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Thread: Understanding religion

  1. #1

    Default Understanding religion

    So, I watched Religulous yesterday. The point of the movie is Bill Maher going around the world basically confronting people about their religious beliefs. He did make a lot of (to me) good points, but as is often the case with this kind of movies the people in question didn't get a good chance to defend themselves. As such, I'd be happy if people of faith (based on christian beliefs as those are the ones I know best and can actually debate) could try to shed some light on how they think about the questions below.

    It should be noted that the point of this thread is not to prove religion wrong, even though the arguments might take that form. In the end, nobody knows anything to a 100%. I'm just a very convinced atheist trying to make sense of religion.

    So, question time:

    • What makes you truly believe in God?

    • If your answer to the above question was anything other than a gut feeling, how to you justify it?

      Because the Bible says so? The Bible was written by man. So was the holy scriptures of many other religions. Why are they not just as right? As an extension of that, why aren't any folklore stories at all just as likely to present the truth as the Bible? What makes this one book so special and absolutely true?

    • Continuing on the topic of the Bible, how do you interpret it? Do you believe everything it says is truth, or just parts of it?

      I personally have a hard time seeing how somebody can follow a religion's holy scripture as the word of God, yet only chose the parts of it they like and disregard other parts. Are you the kind that can pull out a nice sounding Bible quote when suitable to make a point, but not stone your wife as instructed by the book of books? Or perhaps stuff yourself with shellfish at times? How do you justify that?

    • Yes, another one with about the Bible. Sorry, but this will be the last one for now. I guess this one is mostly for the people who believe every word of the Bible is true. Let's say you're probably reading the king James Bible. You do know how much this actually differs from the original scripture in terms of misinterpretations and faulty translations of words, right? How can you still claim that it's the word of God (even though it's written by man, but let's disregard that for now)? I mean, it's not really the same book. Thoughts?

    • Lastly (finally, eh?), about Jesus. The striking similarities between Jesus and other "sun gods" like Horus (from ancient Egyptian beliefs, just one of many examples) are too great to completely ignore. I'll make a short list (there are many more similarities) below:

      Jesus:
      Conception: By a virgin.
      Father: Only begotten son of Yehovah
      Mother: Mary
      Birth location: In a cave (or stable).
      Birth announcement: By angels
      Death threat during infancy: Herod tried to have Jesus murdered.
      Break in life history: No data between ages of 12 & 30.
      Close followers: 12 disciples
      Activities: Walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. He ordered the sea with a "Peace, be still" command.
      Died: By crucifixion.
      Accompanied by: Two thieves.
      Resurrected: Descended into Hell; resurrected after three days.
      Future: Reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium.

      Horus:
      Conception: By a virgin.
      Father: Only begotten son of Osiris.
      Mother: Meri.
      Birth location: In a cave.
      Birth announcement: By angels.
      Death threat during infancy: Herut tried to have Horus murdered.
      Break in life history: No data between ages of 12 & 30.
      Close followers: 12 disciples.
      Activities: Walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. He "stilled the sea by his power."
      Died: By crucifixion.
      Accompanied by: Two thieves.
      Resurrected: Descended into Hell; resurrected after three days.
      Future: Reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium.

      Basically, it's the same story. What tells you early christians didn't just rip off existing stories and used them as their own? And no, I don't think that "Horus the work of the Devil's lies" is enough of an answer. Sorry, but I just don't.


    I'll stop here for now. If anybody has the time to answer these questions and perhaps discuss them I have more of these, but I won't completely drown you in text right now. Thank you to anybody who takes the time to read this and give their point of view.

  2. #2
    xdeadx

    Default

    * What makes you truly believe in God? Truly, I am not sure. I think it was just instilled in me at a young age and hasn't come out yet. Yet, at the same time, I want to (in my consciousness at the moment) believe in god. Truly, it's just a choice I make everyday.

    * If your answer to the above question was anything other than a gut feeling, how to you justify it?I justify my answer as to many beliefs that can be instilled in children at a very young age. To justify my second point, everyone should have a choice to which religion they chose to believe in(or none at all).

