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#31 Old 10-20-2008, 11:01 AM
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Perhaps because practically all of your options are not only harmful to your health, but they practically change like passing fads. If religion is now such a loosely held ideal, why bother with it in the first place?



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This world has surpassed the barrier of disappointment when we pick our religion like a set of clothes.





I'm not sure if this was quite the point you were making, but it does appear to me that more people seem to be treating religious belief as some kind of mix and match fashion statement.



They take a bit from one religion, mix it with some bits from another, discard the more difficult stuff that they don't like the sound of, or that might require a lot of effort, and all the while they're managing to not really commit to much of anything along the way. There seems to be an element of superficiality creeping in with people being free to mix all the bits from different faiths together and take it on or take it off like a piece of clothing as they personally see fit. In the end, their religious beliefs appear more like an attempt at escapism from the dull and boring (trad. religion) and into the realms of the more exotic to make themselves appear more interesting, rather than an actual philosophy that's going to guide them through life.



It doesn't bother me when people do that with religion as it doesn't really affect me either way, but it does annoy me a bit to then see people trying to attach "deep" spiritual meaning to this melting pot of belief systems they've created for themselves. Because IMO, they've actually stripped it of most of it's meaning by doing that in the first place.





ETA: I should've read VegEnigma's post before posting as I didn't realise I'd made more or less the same point as he did.

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#32 Old 10-20-2008, 11:06 AM
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Dogma- Unfortunately, you are not the "master judge" of what people decide to do with their time or the world's savior or expert on everything. The OP was merely asking a question and we are all welcome to our own opinion (including you) but attacking her simply because she is interested in exploring her spiritual side is rude and unnecessary. At least she is looking into things for herself. Alot of people spend their whole lives in a religion because they were raised that way and not deciding what fits them best.



The whole "angry at the big, bad world", angsty student routine is admirable and all, but it wouldn't hurt you to be a bit more mature. The OP came on here for some support and you could have simply said something along the lines of "I don't believe in God, I think this is all something perpetuated by...." that would have been fine (if not particularly helpful to her), that is your opinion. However, there is no need to be negative or put down something that is of interest to someone else. She isn't advocating cruelty to animals or something like that, so why persecute her and everyone else for trying to be helpful?



VegEnigma- I do agree with part of what you say- not using religion as a crutch and all- I was completely anti-organized religion for almost 15 years. However, I dont thinkt it would hurt her to try out different places, if she is searching. That is why I had suggested UU because they have people from all different faiths (Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, whatever) who come together to try and explore their spirituality- and its not a plug for me or anything bc I go to an episcopal church!.Obviously, she doesn't want to get sucked in to a conservative/cult-y religion but she appears to already be a bit wary with her early post. Of course you have to be happy with yourself but being surrounded by positive people (whether its through a religious institution or spiritual group or yoga class or local veggie meetup) doesn't hurt.
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#33 Old 10-20-2008, 11:39 AM
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IMO, you are looking for religion for the wrong reasons. You appear to be unhappy, so why not thoroughly analyze your life and make a list of things that make you unhappy and go from there? Adopting a religion in your situation instead of trying to get to the root of your problems doesn't sound like the answer.

I know that's not the answer. I am addressing other issues in my life and fixing those as well. Expressing my spirituality is only one of several changes I am making in my life



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Turning to religion to as a form of escapism to cope with your problems is no different than turning to drugs, alcohol, or anything else; in either situation, you are turning to something unrelated to the underlying problem, as opposed to directly addressing the real issues you're facing.

I agree!





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You don't appear to truly believe any of the theories of God, so why adopt a religion in which you don't really believe?

I don't believe in the Christian concept of God with which I was raised. There are other theories of God which I haven't discovered yet, and those are the ones I am interested in learning about

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#34 Old 10-20-2008, 11:42 AM
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Hey veggielizzie...! I left you a message on ur page in reply!

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#35 Old 10-20-2008, 11:51 AM
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The whole "angry at the big, bad world", angsty student routine is admirable and all, but it wouldn't hurt you to be a bit more mature. The OP came on here for some support and you could have simply said something along the lines of "I don't believe in God, I think this is all something perpetuated by...." that would have been fine (if not particularly helpful to her), that is your opinion. However, there is no need to be negative or put down something that is of interest to someone else. She isn't advocating cruelty to animals or something like that, so why persecute her and everyone else for trying to be helpful?



Thank you for saying this! I am a little surprised at some of the attitudes here, but I have been anti-organized religion most of my life so I can sort of understand. Just to clarify, I am not looking for a new and "exotic" belief system to make myself more interesting, or give my life meaning or to try on like a set of clothing. I already hold my own attitudes and beliefs and I'd like to find a belief system that is congruent with my own. Plowing through life with a positive attitude becomes tiresome when I have to do it all alone, and I have already crashed. I need a support system.

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#36 Old 10-20-2008, 11:59 AM
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IMO, you are looking for religion for the wrong reasons. You appear to be unhappy, so why not thoroughly analyze your life and make a list of things that make you unhappy and go from there? Adopting a religion in your situation instead of trying to get to the root of your problems doesn't sound like the answer. Turning to religion to as a form of escapism to cope with your problems is no different than turning to drugs, alcohol, or anything else; in either situation, you are turning to something unrelated to the underlying problem, as opposed to directly addressing the real issues you're facing.



This is not to say that turning to religion wouldn't make you happy, because there's a chance it could. However, I believe it's possible to find a more permanent, reliable happiness by introspectively analyzing your problems in order to find out the real reason(s) for your unhappiness.



You don't appear to truly believe any of the theories of God, so why adopt a religion in which you don't really believe? One should form her beliefs pertaining to the existence of God based on rational, objective analysis of the facts, by asking if there is a solid basis for believing in the teachings... not as an attempt to deal with problems that should be tackled directly. That is the only way to make an "informed" decision.



You seem to attribute your unhappiness to your lack of religious beliefs. Why? You don't need a crutch! You have all the tools you need to be happy! If you do some extensive research on a religion and are thoroughly convinced its teachings are correct, then by all means, become a member! But please, try to find out why you are really unhappy, and don't use religion as a form of escapism.

I completely agree with VegEnigma on this topic.
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#37 Old 10-20-2008, 12:01 PM
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I'm not sure if this was quite the point you were making, but it does appear to me that more people seem to be treating religious belief as some kind of mix and match fashion statement.



They take a bit from one religion, mix it with some bits from another, discard the more difficult stuff that they don't like the sound of, or that might require a lot of effort, and all the while they're managing to not really commit to much of anything along the way. There seems to be an element of superficiality creeping in with people being free to mix all the bits from different faiths together and take it on or take it off like a piece of clothing as they personally see fit. In the end, their religious beliefs appear more like an attempt at escapism from the dull and boring (trad. religion) and into the realms of the more exotic to make themselves appear more interesting, rather than an actual philosophy that's going to guide them through life.



It doesn't bother me when people do that with religion as it doesn't really affect me either way, but it does annoy me a bit to then see people trying to attach "deep" spiritual meaning to this melting pot of belief systems they've created for themselves. Because IMO, they've actually stripped it of most of it's meaning by doing that in the first place.





ETA: I should've read VegEnigma's post before posting as I didn't realise I'd made more or less the same point as he did.



In either case, you are quite correct.
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#38 Old 10-20-2008, 12:10 PM
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Dogma- Unfortunately, you are not the "master judge" of what people decide to do with their time or the world's savior or expert on everything.

It's awful narrow-minded and presumptuous of you to even consider I ever stated this in the first place.



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The OP was merely asking a question and we are all welcome to our own opinion (including you) but attacking her simply because she is interested in exploring her spiritual side is rude and unnecessary.

At no point was I, nor anyone else as far as I can currently tell, making an attack upon the Original Poster.

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The whole "angry at the big, bad world", angsty student routine is admirable and all, but it wouldn't hurt you to be a bit more mature.

I'm afraid you have acquired a severely skewn misconception of me.



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The OP came on here for some support and you could have simply said something along the lines of "I don't believe in God, I think this is all something perpetuated by...." that would have been fine (if not particularly helpful to her), that is your opinion.

Personally I don't believe such a statement and explanation would have been appropriate seeing as the Original Poster never requested we state our beliefs in said fashion, which is why I didn't do such a thing.



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However, there is no need to be negative or put down something that is of interest to someone else. She isn't advocating cruelty to animals or something like that, so why persecute her and everyone else for trying to be helpful?

It's ironic that the very nature of this forum transforms the first statement into a hypocrisy and that only in the second statement do you decide to choose vegetarianism as well as animal cruelty as adequate reasons for putting down something of interest to someone else.



Of course, the severity of such topics as religion and animal cruelty are entirely subjective, I don't find it outside of reason to state that religion is handled too lightly.
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#39 Old 10-20-2008, 12:46 PM
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As far as non-Sunday services go, Eastern Orthodox churches have Vespers on Saturday nights. If you catch one during Lent (in the Spring) they might have dinner afterwards, which is entirely vegan. (Orthodox are vegan for most of the year)



I was investigating the Eastern church this past spring. Between Lent and the events surrounding Pascha, it was a great time to do it.



They are Christian, but removed from the developments of the West. No Enlightenment, no Crusades, no Salem, little influence from Augustinian thought and Rationalism. It's a very sacramental and mystery filled tradition. Talking with a priest might be the best way to investigate.



They don't believe in the guilt of original sin, or the idea of a vengeful God,

and while not "universalist" by name, the idea is open as a possibility, or a form of it.

There are some similarities to Buddhism, but different, hard to explain, lol. Our librarian is a Buddhist convert to Orthodoxy.



There are cultural issues, which makes it difficult to follow in some areas, but finding an english speaking church was a blessing to me.





I wish you well on your life journeys, wherever they lead!
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#40 Old 10-20-2008, 12:47 PM
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Well, you were acting extremely judgmental, and that was entirely unnecessary.



So I guess you were making an attack on me, the rest of us, etc.? Where you might not have meant to be offensive, making the statements such as:



"Perhaps because practically all of your options are not only harmful to your health, but they practically change like passing fads. If religion is now such a loosely held ideal, why bother with it in the first place?" and



"This world has surpassed the barrier of disappointment when we pick our religion like a set of clothes."



however they could be construed as very offensive. Why not "pick" your religion (if its tenants and principles are something with which you agree). Isn't it better than following the faith of your parents if that is something in which you DON'T agree? To me that is far easier to follow what you have been brought up than making decisions for yourself. Of course, if one decides to subscribe to a particular faith (if at all), research/examination of it can be done to ensure (for example) if you are a particularly liberal person and that faith doesn't uphold several principles that are critical to you, than you don't go that route. Simple as that.



I am not saying religion isn't taken lightly however I have noticed that seems to be more the trend with people who attend a religious institution out of obligation (family or whatever) and then go off and do stuff that may be considered amoral whether you are an aetheist a wiccan or a born-again. People that are usually mature and decide that they want to be a part of a spiritual body when they are ready are often more dedicated.



Obviously the OP wants and needs to find happiness herself and with herself but surrounding herself with positive people (whether its in a spiritual group or not) rather than negativity is always a good route to go. Life is difficult enough when you have to deal with garbage at work, in line at the supermarket, family/relationship drama, wherever. It doesn't hurt to just offer someone constructive, positive advice. You may not agree with organized religion (and as I have said before I have many issues with it myself), but this is post is about what she is looking for, not our hang-ups.
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#41 Old 10-20-2008, 01:01 PM
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Isn't the Eastern Orthodox, the Christian denomination that openly expresses that if you join them, you'll be expected to believe that there is invisible and all-powerful force who's bent on controlling your life, rewarding you for being obedient and damning you for straying ever so slightly?



