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XenoFish

Pointlessness of Religion

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DieChecker

This is largely based on your perspective. You give it meaning. I can not find one. It seems that the point of a religions is solely within the believer. That is the only point to it. And I see no point in living my life based on a system of fear that drive me to do good, because I don't want to have my ethereal daddy mad at me. Or even worse be put to death because I disbelieve.

If one is a true follower of Christ, then you live a Christ-like life because it is who you ARE, not out of any Fear. Fear shouldn't even come into the equation, and if it does, then perhaps that person has something they need to confess, or perhaps isn't actually living a Christ-like life.

Though Christians that live in Fear are still Christians, they most often are fearful due to something left undone, or unrepented for. If they would simply let themselves be Forgiven they'd not have to live in fear.

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White Crane Feather

I know the world is wonderful, filled with endless possibilities, the most interesting characters, and the craziest twists and turns. I believe in the power of positive thinking. I believe even the smallest acts of kindness can shape the world and that one person does matter.

I was raised Catholic but then became agnostic in my teens and early twenties. Then, the summer of my 24th Birthday I read some silly book that changed my life and made me want to become serious about my Christian faith. I say silly book because it wasn't something ridiculously profound or meaningful, it just sort of made sense, it made everything click in my head.

After reading this book I sort of just decided finally I would "pick a side" and became serious about the Christian faith. I read the Bible, interpreted it for myself and have changed for the better ever since. My love of God and of Christ and his teachings, it has made me a better person, it has shaped the way I view the world, and how I view people. I may be wrong, it may all be a lie, I might never know. Yet, at the same time, this belief has made me a better person, it has made me want to live my life honestly, and with dignity.

And when it comes to prayer, and "signs", I prefer to think god listened and said no, rather than he wasn't there.

Wonderful. You see. The new catholic is to be an example. I love it.

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Sherapy

Unless you consider that various legislation is written by religiously influenced people. :innocent: Then it does affect your brother's actions, since he probably doesn't want to break the law.

I don't think Separation of Church and State is perfect anywhere.

His position isn't meant as a negative towards religion.

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keithisco

Apologies for the rambling structure of my thoughts below

The debate on whether Religions are pointless is a massive one covering everything from a “need” to belong to something , sub - summation of “self”, a need to publicly affirm a belief system, internalisation of a received code for living, indoctrination (in some instances), and in many religions a requirement to proselytise to increase the number of adherents.

With Abrahammic religions, particularly, there is also the “ugly” side; that not joining will lead to eventual death and corruption of the physical body as well as of the soul.

Anthropologically there is also the evolutionary imperative that humans had to live in social groupings to survive the physical hurdles put in its way. This meant that a hierarchical structure of control and obeisance was also necessary, without this hierarchy then anarchy would eventually prevail leading to self – destruction.

Now; I would contend that this structure is an inherent part of humanity, a trait if you will, and is not defined by a Religious Belief System. It is humankind’s natural state to co-operate and work together to create security. In any single grouping of peoples, unfettered violence is self destructive to that group’s survival and will lead to that group’s extinction. Certain individuals will have mental issues (the Sociopath, and the Psychopath specifically) and in any group large enough may well go unnoticed. It is the sociopath that is the most dangerous because he / she may well exhibit all of the qualities of strong leadership, whilst actually working to a different agenda; that of absolute and tyrannical control. This leads to Religious cultism and is where, I believe, most Abrahammic religions are today.

It is the “Cult of Religion”, rather than Religion per se that pertains today – it is to a large extent an aberration of belief and an abrogation of Social wiles’.

Just my thoughts and probable reasons for Religion (rather than Religiosity) being an irrelevance, which informs me as an atheist

Edited by keithisco
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keithisco

If one is a true follower of Christ, then you live a Christ-like life because it is who you ARE, not out of any Fear. Fear shouldn't even come into the equation, and if it does, then perhaps that person has something they need to confess, or perhaps isn't actually living a Christ-like life.

Though Christians that live in Fear are still Christians, they most often are fearful due to something left undone, or unrepented for. If they would simply let themselves be Forgiven they'd not have to live in fear.

