Mrs. Keradon wrote:
I've had visions, not small things, but something that completely overwhelms my senses to replace them with a different environment. To make them more impressionable, they were also given to me while awake and not while dreaming.
What sort of visions were they? Where did they happen? Did you nod off and forget you did? The vision may have seemed very real and overwhelming, but this means nothing in and of itself. Dreams can be very vivid, and there are other explanations for a vision besides spiritual visitation or whatnot. (Like, say, a tumor. Might I recommend a CAT scan?)
One vision tried to tell my I was pregnant, it wasn't until the test came back positive later that I understood.
Would you provide details of the dream? What aspects of the dream predicted your pregnancy? Are you sure it wasn't a case of retrodicting the dream; interpreting the details after the fact to claim that the dream was prophetic*? You said you didn't understand until afterwards, which strikes me as a good indicator the original dream was unclear and open to such interpretations.* Or, you know, whatever the word is for "telling things about the present you don't know" as opposed to "telling things about the future"?
I've also had visions of a being that I haven't seen before the vision. Though afterwards it wasn't hard to find the same being in ancient artwork that before I had no need or desire to study.
What was the being? What was the artwork? Did the culture with the art have any particular relation to your current beliefs? Are you sure you'd never seen it before at all? Are you sure you didn't misremember the vision later and get it confused with the artwork? Memory can be tricky, particularly with dreams. And, not to insult the artistry of ancient people, but a lot of the beings I've seen in ancient artwork tend to fall into the category of "people, deformed people, people with animal parts, people with extra parts, animals, insects, etc.". These are not exactly things that a mind run rampant would have difficulty coming up with.
For many years I've had this little voice in the back of my head prodding me to be not just a priestess but a High priestess of my faith(which is wiccan for those that didn't know).
Lots of people have the desire to become advanced in their field. It's why people get PhDs and become CEOs. It doesn't mean there was any outside influence, except maybe society encouraging people to be all they can be.
(And if it was a real voice... see above regarding that CAT scan.)
I joined a coven and worked as a dedicant for some time until that coven had a major split up. Then through a tarot reading I had a friend do I got the heavy hint again that it was a good time to start my own coven.
What were the details of the reading? Tarot and other divinations methods are notoriously vague and open to interpretation. If you'd already been thinking a lot about starting your own coven, you might have interpreted the reading as such. The person was your friend, and may have known you wanted to start a coven, and incorporated that into the reading.
My faith is well justified with small coinedences surrounding the group when rituals are performed
What sort of coincidences? And what is so special about the coincidences that leads you to believe they were related to your rituals?
and the strong fellowship and bond formed in the short time we've worked as a group.
That happens with any group sharing similar beliefs, though. Christian churches have similar bonds, as do Islamic mosques, as do IRC channels. It's sociology.
Probably depends on how those things get resovled. The bank could find that the error was completely on their end and resolve it in my favor. Any problems with my husband may also be resolved and land back at square one only with me being more wary but still having faith.
They were merely examples for a larger point; it would still be possible for things to happen that would cause you to lose faith (i.e. trust) in the bank or your husband. Perhaps they'd have to be more extreme than my examples: for instance, him wanting a divorce, or the bank sending you a message about your account saying very clearly "NO MONEY FOR YOU". These beliefs are still based on past experience with banks and your husband.
When you know what a rack of antlers and hooves feel like
I imagine it'd feel roughly like having four feet with giant toenails and a head with two giant bones growing out of it.
or can remember what it feels like to fly with your own feathered wings, then you might understand.
Remembering those things proves nothing. Both strike me as easy enough to dream about with enough information and imagination, particularly the hooves and antlers thing, which would amount to having heavy feet and a headache. I've dreamt of a lot of things which I've never done and yet my brain was able to create a convincing sensation. While they may have been vivid and pleasant dreams, it shows nothing beyond that your brain is creative.
And what were you doing with wings and antlers, anyway? What sort of dreams or visions were they? Do you believe you were actually in an animal's body, or was it just a vision?
It's beyond a gut feeling, I can still remember a dream I had where I myself was a goddess though only a minor one, and fading at that.
