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Religious Discussions Thread!

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I'm not good at making new threads...

 

So this is where, with a respect for each other's beliefs (or lack of beliefs), discuss the huge topic of Religion!

 

So what do you believe?

What makes you religious or non-religious?

What do you think about other religions?

What are some of your good or bad experiences with religious people?

 

Again, please be respectful, I already feel like I'm opening Pandora's box.

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To start, I try to respect other's belief systems, but that doesn't mean I won't try and give them knowledge of others.

 

I am a Catholic. This is a subdivision of 'Christian', but only since the advent of the protestant churches. (prior to that, Catholic and Christian were interchangeable)

 

I'll let others go from here.

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I'm a Christian, but I'm not the type to go around 'converting' people. I think everyone has their own beliefs and must be respected. You can believe in the flat-earth theory for all I care. :P I'll still let you think whatever you like.

I'm not hugely religious, I'm really an extremely casual Christian. I don't like going to Church, don't like worshiping or praying aloud. But you pick up a lot of kind motives from religion, and reading the Bible makes me feel quite relaxed. People say all the time that Science and Religion are completely opposite. But I beg to differ. You can sure as hell be a scientist and religious at the same time. Just researching and investigating the way the world works can strengthen your idea of there being a creator to all of it. My theory is that the big bang theory DID happen, but was caused by God, and kinda shaped around that. So, he kind of nudged certain events to finally create the beginning of man. :) Which is where the Bible starts off from. But that's just my idea. It combines what we know of today, and also the faith and beliefs of God, so win-win? :P

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Looks like our views are pretty similar Jeb, although I'm maybe a bit more "extreme" in my casual-ness.

 

As a Reverend of the Church of the UshankaCat, I believe that... okay, just kidding.

I believe that everything in the Bible is metaphorical. So the earth wasn't made in literally six days, it just means that to God, billions of years are like just one day. Even the Pope seems to agree!

So the Bible is not a history book, but my interpretation even goes further than that: Is God himself maybe just a metaphor? A metaphor for fate? This is where I imagine people will think I'm going a bit too far, but I call myself Agnostic Christian. To me, not the question whether God exists or not is what is important about religion, but the morals that the Bible is trying to teach you through its metaphors, like "learn to forgive your enemies" (which I think is one of the most important morals of the Bible). Fyodor Dostoyewski (my favourite author!) famously said "If anyone could prove to me that Christ is outside the truth, and if the truth really did exclude Christ, I should prefer to stay with Christ and not with truth" and I think that is going in the right direction.

So if you want to honour God, just do what he says and be nice to other people.

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So the earth wasn't made in literally six days, it just means that to God, billions of years are like just one day.

Except the bible flat out says that... It's not a metaphor when it says it plain as day.

 

The bible deals with all the events that happen from the beginning of time, but only give a way to measure it from the point at which Adam and Eve left the garden. This doesn't mean that the Earth is 6000 years old, just that it's been 6000 year since Adam and Eve left paradise. Of course, prior to that , there was no death. (and there is plenty of evidence to support the theory that anti-creationists are faking the fossil dating system, simply to discredit the bible)

 

If you'd like to go into this subject feel free to ask.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

On the topic of what I think is true, regardless of all else...

 

God is love. God sent his 'Son' (a part of himself) to die for our sins. Sin hurts man, not God. God loves us so much that he allows us to sin, despite not wanting us to hurt ourselves.

 

Anything beyond these is really a matter for the individual; how they get closer to God, and stay away from sin. (the 10 commandments are merely a loose list of the things that hurt us, whether we realize it or not)

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I practice Shinto and worship the kami. For those who don't know, Shinto combines many values of Buddhism and Confucianism, some of them being karma, betterment of one's self, and the value of family above all else with spirit and ancestor worship.

 

For my thoughts on other religions the main three that I have the biggest opinions on are Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam.

I think that Jews are too self centered and greedy, Catholics interpret their bible too literally, and Muslims are too prone to violence.

 

As for my experiences with other religious people it's mostly them telling me I'm going to burn in hell for not believing in the Christian god.

