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What's your religion?

Aquarelle

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Well, if you consider it literally protestant then the thinking is nothing but a spirit of protest, righteous indignation, its pretty reductivist I know but I do think its accurate since there where and are schisms before and after the reformation from the RCC.

Hilaire Belloc wrote about this in his book on The Great Heresies and probably in his other books on the reformation but I've not read them all. I dont agree with him entirely and I just know from reading his books that there'd be a personality clash between myself and him if we'd ever met. On the other hand I kind of know what he's talking about when he characterises the protestant spirit as a sort of radical, unflinching, throwing the baby out with the bathwater contrarianism.

I didnt used to feel this way but reading Erasmus and Luther's Discourse on Free Will totally knocked me for six and I couldnt see anything good about the reformation from then on if I could judge what was happening at a popular, public level was in any way like what happened in that exchange at the level of theologians and scholars.

The pattern, which I associate with the Reformation, of overthrowing an authority but then erecting an equally authoritarian order in reaction to the unleashed chaos (Luther's attack on papish, then support for principalities contra the peasant war) or creation of an alternative polar power which then tries to out do the horrible actions of its opponent, real or imagined (Calvin's Geneva) is something which I think has been repeated in almost every single revolutionary upheaval since, almost regardless of context or epoch, with the exception of the US revolution, perhaps because it was a big country and was more of a seperatist struggle.

This is something I'm very wary of discussing because of the capacity for unintended offense to friends, I really hope I've not offended you.

First let me say that I take no offense. Although I identify much more with Protestantism than Catholicism, just because that's how I was raised, I don't think Protestants have it all right, nor Catholics all wrong. As for the contrarian nature of Protestant thought, I can certainly see how historically this was the case, but I don't think today's Protestants choose their specific beliefs just to be contrary. It's just a different set of beliefs, and frankly, I think both Protestants and Catholics believe some silly things. :D But also many good things.

I was mainly referring to the differences in philosophy between Catholicism and Protestantism - for instance, the idea of a personal relationship with God rather than needing the intermediary of a priest. I was raised Protestant, and while I have no problem with Catholicism (well.... at least no problems that I don't ALSO have with Protestantism!), I never understood the point of confessing to a priest. Does he have the power to absolve you? No, certainly not. I get that the idea of telling your misdeeds to a living, breathing person may be a better deterrent than confessing them only to a God you can't see, but I don't really like the idea of guilt and shame being used in this way. Of course, Protestants use guilt and shame too, just in different ways. But I still think a personal relationship with God is more meaningful. I also was always a bit offended when I went to church with my BFF (who was raised Catholic) and since I myself was not a Catholic, I was not allowed to take communion, even though I took communion at my own church. If my Catholic friend had come to church with me, she'd have been allowed to take communion with us.

I hope I haven't offended you, either. It is certainly not my intention.
 
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Sniffles

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Aquarelle99, forgive me but I'll have to address your arguments a bit later. Im a little preoccupied with other issues atm. :)
 

Lark

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I was mainly referring to the differences in philosophy between Catholicism and Protestantism - for instance, the idea of a personal relationship with God rather than needing the intermediary of a priest. I was raised Protestant, and while I have no problem with Catholicism (well.... at least no problems that I don't ALSO have with Protestantism!), I never understood the point of confessing to a priest. Does he have the power to absolve you? No, certainly not. I get that the idea of telling your misdeeds to a living, breathing person may be a better deterrent than confessing them only to a God you can't see, but I don't really like the idea of guilt and shame being used in this way. Of course, Protestants use guilt and shame too, just in different ways. But I still think a personal relationship with God is more meaningful. I also was always a bit offended when I went to church with my BFF (who was raised Catholic) and since I myself was not a Catholic, I was not allowed to take communion, even though I took communion at my own church. If my Catholic friend had come to church with me, she'd have been allowed to take communion with us.

I actually understand and support the restrictions of communion to professing, practicing RCs, although I dont support the views of some traditionalists which suggest that it should be restricted further to penitant RCs a set number of days from their confession and who have fasted for half the day before receiving it. Its not meant to be a rejection or reinforce outsider status of non-RC christians or anything.

The thing about confession, I know this is a big deal for a lot of non-RCs, its a big deal for some RCs too. The best reasons I can think of are well portrayed in Gran Torino with Clint Eastwood's character dissing the naive, young priest.

However, there's a lot of different sorts of confession, the congregational confession in which people think rather than speak their sins, aswell as the one to one confession. Do I believe that religious have the power to absolve sins? Yes, I do. Do I think God will not forgive what is not shared a confession, not necessarily.

However I think that institution historically served a different function, which worked, especially for extraverts, much better than prayer or private acts of contrition. Really good priests can provide, through confession, the service which a good psycho-analyst would, in fact Freud drew a lot of parallels himself. More modern psychological theorists would draw parallels with other-directed or peer-directed co-regulation or co-reflection in internal conflict resolution/management or affect/emotional regulation. Particularly those associated with guilt, shame, terror, aversion and dread.