Respect to you for your beliefs DC: Religion, and please remember this just IMO; has failed when statements such as "a true follower of Christ" are made because it tells me that not all members of a Religious Congregation are true followers of Christ and that they follow a different Belief System that are not the Core values of your own Belief system. So I have a question; how do you discern between "True Followers" and "Insincere Followers"?

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Starhunter

Xenofish,

Do you feel that you have to be able to define who you are or what you stand by?

If so, why?

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Stubbly_Dooright

I decided to turn my status update into a thread hoping to find other who are going through something similar. I'm currently agnostic. Which means I ride the fence of faith. Believing only if proof is given. Yet lately I find holding onto such a possibility to be meaningless. My morality is based around around the Christian moral code. Treat other as I wished to be treated, do good because I want to, etc. Yet the faith in their god(or any god) is not there. Even looked back on 22 years of occult practice I realize how empty I am. Nothing every presented itself as being legit that couldn't be explained away. No ghost, no demons, gods, or angels. Just figments of my imagination. Every prayer that was answer was just confirmation bias same with spell work. Just self induced jedi mind tricks. I feel there is no point in religion. There is no God. If there is a God it doesn't care about us as our fate is totally within our own hands. I'm seriously considering becoming an atheist.

I wonder though, and this is just me. Do you feel at peace as an Atheist? Because I feel, what ever the outcome of what one deeply, personally believes, or finds to not believe, I feel ends up at peace. I wish you were at peace, and I think you made mention of being there at some point, I might be wrong. *shrugs*. I know, that all the 'talk' if you will of the Christian religion around the time I was growing up, certainly did not make sense, and growing up in a secular home certainly made that easy to see that. One would think becoming an Atheist was elementary. I was for a couple of years in my young adulthood. The thing was, I wasn't at peace, something in me looked inside my spirit for something else. The thing is, it came to me. But.............. that was me. I wonder if you are an Atheist. You could be wanting to explore other belief systems. Although, I have noticed Agnostics on here, who seemed at peace as well. I just wonder, if you should explore other belief systems, while looking into yourself to understand what you believe and what beliefs actually answers your inner questions. You know what I mean? :)

I converted to my Christian beliefs as a 19 year old. In my years since I have been constantly reminded of one thing - whatever religion may or may not be, one thing it definitely is not, is "pointless".

It's not pointless if it feels right. If that also makes sense. I have always felt my belief has answered my questions on things like this. But that is me. :yes:

This is largely based on your perspective. You give it meaning. I can not find one. It seems that the point of a religions is solely within the believer. That is the only point to it. And I see no point in living my life based on a system of fear that drive me to do good, because I don't want to have my ethereal daddy mad at me. Or even worse be put to death because I disbelieve.

Well, this is the point of that, if I understand this. If this means, that Atheism, or Agnosticism is not pointless to you, than there you go. :D

Thanks for the kind words, Sheri. I've also got to say I've really learned a lot from you too, that your world view (despite your godlessness, lol - just joking on the use of that particular word) shines out to anyone with eyes that behind it all you are beautiful woman with a beautiful personality.

Have I told you how much I really enjoy reading your posts when you talk about the nature of life? Your outlook is somewhat different to Sheri's above, but in a different way your view here is just as beautiful.

Oh geez, now you've got me to blushing and fawning over my two favourite girls from UM (and Stubbly, you're up in my list there too, if you're reading this, but everyone know there's only one real favourite here) :blush::wub:

:blush::wub: Aw, shucks, PA, I know. thanks....................

And yes, I find such wisdom in yours, Woodsbooger's, and Sheri's post so many times. It makes me think.

What helped me was thinking through forgiveness. What I discovered was...Forgiveness has absolutely nothing to do with the forgiven. It has everything to do with the Forgiver. When we forgive...we are cleansed. We are cleansed of that which we were holding on someone else...and it is very freeing to be cleansed of such feelings. Forgiveness cleanses us...only when we forgive.

But if you have hurt someone...you should ask them to forgive you...but it is cleansing of the forgiver more than the forgiven.

Just sayin'

Yes! I always say something similar! Pain is and resentment have the ability to eat you alive, and make you an angry, hurtful person. Forgiveness is not about making an objective decision on something being right or wrong, but rather, about not allowing yourself to live with the pain and resentment any longer.

