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There is NO One-Size-Fits-All religion.

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posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 06:52 PM
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I am currently about 2/3 way done reading William James' brilliant book The Varieties of Religious Experience (a written volume of several lectures he, as a psychologist, was asked to deliver in Scotland over 100 years ago.)

As a student of human behavior, holding a Masters degree in social work and mental health counseling, I find this volume to be indispensable in explaining the differences in character, temperament, and the 'religious' tendencies of the entire spectrum of human beings with regards to Christianity and all the different 'sects' of it.

One of his main points is that every individual has a unique take on life, on their circumstances, and an emotionality that leads them (if at all) to 'religious fervor.' He discusses how some are "converted instantaneously", and others are "incubators" of things they've been exposed to (and subconsciously considering). Others still will never feel the zealous, passionate depth and strength of 'religious revelation' that some experience.

It makes perfect sense, even being a 19th century perspective.

He talks about 'old-fashioned' Christianity preaching of hell-fire and brimstone, and more modern ideas (like Mind-Cure, suggestibility and healthy-mindedness vs pessimism and a feeling of impending doom), and compares the two, and how different individuals describe their "getting" of religion or their luke-warm feelings about it, whether they wish for passionate faith or not.

I'm wondering if anyone else here as read it, and would like to discuss it in philosophical/psychological terms. I am convinced (and have been thinking for some time) that there is no point in trying to get someone to see spirituality in a way that is not complementary to their temperament, intelligence, character, and world-view.


To be converted, to be regenerated, to receive grace, to experience religion, to gain an assurance, are so many phrases which denote the process, gradual or sudden, by which a self hitherto divided, and consciously wrong inferior and unhappy, becomes unified and consciously right superior and happy, in consequence of its firmer hold upon religious realities.
This at least is what conversion signifies in general terms, whether or not we believe that a direct divine operation is needed to bring such a moral change about.
and a bit later in this lecture (IX: Conversion)

Now there may be great oscillation in the emotional interest, and the hot places may shift before one almost as rapidly as the sparks that run through burnt-up paper.
Then we have the wavering and divided self we heard so much of in the previous lecture. Or the focus of excitement and heat, the point of view from which the aim is taken, may come to lie permanently within a certain system; and then, if the change be a religious one, we call it a conversion, especially if it be by crisis, or sudden.
And also (perhaps most pointedly...it spurred me to start this thread that I've been considering for some time now):

When you find a man living on the ragged edge of his consciousness, pent in to his sin and want and incompleteness, and consequently inconsolable, and then simply tell him that all is well with him, that he must stop his worry, break with his discontent, and give up his anxiety, you seem to him to come with pure absurdities.

The only positive consciousness he has tells him that all is not well, and the better way you offer sounds simply as if you proposed to him to assert cold-blooded falsehoods.

"The will to believe" cannot be stretched as far as that.

We can make ourselves more faithful to a belief of which we have the rudiments, but we cannot create a belief out of whole cloth when our perception actively assures us of its opposite.

The better mind proposed to us comes in that case in the form of a pure negation of the only mind we have, and we cannot actively will a pure negation.
This makes perfect sense to me....in explaining that there isn't one faith that suits everyone; there is no 'one scripture' or one dogma that will move everyone. Some people are content to use 'second-hand' ideas, and listen to their priests or pastors or preachers or vicars...and simply do what is prescribed, and are content that they have it right.

Some people are born optimistic, with a sense of the goodness of the world, and need no religion at all to feel connected to the Divine. Others are born with innate melancholy, and seek desperately deliverance from their torments. Those who are emotionally susceptible will perhaps find a sudden and glorious "re-birth", while others will not, regardless of their 'wish' to do so or 'envy' of another person's absolute and delirious joy in finding a 'religious fit' to their temperament and personal needs.

If anyone else is interested in exploring this (and, hopefully, thereby limiting the amount of shoving and pushing on this forum), please express your thoughts.

While I fully expect to be flamed for this by those who are adamant that 'their way' is the 'RIGHT WAY', or 'THE TRUE WAY', the fact remains that religious sensibility is a PERSONAL thing. We are each on our own personal journey. Some of us are more able to listen, to hear, others' points of view and consider them with fair attention and critical thinking. Others are simply not made that way. Not a good or bad thing, just the varieties of character and temperament that are present in humanity at large.

