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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Faith or Superstition?

Superstition is breaking mirrors and immediately feeling cursed.

Faith is believing in that which is greater than oneself and being blessed.

Superstition is what inspired Halloween.

Faith is Easter, minus the bunnies and eggs.

Superstition is reading the same astrologer’s prediction for you that everyone else gets and believing it applies to you.

Faith is reading the same Bible that Martin Luther read and believing that it applies to you.

Superstition requires no special effort nor does it need to be grounded in reality. Faith requires a dependence upon a greater reality and that does take some effort. Some people see the awesome grandeur of the universe and wonder at how amazing it is that it all happened by chance to occur. Others view the universe and are awestruck at the concept of an even greater Being that had to have created it.

It really is not a matter of intellect, for men both brilliant and simple can be found in camps pitched either in faith or not. Reasonable men choose to either believe in God or not. It takes no special IQ to be an atheist any more than it does to be a Christian. However, faith is as far from superstition as an atheist is from a Christian. It is intellectually dishonest to equate the two. For superstition is unreasonable and Christianity is as reasonable as a philosophy of life can be. It is not that Christianity is unreasonable but that it allows for the supernatural that separates it from humanistic philosophies like atheism.

I enjoy dialogue with those who disagree with me. Those who seek to “poison the well” by deriding my Christian faith as superstition miss the boat entirely. There is no substance to such an argument. It then makes me wonder, do you call a belief in God a superstition so that you don’t have to consider it, because it makes you uncomfortable? Would a careful consideration of the possible existence of a Creator God complicate your life or cause you to miss sleep?

A Christian myself, I don’t wish to see others miss the boat and take leave of this life without God. It is because I care about you who do not believe that I write something such as this. It is my hope that when a man or woman seriously thinks about God, that God takes that opportunity to help them realize that He is.

Everyone has the right (at least in my country) to believe as he chooses. This is as it should be. Be an atheist, be an agnostic, I will continue to respect your right to that belief. Shout it from the top of your lungs, wave a sign, do your thing….and I will do mine. It is great living in the good old USA where we are free to worship, heck, a flying spaghetti monster if we so choose. Eh, I wouldn’t recommend it, though!

36 comments:

Kyle said...

I am currently writing a book based on my own beliefs and personal philosphy.

I believe that we have entered into a post-religion time. Even in the moslem world, they just don't know it yet. As things progress, nominal religion and atheism and agnosticism will continue to increase.

This will in turn lead to an even bigger increase in cults, and nihlism. The Athesists cannot understand that there is a need within mankind for spirituality and to believe in something trancendent.

This was part of the big appeal of Marxism. It met all the criteria of a religion. One could even become a martyr for the "faith".

I have an idea for creating a stopgap for the many who have become disillusioned with their own religion or cannot bring themselves to believe in a god.

It would be a movement based upon
ancient values, which teaches people to live a good and giving life. It would include regular meetings and a strong element of activism. But it would be based on conservative and libertarian beliefs. It would be open to anyone of any religious faith, or non at all. and although it would not be a religion per se, it would be respectful of the beliefs of others. (except maybe goofy cults like Scientology).

Simon Peter said...

Radar, good post. Very thoughtful.

Just one thought, Halloween is not just superstition, but it is actually the primary celebration day (night?) of the Church of Satan. As such, I suggest that acknowledging Halloween is not a matter of falling prey to superstition, but rather understanding the forces arrayed against us.

cranky old fart said...

Simon,

You need to make up your mind. Is Halloween a superstition, or a celebration of an actual supernatural power (Satan)?

cranky old fart said...

How about you Radar?

Is Halloween a celebration of an irrational belief in Satan (superstition), or is it demonstration of faith (belief in a supernatural power)?

Or maybe.....its roots lay in several traditions, and Halloween is essentially what you make of it?

http://www.rumela.com/events/
events_october_halloween.htm

Boo!

radar said...

Cranky, I agree with you (gasp) on this. Halloween is rooted in superstition, I would say, but is something of an amalgam of various other "celebrations". The Jack-O-Lantern, for instance, coming from one of a series of Irish tall tales (being Irish, I know the tradition!).

Simon is of course correct in saying that Satanists have made Halloween their own celebration day but it did not start as such.
Nevertheless there is an evil side to this in that there are sects of Satan worshippers who seek a blood sacrifice on this day.

cranky old fart said...

Well yes, there is an "evil" side to many celebrations. If you want to seek it out.

I've always felt that banning the secular fun of dressing up and candy collection just gives power and publicity to the Satanists. Or is it actually just an attempt to assert control by religious fundamentalists?

Kiddies just wanna have fun, but some fundamentalists insist on scaring the kiddos by telling them that they are worshiping the devil if they put on that Star Wars costume and go trick or treating. No wonder we still live in a demon haunted world. sheesh!

Simon Peter said...

I stick by my assertion. That doesn't mean that there isn't alot of superstition wrapped around Halloween these days, beause there most certainly is.

None of that changes the fact that the 31st of October, no matter what you want to call it, is one of the original high days of the church of Satan.

radar said...

Aside: Scientology is WAY goofy...what the heck is Katie Holmes THINKING??????