I wont pretend it was abused or still is, its not the intelligence gathering set up some opponents of the church believe it is though. There's no wire to the vatican running from those confessional booths.

There is a version of the personal relationship with God within RC beliefs, definitely in Erasmus and Moore, definitely in the mystics, its the complete corner stone of the Jesuit, Franciscan and other religious orders. Sacramentalism, again open to abuse, it is an imperfect world, is not supposed to be a barrier or intermediary but it is one of the attempts to bridge the personal experiences of believers with the need for a means of transmitting knowledge between generations so that they may have opportunities at least for similar experiences.
 

Cor Luctis

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I tend to think that personal fit can lead to what you've mentioned here but I also think that there's more than one way to pay homage to God, for instance not everyone is cut out for the religious life, whether its a monk, priest or missionary, and equally there are people who arent cut out to be fathers, mothers or raise a family but those are two distinct ways of paying homage to God just as an example.

Yes.
I tend to consider it like mathematics, there is only one correct answer, sometimes people reach it even though their working out is different or even wrong, however there's still just the one answer.

I'm a bit hesitant about personal fit, I know what you mean and actually agree but I also think that you shouldnt simply tailor something to suit yourself in matters of faith and morals, I once did but I'm not sure that I do now.
I like the analogy, mentioned by others, of many paths to the same mountaintop. I definitely agree that there is one "God", or to be more generic, "divine entity", whom we call by many names, and see in many different ways. One human can be many things to many people: child, sibling, parent, friend, neighbor, mentor, etc. The infinite divine can even moreso relate to each of us in different ways, depending upon our individual makeup and our situation in life. This is part of what I mean by personal fit. I am not so much making God in my image, but viewing God with my own eyes rather than trying to do so through someone else's. God made me the way I am, and I should be able to worship, commune, reflect, study in a way that is consistent with this rather than at odds with it. Much of this relates more to religion as a communal expression of faith, though, than to my own personal beliefs.

As for morality, I do not come up with my own personal morality a priori, but rather look for those common threads found in most/all the great religious traditions.

On the subject of faith being public, I do not understand this. To me, faith is personal, if not private. Each of us believes what we believe. We can go through the motions of something else, but that is not sincere belief. Religion, on the other hand, is almost by definition public since it implies some commonality of belief, practice, or both. I can participate in a religion even if I do not share these common beliefs (much like Victor's atheists attending church for social reasons); or I can act upon my personal beliefs in an individual way, separate from any religion or faith group.
 
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Sniffles

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As Chesterton once noted, the two great commandents are love God and love thy neighbor -and the two can't be seperated since your neighbor is made in the image of God as much as you. So how can one love God and yet neglect that which is made in his own image?
 

Cor Luctis

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As Chesterton once noted, the two great commandents are love God and love thy neighbor -and the two can't be seperated since your neighbor is made in the image of God as much as you. So how can one love God and yet neglect that which is made in his own image?
Perhaps I am drawing a different dividing line between public and personal/private. To me, public is what is outwardly visible. My actual beliefs, including however much love I can muster for God or my neighbor, are internal to myself and thus private. They cross the line into public territory only when I act upon them. It is thus the action, not the faith itself, that becomes public. Others may see my actions, but cannot know with certainty whether they were motivated by an article of faith, altruistic instincts, social conditioning, or even something more selfish like manipulation or brownnosing. All of this presumes that one's faith includes these two great commandments.
 

Lark

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As Chesterton once noted, the two great commandents are love God and love thy neighbor -and the two can't be seperated since your neighbor is made in the image of God as much as you. So how can one love God and yet neglect that which is made in his own image?

That is from the bible.
 

Aquarelle

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As Chesterton once noted, the two great commandents are love God and love thy neighbor -and the two can't be seperated since your neighbor is made in the image of God as much as you. So how can one love God and yet neglect that which is made in his own image?

QFT!
 

Qlip

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I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and left at a young age. I can remember the discussions I had with the congregation's elders as they were trying to 'heal me'. They pointed at scripture after scripture, and I told them that I wasn't sure that I believed in the Bible. They shook their heads, packed up, and left.

I don't have one, but religion has always been an important part of my life. It's easy to be Methodist or Lutheran or Catholic if you're born one, but from an outsider's point of view the differences are minimal. There's really no compelling reason to become anything, except for the usual reasons people join religions, because of lonliness, loss of a loved one, or just conforming.

As far as God, I believe in goodness, which I think implies a God. If it's important for God to let me know of anyting else beyond that, 'he' will let me know. But, I have a feeling we all know already.
 

