Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion

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BB84 Posts : 388 Registered: 3/31/06
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 20, 2008 8:47 PM Go to message in response to: ChrissLady

“My question is wouldn't you rather live like there is a higher power and die and find out there isn't, than live like there isn't one only to die and find out there is?  Just food for thought.” 

I am agnostic as well.  I grew up in a Christian household and have studied religion extensively.  Here’s the deal:  you can’t ‘pretend’ to believe in Christ.  Theoretically, Christ knows the difference.  I didn’t ‘choose’ not to believe, I just don’t believe in the Christian God.  I am incapable of making myself. 

What do you mean by living like there’s a higher power?  I hope you’re not implying that people who don’t aren’t as good of people as those who do.  I think the Bible has some great advice….treat others as you’d want to be treated for one.  I do my best to be a good person….not for God, but for myself and the general good of society.  But I’m not going to go to church or put on a show because I’m afraid I’ll burn in hell if I don’t.  Like I said, even if the Christian God does exist, he would know the difference between someone who truly accepts and believes in him and someone who doesn’t. 

The truth is, I don’t know if there’s a higher power.  I tend to think of nature as a higher power.  I don’t pretend to know the answers, but I don’t believe in a jealous God who will send you straight to hell if you don’t worship him.

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ryanne Posts : 1,042 Registered: 4/27/06
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 20, 2008 11:34 PM Go to message in response to: BooBishaBride

Every Christian I've met (in-person) since I moved has disappointed me and I find that the most moral, caring and polite people I know are all atheists.

I hear you on that, Boo! I got into a theatre group a few years ago and I made some of my best friends there. They have been more real, more genuine, more supportive and encouraging than 99% of my Christian friends. And even further than that, people talk about going to church for fellowship and all that....well, I get that feeling from being with these people. We all just ARE. We're accepting of each other where we are, as we are, and it's great.

This is a quote from a Reverand Paul Glass that we always put on the back of our programs:

Imagine a place where people gather to worship so fervently that they often clap their hands together in eager anticipation. 
Imagine a place where people are confronted with the deep, perplexing issues of what it means to be human.
Imagine a place where people are helped to face up to issues within themselves that they had long buried or ignored and find themselves brought to a point of healing.
Imagine a communal experience where people are lifted to the heights of joy and excitement and the leave the building light, happier, better able to face their lives and the questions they are daily confronted with.
Where is this church that is doing everything right?
Where is this tiny paradise on earth?
At your local theatre.

What's sad about that, is that I have yet to find a church that gives me all that--and yet that's what it's THERE for. I understand that people are human, but I think that that's EXACTLY what's wrong with organized religion and churches. I really do.


 

Our Wedding Website: www.mywedding.com/chrisandryanne

 

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kelleyiskelley Posts : 11,590 Registered: 7/2/06
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 12:50 AM Go to message in response to: ryanne

Ryanne,are you an actress/performer? I am too. I absolutely love that quote you put on your programs.. I have never seen that before. Thats really great and very true in my experience.

Time for BL5!!! And here come The OLD MARRIED FATTIES!!!!!

Stay tuned for The Aisle Runner's official website...LAUNCHING THIS APRIL!

GO YANKEES!!!

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 2:44 AM Go to message in response to: kelleyiskelley

“My question is wouldn't you rather live like there is a higher power and die and find out there isn't, than live like there isn't one only to die and find out there is?  Just food for thought.” 

I am Christian, but I don't really understand this statement.  Can you elaborate?  I feel as though you either believe in something, or you don't - you can't just choose to believe in it. 

I am, however, concerned with the number of posters who seem to actually look DOWN upon religion...okay, maybe concerned is not the right word.  I am a) disappointed, because in part, I agree with them - that the religious community seems to be getting worse and worse, and b) it saddens me that, as a Christian, I feel as though I am judged negatively for it.

