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Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar Divine Magic Wed 23rd Jun 2010 7:08pm

Category: Religion

Worry not; I am still working on MARDEK. Progress could be going quicker than it is - I've been putting off things for weeks or months for various reasons, and now that I finally have to do those tasks, it's difficult to just get right into them for those same reasons that I've been putting them off, so I'm making progress with them, but slowly - but, uh, a week or two still seems like a likely finish/release date.

I'm writing this post about something different though... Yet again, it relates to religion, and yet again it's something that I've wondered several times before and don't really know many peoples' opinions on. Rather than just blatantly criticising religious beliefs, I want to ask some questions to see how Believers rationalise things to themselves...
As always, I focus on Christianity since it's the only religion I'm culturally familiar with.

Some denominations of Christianity apparently practice faith healing, and use its success as a clear sign that they're the chosen few, the right denomination, that God and/or Jesus has blessed and so on. Fair enough; if you're seeing what is essentially magic happen miraculously before your eyes because of faith, over and over again, to people close to you rather than stooges, or even to yourself, then I can imagine that'd be very convincing.

Being a sceptic as I am, I can't help but assume it's just some psychological process (probably involving some deep placebo effect), but not actually being in any of these churches or present during any of the actual healing - which is performed by the members themselves rather than some charismatic charlatan using mind tricks - I can't just incredulously dismiss it without being closed-minded... Yet if it IS so amazingly potent and successful basically all the time, with far more 'hits' than 'misses', then it makes me wonder why it's not more documented; it's difficult finding anything about it on the internet, it seems.
(Of course, even when it works, God does not seem to heal amputees... Hmm.)

I'm not specifically intending to talk and ask about faith healing here though...
Mainly, I'm curious why *other* denominations *don't* practice faith healing.

The ones that do rightly say that in the Bible, Jesus said that whatever you pray for, you will receive, if you have faith... or something to that effect. Something about moving mountains from faith alone, and there's probably something specific about prayer healing wounds or maladies, too. (Though I bet it speaks as if the diseases are demons being exorcised... o_O)
Another big thing that comes up in most denominations is God's Plan; how every misfortune is explained away as being part of some grand Plan that God apparently has for your little life since He cares so much.

So, what I wonder is why most Believers go to doctors.
If you have faith and believe in the power of prayer, then if you or a loved one is ill, you should pray and God will intervene and save them, yes? And if He doesn't, then it's part of His Plan that that person stays ill and potentially even dies.
By seeing a doctor, you're defying God, essentially, by saying no, you don't like His Plan, His judgement, His illness, and you're relying on the human-made power of science to save that person's life. If God wanted the person to live, He'd have healed them through prayer, I'd have thought.

Now, I can imagine people saying that disease is caused by sin - either personal or Original - but even then, shouldn't faith cleanse the sin away or something like that? I don't clearly understand the mechanics of all this faith and sin stuff; it seems rather arbitrary to me. (Does, uh, sin drive the micro-organisms and viruses to infect people and animals? Or did it magically cause them to appear after the Original Sin? And if so, that's a bit cruel if they affect people who had nothing to do with that Original Sin and God does nothing about it...)
And if you are going to die from this sin-caused disease, what's the problem if you're going to go to Heaven anyway? Don't you want to go to exist with your loving Heavenly Father? It could be said you're actively declining his invitation by curing the ailment that'd deliver you to Death's door. Hmm.

I'm just curious about how Believers rationalise these things in their mind. Obviously I'm sceptical about it, but what I don't understand is how a mind can adapt to *not* be, to explain these things away in a satisfying manner and keep Faithful. It just doesn't make any sense to me.

And yes, yes, I know that some people don't care about me talking about religion and find it annoying, but you don't HAVE to read this if you don't want to (though, uh, if you got this far, maybe you already did... hmm).

And to repeat myself: I am still working on MARDEK, just not every waking moment of every day (because it's just not possible)...
298 comments

 

298 Commentson 82 roots

Garrosh`s Avatar
Rating Orb Garrosh 28 Canada SanguineCholeric 1C 0F
7 years ago | (0)
Danger: Wall text! (good warning, Martin)

I was pretty fascinated reading your post, pseudolonewolf. I've spent years asking myself those very same questions, having also a Catholic upbringing. Here are (in relatively short), my conclusions.

