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On Religion and Other Subjects Considered Taboo

Talk about religious principles has become taboo to many people in today’s society. Often, individuals will become uncomfortable when the subject comes up. In my humble opinion, lack of communication about difficult issues is what leads to the ultimate consequences that intolerance among different groups can bring. Traditionally and quite rationally, the rate of positive human progress comes in direct proportion to the level of free communication among the people. That’s why censorship and propaganda are such an effective team – increase one stream of communication while limiting others. By communicating and attempting to create a mutual understanding about difficult topics, divide and conquer strategies by outside influences can be made much less effective. Religion happens to be one of the most prominent examples of such a topic that is often used by demagogues to divide the public. So… let’s have a discussion about religion.

First of all, let me point out that I question everything. To forbid certain questions is a recipe for disaster. If a person can be convinced that there exists some entity that is beyond question, that person can likely also be convinced that there is another human that somehow knows the will of the supposed supreme being. Then, the messenger of a god – the shepherd – guides the flock. For instance, it is no secret that religious demagoguery against Muslims has allowed the long-term occupation of the Middle East. The same demagoguery is being used to target Iran. No person can answer the question as to whether a god truly exists. For the same reason, no person can be trusted when they claim to be in communication with a potential deity. It is always a good idea to determine the motives of individuals that try to influence your opinion using religious arguments. Recall a few years back when so many Catholic priests were implicated in the molestation of male churchgoing youth. Recall pastor Jim Jones that founded the People’s Temple in the 1970’s and subsequently convinced over 900 people of various social and ethnic backgrounds to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid. Beware of those people that use religion in attempts to guide other people.

Long standing religions have been adulterated by the ruling classes over the course of history. None exist in their original form. For example, Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Upon his conversion, the “Universal Church” was created. We refer to this church today as a name derived from the Greek word for universal – catholicus. During those times, Christianity had emerged from cult status and was in competition with other religious dogmas such as Zoroastrianism and Paganism among others. Accordingly, the Romans adapted the celebrations of the Catholic Church to bring these others into the flock. December 21st marks the winter solstice which was celebrated by Zoroastrians and Pagans alike. The Pagan influence brought on the existence of the Christmas tree. December 26th coincides with the death of Zoroaster and was a major celebration for Zoroastrians. Easter was named after Ishtar – the Babylonian god of sex, love, and war – and the day of celebration marks the resurrection of her lover Tammuz. Further, there are reasons why there are such texts as The King James Version of the Christian bible. Why do you suppose a particular king has a bible version dedicated to him? Why do you suppose the Romans tried like hell to create a universal church for all of mankind to follow? Why do you suppose religion is taboo in private circles while politicians and pundits invoke it at will? If a person puts themselves in a subservient position to organized religion, that person puts themselves in a subservient position to the will of other men.

As stated previously, no person can answer the question as to whether a god exists and provide any proof to support their argument. Currently, no experiment can be performed to give evidence one way or the other. Belief in a god can only come from faith. For this reason, the existence of a god or lack thereof is of no concern to science. Science only deals with testable phenomena. The apparent clash between religion and science spawned from idealists who refused to believe scientific findings such as the sun being at the center of our galaxy. To profess these types of ideas publicly was considered to be blasphemy. Printing of Copernicus’ findings was prohibited by the Roman Universal Church. In such circumstances, it has often been the case that religious leaders have found themselves in a position where they have stated through supposed divine knowledge that things must be a certain way only to later find a foot stuck in their mouths. Rather than swallow their pride, religious leaders in the past have manufactured conflict in attempts to preserve their reputation and influence with followers. To be quite honest, nature behaves a certain way, and no belief system contrived by man can change the laws of physics. It is the way it is. I promise you the belief system will change before the nature of the physical universe changes. How many of you would regularly attend a church that still believed that the sun revolved around the earth?

Nowadays, evolution is said to divide scientists from the religious. To this manufactured conflict I say, just as no human can rearrange the planets by religious edict, no human will be able to put a stop to evolution. Just as religious people will argue that a god put the planets in their current locations with the sun at the center, one day religious people will argue that evolution is the tool used by a god to create life and forever improve upon it. Through this argument, evolution will be accepted just as was the heliocentric universe. Man will continue to probe the workings of nature, and human guided belief systems will continue to find themselves adapting to new discoveries. Nature (A god) doesn’t give a damn how humans think the universe should work. It works a certain way, and we are at the mercy of its laws whether we choose to believe them or even know they exist.

