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Religious Lunacy

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posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 03:12 AM
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I know what you are thinking.

Another thread bashing religion??...When will it end?

Have no fear, this is not a thread to bash those who have faith. This is a thread in an attempt to understand some of the more extreme views some devout religious people hold. Some of these people I (personally) liken their faith to an undieing belief and blind faith in...Superman.

Sounds a little loony, dunnit? Superman?? You may be asking yourself...

Yes. Superman. Let me explain.

I am going to use Christianity as my focal point for the discussion. I use Christianity because it is the one I am most familiar with and have personal experience with, via my childhood and mothers belief.

Something that I need to get across is that I am not trying to disprove any aspect of ones faith in Christianity or any religion. You and everyone are welcome to believe what you wish. I am not here to judge you or argue withyou, but I would like to pose some arguments to some of the more extreme views that I find disturbing. Some of you have a very good understanding of your faith, and have a grasp on agnostics (like myself) and athiests arguments in regards to some aspects of Christianity. So, to you I applaud your understanding, and most likely this thread is not directed at you.

OK. To start, I wish I understood more how the evangelical movement has become so popular in certain places; because it seems most of the disperities I find within Christianity resides specifically in the evangelical version of Christianity. I have some basic knowledge of its roots here in America, but not a full understanding of its acceptance. So, with that being said, there are many Americans today that have almost maniacal beliefs when it comes to their evangelical interpretaions of what the Bible says.

To give example of a few. (And this is where I get the "Superman" analogy) And I will go into why I believe they are (in my opinion) close to maniacal.

1. Jesus Christ is capable of anything at anytime because he is God.

**Which enables the literal belief of:

2. God literally created the earth in 7 human days and the Bible is a chronological timeline starting with Genesis and Adam and Eve were the first humans ever.

And the one I have major contention with...

3. God answers the prayers of some but not others. He does this based on what he knows you need and/or do not need.


Now again, I believe all of the Abrahamic religions contain some form of these beliefs. Of course, not necessarily Jesus Christ, but there is Mahdi (Islam) and the future Messiah for the Jewish faith. Most religious folk can understand and comprehend that the three examples I mentioned above of literal interpretations are forms of allegorical teachings or have metaphorical references, and some lesson that can be attributed to it. This thread, again, is not directed at those people and their beliefs.

So let me try to adress the first one, Superman. The belief that Jesus Christ is capable of anything at anytime however he pleases.

Im going to play the role as the believer here.

If God did indeed create the heavens and the earth, he also created the dynamics that guide its existence. For example, He created physics, math and the laws of gravity etc., etc... Now, certainly we are discovering new things all the time and not all of them are set in stone per say, but would it make sense to any human to watch another human (Jesus Christ in the biblical stories was human) break all these laws at one time? Certainly any showing of such acts would demand enourmous respect immediately, and in the same sense create much fear. So much fear that the common man would lose all free will created by the very God whom in the first place created man with free will. Therefore completely destroying the fabric in which the current reality of this world operates under.

2. I will not go into this much because it has been beat to death within this forum and beyond. But I will say this. Time is a man made measure. It is not clear when exactly Genesis was created, but if you look at the Bible as in a timeline, it has been postulated that the earth is roughly over 6,000 years old. Yes, people believe this. There are even museums dedicated to the belief. The first record of seven days in a week go back to ancient Sumeria and Babylon a little over 4,000 years ago. It should be noted that Genesis is part of the oral tradition carried on by Jews for many years before it was written down on paper, but the first actual Jewish state was not created until many years after the Exodus. Therefore, if it was oral tradition since the beginning of time up until the Jews created their first state how did they know it was seven suns and seven moons that the earth was created in? Who bestowed this information upon the authors? Was the earth revolving while God created it? If God created the world in 7 days, that means he was orbiting the sun while taking the necessary elements from the space around him. Odd mental picture huh? Why is it important as to the time he created the earth? And why doesnt the oral tradition say how the information was passed on?


Ok... all that stuff is trivial, and doesnt matter much to me, personally. I really do not care if people wish to remain ignorant about scientific evidence inopposition to their beliefs. To eachs own, right?

But the last one gets to me. Because it is only based on selfish desire and really not much else.

Here is an example. And I have pondered this many a time and never been able to wrap my head around how people can justify this.

continued...

[edit on 25-7-2009 by open_eyeballs]




posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 03:16 AM
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People pray. They usually pray for something involving themselves. Be it more wealth, a new car, a new home, safety for themselves or their loved ones, help to make the bills (another way to say more financial gain), a better life, lower cost of food and gas (I know because I have heard of people talking about praying for the price of gas to decrease), for the troops, for someone with cancer (a loved one, usually, or someone within the community). Anyway, you get the point.

