Why Do You Believe What You Believe?

why do you believeThis post is actually a reply to another post I sent to someone. We were discussing “higher power” and if it is an entity (God) that “gives” you the solutions to problems in your life. I understand that not everyone believes the way I do. I am Buddhist – and I respect the faith of others. Everyone decides for themselves what and why they believe in something. The bigger part of that question for me is “why?” I ask that question of a lot of people, to find out their reason. It usually falls into 2 categories. 1. It’s the only thing they know, and never searched outside the box to decide to see for themselves if their faith makes sense. 2. It was what they were told growing up. It is what everyone around them believes so it must be true. They are told, over and over that the truth lies in Christianity. But does it?

Or is it something that has been passed down from generation to generation so you think it has to be the truth or why would so many people around you believe it?  If you were raised in a different part of the world you would absolutely believe something different.

When something unexplained happens, or if a prayer you had did came to pass, then it had to be God? Would your circumstance have worked out the same way anyway?  I don’t believe there is an entity such as “God” – as someone who is out there thinking about me and has a plan for me. Not in the slightest. I do believe in a God nature inside us. We call it – meaning Buddhists – your Buddha nature. Your capacity to understand everyone has the capacity to see and understand evil and understand the obstacles in our lives we need to overcome to be happy.

Because something worked out or it didn’t work out, you may have the answer that this is what God wanted for you. God can’t lose in that kind of equation.

The capacity people have to understand is so much greater than it was 2000 years ago.  So many things we understand now seemed like miracles so had to be a god who did it.  I use god without capitalizing it because different gods have been around for a long time and people believed in every single one of them. We really do know that a man cannot be made whole out of clay,no matter how you want to reason it, and I have met many Christians who also say they know it is a story, a parable, to learn from, yet there are still many people, who think, if they are to believe in Christianity, they have to believe the story of Adam and Eve, as well many other “miracles” in the Bible.

Please don’t take offense at this, this is the way I see it. Don’t tell me I won’t go to heaven or may go to hell because I absolutely do not believe in them as places we go to. I believe they are life conditions we live in today. So if nothing else, let’s part friends and agree to disagree.

I am only trying to stimulate the thought, “What if what you have believed in, is not what you think it is?” After all, there is no proof. The Bible is not proof. It was written by man after centuries of passing down “the stories”. Stories, like gossip, get changed with every telling, and these are just ordinary men retelling the stories.

Is there value in the lessons that are told. Absolutely, as long as you don’t believe all the other stuff that was okay at that time, that isn’t now, like expecting your slaves to obey you, or selling your daughter, or sacrificing your son, or believing that a women is to submit to a man even if it against her desire, because the bible was written for men in most cases, not women. Women were chattel. So read this reply with an open mind, and please – tell me your response – as long as it doesn’t get accusatory and can been done intelligently. I am interested in your responses.
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I think there is so much we don’t have the capacity to understand yet. I think the concept of God, higher power, whatever you call it, is something people have different ways of trying to explain. I think it is really means the same thing. The universe is not stagnant. It changes. It grows. It expands. Our capacity to understand constantly grows. I believe the problem people have with “religion” and in particular, Christianity, is they try to continue to apply something that is based on the capacity of understanding two thousand years ago. They try to take an evolving understanding and try to force it to stay the same. It is like continuing to teach people 1+1= 2 and we are far beyond that now. The ability we have to understand the mind and the capabilities we have tell us, it is impossible to make a full grown person out of clay, and then remove a rib from that person and make a woman. Does that mean the Bible doesn’t teach things that are good to know? Of course not. If people really tried to make the teachings a basis on which they lived their life, we’d be in a much better place – but people don’t. Many say they believe in God, yet they don’t apply any Christian values. Better to believe and go to heaven than to take a chance and go to hell. They think all they have to say is they believe to get a ticket at the pearly gates to enter. Many people also use it, as a means to allow them to hurt people who don’t believe the way they do. It is used as a weapon. Those who don’t like gay people or like abortion. They use religion as a tool to approve of their own vicious behavior. I see it every day.

I saw a post on an article this morning. It was 2 men arguing between the validity of Mohammed vs Jesus. One man says, “You worship Mohammed and he’s dead and I worship Jesus and he’s alive! There are witnesses ( he had read about) who said they saw him rise 2000 years ago.” So the conclusion was that he was alive right this minute – and had the capacity to love, basing this on the capacity of someones understanding thousands of years ago. The whole concept of “Jesus loves you” based on this understanding is absurd. Usually, what people are told over and over as a child is what they swear has to be true, because to even think otherwise is too much for them to deal with.

