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Off Topic Religion Question

I know we have a wide mix of religious beliefs on here and I'm wondering where they come from. What led you to be a Catholic/Baptist/Atheist/Mormon/Hindu? Or what led you to be "spiritual"? Or what led you to ignore all that stuff altogether?
I know it's not politics, but it's a question I often ponder and would love to discuss.

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Religious philosphy vs religious practice

Most religions differ in religious practice e.g. is baptism a sprinkle on the forehead or a solid dunking?; should the one true god be called Yaweh, Allah?; etc. The disagreements have caused much conflict and war.

Religious Philosphy, however, is remarkably similar from one religion to the next. It is more about how you live your life to provide survival and freedom of choices in securing the peaceful survival of one's self and ones symbiotes so that happiness CAN be pursued.

When we focus on the latter and tolerate the former we get much less conflict and better opportunities to avoid interference of religion in other spheres (like government), and indeed more opporunities for cooperation .

anybody ever read 'destiny of fire' or

'le jouer de povre'(or 'heirs of the kingdom') by zoe oldenbourg? anyone here mention this yet!?
I am a cathar and i will never renounce!

in essence, i am an agnostic who walks lockstep to almost all of the moral codes in almost every god-centered religion.
AND i am so filled with what i and george humphrey call boundless love(what you "christians" call the holy spirit)(and islam,budhism, etc. its all the same!) that my family (every one of the 38 individuals) still, after 4 years of freedom through THE TRUTH from my chains of slavery to a struggling faith, do not understand how i can be so filled with energy and joy and not be goin to church 3 times a week like everyone else!!!!!!!!!!! ha ha

so mr. Lawson et al... what do you think now?

"ron paul is not running....ron paul is not running" -bloomberg 'expert' morning after the bloodbath, i mean, debate!

i'm the black sheep on every aspect except ethics

My family(38 ou of 38) is 101% 'jesus's blood saved my soul and he's comin back for me, prolly in my lifetime, so i'm gonna eat ice cream and diet coke and get hypnotized by blatent distractions like football and dancing with the stars and wheel of fortune and fox news and t.v. evangelists because... ready for it? theyve already submitted every day of their lives to tallest living distraction of them all... religion.
if you're still reading, i am not condemning it. I'm simply discrediting living day to day under superstitions so we can move on to msnbc: " this is a false attack orchestrated by the feds and you should be afraid(11/27/10)!!!"
one more point so to move on to things that are actual and IMPORTANT: the hebrew scripture(the old testament and the gospels' stories have mirroring stories in hundred or so even older scriptures, including Egyptian and pagan mythology!!!!!!
and, again, i AM NOT condemning religion. Personally, i feel like as long as you keep it a private thing, or, at least never darken the threshold of any masonic church, living a christian life-style is a wonderfully sound moral to own.

i have henry david thoureau's(a christian) teachings to guide my 'higher laws'-

"ron paul is not running....ron paul is not running" -bloomberg 'expert' morning after the bloodbath, i mean, debate!

it's more important to walk the walk than . . .

to talk the talk; it sounds as though you are doing a fine job of walking.


it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--


i think all of us should be literally walking...around with a bundle of bastiat copies just like- here you go, here you go, please read.
had to hit once more because this is, in my mind, the most beautiful thread EVER

"ron paul is not running....ron paul is not running" -bloomberg 'expert' morning after the bloodbath, i mean, debate!


Judging by your user name I have an idea of possible origin,Yet so far I have not found you Bitter in the least.Thanks for your posts.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

I was brought up in a home

I was brought up in a home where we never darkened a Church door. That's not to say that my family where atheist or agnostic. God was discussed, and often. So, as Chesterton wrote, "I did retain a cloudy reverence for a cosmic deity..."

After entering college, I found myself questioning even this cloudy reverence. I was an atheist by the time I left the University.

You might say I have come full circle, but that would be misleading. I am now a Christian attending a local Baptist Church. Why the change of mind? The best way I can put it is that the deeper and deeper my atheist tendencies ran, the more inconsistent and irrational became my thinking on everything from logic and rationality, to human worth and dignity. For me it was impossible to be a consistent atheist and remain a sane human being. So in order to retain my level of humanity, I rejected atheism as a worldview.

Please, I don't want to debate anyone right now... I'm just posting my personal journey in response to Mike's question.

I Was Brought Up Baptist And Went To A Sunday School.

The Sunday school followed Bible teachings and stressed that God had created all things.

My question to the teacher at about 6 years old was," who or what created God?"

I have never received a "valid" answer to this question.


I received a "valid" answer.