First and foremost is the fact we all are human, and alive (mostly). Everyone, everywhere will want to be healed when they are injured. That or they'll want to be killed. In some sense, we are a bit like herd animals: when we get sick, we try to heal, and if we can't we'll wander off to be usefull to something else, be it a predator or the worms. In terms of fundamentals, that's the way it works. We are, after all, animals before being human.

One of the distinguishing factors one can atribute to what is a human as opposed to a beast is the moral behavior. Some call it intelligence, some call it the Will of God, some call it Religion. In either case, things like the Good Samaritan and whatnot are supposed to be behaviors that define us as humans, since we don't think animals do that. They don't stop during their morning stroll to help an elderly carry their groceries. Fact is, this subject alone is a whole debate in an of itself. Either way, as humans, we'll use what we have to survive, including our disproportionate brains and egos.

When faced with a disease, Christians will obviously use what they value most to help them, just like any living organism. True Chistians use prayer, and that's fine. Animals use rest, sleep. Normal people use medicine. Because normal people value what is "scientifically proven" even more than their own lives, which is also fine. Sceptics will use what they believe is true, whatever that may be. True agnostics just smeg their pants because they just don't believe in anything (in anything ... divine? extra-scientific? magic? unknown? different? I don't know what to call it, but there is a subset of things they just don't believe).

So in my opinion, it isn't a question of rationalizing. You know, few people actually take the time do rationalize correctly. Most think they do, but they always end their reasoning, or start it, with something taken on faith. Like medicine. The placebo effect is a shining example of something taken on faith. We all know what it is. Can anyone know why it really works? Can anyone see the "placebo" running around in one's body curing all ailments? I'm exagerating a bit, but still. It isn't something that can be quantified. Unfortunately, all medical research has some form of placebo effect, which has to be "filtered" out, meaning statistics and a whole other bunch of stuff, all based on hypothesis and theories, which serves as "proof" that the medicine works, or not. Trying to rationalize medicine is quite a challenge, in the same sense as Faith Healing, as you call it.

When digging deep into a rationalization process, I've often wondered what I personnally take on faith, without question. I don't take Religion, God, Shamans, Christianity, prayer, science (which I oftentimes call Scientology), math, perceptions just as I see them. I know for a fact that if there is a Reality, I alone can't see it, and never will. If there is some greater Truth, some good reason for existence, it is completely and absolutely unatainable by anyone alone. In fact the only thing I can ever hope to grasp by my own means, is Nothing.

Here is the nihilist bit: the only thing I know for sure exists, the only thing I can think that is also real, the only thing everything has in common is Nothing. It is that which allows different things to exists, the nothingness in between. Different things exist, does that need to be proven? Without the nothingness to seperate the forms, there would be no form. The emptyness is also the only thing we can really act upon, by filling it with something else. We can't move it if it has nowhere to go. Its not the ceramic of the cup we use, just the hole it forms. We can give it a shape because there is nothing to stop us from doing so. Grabbing something is using the emptyness in our hands.

