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religion explained

 
steward
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In terms of metaphors, I really, really like this one.

Of course, this is not ALL religions, so "religion explained" is a misnomer, but the briefest subject I could come up with in my drive-by posting while I scramble to do other things.

religion-explained.jpg
[Thumbnail for religion-explained.jpg]
in other words, several religions explained by movie metaphors
 
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Ha! I like it!!!
 
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Gosh, I hope this doesn't make anyone upset (famous danger words).  Please take this as simply a person trying to understand the distant past via what history still exists.  Regarding the middle east, including Israel, it seems quite possible they didn't believe that Jesus was divine.  It seems perhaps that that was spread through the Roman Empire (Greek and Roman world) via Paul and Roman Emperor Constantine.  For example, see the very early writings in Israel such as those of the Ebionites.  If that is the case then it makes great sense that the Qur'an would carry that same understanding forward regarding Jesus....i.e. for them the NT teachings regarding Jesus' divinity never did happen.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Greg Martin wrote:Gosh, I hope this doesn't make anyone upset (famous danger words), please take this as simply a person trying to understand the distant past via what history still exists.  Regarding the middle east, including Israel, it seems quite possible they didn't believe that Jesus was divine.  It seems perhaps that that was spread through the Greek and Roman world via Paul.  For example, see the very early writings in Israel such as those of the Ebionites.  If that is the case then it makes great sense that the Qur'an would carry that same understanding forward regarding Jesus.


Personally, I don't find it upsetting that other traditions don't view Jesus as divine. It's my goal and desire to respect, learn about and appreciate an eclectic, fantastic, culturally inspiring mix of spiritual or religious traditions. I think I usually try very hard to do that, even though I admit that what I posted here was rather irreverent.

It's likely awfully irreverent to describe the Mormons as the fanfiction movie, because I think the implication of "fiction" could be not the best. Though I take that part only as a very loose metaphor to illustrate that the Mormon faith does have it's own separate book, The Book of Mormon, that is not a part of any of the other traditions.

I appreciate and respect Muslims.
I appreciate and respect Jews.
I appreciate and respect Mormons.
I appreciate and respect Christians.
And there are more faith traditions that I appreciate and respect, too.

I think we have a Christian bias in the U.S., though I'm hopeful that's shifting a bit so we can be more welcoming and inclusive. And irreverent things like this might actually help those who have limited exposure to non-white and/or non-Christian cultures have a bit wider view of the world.

 
pollinator
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I respect individuals' right to their own individuality.

I find it objectionable that anyone should be made to feel obligated to be reverent, above a level of respect due the articles of faith of others, physical and immaterial, to people and things others have decided are sacrosanct.

If I think that Jesus was the man born of a virgin two millenia ago, fathered by the Judeo-Christian God, that's on me, just as I would bear the burdens of faith should I follow the Norse beliefs, or the ancient Egyptians'.

My belief doesn't obligate you to believe, and yours shouldn't obligate me.

As to respect, I certainly try. I have an issue where basic religious tenets get in the way of basic reasoning, creating impasses. That's why, for the most part, religion is treated, for me, as a series of different mythologies. In that way, I can discuss issues, even issues of faith, with believers in their idiom, so that we can converse and have a dialogue without it devolving into questions of faith versus proof.

I fully admit that there are parts of many religions I find dated at best, evil at their worst, and a great many that are just silly. If I am pushed on any particular one of those in a way I deem inappropriate, I will respond, though usually well within the comfort levels of the publication standards.

That is how I reason my way around the religious.

As to what religion is, I really like the analogy in the first post. But it doesn't say anything about what religion is, in general.

I have said this in other posts here, but I think it's appropriate to put here.

For me, religion started in our prehistory, as primitive homo sapiens tried to figure out how their world worked. As their understanding grew, so did their explanations, now likely couched in colourful animistic clothing.

Time passed, and stories were compiled, and tradition borrowed from tradition, and eventually larger religions were born. At that point, heads-of-state were enshrined as godlike figures, and power was centralised at the top. For my money, religion began it's downward spiral there. It's with organised, formalised religion that you see measures written into belief systems that seek to control and manipulate behaviour. At this point, religion has stopped seeking to explain existence and has begun to wrest control away for itself.

Enter reason. I doubt if the classical Greeks were the earliest scientific innovators, but they were among the first who wanted to share what they had learned. They were so successful at it that we remember some of them, and their innovations. This started us on a path of reason, of observation and deduction, and of fact-based decision-making.

Of the good that religion does nowadays, I think that it can act as a civic activity in communities that hold one religion in common, a weekly meeting of the community where ideas and concerns can be discussed, and as a way for the local leader of the group, whatever the denomination, to discuss current and pertinent issues that the community might be having a problem with.

Generally, where it opens doors and minds rather than closing them, and where they are help to people rather than hindrance, religion and religious practice can be wonderful things.

Also generally, where it is an obstacle, religion is best avoided in favour of the secular mindset.

It's a sticky issue, which is why it has its own entire forum within the cider press. I am of the opinion that, even if a god or gods exist, we need to be off the teat, anyways. They can't possibly need our worship, or they are more parasite than deity, so it's not for their good that we hold to religion. I don't think any actual good can come from religion that can't come from natural human interaction, and there are no new answers to be found there. So for me, it's rationalism and materialism. At least there's no requisite weekly navel-gaze there.

I will spend my Sundays, and my Saturdays if I can, and any other day I have, trying to make the world better in ways that I deem fit. I will probably do earthworks and plant food, both perennial and annual, and things that bloom, for the pollinators, and for the beauty and sweet scent of them. And they will bloom and grow, and I will look upon it, and call it good.

And everyone else can do as they like, too.

-CK
 
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"We take so seriously what the gods made for fun"  Alan Watts
 
pollinator
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For me, religion is a relic of the past, but still causes a bit of trouble, like the appendix.

Before we had scientific knowledge of how the world works, every phenomena could be explained through some religious story.

I remember listening to my Sunday school teacher tell us about Noah and the first rainbow. But when I was about eight years old , I learned that rainbows are caused by refraction.
........
Religion has caused me more trouble than it has for most people. My grandfather was a preacher and had some control over my mother, through shaming and peer pressure. We were prevented from doing some of the fun things that kids do, because it was considered bad.

Sometimes , family resources were directed toward religious ends, whether it was money in the offering plate or time and money spent traveling to religious events. I still consider this a waste of resources.

It turned violent on many occasions, mostly in efforts to enforce belief. It only went outside of the family a couple of times. One teacher thought she could tell me what I believe. A preacher's wife and daughter attacked me, and I really hammered them both. We didn't return to that church, so I consider that a victory for reason.

My ex wife was never happy that I didn't share belief in supernatural beings. For a long time she was very angry at both of my daughters, who have nothing to do with it.

One of my brothers has mental problems and harbours delusions based partly on the religion we grew up with, and also on conspiracies he's seen on YouTube.
........
Here in the Philippines , many people are in dire financial need , with seemingly no way out. Religion gives them hope, and the idea that their struggles will be rewarded one day.

My wife is from here , but she doesn't have much to do with it. She does believe that religion has a function in society. She told me that it's really good for addicts and whores, if it can stop the bad behavior, and give them a positive outlet... I have to agree with that. Two of my brothers got into drugs at an early age. One of them is now a part-time preacher and very anti-drug , so that's a good thing. He has set up a food bank in a poor area. The other brother was pretty seriously into drugs as a teenager. He joined a group called Teen Challenge , for a while, and it straightened him out to a large degree, although there have been relapses.
 
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Shame they didn't try to include at minimum Zoarastrianism, Buddhism and Hindusim into that explanation.

I've noticed that all religions recreate God in their own image, and the way someone expresses their spiritual views are often a better reflection of their individual personality than a reflection of the theology they base it on.
 
Ed Belote
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Ben Waimata wrote:
I've noticed that all religions recreate God in their own image, and the way someone expresses their spiritual views are often a better reflection of their individual personality than a reflection of the theology they base it on.



A very acute observation.   I once struggled with the phrase "we are all sinners", especially in regards to children.  When I learned of the Greek definition of sin is to miss the mark, or point, it became clear.  Of course we are all sinners.
 
Dale Hodgins
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It comes up quite often here in the Philippines.

I have developed a fun question to ask people . "Do you know why Jesus died for your sins?"

The answer is quite simple... because the Spanish came here. Everyone knows that the Spanish brought Christianity , but that the Muslims got there first in southern Mindanao and the Muslim Autonomous Region.

Then , I like to remind people that all of their ancestors from before that time , are currently roasting in hell for being non-believers , heathens , infidels, pagans or what have you. And that's the part that gets a lot of people to stop and think. "They didn't know. "  Well, how about the hero , Lapu-Lapu who did not convert, and fought the Spanish?  Nobody wants to send him to hell either.
 
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Ben Waimata wrote:Shame they didn't try to include at minimum Zoarastrianism, Buddhism and Hindusim into that explanation.



How about this:

The screenwriters go backpacking around Asia.
Get their minds blown.
No one is doing this back home; this could be a hit!
They change the surface details to appeal to their audience and hope no one notices.
It's a hit!
 
Dale Hodgins
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The children's movie ET.  was a very loose retelling of the arrival of Jesus. He arrived from outer space, performed some miracles, was hunted down and persecuted, died but was resurrected and then he ascended to the heavens, with a plan to return one day.
 
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