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Thread: Religion Discussion & Debate Thread!

  1. #1
    Butterfly Mage

    Default Religion Discussion & Debate Thread!

    The last general religion thread was launched a year ago by Rocket_Man55, and we've had a lot of turnover since then, so I figure it's safe to create a new religious discussion thread.

    I am usually interested in not only in WHAT people believe but also in WHY they believe what they do. The latter is particularly interesting since when asked, some people say "well, I never thought about why I believe what I believe".

    It's always gratifying to read that someone with a deeply abiding faith has actually thought about why they believe what they believe and still hold that faith. It's less gratifying to hear that someone is religion-x solely because their parents were and so that's how it is for them.
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    My contribution
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    My dad was a fundamentalist Baptist. Mom was a Catholic (and closet sorta Wiccan/Pagan). So I was raised with being taught that God was a wrathful, unforgiving deity and that human beings were basically scum. Given that mom was a useless alcoholic who spent most of her days passed out on the couch next to an empty vodka bottle, and that dad was an adulterous, child-molesting, sexual sadist, I was inclined to believe my parents that humanity was worthless. I also had a lot of anger at God because I was allowed by God to have to be raised by parents like that.

    Later in life, I rejected Christianity for the following reasons: I came to believe that the Bible was written by man, not by God; the nature of "sin" doesn't make sense as described in the Bible; the ruleset is such that it is literally impossible to live in compliance and yet to fail in even the slightest way brings condemnation for all eternity; weighed against the previous statement, there is the concept that Jesus somehow cancels out the karmic weight of wrongdoing, regardless of the severity of the wrongdoing (so the Khmer Rouge could ask for forgiveness and the slate would be wiped clean, just like that!); the modern interpretation Christianity is that Christ's redemptive powers no longer extend to homosexuals.

    So I rejected Christianity because of logical, well-thought reasoning.

    When I learned of Wicca, the religion appealed to be because it reflects the natural world. This religion matched my own worldview because it teaches that there is no such thing as "sin", but instead the goal is to be happy, acquire wisdom, do no harm to others or yourself, affirm ecology and life. The holidays in Wicca celebrate the natural seasons as well as the stages of life (Yule/birth, Imbolc/growth, Ostara/adolescence, Beltane/sexual maturation, Litha/peak of life, Lughnasadh/decline, Samhain/death.) Death is not to be feared, but it is to be accepted as part of life. We believe in reincarnation by implication from natural observation (ie. in nature, things tend to grow in spring, die in winter, return in spring, die again in winter, etc.)

    So, for me at least, my belief in the Wiccan gods comes through observing the patterns of nature and extrapolating those patterns into the spirit world. The nature of the Wiccan deities is such that they are immanent and not transcendent. Essentially that means that all humans, animals, and plants are in some way an extension of the manifestation of deity. There's no use grovelling before a distant, unseen god because you, yourself, are in some small way, god and goddess.

    It is also perfectly okay in Wicca to accept that "shit happens". There is no "divine plan" and god doesn't "test our faith" by purposefully sending bad things our way. If an unfortunate event happens, it's just the breaks. That's how nature is.

    So, for me, Wicca makes sense because the faith doesn't violate the laws of nature, doesn't ask its followers to live in fear of the deities, but does affirm life, peace, joy, ecology, and wisdom.
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  2. #2

    Default

    I think the whole way religion is passed down is completely absurd. Most people (not all, but definitely most) who are religious follow the same religion as their parents. For example, I was taken to church as a baby, toddler, and child. I was taught stuff in church like I was taught stuff in school. 2 + 2 = 4 in school, and Jesus was my savior in church. And at a young age when your mind is like a sponge, you generally accept all knowledge that older respected adults tell you.

    In my opinion, people should be raised with religion being absent until they are at an age of at least 13, when they are capable of using some sort of reasoning to some extent, then look around, and choose what to believe in.

    I'm not necessarily bashing religions in general, I'm just saying you should believe something because you believe in it, not because your parents believe in it.

    If you didn't get my point, religion should be spread, not bred, as it currently is for the most part.

    Just my 2 cents.

  3. #3

    Default

    ^^
    I don't know, I agree that religion should be spread not bred however I don't think all kids who grow up being taught religion accept all knowledge. I went to a Church of England primary school and was regularly taught about Jesus and the Bible. And even in Reception I didn't believe in Jesus and became even more sceptical as I grew up, and so did most kids in that school. Even those with religious parents.

    I think that those who want to believe, believe. Those who don't, don't. It is in our nature.

    That said I think people should be allowed to believe what they want to, they shouldn't have to live with people saying their beliefs are wrong and they should also be allowed to teach in a way they feel appropriate regardless of the opinion of others.

    This all said I "follow" the Catholic faith, I attend a Catholic 6th form and it just feels right. But I am not a practicing Catholic becuase I'm still not convinced by the concept of God, nor do I believe in Jesus being our saviour or humans having to suffer for our sins. But it just feels the right thing for me and thats all I really care about.
    Last edited by pajamakitten; 28-Feb-2010 at 20:20. Reason: added a bit about my faith

  4. #4

  5. #5

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Raad View Post
    I think the whole way religion is passed down is completely absurd. Most people (not all, but definitely most) who are religious follow the same religion as their parents. For example, I was taken to church as a baby, toddler, and child. I was taught stuff in church like I was taught stuff in school. 2 + 2 = 4 in school, and Jesus was my savior in church. And at a young age when your mind is like a sponge, you generally accept all knowledge that older respected adults tell you.

