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View Poll Results: What Religion Do You Practice/Not Practice and Why?

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  • I'm an atheist

    36 27.48%
  • I'm agnostic

    25 19.08%
  • Buddhism

    6 4.58%
  • Hinduism

    1 0.76%
  • Islam

    2 1.53%
  • Christianity

    39 29.77%
  • Other

    22 16.79%
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  1. #111
    The Dark Lord The Wailing Specter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Can anyone tell me, in a US context, if there is a church, congregation or following which is called or refered to as "ethical culture"?

    I wonder if its a way of saying that you're atheist or agnostic without using those labels, I heard it recently in a film.
    It is similar to Unitarian Universalism, but smaller.
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    ATHEIST UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST HUMANIST
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    SCIENCE ENTHUSIAST


    I say this as a reminder to myself, but this goes for everyone:

    You can achieve anything you set your mind to, and you are limited only by how dedicated you are to succeed!

    -Magic Qwan

  2. #112
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Qwan View Post
    It is similar to Unitarian Universalism, but smaller.
    Unitarian universalism is originally a liberal off shoot of the quakers right?

    Is ethical culture an off shoot of unitarian universalism?

    What's involved in the practice of either can I ask? Pardon my ignorance of faiths other than my own

  3. #113
    The Dark Lord The Wailing Specter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Unitarian universalism is originally a liberal off shoot of the quakers right?

    Is ethical culture an off shoot of unitarian universalism?

    What's involved in the practice of either can I ask? Pardon my ignorance of faiths other than my own
    I will say that though two two developed independent of each other, they both have very long, complicated histories.

    For UU, there are seven principals that must be applied as each person sees fit:

    humanity
    justice
    diversity
    free inquiry
    democracy
    community
    respect for nature


    For more info on UU, go here:
    Atheist and Agnostic People Welcome - UUA
    Our Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources - UUA
    Enneagram: 6w7 (phobic) > 2w1 > 9w1
    Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
    Holland Code: AIS
    Date of Birth: March 15, 1996
    Gender: Male
    Political Stance: Libertarian Liberal (Arizona School/Strong BHL)
    ATHEIST UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST HUMANIST
    and
    SCIENCE ENTHUSIAST


    I say this as a reminder to myself, but this goes for everyone:

    You can achieve anything you set your mind to, and you are limited only by how dedicated you are to succeed!

    -Magic Qwan

  4. #114
    Senior Member Hitoshi-San's Avatar
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    I'm pretty agnostic right now. Like.....I don't give much thought to anything religious unless I seriously disagree with it. I do believe in a higher power and some possible form of an afterlife.

    I don't practice Catholocism. I went to a K-8 private a Catholic school and some of what I heard from the teacher was a slice of hell. There seemed like there was so much hypocrisy and judgment. I understand not all Catholics are like that obviously but I don't think I could go back to it.

  5. #115
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    I don't like to talk too much about it, for fear of sounding preachy, but since I was asked....

    I do Judaism. My mother raised our family in some traditions during my childhood, then these faded away in my late teen and university years, as I lost interest in the spiritual side of things. After graduating, I slowly decided to re-investigate, so now I am solidly in the Jewish fold again. Probably in what would be considered the "Conservative" denomination, which is like a "middle-way" between the strict rules of Orthodoxy and the liberal individually-based Reform movement. The theology in Conservative Judaism can actually be pretty liberal, but the practice of the customs and laws is supposed to be somewhat rigid in contrast to that. Strangely enough, this leads to the "why am I doing this when I don't necessarily believe in it?" feeling that pushes many people out of religious practice. Judaism has some interesting (not satisfying for everyone) answers to this:

    It is more important to practice Judaism than to believe it. Why? Because doing good things is always a positive for the world, whether or not you realize/understand that it's a good thing. Actions speak louder than idle beliefs, I guess? And this is one of my favorite reasons to keep practicing Judaism; essentially, it is the pursuit of doing good things and being a good person (although some of the logic behind the rules is not straightforward, of course).

