1. Hmmm . . .
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    20 Aug '15 19:472 edits
    I think the word “believe” causes some confusion, both for Christians and non-Christians responding to its use by Christians.

    When the KJV translation was done, I think it still meant “to hold dear”, and was not a bad (albeit perhaps somewhat poetic) translation of pisteo. And it would have been perfectly coherent to say something like: “I believe X, but I’m not totally convinced that it’s true.” Other English translations (such as the NRSV) have generally kept the KJV rendering.

    —That is why I like Young’s Literal Translation of Hebrews 11:1, for example: “And faith is of things hoped for a confidence, of matters not seen a conviction.” Faith, then, is a matter of hope and an attitude of active confidence (trust), not a matter of knowledge or certainty, no matter how strong the conviction.

    From John Ayto, Dictionary of Word Origins:

    Believing and loving are closely allied. . . . [reference to Late Old English and prehistoric West and Germanic words] . . . This meant ‘hold dear, love’ and hence ‘trust in, believe’, and it was formed on a base, *laub-, which also produced, by various routes, English love, lief ‘dear’, leave ‘permission’ and the second element of furlough.” (Italics in original.)

    It still can have that meaning—i.e., to “hold dear”—(especially in this context), but the conventional modern meaning has become “to regard or think something as true (factual)”, or “to hold an opinion”. And I do think that has affected some modern theological views, wherein the word “believe” carries that kind of epistemological understanding. (Unfortunately, this notion carries over into conventional dictionary definitions of “faith” as well.)

    Now, normally, one places their confidence (faith) in what they “believe” (think) to be true—but I think that hope is also sufficient to activate faith.
  2. SubscriberGhost of a Duke
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    20 Aug '15 20:08
    Originally posted by vistesd

    Now, normally, one places their confidence (faith) in what they “believe” (think) to be true—but I think that hope is also sufficient to activate faith.
    I think i would be happier in theological discussions if Christians merely 'hoped' that God existed. Hope is something an atheist can understand, and there is probably a part of me that also hopes God exists. (*Convincing and unequivocal evidence definitely required to fulfill that hope). Hope is something we have in common and is a good foundation for constructive dialogue.

    'Believe' however is a different kettle of fish. There is no constructively talking to a Christian when they say they 'believe God exists.' Belief in this context (to an atheist) can only be 'blind' due to being unsubstantiated by tangible evidence. 'Believe' holds hands with 'truth' and there is no talking to a person who believes they hold the truth, especially when that truth has divine origin.

    A Christian really has no business believing in God. They should be polite to atheists and merely hope he exists. (That would be the Christian thing to do).
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    20 Aug '15 20:231 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I think the word “believe” causes some confusion, both for Christians and non-Christians responding to its use by Christians.

    When the KJV translation was done, I think it still meant “to hold dear”, and was not a bad (albeit perhaps somewhat poetic) translation of pisteo. And it would have been perfectly coherent to say something like: “I beli ...[text shortened]... at they “believe” (think) to be true—but I think that hope is also sufficient to activate faith.
    The New World Translation of the Holy scriptures translates the text this way and
    appears to me to give a very accurate rendering -

    Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of
    realities though not beheld. - Hebrews 11:1

    The following commentary may be of some interest in this regard -

    The word “faith” is translated from the Greek piʹstis, primarily conveying the thought of
    confidence, trust, firm persuasion. Depending on the context, the Greek word may also
    be understood to mean “faithfulness” or “fidelity.”—1Th 3:7; Tit 2:10.

    The Scriptures tell us: “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident
    demonstration of realities though not beheld.” (Heb 11:1) “Assured expectation”
    translates the Greek word hy·poʹsta·sis. This term is common in ancient papyrus
    business documents. It conveys the idea of something that underlies visible conditions
    and guarantees a future possession. In view of this, Moulton and Milligan suggest the
    rendering: “Faith is the title deed of things hoped for.” (Vocabulary of the Greek
    Testament, 1963, p. 660) The Greek word eʹleg·khos, rendered “evident
    demonstration,” conveys the idea of bringing forth evidence that demonstrates
    something, particularly something contrary to what appears to be the case. Thereby
    this evidence makes clear what has not been discerned before and so refutes what has
    only appeared to be the case. “The evident demonstration,” or evidence for conviction,
    is so positive or powerful that faith is said to be it.

