PDA

View Full Version : The Religion Thread



Gail Simone
09-28-2010, 08:43 AM
Without judging one another, or being mean, please...

...how big a role does religion play in your life, currently?

Kevinroc
09-28-2010, 08:45 AM
None at all.

I don't even know if any kind of supernatural entity exists and I don't spend a lot of time thinking about the unknowable.

scout1279
09-28-2010, 08:56 AM
I'm quite happily agnostic and have a real problem with any sort o organized religion, but Catholicism, even with my lax family, was a big part of my upbringing. I'm never really going to let a lot of the things it instilled in me go.


For example, the overwhelming sense of guilt I carry around with me, that's not likely to go away any time soon.

BClayMoore
09-28-2010, 09:01 AM
Without judging one another, or being mean, please...

...how big a role does religion play in your life, currently?

None, beyond an awareness of how it impacts history and the world around me.

I have no problem with spirituality, but I'm pretty much anti-church.

-BCM

Kevin T Brown
09-28-2010, 09:02 AM
On a scale of 1-10..... about a -5.

stevapalooza
09-28-2010, 09:15 AM
None. But I was raised Catholic so it's hard to live a life completely free of superstitious dread.

Impulse
09-28-2010, 09:17 AM
I'm agnostic leaning towards atheist, but strongly humanist. That make sense?

Longer version - I largely don't care about religion or God, gods, etc. I honestly think it's impossible for us to know either way in this life if there is any creative force in the universe, divine or otherwise. I don't stress the details either way. That said, I have a strong disdain for many religious practises - the way the Catholic church treats homosexuals, bisexuals, women, and the way it outright LIES about and prevents sexual health measures in the areas that need them most; or how certain religions have forced marriages, that sort of thing. That all pushes me towards the atheist angle - if people do all that in the name of their God, that's a god I want no part in.

The humanist part comes from believing that people should do good for each other because it's the right thing to do, not because theology tells them to, and I thoroughly and vehemently reject the notion that one MUST be religious to do good.

Shisho
09-28-2010, 09:50 AM
Comfortably agnostic, uncomfortably atheist. (Depends on the day.) Also, in some ways I'm very anti-organized religion, in some ways I'm very interested in religious philosophy.

Edit: So to answer the question, it plays a role in my life only peripherally.

Tegan
09-28-2010, 11:51 AM
Hmmm. I was raised very religious, but no longer consider organized religions to be reliable or reasonable. So I would probably be considered apostate by my former religion although I haven't got any particular issues with the religion, just the people in it and how they choose to interpret it. I kind of follow Kipling's opinion of it: http://www.online-literature.com/frost/913/

As for how it affects my life... I don't pray much, but I suppose I believe in God. I guess the whole thing has a fairly minor impact on me now, but that impact is deep and fundamental.

Phantom Eagle
09-28-2010, 11:56 AM
Spirituality, lots. Religion, none.

Lester C.
09-28-2010, 11:59 AM
My faith rates a strong ten but my belief in any organization is 0. What is interesting is that despite my jaded nature when it comes to organized religion I will still view nonchristian religions with ethnocentrism. For example I love Buddhists for many reasons most of which revolving with how they live and how comfortable they are with themselves and their relationship to the universe. And yet I almost lost it on a chat room when someone argued how when a kid dies of cancer it occurred from a lesson they failed to learn in a previous life. To be fair Christans have a version of this as they were idiots saying that God punishes heathens who aren't of the true faith.

Phantom Eagle
09-28-2010, 12:02 PM
Yes, faith seems beautiful until it acts stupid. Then it just seems dumb. Quite a conundrum.

Stressfactor
09-28-2010, 12:16 PM
After a while of being away from "church" part of my faith I have, finally(!) found a church in my denomination that isn't about sitting in the pew and playing "Bertha better than you" and casting aspersions on everyone else.

I got so tired of the hypocrasy every where I went in the churches in my area where they were gay bashing and in one case Jew bashing and trying to convince people that Christians are being persecuted here in America and then I ran into one where the pastor stood up and said basically, "It isn't enough to talk the talk you've got to walk the walk and that means loving everyone -- even the people you hate or disagree with. It means, if you have enough then you give to those who don't and if you don't have the money then you give your time."

Whenever there happen to be five Sundays in a month then that fifth Sunday is designated in particular a "service Sunday" and there is no church service -- instead the chuch picks three or four charities -- like habitat for humanity or the local food pantry or even the local no-kill animal shelter -- and parishoners are encouraged to show up in work clothes and there is a short prayer and then everyone divides up amongst the charities and carpools to the charities and offers their time. Of course, the church arranges things in advance so the charity knows they are coming. And then they spend the day, or at least a few hours doing what needs to be done -- whether that be improving or building houses or helping to stock the food pantry shelves or washing the shelter dogs so that they can be adopted. They make a point of reminding people that animals are part of God's creation too and we have a duty to help them as well.

It's particularly nice that the church has a sub-line running through of also emphasizing being good 'stewards of the Earth' by encouraging recycling and sustainable agriculture, and care of animals and such.

It's a really nice church and I like it.

Phantom Eagle
09-28-2010, 12:19 PM
After a while of being away from "church" part of my faith I have, finally(!) found a church in my denomination that isn't about sitting in the pew and playing "Bertha better than you" and casting aspersions on everyone else.

I got so tired of the hypocrasy every where I went in the churches in my area where they were gay bashing and in one case Jew bashing and trying to convince people that Christians are being persecuted here in America and then I ran into one where the pastor stood up and said basically, "It isn't enough to talk the talk you've got to walk the walk and that means loving everyone -- even the people you hate or disagree with. It means, if you have enough then you give to those who don't and if you don't have the money then you give your time."

Whenever there happen to be five Sundays in a month then that fifth Sunday is designated in particular a "service Sunday" and there is no church service -- instead the chuch picks three or four charities -- like habitat for humanity or the local food pantry or even the local no-kill animal shelter -- and parishoners are encouraged to show up in work clothes and there is a short prayer and then everyone divides up amongst the charities and carpools to the charities and offers their time. Of course, the church arranges things in advance so the charity knows they are coming. And then they spend the day, or at least a few hours doing what needs to be done -- whether that be improving or building houses or helping to stock the food pantry shelves or washing the shelter dogs so that they can be adopted. They make a point of reminding people that animals are part of God's creation too and we have a duty to help them as well.

It's particularly nice that the church has a sub-line running through of also emphasizing being good 'stewards of the Earth' by encouraging recycling and sustainable agriculture, and care of animals and such.

It's a really nice church and I like it.

:D

Right on. Enjoy.

Teal_Lantern
09-28-2010, 12:22 PM
I'm a devout Muslim, and often times, I am extremely dissapointed in what other Muslims do in the name of my faith.

But I did manage to find a pretty tolerant mosque and enjoy going there to listen to the Kuthbahs when I have the time.

Jef UK
09-28-2010, 12:24 PM
I'm a devout athiest intent on spreading the good word of evidence-based thinking.

dasNdanger
09-28-2010, 12:29 PM
Pretty big, actually.

das

michealdark
09-28-2010, 02:09 PM
Pretty big.

DarkKnightJared
09-28-2010, 09:10 PM
I'm agnostic leaning towards atheist, but strongly humanist. That make sense?

Longer version - I largely don't care about religion or God, gods, etc. I honestly think it's impossible for us to know either way in this life if there is any creative force in the universe, divine or otherwise. I don't stress the details either way. That said, I have a strong disdain for many religious practises - the way the Catholic church treats homosexuals, bisexuals, women, and the way it outright LIES about and prevents sexual health measures in the areas that need them most; or how certain religions have forced marriages, that sort of thing. That all pushes me towards the atheist angle - if people do all that in the name of their God, that's a god I want no part in.

The humanist part comes from believing that people should do good for each other because it's the right thing to do, not because theology tells them to, and I thoroughly and vehemently reject the notion that one MUST be religious to do good.

Basically this--I wasn't really raised without much of religion, so I never really had any religions put into my brain besides what I've researched, and what I've researched pretty much convinced me that I probably won't find any answers in a church.

Hate_Prime
09-29-2010, 04:15 AM
No religion and against the idea of religion in and of itself. And I do not think religion is some special ideology that it ought to automatically be treated more delicately than any other ideology.

Nick Graham
09-29-2010, 06:09 AM
A significant role. Actually I would say faith plays a significant role, not so much religion. I mean, organized religion was what killed Christ, when you think about it. I think that little fact flies over the head of a good chunk of people who consider themselves to be Christian.

I was raised going to church, but around the time I was 17 or 18 I started to really question why I had the beliefs I had. I realized the core reason was that I had been indoctrinated into them basically from birth, and that I needed to decide for myself if I was going to continue down that path or not. For a number of reasons, I made the choice of faith. Without writing a post the length of a small book, there were some significant experiences in my life that led to that choice. One big factor was that when I was 13, I had a massive, Howard Hughes level attack of OCD, which I still deal with to this day with the help of modern medicine. When you are an immature 13 year old kid and your brain goes completely rogue on you (oh how I hate using the term "going rogue" now), and you are quite literally losing your mind, there is not much that can comfort you. My faith was all I had to keep hope alive that things would get better. Say what you will, but with the help of faith I didn't lose hope during the time modern science required to straighten out my crossed neural wires. A trial like makes you realize the value of faith.

I'd like Clay to clarify his "anti-church" stance, out of strict curiosity. Church can be a horrible thing or a great thing - it can be a loudmouth on a stage preaching the Fox News/James Dobson gospel, or it can be people of faith getting together, sharing their problems, supporting each other, and challenging each other to be better people. The key is to find the latter amongst the glut of the former.

Honestly, I would just challenge people to read the three Gospels, even if they consider Christ to be a totally fictional character. When you actually read the teachings of Jesus, you find that they are in complete contradiction to the teachings of the people you see on TV who claim to be Christians. Love, non-judgment, and turning away from violence and vengeance are the primary tenets, though you'd never know that from listening to Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell/Republican Politicians/etc. There's actually a good doc on Netflix streaming right now called "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers" that I would recommend on this subject.

