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shopping for religion?

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posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 12:04 PM
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I hope this is the right place for this discussion because it's not about a conspiracy.

The thing that puzzles me about religion is that most truly religious people don't seem to know very much about any other religion than their own. Now, I'm on record (and I stand behind those statements) that a very large number of truly religious peopls don't seem to know very much about their own religion, either. But, I digress.

The Point: People spend more time shopping for a new pair of shoes than they do for a religion. Now, "shopping" is probably not the best or most accurate term but it does convey the image that supports my point.

So, is religion more about culture than anything else? I mean, if you're from the southeastern USA, you're gonna grow up as a Protestant. Maybe not every single person but, in general, I don't think many people would argue with that. More to the point, you're going to be a Protestant Christian and your not going to know more than a thimble-full of anything about Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or even Catholics. So, how do you know that one of those other religions is not better suited to you?

I think that's one of the reasons people tend to give (explicitly or implicitly) when they accuse others of "blindly following" - in many ways, that's an accurate statement. If you don't know anything other than the religion you were raised with, you really are "blindly following" because you are, in effect, "blind" to the other faiths.

So, the question that drives my passion for the study of religions and religious history and socialogy and anthropology and maybe even pathology has always been: "How did we, as a society, become this way?" How can we just accept and devote ourselves to any religion without finding out about other religions?

I mean, you would not buy a new car like that, would you?




posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 12:31 PM
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When shopping for a religion I tend to shake them up a bit and give them a squeeze to test for freshness. I also like to look for a bargain, what is on sale.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 08:08 PM
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Originally posted by Al Davison
The Point: People spend more time shopping for a new pair of shoes than they do for a religion. Now, "shopping" is probably not the best or most accurate term but it does convey the image that supports my point.


This is like talking about what type of virus you should buy; "I really like the flu, but the cold has some advantages. AIDS isn't in style this season."

Religions are memes, aka mental viruses. They exist merely to spread themselves. The most virulent strains - those that focus almost exclusively on self replication - dominate. This is why "faith" tends to be the one thing that matters more than anything else, and why the carrot tends to be unfathomably pleasing in nature, and the stick is unfathomably horrific.

Religions spread themselves by infiltrating states. They spread from parents to their children, and they have mechanisms in place to infect those who manage to grow up without them.

They branch off into new strains continuously, and the strongest ones thrive. I find it fascinating that religious positions that oppose evolution are themselves the product of it.

Reason is not only the vaccine, but also the cure.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 09:12 PM
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I disagree (Spam) but I'll leave it at that so I'm not accused of being obstinate.

I explored pretty much every religious text available to me, before I decided that Christianity was right for me and although I see your point I think it's a huge generalisation.

Although to be fair, most Christians I know are converts from another faith.

So am I in a way, but only from agnosticism to belief.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 09:27 PM
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Simon...

Christians converting from another faith are not unheard of in the USA but, I would say a bit rare. Not because of anything negative about Christianity but because almost everyone starts out as some form of Christian - as Spam pointed out - because of family.

I'm not knocking it - just making an observation that so many US Christians are really just "inheritance Christians". Now, I will further "observe" that there will be very few of those who come to ATS at all and fewer still who will read this thread. Those that wander into these discussions of religious topics tend to be both learned and highly opinionated.

So, when I posit that a dreadfully small percentage of US Christians know very much about their own faith and practically nothing at all about any other religious sects, it almost "automatically" disqualifies virtually anyone likely to be reading this post. I'm talking about the masses of people who make up that huge percentage of Americans claiming Christianity.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 09:29 PM
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I've never lived in America - is it really as bad as it is often portrayed?

'Agree with me or you can burn in hell' type talk?

I can think of nothing worse.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 09:33 PM
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Not at all. There are people like that all over the place, but in the U.S., sometimes it seems that they yell the loudest. America is a very accomodating place. It is generally pleasant to live here.

Zip



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 09:48 PM
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Originally posted by Simon_the_byron
I've never lived in America - is it really as bad as it is often portrayed?

