1. Standard memberspruce112358
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    15 Dec '06 17:51
    People sometimes ask me, "Are you religious"? I find it an interesting question.

    My answer is always "Yes". But the question “which religion do you follow?” is harder to answer.

    I believe that the all religions are expressions of the same idea -- a need for individual principles to live by. Of course, the society where we live also gives us certain principles, too -- but these are mostly enforced to benefit the group. Society's constraints don't give much individual guidance about how to behave except on a very basic level. Religion does -- very personalized, individual guidance.

    In other words, religion is your approach to the Big Puzzle of Life -- what should I do with myself? How should I live my life?

    So where do we get to that guidance? Some people would say Christ is the answer. Others say Islam. Atheists might say that a rational system of morals and ethics is enough. Some have a point-by-point rationale for what they believe. Others simply have faith.

    My own religion is not formal but rather a combination of many religious ideas with the added concept of meditation or prayer. As I was raised in a Christian society but without belonging to a specific Church, I picked up certain elements by osmosis. But over the years I have also discovered and adopted Native American, Buddhist, and Hindu beliefs into my system. At the end of the day, I feel more comfortable "averaging" over human religions -- looking for a common denominator -- than I do accepting any single religion to the exclusion of all others.

    You might say, "but how can you believe all those things at once?"

    My answer is that I respect the fundamental purpose of ALL bona fide religions which is to help people. Each religion is a different expression of that fundamental purpose. As Gandhi (a Hindu) said, “I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew,” I think reaffirming the notion that all religions bring value to their practionners, and that no one religion should be thought of as superior to another.

    Much religious thought I don’t believe is meant to be taken literally. Yes, certain people did exist as historical figures and things have been written and said about them that could – in theory anyway – be debated as to whether they are true occurrences or allegory. But again – what is the purpose? I believe a religious story is supposed to transcend the moment when it was written. The goal is to guide and inform us in our life – here, today, 1000’s of years later – not to get us to imitate some local custom of long ago. We could debate forever about whose God is called by the correct name or which day of the week should be the Sabbath or how long our beards should be. But to do so completely misses the point about religion in my view.

    So to conclude, Religion is about us. We have to be happy with our own religion -- nobody else. Religion should guide, support, and help in our time of need.

    If it does that, then no matter whether you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, or whatever, you've got the right one.
  2. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    15 Dec '06 18:35
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    People sometimes ask me, "Are you religious"? I find it an interesting question.

    My answer is always "Yes". But the question “which religion do you follow?” is harder to answer.

    I believe that the all religions are expressions of the same idea -- a need for individual principles to live by. Of course, the society where we live also gives us certai ...[text shortened]... her you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, or whatever, you've got the right one.
    Where does god fit into this religion? Or is he just a figurehead, who gives his moral support to certain human enterprises, without involving himself too much in them?
  3. Felicific Forest
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    15 Dec '06 18:41
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    People sometimes ask me, "Are you religious"? I find it an interesting question.

    My answer is always "Yes". But the question “which religion do you follow?” is harder to answer.

    I believe that the all religions are expressions of the same idea -- a need for individual principles to live by. Of course, the society where we live also gives us certai ...[text shortened]... her you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, or whatever, you've got the right one.
    You are a New Age adept, right ?
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    15 Dec '06 19:23
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    You are a New Age adept, right ?
    Why must it have a name? I have the same problem in that when people ask me if am religious, and I say yes, they then usually proceed to ask me which religion I am as if there were a finite number. They simply cannot fathom that I believe what I believe simply because I choose to, not because I am following any preperscribed docrine. In this, I take elements from many religions, and thus I suppose I have created a personal religion for myself that is probably slightly different from anyone else's. I could give it a name, but why bother? Here is an interesting and relevant quote about ways of living:
    "It can be said of anything that is called a way. One should be able to hear about all ways, and be more and more in accord with one's own."
    Religion is a very individual thing, and I agree that if your religion helps you better your life then you have found the right one, whatever you call it.
  5. Standard memberspruce112358
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    16 Dec '06 07:14
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    You are a New Age adept, right ?
    No, I don't really know what 'New Age' is or what it signifies.
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    16 Dec '06 07:55
    try the golden rule
  7. Standard memberspruce112358
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    16 Dec '06 19:40
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Where does god fit into this religion? Or is he just a figurehead, who gives his moral support to certain human enterprises, without involving himself too much in them?
    My experience of God is as a guiding spirit that I turn to for advice.