Kedd
09-29-2010, 09:02 AM
No religion for me. It's a flawed system and I lost my faith in it a while ago. I'm not really an atheist. I guess my view on god/religion is mostly apathy. If god exists, it probably doesn't care as much about us as we do about it.

kon-el kent
09-29-2010, 10:23 AM
Growing up in a Modern Orthodox Jewish household, religion was a central aspect of my life until very recently. After high school I spent 3.5 years studying in a yeshiva. There I was totally immersed in religious study. Several years ago I began to really doubt my belief in the laws and beliefs of Orthodox Jewish doctrine. Despite, or maybe because of my detailed knowledge of the laws, a religious life just didn't ring true anymore. Over time I stopped observing the laws and holidays. Today I would consider myself agnostic.

Despite all this I would say religion still plays a part in my life since both the majority of my friends and my family are still Modern Orthodox Jews.

The Funketeer
09-29-2010, 01:02 PM
Pretty important to me but it's a personal faith and I don't push it on others.

My mom was raised Catholic. My dad is agnostic/athiest. I was raised in a Congregational church. I'm still a member but have pretty much become a Christmas/Easter Christian and even then I haven't been to a service since my daughter's baptism 2 years ago.

For me, a church is not necessary to practice religion. It serves a social and educational purpose but if you're not looking for either of those things and are not in need of spiritual guidance there's not much point in going. While I'm still officially a member of the church I was baptized and married in, I don't feel a connection to it anymore. I was in the choir and an active member of the youth group but most of the people who worked there or who came up with me are gone. I grew up in a very affluent community and can not afford to live there so it's also about 45 minutes away from our house.

I'll probably find another church for our family to join when my daughter is old enough for Sunday school but for now we're find sleeping in on Sundays.

BnL
09-29-2010, 03:23 PM
My family was not especially religious, but we did attend church services on rare occasions. I remember always being a bit creeped out by it. Most of the churches I've been to have been so dark and gloomy. Those dreary hymns didn't help, either.

I think I've always been a bit suspicious of religion, even when I was very young. It was kind of an instinctual rejection. I remember telling classmates in kindergarten that I didn't believe in God.

As I got older, I started to learn more things that just confirmed my non-faith. When I began to realize I was gay, I had no anxiety about God damning me to hell. In retrospect, I'm very grateful for the fact that I'm not religious, because I know that there are so many gay people who really had to struggle with fear of religious condemnation.

I used to consider myself an atheist, but a friend of mine pointed out that it's possible that there is some kind of "higher power" in existence, even if it bears no resemblance to any deity described in any religion. I had to concede this point. It's a big universe. Even if I think it's unlikely, I shouldn't rule out the possibility that there is some kind of cosmic force somewhere out there. So I guess I'm technically agnostic?

These days, I spend a lot of time being frustrated with religion. I see how much harm it is doing all over the world, all throughout history, in ways big and small. But at the same time, I hear stories about how faith has helped people through times of crisis, how it's motivated them to do good things, how it's allowed them to forgive, etc. I can't discount all these things. It's stuff like that that keep me from just wishing that religion was never invented.

Cam63
09-29-2010, 05:33 PM
I blaspheme regularly.

spidey_mon
09-29-2010, 10:34 PM
I'm Muslim, I love my religion, every now and then and I feel more attached to it, I see things that make me happy I am Muslim, and feel upset seeing and hearing of idiots acting violent in the name of religion, in the name of my religion most of all

I can't say I don't care what religion any of you follow, it is quite a sacred duty to convince as many people to do what is right according to our laws, so I work on it as much as possible, and try to avoid violent conversations

So many of you are atheists, no Buddhists? Well, as long as you are nice and don't have hate for a certain race or religion because of some idiots among them, you're cool in my book

(akaRyanHoffman)
10-02-2010, 12:20 AM
I'd say I'm a naturalist. I don't believe in the supernatural. That said I believe ethics are important and that the golden rule, "treat others like you want to be treated yourself" is a fantastic ethic to live by. And that basic ethical idea is the backbone to most ethics that we find important. I find too often people use their religious beliefs to justify the hateful, vile and prejudice ideas they adhere to. And I find those ideas are too often justified in those religious texts.

Jim Ritchey
10-02-2010, 02:22 AM
My Karma ran over my Dogma.

God is Love, and Thou Art God encompasses the sum total of esoteric religious thought, so i'm definitely a Humanist. I'm VERY fond of Qabballah, Sufism and Taoism, and have a strong affection for Hinduism, Krishnas, Tibetan Buddhism and Bon. I know a lot about religion, but as a rule can't stand it, dislike faith, but feel a connection to all life--and take every meaningful coincidence as a personal message from the Universal Mind. I love heresy against any orthodoxy--scientific or religious; if you don't find what you believe ridiculous at times, there's no JOY in what you believe--and joy and enlightenment go hand in hand. Big fan of Aleister Crowley, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and Alan Watts.

You may ask--how do I feel about God?

She's got a lot of 'splainin' to do.

Tyr
10-02-2010, 04:01 PM
Without judging one another, or being mean, please...

...how big a role does religion play in your life, currently?

A noble effort Gail, but it's likely a futile one, its only a matter of time before someone pisses someone else off.

bert
10-02-2010, 04:04 PM
Without judging one another, or being mean, please...

...how big a role does religion play in your life, currently?

None. . except as a club my Dad can use for the guilt.

("when was the last time you went to Sheul?" "you DO know that Rosh Hoshanna begins at sundown, right?" etc. . )

but hey, we wouldn't be Jews if he wasn't good at using the guilt card.

:)

BnL
10-02-2010, 04:05 PM
A noble effort Gail, but it's likely a futile one, its only a matter of time before someone pisses someone else off.

It's three pages into a 5 day old thread, and it hasn't happened yet. Why would you assume that it's going to?

Tyr
10-02-2010, 04:09 PM
It's three pages into a 5 day old thread, and it hasn't happened yet. Why would you assume that it's going to?

It's about religion ain't it? It will happen eventually, just like politics.

Jim Ritchey
10-02-2010, 04:54 PM
It's about religion ain't it? It will happen eventually, just like politics.

Keep yappin', you (obviously!) Odin-Worshiping Scum!

;-)

ayhe
10-02-2010, 05:02 PM
I studied many of them, and chose to take the best part of each. ^-^
I believe in God, and I like praying to my favourite angel, the Archangel Michael.
Discussing about religion with friends or strangers, sometimes, is like entering a battlefield. Each side usually is so obssessed on 'being right' that it ends in a non merciful way...

I say: live and let live :D

Cam63
10-02-2010, 05:21 PM
Beera... give me strength !

Ship
10-02-2010, 05:41 PM
Beera... give me strength !

Beer is loved around the world by people from all walks of life, so if any kind of worship can bring humankind together it would have to be worship of beer.

In fact, once I get off work I intend to worship beer for several hours.

Teal_Lantern
10-02-2010, 05:43 PM
Beer is loved around the world by people from all walks of life, so if any kind of worship can bring humankind together it would have to be worship of beer.

In fact, once I get off work I intend to worship beer for several hours.

Would it ruin this speech if I mentioned that many religions don't allow alcohol :p

BnL
10-02-2010, 05:44 PM
Beer is loved around the world by people from all walks of life, so if any kind of worship can bring humankind together it would have to be worship of beer.

In fact, once I get off work I intend to worship beer for several hours.

Followed by a lengthy session of kneeling before the porcelain god? ;-)

Ship
10-02-2010, 05:49 PM
Followed by a lengthy session of kneeling before the porcelain god? ;-)

That would be the orthodox rite, but I'm a bit of a heretic and usually am able to skip that one.

Ship
10-02-2010, 05:52 PM
Would it ruin this speech if I mentioned that many religions don't allow alcohol :p

I'd suggest alcohol-free beer but I think convincing a billion Muslims to drink it is just a good way to get a billion Muslims really pissed (no pun intended) at me.

sonofbaldwin
10-02-2010, 07:27 PM
Without judging one another, or being mean, please...

...how big a role does religion play in your life, currently?

Zilch.

Tyr
10-02-2010, 08:14 PM
Keep yappin', you (obviously!) Odin-Worshiping Scum!

;-)

Actually, I'm a Christian, however our people have a long held religion that predates even the old gods. It's called Cynicism.


Would it ruin this speech if I mentioned that many religions don't allow alcohol :p

Cynicism does, why else would we drink fermented honey?

19bernardo87
05-13-2011, 05:10 AM
A family friend's facebook status:

"My daughter is receiving a Master of Divinity in Theology today. What a blessing! Congratulations! We are always very proud of you. God bless you and guide you."

What the fuck do you do with that degree?

SidekicksRevenge
05-13-2011, 05:25 AM
A family friend's facebook status:

"My daughter is receiving a Master of Divinity in Theology today. What a blessing! Congratulations! We are always very proud of you. God bless you and guide you."

What the fuck do you do with that degree?

You either seek ordination and an appointment to a local church (this is, admittedly, the United Methodist version of how that part happens), take a non-pastoral position in a large church that can afford to have an MDiv on staff, or you pursue a career researching and teaching in a Divinity School. Near as I can tell, those are your options.

19bernardo87
05-13-2011, 05:32 AM
You either seek ordination and an appointment to a local church (this is, admittedly, the United Methodist version of how that part happens), take a non-pastoral position in a large church that can afford to have an MDiv on staff, or you pursue a career researching and teaching in a Divinity School. Near as I can tell, those are your options.

It bothers me, cuz it happens to be a relatively intelligent person. I know she probably doesn't see it that way, but it's quite a waste of intellect IMO. =/

Alan Lynch
05-13-2011, 05:49 AM
It bothers me, cuz it happens to be a relatively intelligent person. I know she probably doesn't see it that way, but it's quite a waste of intellect IMO. =/
My degree is in philosophy. This girl has the world at her feet compared to us chumps.

SidekicksRevenge
05-13-2011, 06:27 AM
It bothers me, cuz it happens to be a relatively intelligent person. I know she probably doesn't see it that way, but it's quite a waste of intellect IMO. =/

As both a Christian and also a relatively intelligent person, I'm more than happy to have all the intelligent people we can muster seeking MDivs. Both so we can get them in the local church and so we can get them researching the history of the faith and context of the scripture. If you want to brush that off as a waste of intelligence because of your personal beliefs, I think that says more about you than the relatively intelligent MDiv.

