Could you describe your religious beliefs?

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auntblabby
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23 Jul 2013, 1:25 am

"It is the final proof of God's omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us." [Peter Devries]



littlebee
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23 Jul 2013, 11:31 am

Hi.Thanks for sharing this. A response below to a selected quote from your message....will reply to more later today or tomorrow....

Adamantium wrote:
......I did not think of any of this as spiritual or religious but one day I had a very profound spiritual experience after meditating and then thinking about some issues within my celtic mythological frame of reference. It was a very moving experience, and it felt like making some kind of contact with a transcendent being or energy. I found myself in the strange position of feeling emotionally that it was real and believing intellectually that it was a psychological phenomenon with no external reality.

This would be a natural response, especially if one does not have the contextual framework tn which to place this kind of experience so as to make reality-based sense of it. but generally speaking everything a person is experiencing is felt to have an independent existence outside of himself, as named (according to its context and function) and the perceiver also feels "himself" to exist outside of what he is perceiving,, but a good case can be made by a scientist or perhaps a Buddhist or a even a Christian that things do not actually exist as they appear, but are, as it is put in Corinthians 2, seen "through a glass darkly." Anyway, light (meaning the light of the physical sun) does illuminate things, and if a person is lost in daydreams, anger, desire or whatever, his brain is not going to be working at optimum. Also, framing things in a certain way and looking at them from a particular perspective can kind of force through certain qualities of experience. This is not to discount the meaningfulness of such an experience to the person who is having it. Personally I have had all kinds of mystical experiences starting when I was a child, but in general has always tried to not focus on these experiences as an end all or be all, and it sounds as if you have done the same.



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23 Jul 2013, 12:06 pm

I am a Christian and believe that everything in the Bible is true. I try to live by God's word with His help.



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23 Jul 2013, 12:32 pm

benh72 wrote:
I was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family; I have an aunt that is a nun, and my parents took us to church every Sunday. My maternal grandmother had converted to Catholicism so was a very passionate catholic, and would go to mass every day when possible.
I grew disenchanted with the church when I got to my teen years, seeing the hypocrisy of people who would attend mass, talk of turning the other cheek and loving others as yourself, yet would abuse and ridicule their own children, often in public.

I sat on the fence for quite some time; when I got married the first time my then wife came from an Anglican (Church of England Protestant) family, so we had an Anglican wedding with a Catholic priest there to give a blessing on the union.
My daughter was baptised as Anglican.
I have not regularly attended church services since my late teens.

I was on the cusp of turning completely atheist/agnostic when my father in law was dying from cancer. In desperation I went to the church my maternal grandmother had attended mass in and prayed for his recovery or loss of suffering.
It did not come.
His suffering worsened, and I gave up all belief.

Since that time I have been on an internal spiritual quest, finally settling on accepting Buddhist philosophies, and beliefs.
I believe in karma, I believe in reincarnation, and I believe in treating others with respect, dignity and compassion.
I think it is perfectly acceptable to believe this without having to believe in a creator or god of any sort.
If you were to ask the Dalai Lama, or the Buddha himself about the existence or otherwise of god, they would say your thinking is better used on things that are comprehensible, and that scientific evidence confirms.

I believe in Buddhism because it makes sense and is logical in an otherwise chaotic and disorganised world.
It took me a very long time and a lot of inner turmoil and conflict to get to this point.
I think many from religious families that stick to their belief do so, as to question their beliefs is to shake the foundations of their understanding of the world around them, and most minds are not strong enough to face the challenge this constitutes.

I think everyone should be free to believe what they wish, but if they want to question the beliefs of others they should not consider their own beliefs to be above question and discussion.

For myself, I may never truly be accepted as a Buddhist, as I would have to surrender to the triple diamond; the Buddha, the dharma (holy writings), and the sangha (Buddhist community); I'm too much of a non conformist and too cynical about the mind manipulation that goes on within religious organisations to conform and accept someone as a religious leader without question.
I blame a lifetime of questioning my former Catholic beliefs for this, but perhaps in a future life I will come back as a dedicated Buddhist.