Religion is a powerful tool. It seems that most people that have been considered major religious prophets have professed philosophies of peace. Only later have these philosophies been manipulated into tools of oppression. Radical Christian leaders will say that the Muslims are coming to get the Christians, and radical Muslim leaders will say the Christians are coming to get the Muslims. If the truth were to be told, it is that these religious leaders are to blame for the demagoguery that fuels the fire of religious intolerance. Once these fires are well stoked, politicians often use the momentum created to play religious pawns against each other. Don’t allow your religious beliefs to be co-opted in the name of violence. Certainly, Jesus and Mohammed wouldn’t approve of the millions killed in their names – many which have been innocent civilians. It is time for people to give up their hate of others just because they happen to be different in some way such as ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or social class. Allow religion to be a medium to propagate peace – not hatred and violence.

Having open discussions about difficult topics such as religion is necessary for the progress of mankind. Subjects like religion that are often avoided during everyday conversation leads to intolerance among people with different opinions. For instance, some people who read this may even feel a bit of anger about what has been stated. Because they refuse to communicate without limitations, those people will likely choose to maintain their religious intolerance against others that don’t subscribe to the same belief system they do. Complete silence about issues has never been credited for solving problems of diversity. Furthermore, only talking and associating with people that agree with each other has never been credited for solving problems of diversity. On the contrary, rational communication provides the only avenue for solving these problems. It is no coincidence that the word “ignore” roots the word “ignorance.”




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Thank you...

I just say what I think needs to be said. Sometimes it's popular, and sometimes it's not.

I appreciate it.

speaking of Constantine....

...he was NEVER a true born again believer; he retained his headship over the mystery Babylonian religion of Samarimus and Tammuz until his dying day...(see video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7edW7igYfg

What Nimrod's wife started back in Genesis chapter 10 eventually made it to Israel via Ahab through Jezebel; and they apostasized themselves therough it, and were judged for it(read Jeremiah 44:15-30 sometime http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+44&vers... )... and that mother/child cult religion still fourishing to this day is where the Republican Primary choice for President of the Southern Baptists of South Carolina went upon his conversion FROM being a "Georgia Baptist" ... Newt Gingrich!

Understand American Christian APOSTASY; understand Christ's church has likeise gone the way of Israel in whoring herself after other gods for the LOVE OF MONEY, out of arrogance, and convenience, and creature comforts, for unholy alliances, and ultimately because they have an "in Adam" HATRED for the Word of God that pierces men's hearts with TRUTH about their behaviors and attitudes!

Ron Paul KNOWS; America needs a Biblical REVIVAL...and Christian Statesmen need to be put in public office NOT so they can shove the 10 commandments down our throats, or war against Islam - btu because they can be TRUSTED since they know whatever it is they do is secret is seen OPENLY by the Creator - so they dare NOT bring about or hoist harm upon the people of this once great nation!!!

Professing American Christians need some good Paul Washer sermons!

http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?SpeakerOnly=true&currS...

How would you feel about a Muslim legislator...

who was libertarian?

For instance if there was a typical Republican of the Christian persuasion, would you vote for that candidate above a Muslim that wanted more liberty?

depends on what the candidate UNDERSTANDING is...

...of #1) where liberty comes from, God or government

And #2) what are the attributes of his Supreme Being...

I don't buy the warmongering propaganda of NeoCon Christians who have never been born again by the Holy Spirit of God from above; but likewise, a professing Muslim who believes "infidels" must be eradicated from planet Earth isn't much healthier.

I guess I wouldn't vote when given a FALSE choice between two clearly evil people, who use the word "liberty" but don't understand it.

I Would Feel Fine

...about voting for an American citizen who happened to be a Muslim. Although I am a Christian, I would not vote solely based on "that" big tent any more than, if I was a Mormon, I would vote for Romney because he is a Mormon.

I would scrutinize the candidates and look into indicators of character, consistency, ethics and morals. (Note: Can't help it, I would put them to the RP test and see which most nearly approximates him and the things he has taught me to stand for.)

I believe in Christian ethics and have found them often in people who are not of the Christian faith. I have often seen them lacking in some people of the Christian "persuasion." If the Muslim was a "true" liberty candidate and the Christian was not...of course I would vote for the Liberty Man whose faith happened to be Islam.

Good question...(good answer ) I sure hope everyone here feels the same way.

fonta

Glad to hear it...