    In my opinion, people should be raised with religion being absent until they are at an age of at least 13, when they are capable of using some sort of reasoning to some extent, then look around, and choose what to believe in.

    I'm not necessarily bashing religions in general, I'm just saying you should believe something because you believe in it, not because your parents believe in it.

    If you didn't get my point, religion should be spread, not bred, as it currently is for the most part.

    Just my 2 cents.
    i disagree. religious beliefs are just like any other beliefs or practices or customs: they're a part of the society we're born into. so just as the children of liberals are also likely to be liberal in their political beliefs, the children of mainline protestants are also likely to be mainline protestant. there's nothing wrong with that.

    that said, i don't like the way a lot of religions try to guilt-trip believers into keeping the faith. there will always be people who tend to question the customs and beliefs they're born into and think for themselves, and they should be able to do that without feeling like they're doing anything wrong.

    i don't think children should be raised without religion, i just think religions should be taught to be more accepting of the diversity of beliefs a person might choose.

    EDIT: ...meaning that i don't think it's necessary for children to be raised without religion, but obviously it's fine if the parents aren't religious or don't want their kids to be religious. sorry for the ambiguous wording.
    Last edited by avery; 02-Mar-2010 at 00:23.

  6. #6

    Default

    Avery, when you say that you "don't think children should be raised without religion", do you mean it's utterly wrong for non-theistic parents not to take their children to church? (Substitute "take their children to church" with whatever religious practise you want, it's just an example).

    As to my views, I'm a fairly strong atheist. I was raised christian (Church of England) and attended a C of E primary school. I never fully accepted christianity, and have always been keen on science. As I matured I came to the conclusion that science has a good track record with explaining the supposedly inexplicable, and no longer saw any kind of deity as plausible. with regards to my opinion on religion in general, I very much believe in freedom of thought, religion, and expression. I have a problem if a child is told from a young age that religion x is fact, and all other beliefs are false, but don't mind children being raised a particular faith, as long as it is made clear that they are not obliged to follow it, or threatened/coerced into "belief".

  7. #7

    Default

    I am posting this post on the fact i would like to say sorry for saying "terrible idea for a thread" without an explanation. My reason for saying this is a bad idea is because there are a lot of different people on this site all of which have different opinions on religion and none of which can be factually proven thus it is all fueled by the persons idea that they are right and everyone else is wrong and hell they may be right but then again they can not proof it.

  8. #8

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Sketchy View Post
    I am posting this post on the fact i would like to say sorry for saying "terrible idea for a thread" without an explanation. My reason for saying this is a bad idea is because there are a lot of different people on this site all of which have different opinions on religion and none of which can be factually proven thus it is all fueled by the persons idea that they are right and everyone else is wrong and hell they may be right but then again they can not proof it.
    That's exactly why it makes for interesting discussion and debate, though. Sure, this kind of thread has potential to turn flamewar-ish, but it should provoke some thoughtful conversation. I hope with such a nice community, we should be able to avoid bickering and suchlike .

  9. #9

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by lilgrowlie View Post
    That's exactly why it makes for interesting discussion and debate, though. Sure, this kind of thread has potential to turn flame-war-ish, but it should provoke some thoughtful conversation. I hope with such a nice community, we should be able to avoid bickering and suchlike .
    i agree with you 100% unfortunately people are dicks not everyone but a mass majority are dicks and trolls so a flame war might start and with a flame war the most dangerous thing will happen; the unleashing of the CAPS-LOCK.

  10. #10
    Butterfly Mage

    Default

    There hasn't been a flame-war so far. I think, thus far, we've been able to intelligently talk about religious beliefs (or lack thereof) politely and coherently.

    Now... one of the interesting things I've noticed is that many Wiccan practitioners are people who, in their youth, were Catholic. I've often wondered why that is.

    When you examine the two faiths, they don't have a lot in common.

    Catholicism: Hierarchical, patriarchal, and dogmatic. (This isn't necessarily a bad thing, merely descriptors). Catholicism is a huge, world-wide faith that operates in a big network with many levels. It also has well-defined rules and rigid expectations. It is run solely by males.

    Wicca: Decentralized, egalitarian, non-dogmatic. Wicca has no central governing authority, clergy can be male or female, and there are only a handful of rules in the religion. Most Wiccan groups operate independently of each other. There is no set liturgy (each coven typically has written its own worship rituals.)

    So I find the 180-degree turnaround pretty intriguing.

    Of course, being raised Christian is something that, even to this day, plays a role in my spiritual practices. I have incorporated certain elements of Christian liturgy into my Wiccan rites. Many of the teachings of Jesus match my own worldviews (particularly how he was egalitarian, stood up for the poor, and challenged the status-quo.)

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