it’s funny because it’s true. We always put ourselves on the upside of the coin. Have you ever met a hardcore Calvinist who wasn’t convinced that he was numbered among the elect?

  17. Dorsey – Of course belief is a choice. You state that two people can look at the same evidence and choose to believe different things regarding it. But when you are immersed in a subculture with a certain mindset there is no doubt that your view of the evidence is skewed by your prejudices. And depending on the subject matter those prejudices, as we have seen in our world, can make belief a dangerous thing.But in regards to the mysterious – the “whys” of life….can’t mysteries just remain mysteries? I don’t think I said someone was wrong for choosing the God paradigm. For many the God paradigm brings comfort to things they don’t know or understand. I was just watching George Carlin and he was just saying that at a funeral most believe their loved one is “looking down” on them from heaven. Very few choose to believe the opposite… that their loved one is “looking up” at them. He said, who wants to imagine their mom or dad in hell. Or their grandmother…baking cookies…without an oven. Very funny.

  18. <>More than once, I have wondered just how much of all the spiritual exploration in the “civilized” world is merely the result of boredom.<>Yeah. If NFL games started at 10am and went year-round, church attendance would drop-off severly…

  19. We live in a world that persuades us to want explanations for everything: as if we can put words to every faith experience. I have come to learn (very painfully) that there will be some things in life that I cannot explain: they are simply experienced as mystery. Certainly the drama of the Easter weekend is often at its best when left unexplained (and at its worst when we try to nail everything down with some kind of “correct doctrien”)PG

  20. “Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.” Oscar WildeI’m sorry, but this is just an nonsensical statement. So if Science is indeed the record of dead religions, then according to Oscar they were all proven to be true. How does supporting a religions dogma kill it? So if this quote is somehow supposed to stir up controversy that ALL religions all based on falsehoods…*yawn*…whatever.Here’s one for ya:There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behaves any of us to find fault with the rest of us. James Truslow Adams

  21. SpiritBear – for me it relates really well to marriage and considering the marriage analogy is used throughout scripture I would say it’s a relevant parallel that can be made easily. Oh and yes, that would be cool to get together. Josh is around and Zeke is down here so maybe we can all connect.JimmyBob – Can you see in any way, shape or form how Christianity itself might also be considered a cult? From a purely sociological point of view there is little doubt the processes are the same.Pete – I wonder though why it is that we feel the need to force the mysteries into a God paradigm? No doubt the why questions abound ad nauseum, but what need is fulfilled within us by plugging in God (or Satan for that matter) as the answer to them? Or is that just another mystery?? 🙂

  22. SVS, the Trinity is a good example. I was raised to believe it, but personally, I don’t really understand the concept, and I don’t see it in scripture the way many claim to. But I don’t have a really cogent argument to refute it utterly, nor do I have an alternative model to offer to describe the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And after much arguing and sweating and huffing and puffing with my strict Trinitarian friends, I ask, who really cares?What difference does it make whether God is mysteriously three persons, yet one person, or three separate persons acting in such unity that they are indistinguishable as individuals? It just doesn’t matter. But arguing about it makes us feel like we’re doing God’s work, doesn’t it?

  23. Sorry I assumed it as about faith and thats where I can relate.Hey Steve there is a chance that my wife and I may be in LA sometime in April. Would you want to get together and meet for coffee or something?I want to meet as many from here as I can. Already met Ninjanun and the Pete.

  24. Jeff: <>Yeah. If NFL games started at 10am and went year-round, church attendance would drop-off severly…<> Uhhh… you East Coasters are so myopic. What time do you think NFL Games start out here?? 🙂 Hence another reason we are such a pagan culture on the West Coast.Lowend: It’s not that you or EddieF are invisible to me, I just was hoping someone else might jump in and tell me what the hell you two were talking about. 🙂Dorsey and Society: In my opinion, people were worshipping the Sun or Trees or whatever way back whenever… and as always I think it’s a way for people to explain the unexplainable. For them, it was a way to explain natural phenomena that usually frightened them… for us… it’s much the same I think – we just dress it up in fanciness to boost the book sales.

