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Thread: Are Faith and Success related?

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Are Faith and Success related?

    Do you think that people who are successful are more likely to be faithful in a religious or spiritual way?

    I am keeping this as broad as possible realizing that everyone has a different idea of what faith is and what success is. Success can be anything from having a great family to owning a corporation and faith is subscribing and in the quest to further understand or participate in understanding a force beyond our own actions.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Do you think that people who are successful are more likely to be faithful in a religious or spiritual way?

    I am keeping this as broad as possible realizing that everyone has a different idea of what faith is and what success is. Success can be anything from having a great family to owning a corporation and faith is subscribing and in the quest to further understand or participate in understanding a force beyond our own actions.
    I'm almost inclined to consider this a rhetorical question, but yes. Absolutely.

    I think the gist of this thread pretty much revolves around what each individual understands the meaning of 'faith' and 'success' to be.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Sort of

    I don't think people who are religious or spiritual are necessarily more successful in a professional sense- in fact, I think that sometimes the opposite may be true in a cut-throat world. Some relativism helps people make compromises needed to succeed.

    On the other hand I do think there is a connection between having an overall values framework - religious or not - and happiness. Having some absolutes in your worldview make it a lot easier to sleep at night. So if happiness is success, I guess the answer is yes.

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Gosh, I hope not.

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Business success is affected by EQ so much more than IQ, and maybe "faith" in the broadest terms (so that even a valued, confidant atheist can fit in) can affect one's sense of peace with who they are.

    There are so many variables. How do you define success? Being promoted? EArning more money? Or just being happy in one's avocation? If it's the latter, than being at peace with who you are is critical and that is often affected by strong faith (again, an atheist could be at peace with who they are and have faith in their godless value system).

    My own observation is that those who feel they have to announce they're moral Christians all the time are the least honorable. Something about their need to establish their morality publically really hides a conflicted soul. Those most at peace with who they are don't need to tell the world; they're OK with how they feel about themselves and don't need outside validation. Also, we can tell they are moral people by their actions, which speak for themselves. If you have to tell people you're moral in order for them to know, you aren't.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CosmicMojo
    My own observation is that those who feel they have to announce they're moral Christians all the time are the least honorable. Something about their need to establish their morality publically really hides a conflicted soul. Those most at peace with who they are don't need to tell the world; they're OK with how they feel about themselves and don't need outside validation. Also, we can tell they are moral people by their actions, which speak for themselves. If you have to tell people you're moral in order for them to know, you aren't.
    Yeah, neither Jesus and Socrates had much use for 'pious' gits. TRUE.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Yeah, neither Jesus and Socrates had much use for 'pious' gits. TRUE.
    I think that you bring up a very good point. Most of the Saint did things that were far from what the church would approve of and their biggest miracle was the transformation of their direction in life.

    As for how success and faith can be defined, I think it is in the eye of the beholder. For example, a person who subscribes to a faith that is in complete contrast of my own may also have ideas of that success are that would also be in complete contrast. If he achieves his goals, then in his eyes he is successful. It is all about perceptive, and what a person believes.

    But there are people who don’t really try to connect with anything and have no real belief system. You will hear people say that they don’t know, and that they don’t really care, are these people less likely to achieve success in other aspects of their lives? Maybe their apathy towards things related to faith in some standing will actually sabotage their desire to succeed.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    But there are people who don’t really try to connect with anything and have no real belief system. You will hear people say that they don’t know, and that they don’t really care, are these people less likely to achieve success in other aspects of their lives?
    NO, of course not. Just because they don't believe in magic or god or mysticism don't mean they don't do good work, have values, behave morally, or succeed at their goals. Maybe they believe in the laws of physics, the scientific method, Democracy. They act morally because it's the right thing to do to one's neighbor, not because they're trying to assure their access into heaven. You make a huge mistake to assume you are superior just because you have a "real" belief system.