I could never understand that myself, Joc, and woodsbooger. I'm not saying you two are wrong, far from it. There is probably a lot I could learn from both of your posts. To me, to forgive is to honestly 'allow' that individual to escape their responsibility of what they done. Not forgiving is keeping them held responsible. I often feel there is not bitterness, if I just acknowledge what was done, and work through the anger in a more innocent and safer way. I just think, or believe, that the one who needs forgiving has to work at it to achieve it. For me, forgiving is an emotion you cannot push onto one's self, you have to honestly feel it. I think there is a difference between being bitter to what someone else is done to you and lashing out to them, and telling them their mistake and moving on finding peace in others than them. I hope that makes sense. That might make me seem someone who has a really strange way of looking at it all, and yeah, that maybe, but I feel at peace with that. *shrugs*
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eight bits

cslove

Here is my concept of religion: The belief in the existence of a superior being which we try to influence as to move him to react to us favorably.

Full marks for candor. I wouldn't go so far as pinning this on all religions, but it does seem typical of religions based on personal gods that the devotee is encouraged to have a "handful of gimme, and a mouth full of 'much obliged' " attitude toward the divine (or angelic or sainted, in those "monotheisms" whose supernatural realms seem as densely populated as any polytheist's.)

For an agnostic (which I am), this attitude severely limits the usefulness of any particular religion for helping to figure out whether there is any god. Religious ideas about gods must include an explanation of why gods would give gifts or wages to bald apes. Complementary to sugar-daddy-paymaster gods is the conviction that bald apes are somehow especially worthy of those gods' attentions - that we would have anything that a god would want and couldn't get without our cooperation, or be somebody whose company a god just couldn't do without.

Between those two complementary ideas about the nature of gods and the nature of people, that's a great deal of supposition about something whose mere existence remains debatable.

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Leonardo

I decided to turn my status update into a thread hoping to find other who are going through something similar. I'm currently agnostic. Which means I ride the fence of faith. Believing only if proof is given. Yet lately I find holding onto such a possibility to be meaningless. My morality is based around around the Christian moral code. Treat other as I wished to be treated, do good because I want to, etc. Yet the faith in their god(or any god) is not there. Even looked back on 22 years of occult practice I realize how empty I am. Nothing every presented itself as being legit that couldn't be explained away. No ghost, no demons, gods, or angels. Just figments of my imagination. Every prayer that was answer was just confirmation bias same with spell work. Just self induced jedi mind tricks. I feel there is no point in religion. There is no God. If there is a God it doesn't care about us as our fate is totally within our own hands. I'm seriously considering becoming an atheist.

I am going to agree with you - there is no point to religion. But I am going to add a little explanation to that.

Many posting here seem to equate 'religion' and 'faith'. I do not.

'Faith' is the personal belief one holds regarding the existence, function and meaning of divinity. 'Religion' is when 'faith' becomes organised in a heirarchical system, with a few claiming the authority to dictate what the 'faith' of those members of that system is.

'Religion' is like a system of government but with a slight difference in that government is generally set up to oversee a community in which the members wish to find a common ground in order to co-exist peacefully and effectively. There is no such 'need' to do so with something as intangible as 'personal faith'. There is no need to find a common ground between 'faiths' so long as those with 'faith' understand it is a personal thing only.

What 'religion' has done is to de-personalise faith and, even worse, make us believe one faith has to be applied to all - whether they hold to it or not.

'Religion' is not only pointless and unnecessary, it is antagonistic to personal freedom - something many of us, even the 'faithful' among us, enjoy.

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XenoFish
Do you feel that you have to be able to define who you are or what you stand by?

No I don't.

Yet from my perspective I feel that "If you can't do something good, why do anything at all" rings true to me. To quit looking at the end goal. Because no one knows the truth. If I can die without a guilty conscious, knowing fully that I tried my best and did what was right. Then I'm fine with it. As for my beliefs, I feel there is something more going on. I can not define it, I can not pray to it, It can not be found in the church, temples, or mosque, nor any book. It doesn't come from the mouths of men.

Edited by XenoFish
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Stubbly_Dooright

I am going to agree with you - there is no point to religion. But I am going to add a little explanation to that.

Many posting here seem to equate 'religion' and 'faith'. I do not.

