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Are You Religious?

Are you religious?  

33 members have voted

  1. 1. Are you religious?

    • Yes
      18
    • No
      15


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Although I'll participate in the discussion, I can't vote, because I really don't know. Ask me if I believe in God and I'll say "yes," but I don't know if that's because I was taught since birth to believe that there was a God, or because I actually believe it.

 

I'd like to be religious, but I can't.

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Whether they admit it or not, everyone is religious. Religion is separate from Faith. Faith is what you believe; atheism, christianity, buddhism, shintoism, hinduism, islam, ... On the other hand, Religion is what you do because of your Faith. Whether it is works of charity, or strapping a bomb to yourself and blowing up children.

 

In this sense, the christian new testament mentions religion in only one passage; James 1:26,27 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

 

ian

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Honestly, it depends on what somebody means by "religion" that could influence my answer. Christianity is not defined as a religion at all by numbers of its most passionate adherents, as it does not require any man-made constructs to practice; salvation in Christianity is not meritable by any good deeds, but is a gift entirely provided by God through the atoning sacrifice for sin offered by Christ, and this exclusive focus on God's effort to reach man, rather than the opposite, is the main difference between my faith and all others. Many historical critics and theologians argue that Christ came to make religion unnecessary (it certainly wouldn't be necessary in the Christian heaven), and that is why the excessively pious, upright Jews of the time hated Him so much and ultimately sought to kill Him, because they paranoidly persuaded themselves that Christ was challenging their authority and power. I believe modern Christianity is a religion to a degree, because it does follow particular manners of organization and other man-made guidelines, and it always will be as long as we live on this imperfect Earth, but the pure form in which God intended it to be, direct fellowship with Him without any barriers as shown in the Garden of Eden story, is not. (This is certainly a possible point of contention.) I couldn't say I'm capable of explaining this concept perfectly or in complete detail, so I would recommend further research, especially for the non-religious here.

 

Though my personal relationship with God the Creator is the number one priority, I still consider myself religious to a degree, as I attend church every Sunday and practice customs of the church. Although religiosity can certainly be of assistance to many adherents of any faith, a wholehearted belief that Jesus' death paid for your sins to enable you to inherit eternal life (John 3:16, basically) equals Christianity, regardless of degree of religiosity. That thought actually formed a new perspective in my head recently (so many profound thoughts have started appearing ex nihilo recently...it's odd, and it certainly makes me think I'm not inventing them), and it might clear up BitBuster's confusion: "You don’t have to be Christian to be religious, but neither do you have to be religious to be Christian." I hope this small piece is at least somewhat informative and/or provocative of further thought.

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I really don't know to be honest. There's a difference between being religious and believing in a religion. I myself am Christian.

 

I believe in God but I don't go to church and I don't really pray that often. I'm happy with the life I have right now, which is why I don't pray as much as a normal believer.

 

You should add a I don't know option Tom for these reasons, as well as some of the previous posters ^^

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I too consider myself a Christian and agree with much of what Andrew wrote above, particularly with what differentiates true Christianity from other religions and the politically-charged version of the faith that seems to be prevalent in American culture today.

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I know a lot of people who no longer consider themselves "religious" because they disagreed with the manner in which their church was being run. While I entirely sympathize with those who felt disenchanted by the whole Catholic priests scandal, I also think that it's not the best reason for rejecting a certain faith/denomination. But anyway.

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I am 100% atheist, and proud to be. I believe the laws of physics govern our universe, that time is just an illusion of changing energy, and that "time" and space as we know them extend infinitely in every dimension we know of and possibly some others we don't know of. When one dies, their energy is transferred to the world around them; what then allows it to transfer to "heaven" or some other parallel universe? This is one reason why I really want to go to space before I die.

 

My mother is Buddhist, and thus she believes in hundreds of gods as well as karma. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me, as I don't see how there could possibly be a higher power for everyone which jinxes one for sinning or makes good things happen for good actions. What this really is is reputation, when doing bad things causes people naturally to realize you are a bad person, but it doesn't mean killing someone will cause a meteor to land on and set fire to your house. Thank goodness Buddhism isn't like Judaism which transfers down from family.

 

While I may seem to bash religion, I have full tolerance for those who choose to believe as that's their choice and I have no reason to try and change that. Feel free to disagree with me, just don't flame me.

