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Michaelaw
11-14-2009, 12:41 AM
One thing always bothered me as a child when it came to the concept of religion and to this day I can’t really say I understand the notions I had as a ten year old. I was raised by parents whom it seems were never completely sure either. As far back as I can recall, our family unit was never completely solidified on one religious doctrine. First we were Baptist then Lutheran then Baptists again then this followed by that. I recall attending a church where people spoke in tongues and another where they did the gospel singing and a lot of “Oh Lordy, lordy, lordy have mercy on my soul type stuff. Through all of this and observing the totally different persuasions of my friends, I was left with a strange notion that many people on earth were believing and praying to different gods but the one thing they all had in common was the belief that they were right. There was no clear way to eternal life other than to believe in the God they subscribed to. This was a conundrum for a young boy because it seemed to me that out of all of these ways to heaven, only one could be right…Which one? Later in life it occurred to me that the beliefs we hold in this matter are handed down generation to generation, that is what our parents believe is ingrained in us, solidified as belief and passed to the next generation and so on. As a child it occurred to me that being born in England to parents who were Baptist I naturally adopted this belief pattern, however, had I been born five thousand miles in another direction I would perhaps have been a Muslim. Had I been born yet a few thousand miles in another direction I would have adopted the philosophy of Buddha. It clearly seemed to me that it was a cosmic “roll the dice” deal as to how my beliefs would be formed. To this day I wonder how and why we don’t see this? Who knows, if we survive long enough, put our petty disputes on the back burner, we may eventually reach other worlds and civilizations and yes…We will have to contend with even more beliefs! I just don’t get this. Your thoughts?

hodaka
11-14-2009, 02:07 AM
Well, this is a big can o' worms!

Here's my feelings: true adherents of a true religion will show true love for each other and fellow man. This precludes war, hatred, selfishness, jealousy, and many other things. Ask yourself: how can you love God if you hate your fellow man? If you can't love your fellow man, how can you love a god that you have never seen, who also created your fellow man?
John 13:35 - "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves"
It shouldn't matter where you are born, if you truly believe in a higher power, you should understand that that higher power is responsible for putting us all here on earth. That knowledge alone should be enough to see the truth in Jesus' words in the above passage (exact wording in your translation will vary, but the plain english is the same). If you religion condones behaviour contrary to that, why? Even non-Christians of note have seen and commented on the wisdom of Jesus' words, though viewing him as only a historical figure of note.
In warfare, often ones will fight for a particular country, claiming god on their side, and yet ones from their own religion are fighting against them for another country. How does that make sense?

I guess it comes down to seeing beyond the doctrine. Often, doctrine is peppered with philosophy, tradition, and speculation. These are all things that have been added and subtracted over time. Getting to the root can be difficult, but if you believe that god loves us, you can cut out anything that runs contrary to that. Take out the human element, so to speak.

Michaelaw
11-14-2009, 03:03 AM
Thanks for the input H. I am no longer a believer in any religion by choice, admittedly mine. I realize however that in this soup called life we all must come to some conclusions and I feel a need to respect the conclusions of other regardless of whether or not I agree. I feel this somehow is the key to our ultimate survival...Tolerance of differing opinions. Once again I find myself wishing I could just sit back and believe that which I have been taught but it is not in my nature :D Oddly, I await my final breath with excitement in some ways because then, and only then will I know! Not that I herald the final breath or sit on the front lawn in anticipation, I just think I can only be true to myself by believing that the path I follow is correct until the end....Faith! In that respect I can honestly say I fear nothing.

PS...My next off topic post is a real humdinger :D

Greg_Nuspel
11-14-2009, 06:58 AM
I have always believed that the only reason to fight a holly war is if you fear the other guy might be right. One of my favourite quote for which I don't know the author is; "If god created us in his own image we have certainly returned the complement".

You can tell religions are written by man, most times 'men'. I was raised in a religious family and then I started to question it all and the more I looked the more the corruption of man was evident. I can not believe in a petty god that would strike down his creations for being flawed. This would be like parents killing their children because they didn't turn out the way they wanted, and everyone would accept that. So if heaven is run by a tyrant like that who wants to be there. You might just forget to clean your cloud one day and zap your gone.

One thing I have found with all the great people I respect is that they are humble and don't want or expect praise, I like to apply this to religion as well.