Perhaps you should look to philosophy for an answer? Compare nihilism to teleology. Teleology was explored by Plato and Aristotle.
With a Creator (design), there is a purpose, without a Creator there is no purpose. Unfortunately we live in nihilistic times.
An example of nihilism is that of the Nihilist movement which was a Russian movement in the 1860s which rejected all authorities.
Nihilists were known throughout Europe as proponents of the use of violence in order to bring about political change.
Of course, in the end, truth be known, they gave the people an authoritarian government.

They knew

But didn't want you to know.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

I've always believed that there

was a higher power than man, a Creator. That I got from my parents, though they were not what I would call religious in any particular way, just ethical people who knew right from wrong. My husband before we were married gave me a Quran and a book called Islam in Focus and asked me to read them. They made perfect sense to me though at the time I think I reverted to Islam to please him more than myself. However, I find that my faith is stronger than even I ever believed. A nice thing to discover. Thanks be to Allah :)

Islam is a guide for living a balanced life. If you read the Quran, study and understand the contextual/time situations surrounding chapters/verses before jumping to the conclusion that it is a radical belief system. Also read about the Prophet's life for better understanding.


Defend Liberty, for Liberty
Vote for President Ron Paul 2012

To Mike Lawson, Your first

To Mike Lawson,
Your first question is the question of the origin or the source. You write: "I know we have a wide mix of religious beliefs on here and I'm wondering where they come from."
Of course the question is how is it possible that there are so many different kinds of religious beliefs in the first place. Where do they all originate from? Do they have a same origin all or do they originate from different sources?
The next question is how do we understand the difference between religious beliefs and other kinds of beliefs? What makes something a religious belief? Then we should ask is religion in the first place a question of beliefs or something else? What about the questions of faith or trust? Is faith and belief in religious context synonymous or not? Or belief and trust? Or faith and trust?
How do we understand something as 'spiritual'? Is 'spiritual' automatically something different from 'material'? And how do we understand that what we call 'material'?
Then comes the question of God or gods? What is the connection between religion and God or gods? We call Buddhism a religion without God. But at the same time Spinoza calls nature God and we normally don't understand Spinoza's system in a fist place a religious system, but a philosophical system.

Thank you Mike for your question which is so dear to myself also. For me questions and understanding of these questions and understanding these different kinds of beliefs systems and especially the origins where from they arise from are more important than the beliefs themselves. This does not mean that I don't have certain kind of beliefs or theories about these questions, but for any real seeker the search, which means questioning/interrogating, is far more important than any ready-made answers (from books or some religious leaders) or certain beliefs.

I want to end my ponderings to a quotation from one of my dearest philosophers Maurice Merleau-Ponty:
"In truth, the question for a philosopher is not so much to know if God exists or does not exist, if the proposition 'God exists' is correct or incorrect, as to know what one understands by God, what one wishes to say in speaking of God."

"Air is the very substance of our freedom, the substance of superhuman joy....aerial joy is freedom."--Gaston Bachelard--

It really boils down to one thing ...


Does it exist?
What is it?
Is it more than just "Luck"?
Can rituals and/or the repetition of certain behavior enhance it?

Interestingly, the term "cradle to grave" is usually a good way to describe one's religion or lack thereof.
The exceptions are few and far between.

That alone is evidence of Grace.

One's journey can broadly be defined as a ritual.



Agnostic in all things

Satan and I have what I consider to be a good working relationship.

Scientologist. It works.

Scientologist. It works.

At what expense, though?

That organization is very corrupt.


Here is the best book on the subject I feel, I have read it 8 times in the last 20 yrs and am now on the 9th read, it will absolutely floor you!

It is mainly Christian with other themes in there as well.

The Pods have spoken

we want freedom...

for a slave like me and you and billions of others other slaves to the system - the religion thing matters?


please watch pay attention to every word:

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

slave on earth or in hell?

To a religious person, or some religious people, the only thing that truly matters is the day you die. For all of eternity(from that perspective) you will either be in heaven or hell, period.

Know your stuff, learn real history and economics @LibertyClassroom.com

I am so sad for you, and for your Creator.

If I were your Creator, I would have given you this lovely garden to explore and relish and enjoy and savor every moment. Even the pain and the bitterness make the experience richer. I would be sad if you acted like this gift was nothing, and all you wanted was to get it over with because the REAL reward comes after you die. I would feel that I had wasted the gift on you. But, I am just a crazy lady, so it does not matter.

Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.

No need to feel sad!

No need to feel sad! I am quite content, thank you. I try to live as each day as a wonderful gift and cherish it as such. I do, however, believe the real gift or damnation will come after death. I try to improve myself each day and commit myself ever more to good so that I too will hopefully be rewarded.

But this was my point above, that sense we are no doubt going to die and that all of our precious time is moving forwards towards that moment of death. Death is all that really matters. Because if our souls were to end up outside of time with God in Heaven or Satan in hell we would be infinitely with one or the other. Since we are trying to compare an infinite "time" with the scarce time we are familiar with, afterlife would be infinitely more important then our time on earth.

