Knowledge Questions — Religion

Dear ToKers,

1st–Select one of the following questions, and TRY to view it through at least two distinct religions perspectives. Perhaps you can view this one question through your religious perspective and the perspective you recently researched.

2nd–Post your comment with specific examples, reasons, or arguments from BOTH religious perspectives.

3rd–Then, respond to your classmates’ posts/ideas with questions or comments.

Knowledge Questions:

1. What is the difference between religious feelings, religious beliefs and religious faith?
2. Is it possible to know God?
3. Are religious beliefs reasonable?
4. Is faith irrational?
5. Where do religious beliefs come from?
6. Can you think of any evidence which would convince you that God does not exist?
7. What is the value of thinking about questions to which there are no
definite answers?
8. How do we decide between the competing claims of different
religious knowledge systems?

39 thoughts on “Knowledge Questions — Religion

  1. 3. Are religious beliefs reasonable?
    Religious beliefs are reasonable however it may only seem that way if you are familiar with its traditions and background information. Because there are many religions that have either different or similar beliefs that can only be clearly interpreted by someone who is a follower or studies the religion. For example, I as a catholic I was taught that by being a good person I could find salvation that of course is reasonable if you’re good you go to heaven. However as I got older I was told that if I keep my faith in God good things would happened to me, now that I have looked into Santeria I have learned that they have a similar belief that by believing in the saints and God you can find your true destiny. Then there are religions like Buddhism that belief in reincarnation; the theory of reincarnation to me seems unreasonable and impossible but because I know that Buddhist belief in enlightenment allowing them to live on until they are able to find the eight-fold path. In a nut shell I believe that once you have some understanding of a religion you can see the reason behind their beliefs or traditions even if you don’t agree with their beliefs.

  2. If we know that there is no answer to a question, do we leave the question unanswered? Or do we search for something else? and if so, what is that something? Furthermore, the value of that question varies from the perspective that you have when examining that question. An Atheist might take the opportunity to examine the question as it might lead to the discover of other things. or it may connect to other unanswered question or theories. Examining unanswerable questions might expand their knowledge overall. However, a Buddhist might have a different value for the unanswerable question. They might take it as a sign that they have achieved enlightenment. In this time or lifetime, they do not have the knowledge required to answer the question but in another they will eventually have the knowledge. They both hold similar and different values for the unanswerable question. they both might see it as a opportunity to learn even though they cannot find an answer. However Buddhist might see it as a sign of enlightenment, and Atheist might see it as an opportunity to learn in general. other religions will have other values as well.

  3. Are religious beliefs reasonable?
    My beliefs on religion express how I respectfully don’t care or have faith in a metaphysical higher power. Yet when others show their religious views I respect them, since there faith is actually quite strong and also they have been taught to shape their thoughts into the perspective of “What would God do?” In other situations I always have followed the thought that if you want something to happen and you believe in it to the greatest extent, then there is a possibility that it may exist or occur. That still doesn’t change my belief that religion isn’t reasonable. One concept that persistently continues to drive my thoughts is how someone can believe and put there life in the hands of a metaphysical power. Obviously I believe that there is a higher power in our universe because it would be highly ignorant not to believe so. But to where I would read an indirect book that I should live my life upon that is simply the use of common principles that should always be followed not matter what faith you have in which even religion you follow.
    In the religious views of Santeria, to them, your beliefs are logical. For example, why wouldn’t you create contact and relationships with the past spirits so they can guide you through the obstacles of life? According to them they also believe that if you ever question your beliefs then your credibility will automatically be questioned.

  4. 6. Can you think of any evidence which would convince you that God does not exist?
    There is no evidence that existed which proves that god existed. All the evidence provided previously has been unreliable due to the fact that there is no actual visible evidence. Everything so far has been ony signs which proves nothing. -Athiest

    God existed. You don’t see him bevause you don’t believe hard enough. Thousands of follower has saw god. He left many signs of his presence but you people are too ignorant to belive in. Have some faith and you will see him. This vision alone is the sign that god lives on. -Islam

  5. Is it possible to know God?
    Yes, it is possible to know God; however it depends on the belief of the religion. What is God, and who is God? Is there a God that is the plays a role in the religious beliefs? God is the higher authority within a religion but not every religion has a God. In the religion that I have grown up with call Shamanism, there is a God but the religion does not revolve around Him. Shaman believes in the spiritual world who talks to spirits in the spiritual world. Unlike many religions, Shamanism doesn’t have a holy book or manuscripts; everything is passed down from generations to generations. Shamans believe in God, but their main beliefs are to connect to the spiritual world to heal the sick. In the other religion that I’ve studied called Candomble, it was possible to know God. Candomble is quite similar to Shamanism in a way because both does not have a holy book and is an oral religion. However, Candomble followers believe in God. In order for one to know God, they must believe in Him. In my opinion, God is a higher authority that only the followers will to know him and have a connection with Him. For example, the script by Dang’s group acts out the afterlife of different followers. In conclusion, if one believes then she/he is possible to know God.