Sometimes people feel that God has answered their prayer. They believe with all their heart that God has just granted them whatever they asked for and that this is because they must be somehow righteous in His eyes. I have been told this is the reason why American Catholics and Jews are so prosperous. Because they are righteous in Gods eyes. Im not exaggerating or creating hyperbole here. That is the basics of what I have been told by people with this type of faith and these beliefs.

To me it is just mind boggling.

My response is always the same. What about all the Mexican Catholics? Why is it that many of them live like they are in a third world with close to nothing? How come god does not grant them the same riches as the Americans? What about all the starving African children orphaned by AIDS? What about the peoples prayers to protect their children when sent to war, but come home in body bags?

If God has truly answered your prayer to lower the price of gasoline (because He can do it, because He can do whatever he wants with the "blink of his eye"..so Im told) but lets people be tortured because of their race, belief in God or whatever and lets a child starve to death... then He truly is a demented sick individual and an evil that can not be described in words.

This is a very real conspiracy. It has been implanted into the evangelical doctrine, especially in the southern states. It has a tight grip on these peoples mind, and in my opinion can almost be diagnosed a sickness. How has this come to be? Who has pushed these extreme beliefs on to the masses? Where did these interpretations come from?

Where the predecessors did not have the reliability and astuteness of a scientific explanation for the beginni ngs of time, natural human progression in searching for answers has come up with many viable explanations. While they may not be perfect, they certainly have more credibility than something that provides nothing more than a story written many moons ago.

The mentality is something I can not uderstand, and I find a very real conspiracy involving the heads of certain evangelical churches that do nothing more than spout preaching that people want to hear which creates usuary via the "giving basket."

This is Religious Lunacy...



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 03:24 AM
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reply to post by open_eyeballs
 


My theory is that the evangelicals have been disheartened, and have become heartened by the movement, and anything that encourages people is good.

Personally, I have a strong belief in Jesus as the Saviour of this world - I have no proof (obviously), only a heartfelt belief.

And do not discount the Angels who are always there for anyone who asks them.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 03:35 AM
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Originally posted by spellbound
reply to post by open_eyeballs
 


My theory is that the evangelicals have been disheartened, and have become heartened by the movement, and anything that encourages people is good.


Could you clarify what you mean by this?



Personally, I have a strong belief in Jesus as the Saviour of this world - I have no proof (obviously), only a heartfelt belief.


Thats ok, were not all perfect....j/k... I have no proof that he is not the Savior!
It just something I don't see as relevant to life in general. Thats why Im agnostic. I believe it is impossible to understand what divine is...



And do not discount the Angels who are always there for anyone who asks them.


Now, this is not an evangelical specific thing. The belief in angels is quite old. There are all sorts of accounts dealing with angels. I believe these are spirits of sorts. Who or what they are guided by or answer to is well beyond any understanding I posess.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 03:46 AM
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First off, let me state that I would describe myself as "very religious." In earlier days I even undertook a bit of formal religious training, although life ultimately led me in different directions. Still, I am a "man of faith."

That said, I acknowledge there are unhealthy forms of the religious impulse in every time, place. and faith. Below, I posit three possible reasons why people embrace religious extremism.

1) Religious extremism may be a reaction to trauma. This trauma can come in many forms. It can effect a single individual, or sometimes even an entire culture. It could be anything from substance abuse to being abused as a child, from undergoing a near-death experience or major illness to losing a loved one. On a cultural level, it could be a reaction to war, poverty, a sense of hopelessness about the future, or other factors.

When trauma is extreme, people cope in various ways. One way is by accepting faith in a strict, extreme form. Since human life has always been difficult (and has been much more difficult for most of history than it is for those now in advanced nations, by the way), religion has always been there to serve this particular need. If you are of a secular bent, you could call it a "psychological coping mechanism." Even if you believe it is false, it is possible to understand its usefulness in perpetuating survival. It can provide people with a sense of dignity, a connection with a tradition, a community, a sense of purpose, and so on. The benefits of these things are not to be shrugged off lightly.

2) Extreme religion also offers certainty, which appeals to people of a certain mindset. Interestingly enough, it has been observed that when people of a scientific or ultra-rational frame of mind "get religion," it is often of the extremist variety. The Japanese "Aum Shinrikyo" cult that gassed the Tokyo subways in the 1990s, for example, was full of scientists, chemists, and doctors from some of Japan's best schools. The actual doctrine of the cult was bizzare, but it offered clarity and certainty -- something that appeals to the scientific/rational mind that is used to working from unquestioned axioms and making sharp distinctions.