  25. I think the answer to your question is somewhat implicit in my post. If facts prove to be faulty, it is imperative that you change what you believe. And I think scientists use the word “theory” in a different way than we often do. From the National Academy of Sciences: <>Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature that is supported by many facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena.<>Also, see these definitions: <>A coherent statement or set of statements that attempts to explain observed phenomena.<>and…. <> A logical structure that enables one to deduce the possible results of every experiment that falls within its purview.<>Now, to my original post… as I said earlier which you may have missed. This post wasn’t about faith per se but about my relationship with my ex-wife. We often use love and marriage relationships and relate them to a relationship with God…since these things are often “unprovable”. I think Jeff that you’ve even asked me, “how do you prove love or emotions”? I think we like to use illustrations like this to prove our point, until of course, the other side is flipped and things don’t pan out…. then what are we left with. So when the facts (she left me, she moved in with someone else, etc) and knowledge/experiences (she broke promises, vows, she says one thing and does another) don’t match up with your beliefs (we loved each other, we had a commitment, I believe the best in her, I trusted her, love conquers all and is forever, love never fails, etc)… you either bury your head or change your beliefs. That’s not to say you shouldn’t believe in love or marriage as a concept, it just means that this relationship, as I knew it, is over. I must “move forward”… to not do so is to be in denial and or delusional.I think the same can be said of faith. This “faith” relationship, as I knew it, is over. I’ve seen and experienced too much. The facts have revealed that there is more than I once thought. I must move forward…not disregarding faith, but reframing it.

  26. JB said:<>I think it’s possible to believe something, but reality isn’t dependent on belief. Reality is something we look for, but we may not ever fully grasp. Some people think we are getting more intelligent and closer to reality. But, I’m sure it’s not only about intelligence. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. Discovering reality is more about surrendering.<>I certainly agree with your conclusion as you state it here, but not with how you arrived there.The third hand experiences you relate from the Bible, and the first hand experiences you relate from yourself, are no more verifiable reality than the mythologies of other religions or the religious experiences of their practitioners–such as the “burning in the busom” of Mormons, to cite one example.I too have had personal “Jesus encounters,” which as a rational human being I have to count differently than I would count my perceptions of physical reality. This keyboard is solid under my fingers, and so is the desk its on. Is Jesus Christ the one and only Son of God, born of a virgin, suffered and died for the forgiveness of sins, and raised from the dead as a promise to believers of everlasting life because the Bible says so and I had a personal Jesus experience? That may be true. But its not a reality we arrive at with our rational minds and our physical senses, and it shouldn’t be spoken of in the way that invokes reason or science.Whatever, anyway. I think the most probable outcome is that we are all wrong. What is it about human history and our own personal failings that would lead us to any other conclusion?

  27. Let me pick on that a little, JB. It only becomes rational when it’s placed in the context of the paradigm where you place your faith. That goes for everything. Example: to anyone outside your paradigm (and mine), the idea that a virgin could conceive a child who would later be killed and resurrected is fantasy. But once you have chosen to place your belief in God’s economy, it makes perfect sense. Likewise, the idea that Thetans (the essences of murdered aliens) linger on earth and cause us spiritual harm, is pure lunacy to you and me. But to Tom Cruise, it’s as reasonable as coming in out of the rain. Mr. Hitchens and Mr. Dawkins have placed their faith in the idea that the material world is all there is, so spirituality of any kind is just nonsense to them. So the idea that Jesus Christ could be who He says He was makes no sense, until you believe it. And I do. That’s one of the mysteries I’m content to live with.

  28. Maybe God is a God of the oppressed? Why play w/middle class white folks that have nothing to lose – they lose nothing by dropping the notion of God – they are good either way. I have seen this. I can be wrong – obvious – but then why is that no indigenous cultures think this way?

  29. Oh no reason to be sorry Jeff. I actually posted this knowing that it would be taken from the faith perspective…. and I actually believe it is very relevant.And to your point, <>Science shows us that evolution ‘facts’ are theoretical, at best…<> my point was to say that the way you seem to be using the word “theory” is more along the lines of “scientists” are only speculating at best. If that’s what you mean, I think you are wrong. There is plenty of evidence that supports biological evolution. And I hate to admit that after years of ignoring that evidence in support of “creationism” and a literal six days, and all of that. My beliefs were that the Bible was literal and well I extrapolated down from that.I think that’s why the guys at places like the “Institute for Creation Research” say things like (and I paraphrase)… “if you don’t believe in a literal six days, and that the Adam/Eve account and Genesis are literal, than how can you believe in Jesus”… I think they have a point. Personally, and from where I sit right now… you almost have to believe it all hook, line and sinker or not at all. This is all part of the reframing I speak of…

  30. “The doctrine of the Trinity is missing or grossly changed in these sects of Christianity” (Jim)I think Dorsey is correct on this matter – who cares – I think the Trinity is quite the mystery – I choose to not believe it – it does not have the backing we have been made to think it does. But it is quite important to think a lot of orthodox issues we have been raised with have some flaws or can be seen in a few a lights – which is unallowable in the church. And this is a problem we all need to address in our communities. Whether that ranges from exclusivity to judgmentalism – we need to know that these things happen due to soemthing someone believes (namely about God). Like Steve’s original point – we need to question what we have been told – maybe their is flaws in the lgoic – specially is someone is being hurt or ostracized in the name of God.