The intolerance that is often associated with religious individuals is what I find to be the problem. It blinds most people and causes them to take sides with less than desirable influences.

Religion itself is benign. It's the misuse of religion by man to pursue his own will that is bad.

Comparing the heliocentric universe to evolution

makes no sense. We have telescopes and satellites that show us we live in a heliocentric universe. We don't have time machines to take us back in time 50,000 years to see if humans were here. You said you question everything. Do you question evolution?

I've questioned evolution...

and have found it to be extremely probable. Just the same, I've questioned the likelihood that a supreme being waved its hand and one day everything appeared, and I've come to believe this scenario is extremely improbable.

Further, telescopes do not only show static phenomena. The formation of stars and other gravitational phenomena show that the universe is a dynamic place that evolves over time according to the laws of physics. Even astronomy can lead one to the idea of evolution. Hell, amino acids have been found in comets which makes a direct connection between astronomy and biological evolution.

It takes an irrational amount if faith

to look at the human anatomy and not conclude that a Supreme Being designed it. It's almost as if agnostics NEED for their not to be a Supreme Being.

But, let's just suppose there is a God who created humans. Wouldn't it make sense for that Creator to somehow communicate with His creation? And wouldn't it also make sense for the Supreme Being to tell the people He communicated with to write down what He said so, subsequent generations of peole could know how they got here, what they're doing here, and where they're going?

I do agree with your second paragraph, but . . .

static interferes with the message. There are always those who sabotage, bend, and manipulate--

so the original intent of the message often becomes cluttered--

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

That's true, but...

If God inspired His word when it was first written down, being God, He would have no problem preserving His word to every generation (Psalm 12:6,7). Obviously in every generation there have been and always will be those who would corrupt and change God's word for their own purposes or even attempt to twist the real thing to mean something it doesn't say. But, if there was a supernatural inspiration of the first text, there would have to be a supernatural preservation of that same text for it to do people any good today. It wouldn't make any sense for God to give man the words to write down and then leave man to take it from there. Those original Hebrew and Greek texts are long lost. But, if God inspired them so, people living then could read His message in their mother language, then I believe His words are available today in the native language of people living today.

I believe people can find the truth if they want it badly enough

--that is the point of being alive--

God makes things available, and then, yes, evil men/women cover it up, and people want truth and find it.

God is not dead.

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

Absolutely.

"I [wisdom] love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me." Proverbs 8:17

"Original Texts Lost"

you wrote correctly = ""Those original Hebrew and Greek texts are long lost."" I wonder if you considered looking at Aramaic, Arabic & Amharic. They say the Maseah son of Maryum spoke aramaic.

the greek to latin to english went thru a process of editing /changes.

Whether

Jesus spoke Aramaic or Hebrew doesn't really matter since all the New Testament writers wrote in Greek because that was the common and most widespread language of the Eastern Roman Empire and most of the early Christians were native Greek-speakers.

In the 16th century, Erasmus assembled a Greek New Testamrnt based on the majority Greek texts. It's true that there were changes made from the Greek to the Latin, but, Erasmus didn't rely on the Latin in assembling his Greek New Testament and neither did translators of the Old Testament into English. But, then again, there was more than one version of the Bible translated from Greek into Latin over several centuries and they weren't all corrupted. The way to tell obviously being the outliers. If translators had two Latin texts that read differently, if one did not match the majority of Greek, Latin, Syrian, Arabic and other early text, it was obviously a corruption and therefore discarded.

Aramaic or Hebrew

you wrote - ""Whether Jesus spoke Aramaic or Hebrew doesn't really matter"", and that - ""most of the early Christians were native Greek-speakers.""

very strange, = ~ ? > @ *

Most of the early Christians were Greeks or

Hellenized people groups in modern-day Turkey. Most of Pail's letters which are books in the New Testament were written to these Greek-speaking people. It would have done no good to write to them in the language that Jesus spoke since they weren't Jews and woukdn't have been able to read it.

***

It takes an irrational amount of faith...

to believe what you propose in your second paragraph.