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    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CosmicMojo
    NO, of course not. Just because they don't believe in magic or god or mysticism don't mean they don't do good work, have values, behave morally, or succeed at their goals. Maybe they believe in the laws of physics, the scientific method, Democracy. They act morally because it's the right thing to do to one's neighbor, not because they're trying to assure their access into heaven. You make a huge mistake to assume you are superior just because you have a "real" belief system.
    Agreed. I am of the faithless (Universist), yet I am at peace with myself and consider myself to be a good person. I also don't think it has any effect on my success in life.
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    There was a beautiful essay posted on the NPR webpage by Penn or Teller entitled "Why I don't believe in god" for their "This I believe" series.

    You believers, don't think it's sarcastic or rude, it's all about how he wants to do the right thing. It's a very beautiful moral essay about his strong calling to be a good person. And the series has mostly religious references, so Penn's (or Teller's) essay is a nice compliment. I would hope it would teach most believers that atheists ARE good people with deep morals, because I know deep down most of you do not believe that.

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    Interesting topic-one I am struggling with quite a bit recently.

    Quote Originally posted by CosmicMojo
    NO, of course not. Just because they don't believe in magic or god or mysticism don't mean they don't do good work, have values, behave morally, or succeed at their goals. Maybe they believe in the laws of physics, the scientific method, Democracy. They act morally because it's the right thing to do to one's neighbor, not because they're trying to assure their access into heaven. You make a huge mistake to assume you are superior just because you have a "real" belief system.
    This is all true, especially since the magical thinking is not based on much reality and can in many cases has led to harmful, as well as positive, actions in the real world. Too often, these magical systems of thought are merely used to justify the normal competiive nastiness of our primate bands

    At the same time, I actually think M'skis is right in that it may be "easier" (not using the word disparingly) to have a traditional religious faith to fit into society-and this can lead many people to have more of a sense of purpose and be more "successful.". Interestingly, of course, the standard materialist Western definition of "succeess" is different than the teachings of many of our religious "gurus," but....There are cultural cues, community values, and "answers" to the ultimate questions of life and death. Not everyone needs these "answers" (which are answers only in the sense of faith) many atheists even reject the "need" to answer the "what happens after death" or the "ultimate purpose of my life" questions. But, most people do.

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Adding: the essay is by Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller), search for that at NPR if you're interested.

    Here's an excerpt:

    "Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around."

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CosmicMojo
    NO, of course not. Just because they don't believe in magic or god or mysticism don't mean they don't do good work, have values, behave morally, or succeed at their goals. Maybe they believe in the laws of physics, the scientific method, Democracy. They act morally because it's the right thing to do to one's neighbor, not because they're trying to assure their access into heaven. You make a huge mistake to assume you are superior just because you have a "real" belief system.
    My apologies because I don’t think that I worded it clearly. I do wonder about is people who just don’t have anything in regards to faith and if that slows their ability to succeed.

    I agree that a person does not need to be faithful to be moral, and more so, faithful people are not always moral. Additionally, a people who subscribe to their own idea of faith may have a very different concept of morality.

    Additionally I am not making judgement about people who have different belief systems, just asking a question that I think would bring about a good conversation. As for a real belief system, every belief system is real and many of them contradict each other. A person could believe that once we die, that’s it, nothing more, but that is their belief and to them, it is very real.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I do wonder about is people who just don’t have anything in regards to faith and if that slows their ability to succeed.
    It's because you're been taught that "faith=religious belief" and that without religion we'd flounder.

    But there are other types of faith than religious belief and they provide a good support system. That's why I posted about Penn's essay, it says beautifully that an atheist has strong beliefs about the world, about his obligations to behave morally, and about his obligations to the community.

    Someone who doens't believe in god DOES have beliefs, they just aren't religious beliefs, so most ministers would say he doesn't have beliefs because they don't gel with his definition of beliefs.

    And it IS a good converstaion. Maybe afterwards, we'll all be a little more understanding of others.

    Jillette's essay:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=5015557

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    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CosmicMojo
    Excellent read. Thank you very much for posting that
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jread
    Excellent read. Thank you very much for posting that
    Yes, thank you! What an excellent essay.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CosmicMojo
    It's because you're been taught that "faith=religious belief" and that without religion we'd flounder.