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You have every right to believe (or not believe) whatever you want. That's SUPPOSED to be one of the freedoms guaranteed in this country. I know that what I believe is a combination of upbringing and experience.

 

Am I religious? That really depends on your definition (as mentioned above.) I attend church semi-regularly and I have a couple habits I find useful. But that does not describe my belief system at all.

 

And I don't really care if the atheists are right. That's just Pascal's gambit. Now, if the Muslims are right, I'm in big trouble....

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I hope we can all agree on that Islam ≠ Terrorist. I actually think quite a lot of beliefs from all religions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism, are correct, but no one totally nails it (all of the religions have gods or a God which I don't believe, obviously). For example, Muslims usually say that once a sin is forgiven, it's done for (which I totally agree with), whereas often in Christianity everyone starts out with original sin from mistakes made by the first humans which makes absolutely no sense.

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Basically, I'm with Andrew and J.B. here. I kind of gave up trying to do things on my own about week ago, and that has really helped. And now, I can't, and won't believe that God doesn't exist, because I know he does, and I've seen first hand things he's done, and it's been a blessing. But I'm not going to bash any of you for believing anything else.

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And now, I can't, and won't believe that God doesn't exist, because I know he does, and I've seen first hand things he's done, and it's been a blessing.

 

Something worth diving into, as it's immediately applicable and opens up further doors; this assuredly happened to me during the struggles I described in my introduction thread. I saw too many incidences of perfect timing, an inner and outward spiritual presence, and sheer jaw-dropping coincidence to entertain any doubts; the equivalent opposite moment is the concept defined in the Bible as permanent rejection of God. The difference in my life after this happened and I entirely committed my life to God, I would say, was the coming of complete peace, becoming worlds more patient, outgoing and optimistic, attaining a much clearer perception of reality and especially my understanding of events in a spiritual context (such as why X event happened, what I am supposed to take away from Y, etc.), and as Ben said, there was a certain moment where God's non-existence became incomprehensible to my mind; I even find further reasons to thusly believe each day.

 

Such conviction towards any type of belief is commonly detectable by mannerisms, attitude and depth of language; there is even a biblical guideline for this: "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." (1 Peter 2:12) I have witnessed this in action on multiple occasions. When I was interviewed for an autistics discussion group about who or what I have for support, Dr. Adams could have been blind and still detected that I meant it when I said I was never alone; Christian friends of all walks of life think I'm rather "special" among them for possessing such understanding (which I certainly hope I do, but then again, I really know so little of what can be known); even an atheist friend (and a reasonably strong one at that, but still a nice guy) was puzzled that, in the face of what he felt was the better judgment of reason, I possessed a conviction that was "apparently unshakeable." I believe this happens only when somebody is a true born-again Christian, and thus it is comforting to know that all religious categories alike recognize I truly mean mine.

 

This is certainly something worthy of objective study, as many of us, wherever we stand, have met people who seem firm in their beliefs, and perhaps the firmest category is religious belief. There exist unconvincable Christians and unconvincable atheists alike, and there could be multiple scientific, spiritual or psychological reasons why this is the case; as a Christian, I hold that the cause is inwardly spiritual. I definitely hope for an agnostic/atheist perspective on this, as they're generally the minority in most locations (though not in France, Sweden and other European countries in particular).

 

Ultimately, it should be said that I am heartily enjoying this discussion; thanks for starting it, Tom. My plan for opening up religion was a small thread where anybody could explain their choice of belief in 100 words or less, then discuss later on after some time; that would also work, but I'm happy to witness this one taking off. Fire away!

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I generally find that actions don't necessarily reflect on the veracity of beliefs or philosophies, whatever else people may claim. There are atheists who do wonderful things for other people, just as there are people of every denomination who do wonderful things for other people. The converse is true; people of all faiths commit horrible acts. This is pretty self-evident, but I mention it because I have never, based on someone's actions, been able to infer anything about their beliefs. I liken it to being unable to know someone's favorite colour or style of music just by the way they talk or act...there are stereotypes, but they're, of course, limited.

 

I'm an agnostic in more than just the realm of faith; there's nothing that I'm entirely sure of. I used to think that the only thing I was sure of was that there was nothing I was sure of, but I like to think that if I had a religious experience it would change my views.

 

For example, if I saw Jesus on the Sunday after the crucifixion, nail holes in his hands and all, I'm pretty sure I'd devote the rest of my life to his teachings (provided I was sure that it wasn't just a fancy magic trick). But this isn't the kind of experience you're talking about...