KDude

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I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and left at a young age. I can remember the discussions I had with the congregation's elders as they were trying to 'heal me'. They pointed at scripture after scripture, and I told them that I wasn't sure that I believed in the Bible. They shook their heads, packed up, and left.

I don't have one, but religion has always been an important part of my life. It's easy to be Methodist or Lutheran or Catholic if you're born one, but from an outsider's point of view the differences are minimal. There's really no compelling reason to become anything, except for the usual reasons people join religions, because of lonliness, loss of a loved one, or just conforming.

As far as God, I believe in goodness, which I think implies a God. If it's important for God to let me know of anyting else beyond that, 'he' will let me know. But, I have a feeling we all know already.



I gotta hand it to Jehovah's Witnesses who stick it through. It doesn't sound like a religion that endears oneself well with outsiders. Besides all of the door knocking, end times failures, and such.. Little things as well. One of the neighborhood kids I grew up with was JW, and I remember talking to his mom on Easter.. I had given her some confetti eggs to crack on someone's head, and she gave them back to me, saying she didn't celebrate. And then she went on explaining she didn't celebrate anything..Christmas, Birthdays, you name it. That's hardcore conviction. As serious as I am, I don't mind crushing a confetti egg on someone's head.
 

Qlip

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I gotta hand it to Jehovah's Witnesses who stick it through. It doesn't sound like a religion that endears oneself well with outsiders. Besides all of the door knocking, end times failures, and such.. Little things as well. One of the neighborhood kids I grew up with was JW, and I remember talking to his mom on Easter.. I had given her some confetti eggs to crack on someone's head, and she gave them back to me, saying she didn't celebrate. And then she went on explaining she didn't celebrate anything..Christmas, Birthdays, you name it. That's hardcore conviction. As serious as I am, I don't mind crushing a confetti egg on someone's head.

Well, the thing is, it's not just conviction that keeps you there. The non celebration of the holidays is intended to keep you seperated from everyone else. If you have less connections, especially family connections, which is what the holidays are about, there's less to keep you from leaving the JW's.

Also there is a sort of self rightousness that 'rewards' you for being a JW. You know you are right and everyone else is wrong, and not only that, it's your God appointed job to show them. Some people are genuinely humble about their 'mission', but a lot of people consider themselves as elite.

I'm not saying there aren't 'good' JWs, I'm just saying that it is a unhealthy religion. My sister ended up being shunned by everyone she knew and her family because she got a divorce. She was being abused by her husband, but the JWs say that divorce is wrong under any circumstances.
 

Qlip

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Christians who don't celebrate the birth and resurrection of Christ?

Their stance is that Easter was originally a pagan fertility holiday, and Chrismas was a pagan holiday as well. This is true, and in a way it's an admirable stance, but in truth it's just a way for them to isolate their members from the rest of society.
 

Aquarelle

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^^Thank you for explaining, Qlippoth. JW is a religion I don't know a lot about and it's very enlightening to hear your POV.
 
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Sniffles

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Their stance is that Easter was originally a pagan fertility holiday, and Chrismas was a pagan holiday as well. This is true, and in a way it's an admirable stance, but in truth it's just a way for them to isolate their members from the rest of society.

Yes I'm aware of this stance, it goes back to the Puritains. How true it really is is actually debatable, and certainly as a Catholic I don't buy it at all. Celebrations and festivels are part of human nature, and they occur in the Bible. So I don't see an impoverished form of the faith as rather admirable to be honest.
 

Qlip

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^^Thank you for explaining, Qlippoth. JW is a religion I don't know a lot about and it's very enlightening to hear your POV.

Oh, no problem. :) Luckily, it's something that's (almost) way behind me.

Yes I'm aware of this stance, it goes back to the Puritains. How true it really is is actually debatable, and certainly as a Catholic I don't buy it at all. Celebrations and festivels are part of human nature, and they occur in the Bible. So I don't see an impoverished form of the faith as rather admirable to be honest.

There's a lot of points of view on this. But, I have no dog in this fight. If you'd like I can send a JW over to your house, I'm sure they'd love to discuss it with you. :D
 

Ivy

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I had an overzealous JW who kept coming to my house, when I stopped answering the door he got my name AND MY DAUGHTER'S from one of my neighbors (don't know which one, if I did they'd get an earful) and tried to convince my husband one Saturday morning to tell him when would be a good time to catch me at home. The hubster told him to leave and not come back because he was making me uncomfortable, but he was back the following Monday morning at which point I called the Kingdom Hall and the police. He didn't return.
 

KDude

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^Wow.. That kind of reminds of that Hitchhiker skit in Creepshow 2.

I usually give off a vibe that repels JW's before even knocking. Not sure why. :thinking: I might notice them.. and then peek out, but they always skip my place.
 

BlackCat

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If a JW came knocking on my door and harassed me, I'd put on my black shirt with a giant red pentagram on it and see what would happen. :laugh:
 
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