In my opinion, religion really does seem to be causing more problems than good when it comes to the organized aspects of it.  That's one of the reasons I no longer go to church

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BooBishaBride Posts : 120 Registered: 1/31/08
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 2:13 PM Go to message in response to: 08divabride

I live in California 08divabride. Since I'm at prestigious university, must people are nonreligious. I did join a few student faith organizations, but in the end it didn't pan out. My favorite person to talk religion with is FH. He's neither religious or nonreligious. He's very scientifically inclined, but doesn't assume that there isn't a God. He's contemplated the characteristics of God that he may believe in. (If God exists than I believe he would be like...)

His beliefs on God match up with mine even though he's never been to church. Organized religion scares him and makes him uncomfortable because of childhood experience. When he first came home with me for Christmas, I warned him that we may go to a Christmas Eve Mass. He was willing to go for me, but I could tell that it made him extremely uncomfortable and nervous. I can understand that feeling. I attended a 'holly rollers' church once and it almost scared be to my core. There is no worse feeling than that...the connection with Lord God is a personal one which should be decided as such

 

Nocturnius- The church I went to growing up in Reno, NV had multiple disabled people in the congregation. I've never heard of such a thing as rejecting someone like that! It's terrible, someone needs to pray for the misguided pastors. I don't know if you're near Nevada but I grew up thinking nothing of worshiping next to someone in a wheel chair.

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BooBishaBride Posts : 120 Registered: 1/31/08
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 2:24 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

I wouldn't say I look down on fellow Christians, but I feel as though I don't bother to get my hopes up when I meet fellow Christians. As I child I was very very faithful. I kept a "Dear Jesus" diary, because I felt witting to him was more personal than reciting a prayer. When I followed Jesus in making friends with people that other Christians had shunned. There were a few Wiccan people that I was geniunely friends with. They had been so hurt and offended and antagonized by Christians in the past that they thought all Christians were bad news. After they found out I was Christian they began considering Jesus as more than just a dogmatic figurehead for a corrupt church. 

It saddened me so much that people push Christ away or don't even legitimately consider him because of the actions of judgmental Christians. As I said in the last post FH is one of those who was scarred away from Christ because of the actions of Christians. I shudder to consider how many followers Christ lost after every Harry Potter book burning and such. 

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ryanne Posts : 1,042 Registered: 4/27/06
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 3:50 PM Go to message in response to: kelleyiskelley

Kelley--I'm trying. lol. I am involved with a community theatre in my area, and I also teach beginning voice and piano for the studio I have been a student at for the last 4 years. I actually have an audition for a music program at one of the local universities tomorrow at 10 am. So yeah. I guess you could say I am. :) But yeah--that quote is amazing!

Sorry ladies! Had to hijack the thread for just a sec! lol.


 

Our Wedding Website: www.mywedding.com/chrisandryanne

 

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08divabride Posts : 831 Registered: 11/17/07
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 4:40 PM Go to message in response to: BooBishaBride

Oh well, BooBishaBride I live all the way in Georgia!  Thought you could've visited my church one Sunday!


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EveT2007 Posts : 1,949 Registered: 8/31/06
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 5:00 PM Go to message in response to: 08divabride

Dear Chrisslady (Monica), I'm sorry for not answering your question: "Eve, you say 'used to practice', what do you do now?"  I hadn't checked this thread for a couple of days.

I'm back in Christianity now, active in a Congregational church.  I was raised Lutheran and took an excursion to being Quaker in high school, much to my parents' horror.  I had some major guilt issues around the Lutheran approach to communion, and then when I got divorced it was like the most awful thing anyone in my family could have done, so I stayed away from church for years. 

Eventually I went back to a Lutheran church, then Episcopal, back to Lutheran, and then found this fabulous Congregational church where I am now. 

During the years I was staying away from church (and calling myself an agnostic), a friend told me about a Buddhist temple that held meditation sessions open to anyone, so I started going there.  Buddhism (at least at this temple) doesn't call itself a religion, but rather a practice.  As far as they were concerned, you could be Buddhist and Catholic, Buddhist and Baptist, Buddhist and Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish.  You were welcome to call yourself a Buddhist if you felt right doing so, or you could say "I practice Buddhism" (meaning that you meditate on some sort of regular basis and you take some sort of interest in Buddhist philosophy -- not that you have to agree with Buddhist philosophy, because much of Buddhist philosophy is based on the idea that there is no agreement and no need for agreement.  Fun stuff.)