    * Because the Bible says so? The Bible was written by man. So was the holy scriptures of many other religions. Why are they not just as right? As an extension of that, why aren't any folklore stories at all just as likely to present the truth as the Bible? What makes this one book so special and absolutely true?No, not because the Bible says so.
    - I believe that the Bible is a collection and mixture of true events and stories to provide structure and guidelines into the Christian Morality and Religion.
    - Other holy scriptures of other religions could be just as true or not, no one really knows.
    - The Bible is special(as well as held true) to most Christians because it is just the book of the said religion. Just like in other religions, holy scriptures and other books are just as if not more important.


    * Continuing on the topic of the Bible, how do you interpret it? Do you believe everything it says is truth, or just parts of it? I myself, do not believe every single story and quote as truth. Some things I do, others I don't. I interpret the bible(as I said before) as a set of guidelines and stories to set an example for a morality code.

    * I personally have a hard time seeing how somebody can follow a religion's holy scripture as the word of God, yet only chose the parts of it they like and disregard other parts. Are you the kind that can pull out a nice sounding Bible quote when suitable to make a point, but not stone your wife as instructed by the book of books? Or perhaps stuff yourself with shellfish at times? How do you justify that? Times have moved on. The punishments and rewards for such events are much different now than back then. And once again, as I stated before. I don't see every single thing as truth.

    * Yes, another one with about the Bible. Sorry, but this will be the last one for now. I guess this one is mostly for the people who believe every word of the Bible is true. Let's say you're probably reading the king James Bible. You do know how much this actually differs from the original scripture in terms of misinterpretations and faulty translations of words, right? How can you still claim that it's the word of God (even though it's written by man, but let's disregard that for now)? I mean, it's not really the same book. Thoughts? There are so many different translations and types of books that change the stories and certain details to get the point across differently. My thoughts on this is that, it was changed for a purpose. Sometimes the purpose is to not use such vile language and story telling methods to children, other times it's just because the writer misinterpreted a word.

    * Lastly (finally, eh?), about Jesus. The striking similarities between Jesus and other "sun gods" like Horus (from ancient Egyptian beliefs, just one of many examples) are too great to completely ignore. I'll make a short list (there are many more similarities) below:

    Jesus:
    Conception: By a virgin.
    Father: Only begotten son of Yehovah
    Mother: Mary
    Birth location: In a cave (or stable).
    Birth announcement: By angels
    Death threat during infancy: Herod tried to have Jesus murdered.
    Break in life history: No data between ages of 12 & 30.
    Close followers: 12 disciples
    Activities: Walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. He ordered the sea with a "Peace, be still" command.
    Died: By crucifixion.
    Accompanied by: Two thieves.
    Resurrected: Descended into Hell; resurrected after three days.
    Future: Reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium.

    Horus:
    Conception: By a virgin.
    Father: Only begotten son of Osiris.
    Mother: Meri.
    Birth location: In a cave.
    Birth announcement: By angels.
    Death threat during infancy: Herut tried to have Horus murdered.
    Break in life history: No data between ages of 12 & 30.
    Close followers: 12 disciples.
    Activities: Walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. He "stilled the sea by his power."
    Died: By crucifixion.
    Accompanied by: Two thieves.
    Resurrected: Descended into Hell; resurrected after three days.
    Future: Reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium.

    Basically, it's the same story. What tells you early christians didn't just rip off existing stories and used them as their own? And no, I don't think that "Horus the work of the Devil's lies" is enough of an answer. Sorry, but I just don't.


    To tell the truth, I had no idea of this. It does make you think, but the question that you should ask yourself is if that is the intent of the person making the movie and stating these points.

    Truly, I'm not sure on this matter. But that doesn't mean my beliefs about Jesus being resurrected from the dead change. I cannot explain why the two stories are so closely related. No one truly can.

    Sometimes, religion is just a thing to give hope to people. Other times it can be created and used to corrupt and control people. And still, it can be just something to use as a scapegoat for not knowing things. Maybe it's all three in one.
    Last edited by xdeadx; 03-Feb-2009 at 05:25.

  3. #3
    Butterfly Mage

    Default

    Well, being a Wiccan, I don't think there's really such thing as a "wrong" religion. Of course, there's also no such thing as a 100% "right" religion either. My thought is that many religions ttell similar stories because there is some subconscious underlying truth to the story. Sure, the Bible was written by man. But is it wrong to love thy neighbor as thyself? Wicca has no bible at all, but we still managed to figure out that love is better than hate, and kindness is better than cruelty. Are there resemblences between Mary, Isis, andd the Wiccan Goddess? You bet. It doesn't make any of the religion "wrong". i think it means that every religion captures at least a piece of some fundamental truth that is probably imposible for the finite human mind to fully grasp in its entirety.