'Agree with me or you can burn in hell' type talk?


It certainly does exist here, but is also the vocal minority. In my travels around the English speaking world, I don't recall ever seeing it elsewhere, but perhaps it's there and I just didn't notice.



posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 09:28 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham

Originally posted by Al Davison
The Point: People spend more time shopping for a new pair of shoes than they do for a religion. Now, "shopping" is probably not the best or most accurate term but it does convey the image that supports my point.


This is like talking about what type of virus you should buy; "I really like the flu, but the cold has some advantages. AIDS isn't in style this season."

Religions are memes, aka mental viruses. They exist merely to spread themselves............

.............. They spread from parents to their children, and they have mechanisms in place to infect those who manage to grow up without them.

They branch off into new strains continuously, and the strongest ones thrive. I find it fascinating that religious positions that oppose evolution are themselves the product of it.

Reason is not only the vaccine, but also the cure.


Thanks for the diagnosis Doctor. Have you ever been infected?



posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 11:47 AM
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I would agree that reason were the road to enlightenment if I believed that humans were capable of objective reason concerning the true nature of reality... to be frank, though, we are stupid creatures, and we are profoundly arrogant to believe that the mass of electrified watery pulp with which we percieve the world is truly efficient enough to come to any meaningful conclusions about Truth, whatever that may be.

Each of us has a set of ideas, all of them largely arbitrary and generally wildly innaccurate, that we set up as points on a grid to which we can relate the relentless chaos of reality. Some of these grids are more useful than others, and some more beautiful than others, but I honestly don't think that any one person's truth is genuinely more True than anybody else's.



posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 12:25 PM
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Interesting question, I would like to know this as well.
My own opinion is that modern religions are propagated through family, peers and community(depends on size). In the middle ages religion was propagated through fear and illiteracy and force. Before this I would say a mixture of the above methods would be used. Other methods would include the 'urban legend', that is to say a story that has been told that many times that it is believed to be truth.l
However I do think that all religions are based on our ancestors fear of the unknown and maybe a bit too much indulgence of pyschoactive plants



G



posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by Esoteric Teacher
Thanks for the diagnosis Doctor. Have you ever been infected?


Yes.

I should also have mentioned to avoid alcohol while undergoing treatment. It diminishes the efficacy.



posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 12:44 PM
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Originally posted by The Parallelogram
I would agree that reason were the road to enlightenment if I believed that humans were capable of objective reason concerning the true nature of reality...


I suspect you use reason all day every day in your ordinary life. If it proves itself worthy in ordinary life, why dismiss it for other purposes?

Faith on the other hand does not prove itself useful in daily life. It causes us to make stupid decisions, like throwing good money after bad, or hanging onto a bad relationship. If it proves itself unworthy in everyday life, why accept it for other purposes?

Reason does not lead us to the truth, it leads us away from the false. There is no guarantee that you can find the truth by avoiding the false.



posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 07:26 PM
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A family who goes to my church has 6 kids. Their children were raised to believe in Christ as the way of salvation. I'm sure that they have prayed with their children to accept Christ as Savior. The oldest in the mid 20's has told his family that he is an atheist. A couple of others are not living close to God. Another in 11th grade, I think will be the biggest tester for them yet in choosing to not walk with Christ.

As far as the christian faith, a child raised in a christian home kinda lives off their parents faith while at home, then when they leave home their own faith in Christ must take over or they will reject what they have been instilled with.

And those who follow Christ believe one important fact of this faith. Christ is the only way of salvation.



posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 07:43 PM
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Originally posted by spamandham

Originally posted by The Parallelogram
I would agree that reason were the road to enlightenment if I believed that humans were capable of objective reason concerning the true nature of reality...


I suspect you use reason all day every day in your ordinary life. If it proves itself worthy in ordinary life, why dismiss it for other purposes?

Faith on the other hand does not prove itself useful in daily life. It causes us to make stupid decisions, like throwing good money after bad, or hanging onto a bad relationship. If it proves itself unworthy in everyday life, why accept it for other purposes?