Do any of you listen to the radio program "Speaking of Faith" or subscribe to the weekly email newsletter about the program?


"When Women Vote, We All Win!"

EveT

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EveT2007 Posts : 1,949 Registered: 8/31/06
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 5:14 PM Go to message in response to: EveT2007

Oh, here's another thought.  Some of you have talked about living a good life.  I wonder how we can assess that ourselves.  Did you know that something like 75% of people who drive rate themselves as being "above average" drivers?  By definition, only 50% can be above average.  The point being that it's human nature to see yourself as doing better than others, because when you mess up you tend to make excuses for yourself, whereas when someone else messes up you tend to see it as being their fault.

Gotta share a story with you.  A boy I knew in high school was Catholic, went to mass regularly, went to confession, etc.  Yet he used tell people that he didn't believe in God, that only a fool could believe in God.  To underscore his point that it was OK not to believe in God, he would often say, "I live as good a life as anyone else." 

Yeah, right.  He used to curse and swear whenever he lost his temper, which was often.  When his girlfriend was 16, he blackmailed her into having sex with him by threatening to tell her parents that she HAD had sex with him unless she let him, in which case he would keep it a secret.  He was also abusive to her, verbally and physically -- once he punched and tried to strangle her because she dared to say "I'm not afraid of you" to his face.  When she tried to break up with him, he told her that he had a gun and would shoot himself.  She finally decided she would just have to take that chance.  That boy grew up to become an attorney.

I guess my point is that hypocrisy comes in many forms.  Most people would say "I'm a good person" and "I practice what I preach," or live by their beliefs, walk the walk -- whatever phrase you want to use.  But when viewed by others, their behavior may be at odds with what they say they believe.  I guess that's where the maxim "Actions speak louder than words" comes from?


"When Women Vote, We All Win!"

EveT

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thebigcheese Posts : 155 Registered: 4/2/07
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 8:05 PM Go to message in response to: ChrissLady

My question is wouldn't you rather live like there is a higher power and die and find out there isn't, than live like there isn't one only to die and find out there is?

ChrissLady, what you've describe here is called Pascal's Wager.  I'm not going to C&P a bunch of stuff from the internet deconstructing that argument because there's a lot, but if you google it you'll find out why atheists don't subscribe to that line of thinking.

But the short answer to your question is that I am positive I will not die and find out that there actually is some sort of deity.  And either way, it makes no difference in how I life my life.

 

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newsjunkie Posts : 3,417 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 21, 2008 11:45 PM Go to message in response to: ChrissLady

ChrissLady, that is a really interesting question and as an atheist I hope I can shed some light on it. The thing is, for you to even bother "playing it safe" you actually believe in something, just not necessarily a specific religion.  You have faith and that is why it is probably hard to imagine NOT having faith.  I DON'T have faith and it is kind of hard for me to imagine having it. 

So, no, I wouldn't live like there is a higher power because I KNOW that there isn't- just as YOU know that there is.  And that is OK for both of us.

But just because I don't believe in God (or Allah or Buddha or anyone or anything else) doesn't mean I'm some sort of horrible person.  I think I'm a pretty good person.  In fact, when I was growing up I could never remember what religion we technically were (I was baptized Catholic but nothing happened after that) and my mom would tell me we were just "good people".  (Strangely enough, this is the exact same thing that- years later- Roseanne told D.J. on one of the episodes of Roseanne!)  I don't go to church, I don't pray, I don't believe in God.  I am, however, nice to people, don't do bad things (steal, covet, murder- all that 10 Commandment stuff).  I even celebrate the various religions though I celebrate them as family traditions, not as what they were intended for.

