Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

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    Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Tolvo on Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:05 pm

    Now I feel I need to do a preface here to ensure that the tone for this thread is understood.  This is not a place to make assumptions about others, this is a place for asking questions and talking about the religions of our members.  Here we can talk openly about it, maybe we'll learn a bit more about each other.  Try to be respectful and courteous about the views that others hold.  Religions will often deal with ideas of spiritual beings, perhaps the origin of us all.  Do not dismiss others for having a belief that you think is unreasonable, to them your belief might be unreasonable.  Be kind and pleasant and above all else try to be careful with what you say.  The thing about having a belief is that you do not have to worry to much about fact, it is about belief.  It is fine to ask for the origins of an idea or why something is considered true but do not demand anyone to prove their beliefs.  This is a place of discussion and not ignorance, and if someone accidentally does offend you try to be understanding and explain to them what about what it is they said that was offensive.  People likely won't have any ill intent and just didn't understand, so let them know without responding in anger.  Two wrongs do not make a right, but one wrong and a civil conversation can lead to a better understanding from both parties.  Another thing to remember is that any one person will not represent the views of all people of a group.  While one may be for example a Lutheran that believes X, not all Lutherans might believe X.  Many people are very personal about their religious and spiritual views and it is common for everyone to have their own interpretation.  Not all Buddhists have Hindu beliefs, not all Atheists are irreligious, etc.  

    Now then if I can start with myself, the technical term for what I am would be an Irreligious Atheistic Agnostic with no spiritual affiliations.  I personally do not believe in any gods, any spiritual beings, and I do not belong to any religious order.  I do believe that after death the person you identify yourself as ceases to exist forever.  Now, some things do interest me such as the concept of a human brain wave and essentially brain pattern signature persisting after death in something like an ertificial brain or computer.  There are ideas like a meta-conscious, another plane of existence in which scientifically our consciousness may descend.  Now, I don't know if these things exist currently or ever will exist.  I merely mention that since there is a bit of scientific founding for those two ideas.  However until something can be proven as existing I will believe as a fact in my mind that humans simply cease to be after dying.  Death is actually something I focus on a lot, the thought of not existing at some point terrifies me more than anyone can ever imagine.  I don't care much about the pain of death, how I will die, just the fact that one day I will.  Some have told me that I should just believe in heaven, or some other afterlife to keep myself from getting depressed but honestly I could never do something like that.  I feel that a belief is a belief, something you hold true.  Not born of convienience or whatever will make you happy, you believe it because you consider it true.  Not to mention it would probably be pretty sacreligious to simply lie to myself and others when I really don't consider it to be true.  While I did make death such an important part the truth is I don't like to talk about it too much, I'd rather questions towards me not be about that subject since it upsets me.  Aside from death in which I can be a bit loopy, generally I take more of a scientific approach.  Big Bang Theory, Theory of Evolution, the works.  However being an agnostic I never really do consider something absolute.  I don't believe in a god, but if I found something that was evidence to me that a god exists I would believe it.  Simply put, I think we can't know.  I think we can't know if a god does or doesn't exist, at least when you're alive.  Oddly enough I'm very interested in religions so I do study them a lot and know a deal about them and the beliefs of their people.  At a young age I was rebellious, I remember I hated all religion and it was how I became an atheist.  I was some stupid punk, but eventually I matured.  However I realized that, lack of belief just was for me.  I became an Atheist for the wrong reasons but I stayed one for the right reasons.  I'm a skeptic, someone who focuses more so on senses and experiences that can be shared among humans.  Though I will admit I'm not lost to ideas like object permenance.  A little idea I always tease myself is with the concept that nothing else exists but myself, maybe I'm a being creating the universe around me, or maybe this is all fake.  I think most of us have seen the Matrix, but frankly until I see evidence to believe that none of this is real I'll continue to be content with the world around me.

    Now then, feel free to join in and post about your views and ask questions about others.  This is a nice place for us to learn about each other and the beliefs of the world.  And remember to follow the forum rules, I will not hesitate to report posts.
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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by TomBombadil515* on Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:22 pm

    I have to apologize for my previous post, I was busy and thought that I could share my beliefs through this video. I left a note on the bottom saying,"Kent Hovind was a very controversial man," but then I realized that he spends more admonishing other religions that he spends little time talking about what he believes, which is the important part. That was my mistake, and I accepted the consequences for it, so I deleted my last post. Although I will admit Kent Hovind is a VERY controversial man, I do believe what he believes in: (bear in mind that this post isn't intended to offend ANYONE or ANY religion, it's just what I believe. Just as Tolvo mentioned at the start of this thread, this is just the place where we discuss our member's religion)

