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XenoFish

Pointlessness of Religion

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DieChecker

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

I meant my post as a snarky response. Not as an actual, "OH YEAH?? What about this....."

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DieChecker

May I just invite us all to first tell each other what is religion and what is God, in that way we will all be exact on what is the thing or things in religion that we are against, and what is God that we are against, as to conclude that religion is pointless and God does not exist.

I've always thought of God as being a being of energy who watches over all of us, and can influence events in subtle, and not so subtle, ways.

Religion is Organized the framework by which man interacts with God. An individual may talk to God without knowing anything about the history and practices of any religion and do just fine. It is when you are indoctrinated into belief is specific rituals, forms, and practices, that you join a religion.

My personal supposition is God really cares very little about the trappings of religion, and instead seeks each person to have relationship with the Trinity directly. Tithing, performing "works", praying fervently, singing, handling snakes... whatever, is fine, but not necessary. And in some cases just downright stupid to enforce.

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DieChecker

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"?

I'd refer a "true Christian" as one who follows the very core most belief. Live like Christ would live. Very few people can do so. But, it is within everyone's ability to Try. Those that try, honestly try, have nothing to fear, and usually do not fear. Those who try are also true Christians, since they live in a fallen world, but embrace their Salvation and constantly ask forgiveness for falling short. Forgiveness which is always given.

I do believe there are "Christian" groups that are mistaken in many of their beliefs, but I believe that when those people reach Judgement, they will repent and be spared, and go into the New Heaven. I also believe that "good people", who hurt no one and love one another, yet are not professing Christians, will also repent and go into the New Heaven. Yes, even gay people who are not Christian, who are good people will go into Heaven..... Just like the "good" Pre-marital sex people, and the "good" people who have done other Old Testament "sins".

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DieChecker

I am going to agree with you - there is no point to religion.

I'd have to disagree. There are many benefits to religion. You can get social help. You can get free stuff. You can make lifelong friends. You can get motivated to do self improvement....

Sure, those can be done in other ways, but I'd doubt you'd say those other ways have no point? Maybe you mean that religion is Not Necessary?

Regardless, I think you actually mean that Belief in a Supreme Being is not logical.

But religion definitely has many points where it is useful.

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XenoFish
To quote Joey from the TV show Friends... "Are you sure you were doing it right?..."

I was doing it as I was taught. Then I got smart. Realized what they teach in church is hypocritical B.S. So I just dropped the whole church, god, and prayer thing. Wasn't an effective method of getting things done. Realized that I'm responsible for myself. Life became easier after that. Even now when I take a hard look at myself I see the good that it did. I find that being without religion, I'm free from a hive mindset. You could say that the good I do is out of selfish motivation. This is true and so is doing it for religious beliefs as well.

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DieChecker

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.

I'd have to agree. I myself have been a part of at least 4 or 5 different Churches. Many, if not most, people who are practicing Christians move around from Church to Church. Today isn't the year 1800, when a town would have had only one church and only one minister. Most tiny towns usually have several churches of various denominations, and people have as much, if not more choice then they do with soups at the market.

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 :)

This, in my experience, is also true. I've seen at least two Churches that voted the pastor out of office. They literally said, "your personal beliefs don't match ours and we're sending you down the road...". I suspect this happens all the time. The days of a minister/priest/pastor being a powerful authoritarian dictator are well and truly past IMHO.

People that subscribe to the "All Christians are brainwashed." mentality are living 100 years ago, and have no idea what they are talking about in the modern world. Very likely this is due to the same thing that makes people think Muslims are all Terrorists. The source of which is usually the News Media. Idiot fringe groups grab headlines and idiot readers believe it and consider all Christians to be gay hating Bible thumpers.

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DieChecker

I was doing it as I was taught. Then I got smart. Realized what they teach in church is hypocritical B.S. So I just dropped the whole church, god, and prayer thing. Wasn't an effective method of getting things done. Realized that I'm responsible for myself. Life became easier after that. Even now when I take a hard look at myself I see the good that it did. I find that being without religion, I'm free from a hive mindset. You could say that the good I do is out of selfish motivation. This is true and so is doing it for religious beliefs as well.

Well, then I think perhaps it was not taught to you correctly.