Hi Ben. :)

I never had much association with formalized religion but was intrigued with Zen Buddhism back in the '60s but was too busy working and raising a family to be serious about it. But a couple of years ago I had a Jhana-like (meditative state) experience as I lay on a hospital bed which led to a search for understanding which eventually led me through Freud, Yung, Wrong Planet and Buddhism.

Buddhism is attractive to me because it's a belief in the power of man to change his situation and the power of concentration shared by many members here is, I believe, an asset when concentrating during meditation (if that's the type of meditation you prefer). I've also found there seem to be more separate factions in Buddhism than in Christianity so there may be different ideas about "acceptance" in the different forms. You might want to stop over at Zen Forum International and pose the question. There seem to be Teachers/monks on-line most of the time who are happy to answer questions; there are even some "aspies" there. :D

I have no belief in returning (as seems to be the case with many Buddhists) so I plan to do as much as I can now (70 now).

Namaste friend



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23 Jul 2013, 12:51 pm

Musicgirl wrote:
I am a Christian and believe that everything in the Bible is true. I try to live by God's word with His help.


So you believe that we children who disobey their parents should be stoned to death. That you should eat your flesh of your sons and daughters.

Brought up a christian. Became agnostic when I was about 10 or 11. Now an agnostic atheist. Don't believe in anything spiritual. The only think I believe in which has something to do with religion is evolution although it goes against religion.



Gracey72
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23 Jul 2013, 12:53 pm

Sorry did think my post got through



Last edited by Gracey72 on 23 Jul 2013, 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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23 Jul 2013, 12:53 pm

Both my mom and step-dad grew up deeply religious and have faith, but they've never raised me around it and I don't really think I could put faith in something I consider an idea. So no, I'm not religious.

I respect those who are, though. If they have faith in their religion and are happy that way, I'm fine with it. I don't like having it shoved down my throat, though. None of my family is like that, thankfully.


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23 Jul 2013, 12:56 pm

My beliefs are theistic, but I am opposed to religion.

Sure, go ahead and believe (or not) in whatever god(s) you choose (or not).

Stop trying to convince me that I'm a bad person who is going to Hell just because I don't follow your subjective interpretations of whatever mythologies you consider "Holy".



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23 Jul 2013, 12:57 pm

littlebee wrote:
Personally I have always loved religion since I was a young child and have studied various religions all my life. Religion and social science are my two great passions, the particular interest being how religions symbolism (or the use of language in general) can facilitate the the transformation of the mind and also how this can affect the organization and reorganization of social systems and even future generations..
benh72 wrote:
If you were to ask the Dalai Lama, or the Buddha himself about the existence or otherwise of god, they would say your thinking is better used on things that are comprehensible, and that scientific evidence confirms.
.

It is very unlikely that the Dalia Lama (or the Buddha) would say such a thing to you, as he respects the teachings of other religions. What the Dalia Lama might say is that in (various schools of) Buddhism, there are different kinds of approaches suitable for different kinds of people, and then, if the circumstances are favorable for the presentation of the tenets of a particular school of Buddhism, he might lay out that approach in such a way that the people present could understand what he was saying according to their various capacities, and how general or specific he might be in such a presentation would depend on the general audience. Of course the approach of any good teacher is to present various material in such a way that the receiver can begin to discover various facets and to test it out and so begin to little by little verify it for himself.

Quote:
I think everyone should be free to believe what they wish, but if they want to question the beliefs of others they should not consider their own beliefs to be above question and discussion
.
This surely makes sense and is a good rule of thumb to follow; however, if a presentation is being given, such as in Christianity or Buddhism, it may be helpful to understand how the concept of faith fits in with this. People often, for example, in Christianity, think that faith means to believe that something is true, even that obviously allegorical material is to be taken literally, and to me this is ridiculous. What is actually meant is something a little bit different---more to believe in the efficacy of a particular system if its approach is applied to oneself. Of course it is not possible to know certain things till near the very end: there is a saying that the proof is in the pudding, but when following a certain recipe to make pudding, one can in some ways intuit whether it is probably going to result in a good (enough) pudding or not. Maybe this is not the best example to give, but I am kind of in a hurry right now,.