Do I think there is an energy one can tap into. Yes, I do, as sure as the tides will rise and fall, but I do not need to give it human emotions, like love and hate and have the need to be worshiped. People don’t want to be alone. They need to feel loved and most of all, when the going gets tough, they want the cause of it to not be theirs – God wanted it for them. They want to pray to God to fix their problem. Everyone has the personal right to make sense of life in any way that makes sense to them. There will always be different religions and belief systems. I only have a problem with it when someone starts trying to make others believe the way they do, and get downright nasty about it. Here’s a question. Did the higher power(something finite) “give” the solutions “to” you, which indicates there had to be an intent for this higher power to understand something and us learn from it? Or is the wisdom we amass from our life experiences, the things we learned from our problems is what guides our actions in the future? Are you not responsible for your own life, or is it some other entity that has a plan? And what about all the millions of people today and in the past who are not Christians. Christianity is not the major religion in the world and never has been. Many people are Buddhist like I am, or Islamic, or the many other religions that are not Christian around the world. Remember Christianity didn’t even begin at all until 2000 years ago, and the world and the people in it, have been for a really long time. 2000 years is just a drop in the bucket.

8 thoughts on “Why Do You Believe What You Believe?

  1. It is so good to express one’s thoughts and beliefs. To write it down can bring new perspectives,
    clarity, and show up some shadows. That is why I love to blog – apart from the fact that you get to read the interesting minds-sets of others. The grace is to have an open mind and not to judge others, and this you do well. For me there is no debate on Buddhism or the Bible, I have made my choice, as you have made yours. May your spiritual journey lead you to the Truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think religion should ever be a debate, or trying to convert. If you have something that works for you and you try to live your life based on those teachings then that is what is good for you. An atheist has the same right. Morality doesn’t belong to one faith. Your actions prove your morality. I do like to have dialogues about other religions and there is much I don’t know about many. That lack of knowledge allows some people to say things like, “All Muslims are terrorists”, which they aren’t. There are some that are terrorists, just like there are some “Christians” who also are thought of terrorists in the countries we invade. We don’t have the experience of another country invading us and systematically going through our cities and blowing them up, like we have done to other countries. America is a bully, thinking they have the right to control other countries because they have something we want. Our wars are not to protect America. Our wars are for profit. Many people in other countries think of Americans as terrorists, and because our political system wants America to be known as Christian Nation, when clearly there are many faiths. It makes other countries look at Christians as terrorists. Religion has been the base of so many wars that the purpose has been to control that countries and many people have died. I know this is way off the subject – but the meaning of what I’m saying – is that if we the people here in America took the time to try to understand other faiths we would not only be able to communicate with them better, we can make better friends. My friends don’t have to be Buddhists. If I required that, I wouldn’t have near the friends I have. Exchanging ideas leads to tolerance and respect which leads to peace.

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  2. “Why do you believe what you believe” certainly is food for thought. I am a Bible believing Christian. I believe a loving God gently called me to Himself through life’s circumstances (and some were hard, and still are very hard) – friends along the way prayed for me and invited me to a Bible study. And it was by reading the Bible everyday that I got to know more about Him, and His story of creation, His promises, and of His people who are called by His name – Jesus Christ – a people of Faith. The Bible is a wonderful wonderful book of true stories – (I choose to believe this, even if some things don’t make logical sense, as this opens the mind for the impossible), the plot of the story is love and redemption. It is a story within a story (and my, and your story, are told within His story). You do not need proof, you need Faith to know Him. If you try, with an analytical logic mind to understand God, it will be impossible. If you look at Christianity through Christians you will be sorely disappointed. (We can be a harsh and a wimpy bunch – but that is just the religion) Look to the only one Almighty God, who created us and who loves us. I believe what I believe because I made a choice to believe, and that is what faith (the missing ingredient) is. It set me on a spiritual journey that abounds with possibilities, with coming into knowledge of mysteries, and with the wonders of knowing an amazing Almighty God who loves me (I choose to believe this) and it makes such a difference to my outlook, and to my values of life. I believe we live in a two dimensional world, physical and spiritual – science (facts) and the Word of God (truth)., and we ourselves get to make a personal choice what road we are going to follow. God cares and respects us enough to allow us to make our own choice – that’s freedom, that’s love. And should we make wrong choices in life, He is there to pick us up, set us straight, with His loving outstretched forgiving Father arms. To know God is to fear (acknowledge and respect) Him, and that is the beginning of wisdom and understanding. How will I know Him if I don’t read His love letter (the Bible) to me. This is my choice, I hope you will make it yours, and explore the Bible too.