  6. Can you think of any evidence which would convince you that God does not exist?
    I can’t think of any evidence that would convince me that god doesn’t exist, however there are a lot of hints that could go either way the theory of the existence of god is very ambiguous going in either direction that god exist and that he doesn’t
    As a Christian my views of God are of course that he exists and I base most of my actions that he does to hopefully have an eternal reward at the end of my time. I don’t understand why people who choose atheism are the way they are in my eyes they are at a loss either way. If the existence of god is false then you would think that life would end and nothing else happens after that and you would be fine no loss or gain, however if the existence of god was true then you would be at a loss in regards to your indifferent to the faith going to hell.
    The only evidence that would be ironic that could convince me was if God told me that he himself didn’t exist. Taking a second to think about it I believe that it would be very gullible to then have faith that he doesn’t, instead my interpretation of the situation would know be that I am now hearing the voice Lucifer. I don’t see any possible way to prove the existence ny the denial of God.

  7. 2. Is it possible to know God?
    As an Atheist I don’t think it will ever be possible for a human to know God because God doesn’t exist. However, the word “God” is so commonly used now that everyone think that they know god. In reality, the “God” that everyone have been praying to is just a fictional character that was created in all the “Holy Scriptures.”
    From a Spiritualist view, it is possible to know God personally. When people die, their spirit will continue live on, and the spirits will have a chance to meet God. A belief of a spiritualism is that spirit can communicate with living human, so the knowledge of God can be pass onto living human y spirits.

  8. Is it possible to know God?

    I believe as a Catholic that you can get to know God. When you pray and go to church you are getting closer to God. Of course when you die and if you have done as what he has told you to do and not sinned severely you should go to heaven and be able to meet God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. When you go to confess your sins to a priest God is there with you at that moment. You form a connection with him and get to know him.

    In Rastafari they believe that King Haile Selassie was God. So until he died, anyone was able to meet God. They also believe that God is in everyone, so every time you see someone you are seeing a part of God. They also believe that Haile Selassie will come back and lead all the blacks back to Africa. So most people who believe this will in fact meet their God.

    • Is the connection of God bond sturdy/stable?
      How could the connection between yourself and god be tested?

  9. 5. Where do religious beliefs come from?
    Christian Perspective:
    As a believer of this religion, from my knowledge, religious beliefs are attained through the Word of God, or the Holy Bible. Throughout the written scriptures, we interpret the writings not only literally, by symbolically as well. Well, according to Christianity, I believe that the religious beliefs come from history, or His Story…of how He created the past of significant events, which are known as the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the Bible, which was written by man—the writers were guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit, describing events of the past, present, and the future.
    Jehovah Witness’ Perspective:
    Believers of this religion on the other hand, have similar values to Christians, but quite different. They also refer to their religious beliefs from their Bible, but with a different translation—and they don’t address it as scripture…however, like Christians, they too believe that the Bible is a way of communicating with God, where His will is given to every individual. Similarly, they believe in the existence of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, but the interpretations of their Bible are only literal.
    Despite both religions deriving from the Bible, there are still several differences, which affect how beliefs and values are shaped.

      • The source of the difference?…
        The difference?…I haven’t yet actually seen the Biblical version of the Jehovah Witness, so I can’t be sure of the differences, except the difference in interpreting the source.

  10. 3. Are religious beliefs reasonable?

    Spiritualism’s beliefs are reasonable because it’s all inside of you head and you are the one believing what’s happening in your surroundings. Hearing the sounds of the spirits make you believe that they’re there and in matter of fact, they’ll end up scaring you. When that happens, of course you’re going to tell another person what you heard, saw or felt (sense perception). After that’s been told to another person, they’ll have the same idea and the same problem will occur with them and that’s what makes them believe that the spirits are there. They’re reasonable because you know that the paranormal activity happened while you were there and that’s what makes you believe it.

    In Shamanism, they believe the tactics that we use work because once that person is cured they know that it can cure the rest of the others. Calling out to the spirits and helping them in their world might help the person who’s in the real world. Once the belief is figured out, it spreads around and others use it for their own problems. Sooner or later, once it’s been used and is known by various people, they would try and change it so it could work towards other situations. For example, when my cousin got sick they didn’t know what it was, they believed that it was just a cold but after a few weeks the sickness started to get worse. What they did was “Ua Neeg” (jingle bell), what that was, was they were calling her spirit back from the other world. Then a couple days later she was better. The belief is reasonable because from what we experienced and have evidence from worked. If they never did what their beliefs were, she could’ve probably died.