My husband who is a protestant christian believes in the new testament and that the bible is a collection of stories that are meant to teach the moral attached to them, and that the ten commandments are a set of guide lines of how a good person should act, not a defacto set of rules that one must follow to the death.

Another thing that he believes is that science can not replace God nor can God replace science. Neither can fill the void the other will leave if one was removed because replacing science with God is what caused the dark ages, and replacing God with science is what has created the degenerate society of today filled with neo-communism, political correctness, and a disturbing lack of mortality with with groups like BLM attacking random people and assassinating police.

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I practice Shinto and worship the kami. For those who don't know, Shinto combines many values of Buddhism and Confucianism, some of them being karma, betterment of one's self, and the value of family above all else with spirit and ancestor worship.

 

For my thoughts on other religions the main three that I have the biggest opinions on are Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam.

I think that Jews are too self centered and greedy, Catholics interpret their bible too literally, and Muslims are too prone to violence.

 

As for my experiences with other religious people it's mostly them telling me I'm going to burn in hell for not believing in the Christian god.

My husband who is a protestant christian believes in the new testament and that the bible is a collection of stories that are meant to teach the moral attached to them, and that the ten commandments are a set of guide lines of how a good person should act, not a defacto set of rules that one must follow to the death.

Another thing that he believes is that science can not replace God nor can God replace science. Neither can fill the void the other will leave if one was removed because replacing science with God is what caused the dark ages, and replacing God with science is what has created the degenerate society of today filled with neo-communism, political correctness, and a disturbing lack of mortality with with groups like BLM attacking random people and assassinating police.

Catholics aren't the ones who take the Bible literally (at least in terms of the Church itself). The Vatican tends to support the ideas of evolution and the Big Bang. Granted, it's a big group, so there's certainly a wide variety of stances on the subject (for instance, like BTG's stance on literalism, as an example of how stances can vary among Catholics). That's why I generally enjoy Catholicism myself, since it is often very academic in it's theological approach, especially in the modern era.

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Catholics aren't the ones who take the Bible literally (at least in terms of the Church itself). The Vatican tends to support the ideas of evolution and the Big Bang. Granted, it's a big group, so there's certainly a wide variety of stances on the subject (for instance, like BTG's stance on literalism, as an example of how stances can vary among Catholics). That's why I generally enjoy Catholicism myself, since it is often very academic in it's theological approach, especially in the modern era.

+1

 

If you have any questions about what the Catholic church teaches, please ask me... If I don't already know, I would be happy to find out. (the more I know, the less I don't know, and that's always good) :)

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I'm Agnostic, IMHO you can't know whether god exists or not and I think that sort of debate misses the point of what religion is about entirely. Sure it might mention something about the afterlife but I believe that religion has more so to do with a way of life then anything else. Religion is about teaching a way of life, it's values and it's stories as a means of conveying those values. From my perspective whether god does/doesn't exist is completely irrelevant.

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I'm purposefully agnostic but do lean slightly towards atheism, albeit of a deeply uncertain sentiment and mostly due to life experience and a secular upbringing. I find dogmatism and certainty in fundamentalists utterly baffling and tend to hold the notion of faith (both for or against any belief system) as deeply suspect. I find aspects in all religions and philosophies that enthrall and appall me in equal measure, that's the paradox of being a committed agnostic. One is drawing from everybody else's teachings only to further convince oneself of one's deep-set unknowingness. I suppose I'm a proponent of ignosticism (with an "I" rather than an "A") in that like it's more well-known theological counterpart, ignosticism is a more deliberate and conscious stance for the impossibility of affirming or denying God's existence. It posits that to argue either way is a fundamentally flawed endeavor and ultimately an unattainable goal.

 

It's the closest argument I've personally read to effectively "answer" the question of divinity, even though ironically it's crux lies in the premise that it defends no other stance - religious or otherwise; nor even it's own premise. The core point raised by ignosticism leaves me feeling stumped for a better response and it's something I've come to enjoy pondering.

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Yeah, felt like this thread would pop up eventually.

What I believe:

Currently christian, charismatic. Believe that God still moves today and does stuff, and actively seek out/ask for gifts of the spirit, which come naturally from just knowing and getting closer to God/developing a better relationship with Him.