Though I don't mind people being atheist. I just tell them to live life as a good person. Feel bad about the things you do wrong. (The things you think are wrong.) And try to do things that are positive and good.

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Galahad

I've always thought of God as being a being of energy who watches over all of us, and can influence events in subtle, and not so subtle, ways.

Religion is Organized the framework by which man interacts with God. An individual may talk to God without knowing anything about the history and practices of any religion and do just fine. It is when you are indoctrinated into belief is specific rituals, forms, and practices, that you join a religion.

My personal supposition is God really cares very little about the trappings of religion, and instead seeks each person to have relationship with the Trinity directly. Tithing, performing "works", praying fervently, singing, handling snakes... whatever, is fine, but not necessary. And in some cases just downright stupid to enforce.

In your response is your Religion ofcourse,

Not everybody believes in the Holy Trinity, is it possible the Lord God works outside the trinity? I suggest historically he has and at many times, founding of the other Religions, extending through to guiding of some philosophy. Socrates believed is some form of Holy Spirit that's called "the still small voice"

( the trinity maintains there all one and same but different, the great unsolved mystery , perfect for a debate and titled as such on UM)

Edited by Galahad

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Starhunter

Offered to you by whom?

By God through the circumstances of life. The same as anyone else.

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DieChecker

In your response is your Religion ofcourse,

Not everybody believes in the Holy Trinity, is it possible the Lord God works outside the trinity? I suggest historically he has and at many times, founding of the other Religions, extending through to guiding of some philosophy. Socrates believed is some form of Holy Spirit that's called "the still small voice"

( the trinity maintains there all one and same but different, the great unsolved mystery , perfect for a debate and titled as such on UM)

Yes, my assumption was based on a Christian point of view. I'll even admit that one can be a Christian and not believe in the Trinity.

I thought the question that was posted referred to individual beliefs and asking to post such, as related to God and Religion. :innocent:

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keithisco

Going back to the original question raised: "is Religion pointless" I am seeing, not quite a consensus, but a feeling that those within the structure of a formalised religion do not accept that Religion is pointless. Yet, those outside of the formalised structures and codices of a Church (such as Roman Catholicism, Lutheran, Baptist etc) see the concept of common ritualistic practises as "pointless".

I think a lot of the negativity towards Religions (and in this instance I am referring to the 3 Abrahamic Religions) are the excesses expressed by some of their leading Churches:

Where are the commandments:

1. "Though shallt raise enormous edifices in my name"

2. "Though shallt protect paedophiles in your church"

3. "Though shallt accumulate enormous wealth unto thyself"

4. "Thou shallt kill in my name as thou wilst'"

5. "Though shallt cherry pick any verse from the Holy book to justify any actions that you take"

You can probably see where I am coming from - but I think the point I am trying to make is valid. Religion IS corrupt (therefore pointless), whereas personal Faith is not because it is a truer expression of your belief.

If there is a God, then surely you do not need to be taught this, surely should not such a thing be as immutably apparent to everyone, as your own physical being is? Again if there is a "God of Love" then shouldn't this God actually be "mostly harmless" (Douglas Adams reference)?

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Leonardo

Does that mean that if someone quotes Richard Dawkins then their beliefs about the world have been "influenced" by someone and therefore atheism is a religion as well as a faith?

I mean, by this same reasoning, my study of Shakespeare and Artaud and Beckett was influenced by my university lecturers, and therefore I cannot be said to be free from their influence either, and therefore my beliefs about what they wrote is in some way "religious" because they are molded by outside influences.

Obviously non-theological beliefs can be viewed the same way, and the definition of 'religious' can be applied to behaviours and mind-sets outside the realm of theology.

Perhaps the only distinction I would make is whether or not we could qualify it as a 'belief' - especially in the case of observational/experimental disciplines such as science.

Edited by Leonardo
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keithisco

For myself: Atheism is the anti-thesis of Belief [...in a religious component to my existence]. It is a fairly simple standpoint, invoking no ritualised observance to being an Atheist. Within the scientific realm I do not bring any religious / belief baggage with me, and so I do not specifically look for, nor do I suppress, anything that I might discover (however,aeronautical engineering is hardly awash with fundamental particle physics discoveries :unsure2: ).

