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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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Results 41 to 50 of 590

  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    Right. Why are hundreds of millions of people content to live in huts when they should strive for led lcd flatscreens and tablets? I think the limiting factors are time, economic opportunity, individual liberty, and natural resources. It may seem pointless to strive for anything greater if one is living in a desert or in a theocracy that discourages independent thinking.
    I'm not sure that's what I meant, I can understand people who dont use things or have no use for them not wanting them, and I really dont think harsh circumstances or totalitarian governments are that good at curtailing the kinds of striving I'm talking about, once its unlocked that is.

    Its more of an existential thing and whether people are consciously or unconsciously driven to anything more than satisfying their basic needs.

  2. #42
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark
    Its more of an existential thing and whether people are consciously or unconsciously driven to anything more than satisfying their basic needs.
    What happened during the Renaissance and why was there such a flurry of creativity? This period included many examples of individuals striving for more. Why did these artists have so much free time and why was there so much interest in the arts?
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  3. #43
    climb on Showbread's Avatar
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    I'm a Christian. I was raised a Christian, but there have definitely been seasons in the last few years where I have seriously questioned pretty much everything. Ultimately no matter how I spin it the world makes more sense to me with God in the picture. Do I have a lot of unanswered questions, absolutely. Will some of them remain unanswered until I die, most likely. But the way I see it I would be in that situation even if I didn't believe in God. Only in that scenario I would have no hope of ever understanding. Science doesn't have an answer for everything at this point (I don't think it ever will). This is not to say I don't believe in science, because I definitely do. Science is very important and extremely useful. However I have experienced things that science can't explain, and I've had moments of supernatural peace that nothing in my study of psychology can account for.

    I suppose you could say I'm a fairly liberal Christian, I would also consider myself a feminist/humanist. I do have some more conservative values that may not be super popular, but they don't seem to interfere with my ability to love and maintain relationships with people that disagree (some of my absolute closest friends).
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  4. #44
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    We are born into a heritage. We first inherit our language. And our language gives us access to our culture. I was fortunate to inherit English which gives me access to the culture of the West.

    The culture of the West is based on Ancient Greek philosophy, Judaism, Christianity, and the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment in particular leads the West forward. We have already made enormous strides in understanding our place in the universe, and in creating a politics that maximises freedom and equality.

    First the West exploded outwards under the influence of the printing press, but today we are imploding inwards under the influence of the electric media, particularly the internet.

    We don't know where our psychological implosion will take us. There are many who profoundly resist it. It is becoming plain there are many who are psychologically damaged and damaging, who are unable to enjoy the implosion of our psyches, and indeed see it as a threat to be met by authoritarian control.

    To enjoy the implosion of our psyches the locus of control needs to move from external authoritarian control to internal empathy and creativity.

    Unfortunately institutional religions of today are ill equipped to nurture the imploding psyche.

    The three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are religions of the Book, whereas today we need a religion of the Internet.
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  5. #45
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passacaglia View Post
    I think you're onto something here. I'm highly skeptical of the idea that anyone needs religion specifically to teach them morality and ethics, but some people really do seem to yearn for the structure that religion provides.
    People want structure. They want to know there is order in their environment. Atheists can create that order themselves.. but not everyone is equipped with that ability. Religion creates a lot in a person--abstract thinking, challenge, success, second chances, etc. etc. It isn't like adults don't know right from wrong on their own.. society dictates that generally (however flawed and not-actually-right society tends to be sometimes) .. but let me take a smaller scale example.

    My sister was told "no processed foods--no 'white' foods" which she took to mean 'wheat bread instead of white, no junk foods, no potatoes either' in her diet she was given by her doctor. I challenged her and said, "potatoes are not junk food nor are they processed at all... So why do potatoes rank up there with donuts? And isn't flour processed the same way regardless of if it's wheat or white?" and she had no answers to give me. Without any science laying the foundation, the rules that really seemed clear to her were suddenly arbitrary and .. well.. stupid.

