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  1. #11
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    It only makes sense that fearing god and every mistake or sin made tips the scale a little bit more towards damnation. Yeah, I'd say that would do a number on mental health.

    Screw religion. That's what I say. No offense to anyone that is religious.

  2. #12
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    I wonder if the concept of heaven and hell is where religion has gone so horribly awry. In an attempt to protect themselves and others from eternal damnation, many a person has brought hell upon themselves and others in this life. I refuse to believe that it was God's will for us to judge and persecute each other in this life. The only redemption God has ever asked in return for his forgiveness is love. But because Jesus asked a prostitute to "Go and sin no more" it has fallen to man to judge his brethren for living in sin? Of course, so many pay no heed to the "judge ye be judged".

    Ultimately, I think for any religious text to have any value, it must be taken as a whole, and not stripped to quotes out of context. And that seems to be where much of the fear, shame, guilt, and hatred are derived from scriptures.

    Sin is between a man and God. No other man may judge another for his sins. These were the very words of Jesus and yet so many suffer because some people choose to worship fear over God. And all this fear mongering from organized religion, the fundamentalist, and liars has paid a terrible psychological toll on the faithful. God's will is that we live a happy and fruitful life, filled with love and forgiveness, and I feel anyone who cannot see that is already lost to hell.

  3. #13
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBeatGoesOn View Post
    Screw religion. That's what I say. No offense to anyone that is religious.
    You and your beef bread offend me, sir!
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  4. #14
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    I wonder if the concept of heaven and hell is where religion has gone so horribly awry. In an attempt to protect themselves and others from eternal damnation, many a person has brought hell upon themselves and others in this life. I refuse to believe that it was God's will for us to judge and persecute each other in this life. The only redemption God has ever asked in return for his forgiveness is love.
    I agree with that. It wasn't the way it was supposed to be, according to the early Bible stories, either.

    As I get older, the disparity between the "law" of love and the law of judgment grows wider and wider to me, as I become aware of how each affects the underlying attitudes and mentality of the people subjected to each.

    Sin is between a man and God. No other man may judge another for his sins. These were the very words of Jesus and yet so many suffer because some people choose to worship fear over God. And all this fear mongering from organized religion, the fundamentalist, and liars has paid a terrible psychological toll on the faithful. God's will is that we live a happy and fruitful life, filled with love and forgiveness, and I feel anyone who cannot see that is already lost to hell.
    I have probably mentioned it elsewhere, but the sheep/goats scene from C.S.Lewis "The Last Battle" always rang very true to me.

    When Narnia came to an end, every sentient creature was forced to face Aslan. Those who loved him when they saw him ran towards him. Those who hated him when they saw him ran into the dark. That was the only "judgment," and it cut past any of the little scorecards and checklists human beings like to keep on each other in some misguided attempt to keep each other on their toes. It does not matter, really, how much you screw up or do right, except I suppose to the degree that it impacts your inner attitude and motivation. In the end, does a person desire God/love and be willing to accept their role as a limited creature in the universe, or does God/love threaten them and their own sense of pride and insecurities? We each do make an instinctive choice about those things.

    What was remarkable in the New Testament account was that the religious forces (who kept the scorecards) generally had an inflated sense of self and could not accept God, forgiveness (either for themselves and everyone else who they saw as "worse" than themselves), etc., and had to prove and tout their righteousness. And those who knew they were messed up and hurt and imperfect and flawed and thus had no pretenses were much more open to Jesus and loved him.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  5. #15
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Kiddo, Jennifer:

  6. #16
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkPiranha View Post
    You and your beef bread offend me, sir!
    haha. I'm real sorry, Piranha. Forgive me?

  7. #17
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    God's will is that we live a happy and fruitful life, filled with love and forgiveness, and I feel anyone who cannot see that is already lost to hell.
    That's the only thing that ever made sense to me... and yet, I think that it can also be said without any need for religion. There is a large advantage to living a good life, one that you can be proud of, one in which you have purpose. It's the same reason those that do volunteer work, help others and have a strongly developped moral sense are also happier (or more correctly, less unhappy and more satisfied).