    So, yes, I believe in the Goddess. I have not bible that tells me so. It's just an innate feeling. And I feel loved when I pray.

  4. #4

    Default

    I'll answer these.



    Quote Originally Posted by PadDaBrat View Post

    So, question time:


    What makes you truly believe in God?
    Too much has happened in my life- too many "coincidences", too many things falling into place perfectly- for me to believe otherwise.



    If your answer to the above question was anything other than a gut feeling, how to you justify it?
    It's not. Faith is not a "gut feeling," though. A gut feeling is when I thought Steelers would win the Super Bowl. Faith is much deeper than that.



    Because the Bible says so? The Bible was written by man. So was the holy scriptures of many other religions. Why are they not just as right? As an extension of that, why aren't any folklore stories at all just as likely to present the truth as the Bible? What makes this one book so special and absolutely true?
    For one thing, the holy scriptures of most other religions are written by one or two people over the course of a few decades. The Bible is an anthology of 80-something books written by 60-something authors over the span of thousands of years, with little contradictory information (yes, there is some, but not much).



    Continuing on the topic of the Bible, how do you interpret it? Do you believe everything it says is truth, or just parts of it?
    The Bible is man's interpretation of the experience with God. It was written by finite, fallible, biased people who wrote about something they knew they could never fully understand. They mixed in metaphor, mythology and other religions into what they were writing.

    I believe that everything in the Bible is true- however, I do not believe that it is all literal.



    I personally have a hard time seeing how somebody can follow a religion's holy scripture as the word of God, yet only chose the parts of it they like and disregard other parts. Are you the kind that can pull out a nice sounding Bible quote when suitable to make a point, but not stone your wife as instructed by the book of books? Or perhaps stuff yourself with shellfish at times? How do you justify that?
    You're making assumptions about all of us. Yes, some Christians are a-holes who pick and choose so that they can condemn others while ignoring their own sin. I try not to be like them; Jesus said the greatest two commandments are to love God and love each other- I try to follow those.



    Yes, another one with about the Bible. Sorry, but this will be the last one for now. I guess this one is mostly for the people who believe every word of the Bible is true. Let's say you're probably reading the king James Bible. You do know how much this actually differs from the original scripture in terms of misinterpretations and faulty translations of words, right? How can you still claim that it's the word of God (even though it's written by man, but let's disregard that for now)? I mean, it's not really the same book. Thoughts?
    Of course! Man, have you ever tried to translate the original Hebrew? One verse can be translated in three different ways, all meaning completely different things. It's awful!



    Lastly (finally, eh?), about Jesus. The striking similarities between Jesus and other "sun gods" like Horus (from ancient Egyptian beliefs, just one of many examples) are too great to completely ignore.
    Horus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I saw few similarities- Horus was a god of War who constantly sought to take over Egypt. Jesus was the bringer of Peace, who came not as a master but as a servant. Christ tried to take over nothing, even though everyone expected him to be the one to become the King of Israel.

    A few other interesting notes about Jesus:

    1. He was one of many men who claimed to be the Son of God at the time- there were plenty of people who said that they were the Messiah, that they were the ones who would fulfill the requirements written in the Old Testament. They all faded away, because they just couldn't live up to the hype. Jesus, on the other hand, healed the sick, raised the dead, walked on water- and came back to life, which led to his followers continuing to preach long after he ascended.

    2. Unlike pretty much every other founder of a major religion (Buddha, Mohamed, etc), Jesus was dirt-poor, raised in a backwater hick town and never made any money. He didn't live his whole life in glory, but rather, as I said earlier, as a servant.

    3. 11 of the 12 original disciples were killed for their faith in Christ (and this is all extra-Biblical), decades after Jesus was crucified. Had Jesus not been able to show them that he really was God- and that he was not like all the others who claimed to be the Messiah- then they would have had no reason to die for their faith.

    Hope that helps.

  5. #5

    Default

    PaDaBrat you havent seen Zeitgeist have you? it also mentions Horus and Jesus being all alike.
    I got to see it another time in school. and infact there is even an religion older than the egyptian one wich has the same. dont remember the name but I think it was somewhere in the farwest like India the religion started


    # What makes you truly believe in God?
    Im not sure. there is a part of me who believes in him and another one that questions if he truly exists.