Stressfactor
05-13-2011, 06:38 AM
You either seek ordination and an appointment to a local church (this is, admittedly, the United Methodist version of how that part happens), take a non-pastoral position in a large church that can afford to have an MDiv on staff, or you pursue a career researching and teaching in a Divinity School. Near as I can tell, those are your options.
There are other things as well.

You could end up working for a Hospice program as well.

You could end up writing and/or speaking on religious subjects also.

And honestly, yeah, the more people out there who really study and think about religion the better because most of the CRAP that gets said by religious people are said by those who don't know the first damn thing about what they're talking about.

19bernardo87
05-13-2011, 07:05 AM
As both a Christian and also a relatively intelligent person, I'm more than happy to have all the intelligent people we can muster seeking MDivs. Both so we can get them in the local church and so we can get them researching the history of the faith and context of the scripture. If you want to brush that off as a waste of intelligence because of your personal beliefs, I think that says more about you than the relatively intelligent MDiv.

I don't understand your last sentence. I clearly said it bothered ME and ME only. Even mentioned that she likely wouldn't agree with me, but your last bit sounds like you are almost accusing me of a personal attack against the friend of mine. Never once did I question her intellect or her resolve, just her field of study.

And if it wasn't obvious that I'm the one who is bothered, I'll add that "researching the history of the faith and context of the scripture" sounds to me like a colossal waste of anyone's time, nevermind any reasonable intellect. I'm certain I'm not the one who thinks along those lines, but I would still never council anybody (including my friend) to give up on his or her dreams, whatever those may be (unless my opinion is specifically requested).

Sorry if I offended you, but my problem is with the beliefs not the believer, and your reply seemed to make it sound otherwise. Perhaps the use of "fuck" in the first post made it sound more confrontational than it was meant (I tend to throw it around mroe often than I should)

MacQuarrie
05-13-2011, 08:18 AM
Here's my take on it as a Christian:

"Religion" describes the things we do to try to win approval from God, or to avoid punishment. It's hoping that if we say the right things, go through the right motions, avoid the bad things, we will end up "good enough" for God (or Karma or the Universe or whatever supernatural being/principle is involved) to choose us.

"Christianity" (or my understanding of it anyway) is the opposite; God loves us and has already chosen us and saved us, before we did anything to deserve it. We can't earn it, it's a gift. What matters from there is how we respond. Thinking that I owe God this huge debt that I have to repay will lead to all sorts of foolishness and evil, such as living a miserable life of being afraid to do anything, or condemning people who are "worse" than me in order to try to move myself up in God's economy, or becoming obsessively legalistic and performance-oriented, trying to look perfect so that maybe God won't notice how awful I really am. It's all based in fear, driven by a misguided notion that there's a ledger somewhere being filled up and at the end payment will be due unless you've worked it off beforehand. That's really corrosive and self-destructive thinking.

The message of Christianity is that the judgment has already happened, God has already decided that you are worth saving, and he's already done it. He's given you the gift of forgiveness and the freedom that comes with it. When somebody gives you a gift, you don't try to pay them for it. You don't run out and try to get them a gift of exactly equal value; that's not a gift, it's an exchange of goods. No, when somebody gives you a gift, you do three things: (1) you express gratitude; (2) you treasure the gift; and (3) you maintain a relationship with the giver. That's what God wants. He gave you life. Be grateful for it, treasure it and use it wisely, and try to get to know him, not out of obligation or fear, but because you have this really cool friend who does really cool things like give you life and peace and hope, and you want to know him better.

Does that make any sense?

MacQuarrie
05-13-2011, 08:22 AM
A Master's Degree in anything is ample qualification for a vast number of jobs and careers. Over 80% of people with college degrees work in a field other than the one their degree is in. The fact of having a degree is sufficient; it doesn't matter whether it's an MDiv, and MFA, or an MBA. All that matters is you have a permission slip from a university, so you are allowed to have a job.

Most likely, though, she will use her degree to work where she feels called to work. Good for her.

MacQuarrie
05-13-2011, 08:27 AM
P.S., I've been told by a few people that my personal beliefs would be considered heresy by many mainstream Christian denominations. Oh well.

Stressfactor
05-13-2011, 08:53 AM
P.S., I've been told by a few people that my personal beliefs would be considered heresy by many mainstream Christian denominations. Oh well.

Not my current church.

Which is why I go to it.

My old church was rather 'Bertha Better Than You' with an extra helping of fear mongering (no lie "Christianity is under attack in today's society!!!" "ZOMG!"); but then I found this church where the attitude is more as you said -- God loves us -- and also we should be out there helping other people because our cool best friend? Don't we want to be more like them? Didn't he do cool stuff? Wouldn't it help people out if we did cool stuff too?

Shurato2099
05-13-2011, 08:55 AM
Which is fine, lots of mainstream Christian denominations don't get along with each other either. One Southern Baptist church I was in considered the Mormons to be heretics of a high order what with all the later day stuff.

'denomination' is something that will vary almost from church to church and from officiate to officiate.

ConnorHawke
05-13-2011, 09:05 AM
At the height of my actually wanting to be Connor Hawke phase (summer-fall 2008 I believe) I bought a bunch of books on Zen Buddhism, that still occupy space on my bookshelf.

And I think Like a Prayer is a decent album.

That's probably the extent of it.

Shurato2099
05-13-2011, 09:08 AM
Personally, I came to the conclusion that organized religion was full of it early on (late elementary school) and solidified that with my first comparative religion course in college. Most of them have some nice ideas, but once they go from a philosophy to actually trying to make people live their way such bodies are no longer worthy as far as I'm concerned.

Reverend Smooth
05-13-2011, 09:16 AM
I'm clergy. I don't see the point in separating science and rationality from religious belief, though. I forget who said it and I'm probably mangling the quote, but I think that to understand science is to understand the mind of god.

I also can't pretend that I, one insignificant man, can declare that my concept of god is the only one. In my opinion, it all works like multiple dimensions; this one might go to heaven, the other the summerlands, the other will sleep until judgment, the other will reincarnate, and the other may go nowhere at all. And this world and universe is just one plane of existence; maybe we move along many over the course of our soul's lifetime; maybe we don't.

DungeonMasterJim
05-13-2011, 09:52 AM
What really hit home for me was when the minister that was helping my family deal with my father's passing was when he said my father wasn't particularly religious but he lived spiritually. I really liked that. I've always bought into reincarnation and that our souls take physical bodies for the purpose of learning lessons towards a higher learning with the aim of spiritual perfection. Now that some of my immediate family have died that line of belief helps me cope with the loss of those people that mean so much to me in my life. The idea of seeing them again is extremely appealing to me.

Karma's kinda big for me as well. If someone's being a fucktard, after some initial hurt feelings on my part, I try to give the person a reasonable doubt of having a bad day from pressure/situation I know little or nothing about before condemning them. If it continues to happen then maybe they really are just an asshole at heart. But I try and learn what the problem may be first, or at least, hopefully I do. I also try to live by the philosophy that I add more to the world than I take from it. I also consider myself Christian because I believe there is something after we die and a supreme being that helps guide us works for me on a personal level.

So that's how I roll. Not sure if that's considered religious or not.

Deegan
05-13-2011, 11:17 AM
I was raised in a wonderful Episcopalian church that I still visit when I go see my parents. The church had female priests with families, it made me think critically and with with compassion, and made me see the value in community service and just helping out my fellow man. It's probably a big reason I donate blood when I can.

I'm an atheist now, though. Religion never got in the way of me believing in evolution or having a happy sex life (hell, in one bible study we all reasoned that masturbation wasn't a big deal), but I think I looked at my religion too starry-eyed or just plain ignored some things that made me uncomfortable with it. A big breaking point with me came when I was at a friend's house, and our whole group was there to play cards and drink. When most everyone fell asleep, my friend Scott and I got into a discussion about religion. Scott was and is a guy that knew his bible inside and out, and went out on missionary trips. He truly walked the walk for what I feel most sects of Christianity should be. Somewhere in the discussion he lamented that he felt bad for our sleeping friends, because they were basically hellbound due to their atheism and paganism. To me this was unconscionable, since they were also all volunteer paramedics and firemen. I clearly remember one atheist friend jumping out of my car as I was still slowing down to assist a vehicular wreck that we witnessed on a snowy night.

But Scott made me face facts of my religion I had been willfully ignoring, using bible verses and even the tenets of my own happy little church that didn't give a shit if you were gay. As nice as my church experience was, I hated ascribing to the fact that good people I knew were going to hell for no reason than the fact they weren't batting for the same team as me. Later on I also realized how subjective and arbitrary my religious upbringing actually was. Had I been born in my aunt's family, I would have been raised Greek Orthodox. On another aunt's side, Catholic. And I then I expanded that to different cultures and time periods, and I realized that if I lived in Ancient Greece I would totally believe in Zeus and make sacrifice rituals before I went out to sea. That thought exercise took a lot of magic and specialness out of god for me.

I was deist for a year, but then I realized that I was just doing it because I was afraid to let go of god, so that withered away too. Now I just try to live a humanist lifestyle and work for a few things I think are beneficial to everyone, like cancer research, blood donation, education access, and net neutrality. I still lead a romantic, hopeful lifestyle, but I feel a lot less guilt now. And like I said before, I still visit my old church, but I go there for the people, not for god's forgiveness.

Reverend Smooth
05-13-2011, 01:56 PM
P.S., I've been told by a few people that my personal beliefs would be considered heresy by many mainstream Christian denominations. Oh well.

IIRC, Jesus talks about how, while you can't be saved by works alone, the way that you can recognize a true believer is by his works: he simply can't help himself from manifesting God's love through his actions.

It's not enough to say you believe or think you believe; if you believe it shows in how you treat others and yourself.

So, I don't think the way you feel squares wrongly with this. Especially since I have seen you walk the walk.