Right. So I'll try to wrap this up nicely. My conclusion is Nothing. I believe Nothing conclusive can be said about the whole faith healing deal. I don't think they have to rationalize anything to believe it, since anyone can believe anything, rationalized or not. I think trying to see how people rationalize things is a noble but futile pursuit as everyone stops rationalizing at some point, preferring to use cultural references instead (faith: I got told it was true, so it is, like the sky is blue because there's dust in it). The answers you seek are in the domain of personal beliefs, if you ask me. Christians believe in Science more than God, these days (in general, of course). But everyone has some things they hold to be true above all else, and mine is Nothing. What is yours?
Ishearia`s Avatar
Rating Orb Ishearia 13 United Kingdom 7C 0F
7 years ago | (0)
Yeah you're right Alphanumerical, I just couldn't remember the name of it
MajorBOB`s Avatar
Rating Orb MajorBOB 20 Trinidad and Tobago SanguinePhlegmatic 356C 166F
7 years ago | (1)
Pseudodude wanted the thought process of a believer, by the way. Not a heckling of Christianity by a batch of athiests/agnostics. Just sayin.
MajorBOB`s Avatar
Rating Orb MajorBOB 20 Trinidad and Tobago SanguinePhlegmatic 356C 166F
7 years ago | (2)
Those faith healers are just a bunch of scammers who are in it for the fame and fortune... and I'm sure it does have a placebo effect on some.
For Christians, their lives are the trial that God uses to deem worthiness of entrance to Heaven. For game purposes, I would use the concept that Christians have unbreakable will power in terms of life on Earth, because it's the end product that they yearn for. Anything on Earth is simply transient so any kind of suffering means nothing in whole scheme of things. If anything, it tests one's strength and faith in God. That's basically how Jesus went about things. Sure, it's ideal and pretty much inhuman, but it's the mindset that a Christian should have. And with that mindset, the whole asking with faith and recieving thing doesn't include personal wants and wishes, but more of spiritual betterment and steadfast willpower to aid in life's journey and 'God's Plan.'
...or something like that.
Achilles015`s Avatar
Rating Orb Achilles015 15 United States 2C 0F
7 years ago | (1)
You can analyze faith and religion and argue about them as long as you want, but at the end of the day, there are those who believe, those who don't, and those who are on the fence. Why can't believers just believe, skeptics question, and critics criticize in their own mind? All three groups are guilty of shamelessly forcing their view on the people around them. I say "believe what you want, question things in your own mind, seek wisdom from others, and lend wisdom when asked; otherwise, keep your damn mouth shut."
Alphanumerical`s Avatar
Rating Orb Alphanumerical 15 United States SanguineMelancholic 101C 5F
7 years ago | (1)
Hi! I'm back (to ruin all ur lives muahahahaha!) And the only thing I have to say this time is a quote from some famous guy, or intelligent guy... or someone. I don't know. Please come forward all you people whom wish to claim this quote, "We are either God's mistake, or God is our mistake." And it refers to the fact that God screwed up in creating Humans, and thus created us all flawed, or God is our mistake, in which we are not believing in the right God, and that he is a figment of your imagination, well, all our collective imaginations, and, Martin, what we mean by "crazy believers, 'and,' crazy non-believers," is that they are two factions of the whole human race. This race is made of many factions, but the crazy believers and the crazy non-believers are just that: crazies who attempt to debunk the other. So, in short, no one cares what I say. Or any of you say. Because we all die, eventually. Wait, that's not the moral...
Martin`s Avatar
Rating Orb Martin 21 Spain 2C 0F
7 years ago | (1)
Sure, but those two factions (or more exactly "believers and crazy non-believers" or "crazy believers and non-believers" depending on who says it) dont complete the hole humanity as some seem to think, there are also non-crazy believers and non-crazy non-believers.
Alphanumerical`s Avatar
Rating Orb Alphanumerical 15 United States SanguineMelancholic 101C 5F
7 years ago | (0)
Exactly, that's what I said. These two factions aren't all of the human race, just a part. In any religion (or in this case, absence thereof) You will have crazies. Guaranteed. Just like at Muslims. They have crazies. So does Chritianity, Scientology, and all the rest.
dragulldrakan`s Avatar
Rating Orb dragulldrakan 15 Argentina MelancholicCholeric 61C 2F
7 years ago | (0)
I'd say the best way to explain it would be that doctors themselves are a part of this plan, I don't know much about religion, but I think they say most coincidences are caused by god to help us find stuff, and most medicaments were found by coincidence (several were compacted versions of the famous "magical herbs"), and doctors are just healers, shamans, or whatever you like to call them that use more modern/technic methods to cure deseases.
Martin`s Avatar
Rating Orb Martin 21 Spain 2C 0F
7 years ago | (1)
Danger: Wall Text

Hello all,

First, sorry for my english, and for posting so late, I have had a lot of exams lately and anyway I didnt expect to post since I have never done it during the last year or more.

I suppose I should start telling a little about myself so you can understand my point of view. Im from Spain, a country composed by around 75% catholics and a lot of religious traditions. I really havent much knowledge about that that you call "denominations" apart from that are all some kind of ways of seeing crhistianity I think. I have been taught catholicism since child, but I have always been curious and have read a lot not just about religions but about human behaviour, because after doing something stupid (or seeig others do so) I always thought "wtf? why did I do that?" and really wanted to know.

Seems that now I have some decent knowledge about that ( and time before I also thought I had but I didnt, lol) and I will try to answer some of the questions/debates you have had here ( Im sorry I haven read them all but I had no time).

I would like to mention that is important to learn not to divide world in two like "those are bad people (generally called as "they"/"the others"/"the foreigners"/ etc ), and good people ("we"/"natives?"/ etc..), because is generalizing (dont know if thats the correct word), and as some intelligent guy whose name I dont remember said "when we speak about humans, generalizing is always a mistake". Im saying this because all of that "crazy believers" "crazy non-believers" stuff.