Know your stuff, learn real history and economics @LibertyClassroom.com

I believe in Salvation

TenBobNote, but I believe your belief in an eternal hell is incorrect. The Resurrection speaks of a second death, meaning you die if you are not saved, a second death. A merciful God would not condemn you to burn forever in pain, I think you need to read your Bible more carefully to see that you either live forever or you die and you are gone. Just giving you something to look at.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must. like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.-Thomas Paine

The R3volution requires action, not observation!!!!

My beliefs from scripture.

A merciful God gave us free will, we can accept him or we can condemn him as we see in the following scriptures.

"On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.' " (MT 7:22-23)

Matt. 25:41 - Jesus says, "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

Matt. 25:46 - Jesus says, "they will go away into eternal punishment"

Romans 10:14 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?”
This means that we are all called to evangelize. How can someone believe in Christ if they have never heard of Christ? If someone who, through no fault of their own, has not heard of Christ their invincible ignorance may accuse or excuse them.

John 15:22 “If I had not come to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin”

Mark 16:16 "....he who does not believe will be condemned"
2 TIm 2:12...if we deny him he will deny us"
Mat. 26:24 Concerning Judas "it would have been better for that man if he had not been born."

Rev. 14:11 - the worshipers of the beast suffer and the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever.

Also read from many of whom were with Christ and were before the bible was written.

Know your stuff, learn real history and economics @LibertyClassroom.com

John 15:22

Had Christ not come, the beast would have reigned forever and mankind would have remained enslaved. Christ demonstrates mankinds enslavement to the beast, teaches how to reject the beast and points the way to freedom. Rebellion to Satan is obedience to God.

A paralel line can be drawn to the fight of independence from the kingdom of England. Many colonists were blind to the atrocities committed by the king, until the Revolutionaries came. Today we face the same tyranny with the current system of government, if it wasn't for men like Ron Paul many people would still be asleep.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Ben Franklin - April 17, 1787

"The worship of God is a duty...Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature… I never doubted the existence of the Deity, that he made the world, and governed it by His Providence...The pleasures of this world are rather from God's goodness than our own merit... Whoever shall introduce into the public affairs the principles of primitive (essential) Christianity will change the face of the world... Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." - Benjamin Franklin

"Death is all that really matters."

Just thought you might want to reread that.


Hear, O Israel: YHUH our God YHUH one. And thou shalt love YHUH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And I would do well to

And I would do well to remember it always.

Know your stuff, learn real history and economics @LibertyClassroom.com

From the moment I became aware...

I knew the consciousness that defined "me" was not the result of simple biochemical reactions. I figured "me" was a LOT older than that. So, I figured "me" must have come from somewhere; and, likewise, would go somewhere after my body ceased to exist.

Beyond that, I don't believe that anyone has a clue as to what is really going on. I do know from history that the "bad guys" seem to prevail, at least most of the time. I do what I believe is right because I believe that is what defines who I am, not that I am going to prevail. Certainly justice doesn't seem to have a particularly good track record in this existence.

This is also the reason I have such contempt for those who expect someone else to "save" them. As far as I am concerned those who identify the evil in the world, then tie our hands when we offer non-peaceful solutions are as bad as those who commit the evil.

Not yet

George Hochfield quotes Orestes Brownson on the peculiarly American, democratized Transcendentalism:

...here is virgin soil, an open field, a new people, full of the future, with unbounded faith in ideas, and the most ample freedom. Here, if anywhere on earth, may the philosopher experiment on human nature and demonstrate what man has it in him to be when and where he has the freedom and the means to be himself.
Such language, Hochfield asserts, underscores the closeness of 19th century "Transcendentalism to a native American vision . . . . the fullest, most radical, rashest expression of . . . the 'American dream.'" Ironically, it may be that, except for Thoreau's interest in Indians--and even he did not fully escape the prejudices of his cultural context--the seers of this new vision failed to realize that it was, in large part already extant, in the pre-existing (uppercase) Native American tradition.

Native American tradition is generally assumed to maintain close and respectful links with Nature, more so than the other religions discussed here; this is undoubtedly due to the overwhelming use of nature as metaphor in the tradition. For instance, the spiritual values of the Haudenosaunee--the Iroquois Confederacy, which includes six nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora)--are symbolized by the Great Tree of Peace, an eternal evergreen with roots embracing the four corners of the earth and a straight, true trunk touching the "sky world." The Tree represents the Great Law, with its main principles of justice, equity, and peace (Rockefeller, 17). Furthermore, religion itself is not a separate entity, just one of several of life's components--rather it is the entire way of life (23). Many of the different Native American groups had no separate name for their "religion" until the concept of naming it was introduced, along with Christianity.