(And since I'm not a reputable person, this is also how I saw the best Christians I ever knew behave, people who dedicated their lives to be of service to others, and they also spoke similarly to how you do.)

Weeto
05-13-2011, 04:30 PM
Religion has been a huge talking point in Scotland recently.

Our football (soccer) culture is dominated by religious affiliations. This season's Premier League championship ends on Sunday with Rangers and Celtic seperated by a single point in the league table going in to the last day. If Rangers win against Kilmarnock away on Sunday they will win a world record 54th national title while Celtic can win the title if Rangers draw or lose and Celtic beat Motherwell at Celtic Park.

Rangers and Celtic are both Glasgow clubs dating back to the 19th century. Rangers are based in Govan in the west of Glasgow and have a generally Protestant following, while Celtic come from Parkhead in the east side of the city and have a mainly Catholic support.

The manager of Celtic, Neil Lennon is probably the most controversial figure in Scottish sports in many years. He is a Catholic from Northern Ireland who caused a lot of controversy with his views on Irish unification, especially with the fact that during his playing days, he played for Northern Ireland and even captained the team. The Northern Ireland team play at Windsor Park, the home of Belfast's main Protestant team Linfield and the Northern Ireland team have a mainly Protestant team as Catholics tend to either favour the Republic's national team or have a greater interest in the Gaelic sports of Gaelic football and hurling. Lennon began to receive death threats and warnings and eventually gave up playing for the national side. Lennon tended to attribute the threats as being related purely to him being a Northern Irish Celtic player and a catholic but it appears that it was more to do with his visible opposition to playing for Northern Ireland rather than a unified side.

He also had a horrific disciplinary record against Rangers and made frequent controversial comments and gestured to fans on several occasions.

In his tenure as a manager, he has also made comments about alleged anti-Catholic refereeing bias, which has led to a referee strike, the resignation of a referee, a linesman (or assistant referee) due to a controversial disallowed penalty decision and the head of the refereeing commitee due to a forwarded e-mail joke about the Pope which was created by someone else.

He has received numerous mail bombs, bullets, death threats and was attacked by a Heart of Midlothian fan a few days ago, who was charged with religiously motivated assualt and breach of the peace. It should be noted that Heart of Midlothian are noted for Protestant support as well as Rangers.

As a little backnote into the history of the clubs, Rangers were founded officially in 1873 (although played more informally in 1872) and didn't have a particular religious direction at first but this became far more polarised after the founding of Celtic in 1888, who were formed as a charitable organisation for Irish Catholics in Glasgow by an Irish monk who was known as Brother Walfrid. Celtic were based around the same idea as Hibernian in Edinburgh as a club which was mainly for Irish Catholics. While neither of those clubs had an official anti-Protestant signing bias, there was hostility to the Protestant community to an extent. Rangers initially didn't have a religious signing policy but when the division in Scottish football became more ingrained, Rangers stopped signing openly Catholic players and only a few Catholics played in the period between the end of the First World War up until 1989. The barrier was not broken though, it was smashed to pieces as Mo Johnston, a former Celtic player who was playing in France for Nantes and had promised to return to Celtic and had posed with a Celtic shirt at Celtic Park was unveiled at Ibrox Stadium as a Rangers player after Rangers pounced for the player when the manager realised that Johnston hadn't actually signed anything at Celtic Park.

Johnston recieved threats from BOTH sets of supporters although Rangers fans grew to accept him after he scored a winning goal against Celtic but several fans had burnt scarves and season tickets when the signing was announced. At Celtic, the club tended to have a majority of Catholic players and some former players have stated that they received verbal abuse from their teammates at the club in the past.

The Neil Lennon threats and attacks haven't been out of the news at all, with two men in court over mail bombs and the man who attacked Lennon at Hearts was also in court.

I won't say that Lennon hasn't brought a lot of the situation on to himself as he has because he courts controversy at every turn and doesn't know when to shut up about things that could get him into trouble but there is absolutely no call for a football player or manager to be sent bombs and bullets and to be attacked at the side of the field.

I just hope this situation gets sorted out and some sanity comes back to our football.

Kingsmythe
05-13-2011, 05:09 PM
Organized religion plays no part in my life. For one, I view all such establishments with heavy suspicion, based on my personal experiences and the fact that I actually read history.

Personally, I find I tend towards a sort of individualistic pagan/shamanic approach to things. I've read up on the major (and some minor) religions in the world, and I have yet to find one I agree with all of. To me, if you're a member of a religion, you're saying "This is how I choose to communicate with the all mighty power" fill in the blank here. To do that, I, at least, would need to be comfortable with all aspects of the official tenets, holy writings, etc, and I just can't find one I do that with.

To those religion gives comfort, inspiration, or strength to, I applaud you and bear no ill will.

To those religion fills with the need to insult, belittle, demean, or attack others who have beliefs that differ from their own, I have no use for you and certainly will not listen to your rantings nor send you money (I've noticed many of them seem to want that).

Some of the better religous themed quotes I've seen:

When I do good, I feel good, when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion- Abraham Lincoln

The Muslims don't recognize Jesus, the Hindu don't recognize Allah, and the Baptists pretend not to recognize each other at the liquor store-random comic act I caught part of

And a final, longish one, that sums much of it up for me:

A man was traveling in a far away land, when he saw a religious man praying by the side of the road. The traveler was much impressed with the man's piety, and watched him for a time. When he saw a local boy, he stopped him and asked "What relgion is that man?"

The boy shrugged and said "His own."

The traveler was surprised and said "A one man religion?"

At this point, the holy man looked up at him and said "Is there truly another kind?"

So far, I'm impressed that while people have varying views here, no one is coming out punching or breathing fire. It's a rare and encouraging sight. I do like this board.

Stressfactor
05-13-2011, 06:08 PM
As I told one of my friends recently: I have a religion. It works for me. I don't believe that gives me the right to tell someone else what works for them, or not.

I've gone through my own period of crisis of faith and came back to it -- in point of fact was drawn back to it by a sermon from a pastor whom I roundly disliked and who NEVER had a sermon I gave a darn about. On the evening my crisis of faith reached the breaking point that pastor gave a sermon that felt like he knew exactly what I had been going through. It restored me. And the man never gave another sermon that I heard that moved me in any way after that. I'm not a "mystical" person but that just felt like... well, it felt like it was MEANT for me.

But I think because I had a crisis of faith it's made me more of an open person. I can't say I have all the answers because I don't. In my crisis I lost that "know-it-all-ness" but in return I have a faith that I have examined. Just as an "unexamined life is not worth living" then an "unexamined faith" is not worth believing to me.

I often think that the people who insist that they've got the "One True Faith" or act like they've got the direct pipeline to God have never actually examined their faith a day in their lives.

The Funketeer
05-13-2011, 09:49 PM
I'm pretty religious/spiritual but at this point in my life, I have little use for church. I think too much emphasis in many religions is placed on church and the bible. They serve a purpose and I make use of them when I need to but they are not an important part of my life right now.

I believe the church serves two purposes. Education and friendship. At it's core, it should provide people of like minded faiths a place to gather and worship together and give them a place to educate their children in their faith. My daughter just turned 5 and we're looking at having her start Sunday school this fall. She was baptized in the same church I was and while I really like the church and many of the people who work there, it's a 45 minute drive from where we live now and we're thinking of looking for a similar congregation closer to home. If it weren't for my daughter, I wouldn't feel the need to attend church on a regular basis as I don't believe worship needs to be done in large groups.

vanityman
05-14-2011, 05:40 AM
i am not a religious person (even though i went to a catholic college)...i am constantly having to defend my non-religious life from attacks of others that use their religion as a righteous weapon in place of logic and common sense

Danimal
05-14-2011, 06:05 AM
I had a couple of people come to my door the other day to try to win me to their religious beliefs. They started off by asking me "don't you wonder what hope there is when the world is such a terrible place?" I replied, "no, the world is a beautiful place and I love being in it. I don't think you people have anything to offer me. Have a good day." That pretty much sums up my views on religion. Yes, there are people who do brutal, terrible things, but that doesn't mean, for me at least, that the world is an awful place and the only hope for any sort of happiness is some sort of transcendence to the next world. Also, to paraphrase Carl Sagan, when I look at how vast, how varied, and how amazing the universe is, I realize almost every religion has much too small of a scope.

JBK405
05-14-2011, 06:40 AM
On a scale of 1-10 I'd say religion impacts my life at about a 7.

I'm Jewish, raised Conservative, and I'm definitely the most devout member of my family. I keep kosher, but my mother refers to it as "kosher-lite;" I don't observe the more specific laws on preparing and serving food (For example, I don't have separate plates for meat and dairy and I eat at restaurants where I know that pork products have been cooked on the same grill as my hamburger), but rather the blanket laws on what is or isn't allowed (No pork, no shellfish, no mixing meat and dairy, etc.). I fast on the holidays, go to sabbath services (At least, until recently. I stopped going regularly because I'm constantly tired and waking up early on Saturdays is just a hassle. Yes, before you ask, I do feel guilty for stopping regular attendance because I'm lazy) and studied Hebrew in college (Do I speak Hebrew? Well, I studied it). I consider myself to be ethnically, culturally and religiously Jewish.

However, I try to do my best not to have that determine how I live.

I am (At least, I like to think I am) an extremely rational and self-aware person. That doesn't mean I don't do wrong things, just that when I do I'm thinking to myself all the problems that will come out of it. Stemming from that is an acknowledgement that, despite the fact that I do believe in the existence of God and the righteousness of laws given down (Well, not all of them. I've had a long-simmering crisis of faith for the past five or ten years as I try to reconcile the more insane laws of the Torah with what I personally consider "right." Yes, that includes the laws on homosexuality, vengeance, slavery and all those other hot-button topics. I'll let you know once I've figured out a solution that appeals to everybody), I've got no empirical evidence to support any of it. I might be completely wrong. Christianity might be the correct religion, or Islam, or Shintoism, or Hinduism, or Taosim, or any of the thousands of other faiths out there, or maybe there's no God at all. As such, it's illogical to believe that my way is the ultimately correct way. I believe it, and I act accordingly, but I also aproach everything from the thought of: If God didn't exist, and thus there was no divine moral support fort action XXXX, would it be a moral or just thing to do? I try to fit my actions into both perspectives, so that I'm a good Jew and a person who would be good even if judged not by the laws of Judaism, and it's a tricky road to walk.