    Faith is, therefore, the basis for hope and the evidence for conviction concerning
    unseen realities. The entire body of truths delivered by Jesus Christ and his inspired
    disciples constitutes the true Christian “faith.” (Joh 18:37; Ga 1:7-9; Ac 6:7; 1Ti 5:8)
    Christian faith is based on the complete Word of God, including the Hebrew Scriptures,
    to which Jesus and the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures frequently referred in
    support of their statements.

    - Insight on the scriptures, Volume 1 courtesy of jw.org
  4. Standard memberchaney3
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    21 Aug '15 04:25
    Originally posted by Ghost of a Duke
    I think i would be happier in theological discussions if Christians merely 'hoped' that God existed. Hope is something an atheist can understand, and there is probably a part of me that also hopes God exists. (*Convincing and unequivocal evidence definitely required to fulfill that hope). Hope is something we have in common and is a good foundation f ...[text shortened]... ould be polite to atheists and merely hope he exists. (That would be the Christian thing to do).
    I am currently one that 'hopes' God exists. In my opinion, the issue of 'tangible evidence' comes from the firm proof that 'some' Christians have in the Bible. Their entire proof stems from the reading of the Bible. I know that you (Ghost) are well versed in what is in the Bible, yet....you do not view it as proof. I am curious why some people can read the Bible and 'believe' every word of it, and yet others can read the exact same text, and not believe most or any of it.

    I have recently seen a documentary on a 1980's plane crash where over 200 soldiers died. It was decided that 2 separate teams would investigate the crash to make sure that a cause was found. Long story short: Each team was given all of the same evidence of the crash, and both teams came away with 2 entire theories of what happened. One team was certain that a bomb exploded in the luggage department, and the other team was 'as' certain that extensive icing on the wings was the cause. The point is that given the exact same evidence, they could not agree.

    I think the same is true of the Bible. Some will say that the Bible is the only proof needed to know God, and others will read the same book, and wonder how the others can 'believe' what is in the Bible.

    Good post Ghost....and good OP vistesd. A 'hope' that God exists seems a great place to start.
  5. SubscriberFMF
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    21 Aug '15 04:41
    Originally posted by Ghost of a Duke
    I think i would be happier in theological discussions if Christians merely 'hoped' that God existed. Hope is something an atheist can understand,
    I doubt that many of the Christians here will go for this. After all, 'I hope I am immortal' comes across far, far weaker than 'I believe I am immortal'.

    People who flex their ideological muscles in discourses here by equating their beliefs (on supernatural issues, anyway) with "the truth" [or even "The Truth"!] are unlikely to downgrade the subject of all their sincerity and certainty to something that they merely "hope".

    Your admission, that you perhaps hope there is a God, might make an interesting thread.
  6. SubscriberFMF
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    21 Aug '15 04:46
    Originally posted by chaney3
    I have recently seen a documentary on a 1980's plane crash where over 200 soldiers died. It was decided that 2 separate teams would investigate the crash to make sure that a cause was found. Long story short: Each team was given all of the same evidence of the crash, and both teams came away with 2 entire theories of what happened. One team was certain that a bomb exploded in the luggage department, and the other team was 'as' certain that extensive icing on the wings was the cause. The point is that given the exact same evidence, they could not agree.

    The teams most likely had different agendas and/or interests to serve. If this hasn't been factored into the account of the discrepancy between their findings, then you may have missed the actual practical moral of your story as it relates to the interpretation of evidence.
  7. Standard memberchaney3
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    21 Aug '15 04:51
    Originally posted by FMF
    [b]I have recently seen a documentary on a 1980's plane crash where over 200 soldiers died. It was decided that 2 separate teams would investigate the crash to make sure that a cause was found. Long story short: Each team was given all of the same evidence of the crash, and both teams came away with 2 entire theories of what happened. One team was certain th ...[text shortened]... missed the actual practical moral of your story as it relates to the interpretation of evidence.
    You are making an assumption, possibly to cause drama? There was no proof or evidence that each team had a different motive, other than to find the cause of the crash.