It's kind of late and I'm tired so I hope that made sense.  I'll try to come by tomorrow and make sure it did!  :)

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Bride2008 Posts : 3,058 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 22, 2008 9:50 AM Go to message in response to: newsjunkie

I believe in a higher power of some sort, even though I am not sure exactly what that might be. I was raised as a Catholic, but I do not accept all Catholic teachings. I basically live me life around the notion of  Christ's law of "Love others as I love you". Which essentially means, be good to each other. And all religions ideals and beliefs aside, that is what we should be doing anyway. Atheist, buddhist, catholic, jewish, etc. - there is no need to hurt one another.

 

"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." - Billy Crystal, When Harry met Sally 

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kennysoldwife Posts : 3,859 Registered: 4/28/07
Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 22, 2008 12:02 PM Go to message in response to: ChrissLady

Imagine a place where people gather to worship so fervently that they often clap their hands together in eager anticipation. 
Imagine a place where people are confronted with the deep, perplexing issues of what it means to be human.
Imagine a place where people are helped to face up to issues within themselves that they had long buried or ignored and find themselves brought to a point of healing.
Imagine a communal experience where people are lifted to the heights of joy and excitement and the leave the building light, happier, better able to face their lives and the questions they are daily confronted with.
Where is this church that is doing everything right?
Where is this tiny paradise on earth?
At your local theatre.

That decribes the church I grew up in and the one I now attend.  I no longer attend the Church I grew up in simply because I no longer can.  It has not changed I have. 

The church I grew up in was founded by my mother and several others.  The feel of the church was always comforting and welcoming which is the way people always described my mother.  For me the Church is not the same because my mother is no longer there.  My brother is still there because he still feels my mothers presents I don't. 

I am Christian I believe in living a life that is Christ like.  I think that means and I was taught that it means to Love one another.  That means to treat all people the same no matter who they are or what they believe. 

I think what has bappened to Churches is very sad.  As many have said they have been confronted by very narrow minded people.  If they are true Christians they would be loving and welcoming to everyone no matter what.  So by being narrow-minded and intolerant they can not be Christians. 

I had what i would call a crisis of faith.  In June of 1999 my cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer, in July of the same year my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer.  My cousin had a mastecomy and radition and chemo and is a surviorer.  My mother had surgery and died the next day.  At that time I was very angry and turned my back on God because I felt that he had let me down.  How could he let my mother who was a good loving woman die and allow my cousin who did not live a good moral life live?  That just didn't make sense to me. 

We had an autopsy performed on my mother.  The cancer had developed on the outside of her colon not the inside. So by the time she had been diagnosed the cancer had spread throughout her abdomen.  It was in her spleen, liver, lymph nodes and had even spread into her lungs.  She would have required chemo and that would have only prolonged her life for a little while.  That life would have been very hard and painful for her.  She would not have wanted us to see her like that.  That would have hurt her more than anything.  So what I have come to realize is that a good and loving God would have taken my mother away from me in the way that she was taken for her sake as well as mine. 

As for my cousin she has since gone back to her religious roots and has in her words turned her life back over to God. 

I hope this makes sense and explains where I am coming from.  I don't want to appear to be preachy or anything just wanting to share my experience. 


Kenny and Me Perfect Together,  10 years and counting.

 



Message was edited by: kennysnewwife

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Re: Not to start an argument, but question about spirituality/religion
Posted: Mar 22, 2008 1:01 PM Go to message in response to: kennysoldwife

Thanks to all for the thoughtful respectful sharing. I am a Christian and also an so saddened by the way people who claim to represent Christ have so distorted the faith. Jesus was clear that many who say "Lord, Lord" do not know him--and that others--even who do not know when they ever saw him--served Him nonetheless. God reads the heart--not the externals. Jesus also reserved his harshest criticism for the "good religious folks of his day" who increased the burden of the outcast and downtrodden with their judgments and caused children to stumble. They were the ones who crucified him--and they are still doing it--witness the harsh treatment of the disabled sister of a previous poster. However, that is certainly not representative of many, many churches who recognize that we are all both "disabled" and "beautiful" (and sometimes our disabilities are what makes us beautiful) I encourage posters who have a faith to not give up trying to find a faith community where you can receive fellowship and be part of changing the false face of Christianity that has turned so many off.

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