Weeto
05-14-2011, 03:39 PM
I used to attend Salvation Army services almost every week but I've stopped going in the recent past as the church that I attended seems split down the middle between older traditionalists who have a view of the church which is more Presbyterian in flavour than Evangelical, while the younger modernists seem intent on going way over the top with the Evangelical happy clappy modern music and preaching style.

The two sides seem to sit separately and the traditionalists like sticking to the older, more solemn hymns while the more modern members favour what is basically Evangelical pop music.

I was brought up in very traditional churches and find the arm waving, Christian pop totally unsuitable and I much prefer the traditional hymns as they carry far more weight than some silly tune that someone came up with last week and no one knows the words to.

The Salvation Army tended to be traditional in the past, particularly here in Scotland, where Presbyterianism is basically the national religion and other Protestant denominations seem to often follow the same pattern with their own little additions to the worship. For years the Salvation Army opposed watching television and they still have strict views on other matters. I have to admit that they are a bit OTT on homosexuality and have had some legal run ins regarding firing employees because they were gay and other similar issues. They also have an awfully old fashioned view on some other matters but I tend to still support the church due to their charity and community work.

I don't mind some of the social and attitude issues in the church being more modern such as some of the outdated attitudes displayed but I wish that Sunday services don't end up being too much like the crazy Evangelical services I've seen on TV from the United States. Some of those services just aren't dignified and actually cause more harm to Christianity than good.

stealthwise
05-14-2011, 05:56 PM
Having gone from a child as a "of course God is real" to an absolutist Atheist in University, I find myself softened towards the whole thing, because it really doesn't matter to me all that much. My wife and daughters find the thought of Heaven comforting, but we really don't follow any kind of religious or ethical code via church, etc.

michealdark
02-08-2012, 08:42 PM
Given the sudden shift in Loki's myths from trickster to devil, I sometimes wonder if Balder's death and Ragnarok are native myths at all. There's very Christian overtones there that raise questions in my mind.I prefer to think of Loki as he is in the prior myths: a mercurial figure that's neither good nor bad, but likes to make jokes at other people's expense (which often times blows up in his face, resulting in him having to make beneficial restitution...often under threat of pain).

Cam63
02-08-2012, 08:44 PM
Without judging one another, or being mean, please...

...how big a role does religion play in your life, currently?

I'm beereligious daily.

Little Scandal
02-09-2012, 04:02 AM
I'm Catholic. So it is fairly important to me. But I was raised on faith. It's what's kept me from doing anything very stupid. I was beyond terrified when I came out that I'd some how lose my faith but in fact it's actually gotten stronger. Ironic I guess.

Morrison_Lad
02-09-2012, 04:31 AM
Zero.

I don't believe in supernatural stuff. Though, occasionally, I do cross my fingers.

Tyr
02-09-2012, 09:25 AM
Here's my take on it as a Christian:

"Religion" describes the things we do to try to win approval from God, or to avoid punishment. It's hoping that if we say the right things, go through the right motions, avoid the bad things, we will end up "good enough" for God (or Karma or the Universe or whatever supernatural being/principle is involved) to choose us.

"Christianity" (or my understanding of it anyway) is the opposite; God loves us and has already chosen us and saved us, before we did anything to deserve it. We can't earn it, it's a gift. What matters from there is how we respond. Thinking that I owe God this huge debt that I have to repay will lead to all sorts of foolishness and evil, such as living a miserable life of being afraid to do anything, or condemning people who are "worse" than me in order to try to move myself up in God's economy, or becoming obsessively legalistic and performance-oriented, trying to look perfect so that maybe God won't notice how awful I really am. It's all based in fear, driven by a misguided notion that there's a ledger somewhere being filled up and at the end payment will be due unless you've worked it off beforehand. That's really corrosive and self-destructive thinking.

The message of Christianity is that the judgment has already happened, God has already decided that you are worth saving, and he's already done it. He's given you the gift of forgiveness and the freedom that comes with it. When somebody gives you a gift, you don't try to pay them for it. You don't run out and try to get them a gift of exactly equal value; that's not a gift, it's an exchange of goods. No, when somebody gives you a gift, you do three things: (1) you express gratitude; (2) you treasure the gift; and (3) you maintain a relationship with the giver. That's what God wants. He gave you life. Be grateful for it, treasure it and use it wisely, and try to get to know him, not out of obligation or fear, but because you have this really cool friend who does really cool things like give you life and peace and hope, and you want to know him better.

Does that make any sense?

That was beautiful Mac, simply beautiful.

Tyr
02-09-2012, 09:28 AM
Me, I'm a Christian, though I haven't been to church in awhile, and indeed have had some problems with the beliefs of those in my congregation. But, I've always had a strong relationship with god. Fact I promised to go back to church recently, been doing that a lot lately. I really should go this weekend.

Being Baptized when I was 16 was one of the most joyous moments of my life. I don't think I had ever felt so much elation for god before or sense.

K-DoG7p7
02-09-2012, 09:42 AM
Given the sudden shift in Loki's myths from trickster to devil, I sometimes wonder if Balder's death and Ragnarok are native myths at all. There's very Christian overtones there that raise questions in my mind.I prefer to think of Loki as he is in the prior myths: a mercurial figure that's neither good nor bad, but likes to make jokes at other people's expense (which often times blows up in his face, resulting in him having to make beneficial restitution...often under threat of pain).

You have to remember that almost everything we know about the Norse myth today was written by Christians.
and some of it was deliberately to undermine the old gods (Like Frigg whoring herself form some pearls and Thor crossdressing)

Gesta Danorum is a curse on the Gods and should be BURNED!

Tyr
02-09-2012, 10:01 AM
You have to remember that almost everything we know about the Norse myth today was written by Christians.
and some of it was deliberately to undermine the old gods (Like Frigg whoring herself form some pearls and Thor crossdressing)

Gesta Danorum is a curse on the Gods and should be BURNED!

Yeah, I've heard that. So do we know which parts of Norse mythology are the original? What about Ragnorak? I ask cause I've wanted to ask the Neo-Norse crowd about following gods that gotta time limit to their existence.

CutterMike
02-09-2012, 10:55 AM
I have described myself as a "Laissez-Faire Zen Christian Agnostic". The basic tenet is "Treat other people the way you would like to be treated whether there's Someone watching or not." The second is "Your beliefs are yours, my beliefs are mine, and we'll probably both be happier if we leave it that way." The third is "If the God(dess) exists, it's pretty clear that (S)He has a sense of humor (vis.: the platypus, the particle/wave duality of light, and sex); if you DON'T have one, it'd not Hir fault."

I was raised in a not-overtly-religious household. My parents decreed that each child should do two years of Sunday School (New England-style Union Congregationalist Protestant) as grounding in the basics; after that we could make up our own minds. I actually felt the need to go back late in High School, do Christian Fellowship classes and join the church, then basically never went again.

On the other hand, it's hard to attend the (nondenominational) Easter Sunrise Service at the Cathedral of the Pines (http://gonewengland.about.com/od/nhsightseeing/ig/Cathedral-of-the-Pines/A-Chapel-in-the-Woods.htm) -- as we did a couple of times when I was a kid -- watching the mist rising and the sun touching the top of Mt. Monadnock and not feel ANYTHING, so I can't completely dismiss the idea of a Great Designer of the world.

Matt Doc Martin
02-09-2012, 10:55 AM
Strong atheist and I fear the folks trying to turn America into a theocracy without paying attention to places like Iran.

Ryan Elliott
02-09-2012, 11:25 AM
None at all. I'm an atheist.

I don't need to believe in an invisible sky person that threatens me with eternal torture and fire if I don't life a good life TO live a good life.

Plus, you know, science.

K-DoG7p7
02-09-2012, 11:26 AM
Yeah, I've heard that. So do we know which parts of Norse mythology are the original? What about Ragnorak? I ask cause I've wanted to ask the Neo-Norse crowd about following gods that gotta time limit to their existence.

There isn't actually anything written down from those days, even the Roman texts written about the Germanic tribes beliefs are lost.
The only thing left are runes, but they don't tell stories as much as they chronicle people and events, they do tend to mention the gods but mostly in tribute.
The most trustworthy source is the writings of Snorri Sturluson. He had no religious reason for writing it and he was a Historian as much as a poet.

Weeto
02-09-2012, 12:32 PM
A bit but I have lapses occasionally. I was attending Salvation Army services every week for a couple of years but I got pretty sick of the hypocrisy in my local church as there were too slightly crooked officers (preachers) who were meant to be leaving to go to South Africa but apparently fled to England. Then there was another officer who took his teenage daughter on a church trip to Zambia which was supposed to be a working and preaching related thing to help an orphanage/family centre place. I raised objections at the daughter of one of the officers going when someone more suitablely qualified and experienced should have been going instead as the other 20+ people going on the trip either had working experience suitable or were church officers or senior soldiers. The church raised money for them to go and this left the church with only one of the two officers for the two weeks they were gone. There were other times where favouritism or nepotism was coming into things and I was pretty angry by the time I stopped going. The fact that the church seemed broken into two factions with traditionalists on one side (most of the older members plus myself and a couple of other younger people) against a faction that thought the church service should have continuous happy clappy corny American faux Christian pop songs all the way through with no Christianity involved whatsoever apart from the word Jesus appearing randomly in some awful lyric. The undignified crap that was being played was putting off some of the real old timers and I found it awful. I didn't mind a little bit of compromise but I wanted some dignified Christianity too. The more modern people were into all this arm waving crap that you get on the religious channels from the US and Africa and I just found it embarrassing to see people behaving so stupidly in a church.

While I never attended a Presbyterian church on a regular basis, a lot of my family had very strict Presbyterian style views on behaving innapropriately in a church. I went to a Mormon LCS church for about three years and they had a straight faced attitude to religion (although they could be cheery at times too) while I went to a really sour faced church for another couple of years (Church of Christ) where they didn't play music while singing and the preacher was my sour faced Texan uncle.