Yeah, Simon, I agree the holiday is significant to Satanists. I came to the conclusion I would not give in to them and go ahead and celebrate the day as just a costume party. I get a kick out of the little neighborhood kids coming to the door, their parents in tow, and so does my dog Jack. It is the one day I let him come all the way to the door to see the kiddos.

That Simon and I disagree to an extent is emblematic of Christianity. Neither Simon nor I have an Imam who tells us what to do. We have our own relationship with God, the Bible available at all times, with no man who pretends to be the voice of God in our lives. This is a major difference between Mohammedism, which demands blind obedience to the pronouncements of Imams and Christianity, which encourages an individual's relationship with God.

cranky old fart said...

I'm very glad to learn of your tolerance, Radar.

My sense is that Simon is not so accepting of alternative views. That's why discussing theology with him is so much fun!

radar said...

Yay, I'm tolerant! I don't know, I am pretty opinionated and some would not agree. But as far as hearing people out, I am all for it.

Both my position and Simon's are common in the Christian community. There are also those who decide to have a party for Christian kids rather than have them walk the streets. One church I know has a "Hallelujah" rather than Halloween party, with all sorts of games going on, making a big production of it.

The whole Satan thing, other than being mindful of evil men, doesn't scare me. I figure my God is stronger than the Satan guy and his cohorts so I need to fear my own propensity for sin but not Satan himself.

Simon Peter said...

Recognising an event for what it is does not make intolerance. In our house the 31st of October is a normal evening. If it's a church night, we go to church, if it's a nothing planned night, we have a quiet family evening in. I don't go around preaching against it specifically and I'm sure not planning to fall out with Radar over the difference.

If that makes me intolerant, so be it.

cranky old fart said...

Each to their own on Halloween, I guess.

It just seems sad to me that most kids, and eventually some grow-ups, wouldn't fear this boogyman "SATAN" if it weren't for someone telling them that he's real in the first place. Superstitions must, after all, be taught and learned.

Boo!

radar said...

Satan is no boogeyman. I certainly believe that he exists. I believe that what is written in the Bible is God's message to man in written form. If God says there is a Satan, I believe Him, since He ought to know.

But I also believe that Jesus was God's message to man in human form. In fact Jesus was God in the form of a man. I eventually accepted His gift to me of forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation and therefore was transformed into one of His own.

Therefore, I believe that the Jesus who lives within me is more powerful than Satan who does not. The Spirit of the Living God lives within me in place of the dead spirit (or spirit of death, should you prefer) that lived within me previously.

Yes, I believe we consist of body, soul and spirit. My body will die and my soul will leave with the last breath I take but that part of me which is sentinent and eternal will continue on. I plan on continuing on with those who have chosen to hang with God rather than those who will wind up with Satan. I don't really think he is such a fun guy and from what I hear his afterlife digs are worse than shabby.

cranky old fart said...
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cranky old fart said...

Well, one man's boogyman, er, reality, is another's irrational fear, I guess. You have faith in Satan. I do not. Hence Faith v. Superstition.

radar said...

I know Satan exists, I certainly have no FAITH in him, any more than I have faith in Honda Civics. I'm not afraid of him, and I am not afraid of Civics. But I am not stupid, either. I'm not going to fool around with a ouija board, etc, any more than I am going to lie down in the middle of the road. Heck, a Honda Civic might run me over if I lie down in the middle of the road.

Cranky, you seem to think that Christians walk around looking over their shoulders afraid that Satan might show up and say "boo!"
Not so.

Really, Christians are mainly those who look forward in the attempt to walk with God rather than looking behind to see if anything evil is gaining on them. Jesus already established who beats who.

cranky old fart said...

I'm sorry to say Radar, you do indeed have faith in Satan, just as you have faith in Jesus to protect you from him.

At its core, is not faith a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny?

I'm at least giving you credit for not believing in a "superstition", which I've mostly seen defined as an "irrational" belief.

As for the "Boo" factor, I'd submit that fear of a board game is, well, a little...

radar said...

Okay, point to Cranky - in the way you put it, since I have faith in the supernatural then to that extent I have faith in the existence of Satan, agreed.

Naw, I am not afraid of a board game. It is just wrong to play with, in my opinion, since it is known to be a conduit for forces you would say do not exist. Being a member of God's army, so to speak, I have no real fear of Satan or more to the point his "minions". But it is presumptive on my part to go out of my way to have anything to do with them on a whim, so I don't.

cranky old fart said...

I would submit that telling children that Satan will get them if they play a board game, just leads to an ignorant citizenry who will buy whatever is told them by by their respective Mullahs, preachers and rulers.

The danger isn't the Quija. It's blind faith, superstition and ignorance. And it's a danger for all of us.

radar said...

Faith in the Creator God is hardly blind. One reason I post so much about the evidence for Creationism is to remove the "blind" from faith.

Superstition is not faith, as previously posted.

Ignorance is lack of knowledge. Christians, most of us, encourage our kids to learn all they can and be informed rather than ignorant. That there are Islamic factions who have a different philosophy is yet another indictment of Islamofacism and has nothing to do with Christianity.

cranky old fart said...