The Native American view of the relationship between the "Me" and "Not Me" is famously illustrated in the speech of Chief Luther Standing Bear of the Ogala Sioux:

We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams with tangled growth, as "wild." Only to the white man was nature a "wilderness" and only to him was the land "infested" with "wild" animals and "savage" people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. Not until the hairy man from the east came and with brutal frenzy heaped injustices upon us and the families we loved was it "wild" for us. When the very animals of the forest began fleeing from his approach, then it was that for us the "Wild West" began.
Standing Bear's description of the Lakota concept of "a great unifying life force" is Emerson's Oversoul reiterated:

From Waken Tanka there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things--the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals--and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man . . . . Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. . . .This concept of life was humanizing. . . it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all. The Lakota could despise no creature, for all were of one blood, made by the same hand, and filled with the essence of the Great Mystery... The old people told us to heed wa maka skan. . . the 'moving things of the earth'. . . .Knowledge was inherent in all things. . . . We learned to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that was to feel beauty. . .
To "feel beauty" is different from merely being able to see it. The Navajo quest for spiritual perfection is called "The Beauty Trail" or "The Beauty Way;" to walk it requires the ability to transcend earthly distraction much in the manner Emerson prescribes in Nature:

. . .few adults can see nature . . . .[but] the sun shines into the eye and the heart of the child. . . .in the woods is perpetual youth . . . .we return to reason and faith. . . .all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.
Like Sivaraksa and the Dalai Lama, Audrey Shenandoah, Elder of the Onondaga Nation, feels the elements of earth are out of balance, reflective of a spiritual lack of equilibrium (18). Also, like the Dalai Lama, she proposes education and science as avenues of restoration, but the essential missing ingredients are gratitude, for the world and our place in it, and mindfulness of our responsibility not only to the present but deep into the future as well. In this regard Native American tradition seems to differ from Transcendentalism, which concerns itself with perfecting the present moment; in essence, for Transcendentalists there is no "future," and while the wisdom of the ages is valuable, too often it is entangled with stultifying tradition. The ideal is to balance on the narrow edge between yesterday and tomorrow; to live in the moment is perhaps one of the most difficult things a person can do. However, in Shenandoah's culture, each generation is responsible for the well-being of the next seven. Decisions are weighed to judge their effect over centuries.

Euro-American interpretation of this Native American foresight may be skewed due to an almost insurmountable cultural difference concerning the way passage of time is reckoned. Paula Gunn Allen explains that "the American Indian perceives all that exists as symbolic," and his or her closeness to the earth--too frequently satirized, intentionally or not, in the "noble savage" caricature--is "actual, not a quaint result of savagism or childlike naivete." The sense of the earth as living transfer to the sense of metaphysical reality as well; "no one's experience is idiosyncratic" (70 - 71). The best name European thought can give to this psychic sharing is Jung's "collective unconsciousness" -- it sounds much like the Transcendental idea of separate individuals connected with, and by, the Oversoul. Emerson's "Circles" are reminiscent of John (Fire) Lame Deer's description of cosmic cycles as "circles within circles" (73).

Native American tradition is the one belief system discussed in these pages that tends to view environmental problems as a result of political missteps as well as cultural faults; the situation is not unlike that of the Buddhist in Sivaraksa's Westernized Thailand. Herded onto and confined to reservations, the Indian peoples find themselves living at the intersection of yesterday and tomorrow, not in the joyous "present moment" of Thoreau's vision, but rather suspended uneasily in space. Their former culture, steeped in environmental respect and acknowledgment of the human connection to all things has dissipated not because the Indian has been swept into the consumer culture but because that culture has surrounded it in amoeba-like fashion. There is no mistaking victim for guest; the Native American is in the unhappy position of having strong awareness of what Transcendentalism calls the "inner spark of divinity" while at the same time possessing little strength against outside forces that would quell it. Thoreau's night in jail, recounted in "Civil Disobedience," pales in the light of Wounded Knee or the Trail of Tears.

However, with great resilience, the Native American also looks to education and individual awareness as solution to the environmental crisis. Gunn cites the emergence of a literary tradition among Native Americans as a key component in sparking awareness inside and outside the culture. Her point of view recalls the Transcendentalist vision of the poet's role in articulating the connection between God and Nature and humankind. Vine Deloria, Jr., displays the same fervent challenge to religion as does Sallie McFague, although his vision concentrates on the healing (of physical and spiritual damage) tradition being revived in Native American culture (250 - 253). He sees the reclamation and protection of sacred places as the primary environmental concern, linking the physical degradation of such places to spiritual decay in echo of Emerson: "Nature is the symbol of the spirit."

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.


Thank you!

I'm copying this and keeping it handy.

I did my college thesis, in part, on Emerson's essay "Nature," although it was difficult to make an institution-friendly document about that. The essay is the most extraordinary thing I have ever read.