Michaelaw
11-14-2009, 09:30 PM
Something I read/heard, been so long I can't remember but the story happened in India and it caused me to pause and think. Years ago, India was a much poorer nation and though things have improved for the people of this nation, they're still not extreme heavy hitters economically. In order to work the land they needed cows, oxen to pull the plows to till the land to plant the crops and grow the food they needed to survive. Tractors were financially out of the question. At this period in time though, they were still eating their tractors. The government in collusion with the religious leaders let the people know in no uncertain terms that it was against gods will to eat beef, the animal was declared sacred in the eyes of God. In essence it became illegal to eat the tractors. Too much time has passed for me to remember from where I got this info as I said but at the time it struck me as a documented case of how powers and religion or both could be used to steer the people (no pun intended) Granted, this would seem a valid reason to use that power but the fact that belief could be swayed to choose a direction for it's followers was noted at the time.

Michaelaw
11-14-2009, 10:24 PM
My original point in my OP didn’t seem to come across as crystal clear as I had hoped though so I’ll give a new slant on my point. Let’s say there is a city populated by two religions, they are group A and group B. group A live in the west end of the city while group B take up residence in the east. Group A want to belong to the mother country from whence they came while group B want total autonomy. No one can reach a compromise so the two factions declare war on each other. While the war rages for centuries, the hatred between the two grows. All the while the two groups must live, eat and survive so the war is fought in the off hours or by clandestine armies owned and supported by either side. Roadside bombs are deployed along with nasty drive by executions. Bombs are planted in pubs, schoolyards and shopping malls, their hatred knows no limits. The mother country helps the cause of the group that wishes to remain a part of the kingdom this being group A. Infuriated, group B redouble their waves of violence and even employ the help of outside entities to aid in the cause. For years the battle rages and the hatred builds. A child is born to a family in the east side and immediately brought into the group B doctrine. Here is the fifty fifty coin toss I mentioned in my first post. The child could easily have been born in the west end but fate placed him in the east. At the same time the child was born in the east, another was born in the west. Both children are loved and protected by their respective group A/B parents. The east side child grows up fed the group B religious doctrine along with the deep hatred of the west group A belief. The child learns to hate the opposition and all it stands for and will over time perpetuate the violent life it has been born into. The very same thing happens to the eastern born group B child. Both children are killed before they reach twenty years of age succumbing to the violence of the decades old war. Now the twist. Lets say the mother of the group A child did not give birth as she was killed three days after conception by a roadside bomb. The little soul/spirit was diverted to Wa Wa Ontario where he grew up with agnostic pot smoking parents and eventually became a Canadian rock star never knowing the dispute between the A or B group other than what he watched on the CBC nightly news. As a child he watched the news broadcast on TV and formed his own beliefs regarding the conflict. In fact it affected him so deeply he wrote a song about it that went to the top of the charts propelling him to stardom! My point being that the fifty fifty coin toss of where we end up being born is the problem, we are born into the hared and violence at that moment and the little minds are sculpted to suit the cause whatever it might be in the region they end up in! Hard point to put across but hey…I’m trying 

Greg_Nuspel
11-15-2009, 06:37 AM
I think the point is we are all created equal until our mind is corrupted by those around us. Soon as we develop hatred we become less of a man.

casil403
11-15-2009, 07:26 AM
I'm not sure if this has much to do with the conversation above, but there's a really good and interesting book I have called "Jesus and Buddha; The Parallel Sayings".

Basically it talks about the similar teachings b/w Buddhism and Christianity and the similar universal truths within their doctrines. I'll bet any money that if one were to look at Muslim the teachings of the Khoran, their would be similar sayings in those teachings also....I'd bet the same goes for Juddaisim and the Torah too. I 'd also bet that if one were to take any doctrine of any other old and known religion, one would see the similar sets of teachings.

I think any faction of any religion can take any teaching/text/doctrine and skew and pervert it to something that teaches others to hate, opress, have power over and kill others who are supposedly "different"... but are they really?
So at the end of the day, is it really a religion thing or something else with religion being the reasoning/excuse behind it? :confused:

F8&Bthere
11-15-2009, 12:18 PM
There is a randomness to it all, I agree.

I was baptised catholic and with my parents not really pushing anything on us as kids we only went to church on special occasions like Christmas and Easter.

I never felt anything pulling me to be there, and I always felt like half the people there were there for all the wrong reasons.
As time went on I saw all the hypocrisy in the world and I never really felt the need to worship any God really.

I always felt uncomfortable and awkward in church.

