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Faith, spirituality, religion, etc

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Everyone's favorite dinner-time topic!

 

Some context to get us started:

 

 

 

Just got comfy out the front with a book to warm up in the sun. Immediately I hear some Jehova's Witnesses walking down the street.


Nice! They are some of my favs.

Take of your shirt. They are modest people and the best way to offend them enough so they leave.

Also helps to talk about how much you love gay sex.

 

 

 

I usually just say "sorry, I just consider spiritual belief a very private thing and I'd prefer not to discuss it." They always seem to be okay with that, I just get handed a copy of the watchtower and they move on.

 

I was being a whimsical jackass with my suggestions to Scorp, of course. And Ethan is correct to suggest a more polite way to engage with these people.

 

But coming from a background in evangelical Christianity, studying philosophy in college (it was my minor), and vacillating somewhere between an atheist and vaguely spiritual person (probably all the drugs) I'm very curious about what people believe. I know it is rude to ask, but since when have I ever been polite?

 

* * *

 

Also, I want to mention / respond to something Ethan said here:

 

I work with a woman who's a jehovahs witness and she's really awesome so I always try to be nice and remember they're people. It's funny how they specifically do not mention their faith unless asked, except when they're formally door-to-door proselytizing.

 

A lot of people of faith are good people. I genuinely believe that they genuinely believe it helps them be a better person by living through Jesus or whatever. But one thing that has always bothered me is that a lot of "true believers" who aren't overtly political, who don't shove their religion down your throat, who are nice and pleasant to be around, etc, still believe they are going to heaven and the rest of us are going to hell and this silent judgement, this certainty of conviction, however unexpressed, really bothers me.

 

Not trying to make a point, just confessing that I'm probably an even bigger asshole than you thought.

 

:(

 

My favorite religious types in America:

1. Mormon missionaries. Really nice people, very helpful. Some of my favorite people ever were missionaries, always trying to convert me.

2. Unificationist. On two occasions I've had teenage Moonies come to my door to get donations for abstinence education. I told these schoolgirls I couldn't support abstinence-only education because I didn't like how churches were always trying to scare kids away from something beautiful and natural. As you can imagine, the conversation got real awkward real fast. Also pretty sure they have group weddings and marry young girls off to old men in arranged marriages.

3. Seventh Day Adventists. Just ask them about dinosaurs. Some of the looniest interpretations of the Bible and the fossil record. Either the dinosaurs coexisted with humanity, hence the iconic Jesus riding a triceratops image, or Satan put the bones in the earth to test the faith of mankind. They go to church on Saturday. Not sure if this is just to keep Sundays open for football.

4. Jehovah's Witnesses. Really the worst. Droll, overdressed, serious. Some of the most miserable, self-hating people I've ever encountered.

 

I feel like I can pick on Christians because I come from that background. I'd be curious to hear about other faiths. My snark is mostly in jest and I really do agree with Ethan about being polite unless otherwise warranted.

 

Can't say anything about Judaism, though, cos my future mother-in-law is very serious and will kill me if I do.

 

I will say, though, that after spending time with Orthodox Jews my mind is absolutely boggled by the extreme effort and work they put into in taking the Sabbath seriously. I mean, it is supposed to be an off day, a day of rest, but often the contrivances to get around the work are even more extreme and definitely not taking it easy, which, I'm pretty sure, is what God intended.

 

#megapost

 

Oh, lastly, my apologies to Scorp and Ethan for taking their posts out of context, but I figure it is more on-topic here and why clutter the Radiothread with such serious nonsense?

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I have a lot to say about all this, now that I think about it. It'll have to wait until Ody fixes my desktop browser access, I'm not gonna type and edit these sorts of long-form essays on my phone :P

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I'm with you, Fly Agaric, with the whole be nice to everyone thing, while also feeling very bothered by their silent judgement. As nice as they can be, they know they are going to Heaven and that you are not and they are inevitably judging you for it. It makes me uncomfortable, because the message seems to be that everyone should not be who they want to be and believe what they want to believe, which is the opposite of my own ideology. 

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Well done, Moose.

 

I really fail to see how humanity benefits from people having "faith" in religion. I'm not talking about the individuals that need some sort of outside force to get then through something challenging or the people who genuinely do good things for others because of it. But as a whole, we've screwed ourselves by fabricating these theologies. 

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Well, you know, when they invented religion they couldn't just appeal to people's better nature and say "do good things because it's nice" they had to make it "do good things or you'll burn for ever" and, as you say, everything's been downhill since then.

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But one thing that has always bothered me is that a lot of "true believers" who aren't overtly political, who don't shove their religion down your throat, who are nice and pleasant to be around, etc, still believe they are going to heaven and the rest of us are going to hell and this silent judgement, this certainty of conviction, however unexpressed, really bothers me.

