Religion, faith, spirituality...

Gagi

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I'm wondering, what are your views on these? How were you brought up and is it any different from what you believe in now - and why do you believe in it anyway, what are the reasons and why do you think your choice is the only/best one? And so forth...

Arguments are allowed, as long as they are constructive. Hate will get you banned...and maybe you'll end up in hell as well, if that's what you believe in.

Also, please do not try to preach any sort of gospel here and try to convert people. This is about listening to other people and their viewpoints.
 
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Magnevi

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I was raised with christianity. Not very strict per se. Not going to the church every week, although regularly. Not really reading from the bible regularly at home. But we did "pray" before dinner. Which was waiting with my eyes open for me.

I also went to a christian school. Both a christian primary school (age 4-11), and the one after that (age 12-17). Both were similar to my home situation. Not very strict. Religion was one of the subjects, but it was also about other religions. It was showing what's going on in the world. Not showing what one should do. So it wasn't very narrow-minded I guess. I never had a problem with it. There was an openly lesbian teacher as well, so that shows the school wasn't too bad.

I was pretty much never religious myself. At least since I started thinking around age 11/12/13. Around that time I stopped going to church. My parents didn't really make a big fight out of that. They just thought it was boring for a child, and it was my own decision anyway.

Being gay probably was a big factor in leaving christianity. But I think I would have stopped with it anyway. Simply because I don't think it makes sense to go a (sometimes rather nicely build) church and sing to some supreme creature that is supposed to have created it all. Above that their conservative stance on various points I don't agree with. If there would be a god, as in the one from the bible, I'm pretty sure he sees his little humanity-project as "failed". Can't imagine him being proud or satisfied with the "christians" that are supposed to be his followers. He's probably embarrassed.

So what do I believe? Well I believe nothing. Because I think we can't know. And it's a bit strange for me to believe in something you don't know. I like facts. That's why I prefer to replace the word "believe" with "hope". Because I do hope there is something more than just life on earth here and now. Not just because life ends, and death is a sad eternal end of you. But also more in a practical way. If it's all just coicendence, that seems stupid to me. A waste of space, time and energy. So mostly out of practical perspective, it would make sense to me if there's something....
 
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Gagi

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As for me, my dad, thankfully, when it was time for me to be Christened/baptized, said he would let me decide when I turn 18 whether I want to do it or not. He didn't want to force anything on me - neither belief nor the lack of it. He wasn't religious at all, but he also wasn't anti-religious. He was anti-forcing religions upon someone. He answered all of my questions on religion almost diplomatically.

So that's one of the reasons I'm not religious now. I had a couple of moments when I did want to become a priest when I grow up (I was 6) because the girl I liked had a father who was a priest. But I did tell her I was not religious even at the age of 6. Later on, in my ultra-patriotic years, I was also thinking I was religious, but it passed quite quickly.

But then again, I grew up where religion is closely tied to nationality - almost all of my friends say you can't be a Serb and not be Orthodox Christian. Traditions - pointless, superstitious, paganistic (for real though!) or otherwise - are the main focus of the religion, but there's not a lot of spirituality and morality. The cynic in me sees all these traditions as something that goes far away from the actual religion.

Case in point - on Christmas Eve, people in my village drink on the streets, shoot guns and improvised "devices", ride horses, etc. Every family also has a patron saint who "protects" their home. So every year, you celebrate your patron saint by inviting family and friends to eat until your belt snaps in half and drink until you're under the table. Now what's the point of that, in the context of Christianity? (Fun fact: This exact custom was ordinary even before Serbs accepted Christianity - we only celebrated Slavic gods instead of Christian saints.)

One of the other gripes I have with religion is that you need to have a religious upbringing in order to be religious. It almost can't be otherwise - you can't just "find Jesus" (or whomever else) if someone in your family or surroundings doesn't teach you how to think that way. I see myself, and I don't have any faith, but I wasn't taught to. The same way you learn language when you're young, the same way you are learned religion. The brain just soaks it up, without any place for critical thinking.

And the final gripe I have is the Church. Apart from being very vulnerable to corruption and bad apples, it also, to me, seems completely unnecessary. Why do you need it to pray, to believe? Why do you need to give money to it? Why do the high-ranking individuals get driven in blacked-out Audis when a lot of their "fanbase" is poor and still gives money to them? Plus, there's politics. Popes and Patriarchs are very powerful individuals, politically, because they often have support from the majority of a country's (or world) population. They weren't strangers to war-mongering (and even helping war criminals) across history, even up to recent times. And then there's the everlasting bigotry (women have to enter any church from the other entrance here), which seems to be changing but rather slowly for the times. You manipulate so much people into believing in a doctrine that's very outdated (thousands of years old), instead of using the power to bring unity and love to all. Imagine that!



In my early 20s I started discovering astrophysics, I also love history and have always loved science in general, so the fact that we're just not special at all was just mindblowing to me. The pale blue dot monologue still resonates very much with me. We're just not special, and I don't, and can't, believe in intelligent design or a God or something that is supernatural. I'm in awe of the laws of nature, physics etc.


But lately I discovered Jordan B. Peterson's thoughts on religion, read some books, became interested in philosophy and tried to think a bit on that matter, and the only thing I can say about God is that I think it exists, but was entirely made up by people. Read this quote below (taken not directly from Dostoevsky, but from one of his characters).

