I'm a moderate agnostic, so I think my views on religion are a little biased. I do however feel that mankind will come to a point in time where we simply will not be able to progress any further until we've accepted that religion will be the death of us unless we drop it and move on. Anyone see the movie Religiulous?
-------------------- "Its coming on. I just saw the wall move..."
Registered: Feb 2008
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quote:Originally posted by Reverend: Religions are harmless. It's the buggers who believe in them that do the damage.
I've seen a shirt reading "Jesus! Save me from your followers."
I'm getting to the point where I can see the value and confort that ritual and faith in some all-powerful loving force provides but the downside of it is extremism, bigotry and a sort of "head in the sand" mentality that refuses to adapt to modern times by citing the supposedly involitile nature of scripture.
I am torn. I believe in hope and that the universe is more exotic and magestic than we can truly comprehend and, while I dont believe in an interventionist God that sees and cares for every falling sparrow, I do think that there may be an existance after death.
However, I have had bad experiences with religion- having been disowned for my refusal to be baptized and convert to the Baptist faith. (shrugs) I think some people desperately grasp religion as they get older as a ward against death.
I'll never believe in Satan or Hell or supernatural boogeymen making people do evil things- that's a cop-out. People need to take responsibility for their actions.
Registered: Aug 2002
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Yeah I'm in the same boat as you. I used to be a devout Catholic, but that changed when I saw the Church doesn't always practice what it preaches. Plus there's the fact that they're woefully backward on some issues, like sexuality. And the whole sex scandal with the priests didn't help. And neither did going to Catholic schools for 12 years
But I have seen religion do some positive stuff. I know people in my life who live have been improved by them finding religion, so who am I to judge? Plus they can be a force for good through charities.
Registered: Feb 2005
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Religion as a concept is fine. The only way it could be otherwise is if you assume either a materialist or deist view of existence. If there is a God that cares in any way what you do, religion is all that matters. So the answer to that question depends on your fundamental assumptions, which are beyond rational deduction and debate. Whether religion has done more good than harm depends again on those same assumptions. It can be argued from a materialist perspective, where all that matters is what happens here on Earth, but that's almost begging the question.
I've grown up a member of the churches of Christ, a relatively small and a-organized denomination. One of the founders of the restoration movement said that we should not teach as doctrine the ideas of men. He was primarily talking about other denominations' tradition of doing that, but I find that it needs to be applied to everyone's ideas as well, including one's own. Humility, and the ability not to become angry when someone disagrees with you, is very important.
Registered: Mar 1999
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I like to describe myself as a devout agnostic who poses as an atheist to get the irritating buggers off my doorstep. I wasn't raised to be particularly religious; my parents weren't regular church goers, I and all my brothers were christened though I don't think any of us were confirmed. We were pretty much left to think for ourselves, though if there's one bit of moral advise I took from my father it's to never trust a crowd and always be the one to walk away before you get pulled along into someone else's mess.
In my personal (and possibly incorrect) view is that the main function of any Religion (including the ones that have nothing to do with literal deities and commandments) is a means to exert a measure of control over group behaviour and individual thinking. I see the phenomena as inherently amoral since it's effects on humanity are controlled by those people that preach it. So labels of good and evil aren't applicable.
Life after death? I don't see much point even arguing about that one since it's something we're all going to find out about for sure, one way or another.
The existence of God? Again, a rather meaningless argument since everyone seams to have a slightly different idea as to what God is, or what it should be. Still, even if supreme beings exist I don't see any purpose in going around "believing" in them. It'd feel silly like believing in the cold or lampshades or rocks. They're either there or they're not and there's no sense in encouraging them.
Chinese Canadian, or 75% Commie Bastard.
Member # 33
Baptised Roman Catholic.
Now recent 100% athiest convert.
-------------------- "And slowly, you come to realize, it's all as it should be, you can only do so much. If you're game enough, you could place your trust in me. For the love of life, there's a tradeoff, we could lose it all but we'll go down fighting...." - David Sylvian FreeSpace 2, the greatest space sim of all time, now remastered!
Registered: Mar 1999
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A few sectors short of an Empire
Member # 528
I worship the corners, the twisty forest roads, and the wailing 18,000 RPM motor between my knees. I believe in the melding of man and machine and pavement that brings you to a high that not even sex can come close to giving you. My chapel is my garage, and my sermons are the sweet nothings my girl whispers to me when I pop the clutch and loft the front wheel into the air. I kneel and give praise to the sweet smell of hi-octane gasoline and burnt rubber.
-------------------- Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I cannot accept. And the wisdom to hide the bodies of all the people I had to kill today because they pissed me off.
"How can you have a yellow alert in Spacedock? "
Member # 1425
I personally believe that religion is a construct of man that attempts to bring under law that which was meant to be in freedom, which is humanity. I believe that God gave the law through Moses that mankind might, by striving to fulfill it, realize that we are lacking. In and of itself religion is opposed to God because it does not account for love, only judgment. Religion sets guidelines that while they may be beneficial in the effects they produce or prevent, end up becoming a dogma that loses the meaning of its purpose. For example, you tell a child "Do not play with matches" for their safety, however when they are mature and understand the dangers and uses for matches, that tenet is no longer appropriate and the object that was once taboo is now a constructive tool for that individual. I Corinthians says "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not."
Even the Bible states: "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." However, religion today rather than seeking to help those less fortunate is quite often more interested in its own self-perpetuation. Instead of benevolence, you find self-righteous judgment. That is being rather 'spotted' in my opinion.
Jesus spent more time with the common people than he did the 'Religious' people of his day. Because his message was of love for all men, regardless of whether or not they kept the letter of the law and for that, those very Religious Rulers that should have bowed to him sought to slay him. God simply didn't fit with their goals. Religion really has no room for God. And all of humanity pays the price for that lack of wisdom by failing to be truly free.
-------------------- There are 10 types of people in the world...those that understand Binary and those that don't.
Registered: Nov 2004
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My feelings on religion can be best summed up by, of all people, Gaius Baltar:
"I believe if God exists, our knowledge of him is imperfect. Why? Because the stories and myths we have are the products of men, the passage of time. The religion you practice is based on a theory, impossible to prove. Yet you bestow it with absolutes like, There is no such thing as coincidence."
-------------------- “Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” — Isaac Asimov Star Trek Minutiae | Memory Alpha
Registered: Nov 2000
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I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?
So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The atheism part is easy.
But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life's big picture, some rules to live by. So, I'm saying, "This I believe: I believe there is no God."
Having taken that step, it informs every moment of my life. I'm not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I'm raising now is enough that I don't need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.
Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.
Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.
Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.
Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-O and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.
Registered: Apr 2009
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