I hate anything that is even close to clowning around in a church and I remember Gideon bibles being given out after an assembly at school and people leaving the hall and tearing them up in the corridors. I was absolutely raging and went straight to the headmaster who while not happy with what was happening, said that he couldn't really do anything because the bibles belonged to the kids who destroyed them.

My parents were brought up with the attitude of not defacing a bible, something that most older British people wouldn't dream of doing and even the more American habit of marking entries in coloured pen or attaching stickers to pages is frowned upon by a lot of people from more traditional backgrounds. I remember argueing with my uncle about this and he was of the attitude that marking a bible was OK for making notes but I was very much of the old fashioned Protestant viewpoint that defacing the scriptures in any way was about the worst thing you could do.

I wish I could find a strict but cheery church to go to but I'm not totally sure of my local churches.

I have the option of Presbyterianism (Church of Scotland, who while being traditional, also tend to be snobbish, cold mannered and unhelpful. There is practically zero participation as well. There is also a Baptist church, an Elim Pentecostal church and a Church of Nazarene in my home town that I could possibly attend.

Weeto
02-09-2012, 12:33 PM
Double Post.

CutterMike
02-09-2012, 12:34 PM
None at all. I'm an atheist.

I don't need to believe in an invisible sky person that threatens me with eternal torture and fire if I don't life a good life TO live a good life.

Plus, you know, science.

*sigh*

...And we were doing so well up to this point, too...

Weeto
02-09-2012, 12:48 PM
It always seems to be athiests who get hit in the arse with lightning bolts, doesn't it?

sunbird
02-09-2012, 12:53 PM
I'm an agnostic. I was kind of half heartedly raised Catholic but I fell out of it soon after leaving school. Now I lean towards atheism but am generally unconcerned about God or Gods. If there is one, that's cool, if there isn't, that's fine too. It isn't like I'll know, and it doesn't matter anyway.

It always seems to be athiests who get hit in the arse with lightning bolts, doesn't it?
It's because they stand on the top of hills doing science in thunderstorms!

Tyr
02-09-2012, 01:12 PM
*sigh*

...And we were doing so well up to this point, too...

It was snarky, but not the worst I've seen, a minor cut at best.

Well just slap a band aid on it and move on.



There isn't actually anything written down from those days, even the Roman texts written about the Germanic tribes beliefs are lost.
The only thing left are runes, but they don't tell stories as much as they chronicle people and events, they do tend to mention the gods but mostly in tribute.
The most trustworthy source is the writings of Snorri Sturluson. He had no religious reason for writing it and he was a Historian as much as a poet.

Yeah, but I would still like to know how the Neo Norse feel about Ragnorak. I mean do they see the Gods final hours as a noble sacrifice that will usher in a new era for man the same way Jesus died on the cross?

K-DoG7p7
02-09-2012, 01:19 PM
Yeah, but I would still like to know how the Neo Norse feel about Ragnorak. I mean do they see the Gods final hours as a noble sacrifice that will usher in a new era for man the same way Jesus died on the cross?

I dunno.. so I google-fu'd it
and the best i can tell most of them believe it already happened or that it is a allegory

Urgur the Gurgur
02-09-2012, 01:19 PM
It plays a much bigger role in my life than I'd prefer. I would very much like it to play no role at all.

Tyr
02-09-2012, 01:23 PM
On a lighter note, apparently opening the church of Dino Jesus on facebook was not a good idea.

sunbird
02-09-2012, 01:31 PM
On a lighter note, apparently opening the church of Dino Jesus on facebook was not a good idea.Splitters!

Tyr
02-09-2012, 02:29 PM
Splitters!

Yes, apparently the posting embarrassed my mother and my sister, so I was compelled to take it down...

Tis indeed a sad sad day for the Church of Dino Jesus.

Ryan Elliott
02-09-2012, 04:35 PM
It always seems to be athiests who get hit in the arse with lightning bolts, doesn't it?

Are you talking about actual lightning bolts or invisible sky daddy lightning bolts?

Tyr
02-09-2012, 04:38 PM
I take it back Mike, looks like here we go after all. Figured it was only a matter of time.

Ryan Elliott
02-09-2012, 05:39 PM
You know, I WILL say that I enjoy religion in certain aspects of fiction. When it's used in defense of or to kill werewolves and vampires and things like that. When it's not used as an excuse to persecute people who are different. It's kinda cool then.

But otherwise? Nah, it sucks.

Hugin
02-09-2012, 09:55 PM
I hate anything that is even close to clowning around in a church and I remember Gideon bibles being given out after an assembly at school and people leaving the hall and tearing them up in the corridors. I was absolutely raging and went straight to the headmaster who while not happy with what was happening, said that he couldn't really do anything because the bibles belonged to the kids who destroyed them.Religious literature was handed out by government officials to people who didn't believe, and you were upset that the literature wasn't respected enough?

K-DoG7p7
02-10-2012, 01:16 AM
Yes, apparently the posting embarrassed my mother and my sister, so I was compelled to take it down...

Tis indeed a sad sad day for the Church of Dino Jesus.

So you are not a member of the one true church of raptor jesus?

Weeto
02-10-2012, 06:33 AM
Religious literature was handed out by government officials to people who didn't believe, and you were upset that the literature wasn't respected enough?

The school didn't hand out the bibles, Gideons International did. They've been distributing bibles to schools, hospitals and other places since 1908. There was no compulsion to take one either, as several people just walked by or politely declined them but I was angry at people who took a bible and then destroyed it. It was only a short assembly meeting in the school theatre and there was no pressure on anyone to take one of the bibles (actually just the New Testament) but I went to the table to collect one on the way out as I did attend church at the time. I ended up giving it to my Mum as I used a much bigger edition with a lot of extra features in it while my Mum liked the small basic version.

While I was in school, there was no compulsion to take part in religious activities as I knew a Jehovah's Witness who didn't attend any religious activities and my parents were asked if I should be attending religious activities myself when I was a Mormon but both myself and the other Mormon boy in the school continued attending assemblies with religious content and also attending Presbyterian church at the end of term for a service that was basically non denominational as most schools in Scotland are technically non denominational but have a vast majority of Protestants (who tend to be mainly Presbyterian) while Catholic schools make up the rest of the numbers as perhaps around a third or a quarter of schools are Catholic. Many towns have a non denominational secondary school and a Catholic secondary school and perhaps 4+ primary schools, of which the majority are normally non denominational.

Here in Erskine, the population is around 18,000 and we have one non denominational secondary school (Park Mains High School), three non denominational primary schools (Bargarran Primary, Parksail Primary and Rashielee Primary) as well as two Catholic primaries (St John Bosco Primary and St Anne's Primary) while Catholic secondary pupils have to attend Trinity High School in Renfrew. Renfrew also has a non denominational secondary called Renfrew High School.

Catholic schools tend to be heavy on religious teaching (and it is normally compulsory unless the pupil is not Catholic, in the case of some Asian pupils) and there are often nuns involved in teaching classes. My non denominational school did have activities such as Scripture Union (which turned into Bible Union as far as I know) and occasionally the school chaplain was around the school (he was the Presbyterian (Church of Scotland) minister at the Old West Kirk but he generally didn't have much involvement in the school apart from end of term and Christmas services.

Tyr
02-10-2012, 09:45 AM
So you are not a member of the one true church of raptor jesus?

Did Raptor Jesus breath fire as one of his miracles? Cause Dino Jesus breathed fire as one of his.

sunbird
02-10-2012, 10:33 AM
Catholic schools tend to be heavy on religious teaching (and it is normally compulsory unless the pupil is not Catholic, in the case of some Asian pupils) and there are often nuns involved in teaching classes.Funny story about religious education in Britain. I went to Catholic schools for most of my education from 9-19, and we were taught a lot about the history of Catholicism in Europe and primarily Britain. And that is mostly a lot of stuff about how mean the protestants were to Catholics.

I somehow managed to leave school age 19 with absolutely no idea who Martin Luther was. Or Calvin. Or indulgences. 10 years of catholic education and as far as I knew the only reason there had been a Reformation was because Henry the 8th wanted more than one wife. I still laugh at the audacity of the brainwashing they had attempted on us.

Weeto
02-10-2012, 11:15 AM
Funny story about religious education in Britain. I went to Catholic schools for most of my education from 9-19, and we were taught a lot about the history of Catholicism in Europe and primarily Britain. And that is mostly a lot of stuff about how mean the protestants were to Catholics.

I somehow managed to leave school age 19 with absolutely no idea who Martin Luther was. Or Calvin. Or indulgences. 10 years of catholic education and as far as I knew the only reason there had been a Reformation was because Henry the 8th wanted more than one wife. I still laugh at the audacity of the brainwashing they had attempted on us.

My RE classes in high school were basically about Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism with only tiny amounts of Christianity. It was more of a study of multiculturism than of religions in general. I believe the balance was pretty much reversed in most of the local Catholic schools with almost everything being Catholicism and only a little of the other religions and they generally took 2 classes per week with no Social Education while non denominational schools took one of each. I believe RE was offered as an exam subject and even compulsory in some Catholic schools while it was only available for the first two years of non denominational school as a non exam subject.

The strange thing is that I didn't learn about Luther, Calvin, Knox or those other guys either in school.

Tyr
02-12-2012, 10:20 AM
Just went to church today, after having made numerous promises to do so in several prayers. Finally decided it was time to pick up my tab.

Oddly enough part of the service had to with the Mexico Mission the youth group was going on. The same mission I went when I was a teen and got baptized. God is not without a sense of timing.

Shurato2099
02-12-2012, 10:44 AM
Or of humor, at the very least.

I was primarily raised Southern Baptist until our family was lured in to one of the more extreme churches that scared -them- badly enough to leave. These guys were big on indoctrination, short on teaching if that makes sense and are one of the primary reasons (along with a history course that spent -way- too much time on the Crusades for my tastes) that I just don't trust organized religion anymore.

Tyr
02-12-2012, 12:22 PM
Or of humor, at the very least.