 

Most of the churches I've been involved with have taught that if you do not try to convert a non-believer then you are responsible for their trip to hell, which sounds like a sin to me. Maybe they shouldn't be so confident that they're going to heaven if they're not making an effort :|

 

That's just the churches I've been to, and it's just the general impression I was given at a few select sermons. I haven't delved into the details of how they work that out for themselves.

 

I'll read the rest of the thread now  :>

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I really fail to see how humanity benefits from people having "faith" in religion. I'm not talking about the individuals that need some sort of outside force to get then through something challenging or the people who genuinely do good things for others because of it. But as a whole, we've screwed ourselves by fabricating these theologies. 

 

I think you're right, and I was wrong to say religion instead of faith in Radiothread.

 

Religion kills people every day. Religion thrives on keeping its members uninformed. Religion brutally excludes those who question it.

 

I think the world would be a much better place if people lived their lives with empathy, understanding, and common sense. Preferably without needing to come to that conclusion through preaching and threats and promises of an afterlife.

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Religion =/= spirituality =/= faith.

 

All very different concepts, all with a shit ton of things to unpack about them. For example, I am not religious - at all - but I'm quite spiritual. The faith thing? I don't know about that. It's complicated. I don't think I have faith, because I have no idea what I would have faith IN if I did. Maybe the universe? I'm not an atheist, and I guess I'd learn more towards agnosticism, but even that doesn't seem accurate for how I think. Bummer.

 

I will say that this trend of aggressive atheism is just as troubling as the religions they're attacking, and people don't see that hating people based on their faith and making fun of their beliefs or, even worse, killing them for them, is exactly what they're supposedly against. 

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I really fail to see how humanity benefits from people having "faith" in religion. I'm not talking about the individuals that need some sort of outside force to get then through something challenging or the people who genuinely do good things for others because of it. But as a whole, we've screwed ourselves by fabricating these theologies. 

 

I think you're right, and I was wrong to say religion instead of faith in Radiothread.

 

Religion kills people every day. Religion thrives on keeping its members uninformed. Religion brutally excludes those who question it.

 

I think the world would be a much better place if people lived their lives with empathy, understanding, and common sense. Preferably without needing to come to that conclusion through preaching and threats and promises of an afterlife.

 

Religious violence is a myth. You can't define a transhistorical or transcultural essence of religion, so how can you separate "religious" violence, from "secular" violence? Not to say that religious motives cannot lead to violence, but there is no adequate definition of religion by which one can say that it iis somehow a unique cause of violence.

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Religion is just a set of cultural values...it's not like religion is a force apart from society

 

 

Religious violence is a myth. You can't define a transhistorical or transcultural essence of religion, so how can you separate "religious" violence, from "secular" violence? Not to say that religious motives cannot lead to violence, but there is no adequate definition of religion by which one can say that it iis somehow a unique cause of violence.

what the actual fuck is this dude talking about

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Religion =/= spirituality =/= faith.

 

All very different concepts, all with a shit ton of things to unpack about them. For example, I am not religious - at all - but I'm quite spiritual. The faith thing? I don't know about that. It's complicated. I don't think I have faith, because I have no idea what I would have faith IN if I did. Maybe the universe? I'm not an atheist, and I guess I'd learn more towards agnosticism, but even that doesn't seem accurate for how I think. Bummer.

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my very religious dad asked me to talk to the pastor at the Baptist church I grew up in after I told him a few months ago (finally) that I don't believe in god. it turned into me and this guy in a room for two hours bouncing points off of one another. it got contentious a few times tbh, he called me arrogant for questioning god, quoted a bible verse which calls everyone who doubts god's powers a fool, told me I offended him by saying I don't believe in god. I tried my very hardest to treat him with respect and to be polite the whole time, but I called him out on stuff like calling me arrogant by telling him calmly that I found it offensive and that I was there to defend my beliefs, not to be ridiculed for them. my favorite part was where he stated the world is 10-12,000 years old. I didn't expect to change his mind or anything, but I could tell he was taken aback by how many points I had to make / how prepared I was, I think he went into it thinking I was just some punk kid rebelling against his parent's god for shits and gigs.

all in all, I left the "conversation" feeling more sure of my stance than I ever had. it's refreshing to get into to conversations like this from time to time, just bc it forces you to defend your perspective - which is to say, think critically about your perspective and to consider the other side of things, which is always healthy as long is it's done respectfully

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I don't see much hating people based on their faith from atheists. Maybe some things they do in the name of their faith.

 

Mockery, sure. Would you mock a pastafarian?

 

Hahaha well, yeah, but that's because it's a fucking satire anti-religion.

 

But nah, maybe it's just the hardcore captial A Atheists I know that are huge dicks, but yeah, I've seen some ugly stuff.

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my very religious dad asked me to talk to the pastor at the Baptist church I grew up in after I told him a few months ago (finally) that I don't believe in god. it turned into me and this guy in a room for two hours bouncing points off of one another. it got contentious a few times tbh, he called me arrogant for questioning god, quoted a bible verse which calls everyone who doubts god's powers a fool, told me I offended him by saying I don't believe in god. I tried my very hardest to treat him with respect and to be polite the whole time, but I called him out on stuff like calling me arrogant by telling him calmly that I found it offensive and that I was there to defend my beliefs, not to be ridiculed for them. my favorite part was where he stated the world is 10-12,000 years old. I didn't expect to change his mind or anything, but I could tell he was taken aback by how many points I had to make / how prepared I was, I think he went into it thinking I was just some punk kid rebelling against his parent's god for shits and gigs.

 

I don't understand how insulting you and your intelligence was supposed to convert you :lol:

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I don't see much hating people based on their faith from atheists. Maybe some things they do in the name of their faith.

Mockery, sure. Would you mock a pastafarian?

Hahaha well, yeah, but that's because it's a fucking satire anti-religion.

But nah, maybe it's just the hardcore captial A Atheists I know that are huge dicks, but yeah, I've seen some ugly stuff. Same, the most self-important asshole I know is a self-proclaimed militant atheist.

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Well you know, it's my understanding that atheists aren't non-believers. They adamantly believe that there is no god, so they can suffer the same personality pitfalls as people who adamantly believe that there IS a god.

 

Edit: This is where I get all of my information from, a graph. Please correct if needed!

 

9sHq6Ni.png

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I once had a kid in my class with a VERY religious mother. She was into that Answers in Genesis stuff. So I'm teaching the geologic time scale and of course she objects to this. I thought I was prepared, I even modified the kid's assignment slightly so it wouldn't be too aggressive of an affront to their beliefs. This led to many "conversations" where I tried really hard to understand where they were coming from because I'm curious and the mother trying really hard to convince me how wrong I was. In the end, I caved and let the kid do a different assignment entirely. :( It was the last month of school before she was headed to a Christian high school, so I decided it wasn't worth the stress to fight over it.

 

I wish she hadn't felt the need to be so defensive. Why does it seem that is the norm with people trying to convince us atheists we are wrong?

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my very religious dad asked me to talk to the pastor at the Baptist church I grew up in after I told him a few months ago (finally) that I don't believe in god. it turned into me and this guy in a room for two hours bouncing points off of one another. it got contentious a few times tbh, he called me arrogant for questioning god, quoted a bible verse which calls everyone who doubts god's powers a fool, told me I offended him by saying I don't believe in god. I tried my very hardest to treat him with respect and to be polite the whole time, but I called him out on stuff like calling me arrogant by telling him calmly that I found it offensive and that I was there to defend my beliefs, not to be ridiculed for them. my favorite part was where he stated the world is 10-12,000 years old. I didn't expect to change his mind or anything, but I could tell he was taken aback by how many points I had to make / how prepared I was, I think he went into it thinking I was just some punk kid rebelling against his parent's god for shits and gigs.

 

I don't understand how insulting you and your intelligence was supposed to convert you :lol:

 

Fear is all they've got.

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YEAH I DONT ENVY ANY SORT OF SCIENCE TEACHER AT ALL, PURELY FOR INSTANCES LIKE THOSE

 

THE WAY PEOPLE CLUTCH SO HARD TO THOROUGHLY OUTDATED AND DEBUNKED THEORIES ON THE WORLD THAT THEYLL REFUSE TO ALLOW THEIR KIDS TO EVEN HEAR OTHER POSSIBILITIES IS DAMN SAD

 

THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING ABOUT RELIGION, TO ME, IS THE WAY PEOPLE MAKE IT SEEM LIKE ITS RELIGION OR SCIENCE, NO MIDDLE GROUND

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my very religious dad asked me to talk to the pastor at the Baptist church I grew up in after I told him a few months ago (finally) that I don't believe in god. it turned into me and this guy in a room for two hours bouncing points off of one another. it got contentious a few times tbh, he called me arrogant for questioning god, quoted a bible verse which calls everyone who doubts god's powers a fool, told me I offended him by saying I don't believe in god. I tried my very hardest to treat him with respect and to be polite the whole time, but I called him out on stuff like calling me arrogant by telling him calmly that I found it offensive and that I was there to defend my beliefs, not to be ridiculed for them. my favorite part was where he stated the world is 10-12,000 years old. I didn't expect to change his mind or anything, but I could tell he was taken aback by how many points I had to make / how prepared I was, I think he went into it thinking I was just some punk kid rebelling against his parent's god for shits and gigs.

 

I don't understand how insulting you and your intelligence was supposed to convert you :lol:

 

Fear is all they've got.

 

 

Not if they are universalists :smoke1:

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