We are all different, unique. And to me, this reinforces my belief that every individual person has to discover for himself what his spirituality is all about; and also must consider why one or another "faith" seems 'right', and others seem 'wrong.'

Bottom line, folks: There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Religion.

What think you? Is it not high time to let people believe what they will, rather than pushing our own beliefs and thoughts on others? (Myself included....I am at a point where I have no more interest in trying to 'help' others see why 'my thinking' is healthier, or better, or more enlightened.)

I hope to hear from those lurking, those participating, those seeking and considering. We must learn to respect one anothers' life journeys toward the Divine....

Namaste,
Peace,
and Brightest Blessings,

wildtimes




edit on 9-4-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 07:05 PM
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Well, deep divisions between religions are also fueled by their leaders. And been for centuries. It makes masses easier to control.

The really sad thing is, despite our technological and scientific advancement, we are stuck in basically same belief system.
I think there is enough "evidence" that intelligent design of our reality is not as far-fetched idea as some people would picture it. We discover new pieces on regular basis.
Religions explain phenomenons to fit our perception of reality, sort of to suit our senses. But we know now, that what we perceive is merely a fracture of the spectrum of the world.

The biggest lie of them all, is that human was created on likeness of creator of the universe. It's so stupendously blasphemous, that it's even hard to explain it to zealot.

Current system suits people at the top, Im sure they have their own beliefs, among other purposes to differentiate them from the masses.
All I know is it's impossible to predict direction which it all will go.
Peace.



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 07:06 PM
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Nice and thoughtful post that reminded me of my religious studies back in college. We read a book called The Worlds Religions by Huston Smith, a very well spoken gentlemen who's writings resonate well, and are simple yet thorough.
IMO god is too big for just one religion, and can be both personal and non-personal. How's that for open ended?

One thing particularly I recall from our teacher was how important it was to not just notice the difference between ourselves(beliefs) and others, but notice the similarities too. This was a light going on moment for me.

Peace,
spec



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 07:09 PM
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reply to post by stainlesssteelrat
 



I think there is enough "evidence" that intelligent design of our reality is not as far-fetched idea as some people would picture it. We discover new pieces on regular basis.
Religions explain phenomenons to fit our perception of reality, sort of to suit our senses. But we know now, that what we perceive is merely a fracture of the spectrum of the world.

Totally agree with you. I think there is a 'design', and the more I learn about quantum physics, and natural laws, and the human condition...the more I know we just don't know.



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 07:12 PM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 



Nice and thoughtful post that reminded me of my religious studies back in college. We read a book called The Worlds Religions by Huston Smith, a very well spoken gentlemen who's writings resonate well, and are simple yet thorough.
IMO god is too big for just one religion, and can be both personal and non-personal. How's that for open ended?

Uh, ...it's perfect...
and thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

I also recommend The Evolution of God by Robert Wright, copyright 2009. Another brilliant look at how things have evolved religiously over the last..um...since the beginning of our understanding of 'modern' humans...in the Stone Age.



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 07:21 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

Thanks I will check it out. Here are some quotes from Huston, for a sample.
And here you can scan through the book.

spec



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 07:26 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
Totally agree with you. I think there is a 'design', and the more I learn about quantum physics, and natural laws, and the human condition...the more I know we just don't know.

Ten years ago, talented friend of mine, graduate of physics and philosophy, revealed few of quantum wonders to me, and their implications on very fabric of reality.
And I strongly believe understanding of quantum mechanics is next step on ladder of civilisation, not harnessing energy of our sun
..
There is strong evidence, that our quantum processes are what really makes us "tick", what gives us conciousness. Which means that A.I. is and will be possible. And from there Singularity begins.

And it seems like some very powerful people are also aware of that, seeing vast investment in LHC in todays time where market is not generous to science projects.
edit on 9-4-2012 by stainlesssteelrat because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 07:29 PM
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reply to post by stainlesssteelrat
 


Yeah, a couple of years ago I read [url=http://www.amazon.com/The-Physics-Of-Consciousness-Quantum/dp/0738204366] 'The Physics of Consciousness' by Evan Harris Walker....check that one out, too!!