Being an Atheist does not prevent me from reading Religious Articles or books, neither does it prevent me from going to churches - it DOES give me the freedom to investigate, and explore whatever and wherever I want to without offending my sensibilities.

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Border Collie

Going back to the original question raised: "is Religion pointless" I am seeing, not quite a consensus, but a feeling that those within the structure of a formalised religion do not accept that Religion is pointless. Yet, those outside of the formalised structures and codices of a Church (such as Roman Catholicism, Lutheran, Baptist etc) see the concept of common ritualistic practises as "pointless".

I think a lot of the negativity towards Religions (and in this instance I am referring to the 3 Abrahamic Religions) are the excesses expressed by some of their leading Churches:

Where are the commandments:

1. "Though shallt raise enormous edifices in my name"

2. "Though shallt protect paedophiles in your church"

3. "Though shallt accumulate enormous wealth unto thyself"

4. "Thou shallt kill in my name as thou wilst'"

5. "Though shallt cherry pick any verse from the Holy book to justify any actions that you take"

You can probably see where I am coming from - but I think the point I am trying to make is valid. Religion IS corrupt (therefore pointless), whereas personal Faith is not because it is a truer exp<b></b>ression of your belief.

If there is a God, then surely you do not need to be taught this, surely should not such a thing be as immutably apparent to everyone, as your own physical being is? Again if there is a "God of Love" then shouldn't this God actually be "mostly harmless" (Douglas Adams reference)?

Nice post. I largely agree with you, with one proviso. If a religion helps someone through the veil of tears, so to speak, then it has purpose and meaning. Not for me, but it doesn't have to have a point for me if it has a point for someone else.

I have some very religious relatives, and I am most happy for them. They draw strength from it when they need it, and we all have times like that.

So the flaw of this thread, if you all will forgive me, is the expectation that if it has a point, it must have a point for all.

A religion is only the formalising and organising of individual faith. Some need it, some don't. The dead hand of bureaucracy and individual greed and lust for power are what rot religions.

Believe in what you believe in, but allow others the same freedom. I abhor proselytising.

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Leonardo

I'd have to disagree. There are many benefits to religion. You can get social help. You can get free stuff. You can make lifelong friends. You can get motivated to do self improvement....

Sure, those can be done in other ways, but I'd doubt you'd say those other ways have no point? Maybe you mean that religion is Not Necessary?

When something is unnecessary, why is there any point to it? They are essentially the same thing.

Regardless, I think you actually mean that Belief in a Supreme Being is not logical.

No, I did not. I made it very clear that faith is worthwhile. Religion is not.

But religion definitely has many points where it is useful.

A person could make the argument that religion is useful for a person afraid to look outside that which is familiar to them for support and/or succor.

My counter to that is "Why is something that is limiting to a person's perspective, considered 'useful'?"

Edited by Leonardo
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Paranoid Android

Obviously non-theological beliefs can be viewed the same way, and the definition of 'religious' can be applied to behaviours and mind-sets outside the realm of theology.

Perhaps the only distinction I would make is whether or not we could qualify it as a 'belief' - especially in the case of observational/experimental disciplines such as science.

It's an opinion on the nature of our universe, and everyone's opinions are always formed with outside help. In saying that, there are a number of atheists who try to make the distinction that they don't "believe God doesn't exist", but they just "see no reason to accept that a deity exists". Which is a fair enough point. Except for the fact that I then see many of these atheists start threads and literally use the phrase "God doesn't exist", furthermore often trying the apologetics route of "the quicker humanity accepts this fact the quicker we can grow as a species".

It would be wrong of me to say that "all atheists do this", since clearly they don't. But it's common enough that I think many atheists can hold their world views just as religiously as theists are often said to do.

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Leonardo

It's an opinion on the nature of our universe, and everyone's opinions are always formed with outside help. In saying that, there are a number of atheists who try to make the distinction that they don't "believe God doesn't exist", but they just "see no reason to accept that a deity exists". Which is a fair enough point. Except for the fact that I then see many of these atheists start threads and literally use the phrase "God doesn't exist", furthermore often trying the apologetics route of "the quicker humanity accepts this fact the quicker we can grow as a species".

It would be wrong of me to say that "all atheists do this", since clearly they don't. But it's common enough that I think many atheists can hold their world views just as religiously as theists are often said to do.