3) A third reason people may embrace extreme religion is simply because they were brought up that way. It is very, very hard to break habits of mind that begin in childhood...especially when they are strictly enforced by parents, communty, and/or schooling.

The three above reasons go part of the way towards explaining why some people embrace extreme religion. These people are not interested in "rational arguments" or debating the logic of their faith. They are either reaching out in extreme pain for comfort; accepting a set of axioms much like those of Euclid or Newton and working from there; or simply living according to deeply engrained habits that began in childhood. None of these reasons have anything to do with "logic."

For those of us who are devout people of faith but not extremists, fortunately, religion offers a whole gamut of more moderate and gentle doctrines.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 03:47 AM
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reply to post by open_eyeballs
 


OK.

I believe that those in the evangelical religion have either come from a religion where they have not believed in what is taught, or they have come from no religion and think they have discovered the true meaning.

Secondly, the question of Jesus is open to everyone's heart, and I have accepted Him.

Thirdly, the question of Angels...next time you have an issue, or a question, or you need some help, just go to a quiet place and ask the Angels to help you. I think you might be quite surprised.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 03:58 AM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 


Oh man I loved that post. I could not agree more. You put it in perfect terms and was exactly what I was looking for.

The reasons you stated are the reasons I have no issues with people who affiliate themselves with some of the extreme beliefs they so often do.

I try to be very understanding of why it is people believe what they believe.

But, that doesnt mean you can not try to bring someone to a more rational level within their belief. There are a few reasons as to why it is important to share views alternative to one who holds extreme views. The most important to help prevent disaster as you described there in Japan. How utterly insane.

But if someone or multiple someones would have been able to sit down and help these people sort out their irrationalities maybe the trajedy could have been prevented.

So while, some of the trivial stuff that I mentioned should be contested at times, it is more about helping the person pyschologically by having a solid foundation to base their faith on.

Not one that crumbles at a logic richter scale of 2...All to often people do not know why it is they believe whatever it is they believe...



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 04:09 AM
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Originally posted by open_eyeballs

And the one I have major contention with...

3. God answers the prayers of some but not others. He does this based on what he knows you need and/or do not need.

[edit on 25-7-2009 by open_eyeballs]


What if most Christians didn't think like that?

What if they thought that Jesus taught them to pray to God to develop a relationship with God, and manifest the strength and courage to face what they will face?

What if they believed in absolute causation (free will) and did not believe that God grants wishes?

What if they believed that God is of the spiritual world, and that humans are of the physical world, and the two meet in the human soul? That God doesn't make anything happen, but instead makes everything possible - meaning he doesn't micromanage and make "everything happen for a reason" on a scale of puppeteer.

Then what would they believe? That they are responsible for their own life, spirituality, destiny, and ultimately the fate of their very soul?
When you let go of the idea of divine intervention and embrace free will, you stop trying to place blame, and learn how to take credit.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 05:57 AM
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Evangelism is one of the gifts of the Spirit.

Some ten or fifteen years ago, many churches worldwide, experienced a kind of revival, whereby the Spirit was outpoured and many believers received the gift of evangelism.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 05:58 AM
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Ask God to send Angels to guide your path! Don't ask the Angels direct, for they have no power of their own.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 06:03 AM
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Christianity is a Shepherd for the sheep, ... who lack the intelligence and courage to live by their own accord. These people are followers in every sense of the word. Fanatics, .... as I said before, .... if they were born in Iraq they would have become suicide bombers.

a church is not made of wood or stone, it is within us all, .... as is the map home.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 09:31 AM
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So, I was just thinking about this 6,000 year old thing. Specifically the flood right? Genesis isn't the only ancient document or religion you find a story about a flood in.

In fact flood stories start popping up in early writing pretty much as soon as writing was created like, well here. Just check this page.
Wikipedia Deluge

Okay so Atheists say all these other flood stories weren't true, why do you think the one in the Bible is true?

Well maybe they're all just stories, but maybe they're the same story just retold by different people. It seems to me all these ancient documents are talking about a flood over and over and over. What is this flood they keep talking about in all these religions?

It leads me to think hey, you know what? Maybe there was some kind of flood or multiple floods and people passed it down by word of mouth for a few thousand years.

Eventually a retold version of it ended up in Genesis and the Quran and so forth, but that's not really my point. My point is the 6,000 year mark thingy.