'Faith' is the personal belief one holds regarding the existence, function and meaning of divinity. 'Religion' is when 'faith' becomes organised in a heirarchical system, with a few claiming the authority to dictate what the 'faith' of those members of that system is.

'Religion' is like a system of government but with a slight difference in that government is generally set up to oversee a community in which the members wish to find a common ground in order to co-exist peacefully and effectively. There is no such 'need' to do so with something as intangible as 'personal faith'. There is no need to find a common ground between 'faiths' so long as those with 'faith' understand it is a personal thing only.

What 'religion' has done is to de-personalise faith and, even worse, make us believe one faith has to be applied to all - whether they hold to it or not.

'Religion' is not only pointless and unnecessary, it is antagonistic to personal freedom - something many of us, even the 'faithful' among us, enjoy.

You know, I may have to adhere to this very strongly!! ;):D I think you are right. I have a strong faith, yes, but yeah, I don't follow a religion, for I don't belong to any sort of institution that would equate to that. I guess my example is proof of your post.

No I don't.

Yet from my perspective I feel that "If you can't do something good, why do anything at all" rings true to me. To quit looking at the end goal. Because no one knows the truth. If I can die without a guilty conscious, knowing fully that I tried my best and did what was right. Then I'm fine with it. As for my beliefs, I feel there is something more going on. I can not define it, I can not pray to it, It can not be found in the church, temples, or mosque, nor any book. It doesn't come from the mouths of men.

I could be wrong, but this sounds to me that you are looking within you. This sounds like me too. Although, my faith seems to give me more of a reason for things now, than when I was a young adult. Sometimes, it is what keeps me going more so when I have that pointless feeling. I think you are on your path right now and just might be getting some enlightenment from it. Then again, that could be just me. ;)

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Leonardo

You know, I may have to adhere to this very strongly!! ;):D I think you are right. I have a strong faith, yes, but yeah, I don't follow a religion, for I don't belong to any sort of institution that would equate to that. I guess my example is proof of your post.

Glad I could be of assistance in helping you rationalise your faith, Stubs. I'll send you a bill for the consultation, but don't worry I won't charge more than $5 a word (that's "mates rates"). :P

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keithisco

No I don't.

Yet from my perspective I feel that "If you can't do something good, why do anything at all" rings true to me. To quit looking at the end goal. Because no one knows the truth. If I can die without a guilty conscious, knowing fully that I tried my best and did what was right. Then I'm fine with it. As for my beliefs, I feel there is something more going on. I can not define it, I can not pray to it, It can not be found in the church, temples, or mosque, nor any book. It doesn't come from the mouths of men.

I will say this, many atheists believe that there is a spiritual side to our existence (not predicated on any religious belief, and certainly not predicated on the existence of a God) - that essential humanity is a dichotomy of physicality, and spirituality. We cannot choose this, it is as much a part of the human condition as is our physical self. There is nothing to pray to, there is nothing to worship, there is no need for confession, there is no heaven, and there is no hell. Can the Spiritual side exist without the Physical? I have no idea, nor do I concern myself with that aspect of living in the here and now.

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Galahad

" longevity has it place, but I don't care about that now! I just want to do Gods will!"

Marin Luther King (died the next day)

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oslove

Well, I am still waiting for you folks here to tell readers what is your concept of religion, and also of God.

You see, if you are of the idea that religion is pointless and God does not exist, then it is to your more precise understanding of your heart and mind on religion and on God to come up, with your in essence concept of religion and of God.

Please think about religion and see whether you can come up with a concept of religion that is common to all religions; there is one of course, otherwise how can people talk about religion being pointless or not being pointless, unless they all have a common minimum concept of what is religion.

That goes also for God.

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Paranoid Android

I am going to agree with you - there is no point to religion. But I am going to add a little explanation to that.

Many posting here seem to equate 'religion' and 'faith'. I do not.

'Faith' is the personal belief one holds regarding the existence, function and meaning of divinity. 'Religion' is when 'faith' becomes organised in a heirarchical system, with a few claiming the authority to dictate what the 'faith' of those members of that system is.