 

What makes me religious:

Well, basically a chain of events led me to showing up at a church one day sophomore year of highschool, and there I felt a love I had never felt before, and learned all sorts of cool stuff. Previously I would say I'd believe in God just to meet the status quo, and didn't give it much thought.

 

My thoughts on other people's beliefs:

Hmm. Yup, they exist. If they wanna hear about Jesus or seem open to stuff from the bible I'll tell them about it. Oft times I'll tell them about it without even mentioning the bible, like how Jesus would tell how the kingdom of heaven works through parables. Otherwise people can believe what they will, I'm not here to preach to everyone and their mom, nor will everyone accept me.

 

Good/bad exp with other religious people:

I hear/met a lot about "white witches" and stuff that don't actually do anything :/. Besides that heathens (the people that literally refer to themselves as heathens) are actually surprisingly cool and well grounded. Hmm, I also met a dude who practiced magic and he was cool too, albeit he had some problems we worked through. Hmmm....Perhaps an unpopular statement, but I've met a lot of people claiming to be christians yet if tried in a court of law they wouldn't be able to themselves as one. And one last outlier would be when I volunteered at a kids camp once and they were taught to speak in tongues as a proof of the holy spirit. Imo, I feel that's kind of a faux pass for real fruits, but it isn't really my business what they do. Besides that, most everything falls into normal parameters and is well and good.

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Only a small percentage in any religion deals with the matter of God and theology.

About 90% of them is pure ideology.

 

Ideologies are for cotrolling people, so - you establish the ultimate authority figure - God in the case of a religion. Then you define who is vested with the power to translate that authority to the common people - the clergy.

 

Then you codify the behaviour you want and set the loyalty tests that your adherents must pass on ongoing basis, and - this is important - you set out how those adherents are supposed to financially support the clergy, who can't be expected to work for a living AND do the communications with the Boss on a full time basis, can they?

 

Finally, you define that failure to observe the rules means disobeying the ultimate authority figure - God - and that will entail a severe punishment commanded birectly by Him (through the clergy, of course).

 

And - there you go. You have a religion for yourself.

 

And the question of what or who God is, what is the purpose of life and everything - well, it gets somewhat sidelined in the process.

 

Regards

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Ideologies are for cotrolling people, so - you establish the ultimate authority figure - God in the case of a religion. Then you define who is vested with the power to translate that authority to the common people - the clergy. [...]

Well, we Protestants don't really have a clergy, and in a way we don't really fear that "ultimate authority", since our God is a God of forgiveness who loves all people as long as they do good things. And that is our ideology- Be a good person and you'll be rewarded.

I really don't understand why you sound so pessimistic about religion since its purpose (unless it is abused) is to give people a way to improve themselves, to learn stories of love, friendship and forgiveness (even if only fictional) and figure out how to imitate them to make themselves better people.

Sounds like you've had some bad experience with religion, because it is really not about anyone conrolling other people, it is about you controlling yourself.

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I really don't understand why you sound so pessimistic about religion

I am not pessimistic. I am being reallistic and maybe a bit cynical.

I know that societies cannot function without an ideology and if you try to build a society without one it will be taken over by the most base and brutal and aggressive ideology that will come by first.

So - religions are important.

But we must not forget about their purpose - which is to control people on the moral level. Compare with the purpose of the state, which is to control people on the legislative and fiscal levels.

That is why the separation of religious and secular authorities is so important for a progressive society. Can't concentrate all power in one pair of hands...

 

Just - don't forget... Even in your Protestant faith... The money to built the kirchen has to come from somewhere too, so it's not all just about spiritual self-improvement. It never is just about that...

 

Regards

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Well to be fair, churches are built for the communities, and a lot of the money is also used for charity. And they're all donations anyway, so nobody is really expected to give money.

But of course I understand what you mean. Religion is an easy target for people who only care about their own financial gain, and I don't doubt that often it is used just for that.

 

I also understand where you see people being "controlled on a moral level". I still think the word "controlled" is a bit too strong, but if you really consider the morals that the Bible wants to teach- would that even be such a bad thing? I think you'd have to agree that "Do not kill, do not lie, be polite, help those who need help, do not pursue revenge, but instead learn to forgive, etc." already are, or at least should be, society's most basic morals!