Quote:
For myself, I may never truly be accepted as a Buddhist, as I would have to surrender to the triple diamond; the Buddha, the dharma (holy writings), and the sangha (Buddhist community); I'm too much of a non conformist and too cynical about the mind manipulation that goes on within religious organisations to conform and accept someone as a religious leader without question.

Any good teacher in Buddhism or any religion will encourage you to have questions, and in Buddhism there is even a teaching that tell you how to select a suitable teacher, but I am not sure how helpful that really is. One thing, the teacher in Buddhism is considered to be above the Buddha, and in many eastern religions the guru is put on a pedestal, so it is kind of hard to sort it all out, but one thing, a person is general drawn to a certain teaching according to his individual capacity. You could even say it is kind of how the wind blows him. but it could always be almost like a magnetic current depending upon how strung the desire is to find a greater meaning.

Re taking refuge in the three jewels, this really means having faith in the efficacy of that particular approach and that, put in Christian terminology, such an approach will save you. In the beginning of a Buddhist teaching (or any religious teaching) a person may feel something, and so he will take refuge, but then later. as he studies and takes various teachings and initiations. it will begin to take on a deeper meaning. But, again, to take refuge in the three jewels means to take refuge in that particular approach. Buddha, dharma and sangha are surely going to mean different things to different people. For instance to a person who has studied Buddhism very deeply, dharma may mean more than just the books that contain the various teachings of Buddhism, and buddha and sangha may take on deeper meanings, too.

Quote:
I blame a lifetime of questioning my former Catholic beliefs for this, but perhaps in a future life I will come back as a dedicated Buddhist


There are different schools of Buddhism just as there are many different Christian churches, but actually the approach of one major school of Buddhism, the Middle Way School, is very similar to most Christian churches in the way the interchange of various material is dealt with, such as in Buddhism it is said that every living creature was once ones mother, and in Christianity there is the mystery of the trinity. One major difference is that Christians believe in an external cause or deity, but I cannot say that all educated Christians literally believe in that, and if you read the book of Genesis carefully, there is indication that that is not really what is being said there, but because many Christians seem to take Genesis literally or kind of literally, then this could be seen as a major philosophical difference. I just happened to come across something the Dalia Lama said that indicates he does think this is a major philosophical difference in this respect between Christianity and Buddhism---presumably because these two views lead to two different ways of working with the functions (such as thought, feeling, motor) and so lead to a somewhat different results, perhaps.

One main point is that in order to follow any religion to the nth, or even to live a spiritual life, a person does have to make a conscious dedication to it as a kind of aim or goal, and if a person is not part of an organization where the people are dedicated in this way, so a spiritual community associated with a church or what in Buddhism is called a sangha, or even perhaps a community with a humanistic goal,then that is kind of difficult to do. However, many of these groups do have cult like characteristics, so it may be kind of difficult to sort things out. This is why a good teacher is required and how many good teachers are there? I do not think too many, so when one is so fortunate to find such a person it is understandable why he might kind of put him on a pedestal, because without the aid of such a person, then one might not have the opportunity to develop.

.


A very good message. It's also good to remember Buddhism is like the elephant and the blind men: If approached from one end you will find a strong belief in reincarnation (Tibetan Buddhism for example) but if approached from the other end you may find little or no belief in reincarnation (Zen for example). This variation is true of many Buddhist beliefs as it is of many other organized religions. So ritualistic Buddhism, and all it's religious trappings is available as well as Buddhism stripped of it's non-essentials, and everything in between. In fact at Zen Forum International (and other places on the internet) there are Teachers who will help you practice if you have no congregation (Sangha) or teacher available.

denny



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23 Jul 2013, 1:15 pm

hey, I'm sure you don't really care what I believe.... maybe you do ^^

if so:

I'm personally 100% convinced that all the God's I've read about in holy texts aren't real but I will concede there may have been some kind of powerful intelligence that had some kind of impact on earth or the universe; although I think it's unlucky and there isn't any evidence that I've seen for this idea.

I'm an atheist but I do think some of the social policies popularised by some faith's like buddhism may be beneficial to mankind, especially going into the future. I also feel the dominant culture isn't the best way for creating a better future, in fact I feel it's doing a huge amount of harm to the planet.