'Religion' is like a system of government but with a slight difference in that government is generally set up to oversee a community in which the members wish to find a common ground in order to co-exist peacefully and effectively. There is no such 'need' to do so with something as intangible as 'personal faith'. There is no need to find a common ground between 'faiths' so long as those with 'faith' understand it is a personal thing only.

What 'religion' has done is to de-personalise faith and, even worse, make us believe one faith has to be applied to all - whether they hold to it or not.

'Religion' is not only pointless and unnecessary, it is antagonistic to personal freedom - something many of us, even the 'faithful' among us, enjoy.

Many people (Christians included) have attempted to make a distinction between "faith" and "religion" (though the more usual term applied is "spiritual, not religious"). Personally, I find that to be a modern reaction to the way that "religion" has in many ways become a dirty word in society. It has come to represent oppression and blind acceptance without any thought to a belief system. But at its most basic, the very first definition of "religion" in the dictionary is "belief in a higher power". So with respect, I understand what you are trying to do by separating the idea of a personal faith with that of a codified set of beliefs set down by a holy text or institution, and in many ways I do agree with that view - an institution telling you what to believe is just as dead as any other system to base your life on. But I find it to be inadequate to the actual issue.

By the exact same reason I can say that Christianity is also therefore not a "religion", for while it does have a Holy Text, and there are SOME groups that try and tell you what it means and if you don't agree with THEM then you aren't one of them, but the whole concept of protestantism developed under the guise that it is a person's individual responsibility to understand the scriptures for themselves, and therefore it is not a codified system "telling" you what to believe, but rather a personal interpretation of the scriptures in your own life.

Being consistent with your definition then, I therefore say that Christianity is a "way of life", a "faith" to live by and work with, and not a "religion" at all, and therefore 100% agree with what you wrote, in consistency with your definition, Christianity is the way we personally find value in the understanding of the creator.

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Leonardo

By the exact same reason I can say that Christianity is also therefore not a "religion"...

Some people use the words "religion" and "faith" as synonyms, and that is an acceptable usage according to convention. As to which base meaning one applies as the 'synonymous meaning' - that is entirely a matter of personal use.

So, it could be argued Christianity (or any codified system of belief) is both a religion and a faith. As the umbrella term covering all who hold to a certain pov regarding a basic set of beliefs concerning divinity I think you have to consider it as both.

I prefer to separate the terms for sake of clarity and so to me there are Christians who are religious - attend church and/or follow the tenet of a church - and those who are not. Those who are not tend to be less intrusive into wanting to alter the social framework set up to accommodate all, so as to accommodate their 'faith' - yet they still appear to maintain their faith. So, this makes me wonder what is the point of being religious* - except perhaps to believe "your way" is the only way for everyone and be intrusive in order to try and effect that.

*If we are to exclude the purely social aspect of the activity of religion, which could be accommodated in other, secular, circumstances.

Edited by Leonardo

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GoldenWolf

'Religion' is not only pointless and unnecessary, it is antagonistic to personal freedom.

Exactly.

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Paranoid Android

Some people use the words "religion" and "faith" as synonyms, and that is an acceptable usage according to convention. As to which base meaning one applies as the 'synonymous meaning' - that is entirely a matter of personal use.

So, it could be argued Christianity (or any codified system of belief) is both a religion and a faith. As the umbrella term covering all who hold to a certain pov regarding a basic set of beliefs concerning divinity I think you have to consider it as both.

I prefer to separate the terms for sake of clarity and so to me there are Christians who are religious - attend church and/or follow the tenet of a church - and those who are not. Those who are not tend to be less intrusive into wanting to alter the social framework set up to accommodate all, so as to accommodate their 'faith' - yet they still appear to maintain their faith. So, this makes me wonder what is the point of being religious* - except perhaps to believe "your way" is the only way for everyone and be intrusive in order to try and effect that.

*If we are to exclude the purely social aspect of the activity of religion, which could be accommodated in other, secular, circumstances.

I'm confused. I'm Christian. I attend church. But I don't let that church tell me WHAT to believe. I naturally do tend to gravitate towards a church with SIMILAR view to mine, but I never 100% go "all in" with the doctrines of a church. Neither, for that matter, does any Christian I know or have known over the last fifteen years. As I said, there are some groups of Christians that demand you follow their views 100% and if you don't there's a problem, but most church-going Christians do think about what it is they believe before they choose to believe it, regardless of what their particular denomination happens to endorse.