    There is weight in the history and the traditions themselves. At least for the individual, this can be fulfilling to connect to generations of ancestors stretching back several thousand years, and in a sense appreciate what it meant to them. When I think on the fact that many of them risked death rather than convert to other religions when pressured, it gives me a great feeling of resilience and perseverance. That this custom only exists because, again and again, generation after generation, some made the often perilous choice and insisted to continue the line into the future.

    Study is probably the primary form Jewish "devotion" takes. When Jews are "devoted" to their religion, this usually means they are studying the Bible and the writings and discussions about the Bible. It's considered one of the highest forms of observance, to try to become closer to God and to understanding what God intends for us. So I think as long as we are pursuing and studying, we are on the right track and not the wrong track. Maybe we are not doing well, but at least if we are improving, we are learning something and becoming better people...

    Not all Jews would agree on these reasons, but they seem pretty widespread and common enough to say "most" would agree, especially most in Conservative Judaism.

    In practice, however, I do tend to interpret the way I think makes the most sense, if a tradition does not seem right. But often I have found, as I learn more about orthodox, historical reasons for many customs, that the reasoning is sound and I just wasn't informed enough to understand at first.

    Many of the practices involve repetition or routine, which again is something that can turn people off to religion. First of all, I often modify these to make my own routines, but based on established historical structure (kind of ). Second, I think having the structure of routine itself can be a positive, too, because it reinforces the idea that Judaism is a commitment--like a relationship with a husband or wife, this is a committed relationship with God. Relationships require effort, have ups and downs, and may not always be purely fun and fluffy, although they have great moments that are moving. I kind of like that sense of dedication that motivates me to keep going.

    Also, in my mind, it's a "most logical" form of religion. Being pure monotheism, it reduces any extra, unnecessary concepts about God down to the simplest view. Why say that there are gods in each tree and each river and each rock? Couldn't they all be considered of one form, and couldn't that form be considered one God? Or why say God has different persons? Aren't those persons complicating aspects of the same one God? They may not even be wrong, but they are ultimately unnecessary (as I see it) when all boiled down to "God or not God". This is why I think, besides Judaism, the only real alternative for me would be atheism. Or well, perhaps Islam, which is pretty monotheistic as well.

    Plus, there are so many good holidays and they're all meaningful and thoughtful.

    No offense was meant by any of the above. I only tried to explain my mind's rationale for beliefs I hold.
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  6. #116
    FRACTALICIOUS phobik's Avatar
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    Massurbism
    To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
    ~ Elbert Hubbard

    Music provides one of the clearest examples of a much deeper relation between mathematics and human experience.

  7. #117
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    Also, in my mind, it's a "most logical" form of religion. Being pure monotheism, it reduces any extra, unnecessary concepts about God down to the simplest view. Why say that there are gods in each tree and each river and each rock? Couldn't they all be considered of one form, and couldn't that form be considered one God? Or why say God has different persons? Aren't those persons complicating aspects of the same one God? They may not even be wrong, but they are ultimately unnecessary (as I see it) when all boiled down to "God or not God".
    I can definitely see the Christian Holy Trinity as an unnecessary complication, although ironically I don't share the confusion over this paradox that most Christians seem to, despite being an atheist. But to play devil's advocate, I suspect that animists of various religions might see monotheism as an unnecessary complication. "Why build all those diverse spirits into one distant ur-god with a lot of rules? Much simpler to practice faith 'naturally!'"

    (Feel free to correct me, pagans, wiccans, and other believers in many gods!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    This is why I think, besides Judaism, the only real alternative for me would be atheism. Or well, perhaps Islam, which is pretty monotheistic as well.
    It's funny you say this, because I once had a great professor who identified as an 'agnostic [converted] Jew.' At the time I was like , but after having conversations with others and reading your comments, it seems that 'agnostic Jew' might not be as unprecedented as I once thought.

