kevin wrote:If you have a belief and you are convinced of it, then you can't also accept the opposite of it as true. Both at the same time can't be true, that's just classical logic.
There's nothing inherently mutually exclusive about beliefs that seem to contradict each other. Paradoxes are commonly used to describe how incomprehensible God is, and although I understand it's meant metaphorically and those kinds of things are intended to strengthen one's faith, the fact is that there is no 100% objective evidence of the existence of anything supernatural or spiritual. For some that's a reason to not believe in anything, but I believe it just means that whatever spiritual there is out there, it's so incomprehensible to us that we can't agree on even the most basic things about it. Maybe there's one God, maybe there are more, I don't see the point in arguing about it. I don't really care if it means I'm insane, but I don't believe there even is such a thing as mutual exclusivity when it comes to spiritual things; all the different religions and personal experiences of people being so different just makes it sound like there are as many possibilities as there are people.
But I mean, the only thing I can be convinced of is that something
has saved my life twice when I've tried to kill myself; once when I was 15 and once about a year or so ago. There's no proof that there was anything miraculous about it, of course, the first time especially since no one was around, and the second time there were only two cops that took me to a hospital and only one of them really paid attention. Somehow, no matter how hard and how deep I cut my arms, they literally stopped bleeding in like a minute or two and by the time I saw the doctor, there were barely any scratches left, and the cop that saw the cuts earlier was pretty much speechless. I know there are scientific explanations like adrenalin and that I somehow managed to not hit any veins or whatever, and apparently my shitty diet and malnutrition and whatnot may have had something to do with it (a year earlier, I was hospitalised for deficiencies of potassium and pretty much everything else, and the doctors were concerned my heart could just stop at any second; I still don't really think it was that serious, since I felt fine throughout the whole thing except for my legs being really weak and vomiting and shit, and I've eaten vitamins and shit since in addition to eating more healthily and more), and all that shit together just made me fail at suicide miserably. But still, I can't explain it in any other way except that I was for some reason prevented by something from killing myself, even if it was through perfectly normal things that just stacked together. The first time, especially, since I remember very little about it except that I went to bed, cut my left arm as much as I could, and tried to fall asleep hoping I'd never wake up. Instead, I woke up (if I even fell asleep) and the cuts were gone but there was blood all over my arms and some on the sheets and stuff.
For what it's worth, I'm not fooling myself into believing it could only have been God or an angel or something. It could be Satan for all I know, which wouldn't be very nice, but I don't completely reject the possibility of that having been the case. It also doesn't really bother me that much to be open about my mental health issues and all that, since I'm fine now (except for extreme fucking social anxiety (only in person, thankfully) and some other minor stuff), which I do consider partially to be because I believe in something.
If I'm going to hell when I die, for whatever reason (maybe if it was Satan or some demon or ghost or whatever that saved my life and I had to sell my soul unconsciously in that process or whatever, I don't even know if it's something I believe in being possible but I'm not arrogant enough to claim that it's impossible), that's something I can't do anything to fix. I don't believe people can kiss their ass to heaven, at least not me personally, and that only God decides what happens after death individually; maybe that makes me a megalomaniac, since it means at some point in the future God will personally notice my existence, but I don't think of God as a personal entity that works in any way like humans and has to think about things. I believe in a truly omnipotent and omnipresent God that doesn't have to be one with, part of or separate of the world; something omnipotent and omnipresent can be all three at once even if they seem mutually exclusive to our existential worldview.
kevin wrote: So what you can, and should, do is accepting that someone else holds a different conviction, but you can't accept it as equally true without giving up your own conviction.
Sure I can, as can everyone else. Syncretism and henotheism are things, you know. I don't pray much, but when I do, I pray however and to whatever I feel like at the moment; usually some abstract God that I don't even think about beyond as something that may help me with whatever I feel like I need help with at that moment, even ridiculously pointless things like my internet connection being shitty for a few hours. It's not something I expect to help, for God to be some magical electricity dude or an intestinal relief manager that can make me stop having diarrhoea or whatever else, and I don't really take praying seriously, except when I do it. I don't care if it's stupid or even offensive to all religious people in the world, because it doesn't seem stupid to me in that moment.
kevin wrote:(Forced conversion doesn't even work, by the way. Making someone say they are a Christian doesn't make them a Christian.)
Uhhhhh... do you even history?
kevin wrote:Christian missionaries won't hand out a Koran to people, but if they do read it, what could the missionary do? Point a gun at them or something? (Assuming for a moment that you're right and they want them to stop reading it - which is not an assumption I'm sure I agree with.)
They might... although more often in the opposite situation these days, but still.