    I'm not sure I would ever know if God involved himself in human enterprises.
  8. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    16 Dec '06 19:51
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    My experience of God is as a guiding spirit that I turn to for advice.

    I'm not sure I would ever know if God involved himself in human enterprises.
    If god doesn't involve himself in human enterprises, then why would he give you any advice?
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    16 Dec '06 19:56
    Originally posted by rwingett
    If god doesn't involve himself in human enterprises, then why would he give you any advice?
    Ha, ha, ha, ha. For the first time I think we agree.

    😀
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    17 Dec '06 03:20
    yes! my good is divino otelma
  11. Standard memberspruce112358
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    18 Dec '06 08:26
    Originally posted by rwingett
    If god doesn't involve himself in human enterprises, then why would he give you any advice?
    I said I don't know if He involves himself. I have no proof.

    If He did involve himself and I had proof of it, then I would have proof of his existence.

    If that occurred, then a lot of people would sit back waiting for God to tell them -- personally -- what to do. They would clamor that they don't have enough instructions, that they are confused, that they need more explanation, etc.

    The gift of free will, if you like, would be spoiled.
  12. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    18 Dec '06 14:04
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    I said I don't know if He involves himself. I have no proof.

    If He did involve himself and I had proof of it, then I would have proof of his existence.

    If that occurred, then a lot of people would sit back waiting for God to tell them -- personally -- what to do. They would clamor that they don't have enough instructions, that they are confused, that they need more explanation, etc.

    The gift of free will, if you like, would be spoiled.
    You don't know if he involves himself in human affairs. Therefore, you don't know if he's giving you any advice. Then what does your "experience" of god amount to?
  13. lazy boy derivative
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    19 Dec '06 02:40
    I've been watching the drama on Mt Hood. The family members say things like they can feel it that people have been praying for the unfortunate climbers and their families.

    I've never been in a position where I've asked for prayer. Have any of you ever really felt that people are praying for you? How can you know? What did it feel like?

    I believe in God but I think that people who say that are putting us on. They aren't saying it out of malice but rather as a mention of appreciation.
  14. Donationrwingett
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    19 Dec '06 03:58
    Originally posted by badmoon
    I've been watching the drama on Mt Hood. The family members say things like they can feel it that people have been praying for the unfortunate climbers and their families.

    I've never been in a position where I've asked for prayer. Have any of you ever really felt that people are praying for you? How can you know? What did it feel like?

    I believe ...[text shortened]... putting us on. They aren't saying it out of malice but rather as a mention of appreciation.
    At least one of the climbers is dead. Maybe he didn't have enough people praying for him.

    I'd like to see an experiment where they place some guy on one of the old sawmill tables, with the big blade getting closer and closer to his head. Then we have as many people as possible pray to the god of their choice to save him. They could do this with 100 different guys, with people praying for them all, and then do it to another 100, with no one praying for them. Then you compare to see if the group that was prayed for had a higher survival rate. If not, then we could conclude that prayer had no value.
  15. Standard memberspruce112358
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    19 Dec '06 06:32
    Originally posted by rwingett
    You don't know if he involves himself in human affairs. Therefore, you don't know if he's giving you any advice. Then what does your "experience" of god amount to?
    When I meditate or pray, I often have an experience that I classify under the heading "God".

    Someone who has never had the experience could (foolishly, in my view) deny that it happens. Someone who has had a similar experience may classify it differently.

    As for whether that experience is a supernatural one or not -- I can't prove that it is. Others cannot prove it is not.

    Either way, generations of humans have found it a useful thing to do in their lives, and I agree with that assessment. How you choose to define this "God" -- in my view -- makes little difference.
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