    # If your answer to the above question was anything other than a gut feeling, how to you justify it? Its strange but when I started taking Halluciogenics my belief definitly got stronger


    Because the Bible says so? The Bible was written by man. So was the holy scriptures of many other religions. Why are they not just as right? As an extension of that, why aren't any folklore stories at all just as likely to present the truth as the Bible? What makes this one book so special and absolutely true? I dont believe in the bible's version. it feels like you have to be good because you fear to go to hell instead of just doing good things because you want to.

    # Continuing on the topic of the Bible, how do you interpret it? Do you believe everything it says is truth, or just parts of it? Would you really believe that on the end of days big dragons would come out from hiding?


    I personally have a hard time seeing how somebody can follow a religion's holy scripture as the word of God, yet only chose the parts of it they like and disregard other parts. Are you the kind that can pull out a nice sounding Bible quote when suitable to make a point, but not stone your wife as instructed by the book of books? Or perhaps stuff yourself with shellfish at times? How do you justify that? My belief is kind of selfmade, I believe he created the universe but I dont believe in what I have read in books because if I would follow all that I would just feel like a big hypocrite.

  6. #6
    EmeraldsAndLime

    Default

    I'll throw my two-cents in.



    Quote Originally Posted by PadDaBrat View Post
    What makes you truly believe in God?
    I'm not religious in any real sense of the word, but I have 12 years of catholic education behind me. If anything, that sort of education repulsed me completely off the idea of following/believing in any sort of established religion. It made me feel that it was all talk and no action, that people believed in the word, but they never applied it. Having first-hand witnessed such cases unfold, I became appalled at both the people and what was being preached.



    Quote Originally Posted by PadDaBrat View Post
    If your answer to the above question was anything other than a gut feeling, how to you justify it?
    I'm a logical guy. I thrive off clarity, knowledge, definitive understanding and facts, with a bit of intuition, rationality and common sense thrown in for good measure. Any sort of blind-faith is something I cannot commit to unless it makes 100% sense to me. My own set of beliefs would probably appear sublimely surreal to most people, but to my own person, it's the most sensible answer to the nature of things.



    Quote Originally Posted by PadDaBrat View Post
    Because the Bible says so? The Bible was written by man. So was the holy scriptures of many other religions. Why are they not just as right? As an extension of that, why aren't any folklore stories at all just as likely to present the truth as the Bible? What makes this one book so special and absolutely true?

    Continuing on the topic of the Bible, how do you interpret it? Do you believe everything it says is truth, or just parts of it?
    The biggest thing that people miss with doctrines and fairytales alike is that it's not what the story is telling, it's the interpretation and message you should be getting out of it.

    Hansel & Gretel teaches kids not to get involved with strangers, much in the same way the parable The Prodigal Son teaches about forgiveness. Both of these types of stories exist to address issues with people or society, in a subtle but easy-to-understand way. They aren't meant to be studied to confirm/deny their veracity.

    The Bible exists only to serve as a guideline of how to live a virtuous and honourable life. Jesus' biggest achievement was that he preached having love and care for everyone, not any miracle he performed. Literal interpretations come about when people actually believe that what the story is telling is what actually happened. And that misinformation can be a very dangerous idea to follow.




    Quote Originally Posted by PadDaBrat View Post
    I personally have a hard time seeing how somebody can follow a religion's holy scripture as the word of God, yet only chose the parts of it they like and disregard other parts. Are you the kind that can pull out a nice sounding Bible quote when suitable to make a point, but not stone your wife as instructed by the book of books? Or perhaps stuff yourself with shellfish at times? How do you justify that?
    Different strokes for different folks? Perhaps this is the reason why there are so many religions and so many denominations within each religion. Not everyone will agree/like the same thing.

  7. #7

    Default

    Actually, the thought we don't know anything about Jesus between his birth and the start of his ministry is a myth perpetuated by the Catholic Church. We know tons about what Jesus did because of writings from contemporaries. For example. we know that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Egypt until Herod died. The Ethiopian church also believes that they made a trip down there at some point.

  8. #8

    Default

    There are also so-called historical books that claim to have Jesus' childhood stories. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, for example, is hilarious.