Gotta go for tonight, but thanks for your replies....ttyl!!

wildtimes



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 07:33 PM
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Religion wasn't meant to be one size, if there is no reason to believe in God maybe that's how they would like it?

Absurdism, being on of the religious theories that says no belief will stand in your way on your journey, says if you just have no reason to make the leap of faith that a God would ask, do it or don't.

The idea that you can not have a single one-size-fits-all religion is something of a paradox. If one-size-fits-all religions did not exist even for a theoretical concept of discussion, who is winning that discussion when they say that the parameters for the experiment are too narrow for a control group?

....the original poster deems it necessary to share this, that not all religions are made equally attractive, yes some religions will seep traits into their followers for certain elements; Following Kosher makes a Jew different from a Muslim who follows Halal, but since both are ideals of proper hygiene we can put Kosher and Halal into the same idealized version of 'cleanliness is next to godliness' because Gods laws of microbial life are different than Gods laws for macrobiological life. Since Catholics don't like to eat meat on Fridays we find that refrigeration takes that cake, have meat any day of the week butchers now operate in different timezones to have different weeks of sale.

Hygiene in food handling is important, however it is the cusp of a cup to what religion really wants, a good life.

So, not a one-size fits all set of dietary requirements for a single religion, not all religions are their dietary requirements.

Strip away all the rituals from what the doctrines of faith demand and maybe the only truth is the call for a higher power to save us from ourselves.

Perhaps the only thing that can disprove the theory of no one-size fits all religion is that if it is a theory it can be disproven, if it is a fact then only those who can't accept it will lose.

Since I accept it, you lose.

My religion doesn't place any value on the idea of us versus them, you'll just be apostates until you can claim otherwise. :p

Okay, bad start, but since religion is designed to be all inclusive, I think that Atheism is the only reason we don't have a single religion that fits everyone.

All these unbelievers, heathens and kafirs are holding us back from realizing what true religion is. Get out of our way atheists, go inherit some other planet with your meekness, this one is ours. :p

If a one-size-fits-all religion did exist, wouldn't someone want to give something to it, rather than detract from it by being a convert? If you can only detract from the idea of religion being one-size-fits-all maybe you just don't deserve any religion at all.



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 07:37 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



left sided people (liberal) caught more fish back in the day and some issues arose... it has been a dominating factor ever since.

light/dark, good/evil, left/right, up/down, man/woman, there is something up with hemispheres in all religions imo, opposites, positive and negative, poles.

it's hard to fuse the two but easy to put barriers between them... all civilizations it would seem before the establishment of lady liberty (and its rough workings out) would seem to be a practice in dominance, mostly man over woman which can still be seen today right in front of our noses... some are so confused by it I think it can be seen reflected in homosexuality too.

which actually wouldn't be here if everything was just fine and dandy, a males nature is something different than that of the female. I can see some homosexuals as trying to achieve the unity of the two imo now.

people are not interested in exchanging information only dominating it, but when information is exchanged the song becomes music


...the harmony of the spheres


edit on 9-4-2012 by SisyphusRide because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 08:14 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


figure this may be of some use here... these folks creation myth tells of a time when female dominated the male but I guess they had no harmony?

www.cs.williams.edu...
edit on 9-4-2012 by SisyphusRide because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 09:51 PM
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It really doesn't matter how it happens, the Bible prophecies it clearly - some will be open to Gods word and some hearts will be hardened. This is Gods plan.



posted on Apr, 9 2012 @ 11:47 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



There is NO One-Size-Fits-All religion.


Nope, but there is a One-size-fits-all Jesus Christ who is risen and seated at the right hand of God. Piss on religion, it's a spirit of bondage to Legalism.



posted on Apr, 10 2012 @ 01:44 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes


I'm wondering if anyone else here as read it, and would like to discuss it in philosophical/psychological terms. I am convinced (and have been thinking for some time) that there is no point in trying to get someone to see spirituality in a way that is not complementary to their temperament, intelligence, character, and world-view.

You can sign me up. I guess this is the reading club. But I'm still reading the Wright book, about 22% through. Should I put off finishing that? Not much of it is new to me anyway. It does update some theories, mostly from 70s and 80s to 90s and 00s.

You might have to keep the thread going for people to catch up.


We can make ourselves more faithful to a belief of which we have the rudiments, but we cannot create a belief out of whole cloth when our perception actively assures us of its opposite.