Like some pagan's I believe the earth could be described as being alive, and that trees, plants and some animals are the most wondrous things in the universe. I also think it's our sacred duty to help and support the systems that give us life; and I'm not talking about the man made ones.

I'm also open to debating religious and philosophical ideas, sometimes I've enjoyed demonstrating that some of the 'Jehovah's witness' beliefs to be false; I know they don't want debate but submission; but that's not how I roll.

I also love reading some religious texts (as previously stated). I find many ideas to be fantastic and very interesting; also good ways to live. It's just a shame most are peppered by unsubstantiated God claims. I also love church's and some religious structures for their brilliant architecture and art and I've been to many of Europe's top holy sites.



SheldonGC
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23 Jul 2013, 1:32 pm

I was raised Christian fundamentalist, primarily in the Assemblies of God and Southern Baptist denominations. I believed it all, and was even a Biblical studies minor at a Southern Baptist university.

I gave up Christianity nearly 4 years ago, and a few months later came to the conclusion that I am agnostic.



littlebee
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23 Jul 2013, 2:25 pm

Gracey72 wrote:
Musicgirl wrote:
I am a Christian and believe that everything in the Bible is true. I try to live by God's word with His help.


So you believe that we children who disobey their parents should be stoned to death. That you should eat your flesh of your sons and daughters.

Brought up a christian. Became agnostic when I was about 10 or 11. Now an agnostic atheist. Don't believe in anything spiritual. The only think I believe in which has something to do with religion is evolution although it goes against religion.


The thing is, and, no, this is not about debating which belief is true or not, but about language and context---saying the Bible is true in one context means something different to the person who is saying it then to the person who is trying to logically debate that. I think that most Christians, even fundamentalists do not believe that a literal serpent actually told Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of life, so she is obviously speaking from a particular context of that Christian framework when she says the Bible is true, and when you try to debate her by approaching in such a black and white way, you are basically doing what you are implying she is doing. So it makes no sense, and people will get lost in that....moreover, it is hard to know what that kind of approach is giving someone....for anyone interested in what it can give, you will know that if you have seen two deeply spiritual Christians on t.v. (meaning Treyvon Martyn's parents (especially the mother, but the father, too) as interviewed by Nancy Grace after the not guilty verdict in that trial. If you live in the US and have cable you may still be able to catch the reruns...You can only be amazed at the great mental clarity, grace and intelligence that emanates from these honorable and good people and obviously mainly because of their Christian religion. Nancy Grace in my opinion is a pathetic little dip-sh*t with her fake pulled-up tears trying to milk these people about every detail of their son's death and funeral, and I do mean every detail, but when you see these people you can only be filled with admiration and even awe at their level of development.

To Denny, thanks...I will reply eventually....



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23 Jul 2013, 2:26 pm

Nothing



BookPerson
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23 Jul 2013, 5:45 pm

I was raised in a very religious evangelical household. We didn't attend church with much devotion, but fundamentalist thought was foundational to my parents' worldviews. I began doubting it around age 12, after doing some reading on Darwin and evolutionary thought. I took that and ran with it, though kept it to myself. About a year later, I became very scared of going to hell, and I relasped into my faith. I tried very hard to be a "good" Christian--praying, reading scripture, "trusting in God," etc. But it was never the same. I knew deep down that only went through these motions because I feared some eternal punishment. Eventually, through my studying philosophy and religion, I came to what I truly believe in: agnosticism. Not only do I find flaws in religious belief's argument, I feel that I could never believe in some cosmic being.

I know many religious people might find it odd, but I found a peace in agnosticism that I never found anywhere else--along with an argument I find valid. I am all right with the unknown and the unknowable. It doesn't bother me at all.

In recent months, I've been reading up on Zen, Nietzsche, and Camus's absurdism. While I find Zen fascinating, I don't think I can believ in it. Nietzsche is also very interesting, but I'm still not sure what I think about his thought in regards to religion and God. I'm finding myself drawn to Camus and absurdism, though I'm still examining it.