 

As an agnostic, I'm somewhat suspicious of people who claim to be absolutely certain about things. Maybe it does just come down to temperament (i.e. the ability to commit to either accepting or rejecting a certain idea). Maybe the ability to have faith is biological, like being born with a certain skin colour, or being born with other innate abilities or talents. I really don't know.

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Well, I'm a skeptic, but not in the way most people think of skepticism. Like many other words, this has been obscured from its true meaning. Most people, when they hear "skeptic" they are really thinking "cynic". I am not a cynic. I believe that things (including supernatural things) can happen. I believe some things are true and some things are false. I just don't need to know if EVERYTHING is true or false. In fact, it has been proven logically that you cannot prove or disprove EVERYTHING with logic. This was a landmark proof that most people have never heard of. If you want your brain to hurt, read Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid.

 

It may seem counter-intuitive, but not having to know the truth about EVERYTHING allows me to believe in SOMETHING.

 

Tangential opinion: The "Skeptic" column in Scientific American is somewhere between skepticism and cynicism.

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I'm both a skeptic and a cynic, leaning more towards skeptic.

 

How does the lack of truth about everything help you believe in something?

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^THIS. If I don't need a complete, overarching set of rules for EVERYTHING, then I can figure out which things are important, and decide what I believe about them. The rest doesn't really matter. Like evolution or global warming.

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The rest doesn't really matter. Like evolution or global warming.

 

Those two things are among the most important ^_^

 

Also, I'd prefer to learn the truth (or at least as much of the truth as we can, or learn what is not the truth, or learn what is more likely to be true than not, etc.) than comfort myself with any falsehoods. For topics where we can't ascertain the truth, I would rather just acknowledge that fact rather than try to put substitute some random claim in because we want to. Knowledge is a reward in and of itself. But maybe that's just me.

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How is evolution important? How does it impact your life right now? Forget about the religious people who say it does matter -- why does it matter to you?

 

Also, global warming may have an impact on the world, but does it really matter whether we caused it or not? We should be worried about what to do ABOUT it. BTW, global warming is an 8000 year phenomenon -- it's not just because of the industrial revolution.

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How is evolution important? How does it impact your life right now? Forget about the religious people who say it does matter -- why does it matter to you?

 

Evolution is only the cornerstone theory that unifies all biology, and the knowledge that has powered some of mankind's most beneficial medical advances, and an amazingly useful piece of insight into our history and psychology...but it's not important. (Y)

 

Also, even if it weren't important, I'd still find it interesting, and even if it weren't interesting, I'd still not substitute some random claim in...

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but the theory of evolution has not added a single important piece of scientific information yet.

If you think it has, then fine, but in 30 years of research in forestry and fisheries, I never ran across a single example.

ian

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It's not my bubble your bursting. I don't really care if evolution is true or not. As long as we all agree it's a theory and not a fact (which is what Carl Sagan called it.) I think it's reasonable that species can become new species through random changes over long periods of time. I have a lot harder time explaining humans this way.

 

My favorite theory (which is also just a theory) is that our evolution was "enhanced" or "interfered with" by some other intelligence. But it's just as likely that we were created exactly as we are from scratch. The important thing is, none of these theories impacts my belief system. It just isn't that important to me.

 

If you insist that the world was created LITERALLY as in Genesis, I have a little more trouble believing that (I'm skeptical), but it's POSSIBLE.

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What you want to believe is up to you. With a science background, I like to separate theory from facts. A lot of what we presume to be facts are only the currently prevailing theory. I like to research my material with a skeptical bent, knowing that God will always get it right, because that is His nature.

Ian

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INDEED.

 

My beliefs about God are pretty set, and my ability to separate things like evolution from them makes it unnecessary to worry about how one affects the other.

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Evolution is both a fact and a theory. It is a fact in stating what happens; it is a theory in stating why it happens. A more detailed explanation here: click. While we're at it, on the same site is an amazing page about the evidence for evolution: click. (warning: absolutely mammoth document...but then again, that's the point ;)). There's also a ton of other interesting information on that site unrelated to evolution (such as the age of the Earth).

 

@Dave: "Just as likely" implies that we can assign probabilities to those events, which we can't.

 

 

I haven't had a decent debate about this kind of stuff in a long time...sleeping giant awaking in T-10, 9...

 

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