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    1. Thank you for taking so much time to explain your views. Each person has the right to make his own choice to find and make sense of life. I was raised a Christian, but left that 40 years ago. 27 years ago I found Nichiren Buddhism. There are many of the same things taught in both the Bible and the Sutras and Gosho, which you have never heard of. Even the ten commandments are nearly identical, except in Buddhsim, they were taught 1000 years earlier. One thing I found interesting is that when Jesus left and went wandering from age 12 to 32, Christianity has no record of where he was. Buddhist teachings have him studying in India, probably why there are so many similarities. Christians look at God as being outside themselves as a separate entity. In Buddhism, it is internal – a god nature – Buddhahood. Both faiths taught with parables that teach a lesson. God does not “allow” me to make a choice. I make choices and through that I have to reap the effect of those causes I make – reap what you sow, the law of cause and effect. Same thing. But the main thing – are you happy? Do your beliefs make you happy? If they do then that is good – for you. What makes me happy is totally different. What many people choose as their faith is what they were taught by those in their environment and never had a seeking spirit to find out why. As you said, it is just what you “chose” to believe in. You want it to be true. You need to know there is something out their that loves you. It is important for you to feel loved by your God. Whether or not you are forgiven you still have to reap what you sow. You need a father figure to make your life better when you make mistakes – a father figure you need to fear, because he’ll punish you. I wouldn’t want a God like that. and as far as proof – yes, indeed I need proof. Obviously there can be no actual proof he exists beyond your belief that he does. The proof comes when YOU turn poison into medicine – change the negatives in your life to positive – when YOU do that – not wait for something outside yourself to bestow it upon you. The Bible was changed so many times and many parts of it were removed. This was not a love letter to you, it is a compilation of stories being interpreted after being passed down thousands of years. Much of the bible was rewritten by kings who need more control over their people and needed to be on equal standing with the Pope.

      But you can choose to believe anything you want. That’s the beauty of being a human being. We get to make choices. I will never be doing any more exploring of the bible for an explanation of my life. I already have the answers to any questions I might have. Thank you for being concerned about me.

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  3. Lovely post. Finally I meet someone who raises the same kind of questions I have, and yet not an atheist. I couldn’t hep agreeing more with your point of views.
    No matter which religion I follow I always believe that the scriptures should be taken as guidelines (and not un-breakable laws) but as examples of – “see, this was the situation then, and this was how we solved it. When it’s your time, do something logical according to the common logical perception of reality and the laws of your land” kind of spirit. Bible is a book of contradictions and should be looked upon in a superficial way, just to follow the positive sides such as the ten commandments, general sense of forgiveness towards ones who trouble you, etc., and not about taking slaves, selling daughters and forcing yourself on your unwilling wife. Also I cannot in any way justify people hurting people in the name of religion. I’d better be without a religion, because my sense of God (or being in the state of Godliness) can never be achieved through torture and hatred.

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    1. You are so very right. If you regard everything written, such as what is in the Bible, to be absolutely right, then you better be prepared to believe everything and not cherry pick the good stuff. And some people do believe that every single thing was inspired by God yet written by man and every single thing is absolutely true. What these are – is parables. Buddhism is loaded with them, too. Stories that help to teach a concept.

      For quite a number of years before I found Nichiren Buddhism I either considered myself an Atheist and more so an agnostic, because I couldn’t make sense of it, because what Christians believed in was in direct conflict to what I saw them do. I was raised in the Luthern Church. Even my mother has left the church to study Buddhism. her church friends really gave her a hard time about it. 27 years ago was when I found Buddhism. Instead of believing in a pie in the sky approach of why things happened in our lives ( I’m sure I’m pissing off a few Christians right about now) it provided answers that were founded on cause and effect It gave me the reason why things happened rather than believing a thought thinking, loving, hateful, and jealous God up there was waiting to strike my life into smithereens because I wasn’t worshiping him. I love a good science fiction story and this is where I put it. But mostly people only believe in something because everyone around them told them to, and there was no other choice available. This state of Godliness is what Buddhism says is Buddhahood. Understanding that everyone has the ability to be good or bad, and knowing that even in someone who does something wrong, he still has the potential to do good. That potential is inside us – not “Out there” somewhere.

      I, personally, try to live my life knowing that every cause I make will have an effect. How i respond to the things in my life will have an effect. If my own life condition is on the ground I’m going to respond to my life in a different way than if my life condition is high. These life conditions, in a broad sense could be called moods. You know when you are in a bad mood you are going to react in a different way than if you are happy. We are responsible for ourselves and for our life. it is not being yanked sideways by a puppet master in the sky who happens to be pissed off at you right now because you treated someone badly.

      You may want to check this out to understand what I’m saying. http://sgi-usa.org

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