    My point was valid and crystal clear FMF. That given the exact same 'evidence', people can come away with different conclusions. Whether that be from a plane crash, or the evaluation of the words in the Bible.
  8. SubscriberFMF
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    21 Aug '15 04:58
    Originally posted by chaney3
    You are making an assumption, possibly to cause drama? There was no proof or evidence that each team had a different motive, other than to find the cause of the crash.
    What makes you say there was no proof that they had different agendas? In almost all air crash investigations there are enormous pressures bearing down on the investigation teams, even more so when there is more than one team and where teams serve different masters.

    Weak airline security, flawed planes, terrorists getting away with attacks, reputations of gigantic companies, and more besides, can all be 'life and death' matters both commercially and politically, and it can sometimes all ride on what the team "finds".

    Take a look at your story again and see what I mean.
  9. SubscriberFMF
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    21 Aug '15 05:03
    Originally posted by chaney3
    That given the exact same 'evidence', people can come away with different conclusions. Whether that be from a plane crash, or the evaluation of the words in the Bible.
    I definitely think it's worth bearing in mind the agendas of the interpreters and not just the evidence. RJHinds, for example, dismisses all evidence that contradicts his agenda - which is a highly ideological and partisan one and does not concern itself with a search for truth, per se.

    Your plane crash story was most likely about agendas and the evidence is secondary in so far it was simply something manipulated for the purposes of furthering agendas.
  10. Standard memberchaney3
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    21 Aug '15 05:07
    Originally posted by FMF
    What makes you say there was no proof that they had different agendas? In almost all air crash investigations there are enormous pressures bearing down on the investigation teams, even more so when there is more than one team and where teams serve different masters.

    Weak airline security, flawed planes, terrorists getting away with attacks, reputations of gi ...[text shortened]... imes all ride on what the team "finds".

    Take a look at your story again and see what I mean.
    I will concede FMF, I have no idea what 'agendas' they may have had. I was merely trying to make a point that it is quite possible for people to view 'evidence' of anything, and come away with different points of view.

    Apologies vistesd. I did not want to steer this thread away from your OP. However, my initial attempt was valid regarding the Bible. I am quite interested in why a vast amount of people hold the Bible as PROOF of God, while others do NOT see the same.

    Theoretically, if you remove the Bible from the equation, what 'proof' or tangible evidence (as Ghost said), does one have that they 'know' God?
  11. SubscriberFMF
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    21 Aug '15 05:18
    Originally posted by chaney3
    I am quite interested in why a vast amount of people hold the Bible as PROOF of God, while others do NOT see the same.
    As a revelation by a God figure regarding His nature and his wishes, the Ancient Hebrew/Christian breakaway one [as laid out in the Christian Bible] is, for many people, simply not convincing. It seems completely bodged and incoherent ~ although not to those who subscribe to it, obviously. Do you really not understand why some people believe the Bible and others don't? Your incredulity comes across as an affectation.
  12. SubscriberFMF
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    21 Aug '15 05:19
    Originally posted by chaney3
    Theoretically, if you remove the Bible from the equation, what 'proof' or tangible evidence (as Ghost said), does one have that they 'know' God?
    There are other religions in the world apart from Christianity, Do you count their scriptures as evidence too?
  13. Standard memberchaney3
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    21 Aug '15 05:25
    Originally posted by FMF
    As a revelation by a God figure regarding His nature and his wishes, the Ancient Hebrew/Christian breakaway one [as laid out in the Christian Bible] is, for many people, simply not convincing. It seems completely bodged and incoherent ~ although not to those who subscribe to it, obviously. Do you really not understand why some people believe the Bible and others don't? Your incredulity comes across as an affectation.
    You have admitted that at one point, YOU were a Christian.....and, now...you are not.

    So, at some point in the past, you 'believed' in the Bible. What happened? Would you like to share how your belief in God, and the Bible collapsed? It could have some meaning here.
  14. SubscriberFMF
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    21 Aug '15 05:311 edit
    Originally posted by chaney3
    So, at some point in the past, you 'believed' in the Bible. What happened?
    I lost my belief in it. Without belief in the Bible, one can no longer self-identify as a Christian.
  15. Standard memberchaney3
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    21 Aug '15 05:35
    Originally posted by FMF
    I lost my belief in it. Without belief in the Bible, one can no longer self-identify as a Christian.
    That was my point exactly!!!! If you remove the Bible from the equation, then humans have no idea who exactly is up in 'the heavens'.

    Maybe I am a fool, but.....your answer seemed quite humble and honest. Would you care to say why exactly you 'lost' your belief? What happened?
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