Reason does not lead us to the truth, it leads us away from the false. There is no guarantee that you can find the truth by avoiding the false.


I hate to get into this argument again, because we've already had it and you fail to acknowledge my points.

But - there is nothing you can 100% truly know with absolute certainty.

Therefore everything is a belief and is based on faith, even your reasoning.

If you can tell me one thing you know with 100% certainty (apart from the fact that one day you will physically die) I will show you someone who is not being honest with themselves or others - you.



posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 11:16 PM
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Originally posted by dbrandt
A family who goes to my church has 6 kids. Their children were raised to believe in Christ as the way of salvation. I'm sure that they have prayed with their children to accept Christ as Savior. The oldest in the mid 20's has told his family that he is an atheist. A couple of others are not living close to God. Another in 11th grade, I think will be the biggest tester for them yet in choosing to not walk with Christ.

As far as the christian faith, a child raised in a christian home kinda lives off their parents faith while at home, then when they leave home their own faith in Christ must take over or they will reject what they have been instilled with.

And those who follow Christ believe one important fact of this faith. Christ is the only way of salvation.


I think this was kinda my point from the beginning - these children have only been exposed to any kind of spirituality in the context of Christianity (if I understand your story). So, when they "stray" or outright reject Christian teachings, they have nothing else to turn to in the way of connecting with any kind of worship of any kind of G-d. They are ignorant of any religion but Christianity and having no other exposure to other religious beliefs, they just equate religion with Christianity and abandon religion and spirituality altogether. Whose fault is that? OK, it's not about finding fault so much as understanding the socialogical pathology of rejecting all religions based on bad experiences with the only one you've ever known.

I know whereof I speak! It took me about 18 years to figure out that Christianity was not my path to spiritual enlightenment. In fact, it was a huge roadblock! I remember feeling so free and happy after having that yoke of the cross lifted from me! I can appreciate the wonder of G-d without subscribing to any of the "recognized, brandname religions". I don't have a church and a preacherman or a book blocking my view of G-d any more! (It makes me smile and feel joyous just to type these words!)

I can accept that Christianity satisfies many people. I can't understand it but I accept it. I don't try to change anybody's religious beliefs - everyone should find peace with G-d in whatever way is most true for them.

What can humanity do about letting everyone find their own path?



posted on Nov, 23 2005 @ 11:19 PM
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Originally posted by Simon_the_byron
I hate to get into this argument again, because we've already had it and you fail to acknowledge my points.


To the extent I haven't acknowledged your points, it's because we disagree on definitions. "Knowledge" does not imply absolute certainty, and I'm not going to involve myself in a discussion where you've redefined it that way. Words have meanings that are not under your (or my) power to modify if we want to be comprehensible.

Knowledge is nothing more than a strong judgement based on observation, where "strong" is a matter of opinion. All knowledge is held contingently except perhaps definitional knowledge (I define "blue" as a range of wavelengths, therefor I know any EM field in that range is blue.)

If you want to use a word that means "absolute certainty", make your own word up and quit trying to abscond a perfectly usefull word that doesn't mean that. Perhaps you could use "abscertainty" instead?

It appears you are trying to equate faith with reason. If you truly believe faith is superior, why would you do that? Your actions prove you do not believe what you claim you believe.



posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 01:45 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham

Originally posted by Simon_the_byron
I hate to get into this argument again, because we've already had it and you fail to acknowledge my points.


To the extent I haven't acknowledged your points, it's because we disagree on definitions. "Knowledge" does not imply absolute certainty, and I'm not going to involve myself in a discussion where you've redefined it that way. Words have meanings that are not under your (or my) power to modify if we want to be comprehensible.

Knowledge is nothing more than a strong judgement based on observation, where "strong" is a matter of opinion. All knowledge is held contingently except perhaps definitional knowledge (I define "blue" as a range of wavelengths, therefor I know any EM field in that range is blue.)