I remember one time in my early 20s I was at my friend's wedding as an usher and the bride, groom, parents, ushers and bridesmaids were all seated front row during the ceremony in the church. All of sudden it's time for communion, starting with the front row, and everyone- I mean every single person in the row- got up and into the line. So I thought to myself, okay I was baptised catholic, even though I never made my first communion or whatever maybe this is different. Maybe if I don't get up it's an insult to the bride, groom and family. So I got up. I watched what the others were doing and when I got to the priest did the same. But he would not offer me the holy bread! He just nodded and sort of gestured to me that I can push off, and in my awkwardness, I said to him in a low tone, I was baptised catholic, and he just mumbled something and still refused to put it in my open hands or my mouth, and time stood still as of course I should have just immediately moved on and returned to my seat but I persisted and boy oh boy was it embarassing.

So many years later I am married to a woman who is quite spiritual, catholic, and find myself going more often. My son is in a catholic school. But I still look around me in church and can't get the ideas of sheep and hypocrits out of my head.

It wasn't until watching the 1st Zeitgeist movie and then later Bill Maher's Religulous that so many things I had thought, mostly fleeting and fragmented, throughout my life were presented in such a complete and orderly manner. It was like I was jumping up and saying "yeah! that's what I thought!" And then I felt like it was okay to admit what I've been feeling (to myself and to my wife) for many years.

hodaka
11-15-2009, 04:18 PM
I think I understand, and yes, it kind of is random and you can't help what circumstances you are born into. But that's what being an adult is supposed to be about. Theoretically, you should be able to separate yourself from your surroundings on some level, and figure it out on your own. In your example, if the people looked at the hatred and just thought "does this make any sense?", they might realize that it does not. If, however, they continue blindly, the hatred grows and gets passed on.
Many people are on autopilot. They either have a religious belief system that leads them to what they do, and forget they can make their own choices and decisions - or they have no religion, and feel it is up to them to make things right, because there is no higher power that will step in.

AcadieLibre
11-15-2009, 05:07 PM
Anti - Theist / Deist here.

"Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" - Karl Marx

"Religion is the opiate of the people"

Iguanasan
11-15-2009, 06:24 PM
I've been staying out of this conversation simply because religion can be a topic which is so volatile that the mere discussion of it can cause great harm. The reference to Bill Maher's Religulous, however, reminded me that I had wanted to see that movie so I watched it today. Let's just say that Bill and I are pretty much on the same page when it comes to religion.

Michaelaw
11-15-2009, 11:57 PM
Religion, sports and politics is the rule I believe Iggy :) Sports I have zero use for so it's not something I'm going to ever discuss. Religion and politics I've never had an issue discussing with anyone mainly because I have no agenda. I'm neither religious nor political. Belief however has fascinated me for years, that and the nature of personal reality. You are probably a wise man to keep your distance:)

hodaka
11-16-2009, 03:01 PM
I did state things in a way that is more or less religion neutral, I hope. The point I was trying to make is that (according to the thrust of the topic), if you are born into a belief system because of where you are born/raised, you can take the initiative to make your own decision on it.

Michaelaw
11-18-2009, 11:56 PM
Here it cements itself for me

LINK (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8366197.stm)

Minds full of handed down belief passed through the ages without the ability or courage to question and evaluate reality, SHEEP! I truly don't have a way to deal with this, find it very hard to sit in this very room I have created which swiftly brings this information to my attention without somehow feeling like I'm a part of the problem. This woman was a part of my family! She was HUMAN! We need as humanity to all get on board with one system of belief and rapidly if we expect to survive! Utopian in its concept I understand but as it stands were not unlike a bunch of kindergarten kids rallying around the kid with the coolest toys! I wish, wish, wish I could just say "whatever" But instead I find myself spending many mental hours trying to find a solution and I'm darned sure our belief systems are at the root of the problem!

Thanks for not beating on me for posting my views:)

Rob
11-19-2009, 09:56 PM
Michaelaw,
Thanks for posting your thoughts. I too have settled in on a path tangential to what might be described as conventional thought but at the same time I want to say that the potential for exactly what you wish for has never been greater. Although the internet has caused an initial flap in our global dealings I really believe there is a kind of "mind melding" going on out there and I believe that it let's us see each other more as individuals, rather than, as part of a group. As individuals and not as you suggest "sheep" we will have less problems with each other and the learning at that point will increase exponentially.

I fail to be able to describe in any honest fashion why I exist and I have even more trouble when I ponder the thought of an after life. Please, say it isn't so.

I am comfortable not knowing or having explanations for these matters and nor am I compelled to pass along any to my two young ones either.

You and I have some similarities in thought it seems and now I can't wait for this "humdinger" you mentioned.

I'll put my party hat on.:party: