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To be or not to be?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lexus300, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Organised anything will always be susceptible to corruption and hypocrisy because humankind itself is characterized by a need for hierarchy, to assert itself, to dominate and stratify in terms of imposed value.
    My problem with that is that we are truly all equal. The flesh and bones, the whatever going on in the synapses. Mine is the same as yours, is the same as his and hers and theirs.
    So I eschew religion not because I do not believe in God or because i have no faith-I eschew religion because it conflicts with the fact of our equality. It can only ever be an imposed system, and to that extent it involves one person foisting ideas on others, or some variation of it. Religion sits hand in hand with power, the thrust of that coming from the person who pushes their ideas in the strongest way. It's all couched in money, social norms, tradition, tribalism, favoritism, nepotism, politics, whatever.
    I don't mind any of that, but what I mind is when it is sold as the only possible way, the right way, the anything-else-is wrong way, when in actual fact it is no different from say, a bunch of teams competing in the world cup. It does not stand for truth, and I'm quite fond of truth as it happens.

    My favourite personal truth is "to do that which creates the greatest possible amount of happiness for the largest possible number of humans is probably the best way to act", and because I have yet to find a God who tells the same story, although Shintoism waves a dogma-free tendril towards it, I guess I'l reside within the cheery guilt free realm of atheism.
    For the moment.
  2. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    But he did celebrate Passover, which communion (remembering the Last Supper - which was a Passover feast) replaced in the Christian tradition (Jesus being seen as the passover lamb).
    lexus300 likes this.
  3. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    I totally agree.
    My Father was a soldier in WW2 and he told me he had seen men die right next to him and many of them cried to God and some for their mothers.
    kibosh likes this.
  4. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    We can celebrate Jesus/God for many reasons, I am reminded of one of the statements Jesus made "in my Fathers house there are many mansions".
    sparkleghirl likes this.
  5. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Well just the one mansion in my house would have me celebrating.
    kibosh and lexus300 like this.
  6. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Interesting post.

    I was baptised (Christened?) in a Methodist Church. I was never raised as a church goer, but the moral code taught to me through the 10 commandments pretty much describes the framework which I was raised on (and try to live by today). I was never told what being 'Methodist' meant. but I know now through reading.

    I never asked why it was a Methodist Church that I was Christened in (it was the nearest one to where we lived, perhaps that is why).

    My Mum was born and raised in a Catholic family (her mother came to the UK from Ireland when she married my grandfather). I don't ever recall her going to church when I was a child (she died when I was 19)

    My father was never openly religious, but he was a very good man and his life and approach to it was as Christian as you can get.

    My wife is a very devout Catholic, comes from a devout Catholic family and goes to Church every Sunday. I also accompany her every week unless there is a very good reason preventing me (eg I am working). I generally like going, but have some reservations (see next paragraph).

    Regarding the Catholic church, I find it a turn off. There is too much 'stiffness', too much structure, too much pomp and circumstance, too much unquestioned superiority given without good reason, not enough humanity. I find it difficult to connect with. The priest at our church is very good and, as an individual, is very approachable and personable. He tries as much as possible to connect with the congregation and preaches openly about and supportively of such things as single parent families, divorce, gay marriage and transsexuality.

    Regarding Christianity itself, I find, in general, the teaching of the Christian church is a good 'guide to life' and how to live it. I am still not sure whether I am a 'believer' as such in that I have never 'seen the light' or felt a presence indicating the existence of God apart from through the actions and behaviours of others. I am still not a true believer in the afterlife other than trying to interpret/understand it from a scientific viewpoint. I am not completely negating the possibility that there is something/somewhere called heaven.

    Coincidentally, I was talking to a family friend last weekend. She is from Northern Ireland. She said that, due to the scandal in the Catholic church, many young people have left the church. I asked her what they have gone to instead. She said 'Nothing - it is easier to go to nothing than to start again'