Well said, as far as it goes. Let us return to the Ouija.

What is said to the fundie child as to the dangers of the Ouija? On what basis are they made to fear this board, this laminated piece of wood?

highboy said...

Halloween was originally an event where people dressed as scary as possible in order to scare the evil spirits away. It had nothing to do with Satan. While Satanists may designate Halloween as theirs, its not. Halloween, like T.V., is only as corrupting as we allow it to be. I took part in Halloween to get as much candy as possible. I watch T.V. to get the news, and see football games. Other people celebrate Halloween as a kind of mockery toward God, and watch T.V. to see how much skin will be shown. Sin is a matter of intent. Jesus makes that very clear. I would however generally agree with Simon that calling it how you see it is not intolerance. Cranky Old Fart's assertion that "fundies" teach their kids to fear Satan is a baseless allegation, unless he is capable of reading the minds and hearts of others. Belief in Satan, much like belief in God, makes more sense than believing the universe was puked into existence out of nothing, and that good and evil are relative. The fundie child would best be informed that the Ouija board is just a board and is not real. It depends on the child. Some children, like me, grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons, without ever believing I could earn hit points if I chopped someone's head off. Obviously, some children can't make that distinction. Same goes with the Ouija board. If your child seems to believe it can really tell the future, or converse with the dead, then there is a problem.

I would however like to point out how interesting it is that some find belief in a transcedant God not only gullible but dangerous, yet see nothing wrong with children getting all of their advice from a board.

radar said...

"...If your child seems to believe it can really tell the future, or converse with the dead, then there is a problem."

There you go! Nail gets hit on head, film at eleven!

cranky old fart said...

You stated the following about the laminated board:

"…it is known to be a conduit for forces you would say do not exist".

Highboy says:

"If your child seems to believe it can really tell the future, or converse with the dead, then there is a problem".

You claim to agree with highboy.

Is highboy disagreeing with me?

Sincerely,

Confused.

radar said...

Ouija boards and children - The problem with a child who wants to use a ouija board is that he or she is seeking powers from an agency that is not God. God answers prayers, whether with yes or no or wait, but that is His perogative. A child who wants to seek after any other kind of supernatural source is in rebellion against God, which is not a good thing. It also indicates a problem in the child's life that perhaps the parent is not aware of but could be serious.

Does a ouija board have any power in and of itself? No, it is just wood, plastic, cardboard, etc. Can satanic forces use it in someone's life for evil? I believe so, yes.

cranky old fart said...

We agree, sort of.

Our separation appears to be over your faith in Satan, and your belief that spirits can independently infiltrate someone through the evil board.

My take is that a child who learns critical thinking will understand that seeking supernatural powers through a board is just silly.

A child who thinks in this manner will also understand that no harm can come to him from an “evil board”. He will understand the difference between a game and reality.

highboy said...

I'm not sure who I'm agreeing with. I'm with Radar in that seeking powers from an agency not of God is the main reason we Christians would probably never let them in our house.

You can teach kids critical thinking all you want, but they are individuals who will believe what they believe. This is proven in that kids are taught that the universe exploded into existence out of nothing in every public school, yet still believe that God created the universe, not nature itself. Critical thinking is not enough by itself. Otherwise the implication is that if a child or even an adult believe in the power of a Ouija board that they are either not critical thinkers, are unintelligent, or both. It is entirely possible to think critically and still believe in such things, especially when there is no way to prove one way or another that a board has supernatural power.

radar said...

Or perhaps to say that whereas a board in and of itself does not possess powers, it can be used by that which does. A bow and arrow has no power within itself but can be utilized by someone to shoot and kill a deer. So a ouija board has no power unless it is used as a tool or weapon to communicate with and influence a willing participant.

cranky old fart said...

"...the implication is that if a child or even an adult believe in the power of a Ouija board that they are either not critical thinkers, are unintelligent, or both."

Bingo.

cranky old fart said...
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cranky old fart said...

(Above deletions due to sloppy edits!)

Radar,

The key to your Ouiija concern is the "willing participant". Here we again agree, to a point.

My hypothetical child understands the difference between reality and fantasy. He cannot be harmed by a board. He may "willingly participate" in a game, but he will not be harmed. His feet are firmly planted in the real world.

He is far more likely to use the occasion to take his fundie friends for a ride (Maybe even make a buck on it if he's inventive) ;)

Your hypothetical child has learned that that there are supernatural forces out there ready to get him. He believes in such things. He has been warned of the danger of THE BOARD.

He may, indeed, be harmed as a "willing participant". Not by Satan, mind you, but by his credulous mind.

highboy said...

So let me get this straight Cranky: a child that believes in supernatural forces is unintelligent, or at the very least, unable to think critically? Who is the final authority on such matters? You? Sounds like what your saying is that unless we believe what you believe, we are stupid. How very tolerant of you.

cranky old fart said...

Highboy,

Believe what you want. I'm just addressing what kind of "willing participant" is likely to be injured by mumbo jumbo.

It's the one who believes the mumbo jumbo. No?

highboy said...

Yes, the one who believes in the mumbo jumbo is the one effected.