    Course, there is an excellent case for being given a purpose through religion being superior in this regard... but I never understood the fire and brimstone version of religion since there are nearly no benefits...

    However, I believe that the source of this problem wasn't hell and heaven, it was the transformation of religion from spiritual (read: dealing with individual human needs, as you describe in the OP) to lawful (read: dealing with social order). We've had the discussion before, but every society I know of uses negative incentives to create order... transforming religion into laws means religion must change to a punishment system... and same problems exist for any system designed to punish people, and the same reason heavily authoritarian social systems tax people's will tremendously.

  8. #18
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I never understood the fire and brimstone version of religion since there are nearly no benefits...
    The concept of benefits depends entirely on what one desires. Fire and brimstone religion is perfect for people who want power over others.

    However, I believe that the source of this problem wasn't hell and heaven, it was the transformation of religion from spiritual (read: dealing with individual human needs, as you describe in the OP) to lawful (read: dealing with social order).
    Excellent point. The concepts of Heaven and Hell, in themselves, don't appear to be problematic at all to me. After all, they are just that: concepts. It's the USE they are put to that can be problematic.

  9. #19
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering View Post
    The concept of benefits depends entirely on what one desires. Fire and brimstone religion is perfect for people who want power over others.
    Quite right, I should of specified I meant it in terms of the OP - it's not in an individual's psychological best interest to belong to a group like that.

    Excellent point. The concepts of Heaven and Hell, in themselves, don't appear to be problematic at all to me. After all, they are just that: concepts. It's the USE they are put to that can be problematic.
    I think the concepts are important, although I'm not sure if they cease to be concepts in either situation... "To be happy, live a good life as (x) lived it" - as in Jesus' message, like caring for others, showing empathy, not judging. There are good messages regardless of the time period (even in violent times this seems to be true, if impractical), in terms of how they make one feel about themselves. But this is spiritual - it's how you find peace, or how you find God in yourself. Those are guidelines on how to live a spiritual life. The mere addition of using force to impose beliefs destroys the nature of the guidelines.

    The need to impose order and condition behaviour (ie: laws), as in "Stone you to death", "Eye for an eye" kind of behaviour. That's required if religion is to set forth the rules. But "heaven and hell" is just an extension of that - a tangible punishment and reward system for order. That removes the spiritual side - it's easy to see just by asking what good deeds a person has done. Yes, perhaps you only do volunteer work because God or your Church said you should, but you are happier for it. Change that to having volunteer work being a burden you must bear (because God said so, or because the Church said so) and the benefit to yourself is lost. It's a simply attitude change between righteousness (I am better because I did (x)) and simply living life in the best way you can.

    In short, righteousness leaves you empty - you'll have to assert dominance again to get the "high". A person satisfied with what they have done - an act for the act's sake, will always find satisfaction in what they did and who they are.

    Heaven meant living a good life (ie: a life described in the first case, a more spiritual life, where you could feel good about what your life was... but easily captured as living close to God) while hell meant a lack of good life (even before darkness consumed you/purgatory views, nevermind the brimstone version), one of remorse and so forth.

    So while they are concepts, they are very important concepts and they should be taken seriously. You can choose to see life as a series of your choices... to live life well and embrace it. That'll make you happier than the alternative... or you can see life as a burden to bear and drag those around you down.

    I obviously think the second is idiocy, but the suffering is their's. I distance myself from those that believe in that way because they poison everyone around them.

  10. #20
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    However, I believe that the source of this problem wasn't hell and heaven, it was the transformation of religion from spiritual (read: dealing with individual human needs, as you describe in the OP) to lawful (read: dealing with social order). We've had the discussion before, but every society I know of uses negative incentives to create order... transforming religion into laws means religion must change to a punishment system... and same problems exist for any system designed to punish people, and the same reason heavily authoritarian social systems tax people's will tremendously.
    And even the authoritarian law of man is ineffective. That is because people ultimately need to take responsibility for their own lives. It seems that the "fire and brimstone" way of thinking is really what causes the most harm. Sadly, the traditionalistic people will never let go of it. They've developed their belief system and way of life around the idea of crime and punishment.

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