Undoubting Olivian

The title comes as the opposite for “Doubting Thomas“.

I was shown a video on atheism vs. believer discussion on 9Gag (I won’t link to it, though).

My thoughts on this? (You can deduce the original affirmations from my reply)

***

I once went to an skeptiks conference in Bucharest. Sometime after, I went to record, as a volunteer, an Orthodox event.

One participant at that event told one of the organizers that I previously went to the skeptics’ conference.

Two thoughts:

  • What was the crime? I see no issue. Attending does not mean anything, I just watched.
  • The participant – I didn’t know, it was anonymous. But the main organizer confronted me, and I had some higher expectations on this.

I don’t think I’d go today to the skeptics’ conference. But I also don’t see a big problem with this. Did I do wrong? From one perspective, see below, yes. But it’s my personal problem.

Care este a șaptea poruncă bisericească?
Să nu citim cărţile ereticilor.

You shouldn’t read heretical books, though.

***

“Should I believe or not in God?” is not on my mind too much.

I don’t ask myself very much this question.

I will try to give a reply below, but the question is rather external to me.

When I have big dilemmas, on clear subjects, on old issues, I look for answers in other parts than my mind.

The dilemma has been tackled a lot by others.

***

There’s a short story, which I don’t find right now, about a person who is asked – “Do you have this sin? Yes. And the other? Yes. Do you have the sin of not believing? No, that one I don’t”.

The quote is very approximate.

***

How can you handle the question “Why should I believe?”

If you’re looking for emotional reasons, I’d consider reading “Happiness diary” by Nicolae Steinhardt.

He writes in such a way, that you might fall in love with the writing.

Another option is a blogger – pr. Ioan-Florin Florescu Ꙉ. (I advise you have a browser extension which helps make the articles more easy to read)

If you’re looking for emotional reasons, I’d look to the titles of some of the videos of Bishop Robert Barron.

Some reasons to consider:

  • First martyrs in Christianity died for their belief;
  • The Bible might be considered an incredibly well-written text;
  • Physics start from the assumption that there must be some laws governing the Universe.

On another hand,

Când Kierkegaard scrie că Dumnezeu nu vrea să se arate sub chip extravagant, orbitor și obligator de uriaș papagal roșu, el parafrazează doar cuvintele de la Luca 17, 20-21: „împărăția lui Dumnezeu nu va veni în chip văzut și nici nu vor zice: Iat-o aici sau acolo. Căci, iată, împărăția lui Dumnezeu este înlăuntrul vostru.”

(Jurnalul Fericirii)

***

About the argument that you have many options, you can believe in different Gods.

Circles

Some people see belief as a circle split in two (image B). On one hand, you have a lot of beliefs, and on another hand you have atheism.

But what if the circles are like in image A, where each segment is rather equal? In this way, atheism is not 50%, but 1/whatever the number of beliefs.

When you say you don’t play video games, you’re like in image B. But what if 5% of people play Solitaire, 10% chess, and so on, and non-players are 5%? It’s like figure A.

Also, about picking a certain game – when you play Solitaire you don’t obsess over the fact that other play Chess, Rummy, or Scrabble. You just play a game and enjoy it, without worrying what other games feel about your choice. You enjoy the moment.

***

I don’t consider religion and science to be contradictory.

There are some things in Orthodoxy that are difficult to be explained by science. I don’t mind that.

That’s not a central theme for me.

***

“Ar trebui sa incercam sa traim in asa fel incat, dacas-ar pierde Evanghelia, numai privindu-ne cineva, ea sa poata fi scrisa dinnou”. Mitropolitul Antonie al Surojului

***

What appears in the media about Orthodoxy, and what you tend from living outside might be different than how you live it.

I think it’s a very profound thing.

„Mii de draci mă furnică văzând cum este confundat creștinismul cu prostia, cu un fel de cucernicie tâmpă și lașă, o bigoterie, ca și cum menirea creștinismului n-ar fi decât să lase lumea batjocorită de forțele răului, iar el să înlesnească fărădelegile dat fiind că e prin definiție osândit la cecitate și paraplegie. […] Nicăieri și niciodată nu ne-a cerut Hristos să fim proști. Ne-a chemat să fim buni, blânzi, cinstiți, smeriți cu inima, dar nu tâmpiți.”
(Nicolae Steinhardt)

 

Nenorocirea este că veacuri de-a rândul — și acum mai mult decât oricând -până și oamenii de bună credință (mai ales ei) văd în creștinism un fel de vag și blând cretinism, bun pentru bigoți, creduli și ființe pierdute cu firea.

În vreme ce e clocot, e scandal, e „curată nebunie”, mai îndrăzneț și mai exigent decât orice teorie extremistă de aventură, e happening — e cel mai formidabil happening.

[…]

Nu înțeleg cum de nu văd pelerinii aventurilor și petiționarii fericirii că trec pe lângă ceea ce caută. Eu unul văd creștinismul ca pe un hiper acid lisergic și o versiune mai „tare” a unor cărți ca Arta de a fi fericit sau Cum să reușești in viață a lui Dale Carnegie.

(Nicolae Steinhardt)

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