As with my earlier disbelief, my family still knows nothing. I would really like to tell them, but I know that it would crush them, making them feel as though they've failed as parents. Also, I don't think they'd ever accept the fact that I made a free choice to not believe.



ibookfan92
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23 Jul 2013, 8:24 pm

Well... to be honest, I'm a Christian, but there's some things I can't be sure of, like what the Earth, universe, etc. are in relevance to what we can see. I believe in the Big Bang, and somewhat in some aspects of evolution, and do not agree with the traditional Christian view of how everyone is individually made and I have trouble with the creation story -- mainly because other cultures have one, and science seems to be answering this a bit. I have a lot of reasoning for this; I won't elaborate on it here. But I am otherwise convinced God exists, and am completely a Christian that believes in the gospel, the Bible, the Rapture, revival coming to the world, and unashamedly will mention it.

I think I find the dedication such as in people like Wilberforce to be captivating, and want to follow the true example of Christ through what I do. It's hard when I'm not sure what to say to people or do. I think of how a lot of people wish that Christianity was more reflected on love, and if nothing else, I think that's where my religious beliefs are. Sorry if my post was a little too "religious", but since this thread asks about it, there it is.



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24 Jul 2013, 9:24 am

Edit: I didn't know about this Dawkins scale, so I looked it up, and I guess I would be a 6.5 or so. I see the probability of God as near-zero. The only thing keeping me from a 7 is the PTSD I describe below.

I am agnostic about everything -- full of doubts -- a skeptic and, thus, an atheist. I weigh explanations and ideas based on probability, and the probability of there being a participant God or spirits or anything supernatural that cannot be explained is very low. I have not personally experienced anything that could not be explained as a product of nature, and while I do not know why I am conscious of only this particular experience in this body, I cannot be sure whether that consciousness is a result of the highly complicated brain and nervous system or if there is some sort of energy that could be called a soul involved -- and what will happen to that energy when the brain ceases to function and then to exist? -- the most likely explanation is that it would disperse, but there is also the small possibility of that energy being inextricably linked together, like in the theory of quantum entanglement, and perhaps entering into another form. I would like there to be some overall reason for my consciousness, but if life has taught me anything it's that things aren't always the way you would like them to be -- in fact, they rarely are. I can't believe something just because I want it to be true.
The Bible and Christianity do not make sense to me because this one, all-powerful, all-knowing God can't seem to get the same ideas across to all of his followers, who taught me so many contradictory and messed up things when I grew up (my mom did not educate me in her beliefs, rather letting the church do it). Due to being agnostic and moreso due to my upbringing, I fear death. If I could know for certain that I will cease to exist when I die, I would not be afraid -- it is the residual effects of being told about Hell over and over again as a child that produces that fear -- more like a phobia. I am slowly unbrainwashing myself, but it will take time and repeated reinforcement of the high improbability of there being such an afterlife as is described in the Bible. It doesn't help that my evangelist mother won't leave me be and frequently reinforces her beliefs when I see her. Unlike many atheists who never really believed or even tried to believe, I feel that I need to shelter myself from religion because it brings back bad memories for me -- I was a very literal-minded, gullible child, and I took seriously the messages that others somehow knew not to take seriously -- the messages of being unworthy, of needing to repent of sins whether or not you knowingly committed them, so that I had an ever-present fear that, if I would die during my sleep and had forgotten about a sin during that night's prayers, I would go to Hell, which was described to me as the worst possible place -- not fire and brimstone, but eternal loneliness and heartache without comfort or distraction.
Now, despite my atheism, when I am exposed to religious preaching or scripture or even Christian music, a sense of dread and then anger passes over me, possibly some form of PTSD. I don't imagine I am the only person with an ASD who took religion too seriously when young since most religions seem to be designed for NTs, with the religious messages being reinforced for the normal people who follow the herd mentality and thus are easily distracted by alternative ideas. I know many NTs who seem to hold several different spiritual ideologies at any given time, and I can't understand that at all. Nonetheless, these methods of Christian teaching only served to torture me mentally and confuse me in my youth.



Last edited by mrspotatohead on 24 Jul 2013, 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.