How long ago did your great great great great great great great great great grandfather die? You have no idea right? However, perhaps if you looked it up in a book somewhere you could find out right? But what if writing hadn't been invented yet and you couldn't look it up?

Or how long ago was the automobile invented? You'd look it up right?

How did people look up stuff before writing was invented? The only thing you know is that it happened before. The car was invented before. But you don't know how long before or before what.

So, how long ago was the flood story or the Garden of Eden story written? Well we know when it was written down. What we don't know is who finally wrote it down and how long it got passed down by word of mouth and altered before it got written down.

What if someone thought up these stories about things that really happened long before writing was invented and passed them down orally and they didn't get written down until much later after they happened?

There would have been no reliable way to keep track of how old they were until someone started writing them down. Also, many people believe that Genesis is actually two different earlier versions of the creation story crammed together. It seems that way in certain parts.

Since the clock can't start until writing is invented that 6,000 year mark on the Bible may be way off. It may be more like 16,000 years old or 26,000. We have no idea and the religious should have never claimed to be able to calculate the age of the earth from it in the first place.

Not that I'm saying the world is only 16,000 years old. I think the story in Genesis was invented the same time it was written down. But I think it was based on much much much much older myths.

Which would make even arguing about the 6,000 year mark pointless because we don't really know if the guy that wrote Genesis wrote it or just compiled some already told stories. It was stupid for the religious people to even make such a claim that they could use Genesis to calculate the age of the earth.

But if God is true or not we shouldn't assume that after writing was invented people made no attempt whatsoever to tell historical truths in their writings even if they were written in a religious style. Some of those stories may still contain knowledge lost to the ages if we just know what to look for.

Also, not everyone has the same intrepertation as Christians. Many believe that Adam and Eve were in fact not the first man and women. To understand you know the old Testament was a part of the Jewish religion. Many have various interpretations. One which is that Adam and Eve were simply the first of God's "special" people creating their bloodline if you will. But other men and women already existed long before. Such as those living in nod where Cain met his wife.

Then some time in the future at one point God came down and specifically crafted Adam and Eve later.

Also I believe evolution can happen much more quickly than the scientists say. Like when bacteria evolve in months or weeks in a lab instead of millions of years. Given the right environment we may be surprised at how life can adapt. One discoverer even claimed to have found Dino bones with soft tissue and blood cells.

And this crazy guy says he makes thing grow huge just by putting them in a chamber. www.youtube.com...

I'm still not certain anyone can replicate his work though so it might not be correct.

But I wonder if both the scientists and the religious people both have their timelines completely out of whack because they're not looking for the truth. They're just looking to prove each other wrong sometimes.

[edit on 25-7-2009 by tinfoilman]



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 09:37 AM
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reply to post by maus80
 


bravo MAUS80!!

second line



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 10:01 AM
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Originally posted by tinfoilman

But I wonder if both the scientists and the religious people both have their timelines completely out of whack because they're not looking for the truth. They're just looking to prove each other wrong sometimes.

[edit on 25-7-2009 by tinfoilman]


This is always so sad.........again the ignorant confuse a historic telling of the generations from Adam with the age of the elements found on earth.

Using an automobile for example. How old is your car? The date it was put together or manufactured or the age of the steel its made of?

many ignorant scientist see the age of the earth based on the estimate age of the elements in the earth ignoring the possibility that the manufactuing date, the day the elements were combined indicate the "built date"..........

The same can be said for those ignorant of scripture. Research the original text and language and find Gen 1 means "reformed" no created in the sense of "made from scratch". Then man was created on the sixth day, Adam was sometime after the 8th day. The story of Adam is about the generations from Jesus to Adam.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 10:06 AM
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Originally posted by spellbound
reply to post by open_eyeballs
 


OK.

I believe that those in the evangelical religion have either come from a religion where they have not believed in what is taught, or they have come from no religion and think they have discovered the true meaning.



Having grown up in the south around some pretty fanatical religious groups, I can say that most Evangelicals didn't come from any other religion. They were raised into it. Most of the modern Evangelicals in the south were taught these things from an early age and continue the beliefs that they were taught in sunday school. They believe that everything in the bible is not just dictated by God, but actually written by God via the hand of man. Thus, the argument that the bible was written by men becomes irrellevent.

The driving force behind the evangelical churches in the south seems to be twofold.

1. The need to feel superior. Many of these people who are leaders in the evangelical churches these days grew up in the 50s and 60s and are predominately white. I believe that much of what we see today is the result of the effects of the civil rights movement. Many of these white southerners were and are ridiculed just for being white and southern. It is still assumed by many that all white southerners are evil racists who belong to the Klan. Most aren't. I believe that the Evangelical movement is a result of white southerners, who have been made to feel inferior by the rest of the country via the media, et. al., using religious belief to feel superior to others who "don't follow the true and Godly path".