If you want to use a word that means "absolute certainty", make your own word up and quit trying to abscond a perfectly usefull word that doesn't mean that. Perhaps you could use "abscertainty" instead?

It appears you are trying to equate faith with reason. If you truly believe faith is superior, why would you do that? Your actions prove you do not believe what you claim you believe.


I am not trying to equate faith with reason, I have just realised in my life that nothing is certain and if nothing is certain then I cannot say I know anything - since there is a level of uncertainty involved.

I know how the word 'know' is used in the traditional sense, this is not the basis for my argument but for the sake of argument I'll use your word 'abcertainty.'

If we are cannot claim abcertainty on anything then it is reasonable to suggest that anything we do know requires the faith on our part to make up for the level of uncertainty involved.

Some things are more certain than others, but I know (to use the common definition of the word) that either God exists or am I psychotic to the point of hearing a voice that doesn't exist.

There is no third option for me, so I believe in God - but I will still call this knowledge a belief since it is open to uncertainty (I may be psychotic).

PS: Noone I have ever met believes I'm psychotic - although to be fair they aren't abcertain..



[edit on 24-11-2005 by Simon_the_byron]



posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 07:57 AM
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Originally posted by Simon_the_byron
I have just realised in my life that nothing is certain and if nothing is certain


heh heh, are you certain about that?


Originally posted by Simon_the_byron
If we are cannot claim abcertainty on anything then it is reasonable to suggest that anything we do know requires the faith on our part to make up for the level of uncertainty involved.


Again, we're back to quibbling definitions. Since we're talking about religious faith, it might be appropriate to use Paul's definition. Faith is not simply belief, faith is belief based in things unseen but hoped for.

The general usage of the word faith is not far off from that. We can generalize Paul's definition to "belief that is not based in observation". If we use this refinemet, then faith and knowledge combined encompass all possible forms of belief. Abscertainty seems to apply only to definitional knowledge and faith.

These three words, "faith", "knowledge", and "belief" (and we might throw in abscertainty too) are all interrelated. Faith and knowledge are specific types of belief. Knowledge is belief based on observation (via induction). Faith is belief based on hope (from a Biblical perspective), or more generally, belief not based on observation.

Now the fun part

I throw a ball into the air and it falls down. I do this again with the same result. I continue this experiment a million times, and the ball falls down every time. From this I know the ball will fall the next time I throw it as well. This knowledge is based on induction, which amounts to an assumption to fill in gaps of knowledge. But that filler material is not itself based on observation and thus falls into the faith category!

On the surface then, it would appear you are correct. There's a subtle but important distinction though; it is nomologically impossible to fail to use induction (at least for me). To attempt to prove induction is not necessary necessarily involved the use of induction, which means that induction is axiomatic to mental function.

So there are different categories of faith then. Axiomatic faith is unavoidable and serves us quite well in our everyday lives. Paul's faith - belief in that which is unseen but hoped for - is detrimental in our everyday lives.


Originally posted by Simon_the_byron
Some things are more certain than others, but I know (to use the common definition of the word) that either God exists or am I psychotic to the point of hearing a voice that doesn't exist.


If you hear this voice inside your head, that's pretty normal. Probably everyone does. If so, what makes you think that's god?

If you hear it with your ears like you would anyone else talking to you, then I suggest you seek medical attention. You may be having temporal lobe siezures.


Originally posted by Simon_the_byron
There is no third option for me, so I believe in God - but I will still call this knowledge a belief since it is open to uncertainty (I may be psychotic).


I think you are dismissing other possibilities based on hope. If so, then even though observation is involved, your belief still falls in the faith category as you have not utilized a valid induction to arrive at it.



posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 12:26 PM
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Originally posted by Al Davison

What can humanity do about letting everyone find their own path?


Christianity can allow people to do that but we are to still proclaim Christ by our words, actions, deeds and thoughts. We don't like it because we know that without Christ a person is lost. So we are to preach the gospel in everyway and everywhere possible, so that "seeds" are planted in as many people as possible and some will then grow to faith in Jesus Christ. God is the one who causes the growth.



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