I was primarily raised Southern Baptist until our family was lured in to one of the more extreme churches that scared -them- badly enough to leave. These guys were big on indoctrination, short on teaching if that makes sense and are one of the primary reasons (along with a history course that spent -way- too much time on the Crusades for my tastes) that I just don't trust organized religion anymore.

I believe they're called Holly Rollers. I went to a church like that once, cause I was sweet an a 'gal who went there. It scared me. I went back to my old Presbyterian church, and stuck with it, when I do go. The pastor that presides over it is really good at his job.

Tyr
02-12-2012, 10:37 PM
You know, I'm going to take this as a sign I should share why God is still an important factor in my life. Sorry if my testimony gets a little winded for some of you.

So as I said, my baptism was the happiest moments of my life, but equally important where the events leading up to it. See I had joined this youth group at my local church at 16 and they were all going on a trip to Mexico. I decided I wanted to go to. Mind you, though I've always kept a good relationship with god, my faith was fairly shaky during those teen years. The mission was to go and help build a new orphanage in Tijuana.

Now at the time I had never really been exposed to poverty. And I'm sure some of the others hadn't been either, some of the others probably thought "where going to Tijuana? Hell yeah, lets party!" Our pastor on the other hand had other plans, he wanted to drive home the reason we where going there. So on the road trip to Mexico, we stopped in LA at a church/homeless center. This was several months after the LA riots and in the same neighborhood, fact it was several blocks from where that truck driver was dragged out of his truck and beaten.

The rioters had fortunately left the church untouched. Anyway the head pastor gave us a tour, and shared some of his experiences. Some of stories he told were horrible, he told one story about treating a young homeless gals partially dead maggot filled leg, all while ministering the word of Jesus to her. He told us he was mentally freaking out at the time. But attempted to remain calm and continue his work tell he finished cleaning and treating the girls leg. And I was thinking, "wow after all the things you've seen, after such a nightmarish experience, you still find the strength to come here and minister to these people?"

A youth pastor took us out in the middle of the desert to build this orphanage. It was pretty hot for a german/scandi from the northwest at least a good 80 in the shade. But I felt a part of something, a part of doing something important and life changing for someone else who had less fortune then me in life. And being part of this team working together to build this kitchen that we were building for the orphanage. And everyone had there part, for example I would help organize mortar mixing teams. I remember one Gal who took it upon herself to get water for everyone who was working, and keep everyone hydrated. Which was important cause we were working in 100+ degree weather. Some kids didn't even want to leave when our time was up.

On the way back we stopped at Laguna beach to pause and reflect, and worship. I don't think our pastor could have picked a more beautiful spot to do this, It was there I decided to be baptized, it was my choice, not my parents, not my peers, mine and mine alone. And it was truly the most euphoric experience in my life, I had truly felt touched by god at that moment.

I have many tests of faith, I've recently lost my grandmother to the long and slowly debilitating disease that is Alzheimers, I've recently had to apply to state wellfare and with it admit to myself that I have a disability I'm ashamed to talk much about. And that very pastor that baptized me? Years ago he was forced to step down after admitting to having an affair with one of the ladies that went with us on the Mexico Trip. But every time life throws me a nasty surprise, I think about all that that god has given me, and I think about that eye opening trip I took over 20 years ago. And I have faith, that he is with us, that he is watching over me, and that he put me here for something important, even when I'm still unsure of what that something is. Ok Done writing this, again sorry for such a long winded testimony.

ZimMan2
02-12-2012, 10:52 PM
Deist here. Deist power to mai Deist peeps.

As for how it factors into my life, well, aside from dealing with the way other people use it to justify their actions, I think this quote (that I've posted before), sums up my feelings nicely:

"I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom's realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer's Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content."
-Conan the Barbarian

Tyr
02-12-2012, 11:03 PM
Deist here. Deist power to mai Deist peeps.

As for how it factors into my life, well, aside from dealing with the way other people use it to justify their actions, I think this quote (that I've posted before), sums up my feelings nicely:

"I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom's realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer's Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content."
-Conan the Barbarian

You know that's so much better then the "Crom prayer" from the first film. I can even picture Ahnold saying it. But I guess it wouldn't make for good action movie dialog.

Also um...you go running around in real life dressed in fur undies and killing people do you? Can I come along?

ZimMan2
02-12-2012, 11:14 PM
You know that's so much better then the "Crom prayer" from the first film. I can even picture Ahnold saying it. But I guess it wouldn't make for good action movie dialog.

Also um...you go running around in real life dressed in fur undies and killing people do you? Can I come along?

I wish more people would. It gets cold this time of year.

Morrison_Lad
02-13-2012, 03:55 AM
Tyr, can I ask you an honest question?

If there's an omnipotent, omniscient god, then why do any of these terrible things happen? Is god just distant enough that it doesn't have any real effect on people's lives? Why did god create a world where children would have terrible, painful, debilitating diseases? Why even have something like Alzheimer's exist?

Forgetting for the moment the whole, "I don't believe in anything unless someone can provide evidence for it," problem I have with religion, these are the sorts of questions that would bother me.

I'm not trying to be an asshole. Honestly. I really want to hear what your answer is.

JBK405
02-13-2012, 04:40 AM
One possible explanation: God's an asshole.

Now, I don't believe that myself, but that would easily explain all the horrible things that happen in the world, and most often when I find myself talking to 'Hollywood Atheists (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HollywoodAtheist)' (I seem to spend more and more of my time on-line talking in tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TVTropesWillRuinYourVocabulary)) they never even consider that or related options. Maybe there is no philosophical answer to the question, maybe it's just a fundamental part of the universe that God enjoys watching peope suffer.

Personally, I believe in the (admittedly cliched) "God has a plan" rationale. That there is some logical explanation that covers why these bad things happen while still leaving room for a compassionate, beneficial being, but I just don't know what it is due to my limited understanding of the universe.

Morrison_Lad
02-13-2012, 05:22 AM
One possible explanation: God's an asshole.

Now, I don't believe that myself, but that would easily explain all the horrible things that happen in the world, and most often when I find myself talking to 'Hollywood Atheists (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HollywoodAtheist)' (I seem to spend more and more of my time on-line talking in tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TVTropesWillRuinYourVocabulary)) they never even consider that or related options. Maybe there is no philosophical answer to the question, maybe it's just a fundamental part of the universe that God enjoys watching peope suffer.

Personally, I believe in the (admittedly cliched) "God has a plan" rationale. That there is some logical explanation that covers why these bad things happen while still leaving room for a compassionate, beneficial being, but I just don't know what it is due to my limited understanding of the universe.

First, thank you for an answer.

Second, believe me, the "God is an asshole" possibility is pretty much the only explanation I buy for even a second. There are children who are born with terrible, painful, excruciating diseases and they die within weeks or months. If that's part of a "plan" then, frankly, FUCK YOU (to god, not to you). People who torture children should be sent to a terrible place, not worshipped or pray to.

I can't think of another example in all of society where child-torturers are worshipped.

Urgur the Gurgur
02-13-2012, 05:39 AM
I can't think of another example in all of society where child-torturers are worshipped.

While Joe Paterno didn't directly torture children, he did turn a blind eye to it happening on his watch for decades. And he is still pretty revered by some.

Morrison_Lad
02-13-2012, 05:42 AM
While Joe Paterno didn't directly torture children, he did turn a blind eye to it happening on his watch for decades. And he is still pretty revered by some.

Yes, by sick bastards. But we aren't going to make a religion based around him.

JBK405
02-13-2012, 05:52 AM
I don't want to derail, but 'Saint Joe' practically is a religion in some places, I've seen his portrait hung over the mantle next to (and bigger than) Jesus.

Morrison_Lad
02-13-2012, 05:54 AM
I don't want to derail, but 'Saint Joe' practically is a religion in some places, I've seen his portrait hung over the mantle next to (and bigger than) Jesus.

And I grew up going to Michigan games when Bo Schembechler was equally revered.

Now go to Nigeria and see how many people know "Saint Joe" and base their lives around his beliefs.

stevapalooza
02-13-2012, 08:26 AM
I think it's funny how people are always presuming to know exactly what god wants from us in every aspect of our lives, but then when you ask a question they can't answer suddenly god is mysterious and unknowable.

So basically we have no idea why god took your baby. He moves in mysterious ways. Oh, but we do know he HATES buttsex. That mystery we've solved for sure.

Tyr
02-13-2012, 09:52 AM
Tyr, can I ask you an honest question?

If there's an omnipotent, omniscient god, then why do any of these terrible things happen? Is god just distant enough that it doesn't have any real effect on people's lives? Why did god create a world where children would have terrible, painful, debilitating diseases? Why even have something like Alzheimer's exist?

Forgetting for the moment the whole, "I don't believe in anything unless someone can provide evidence for it," problem I have with religion, these are the sorts of questions that would bother me.

I'm not trying to be an asshole. Honestly. I really want to hear what your answer is.

That is a very good question Lad, in fact its one that even believers will ask. For example check out the highly controversial song "Dear God" by XTC or for something a little less controversial "Lead Me On" by Amy Grant close to the end of the song she asks that very same question why is there suffering, and why does man keeps treating each other like garbage?

And yes the "mysterious ways" thing is a load of crap. It's a cop out to avoid answering the question, it doesn't fly with believers asking the question, anymore then with skeptics. Though it's true we as humans can't fully grasp the motivations of God, we can come up with some reasonable explanations for them.

First you've probably heard of the "Free Will spiel" That god grants us the will to do either good or evil. To do otherwise would be something like the like the famous episode of Justice League "A Better World" where the League becomes the Justice Lords and seize power. People are safe but they are no longer free. By attempting to make the world better they in many ways made it worse.

Secondly why is there suffering in the world? I believe C.S. Lewis had a answer for that. As I recall it goes something like this. Without pain and suffering, man would never rise to the occasion, he would never be challenged, and never grow. By allowing these things to happen humanity is challenged.

Take the show Red Dwarf, if you strip away its comedy elements you can see how this works. Now Lester is this under achieving slob of a man, who just floats through life. Then boom he's the last know man alive, through his loneliness and having to face the dangers of space with only a handful of incompetent and neurotic friends he goes through both a physical and spiritual journey. Lester unlocks his hidden potential as a leader. Sure he's still a slob, but by being challenged he's forced to use stuff within him he never knew he had.