2. The need to vilify their "enemies". As an expression of the need to feel superior, evangelicals need to have a very strait-forward, black and white morality. In this way, they can say that anyone who does not believe the way that they do is not only wrong, but following the path of evil. In fact, they can feel justified in demonizing those beliefs and, to some extent, those who hold those beliefs. This is why things like homosexuality illicit such strong reactions in evangelicals. It's not homophobia, but a deep set believe that homosexuality is wrong, thus evil, thus of the devil.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 12:03 PM
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reply to post by maus80
 


What if is just that. A what if. Either way I would venture to say most Christians do think like that. My post is not directed towards most Christians. It is directed toward the extremists.

If you read the post from Silent Thunder you can see how logically he adressed some of the more extremist beliefs and why they tend to believe the things they believe. It was very insightful and I think it should be read by

all religious folk and non religious folk alike...


edit to add:

Your post was a really good example of someone who has come to logical conclusions about their faith and have a foundation based in reality.

Thank you for your excellent example, and I have no contention with your post what-so-ever. I happen to believe on that same level, even though I consider myself agnostic...

[edit on 25-7-2009 by open_eyeballs]



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 12:09 PM
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reply to post by IntastellaBurst
 


I disagree. While their are people are more akin to following rather than leading, I have come across many Christians whom converted from another religion because it struck a chord within them and made more sense to them than what they had come to believe up until the point they converted.

Charecterizing alomst 2 billion people seems rather ignorant...no offense. I just dont know how else to describe when someone generalizes a broad group and range of people...



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 12:35 PM
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reply to post by soontide
 


Well said, and I think you are definitely heading down the right track with your conjectures.

Being that you have first hand experience, and have encountered these beliefs and such people you are probably a rarity amongst your peers.

Congratulations!
Thinking for yourself I'm sure has landed you in plenty of harry situations...haha...especially in the south....



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 12:42 PM
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reply to post by teapot
 


The problem lies in the interpretation of the Bible they wish to spread. If not careful, it can lead to even more extremist views, and that can become a dangerously explosive situation.

If you look at some of its roots. Puritanism, (pilgrims) literal baptist/ lutherans in the 17 and 1800s lead to burning people at the stake. Many which were innocent and had done nothing wrong.

And lets not forget the Klu klux klan, whom claimed they were inspired by God, and a very extreme interpretation of the Bible.

Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate evangelicals from some of these groups.

Again, I am not saying all evangelicals are wrong, evil or extremists, but again their beliefs can lead to such extreme acts. And that goes for anyone who adheres to the words of their faith so literally and without subjectivity.



posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 06:20 PM
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reply to post by open_eyeballs
 


Sorry, I know your OP was about religion in general. I didn't want to address any other religion than Christianity, but I know you did.

I really think that the notion of divine intervention is at the heart of almost all religious fanaticism though, that was what I was getting at.

When you don't think it's a level playing field here on earth, and that some receive awesome prizes while others get nasty punishments, all while still alive, you enter dangerous religious territory.

Life becomes like a deity-driven game of Pokemon. My level ten priest can stomp your level eight idol worshiper! I better give it some money and powerups so it can level up even more! Why would God think like that? Why would people want to believe we are the equivalent of a Pokemon battle between God and the devil?

Battles and competitions create winners and losers, and definitely create fanaticism. If you think you can rack up victories, awards, and punishments in the physical world you've already crossed that line. That means no asking for special favors, and no blaming God when bad things happen, or you have defined your own worth to be above all others who need but haven't recieved, or experienced the same or worse. If God were to favor anyone, for even a moment, wouldn't the Christian thing to do be to ask God to instead favor those who needed it more? Asking God for favors reveals the humans who do it as greedy and selfish.

I really don't think most Christians think like I do at all; from my experience they believe they can gain favoritism and earn prayer rewards, and that bad things happen "as a test!!" or "as a punishment!!" instead of for the simple, obvious reason that to stop anything from happening would be to destroy free will - something I firmly believe we all possess.

The example I always give:
Robbers are breaking into an occupied home. One type of religious person might pray to God for the robbers to drop dead, or turn around and leave immediately, or at least not hurt anyone.

The other type would be praying to God to manifest the clarity, strength, and courage to face what was about to happen in their home.

There are many, many more of the former type than the latter, and I strongly believe that the majority of fanatics and zealots would be asking for favors.



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