So with that said, if "church attendance" automatically qualifies one into the boat of the "religious" rather than the less defined "I have faith but aren't religious", is church attendance the defining factor? I'm trying to work out what you are referring to, because I can quite easily 100% agree with your definitions.... IF you are happy to accept church-going, Bible-believing Christians (and other religious groups) into the same umbrella. But you seem to be attempting to form some kind of specific definition in order to separate certain people from being "religious" and just having "faith". It would help to know where that line you are trying to draw is, exactly.

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Leonardo

I'm confused. I'm Christian. I attend church. But I don't let that church tell me WHAT to believe. I naturally do tend to gravitate towards a church with SIMILAR view to mine, but I never 100% go "all in" with the doctrines of a church. Neither, for that matter, does any Christian I know or have known over the last fifteen years. As I said, there are some groups of Christians that demand you follow their views 100% and if you don't there's a problem, but most church-going Christians do think about what it is they believe before they choose to believe it, regardless of what their particular denomination happens to endorse.

So with that said, if "church attendance" automatically qualifies one into the boat of the "religious" rather than the less defined "I have faith but aren't religious", is church attendance the defining factor? I'm trying to work out what you are referring to, because I can quite easily 100% agree with your definitions.... IF you are happy to accept church-going, Bible-believing Christians (and other religious groups) into the same umbrella. But you seem to be attempting to form some kind of specific definition in order to separate certain people from being "religious" and just having "faith". It would help to know where that line you are trying to draw is, exactly.

Perhaps I was a bit strict with the "attends church" criteria because I know that such attendance may be purely for social reasons, but my meaning behind saying that was to imply the person is being somewhat led in their belief by the representative priest/pastor at the church - i.e. their 'faith' is no longer strictly 'personal'.

If I were inclined to accept the Christian scriptures at face value, then I wouldn't need anyone to 'inform' me as to the meaning of the words - I could reason that out for myself. That would be my 'personal faith'. Once I allow someone else to 'inform' me what certain words or passages refer to, then it ceases to be my faith and becomes in part someone else's. Then I have started down the road to being religious.

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Galahad

Some people use the words "religion" and "faith" as synonyms, and that is an acceptable usage according to convention. As to which base meaning one applies as the 'synonymous meaning' - that is entirely a matter of personal use.

So, it could be argued Christianity (or any codified system of belief) is both a religion and a faith. As the umbrella term covering all who hold to a certain pov regarding a basic set of beliefs concerning divinity I think you have to consider it as both.

I prefer to separate the terms for sake of clarity and so to me there are Christians who are religious - attend church and/or follow the tenet of a church - and those who are not. Those who are not tend to be less intrusive into wanting to alter the social framework set up to accommodate all, so as to accommodate their 'faith' - yet they still appear to maintain their faith. So, this makes me wonder what is the point of being religious* - except perhaps to believe "your way" is the only way for everyone and be intrusive in order to try and effect that.

*If we are to exclude the purely social aspect of the activity of religion, which could be accommodated in other, secular, circumstances.

To honor your God, even if I was the last of my kind, the last of my people, ( and I may be) nothing will shake my love for my God, Honor. Not the loss of my wife, the loss of material possessions and freinds and social networks..even My Lord hid himself from me at that time. I walked alone,but my heart was still for my God.

I know now why my Lord hid himself, I did not know at the time, finally he revealed himself to me on a much higher level and in a new way, he healed my heart. I still walk alone, but the lord is with me at times, there's a journey ahead.

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Paranoid Android

Perhaps I was a bit strict with the "attends church" criteria because I know that such attendance may be purely for social reasons, but my meaning behind saying that was to imply the person is being somewhat led in their belief by the representative priest/pastor at the church - i.e. their 'faith' is no longer strictly 'personal'.

If I were inclined to accept the Christian scriptures at face value, then I wouldn't need anyone to 'inform' me as to the meaning of the words - I could reason that out for myself. That would be my 'personal faith'. Once I allow someone else to 'inform' me what certain words or passages refer to, then it ceases to be my faith and becomes in part someone else's. Then I have started down the road to being religious.