Doesn't sound like a very attractive idea to me. Now that I think about it, this sounds like every other Christian denomination, except of course the "openly" part.
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#42 Old 10-20-2008, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by VeggieLizzie View Post

Well, you were acting extremely judgmental, and that was entirely unnecessary.

If the meaning of discussion has changed into anything other than exchanging ideas, please let me know.



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So I guess you were making an attack on me, the rest of us, etc.? Where you might not have meant to be offensive, making the statements such as:



"Perhaps because practically all of your options are not only harmful to your health, but they practically change like passing fads. If religion is now such a loosely held ideal, why bother with it in the first place?" and



"This world has surpassed the barrier of disappointment when we pick our religion like a set of clothes."

Why would you draw the inference of attacking someone from what I typed? From what I can read at no point did I type anything obviously inclined towards insulting or persecuting another, so claiming I meant to inflict an attack upon another is entirely baseless let alone uncalled for.



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however they could be construed as very offensive. Why not "pick" your religion (if its tenants and principles are something with which you agree). Isn't it better than following the faith of your parents if that is something in which you DON'T agree?

Perhaps the immediate topic at hand has strayed since the initial post, so to make it clear, at no point did I ever advocate unquestioningly following the faith of an elder. Now that this is cleared up, I can only hope I'm no longer implicated as a person who would believe such a thing. Now while I disagree with following the faith of another, I in no way suggested that finding your own faith would be an appropriate alternative. The desperation to find faith in something sounds most unhallow.



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To me that is far easier to follow what you have been brought up than making decisions for yourself. Of course, if one decides to subscribe to a particular faith (if at all), research/examination of it can be done to ensure (for example) if you are a particularly liberal person and that faith doesn't uphold several principles that are critical to you, than you don't go that route. Simple as that.

And as several posters before me stated, to pick and choose religion so lightly is unwise, thus I proposed the simplified correlation between religion and a set of clothes as a simile. I certainly don't find anything remotely offensive about that.



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I am not saying religion isn't taken lightly however I have noticed that seems to be more the trend with people who attend a religious institution out of obligation (family or whatever) and then go off and do stuff that may be considered amoral whether you are an aetheist a wiccan or a born-again. People that are usually mature and decide that they want to be a part of a spiritual body when they are ready are often more dedicated.

While, and I must stress, this paragraph is grammatically unsavory, to the best of my ability I can only reason out of this claim that maturity only comes from those who commit themselves to a spiritual body. Might I put forth a contradiction stating that the Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and modern day Middle Eastern terrorists all considered themselves to be part of a spiritual body. I might add that most people in this very forum wouldn't place maturity and ethnic cleansing, prejudicial genocide or 9/11 in the same sentence.



Quote:
Obviously the OP wants and needs to find happiness herself and with herself but surrounding herself with positive people (whether its in a spiritual group or not) rather than negativity is always a good route to go. Life is difficult enough when you have to deal with garbage at work, in line at the supermarket, family/relationship drama, wherever. It doesn't hurt to just offer someone constructive, positive advice. You may not agree with organized religion (and as I have said before I have many issues with it myself), but this is post is about what she is looking for, not our hang-ups.

I completely agree, negativity isn't always the way to go, although some situations call for it. Needless to say no one person will ever only need just optimism or pessimism, but a healthy balance of both to keep the mental clockwork well lubricated. You can't have people becoming too soft or too tough without suffering severe social deficiencies. In this case I think everyone needs cold facts and it is appropriate to define such lofty topics as salvation in order to best find their lot in life. No harm or help intended.
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#43 Old 10-20-2008, 08:42 PM
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"I in no way suggested that finding your own faith would be an appropriate alternative. The desperation to find faith in something sounds most unhallow."



At first this sounds like you don't think finding faith at all is a sound idea; then, it sounds like the desperation to find the faith, rather than the faith itself, is what is truly bad. Or maybe you mean both? Either way, you may feel this way but that doesn't mean everyone else does- it may sound unhallow to you but how is that supposed to make other people feel? "desperation", "unhallow", etc.