“The object of every national movement, in every people and at every period of its existence is only the seeking for its god, who must be its own god, and the faith in Him as the only true one. God is the synthetic personality of the whole people, taken from its beginning to its end. It has never happened that all, or even many, peoples have had one common god, but each has always had its own. It's a sign of the decay of nations when they begin to have gods in common. When gods begin to be common to several nations the gods are dying and the faith in them, together with the nations themselves. The stronger a people the more individual their God. There never has been a nation without a religion, that is, without an idea of good and evil. Every people has its own conception of good and evil, and its own good and evil. When the same conceptions of good and evil become prevalent in several nations, then these nations are dying, and then the very distinction between good and evil is beginning to disappear.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons

That's more or less what I think is true. God is just a collection of morals of people, and at the same time, the perfect being to which we look up and want to mimic. Heaven and Hell are right here, right now, not in the "afterlife".

To suffer terribly and to know yourself as the cause? That is hell.
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life

These thoughts seemed a bit personally groundbreaking, and every time I encounter any religious thought, I am able to analyze it through this context, instead of a purely superstitious one. I can understand religion - at least the Judeo-Christian one (haven't really studied the others), and I can understand why some people would want something like this in their lives. To me this transcends belief, and is not even faith, not even spirituality. It's just how our minds work, given that they were shaped by thousands of years of belief in something which couldn't be seen. That's why we have Orthodox Christian traditions that are paganistic in its origins. That's why we have religion that differs slightly from the one in other countries with Orthodox Christianity. The customs aren't the same.

And lastly, I've been listening to Kendrick Lamar (who, even though he's a loon for saying Jesus put him on Earth for an important task, is still a great rapper with incredible insight). And I understand what he means when he says he's dying of thirst, or when he answers How Much a Dollar Cost?, and it's this belief that there's something more and bigger than yourself, more than pain and suffering... To me, this is ok, and sometimes I wish I had a bit of that. But then again, I quickly dispense of the superstitious stuff when I see it. It's still pointless to me.
 
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LostLegend

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I went to a Catholic school, although my family aren't/weren't religious really apart from my grandparents.

It was more of a case of going to the same school as some of my other family and friends did.
Religious schools in England are strange, in that they don't really push the religious side of things. It's very much a 'take it or leave it' approach.

In fact, the mandatory 'Religious Education' lessons we had (at GCSE level no less) were actually pretty good. There was some discussion on the Bible etc.
but a lot of it ended up as an ethics class. We discussed things like abortion and euthanasia, but were never pushed towards an opinion and allowed to make our own decisions. Ironically, I think it's these classes that pushed me towards being more skeptical and eventually atheism.

The negative aspect of it all was their approach to LGBTQ people. It was completely glossed over in sex ed, and homophobia was completely ignored.
There were a couple of openly gay lads in my year and seeing them relentlessly bullied likely attributed to my difficulties in coming out as gay myself in later life.
I still feel somewhat ashamed for not speaking out at the time.

I went pretty hardcore into atheism in my 20's and was very much anti-religion for a time, but I've mellowed out my views a lot as I've gotten older.
I'm very much of the thought now that if your beliefs bring you comfort, positivity, happiness and you are not using them to single out/be prejudiced or force your beliefs on to others, then it is not my business to tell you otherwise. :giggle:
 
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Gagi

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I went pretty hardcore into atheism in my 20's and was very much anti-religion for a time, but I've mellowed out my views a lot as I've gotten older.
I'm very much of the thought now that if your beliefs bring you comfort, positivity, happiness and you are not using them to single out/be prejudiced or force your beliefs on to others, then it is not my business to tell you otherwise.
Nice post mate, completely agree on this. I was a bit more hardcore as an atheist throughout my teens and early 20s as well, but have since mellowed out and started trying to understand others. Why I made this thread.
 
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Recharge

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Let me tell you a little story
One that's so short and sweet.

My mom is a very very strong believer(very, very+), to the point that she is superstitious beyond believe. We are orthodox Christians. She never forced me or was strict, she did her thing and let me do my thing. I still don't know how she let me. I am baptized but that is just a bath for me. I participated in everything possible, but she knows that I don't believe in it. I believe in science, evolution, alien life(maybe/probably). I also believe that there are some forces in the universe that we do not understand. Is there god - idk. Are those forces a part of divine being/consciousness - idk. But still I will never blindly believe or follow something that might or might not be existent without a prove.
 
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Exodom

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As a young boy I quickly decided 'there is no God'. When you die it's blackness; a material view. It doesn't help that the religious texts don't make sense, like the age of the earth (6000 years?) and our every expanding knowledge of the universe like its size. It's only a matter of time before we find life and maybe intelligent. It doesn't fit with the christian idea of God does it (or the others).

But then I have changed slightly. I went from realising I don't know anything about anything, and thats the only logical position to take. It's to complicated to believe we could know everything and actually you find a lot of similarities across all the religions, almost like they actually agree but got separated over time. I became 'Agnostic'

And now today I have made a final change. I believe there may be a God or Creator, but not one by the rules set by human defined religions. We perhaps have different plains of existence and reality and energy and maybe by some definition you could call these Gods. Psychedelics also open a lot in this perspective. It sounds cliche but you really do become 'one' with everything when you have those experience. You can see it, feel it, know it. Again all the religions share similarities regarding this. I think they are all talking about the same thing. Science may even be starting to prove some strange things concerning NDE. It's all getting very interesting.