  31. “Jesus Christ could be who He says He was makes no sense, until you believe it.” (Dorsey)And who does Jesus say ‘he is’? I can believe Jesus is who says ‘he is’ – but then what does that even mean? I believe it anyways?“Is there then, a higher form of rationality, that trumps reason within the context of a paradigm?” (Jim)No. Reason being, the words of God are written in such a way as to be understood and bantered about in convo – which takes basic reason to do. So to go from one aspect of reason to outright saying it was not the case is ludicrous – or that reason is trumped by faith. Faith is based on reason. Which also means we can ‘reason’ together the best ideas from scripture. “The deity of Christ proved to be a reality despite Saul’s aggressive disbelief.” (Jim)Deity of Christ in the Saul Passage? Where?“enough reasonable evidence to make a rational decision that he was God?” (Jim)No. Based on Jewish theology and obvious ideas we hold about God (the entity). Can God die? The Tanakh denies it altogether…yet Jesus died (so is God lying?). Jesus never claims God-hood in al of the gospels – and even when given the title denies it or outright proves it false in the same book (even letter). So no, the evidence does not point towards Jesus being ‘God’ but the ‘son of God’ – very different. I personally think most church people accept the Trinity (which is always unexplainable) because they are taught so and not based on handfuls of evidence (since the reverse is more supported – Jesus not being divine). “Discovering reality is more about surrendering” (Jim)I agree 100%.

  32. I thought that’s what I said. Regardless, you got my meaning. The more I understand, the less I realize I know. And when I realize that most of it doesn’t matter anyway, I find freedom. So I’ve got that going for me…

  33. Hi Steve, you have lots of boys in your club here…are girls welcome?I’m coming in here late in the discussion but I am passionate about what you are talking about so I will jump in. To live in double mindedness is totally disfunctional and sinful according to the bible. But we do it in church all the time! Its called oppression.Brad Jersak, author of “Can you Hear Me – tuning into a God who speaks” says “If the red letters in your bible and your experience don’t match – get a new experience”Keep it up Steve – I’m looking forward to hearing more stuff from your head.

  34. Sorry Steve. I hadn’t taken the original intentions into account when asking my question. I approached my question from the standpoint fo science & faith.Interesting clarification… especially when it comes to reframing faith

  35. Another option is to simply suspend belief. There are some things I was taught to believe that don’t line up with what I see or understand. But I’m not in a position to adopt a fully contrary posture, because from where I stand, I have to admit that I simply don’t know. There are plenty of folks on both sides of the fence who have drawn absolute conclusions based on incomplete understanding. We really miss the mark when we think that we know enough to make such pronouncements. Humility is required on all sides.

  36. “To believe otherwise in the face of the facts is to be at best, in denial, and at worst, delusional.” (Steve)Or – a liar? But of course the lying would start with us – so yeah delusion would cover that. I agree. I am not sure I believe the Trinity, inerrancy, full atonement, and host of other things – namely because the Jewish scriptures just have never backed those ideas and honestly, isn’t all the NT coming forth from a Jewish community? Something does not add up and I have to either change my beliefs or pretend someone didn’t make a good point to me.

  37. “in regards to my beliefs about my marriage” (Steve)Women, who can truly understand their mystery as well…I can relate – although I am married (3 years going on 4) – I admit I don’t know my wife as well as I thought I would.

  38. Steve,In response to your original quote, I have a question. (forgive me if this has been covered. I’m arriving late to the discussion…)Your quote:<>When the facts and your knowledge/experiences don’t match up with your beliefs… you either bury your head or change your beliefs. To believe otherwise in the face of the facts is to be at best, in denial, and at worst, delusional.<>What if the ‘facts’ are faulty? I know in scientific circles, there was a time when the ‘facts’ told us that the atom was the smallest of particles. Of course, turn on the Discovery Channel and we see that every day, science is ‘discovering’ that thngs just get smaller and smaller. And of course, none of this can be ‘seen’.Science shows us that evolution ‘facts’ are theoretical, at best, with no definitive proof of a link between modern man and prehistoric ‘man’. Even the ‘Big Bang’ is a theory.I don’t disagree with your original premise in the least. But for that premise to hold water, the ‘facts’ must be dependable.

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