As someone who actually lived in NY and experienced 9/11, I certainly wouldn't say there was any religion behind that act (even with all the taliban blame). Islam doesn't advocate such acts and most Muslims are not violent people (no matter what the American media would like us to believe.) Nor would I call the KKK or nazism or anything where human beings repress each other in the name or religion justified. However, these people manipulate religion and religious texts to promote their own agendas. There will always be wackos out there, and people dont' need to wield religion- look at people who think killing cats is fun- they may be "satanic" (or use that as excuse). Most likely, they are just plain crazy or sociopaths.



I don't know if she is looking for salvation- I don't know if she even knows. Moreover, I think the principle of salvation is antiquated. If there is a heaven, why wouldn't a good person who is an aetheist get in? People who beat and molest kids and go to church imho are less likely to go to heaven than someone who questions. To me, searching and questioning is always important- whether in the context of religion or life in general.
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#44 Old 10-20-2008, 08:45 PM
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No worries, StarBlossom you will find your way. Just don't change who you are and always make sure you are comfortable if you choose a religious institution. Only you can make yourself happy in the long run (I know that from experience) but surrounding yourself with positive people really helps (this also helps in not getting sucked into relationships with "friends" who are emotionally high-maintenance and don't reciprocate).
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#45 Old 10-20-2008, 09:17 PM
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Numinant: Thanks for your feedback. Your viewpoint is the exact same one that I have held myself for many, many years. And you know what? I'm not a very happy person. So I may as well further explore what is out there before I completely reject all religions...which I probably will end up doing, but at least I will be making an informed decision. If I can't find an organized religion, I want to find some alternative way of expressing my spirituality.



if that's how you feel i'd recommend buddhism, particularly theravada and zen. it requires no faith, and its primary purpose is to overcome suffering.
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#46 Old 10-20-2008, 10:19 PM
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Isn't the Eastern Orthodox, the Christian denomination that openly expresses that if you join them, you'll be expected to believe that there is invisible and all-powerful force who's bent on controlling your life, rewarding you for being obedient and damning you for straying ever so slightly?



No?
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#47 Old 10-21-2008, 03:52 AM
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Thank you for saying this! I am a little surprised at some of the attitudes here, but I have been anti-organized religion most of my life so I can sort of understand. Just to clarify, I am not looking for a new and "exotic" belief system to make myself more interesting, or give my life meaning or to try on like a set of clothing. I already hold my own attitudes and beliefs and I'd like to find a belief system that is congruent with my own. Plowing through life with a positive attitude becomes tiresome when I have to do it all alone, and I have already crashed. I need a support system.







Starblossom, my comment wasn't really directed at you.



I was just making a general comment (not aimed at anyone specifically) following on from what Dogma said and I unfortunately went off on a bit of a tangent. Reading your OP again, it was probably inappropriate for me to do that as it wasn't really answering what you had asked - sorry!

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#48 Old 10-21-2008, 04:30 AM
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As far as non-Sunday services go, Eastern Orthodox churches have Vespers on Saturday nights. If you catch one during Lent (in the Spring) they might have dinner afterwards, which is entirely vegan. (Orthodox are vegan for most of the year)



Troub, I've pointed this out before on VB, but Orthodox people are not vegan for most of the year. Unless your definition of vegan includes eating seafood. Also, you have to bear in mind that not everyone in Orthodoxy follows the fasting days so strictly. If you have found a community that does only eat vegan during Lent and other fasts, that's great. However, don't make assumptions for the rest of the Orthodox world. I was born and raised in an Orthodox country, and have spoken to a number of other people from Orthodox backgrounds, and nobody ever "ate vegan" for Lent. Lent is usually the excuse for seafood-fest season.



Star Blossom, I wish you all the best in your attempts to find a community that resonates with you. In my personal experience, I found that I was more comfortable in a meditation group, since the ideas circulating were closer to my own (mine was a non-religious group). There are certainly a lot of options to explore!
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#49 Old 10-21-2008, 05:14 AM
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I'm interested in trying different religions to see if anything out there is a good fit for me. I am currently agnostic and tend to lean towards the ideas in buddhism and hinduism, but I would try western religions as well, just for the heck of it.