The better mind proposed to us comes in that case in the form of a pure negation of the only mind we have, and we cannot actively will a pure negation.

Søren Kierkegaard actually did explore that pure negation, thus came existentialism. I've only read one of Kierkegaard's books,

"Infinite resignation is the last stage before faith, so anyone who has not made this movement does not have faith, for only in infinite resignation does an individual become conscious of his eternal validity, and only then can one speak of grasping existence by virtue of faith."
- - Fear and Trembling

That may not be the best intro to Kierkegaard. I did read quite a few Paul Tillich, which seems more tame. The extreme may be found in Nietzsche in my opinion.

I think that certain personality types can hold two conflicting world-views at the same time. Such people can be likened to the image from the gospels of new wine in old wineskins. The trick is to willingly rupture before the pressure is great enough to damage what shouldn't be damaged. It's not a one time thing.



posted on Apr, 10 2012 @ 07:12 AM
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reply to post by pthena
 



But I'm still reading the Wright book, about 22% through. Should I put off finishing that? Not much of it is new to me anyway.

Up to you, friend, if you want to put it off or not....it did remind me of some of the 70s 80s stuff as well...but that stuff wasn't new then, either. I can only say that I'm glad I finished it, if not only for the sheer entertainment of it (the guy is funny even while he's making excellent points)...and face it, this 'topic' doesn't ever seem to 'get old' in terms of humanity's obsession with it.

I would love it if this were a 'reading club' --- of every text available besides the Bible in any translation except the ORIGINAL, faithfully executed and presented IN THE ACTUAL ORDER THEY WERE WRITTEN.

I know in the OP I said James is discussing Christianity ONLY, but I would like to expand the topic to ALL faiths...
including those that do not include Jesus Christ.

I keep hoping it will transform into a 'religious studies' sort of graduate program...where people can discuss every form of religion throughout known history, with critical thinking, intelligence, and refraining from 'pushing' any one idea or set of established (second-hand) doctrine.

Next for me will be the Huston Smith volume. I studied Buddhism and Zen for about a decade, beginning when my daughter was a baby....she is now 23...
I find Buddhism and Zen to me much more my 'style' than Christianity as on offer today -- excepting perhaps the Essenes; and I'm more and more confident that what Jesus was teaching was those, anyway.


EDIT TO ADD:
If the main text is redundant for you, I recommend at least reading the Appendix. It stands alone as a psychological exploration even without the main text...and actually refers to James and quotes him!



edit on 10-4-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2012 @ 07:17 AM
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reply to post by Iason321
 



It really doesn't matter how it happens, the Bible prophecies it clearly

....
for YOU. Not for everyone. As in my reply to pthena, I realize James is talking only about Christianity in its various forms, but I am hoping to discuss ALL religions. With those who are interested in discussing all theories and perspectives. Not everyone believes what you do. That is the whole point.



posted on Apr, 10 2012 @ 07:29 AM
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reply to post by NOTurTypical
 



Nope, but there is a One-size-fits-all Jesus Christ

I agree

who is risen and seated at the right hand of God

Erm....not necessarily.

What he taught was universal; what you teach is not. But I hope you enjoyed your Easter celebration all the same.



posted on Apr, 10 2012 @ 07:46 AM
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reply to post by Sachyriel
 


Sachyriel,
While you obviously put some time and effort into your reply, your points are not clear to me....

Perhaps I need to explain further....James is talking about Christian Religious Experiences, ranging from evangelical revivalists to the most orthodox Roman Catholics...

I believe personally that there is One Universal Truth; my argument is that everyone must individually realize it. It isn't about rules, or diet, or certain days on the calendar, or a specific place 2000 years ago. I think the closest a person can get is to explore all ideas, and take from each what works for them.

Without shame, ridicule, hostility and antagonism from others. Spirtuality applies to EVERYONE. No 'religion' invented by man succeeds in reaching EVERYONE.

If a one-size-fits-all religion did exist, wouldn't someone want to give something to it, rather than detract from it by being a convert? If you can only detract from the idea of religion being one-size-fits-all maybe you just don't deserve any religion at all.

Deserve? What, so some are not entitled to their understanding of the unseen, of the Spirit? That's not how I perceive it it at all.