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Well, I don't see it all as a necessarily bad thing. Controlling people, making them conform to some set of rules is absolutely necessary for a successful world. And if you can rely on self-control and moral values - that's a very good and efficient way of doing it.

 

But the problem is that, inevitably, those people who are in control are tempted to turn it so they can benefit from that personally. Which is what happens with all religions and with all governments too... So...

 

I suppose, the point I am trying to make is that people should realise that religions consist of these different parts and be wary of the potential for corruption.

 

Also - it is important to understand that every religious book is written by men and not by spirits or supernatural beings and there is a very earthly reason for why they were written that way. One should be very careful when trying to apply these writings as if they were the absolute truth. Because, of course - they aren't.

 

Filtering the underlying set of core values from the fluff which only serves to support the interests of those who wrote the books - that is the difficult part, though...

 

Regards

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I have yet to meet a good priest that said not to question the Catholic faith... Actually, every single one I know has said the exact opposite. Ture, some faiths don't like people looking too deep, and some people in certain faiths are still human and don't like when people question their teachings, but that doesn't mean they're all that way.

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I think that Jews are too self centered and greedy, Catholics interpret their bible too literally, and Muslims are too prone to violence.

This pretty much

They're generalizations, of course, but they wouldn't exist if they didn't have some truth to them

 

As for me, I'm an atheist

I don't hold any ill will towards religious people and religion has had very little effect on my life so I just see it as a thing that exists, that I just can't understand for the life of me.

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I'm an atheist, but in saying that please don't associate me with the "New Rationalist" bollocks that has come to mean atheism these days.

 

I'm purposefully agnostic but do lean slightly towards atheism, albeit of a deeply uncertain sentiment and mostly due to life experience and a secular upbringing. I find dogmatism and certainty in fundamentalists utterly baffling and tend to hold the notion of faith (both for or against any belief system) as deeply suspect. I find aspects in all religions and philosophies that enthrall and appall me in equal measure, that's the paradox of being a committed agnostic. One is drawing from everybody else's teachings only to further convince oneself of one's deep-set unknowingness. I suppose I'm a proponent of ignosticism (with an "I" rather than an "A") in that like it's more well-known theological counterpart, ignosticism is a more deliberate and conscious stance for the impossibility of affirming or denying God's existence. It posits that to argue either way is a fundamentally flawed endeavor and ultimately an unattainable goal.

 

It's the closest argument I've personally read to effectively "answer" the question of divinity, even though ironically it's crux lies in the premise that it defends no other stance - religious or otherwise; nor even it's own premise. The core point raised by ignosticism leaves me feeling stumped for a better response and it's something I've come to enjoy pondering.

 

I'm not comfortable being in the position of philosophical uncertainty that you've described, but I like the implied idea of tolerance in your views. I don't suppose you're a reader of Charles Fort?

This video sums up most of what I think of religion. There are also other issues as well, but the main thing is there.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3rGev6OZ3w

 

 

That's a rule about religion: ask too many questions and you will be asked to leave.

This is a reductive argument. The idea that religious people are somehow ignorant of worldly affairs and more prone to bigotry is a toxic misunderstanding of faith read through a materialist viewpoint. It depends in part of the particular religion and on the character of each particular worshipper. Not everyone who attends a church checks in their brain at the door, and as such not all religious leaders and worshippers will demand absolute obedience of thought.

 

I have yet to meet a good priest that said not to question the Catholic faith... Actually, every single one I know has said the exact opposite. Ture, some faiths don't like people looking too deep, and some people in certain faiths are still human and don't like when people question their teachings, but that doesn't mean they're all that way.

I liked this point enough to highlight it. Catholic clergymen have a reputation for being very sceptical of supernatural and extranormal matters, and reading any books and essays on paranormal subjects will often reveal a lot of Catholic contributors who are well versed on it. I think their faith is stronger for it and their investigations of weird phenomena more grounded and healthily cautious, but in a more open-minded way rather than the narrow Dawkins new atheist way.

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