I have my own views on the 'belief' of atheists, and I know this doesn't correspond with what atheists believe of themselves. While I might not agree with a description of atheistic belief as "religious" because there is usually no ritual involved, I can see where the reliance on personal (not self) testimony without any evidence supporting that testimony can be said to be "religious behaviour".

Probably the majority of beliefs are "religious" in this way - being reliant on the word of others and not formed via any (or little) self-reliance/self-reasoning. As I said, I would probably make an exception for 'beliefs' which incorporate real observation and experimentation - i.e. 'science' among other disciplines.

Edited by Leonardo

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eight bits

Religion, even Buddhism, even the Society of Friends (Quakers), seems to turn on a collective adoption of some prescribed methods for dealing with an agreed-upon Ultimate Concern in groups. I suppose group activity is inevitable in a species dominated by extroverts, but detailed prescribed method is not inevitable.

Last year, GreenmansGod posted a short thread on Frank Sinatra's opinions about religion, based on Sinatra's reading of Matthew's version of the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5, 6 and 7) informed by Sinatra's gritty expereince of life in a Judeo-Christian culture.

http://www.unexplain...howtopic=271774

These insightful remarks from an unexpected source (the interviewer from Playboy magazine offered Sinatra the opportunity to start over, as if an entertainer couldn't possibly have wanted to go on the record with such shocking ideas about the sacred) are bluntly opposed to "organized" religion... or, if you prefer, bluntly favoring sincerely pious non-reiligion.

We've had also had recent threads where posters have discussed Jesus inconveniently advocating short, quiet prayer in private. When we see him praying in the Passion narratives, his prayer is short, quiet and in private - not the "formula" he taught, thus reinforcing the impression that "The Lord's Prayer" was an example, rather than a formula for rote group recitation.

Finally, although the book has no "authority" except among those who are curious about what Jesus actually taught, Thomas 113 depicts Jesus telling his disciples about a "kingdom of the Father" that exists in the present and is spread out on the Earth, here and now. Luke 17: 20-21 confirms a tradition that Jesus taught an accessible present-tense Kingdom, but depicts that as a public teaching to the Pharisees rather than a private teaching to the disciples. A contrary private teaching immediately follows in Luke, one which affirms the future tense inaccessible-without-group-membership Kingdom that Christianity came to embrace.

All these things point to the possibility of a Christian non-religion: people privately attending to the teachings of Jesus (maybe others', too) as best those ideas can now be recovered and applied to circumstances Jesus never contemplated, having their own personal relationship with God and with their fellow people, and just generally minding their own business. Such people would predictably strive to be virtuous, and would offer little cause for anti-theists to worry that believers would join forces to interfere with secular concerns on religious grounds.

It would also give new meaning to the accusation that somebody is a closet Christian :). "Well, thank you, I try" would be the response.

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Paranoid Android

I have my own views on the 'belief' of atheists, and I know this doesn't correspond with what atheists believe of themselves. While I might not agree with a description of atheistic belief as "religious" because there is usually no ritual involved, I can see where the reliance on personal (not self) testimony without any evidence supporting that testimony can be said to be "religious behaviour".

Probably the majority of beliefs are "religious" in this way - being reliant on the word of others and not formed via any (or little) self-reliance/self-reasoning. As I said, I would probably make an exception for 'beliefs' which incorporate real observation and experimentation - i.e. 'science' among other disciplines.

So you are making a distinction of "religious" as a matter of ritual and the like. As I observed when I first replied, there is a common application of this idea of ritual as being "religious" as opposed to other forms of faith, but (and perhaps this is semantics only) it is not consistent with the dictionary definition of the term in question. While ritual is one aspect of the definition, it is not the only definition and can be applied across multiple concepts of what faith, belief, and religion are. But the way modern culture has come to understand the term, it's solely held often in terms of liturgy, particularly that of the most unthinking and unquestioning idea of liturgy.