    A lot of debate, science and evidence based practice, and even more personal opinion based on personal experience all went into answering my question after that. And the personal experience was necessary.. She knew onions were a good-for-her food and don't require banning despite clearly falling under the 'white' umbrella and this diet saying she shouldn't eat them. Sugar was a bigger criminal in her diet than potatoes. She feels better when she gets to eat whatever she wants at least two times a week, and she knows her weakness is sweets and prepackaged foods. Even so, she can still follow the diet knowing those things aren't really true and see if the diet works for her or not and try to reason why as she goes.

    If I were to replace such a simple thing with a more complex issue like killing a person... While society can account for debate (via court rulings and sentencing), and evidence based practice (with laws and what's generally acceptable and what studies are showing and if those studies are valid or not), only the person can fill the void of the last bit. Is there ever a time it's okay to kill another human truly and absolutely? It's a question only people can answer and the answer is subjective to whatever society agrees upon. Having society on the same page generally is beneficial to everyone.. and religion is a great unity tool. Even if the message is stupid in some sections (like women can't teach and should be silent) the bigger over-reaching messages (Jesus's story of the fish and bread shows he accepted EVERYONE who was there and fed them, regardless of if they were douchebags or nice people, and thus people should accept others and help without judgment) are not invalidated by the writings of humans in times long ago where saying those things was okay in society at the time.

    But I don't think that paganism or wicca have any generally accepted canonical texts? So I'm curious to hear your perspective on the double-edged sword that religion seems to be; whether your own faith and/or the big western three and/or others.
    Wicca has some... writings that are considered fairly standard. No big Bible-esque thing, the idea is to create your own (commonly called a book of shadows) masterpiece filled with your experiences, ideas, spells (what wiccans call prayer), and encounters. Sometimes people mooch off of other books because they have wiser words or they're just too young to have experience truly yet or.. simply want to experience things from another person's perspective. Nothing wrong with that.

    But for me personally.. not having a standard, and creating my own standards as I went along, really helped me develop my critical thinking as a person. Of course, it isn't for everyone.. my sister lacks critical thinking entirely, and has no desire to develop that aspect of herself. She doesn't find it desirable to have. Everyone's different. But the big message of the diet (no junk food, eat vegetables, limit your sugar and eliminate white sugar entirely, more protein, etc.) makes the diet (even though it's misguided in its reasons and representing things a bit wrong here and there) not a terrible message.. and perhaps even a good one if she can stick to it and enjoys seeing results. (Of course, it's a difficult diet, and she might end up falling off the wagon after 3-4 weeks of it. Most religions are not easy to maintain in one's daily life and require active effort and thought.. so most people just sort of change it to suit their needs and walk mindlessly after that.)

    (Buddhism seems to be mostly lacking in terrible ideas, but then I'm not an expert on Buddhist texts.)
    I take issue with Buddhism because while zen is enlightenment and all of that is cool sounding or whatever... it seems like the way to get there is to lack spirit and zeal in things. I just can't vibe with a message that doesn't emphasize the richness one gets from competition, challenge, and feeling things intensely both good and bad. Taken slightly wrong, the message can quickly turn into 'be apathetic about everything and you won't care enough to suffer anymore.'

    I think the yearning for spiritual structure is also very much a double-edged sword. There seem to be a lot of people who are all too happy to do whatever their religious leader or holy book says, regardless of compassion or reason, simply because it creates that feeling of structured fulfillment. If such a person falls into a group that focuses on all the positive aspects of religion, all well and good! But if such a person falls into a hateful and backwards religious group, s/he will live just as zealously by that hateful belief system. Thus some individuals and even entire congregations become cancers to society.
    People think they get their best ideas in the shower. In actuality, people get their best ideas when they're comfortable and doing a mindless task so that they can think. The shower fits both of those criteria. Being active in one's daily life is difficult.. active thinking, actively making decisions, and actions, and making results happen.. it is exhausting.