  9. #9

    Default

    i myself had thought about religion alot and i call myself more so, "a lost soul" i dont have a religion nor am i athiest, and i really am not to much into the evolution thing either... i HAVE yes thought about "is there really a god?" and really, i am caught between 2 rocks, i cant say that there is or isnt....

    in my eyes-

    if there is a god:

    -why have us all live if he already knows what we are going to be in the end?? to have a second chance to change our ways?? but doesnt he know EXACTLY EVERYTHING that goes on, what your thinking, when you were concieved, when you were going to be conceived, when your great-great-great-great-great-great grand children are going to be conceived, then why still make us live??

    -if there be a god, then shouldnt he be trying to make us believe?? of course that is what the believers are here for.. is to get you to believe... well.. then why does he do some of the stuff that he does?? i WAS a christian, a really good one, i prayed eveyday, i helped out as much as i could, i spread the word.... yet, look what happened, look at the family i was living in.. the house i was living in... my dad, heavy into drugs and alchol(sp) and still is.... i would get into trouble constently, i had slight depression... when i got in trouble, i would get beat with a belt...now that my parents are seperated and i moved in with my mom (household religion wicca) i actually am lots happier.. i HAVE looked into the wicca religion and what it is all about.. it's interesting...


    ok, if there really ISNT a god (this is where things MAY get trippy):

    -then where did all the dust and such come from that was in the vast emptiness before all the suns and the planets and the solar systems come from that the sientist say that were around?? was it just a bunch of cells that morphed together?? then where did THEY come from?? a bunch of atoms that collided together to create a cell?? then where did THEY come from??

    -is there REALLY life after death?? are we all just a bunch of things that are put together and able to breath and me alive?? is there really such things as a soul?? if not, then how exactly are we able to be living?? why must we eat, drink and breath to be a live?? if we were just a bunch of living cells that formed into one person, one human being, than why must we do the things that we do??

    and another thing, which is TRULY the CORRECT religion?? all the religions say that there's is the right one, even the morons.. excuse me, mormons say that there religion is the right one.. was the whole thing just created just so that they could have some reason to blame someone for there problems?? or maybe so that they could have the feeling that someone else is watching over them and that they have someone to turn to in times of need........

  10. #10

    Default

    i myself had thought about religion alot and i call myself more so, "a lost soul" i dont have a religion nor am i athiest, and i really am not to much into the evolution thing either... i HAVE yes thought about "is there really a god?" and really, i am caught between 2 rocks, i cant say that there is or isnt....

    in my eyes-

    if there is a god:

    -why have us all live if he already knows what we are going to be in the end?? to have a second chance to change our ways?? but doesnt he know EXACTLY EVERYTHING that goes on, what your thinking, when you were concieved, when you were going to be conceived, when your great-great-great-great-great-great grand children are going to be conceived, then why still make us live??

    -if there be a god, then shouldnt he be trying to make us believe?? of course that is what the believers are here for.. is to get you to believe... well.. then why does he do some of the stuff that he does?? i WAS a christian, a really good one, i prayed eveyday, i helped out as much as i could, i spread the word.... yet, look what happened, look at the family i was living in.. the house i was living in... my dad, heavy into drugs and alchol(sp) and still is.... i would get into trouble constently, i had slight depression... when i got in trouble, i would get beat with a belt...now that my parents are seperated and i moved in with my mom (household religion wicca) i actually am lots happier.. i HAVE looked into the wicca religion and what it is all about.. it's interesting...


    ok, if there really ISNT a god (this is where things MAY get trippy):

    -then where did all the dust and such come from that was in the vast emptiness before all the suns and the planets and the solar systems come from that the sientist say that were around?? was it just a bunch of cells that morphed together?? then where did THEY come from?? a bunch of atoms that collided together to create a cell?? then where did THEY come from??

    -is there REALLY life after death?? are we all just a bunch of things that are put together and able to breath and me alive?? is there really such things as a soul?? if not, then how exactly are we able to be living?? why must we eat, drink and breath to be a live?? if we were just a bunch of living cells that formed into one person, one human being, than why must we do the things that we do??

    and another thing, which is TRULY the CORRECT religion?? all the religions say that there's is the right one, even the morons.. excuse me, mormons say that there religion is the right one.. was the whole thing just created just so that they could have some reason to blame someone for there problems?? or maybe so that they could have the feeling that someone else is watching over them and that they have someone to turn to in times of need........

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