  11. Is faith irrational?
    I believe that faith is by very definition irrational. If something is “rational,” then it is a logical idea that fits into our set of “rules” for the workings of our surroundings (here the Universe) and can also be supported with evidence and “facts” – like a scientific theory. However faith in religion is simply that – faith. Blind faith in a higher power has no basis and so is irrational. Furthermore, when you add rationalization and supporting evidence to your belief then it is no longer faith but reason.
    However, those of a differing viewpoint may have a viewpoint that differs (again, by definition). Some might possibly argue that faith is the only rational way of knowing and is reason enough. They might say that without faith we cannot know anything – as each generation trusts the previous to impart knowledge and there are “authorities” that tell us truths daily – and so it is completely rational. Followers of specific religions would also argue that their deity/deities are everything and everywhere, and faith is unnecessary to believe in everything.

  12. 2. Is it possible to know God?

    For Christians, they know God through prayer and the bible. When they pray, they are supposed to use that time to communicate with God. The bible indicates that there is a divine creator, and they are meant to read and study the bible. For Christians, they are taught that at death is when they will meet God.
    For Atheist, god is a man-made creation. They believe there is no superior being, therefore they cannot know god. We’ve found no evidence that a superior being exists, which is why they don’t believe in a god. Atheists enjoy life and do not look forward to death.
    In my opinion, it doesn’t hurt to have faith in something supernatural. The thought that there is a superior being is comforting and makes me not fear death.

    To what extent are our beliefs credible if we have no evidence of a god?
    How do we know when we should turn to reason or faith?

    • If God is a man-made creation, wouldn’t we know every aspect about Him, every facet of His character because we created all of them? Wouldn’t followers know God less because they believe He is infinitely complex and cannot be understood by human minds?

  13. Christianity-question #2
    in a christian church one of the first things you are taught besides the word of God is how to pray. and by praying to God you begin to form a relationship with him, so to answer the question yes it i possible to know God. one of the many things that people do not understand is that if you dont have a relationship with God and God doesnt know who You are then it is impossible to enter he kingdom of heaven. anyone can do good and live right but if the relationship between yourself and God isnt as strong as any unbreakable bond then not only will you not make it you also wont have the priveledge of doing so.

    Shintoism- is it possible to know God? well in shintoism there are many gods but not in the retrospect that we think. the many Gods in Shintoism are referred to as Kami which in a sense represents certain important aspects of life like the wind rain mountains trees and so on. it even goes as deep as becoming Kami when you die. so not only can you know God you can become him as well which is very interesting i think.

  14. In response to the 6th question given, from the Shintoism perspective i would think that the piece of evidence that would convince me that god does not exist; is that even all the higher power spiritual beings sometimes make mistakes meaning that they are not a perfect being. whereas in other religions god is depicted as a single and perfect person who does not make mistakes.
    Another perspective that would convince me that god does not exist is agnosticism. I found their argument that god doesn’t exist to be convincing because even though they do believe in a higher power, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the higher power is god. also i found this view to be convincing because though they do believe in an unnatural high power, they say that it isn’t god because there is no proof that he did it.

    • Since you said that Shintoism beings, despite being higher spiritual beings in nature, often make mistakes. But as for God, he is considered the almighty being who does not make mistakes. But since he is the being who made human beings, who are in nature capable of making mistakes, would you say that God himself is capable of making mistakes because he created a race that makes mistakes despite him having the power to not make mistakes? So in a sense, why would God make a race capable of making mistakes if he couldve made a race incapable of making mistakes?

      • though it is true that god made human beings, it is also true that they said that he had tried to make us in his image, also meaning that though he did make us, he did not make us into a complete form like himself, thus meaning that he made us this way for a reason.

    • in response to your second comment on agnosticism what is the definition of God. when dealing with a higher power do we look to the people of men or do we think outside of ourselves and look to the ether.

  15. 1. What is the value of thinking about questions to which there are no definite answers?
    2. Based on my own religion and the religion of Santeria, I can see that wisdom would be the most viable answer for the value of questions with no answers. Questions without any definite answers allow us to strive to achieve the answer to that question and therefore gives us a greater insight about the question itself. As a result, we see that the question can be interpreted and rearranged in many ways and therefore have may have many types of answers. Based on the view of Christianity, the values would be that we would need to have faith in answers we can’t necessarily find the truth to. For example, many non-Christians say that if there is a God, then why is it that we can’t see him? Christians therefore would say that they believe by faith, and not by sight. As for the Santerian view, we would say the values of questions without definite answers would be to find wisdom in the question itself. Santerians would probably say that the knowledge in trying to figure out the answer to the question is more valuable then the knowledge that the answer itself gives.