I don't get your meaning. What does giving and detracting by being a convert have to do with it?

If you're suggesting that I personally (or anyone who rejects all organized religious dogma and doctrine as contrived, or who uses bits and pieces from each that resonate with their own Divine Spark) don't 'deserve' to know the Universal Truth, then we (you and I?) are at absolute diamatrically opposed poles here...

edit on 10-4-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2012 @ 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by NOTurTypical
 



Nope, but there is a One-size-fits-all Jesus Christ

I agree

who is risen and seated at the right hand of God

Erm....not necessarily.

What he taught was universal; what you teach is not. But I hope you enjoyed your Easter celebration all the same.


I didn't celebrate Easter, I never do. That's from Catholicism. Which is actually from Babylon. But anyways, there are aspects of what he taught that were universal, there were certain aspects of the atonement that applied universally, but that in no way shape of form means He ever taught Universalism. Which is the key here.

His apostles were not crucified upside down for teaching Universalism, they were not thrown off the top of the temple for teaching Universalism, they were not pulled apart by horses for teaching Universalism, they were not used as lighting torches for Nero's nighttime garden parties for teaching Universalism, they were not boiled in oil and cast away on an island prison called Patmos for teaching Universalism, they were not stoned, beheaded, thrown to dogs who had not eaten in days, for teaching Universalism.

They were however subjected to that for teaching that He was the only Way to God by His sacrifice, and that He did rise from the dead an appear to them all for 50 days before He left to take His seat on the throne. They were subjected to all that by refusing to recant. It certainly was NOT for teaching Universalism. Nothing happens to folks who teach that, they get prestigious jobs, roaring ovations, lucrative book deals, T.V. shows, et cetra, et cetra, et cetra.


edit on 10-4-2012 by NOTurTypical because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2012 @ 08:57 AM
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reply to post by NOTurTypical
 


But anyways, there are aspects of what he taught that were universal, there were certain aspects of the atonement that applied universally, but that in no way shape of form means He ever taught Universalism.


I understand that he was speaking only to the tribes of Israel...but his instruction to love others as yourself, to be humble and meek and care for EVERYONE (in their immediate area)...was universal in scope.

Offtopic: (You don't do Easter??
Huh! I guess that's why I got all messed up in the 3rd week of March when you asked me what I had planned....and I said nothing...and you said you'd already started with your sister....??

So I went to do some business that Saturday at a recycling center but they were closed (!)...we didn't know why, so I told my husband that maybe it was Easter....we figured out later it was not. LOL....) /Offtopic

I think perhaps you are meaning something different than I when using the term Universal. He said that all men and women are gods...that all have the Holy Spirit. That's what I'm talking about.

What is your definition of Universalism? Like the Unitarians?

They were however subjected to that for teaching that He was the only Way to God by His sacrifice, and that He did rise from the dead an appear to them all for 50 days before He left to take His seat on the throne.

This is the 'not necessarily' part.
He said (as I understand it) that those who believed what he was saying was true ... were those closest to getting out of the flesh and into eternal Spirit realm/existence.

You speak of being an Occam's Razor guy. Yet you are convinced that he did not survive the crucifixion, was revived, and returned again IN FLESH to his friends, and then went away, into exile, until he died a very old man. I don't see any reason to NOT believe this...it is the most likely. (Your AMA reports notwithstanding -- for as you know, his heart being pierced and his legs (and other bones) broken are NOT what I believe was reported or what happened.). Occam's Razor says to accept the MOST REASONABLE answer, and not to reach for the most UNLIKELY scenario.

But we've been on this road before. There are plenty of people who believe he lived, he was Divine, he taught the Truth, and that he was an Essene/gnostic who did not 'ressurect' in the phantom sort of way. Now, I won't even deny that it's possible that the Hand of the Divine assisted or caused his recovery -- only that I don't think he actually died.

Which is key here. I am talking about exactly this: that your version of the Truth and my version of the Truth do not agree, but we both agree that what Jesus Christ taught was correct...
EVERYTHING besides what HE ACTUALLY TAUGHT is only interpretation or memory (both highly subjective), and no "organized faith" can suit EVERYONE'S temperament, intellect, innate spiritual awareness, or personality/experiences.

But it's okay that way, too. We each will get there in our unique way.

edit on 10-4-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



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