Therefore many people (even, and sometimes especially those of religious faith) attempt to paint their beliefs in a different light - religion is about things we DO to make right with God. But God already died and rose again, therefore Christianity is about what God has already DONE for us, therefore Christianity is a way of life, not a religion. I can pray and bow and take communion and sing songs and recite the Lord's Prayer a thousand times a day for a thousand years but they cannot save me, they are worthless things we do, but they can serve to worship God, but they do not save us. Therefore my views on Christianity are not religious because I hold zero ritualistic interest in these things, anymore than a cos-player dressing up as their favourite sci-fi or anime character and then cheering on the actor (even in acts of hero worship, bowing down [sometimes literally] with full respect to the work of that actor) who played that character or voiced that anime at their next comic convention.

See how the idea of "religion" can thus be made redundant?

Edit: Just as an extension of my cos-play analogy, several years ago I was in Queensland at a pop-culture expo when I had to take photos and elohel (lol) at two guys, both turned up separately and randomly, but shook hands and hugged it out, one dressed as Santa, the other as Jesus. Even us Christians rarely get excited enough about Jesus to dress up like he's depicted in mediaeval art on Sundays :santa::devil::D

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Leonardo

So you are making a distinction of "religious" as a matter of ritual and the like. As I observed when I first replied, there is a common application of this idea of ritual as being "religious" as opposed to other forms of faith, but (and perhaps this is semantics only) it is not consistent with the dictionary definition of the term in question. While ritual is one aspect of the definition, it is not the only definition and can be applied across multiple concepts of what faith, belief, and religion are. But the way modern culture has come to understand the term, it's solely held often in terms of liturgy, particularly that of the most unthinking and unquestioning idea of liturgy.

"Religious behaviour" can include ritual, but does not have to - dependent, I suppose, on how we define "ritual". If an atheist consistently refers to something Dawkins said as part of their 'defense' of their atheism, is that "ritual"?

Did you expect me to argue "religious behaviour" is only the behaviour of using the words of another to support your belief?

Therefore many people (even, and sometimes especially those of religious faith) attempt to paint their beliefs in a different light - religion is about things we DO to make right with God. But God already died and rose again, therefore Christianity is about what God has already DONE for us, therefore Christianity is a way of life, not a religion. I can pray and bow and take communion and sing songs and recite the Lord's Prayer a thousand times a day for a thousand years but they cannot save me, they are worthless things we do, but they can serve to worship God, but they do not save us. Therefore my views on Christianity are not religious because I hold zero ritualistic interest in these things, anymore than a cos-player dressing up as their favourite sci-fi or anime character and then cheering on the actor (even in acts of hero worship, bowing down [sometimes literally] with full respect to the work of that actor) who played that character or voiced that anime at their next comic convention.

See how the idea of "religion" can thus be made redundant?

Do you pray?

Do you consistently use some unevidenced method or dogma to support/affirm your faith?

Do you consider that behaviour might be described as "ritual"?

Edited by Leonardo

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Mr Walker

So are you opposed to Nuns or Priests or any person of the Cloth?

No. Neither am I opposed to football players or umpires etc. If a person finds a vocation or job in a religious order, or a football club, that doesn't harm them or others But I wouldn't take any more notice of a priest than I would of a football player or club official. Neither has any authority over me unless I give it to them.

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Paranoid Android

"Religious behaviour" can include ritual, but does not have to - dependent, I suppose, on how we define "ritual". If an atheist consistently refers to something Dawkins said as part of their 'defense' of their atheism, is that "ritual"?

Did you expect me to argue "religious behaviour" is only the behaviour of using the words of another to support your belief?

Not "only" that, but it did seem to be a significant point in your comment. Listening to people who I feel were "authorities" on the subject to inform my views, and therefore I was influenced by "religion". I did get the strong implication that "religion" was in part defined by informing your views on an "authority figure whom you trust". As such:

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'.

So listening to a pastor give an insight into theology is "religious", listening to a scientist give insight into biology, listening to a Literary Scholar give insight into the deeper meaning of Shakespeare, these are fundamentally different things?

Do you pray?

Do you consistently use some unevidenced method or dogma to support/affirm your faith?

Do you consider that behaviour might be described as "ritual"?