    • what about the people who have no religious view, are they affected differently by questions that lead to no definite answer?

      • I would say that people without a religion wouldnt be affected differently as much from those with religions because since non-believers have no religious background, they would also think that there are multiples ways to interpret the question but they would also think that God would have no part in this question.

  16. 1. Are religious beliefs reasonable? From the perspective of the mienh religion Daoism, we have different duties and rules to abide by. One of them is for the males to attend a ceremony that is for the purpose of recognizing the males as grown men from that point on or that they have matured. Is this reasonable from another perspective? For example in Spiritualism there aren’t really any ceremonies. It follows natural laws and science. Evidence in a physical form or a form that is able to be observed by human sense perception. So is the example of a ceremony needed to be a grown adult reasonable? Does it actually mean the males are fully matured? No it does not. It can also be observed by the actions of the male.

  17. 8. How do we decide between the competing claims of different religious knowledge systems?
    I think this is a great question for me to ponder given that I was raised Mormon, my extended family is Catholic, I identify as an agnostic, and I read about Buddhism and Taoism. Which of these religious systems has the most influence over me and why?
    Having the least influence over me is Mormonism because the religion makes so many claims which are in direct conflict with science, history, and just common sense. I have a hard time believing religious texts which I believe are meant to be interpreted figuratively. Still, there was a time in my life (when I was very young) that I relied on my family and my community for direction. In that context, my Mormon beliefs were quite reasonable and readily confirmed by those around me.
    As I have grown older and lived more, I have experienced suffering and loss. I understand that some people fill those voids with Christ, but for me, I needed something more introspective. I want to heal within and let my mind guide me. That’s why I started to learn more about Buddhism; this approach specifically addressed my need to understand suffering.
    So to answer this knowledge question, I believe that the context we live in influences how we decide which religion to give the most credence to. Furthermore, I believe the introduction of reason, science, and healthy skepticism can challenge our beliefs and possibly become a deciding factor in competing religions.

    • What is your perspective of healthy skepticism? What are the extremes that can differ from each individual? How will it specifically affect a person who is heavily religious but not to the extreme?

      • If I understand your question, Randy, you might be implying that ‘healthy skepticism’ is in some religious systems ‘a liability,’ e.g. ‘not having faith.’ So, some religious virtues may be competing with other value systems. I think that is why context is so interesting to think about. Are their good justifications which span all religions?
        Back at you!

  18. Can you think of any evidence which would convince you that God does not exist?
    In the Views of The Church of Euthanasia:
    Some evidence that could prove to the members of this church would be the fact that the balance between humanity and nature has shifted drastically. These members believe that the way to save the Earth is by killing themselves, and they got this belief from a man who said he was abducted by aliens who were the true rulers of the cosmos, telling him that the Earth will die do to overpopulation.
    The fact that there is no solid proof of this man actually being abducted or if it was just a crazy dream could disprove the existence of their “god.”
    However it is highly doubtful that any evidence will make them disprove of their beliefs that the only way to save the world is to kill oneself.
    In my views:
    Almost everything can disprove the existence of a God. Time lapses, scientific evidence, simple common sense– all can disprove that there is a God. For me, I need solid proof that something exists, or at least enough persuasion that it does. [an example of this would be mermaids. There’s enough historical evidence that early humans either believed or seen a mermaid, which is why I somewhat believe in mermaids… even if they are thought to be cannibalistic..]
    Basically, yes. There is plenty of evidence that can disprove of a God, but this evidence has to be given t the correct people to disprove of it. But, of course, some people have such a strong faith that almost nothing can disprove of their God.

    • From what I’ve noticed , people are leaving some religions and turning atheist. Do you think that we will ever reach a point where people disregard religion completely?

      • I highly doubt there will come a time where religion with be completed left behind. Remember when we asked Ms. Moore about how long religion has lasted? She said there was no point in time where religion did not exist, for even the earliest humans believed in a higher power.
        So, no. There is most likely no way that religion will completely disappear from the world.

      • “Miracles” could be both proven as spontaneous and as caused. For one who is highly religious, a “miracle” would be proof enough tat there s a god. However, for myself, I would look into it to see if there is a possible explanation for the “miracle” that had happened. I’m also one of those people that would say “There isn’t proof that it IS god either” for I need solid proof for almost everything.
        Like I said before, evidence of a god has to be given to the right person for it to count as solid evidence.

      • What about “modern miracles,” such as technology that grants sight and medicine that literally brings back the dead? Not even half a century ago these would be regarded as miracles, but they are 100% man-made using our ingenuity with no divine intervention. Similarly, olden time “witchcraft” was from the opposite Power, but was simply ideas that were not understood.