    Having to currently deal with the pressure and awkwardness of being pretty much hated just because I wasn't born into a religion, I can see why people would be resentful of it all. But... Those people are anomalies. And people have to remember that.

    For every one Jihadist terrorist there's over a million Muslims that would never hurt another human. For every Westborough (howevertf you spell it) Baptist Protester there's a group of Christians building homes for people in central america and passing out food during disasters. For every douchebag atheist that just screeches like a hen every time a Christian farts there's plenty who are fine to be surrounded by others who don't agree with them, respect and accept them, and still live their life the way they choose. A tool is a tool.. and if people use those tools for bad things, the tool isn't transformed magically into something evil. It's neutral, and subject to the chaos or order that society brings to the table.

    The crusades were a lot of people doing a bad thing all at once.. and a great demonstration of the power of religion.. but there are other psychological factors at play that stretch far beyond the religion itself. Religion had little to nothing to do with WW2 and yet millions of Jews and other groups were killed. Their religion didn't dictate that on either side.. psychology and sociology had huge plays in that, and the hands were stained with bystander effects and other well known principles of people following in masses blindly.

    So I wouldn't let the anomalies cloud the message necessarily.
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  6. #46
    Senior Member robowolf's Avatar
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    I was brought up in a super catholic environment, then one day I tried to shift my perspective outside the Church and everything and saw a bunch of hairless apes that every Sunday gathers around someone who claims to be a messenger of god and says the same things over and over again and then feeds his audience with these pieces of saltless bread that are supposed to be the body of a guy that died almost 2000 years ago. I'm skeptical about the existence of a god, but who knows... I do reject the idea of organized religion though.

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by robowolf View Post
    I was brought up in a super catholic environment, then one day I tried to shift my perspective outside the Church and everything and saw a bunch of hairless apes that every Sunday gathers around someone who claims to be a messenger of god and says the same things over and over again and then feeds his audience with these pieces of saltless bread that are supposed to be the body of a guy that died almost 2000 years ago. I'm skeptical about the existence of a god, but who knows... I do reject the idea of organized religion though.
    Just out of interest, what idea is that? I'm not challenging, just clarifying.

    Also if organised religion has nothing to recommend it are you suggesting that disorganised or unorganised religion is some how superior or preferable?

  8. #48
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    I'm pretty sure that I'm incapable of believing in things like god and such... I was even raised being dragged to church every sunday (and sunday school and bible school...) and it still didn't ever click. no religion has ever really felt right to me in any ways... they don't line up with my own ways of thinking in some ways

    however, I DO find religions to be fascinating and the way that they developed and the type of thoughts that go into such things and how they've evolved and such. I don't even mind sitting through services, provided that I'm not expected to participate, the other congregants behave themselves and don't go around yelling or anything and the church had better be lovely (bonus points for the service being in a foreign language or a pipe organ being involved)... there's something calm about the rituals and the sitting still and thinking.
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  9. #49
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    Religion for me? No. Spiritual practice? Yes. I just enjoy belief in a wider unseen reality, possibly because the seen one is pretty dour and quite depressing to look at. I try and temper my impulses with mindfulness and I do think my life feels better when I want less. It alleviates anxiety about not being where I 'should be' and not having what I 'should have'. In short all the useless comparisons with others that keep humanity perpetually on the edge of violence and judgement. That has been an improvement in how I experience life so I keep up with it. Whether or not I'm merely soothing my own defective mind really doesn't matter to me if the outcome is something I want.

  10. #50
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    What happened during the Renaissance and why was there such a flurry of creativity? This period included many examples of individuals striving for more. Why did these artists have so much free time and why was there so much interest in the arts?
    Wealth and power were concentrated in the hands of aristocrats who had plenty of leisure time to pursue the arts. Some of these used their wealth to fund artists and composers to create and perform, often giving them wide latitude in their creativity while all their daily cares were met. (Just look at how many classical pieces have dedications to Count so-and-so or Duchess This-and-that.) In some ways, it was a better system than we have today.
    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...
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