  8. #118
    Senior Member Little_Sticks's Avatar
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    I don't really practice in the sense of following guidelines, but I remember as far as how I think and am that I'm some combination of Satanism, Humanism, Buddhism, and Shamanism.

    I agree with the idea of Satanism being that we should feed our desires, that it is natural and good to do so. But I also think there should be ethical limits on how we do this that falls in line with reason established by a more concrete reality and not ideas of a supernatural one.
    As far as Buddhism goes, I agree with the Dualistic Principles under-riding a lot of its teachings.
    And for Shamanism, I believe that the best way to solve human/animal problems requires an imagination for all life, a strong empathy that can understand it, in some ways meaning that one channels other life into themselves in order to understand what's going on before deciding on how to solve problems. It's pretty much like channeling spirits into yourself in a metaphorical sense.

  9. #119
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    Also, in my mind, it's a "most logical" form of religion. Being pure monotheism, it reduces any extra, unnecessary concepts about God down to the simplest view. Why say that there are gods in each tree and each river and each rock? [/]Couldn't they all be considered of one form, and couldn't that form be considered one God? [/b] Or why say God has different persons? Aren't those persons complicating aspects of the same one God? They may not even be wrong, but they are ultimately unnecessary (as I see it) when all boiled down to "God or not God". This is why I think, besides Judaism, the only real alternative for me would be atheism. Or well, perhaps Islam, which is pretty monotheistic as well.
    I agree with the highlighted. As a pagan, I follow one of those faiths usually associated with the idea of multiple deities, and I'm sure there are others out there who see these deities as quite separate and distinct. My own belief, however, is that they are all facets or manifestations of a single god/goddess. There is even a saying: all gods are one god; all goddesses are one goddess. You can take the next step, too, and say that god and goddess are just two sides of the same coin, like the yin/yang.

    Why have different persons? Consider an ordinary man. He might be a son to his parents, a father to his children, a brother to his siblings, a coworker at his job, a friend to his friends, a donor to his favorite charity, a coach to his daughter's soccer team, that guy who always walks his dog at 6:30 in the morning to his neighbors, etc. If one simple human can be so many different things to different people, why can't God be something different to each believer? Moreover, how we see God will change over our own lifetime, depending on our situation in life, much as the son who was cared for by his parents becomes their caregiver when they are elderly.

    So, Christians say God has three persons. Muslims speak of the 99 most wondrous names of God. I say why stop at 3 or even 99? Who can place limits on God?


    Otherwise I agree with you about the benefits of following a set of guidelines to help you do good; studying your faith to keep learning more about God; and even the benefit of repetition/ritual, provided it is something that is meaningful for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Passacaglia View Post
    (Feel free to correct me, pagans, wiccans, and other believers in many gods!)
    See above.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...
    Likes Passacaglia, Cimarron liked this post

  10. #120
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    I am an atheist, and a former Christian.

    As for why, I have three reasons. The first two concern the theistic/Biblical God I was brought up to believe in, and the third applies to all kinds of gods.

    I find it hard to imagine that such a god can exist considering how harsh and brutal the world is, and I feel like the world is ruled by chance. You have a lot of luck (or lack of it) in life and as romantic as fate and destiny are, I struggle to believe in them. The second reason is that for God to exist, you really have to believe the Bible is infallible, and that means that it has to be perfectly consistent. You only need to be a casual reader to realise that this is not the case.

    Thirdly, postulating the existence of any god raises more questions than it answers. You have to show us how this god came to be, and even a deist god suffers raises the question of an infinite regress. It is also a dispensable entity that is now unnecessary to make sense of the universe, so I don't see any reasons left to believe in the supernatural. I actually find that liberating, as humanity now has an imperative to discover truths in a way that has never been possible before. There is no point in clinging to the past when better alternatives have presented themselves.

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