    But there are other types of faith than religious belief and they provide a good support system. That's why I posted about Penn's essay, it says beautifully that an atheist has strong beliefs about the world, about his obligations to behave morally, and about his obligations to the community.

    Someone who doens't believe in god DOES have beliefs, they just aren't religious beliefs, so most ministers would say he doesn't have beliefs because they don't gel with his definition of beliefs.

    And it IS a good converstaion. Maybe afterwards, we'll all be a little more understanding of others.

    Jillette's essay:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=5015557
    If you don’t mind me asking, what do you believe?

    For me, I was raised in a Protestant (Lutheran) Church but stopped attending church in Jr. High. Then became Catholic my last year of college. Before I became Catholic, I did my own search for where I felt I needed to be, and read brief overviews on everything from Hinduism, Buddhism, and several other ways to find what ever it was I felt that I was missing. So in my mind, faith is equal finding something that allows for inner peace in an otherwise chaotic world.

    My answer to the first question of is there a connection; I don’t think that there is a direct correlation, but an indirect one. People who are able to find the inner peace that faith can bring are more successful than those don’t have that inner peace.

    Good article too! Thanks for the link.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    If you don’t mind me asking, what do you believe?
    Oh c'mon, Mskis...unless one professes to subscribe to one of a relatively limited number of established creeds (and even then further clarification is probably required), they aren't going to be able to answer that question with just a word or without some unreasonably lengthy explanation. Would you like the compiled report of all learning and experience I have processed over my lifetime? I thought not.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Faith brings inner peace, which brings happiness and success, yes.
    But many "beliefs" can lead to faith, not just religious beliefs.

    The Golden Rule. Some Element is found in most religions, but in and of itself doesn't require a belief in God. That's a fine foundation for moral behavior and one's place in the world that brings peace and doesn't require a belief in God.

    I don't think someone's religion is important. I believe that's a personal relationship and making it public cheapens it.

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    If you don’t mind me asking, what do you believe?
    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Oh c'mon, Mskis...unless one professes to subscribe to one of a relatively limited number of established creeds (and even then further clarification is probably required), they aren't going to be able to answer that question with just a word or without some unreasonably lengthy explanation. Would you like the compiled report of all learning and experience I have processed over my lifetime? I thought not.
    That's not why I didn't answer though.
    I was trying to find the right words to say "that shouldn't matter and if I answer I"m only reinforcing the belief that I should have to answer."

    I'm still working on it, though.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CosmicMojo
    Faith brings inner peace, which brings happiness and success, yes.
    But many "beliefs" can lead to faith, not just religious beliefs.

    The Golden Rule. Some Element is found in most religions, but in and of itself doesn't require a belief in God. That's a fine foundation for moral behavior and one's place in the world that brings peace and doesn't require a belief in God.

    I don't think someone's religion is important. I believe that's a personal relationship and making it public cheapens it.
    So can I take it as your answer is “no, there is no relation to success and faith.”
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
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    I like this portion of Miriam-Webster's definition of "faith:"

    firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

    Faith does not have to be related to God or a specific religion. I prefer to think of it as "hope."

    As Andy Dufresne said in the Shawshank Redemption: "Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And a good thing never dies."

    Ya gotta put your faith in something or someone....

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    So can I take it as your answer is “no, there is no relation to success and faith.”
    No, you aren't getting what I'm saying. Lemme try again.

    There is no correlation between religious belief and success.
    There can be a correlatin between success and faith, which may or may not include religious belief.

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    People who are able to find the inner peace that faith can bring are more successful than those don’t have that inner peace.
    What if you reach that inner-peace without any faith? Realizing and accepting that no one man actually knows anything beyond the material world can bring about a certain amount of peace.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CosmicMojo
    No, you aren't getting what I'm saying. Lemme try again.

    There is no correlation between religious belief and success.
    There can be a correlatin between success and faith, which may or may not include religious belief.
    Oh, ok. I think that is a very good answer. I agree with the faith does not equal religion aspect.
    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    What if you reach that inner-peace without any faith? Realizing and accepting that no one man actually knows anything beyond the material world can bring about a certain amount of peace.
    I think that you can have faith in realizing that you don't know.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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