Like any parent God wants us to be safe and protected, but he knows that constantly sheltering us will never allow us to grow and rise above adversity. He does want you to come for him for help, but he also wants you to be able to stand on your own two feet, and to thrive through hardships and difficult decisions.

Now I now you didn't ask this last question, but I'll go ahead and answer it. Why does god give so much to some and so little to others? Because god wants those who have so much to share with those who have so little, to help those who are suffering, and to do it by the fortunate mans choice, for only then will such an act have meaning for the fortunate man. That example that I gave you with the L.A. pastor, its a good example of a blessed man, (the Pastor) helping the suffering (The girl) through an ordeal that was horrific for both, the pastor was not forced to do this, he did it by choice, and that choice is what gave the event the meaning that it had.

Does all that make sense?

CutterMike
02-13-2012, 11:33 AM
As I've posted above, I'm an agnostic -- I can see nothing that pulls me towards belief in a deity nor disbelief. Oddly, the best solution for "Why does god let bad things happen?" comes (for me) from a science-fiction potboiler.

In "The Children of the Lens", the last of his "Lensman" books, E.E. Smith has one of his protagonists come perilously close to running away at the point of his greatest trial against almost insurmountable odds; he barely continues and nearly loses his life in the process.

Later he is ready to beat himself up over his moment of (as he sees it) cowardice. His guide, one of the near-immortal mentalities of the planet Arisia tells him to stop and think:

"Do not reproach yourself, youth, nor us. Consider, please, and recite, the manufacture of a fine tool of ultimate quality."

"The correct alloy. Hot working—perhaps cold, too. Forging—heating—quenching—drawing . . ."

"Enough, youth. Think you that the steel, if sentient, would enjoy those treatments? While you did not enjoy them, you are able to appreciate their necessity. You are now a finished tool, forged and tempered."


Whether there is a deity or not, my feeling is generally that the question of "Why?" is less important than that of "What am I going to do about it?".

...I dunno... Makes sense to me, anyhow.

Morrison_Lad
02-13-2012, 11:38 AM
I'm sorry. It still doesn't make any sense.

But thank you for answering my question. I appreciate it.

Tyr
02-13-2012, 07:25 PM
I'm sorry. It still doesn't make any sense.

But thank you for answering my question. I appreciate it.

Well, it's the best answer that myself or Mike can give you. There's no easy answer to that question Lad, it's one people have been struggling with for years.

Many folks are under the misconception that religion is a crutch that gives you easy answers and tells you things you want to hear, in order to make you feel good about yourself.

I say this, if any Religious institution promises you easy answers or that it will make you feel good about yourself, it's best to leave before they pass around the collection plate or get your credit card number.

michealdark
05-26-2012, 08:22 PM
It astonishes me how ignorant some folks of certain faiths can be when dealing with others that they feel worship "dangerous" deities. The level of Christian ignorance about Kali especially enrages me. Let's clear up some misconceptions. Kali is NOT the goddess of death, she is the goddess of time. Her power existed before and will always exist. She is the infinite womb from which we are all born, to which we will all return, and from which we will be reborn. Her physical form is a manifestation of Durga, the goddess of protection, that sprung from her forehead while dealing with a particularly difficult demon. That is why she is so ferocious looking, because she's the great Mother at both her most protective and most pissed off. As a manifestation of Durga, she is a demon slayer, and the arms and heads that make up her dress are those of the demons she has killed. As the Mother Goddess, she crushes our illusions and our attachments to the physical world in order to turn us to a life of devotion. The reason she is black or dark blue in complexion is because she is time and space itself in anthropomorphized form. She is the vastness of all creation, forever just out of reach but also beautiful and all attractive. As for her being a goddess of destruction, yes, she is. Time devours all things. Not even the other gods can escape Kali in her cosmic form. But to see that as evil fails to understand the Hindu concept of destruction. Destruction isn't an evil because to Hindus things are cyclical, not linear like they are in the Abrahamic faiths. In order for new building to occur, the old structures must be taken down, in order for new life to begin, the old must die, and in order for us to be reborn, WE must die. This is why Kali isn't feared, but loved.

Karen El
05-27-2012, 12:47 AM
Tyr, can I ask you an honest question?

If there's an omnipotent, omniscient god, then why do any of these terrible things happen? Is god just distant enough that it doesn't have any real effect on people's lives? Why did god create a world where children would have terrible, painful, debilitating diseases? Why even have something like Alzheimer's exist?


Maybe the whole point is that god isn't omnipotent and omniscient.

When I spent some time with some lovely pagans I got a whole different view of god, not as some giant beardy entity that micromanaged our lives and screws around with us 'for our own good', but as many spiritual entities that share the world with us, which may interact with us, especially if we make an effort to interact with them, but which don't know everything, and aren't infallible.

I was never into it enough to know if this is an accurate reflection of their beliefs, but this was what it seemed like to me.

DungeonMasterJim
05-27-2012, 02:45 AM
I'm kind of interested in the Vatican's dirty laundry about 'the butler did it' which he really did. I've heard some minor things like construction companies getting paid outrageously and that a bishop or someone was shipped off to America as sort of a punishment. Not big of me, I know, but in this case, I can't help it.

ssteve1011
05-27-2012, 06:27 AM
One possible explanation: God's an asshole.

Now, I don't believe that myself, but that would easily explain all the horrible things that happen in the world, and most often when I find myself talking to 'Hollywood Atheists (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HollywoodAtheist)' (I seem to spend more and more of my time on-line talking in tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TVTropesWillRuinYourVocabulary)) they never even consider that or related options. Maybe there is no philosophical answer to the question, maybe it's just a fundamental part of the universe that God enjoys watching peope suffer.

Personally, I believe in the (admittedly cliched) "God has a plan" rationale. That there is some logical explanation that covers why these bad things happen while still leaving room for a compassionate, beneficial being, but I just don't know what it is due to my limited understanding of the universe.
I've never asked the question why dose god let bad things happen because I've always believed god created us with the freedom to choose for ourselves and some people choose to do terrible things. So would we prefer that god did not give us a choice and forced us to live as he would want us.
He created this amazing world for us to live in and for many people they can only see the bad. This world has sickness natural disasters starving children war murder genocide. All of these atrocities but it also has people that care enough to to reach out and help each other. We are our brothers keeper. People seem to believe that god does not care because bad things happen I believe he cares enough just like a parent does for a child to let us grow and learn from our experiences.

zemo
05-27-2012, 06:34 AM
Tyr, can I ask you an honest question?

If there's an omnipotent, omniscient god, then why do any of these terrible things happen? Is god just distant enough that it doesn't have any real effect on people's lives? Why did god create a world where children would have terrible, painful, debilitating diseases? Why even have something like Alzheimer's exist?

Forgetting for the moment the whole, "I don't believe in anything unless someone can provide evidence for it," problem I have with religion, these are the sorts of questions that would bother me.

I'm not trying to be an asshole. Honestly. I really want to hear what your answer is.

This is the easiest question to answer in Christianity, if the religious person you are asking actually pays attention to their religion. Because it is quite explicitely stated that God is a father figure and gave humans free will. Now, what good would a father be that constantly butts in and makes everything we're bringing upon ourselves go away? The ability to fuck up things for ourselves comes with the whole free will thing. And there can not be one single exception. Because then there could never again be any clarity about whether I am doing what I am doing because I want to, or because I wanna make nice with a God I now KNOW exists.

Sure, Earth would be a nicer place, then again, I imagine all those Texans that have "live free or die" on their numberplates may be a tad bit upset.

ssteve1011
05-27-2012, 06:44 AM
This is the easiest question to answer in Christianity, if the religious person you are asking actually pays attention to their religion. Because it is quite explicitely stated that God is a father figure and gave humans free will. Now, what good would a father be that constantly butts in and makes everything we're bringing upon ourselves go away? The ability to fuck up things for ourselves comes with the whole free will thing. And there can not be one single exception. Because then there could never again be any clarity about whether I am doing what I am doing because I want to, or because I wanna make nice with a God I now KNOW exists.

Sure, Earth would be a nicer place, then again, I imagine all those Texans that have "live free or die" on their numberplates may be a tad bit upset.

It seems alot like people not wanting to except responsibility or place blame on those who commit horrible acts. In some ways were all responsible. In the case of disease and natural disasters or any uncontrollable variable in life are there to challenge us. If god were to intervene where does it stop. With natural disasters and disease or would god be responsible for our failing economy and unemployment. Once god has taken care of all that would people not expect for god to do away with death because we all suffer when our loved ones die. And then how would god offset the overwhelming population because there is no death and the world has become overpopulated. Would people expect god to creates larger planet for us to inhabit.

JKCarrier
05-27-2012, 07:11 AM
One possible explanation: God's an asshole.

Or a gamer:
http://www.theonion.com/articles/videogame-character-wondering-why-heartless-god-al,274/

michealdark
05-27-2012, 06:54 PM
Maybe the whole point is that god isn't omnipotent and omniscient.

When I spent some time with some lovely pagans I got a whole different view of god, not as some giant beardy entity that micromanaged our lives and screws around with us 'for our own good', but as many spiritual entities that share the world with us, which may interact with us, especially if we make an effort to interact with them, but which don't know everything, and aren't infallible.

I was never into it enough to know if this is an accurate reflection of their beliefs, but this was what it seemed like to me.

Yeah, the pagan view of the gods is more that they're entities with control over certain aspects of creation, basically human beings-namely sorcerers-writ large, rather than these all-powerful, all-knowing beings. Which helps to make a relationship with them more deeper and fuller, because you CAN know them, you CAN approach them, and you CAN be friends with them, in a way you can't with Yahweh/Allah (hence the whole point of things like bhakti yoga/the Hare Krishna movement). They're us, just on a cosmic scale, and since we're their children, we carry their divine spark in us. When a Wiccan says, "Thou art god/dess", or a Hindu calls Vishnu their brother or Kali their mother, they mean it, because they know that we all are born from the gods, carry their spirit within our souls, and return to them again.