Fair enough, I guess I can agree with that. My problem with your argument, then, I suppose is that it suggests that there are large numbers of people in churches (whether Christian or other belief) who subscribe to this method of being told what to believe. And while I do acknowledge they do exist (I've seen it, particularly in mega churches where it becomes a cult of personality more often than anything else) I have literally never met a person in real life who so blindly falls at the feet of whatever church they happen to attend. Perhaps it is a thing of modern Australian Protestantism, but I'd like to think that humans as a general rule are smart enough to know this.

Which brings us back to the original question - where does the line between "faith" and "religion" start and end? In some rare situations I can see your point in the distinction, but for the most part (including my own belief) my views fit far better in your category of "faith" than it does in the latter category. But then (as said) most others I know fit into that exact same category, so the line here is a little confusing to me, if you get what I'm trying to say :)

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Leonardo

Fair enough, I guess I can agree with that. My problem with your argument, then, I suppose is that it suggests that there are large numbers of people in churches (whether Christian or other belief) who subscribe to this method of being told what to believe. And while I do acknowledge they do exist (I've seen it, particularly in mega churches where it becomes a cult of personality more often than anything else) I have literally never met a person in real life who so blindly falls at the feet of whatever church they happen to attend. Perhaps it is a thing of modern Australian Protestantism, but I'd like to think that humans as a general rule are smart enough to know this.

Which brings us back to the original question - where does the line between "faith" and "religion" start and end? In some rare situations I can see your point in the distinction, but for the most part (including my own belief) my views fit far better in your category of "faith" than it does in the latter category. But then (as said) most others I know fit into that exact same category, so the line here is a little confusing to me, if you get what I'm trying to say :)

My opinion would be that most people fall into both categories. Not meaning any disrespect, but I suspect your beliefs have been shaped to some degree by the words of others within some religious authority (they having interpreted scripture and passed that interpretation on to you) and so you can't claim to be free of the influence of 'religion'.

Probably very few people have what I would call a 'truly personal' faith, built entirely from their own thoughts as to what divinity might be and mean. That there are so few is, I believe, to the detriment of a considerate, inclusive society.

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Beany

I decided to turn my status update into a thread hoping to find other who are going through something similar. I'm currently agnostic. Which means I ride the fence of faith. Believing only if proof is given. Yet lately I find holding onto such a possibility to be meaningless. My morality is based around around the Christian moral code. Treat other as I wished to be treated, do good because I want to, etc. Yet the faith in their god(or any god) is not there. Even looked back on 22 years of occult practice I realize how empty I am. Nothing every presented itself as being legit that couldn't be explained away. No ghost, no demons, gods, or angels. Just figments of my imagination. Every prayer that was answer was just confirmation bias same with spell work. Just self induced jedi mind tricks. I feel there is no point in religion. There is no God. If there is a God it doesn't care about us as our fate is totally within our own hands. I'm seriously considering becoming an atheist.

Xeno, I went through a somewhat similar crisis, except that it was self-induced. Every January I adopt a yearly practice, and one year my practice was to believe only what I knew from personal experience to be true. As a result, my long list of beliefs shrunk to about half a page, and now it's even shorter. What I found to be true for myself was that the more I cleared my mind of beliefs that I adopted from others the more clearly I was able to see myself and the world around me and the happier I was. It was sort of like washing a very dirty window. Once it's clean you can see out of it much more clearly. While there are very few things I know for certain, I've found that the divine/universe will teach me everything I need to know if I pay attention and maintain an open mind. I guess what's happening is my belief system is being created step by step, and that works for me. So I think you're in a good place that can lead to some great things, as uncomfortable as you may be in that space. This may be a pivotal time in your life, as a crisis of faith often is. When we create an empty space there's a potential for something wonderful stepping in and filling that space. Best of luck!

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Grandpa Greenman

Unless you consider that various legislation is written by religiously influenced people. :innocent: Then it does affect your brother's actions, since he probably doesn't want to break the law.

I don't think Separation of Church and State is perfect anywhere.

But it is the only way to have religious freedom. Nothing is perfect, but if you are living under a theocracy how much religious freedom are you going to have if you aren't of the State religion. I would say in many modern theocracies I find a state religion leads to religious fascism in the end.

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