I normally don't like writing much about this topic on the internet, and personally find it kind of awkward, but oh well.
when I was younger, I was more like "don't know, don't care", neither leaning strongly towards belief or disbelief in these areas.
did note eventually that I cared some about morals though, not so much arguing specifics, but more sort of a general "there is a right, there is a wrong, people should do things that are right and avoid doing things that are wrong" sense (which generally aligned pretty well with traditional views).
eventually started looking into religions some, more or less all of them at once, stumbled into some areas which sort of "went terribly wrong".
initially I saw it more as an information-gathering and experimentation exercise, trying to resolve first-hand "what was the case", and "stuff got scary".
ended up going with Christianity (more specific "generic non-denominational Protestantism, I guess"), as it best matched my general beliefs and existing general moral beliefs, and with the various possibilities was generally the "safest bet".
like, while it is hard to really be certain what is correct, it is at least easier to rule out what is "most likely not correct" (basically, all the obviously "weird" stuff...). even within the landscape that is "Christendom" there are things that basically scare me off (like, I find that I prefer to stay well clear of people like Charismatics and Pentecostals, as it looks a bit too much like the things that scared me away from the other religions...).
I still seem to float sometimes between "believing with a sense of conviction" and "hell if I know".
and, sometimes floating around in the area that is morals and doctrine, sometimes seeing it from inside the system, and sometimes externally as if it were all a big system (more similar to how one sees things like code and file-formats, like as a big collection of information, largely itself isolated from whether or not it is "real"). sometimes "getting into it" and other times "burning out on it".
like, my natural "reality" is not based on absolutes, but rather seemingly a big network of various pieces of information, and it is hard to really have any conviction that anything in particular is "fact" (more "seems most likely the case at the moment").
then I am left to realize if I look "outwards", my external reality then becomes more about responding to whatever comes up, when it comes up, often as it is seen via the lens of whatever seems right or wrong or good/bad, and finding that often my personal beliefs about the greater universe have little bearing in an immediate sense, vs seeing the "here and now" mixed with responding to various people and the events in their lives (people doing good and bad things, and good and bad results coming to them resulting from their actions, ...). (*4)
and, while a person can go and engage in bad behavior, often all it will do is bring bad results, and I am left to think "how can it be good for people to promote or try to justify behaviors which seemingly do little beyond bring bad consequences on those who do them?...". (like, even ignoring the "greater truths", there is such a thing as a self-destructive lifestyle... and things that may come back to bite one later...).
(like "greater reality" vs "does it effect what I am doing right now?" or "can I eat it?" or similar...).
*4: don't need supernatural explanations or "crazy rules" here, consequences of actions will typically come on their own, much like heavy smoking and drinking leading to health problems (like, it doesn't seem like such a strange thing to assert that if a person "parties hard" on a regular basis, sleeps around with whoever comes along, ... then consequences may come along as a result... and they will have no one to blame but themselves...). like, using some discretion "just makes sense" IMO.
nevermind an of mine absence of much ability to really come up with any satisfactory answer on morals:
the more conventional moral-language explanations tend to not make much of any real sense to me personally (*1);
my personal attempts to come up with systematic explanations are "weak" and don't usually go over well if I try to explain them (can be explained as "philosophical language word soup", "an informal set of algorithms", or by comparing it to traditional economics and accounting theory, *2).
*2: "egoistic pragmatic utilitarianism" was one term used to describe it (as a meta-ethical model, basically avoiding the traditional problems/instabilities of more traditional "altruistic utilitarianism" by assuming that each actor in the system evaluates the model individually and from the perspective of maximizing their own personal benefits from relationships and interactions with other). alternatively it could be compared with classical economics with elements of accounting thrown in. it seemed to sort of work (as an predictive model), but tends to go over "like a lead brick".
*1: it is sad when trying to read this stuff almost wish they were rather reading a EULA or something...
(luckily, at least doctrine tends to be a little better in the "at least it basically makes sense" thing...).
then, there is all the stuff which seemingly goes beyond my abilities to really understand, ... ("meta" stuff...).
sometimes this then gets worrying, like maybe I "should" understand a lot more of this stuff, but ultimately I don't, and for better or worse, I am limited to what sorts of stuff I understand.
but, what stuff I do understand, can basically be taken at face value.
sort of like, I don't really understand math that well either, but to what extent it is relevant to the task at hand, it can be used...
like, if you know the basic behavior of various operators, and how to do basic algebra-type stuff, good enough (it is rare to see a problem that goes much beyond the capabilities of high-school level algebra), and my seeming inability to make any real sense of what a "set" actually is or what it does or how it works, has rarely effected much...
(sort of like trying to make sense of the whole "love" thing, both in the religious and interpersonal relationships sense...).
then on the other side of the debate, there is lots of people who seem to have little better to do than sling insults or assume that "Christian"=="Young Earth Creationist" or similar (when not everyone is a YEC, like, some of us more lean towards things like "guided evolution" and similar), or people claim that all religious people hate science, or whatever...
sadly, to some extent it mostly boils down to "cross ones' fingers and hope for a good outcome"...
yeah, hardly a shining example of piety it seems...
but, if a person can accept things like the Nicene Creed and similar at face value, maybe it is at least a starting point...
Edited by BGB, 16 October 2013 - 01:45 AM.