I consider it "worship", ritual is something very different. Ritual is about doing something in a prescribed order. Sure, a church service has an order. But so does an AGM of your local sports club. At our local RSL (Retired Servicemans League Club) every day on 7pm there is an ode to fallen soldiers as the Last Post is played over the club's PA system ("Paranoid Android System, ;) ). This is ritual. Prayer is just talking to God. I don't have a set time in the day or night to do it, just whenever the moment seems right to myself. Reading the Bible is just listening to God, I don't have a schedule where I read one chapter at 10am every day, and I certainly don't do it because I feel ritually obliged to do it.
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Mr Walker

Very true my dear. While forgiveness is all about the forgiver...non-forgiveness is also all about the forgiver. Some wrongs are just Eternally Wrong.

Just because something is wrong doesn't mean it cant be forgiven (Actually we don't need to forgive things which are "right") I thnk people misunderstand the biblical nature of forgiveness It is forgiving another for the harm they do to you (as christ forgave those who killed him) A human can (has the capacity to) choose to forgive any harm against them and to forgive the one who harmed them. This is essential to the mental health and well being of the one hurt or harmed.( ill ive you two personal examples Two familes I know had their sons brutally murdered. One family could not forgive the killer and was in turn destroyed by grief hate ager and vengeance ec. The other did forgive the killer and was able to get on with a productive ad positive life.

But forgiveness does not mean not holding the perpetrator accountable A wrong doer must make amends or be punished according to the law even if a family/individual forgives them the harm they did. Forgiveness does not override justice.

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Leonardo

So listening to a pastor give an insight into theology is "religious", listening to a scientist give insight into biology, listening to a Literary Scholar give insight into the deeper meaning of Shakespeare, these are fundamentally different things?

Of those 3 'lectures', only one can be independently verified via observation/experimentation. Care to guess which one and why I give it an exemption?

I consider it "worship", ritual is something very different. Ritual is about doing something in a prescribed order. Sure, a church service has an order. But so does an AGM of your local sports club. At our local RSL (Retired Servicemans League Club) every day on 7pm there is an ode to fallen soldiers as the Last Post is played over the club's PA system ("Paranoid Android System, ;) ). This is ritual. Prayer is just talking to God. I don't have a set time in the day or night to do it, just whenever the moment seems right to myself. Reading the Bible is just listening to God, I don't have a schedule where I read one chapter at 10am every day, and I certainly don't do it because I feel ritually obliged to do it.

Ritual doesn't need to be "on a schedule". Ritual is simply a habitual (those two words could be said to be synonymous, in fact) behaviour performed to fulfill a certain function. A lot of what we do in our daily lives is ritualistic behaviour - we are creatures of habit.

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Paranoid Android

Of those 3 'lectures', only one can be independently verified via observation/experimentation. Care to guess which one and why I give it an exemption?

So what are your thoughts on literary analysis then? Does my assessment that I sent in to be marked several years ago about Twelfth Night become less a valid approach if I listen to my lecturers rather than never go to a lecture and then just tell them what I thought about it? Or should I listen to people who spent years studying the subject in order to make an informed decision on what to accept, what to reject, and what arguments and points of view are legitimate avenues of discussion and thought? Surely if I want to know how to properly understand a text like Twelfth Night I should take the time to listen to the experts. And sure, the "experts" here are defined by a qualification from a tertiary institution and then employed at an educational institution. Another institution might hire someone else with a different approach (my two lecturers for this course admitted they were being about as "liberal" as they could be in approaching the texts, another university might require a more conservatively traditional view). But the point is that through my study I came to learn a gamut of different views and from there I made a decision on which approach was best. If I had a conservative lecturer, even though I may hold a liberal view on the text I certainly wouldn't submit it as my answer.

Why does being influenced by people who have been trained in theology make my views different? I'm not sure I understand why you place such great emphasis on what these people have said, I've heard many sides of theology, often theology that disagreed with other theology, and so when I choose one view that made sense to me, the fact that I began by approaching experts seems like a strange thing to comment on as the basis of being "religious".

Ritual doesn't need to be "on a schedule". Ritual is simply a habitual (those two words could be said to be synonymous, in fact) behaviour performed to fulfill a certain function. A lot of what we do in our daily lives is ritualistic behaviour - we are creatures of habit.

So if a lot of what we do in a day is considered "ritual" why is only that ritualised behaviour done in a context of God defined as "religious"? And moreover, that specified "religiousness" is deemed by you as "pointless"? What other rituals do we do in our daily lives that have meaning, compared to others that are pointless? Edited by Paranoid Android

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