Not if

you already realize there is a God

I think Athiests are dumb.

do they REALLY think they can prove a negative?
they seem to think we are SO advanced now, like we have well, you know, figured out gravity or something. the first caveman who fell out of a tree figured out gravity.
do YOU believe in dark matter / energy or black holes? we cannot prove they exist. do you know what the concept involved is based on? probably not.
I discovered about the same information that you did when I looked into the subject you spoke of. I scrached my head and thought, really? darn, I did not want to know that.
humans have an innate tendency or need for a "God" I mean heck, we sure have invented a lot of them!!!!
the reverse is no better. even worse if you were aware of what I am aware of.....
I discovered Deism. it fits me perfectly and I actually LIKE to talk about god as a result.
if you go back and look at your post, you answer your own question.
please chose a position before attacking anothers.
peace.

It is unproductive to call another belief system dumb...

Any type of deist will claim with absolute certainty that a god (or gods) exist(s) while an atheist will claim with absolute certainty that no god exists. As far as being able to prove either point, the footing is equal. Issues of faith are always of this nature. For instance, the existence of ghosts is another example.

Backtracking a little, some atheists may call Christianity dumb. Some Christians may call atheism dumb. Some Christians may call Islam dumb and vice versa. One thing is for certain, none of these people casting stones are making any progress towards peaceful coexistence. Intolerance is never productive.

I agree--

.

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

darn, I can't be a deist either!

that really bites dude. why do I have to insist upon a "god" to be a deist?
mebbe you can enlighten me as I like the subject. or, mebbe you need to explain what the cosmological constant is to me or where it came from or who's idea it was.
I am not sure if I should be nice or not. how about telling me why "fossil" fuels are called that?
if I called you a peasant pecking at a configurable relay assembly..... I digress.
your general thesis is correct. but you still seem to avoid "labeling" yourself.

It is my understanding...

that Deism is to believe in an arbitrary god with no strings attached by organized religion or associated texts (often not subscribing to apocalyptic prophecies). I wish there were more religious people of that flavor.

I used deist in a more general sense to refer to followers of any deity (since I couldn't think of a more accurate word to state the concept concisely).

Deism requires that you define your terms. define "God"

for example. what does that word mean exactly? what if there is a god and he, she or it is not interested in me and my petty affairs?
heck, unless I distinguish myself somehow, why should they? or he...or whatever.
just comprehending our existance is enough for me. pretty cool that there just happen to be animals of the right size for riding...huh?

another good reason to call yourself one is that it forces people to think. most have never even heard of the concept or blow it off.
you are right my friend, people are just too darn defensive about this entire subject.
Hubble found a flaw in Einstiens theory, the man himself agreed and "fixed" it. this is still the basis for todays best science.

if nobody else does, I will thank you for sharing your knowledge on this public forum. both of our roads lead to Liberty.
peace.

I am uninterested in religion besides when it has negative...

effects. I could care less whether a god exists or not. It's none of my concern. For most, the beneficial part of religion comes in the form of a generally peaceful guiding philosophy. The organization of religion by man is what introduces many of the problems.

Humans are insignificant compared to the scope of the universe. If a god does exist, I doubt it would be interested in what the animals on this little blue speck are doing. Also, I can never be made to believe that another person can communicate with such a being which results in the realization that all religions are contrived by man (in my own opinion). Followers are expected to take other humans' (religious leaders') word that in the past certain special people had a hotline to speak with a god, and we should listen to everything they have to say and follow without question.

I am not concerned with or have any bad feelings towards any particular religion. It's the control over people for nefarious purposes that concerns me. It has been engrained in people that to question religion on any level is strictly forbidden. It's very dangerous when people give up that much freedom without question, and it affects entire populations - even the nonreligious or uninterested.

I love Sam Harris's take on this,

in his book, or YouTube series called, "The End of Faith".

If you haven't seen it yet OP, you would like it I think.

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
-Thomas Paine

This is a subject that really bores me

As soon as somebody says the words "God wants us to ........." or "God said......." I tune out. No sense arguing so I just walk away if I can. There's nothing worse then getting your ear bent by one of these people. The way I see it, you could spend your entire life trying to figure out what God is and you would not know one thing more then a newborn infant. You can never know. So, when you tell me you do, I ignore you. I myself don't waste any time thinking about it. I'm happy with the Golden Rule and that is all I need.
Personally, I see religious fundamentalism as a destructive force throughout history and I reject it.

Sadly, if you haven't learned

Sadly, if you haven't learned more than a baby, you haven't learned much.

I always thought of this as part of "original sin", that I was born not knowing God. Because I was born not knowing God. I was saved later. 'You must be born again', like it says in the gospel of John, chapter 3. Same chapter as John 3:16 that a lot of people display on signs.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.