It's still a dream. I once dreamed I was in Hell. I still don't believe in it. Even if the dreams are vivid, it says nothing about the validity of the belief.
I am not christian so can not answer about the christian faith.
Those were more for Kit than you; I tend to clump all my rants into one post.
I can say a good part of my faith is placed in the fact that with life must come death, light comes darkness, summer comes along with winter. With out the bad we will never enjoy the good.
How is it faith to accept those things? We can see them every day. We have empirical evidence of these things.
Why people believe their faith or dogma is the only correct way and everyone must follow or die, is still something I would like to know myself.
Because their dogma says so, usually.
In the sake of the balance, they may just exist to conter those happen to believe and not need to have everyone follow the exact path.
It probably stems from the originators of those dogmas, who taught xenophobia as a way to keep the population under control, or to keep tribal identities, or whatever. No reason to invoke a sense of cosmic balance, just human sociopsychology at work.
And finally I have to ask, can anyone prove without a doubt logically or with material proof whether or not there is a God?
The concept of deities in general? No. As I said, there's no such thing as a 100% proof in the real empirical world. It's possible there's a god out there who has decided to provide no evidence it exists, doesn't care if we believe it does or not, and doesn't give a rat's ass what happens to us.
Certain deities and belief systems, though, are based on self-inconsistent premises; they contradict themselves. Omnibenevolence and hell are both attributed to Jehovah, but based on the very definitons of those terms, the definitions of "love" and "pain" and "punishment" and "suffering", they are contradictory; a god who loved everyone as much as Jehovah says he does would not make people suffer if he didn't have to. These sorts of deities disprove themselves logically by contradiction. But a deity in general? No, it can't be disproven. But no one has given any credible evidence for such a being. Most evidence tends to fall into the categories of:
- Pointing at holy texts, which are invariably written by fallible humans, and which invariably claim divine inspiration. But no one actually goes to the effort to prove* such books are divine; they just assert as such because the book itself says so. And in many cases the books contradict either what we know of the world, or themselves.
For instance, the events depicted in the first few books of the Bible (the Patriarchs, the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, etc.) are known to not be actual events, but folklore, likely written down in 7 BC, based on anachronisms in text and archeological evidence, such as "this city wasn't around at the time this story involving it was supposed to take place".**
Also, the genealogy of Jesus
is an instance of the Bible contradicting itself.
- Arguments from incredulity: "I don't know how to explain it, therefore God did it!" Usually heard in conjunction with such things as the origin of the universe, life, the capacity for rational thought, consciousness, apparent miracles. Simply because no one knows exactly how the universe started, or how exactly the lady down the road from the church got over her debilitating illness, does not mean you can just go "Ha, you all don't know, so I'm right! God did it!"
- Personal "revelation", which is more easily explained by what we know of human psychology, neurobiology, and so on. (If you heard some famous preacher say "God has told me to run for President and take back this nation for the Lord!", which would be more likely, that an Iron Age Middle Eastern tribal god actually cared about the political aspirations of someone who wasn't one of his chosen people and told him to run for president, or that he simply had a dream built around his desires for power and the tenets of his religion?)
- Wishful thinking. Not even so much as evidence as emotional rhetoric. Many religous people think their lives would be meaningless without God, that life has no point if there's no afterlife, that there just has
to be some sort of justice in the universe, and so they assert that there has to be a God, saying that if there were no God, they wouldn't like the way things would be. But this is all logical fallacy; the universe does not have to work in a way that suits you.
So far, all the arguments I've seen for the existence of gods fall into these categories, and none of them holds up to scrutiny. As such, I do not believe in a god, and believe that it is a very good possibility that no such thing exists.
an article I found useful in this regard. (Well, kind of. It's a good read anyway. This
is less related but it's good too.)
However, I seem to have turned this away from the main topic, which was that faith itself can or can not be a valid basis for a belief system. And I will assert again that it can not: faith, in the religious sense, is the belief that something can be true despite a lack of empirical evidence to support it, despite empirical evidence against it, and is believed to be true regardless of what the evidence shows.
* Okay, okay, not "prove", since we can't do that. "Provide enough substantial evidence to support the claim so that it would be unreasonable to deny".
** The Bible Unearthed, by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. Good book. Do read it.