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XenoFish

Help me believe

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I am one of many individuals who have had unfortunate run in with the dark side of religion. Often coming across the bad apples of various faiths. From the highly devout to the almost fanatical. This has made me very agnostic to the whole thing. I want to believe wholly in God but I can't because of what religion has done to me. I don't care what faith you are, I don't care what religion or where you come from. I want to know what the human aspect is like? Are you one of the highly devout to the point of being narrow minded fanatic? Are you what I call those of casual faith, in which you simply pray and do the best you can to live a good life? Help me understand. Help change my views so that I don't become jaded. Here is a chance to show a doubter your faith. Anyone, Christian, Jew, Muslim, and/or Pagan. I don't care who. Educate me.

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Does it matter if it's true, or not?

Are you just looking for transformation of self?

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I don't know what I'm looking for anymore. I see no hope in anything. That religion is supposed to make someone into a better person, but all I come across are narrow minded bigots.

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Nobody can educate you. You have to educate yourself. My suggestion: Read as much as you can and see what "sticks." I first suggest reading from traditional sources, for instance the Bible, the Quran, or the Bhagavad Gita. The Buddhist Dhammapada is also a great work of religious literature, but it's not focused on the Western idea of a Personal God. Also trust your intuition: If something feels "wrong" to you, then it probably is. The same for trusting your reason.

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I've done this and have found very few things that stick. From Christianity I found the Golden Rule, which is an easier moral code to understand. From studies asian religions I found Dao. Then I found something called Dark-Working which is where you basically focus on yourself and your happiness. So my spirituality is not one of the common paradigms. I've even gone so far as to practice Chaos Magick so that I could experience various religions. Yet the more I spent doing this the more I realized that I use using psychological programming. Nothing more than glorified self help.

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Posted (edited)

I don't know what I'm looking for anymore. I see no hope in anything. That religion is supposed to make someone into a better person, but all I come across are narrow minded bigots.

Heck Xeno, you described yourself earlier as agnostic but that you want to believe in God. But, just now, you mentioned the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is not from Christianity, it's universal to all humanity, secular and non-secular alike. Every main religion has a version that quotes the same meaning.

Once I affirmed that, I realized that I'm comfortable with it. I now label myself as an 'indifferent agnostic'. I don't care anymore whether or not God exists. I care more about you, me and everyone else and how we treat each other. If there is a God, I'm sure that it would endorse that message.

God, Yahweh, Jehovah, the Life Force, the Creator... we can call it what ever we want, but the one thing that I do believe is that we're never meant to understand it while we're here on this earth. Once I accepted that concept, the Golden Rule and all it's subtle variations became much clearer.

Edited by Likely Guy
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Once I affirmed that, I realized that I'm comfortable with it. I now label myself as an 'indifferent agnostic'. I don't care anymore whether or not God exists. I care more about you, me and everyone else and how we treat each other. If there is a God, I'm sure that it would endorse that message.

This makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

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So I guess the best route would be to continue trying my best to live by the golden rule. Not worrying about religion at all. Just try to live a good life.

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Posted (edited)

So I guess the best route would be to continue trying my best to live by the golden rule. Not worrying about religion at all. Just try to live a good life.

The nail, IMO, you hit it squarely on the head. :)

ETA: After all, isn't that the human aspect of religion? Humanism isn't/shouldn't be about idolatry, dogmas, ancient myths and texts. We all know, deep down inside, what's the right thing to do.

Edited by Likely Guy

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So I guess the best route would be to continue trying my best to live by the golden rule. Not worrying about religion at all. Just try to live a good life.

That's basically where I am... definitely more spiritual in my thinking and actions than I used to be, and a lot less concerned about anything to do with religion.

Best wishes in your journey.

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Best wishes to you as well. I'm just tired of trying. Sorry to anyone in any of the religious thread that I might have offended. Considering that I have had very few good religious experiences you now know why I am the way I am. Please forgive me.

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Personally I look back at some of the religious stuff I've done in the past and see much of it as having been a waste of time.

I'd much rather spend my time now on the things that matter to me, my family, and those whom I love.

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Personally I look back at some of the religious stuff I've done in the past and see much of it as having been a waste of time.

I'd much rather spend my time now on the things that matter to me, my family, and those whom I love.

While I 'liked' your post, I must add that many religious groups do very good work, so that it isn't a "waste of time". To each, their own path.

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Heck Xeno, you described yourself earlier as agnostic but that you want to believe in God. But, just now, you mentioned the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is not from Christianity, it's universal to all humanity, secular and non-secular alike. Every main religion has a version that quotes the same meaning.

Once I affirmed that, I realized that I'm comfortable with it. I now label myself as an 'indifferent agnostic'. I don't care anymore whether or not God exists. I care more about you, me and everyone else and how we treat each other. If there is a God, I'm sure that it would endorse that message.

God, Yahweh, Jehovah, the Life Force, the Creator... we can call it what ever we want, but the one thing that I do believe is that we're never meant to understand it while we're here on this earth. Once I accepted that concept, the Golden Rule and all it's subtle variations became much clearer.

There are many nations with a constitution similar to the USA's. But they are not the usa . the golden rule stands alone because it simple to understand and easy to follow. But your also correct the golden rule appears in the old testament buried in the law of Moses.

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Best wishes to you as well. I'm just tired of trying. Sorry to anyone in any of the religious thread that I might have offended. Considering that I have had very few good religious experiences you now know why I am the way I am. Please forgive me.

If you need forgiveness, you can only get it from god. I am sure he knows why you are the way you are. No human can give you forgiveness, nor should they try. So if you thinking of buying forgiveness for a TV preacher save your money or give it to charity.

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I like to make a distinction between "belief" and "opinion." This kinda reflects ordinary usage but is also a bit technical. One obtains a belief by being indoctrinated, generally in childhood but for some people this is possible at any age, while one gets an opinion by learning about it and becoming persuaded that the evidence is good enough to say it is probably true.

We aren't really consciously aware of our beliefs; we are about our opinions. That is to say a belief is taken for granted, like the furniture you sit on in the living room, you rarely if ever actually notice its presence. Opinions on the other hand tend to get scrutinized more often. Beliefs are not questions and usually have aspects designed to prevent their being questioned, such as "faith" and guilt for doubting. Most people however don't really need these crutches -- they believe out of habit and instinct, and in fact react with shock and anger when someone doubts or challenges them. This is especially the case when they realize they are not able to defend the belief rationally but must resort to rationalization and logical fallacies and slogans. (Of course the "realization" I mention is not conscious, but is only felt as what is called "cognitive dissonance.")

The ability to "believe" like that seem wired into us, something we evolved as animals, probably as a group coherence mechanism, and that has been supported by the fact that failure to believe has throughout history been a dangerous course.

Beliefs can be good and give us comfort and peace and even joy, but they often are delusions held in place by childhood indoctrination that divide mankind and have created the possibility if not the likelihood of our causing our own extinction. They need to be identified, scrutinized, and then either converted to opinions or expunged. That so few people do this is probably because it is so against the interests of religions and ideologies and governing institutions that it tends to be discouraged and suppressed.

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There are many nations with a constitution similar to the USA's. But they are not the usa ....

That part of what you said makes no sense to me in relation to the OP. If you'd be so kind to explain... I'll ask, while you formulate your response, what does any country's constitution or the U.S.A. have to do with this topic?

Having said that, I'm afraid that I may have invited the wolves to the doorstep.

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If you need forgiveness, you can only get it from god...

No, Xeno asked us that if he offended anyone here, he asked forgiveness. That's a huge difference.

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While I 'liked' your post, I must add that many religious groups do very good work, so that it isn't a "waste of time". To each, their own path.

I agree, many religious organizations do great work, and so do many individuals on their own.

For myself, the part I find about religion is a waste of time are the rituals, and having to go to a specific place to do them, and being asked for money while I'm there...

The path I've found is my own individual spiritual one, and it doesn't involve any so-called religious rituals created by anyone else, I have grown free from them, and I am very happy. :)

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If you need forgiveness, you can only get it from god.

I don't believe this at all. Asking other to forgive you of what you've done. Allows the other person to give it. Very similar to accepting an apology. Basically I've asked forgiveness for coming off as a jerk. If I receive it so be it, if not then that's ok as well.

I'm not so much into believing in some possible deity, I'm really more focused on living a good life.

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Posted (edited)

I'm not so much into believing in some possible deity, I'm really more focused on living a good life.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." - Isn't that the universal truth? Shouldn't every book of belief be brought down that one sheat of paper? Are not the 10 commandments contained in that one sentence?

Edited by Likely Guy

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The rituals are about the only part of religion that I like, that and the music and the beautiful buildings (except the Utah Mormon buildings are tiresome and pretentious -- sorry my taste there). I don't mind too much being asked for money, although the Buddhists raise theirs by selling things to use in the rituals, and it's never more than small amounts. Buddhist charities are less visible and you kinda have to ask about them and they are carried out without public knowledge.

Of course Christian rituals inevitably include a sermon. They could skip that part. I like temples you can go to any time, in a group or alone. I think the main idea of rituals is that they are traditional and this gives one a hook on the past. In fact it was too bad the Catholics switched from Latin to vernaculars. I like a Latin mass much better (gives me a chance to actually hear spoken Latin, although of course the Catholics don't say it the way I was taught). It really is a beautiful language.

By the way, you did not come off as a jerk, at least to me.

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Posted (edited)

The rituals are about the only part of religion that I like...

The rituals, while I can appreciate the tradition, is pretty much the part of religion that I dislike.

I've been to many churches, temples and shrines. I respect the faiths, but the rituals/dogmas only pay lip service. If there is a God I'm only close to it, if and when, it is within oneself.

For me, it has nothing to do with a ritual, a symbol, a building, etc. To me the concept of a God is so private and personal that it is inexplicable. I believe that in this life we are not meant to know the truth, because we are not ready.

If there is an all loving and well meaning God when you die and you led a good life?, well great. But if God doesn't exist and you still led a good life?

For me, either way, it's a win/win scenario.

Edited by Likely Guy
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There are many nations with a constitution similar to the USA's. But they are not the usa . the golden rule stands alone because it simple to understand and easy to follow. But your also correct the golden rule appears in the old testament buried in the law of Moses.

The golden rule predates all organised religions. Without it, humans could not have survived long enough to form societies to invent religion.

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