Well now lets start with the point of pseudolonewolf's post:

I can tell that kind of prayer healing about getting demons out of people and so on doesnt (or nearly doesnt) exist here. Is it that "common" in Australia? If it is O_o I didnt expected it. I mean, here there are some cases of people that heal some disease and say that was divine intervention or because they had prayed some religious guy and then the guy is proclaimed saint (after some research by the catholic church to prove there is no other known explanation), but some kind of "show" where someone gets instantly healed by other persons prayers? omg.

About the questiong "why they believe that?" I can tell you that we humans have some kind of innate capability that makes us able to believe that truth is what we want it to be, even if someone proofs us wrong. There is no need to use complicated examples as religions to see that, I think politics is fairly simple, here we have a bipartidist sistem and also had a civil war some 70 years ago so many people is "splitted" in two "blocks" (just because they want to) like the generalizations I wrote before, and they speak as if everithing that their respective political party does is good and the other is evil. Probably you have some kind of similar behavior there.

About why god does not simply clean all diseases and so on, well I think you are making a mistake, you are assuming that what that people say (speaking about the pastors you talked about) its truly what god also wants, because you start your reasoning with the premise that the bible (all of it) it is god's word, so I will try to start it again from "before".

Lets suppose that god exists and that whatever Jesus said its what gods wants. Well then we have a guy that some two thousand years ago (important to note culture and education level was much lower that actual, and actual is also low xD) that stars talking about god and about some ways of living and so on, gets some followers etc.. But he is obviosly not inmortal and dies (well really gets killed).
So what do we have now? There is no longer the guy that tells what to do and what not to do, there is only the people that followed him, so what happens? how many are willing to behave correctly? (we define correct as doing as Jesus said, no more, no less).

People spread Jesus' teachings, but it is nearly impossible that all of them remember everything correctly, and there always be people that think that if they make a "little addiction" they would make the message more "believable". So teachings, even if slowly, change in some ways, and years later people write them down, but sepparately, because churches (people, not buildings) are spreaded all around asia minor and middle-eastern mediterranean. More years later, some churches collect this writings and the first "bibles" (lets call them like that even if they werent what we have today) are written. But they do not include all the writings, just the ones that these churches think that should be included...

And well, I dont want to bore you all with a 20 million lines text, you know how that works, even if you dont want you cant avoid messages that pass "mouth to mouth" (dont know the expression in english) or in spreaded texts changing, specially during a lot of years.

So I think it is obvius we cant judge a book like the bible all in one word (I mean good or bad), but phrase by prhase, because there will be surely parts that we all should learn, and stupidities we all should ignore. As well as people who teach now the word of Jesus should do, and dont take literaly everything, like someones do.

And why he doesnt clean diseases etc.. if he cares so much for us? Well thats another mistake, because people suppose that he actually CAN care, but what if he cant? I mean, god hasnt to be some kind of white bearded old man sitting in the ceiling (thats Zeus lol).

As for gods existence or not: Even if it is hard for me to imagine some being creating the universe, it is even harder to imagine the universe appearing from nothing, so I think that god probably exists. But anyway, I really dont care, I will care when I die, if neccesary lol.

About other people believing in god, as long as they behave decently I have no problem, and if they are happier believing, I am happy about it. And we cant say its religion fault people making stupidities and/or killing others, because religion its not a person and cant harm anyone, its people that can.

Its going to take you your time to read all lol, hope it is usefull and please keep making those excellent games, next week we will be probably begging you to start Mardek 4.
Draconic`s Avatar
Rating Orb Draconic 19 Canada PhlegmaticSanguine 24C 0F
7 years ago | (0)
From a Jewish perspective, we don't consider people to be defined by their sins. Nor are we defined by how much faith we have in God. To be a good Jew, you must simply be a good human being. (In fact if you followed every Jewish Law to the letter, honoured God beyond anything else in the world, others in the Jewish community would still consider you a less valued member if you for instance, treated others who were less observant with disrespect.
We also don't believe that divine punishment exists anymore for the most part so that's likely the reason that we don't practice faith healing. We have prayer that asks God to keep us healthy, but that's about it. We generally don't expect it to work either.
ArkLeo`s Avatar
Rating Orb ArkLeo 16 Argentina 17C 2F
7 years ago | (3)
Maybe if a doctor or anyone person saves a person's life, then it could be part of God's Plan to let him/her live. You pray to God to make Him to save him/her, and the doctor saves him/her.
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