Sounds a good approach starblssom , The search is a power unto its self and by going around viewing different faiths in your own understanding (agnostic) you will only enhance your own well being .



In the beginning it might be a group situation to support you through your understanding of your unhappiness and loneliness that will lead to a greater understanding of who you are .



Personally I looked at heaps of meditation / prayer practices . The one simple criteria before I would walk through the door was did they want money . Donations to cover a cost of a weekend retreat or if you wanted to give voluntary was for me O/K . But to pay someone to pass on some teaching was never acceptable .



I wish you well in your search , life (or an understanding of who you are ) is truly an amazing experience .
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#50 Old 10-21-2008, 07:29 AM
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At first this sounds like you don't think finding faith at all is a sound idea; then, it sounds like the desperation to find the faith, rather than the faith itself, is what is truly bad. Or maybe you mean both?

Both of course.

Quote:

Either way, you may feel this way but that doesn't mean everyone else does- it may sound unhallow to you but how is that supposed to make other people feel? "desperation", "unhallow", etc.

That perhaps they are going too far, making a stretch, trying too hard or even, just maybe, they might realize they're wasting precious brain cells on something that can only have a negative effect on their life. But one can only hope.



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As someone who actually lived in NY and experienced 9/11, I certainly wouldn't say there was any religion behind that act (even with all the taliban blame). Islam doesn't advocate such acts and most Muslims are not violent people (no matter what the American media would like us to believe.) Nor would I call the KKK or nazism or anything where human beings repress each other in the name or religion justified. However, these people manipulate religion and religious texts to promote their own agendas. There will always be wackos out there, and people dont' need to wield religion- look at people who think killing cats is fun- they may be "satanic" (or use that as excuse). Most likely, they are just plain crazy or sociopaths.

Oh, that is hilarious. So someone who manipulates religious texts is a wacko or a sociopath? How long has it been since we last stoned an unbeliever? According to the "holy" bible: Cursed be he who does the Lords work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood. (Jeremiah 48:10 NAB) a Christian is expected to kill without hesitation. After all a Christian follows the bible am I right? But no, they've manipulated the text as you've said to promote their own agendas. According to what you have said, all Christians must be considered complete and utter sociopaths, correct? Not only Christians either, every religious text has been nothing but translated and dispersed throughout the world, is that not manipulation? You yourself have truly called everyone of religious preference crazy, merely because they retain faith in that which has been changed.



Now of course I'm assuming this was not your intention at all, but to give you credit, I figure you'll want to reword what you said. So please explain to me again what exactly motivated the suicide bombers of 9/11 other than hatred?



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I don't know if she is looking for salvation- I don't know if she even knows.

Then isn't this a pointless topic to cover?



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Moreover, I think the principle of salvation is antiquated. If there is a heaven, why wouldn't a good person who is an aetheist get in?

Simple, because only those who made the place get to decide who they let in. I of course am not speaking of God, Christ or anyone other than the people who tell you otherwise of course.



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People who beat and molest kids and go to church imho are less likely to go to heaven than someone who questions.

Not true, they are a fervent believer so they deserve it, right?



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To me, searching and questioning is always important- whether in the context of religion or life in general.

It's only important as long as it is necessary to acquire a greater understanding. In terms of religion, it's nothing but misunderstanding. That is a body of water you dare not tread.
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#51 Old 10-21-2008, 07:32 AM
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No?

Then it would seem all of the Eastern Orthodox I know would be, how do you say, black sheep?
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#52 Old 10-21-2008, 08:36 AM
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I was just making a general comment (not aimed at anyone specifically) following on from what Dogma said and I unfortunately went off on a bit of a tangent. Reading your OP again, it was probably inappropriate for me to do that as it wasn't really answering what you had asked - sorry!



I think your post was quite informative and refreshing to hear. I don't think you have you have anything to apologize for.
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