    So, in response to your opening question, I think you have resolved the big part of your conundrum in that you know that you believe in God and Christianity and the associated teachings. It seems that it is the church sect that you have lived with so far, is no longer fit for purpose. I suggest you find another church - maybe something with a simpler ideology and a more modern, open outlook. If you find the right one,it will be quickly apparent and obvious.
  7. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    An interesting post, thank you. I am looking but at this time feel that a singular approach is where I am heading.
    kibosh likes this.
  8. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    and no mortgage.
    kibosh likes this.
  9. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    When you have had a religious faith for so long it must be difficult to change. When I was sixteen I decided I simply didn't believe any of it. It was painful and caused a few difficult moments with my family but I'm so glad I faced up to it. It would be lovely to go to church as a believer, take communion, have a god to pray to, but I can't do it. It doesn't take away from the awe and wonder of being a living conscious being, it does give a certainty that at death there will be nothing else and we will all dissolve into nothing but our genes will live on in our families and our molecules and atoms will go back into the cosmos - a type of afterlife. I strongly believe that religion was created as a comfort and a crutch for human beings by human beings and that religious organisations on the whole do no more good than political or social movements and also, undeniably, do a lot of harm
  10. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    That is a bleak outlook from where I am. It is also one I have explored but inside me I know there is more.
  11. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I don't think it's bleak. I get great joy from life - family, music, art, nature. I'm a happy and contented little organism but no more significant than any other in the vastness of existence.
  12. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Good luck and thank you for the reply.:)
    lindenlea likes this.
  13. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    We are at completely opposite ends of the belief spectrum, so what I write may be of absolutely no relevance to you.
    OK. You are free to believe what you like.
    This is the puzzling bit. What exactly are you looking for? If you believe in a divine being, and an after-life, what more do you want? Which universal, natural and spiritual laws are you referring to? What insights could an organized religion have that you cannot have for yourself?
    You wrote this in response to a comment from irs1054. Why do you not know in your heart the answer to your questions?
    silkywave, lexus300 and kibosh like this.
  14. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    And there are wolves.

    Remember Jamaica Inn?
    kibosh and lexus300 like this.
  15. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    You to.
    A home for my spiritual belief I suppose.
    I want to be able to commune with a higher entity.
    I have found so many distractions in organized religion that take me away from the purpose of prayer/meditation and peace.
    It is so difficult to put it into words.
    sadscientist and kibosh like this.
  16. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    My Mum tried to make me religious by insisting that I go to church when nobody else I knew did, up to the age of 14. She failed completely, and I told her so.

    As much as I like large cathedrals as a subject for photography due to the varied lighting conditions one finds inside them, they have no personal significance to me other than being impressive historic structures. Organised religion has been hugely significant to others, and I recognise that, but it has no meaning whatsoever for me. The closest thing I have had to a spiritual experience was when I caught my first clean wave on a surfboard - it was like a curtain being lifted that had never been lifted before. Consequently I feel 'the spirit' far more on a beach than I ever felt in a church. Is there a creator in our own image? I doubt it. Is there some sort of organisation or purpose to the process of creation? Perhaps, but I'll never understand it. I don't believe there's an afterlife - I see that as the product of human conceit and an implement of social control. If the afterlife was pitched to you in a spam e-mail from Nigeria you wouldn't give it a second thought. When the end credits roll that's it, and after the line that says 'Copyright MSB MCMLIX' it's game over. I can live (and die) with that thought.

    I suppose what I'm trying to say here is that organised religion with all its impressive stone structures, human foibles and limitations isn't the only way to engage with or wonder about whatever created us. There are other ways that are equally valid.
    bombaysapphire, lexus300 and kibosh like this.
  17. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    I like this bit, a lot:)
    magic surf bus and kibosh like this.
  18. Nt31

    Nt31 New commenter

    How interesting to read all of these different perspectives. Like magic surf bus I was made to go to church each week. I remember being confirmed and my Mum thought it was wonderful but it meant nothing to me. I constantly asked when I could stop attending and it was finally agreed that I could when I was 14. On my 14th birthday I refused to go and have not bothered since. I visit churches but simply from a historical point of view. I have heard so many tales from my Mum who still attends church regularly of the arguments and back stabbing going on. I believe that Jesus was a good man and a useful role model, no more no less. I believe that the way we treat others and our planet is very important but it doesn’t take religion to make a decent human being. I accept that some find comfort in religion but it feels like something man made to help us accept our lot. I really appreciate the world around me and achieve spiritual well being from simple things such as autumn colours or watching and listening to waves rolling in.
    Good luck with your search Lexus
  19. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    Don't let them distract you. All the answers you want and need are within yourself.

    If there is one thing I have learnt in life it's that all the answers we want are to be found within ourselves. Don't go looking elsewhere.
    lindenlea and lexus300 like this.
  20. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    And to you NT, thanks for the reply.

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