     I believe that "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth." I believe that God spoke the universe into existence with just the words of his mouth. I believe that God walked with man, but due to their sin, God departed himself from him. This doesn't mean, however, that God never spoke to man ever since-- He spoke to man, but He left his presence. I believe that a few thousand years full of both major and minor events in history took place. I believe that Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, was born into this world, lived and walked among men, was crucified on the Cross, being falsely accused for sins He didn't commit, and rose from the grave three days later, having conquered death itself. I believe that He talked with His beloved disciples before leaving this world to reunite with His Father. Before doing so, however, He told the people some very exciting news-- someday He is going to come back in this world and take His people home with him in Heaven!
     However, as sad as it may be, He is not going to take just everyone to Heaven ("Wait, so you're telling me Jesus is selecting certain people to take with Him?" No. Just hold on, I'm getting to the important part) I mentioned before that Jesus talked to His disciples before departing from the earth. What I didn't mention is what He told them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" Jesus told the people to go everywhere they could go as much as they could, and tell people about Him.

    Spoiler:
     Since I've come this far, it would be foolish for me not to tell you the way you can enter into Heaven when you die. So I'm going to address five easy, simple steps to ensure your salvation. (That means 100%. Once you have followed these steps and received your salvation, YOU CAN NEVER LOSE IT. These steps are not man's words, but God's words in the Bible. It doesn't matter how wicked you are or how evil you are-- you could be as evil as Adolf Hitler and still get saved. Again, once you have received salvation, you can NEVER lose it.

    Spoiler:
    First, you must accept that you are a sinner, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one." There is not one person (save Jesus Christ) that has entered into this world and fulfilled his life without sin. Everyone is guilty, which is why, as I mentioned earlier, it doesn't matter how wicked you are-- all have sinned.

    Spoiler:
    Second, you must accept that as a sinner, you owe a penalty. "For the wages of sin is death." This death is described in the Bible as the second death, the lake of fire. "Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." If we pay what we owe as sinners, we must spend eternity in the lake of fire-- Hell.

    Spoiler:
    Third, you must accept that Jesus Christ has already our sin debt. "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  ...that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man." Jesus has already paid our sin debt by dying on the Cross long ago. "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

    Spoiler:
    Forth, you must accept by faith what Jesus Christ did for you. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." In this verse, Jesus divides the world into two groups: those who are believing and those who are not believing on the Son. The word "believe" means to trust, to depend on, to rely on. There is nothing (works, good deeds, living a "good" life) that you can do that can "earn" your way into Heaven. The only way is to believe by faith.

    Spoiler:
    And lastly, if you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you must pray this prayer (you don't need to say this aloud, you can even say this within the quietness of your heart.): "Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I deserve to pay my own sin debt, but I do believe that You died for me to pay the debt that I owe. Today, the best I know how, I trust You as my Saviour. I will depend on You from this moment on for my Salvation. Thank you, Lord, for saving me. Amen"

     I cannot stress enough that this post isn't meant to hurt or offend anyone with differing opinions, religions, or beliefs. This is just what I believe. This thread was meant for people to express their beliefs and listen to what other's are.


    Last edited by TomBombadil515* on Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:46 pm; edited 3 times in total


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Encore on Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:32 pm

    I have for a long time considered myself an agnostic atheist, but that has changed to degree as of late. While I've never alienated the idea of a deity, I find the, to me easier to understand, findings of the mainstream scientific method to be easier to understand.

    Though, as of late I've been much more open to the idea of a god, that is a monotheistic god. Not necessarily the Christian one but a monotheistic deity nevertheless.

    There's of course alternative beliefs that I know fairly little about, and I am open to hear their opinion, of they're open to hear mine.

    I live in a mostly secular country and haven't really been too involved in any organized religion, or any personal one as that either, which has definitively helped shape me and my beliefs.


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Tolvo on Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:34 pm

    Encore, is god to you a personal creature? A being, an entity like humans? Or is it something more so inconceivable in your personal belief? Maybe a source of things, but something that is difficult to put into words? You mention that it is not an Abrahamic view of god, so I was curious as to what that view exactly was.
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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Encore on Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:48 pm

    Not a personal god, no, nor omnipotent or all good, I don't believe that.

    As you said it is quite hard to put into word. Maybe a guiding hand, maybe a force that guides what will happen. Doesn't even need to be conscious either, just... Something that's hard to put into words.

    But I can rule out an entity like humans, not conscious or corporeal, or measurable or seen.


    Even then I consider myself agnostic deist right now, and since I consider the facts that back up "science" I do not believe it to be wrong either, but maybe there's something beyond that. For example, something quite popular to see in the mainstream "Believer VS atheist" debates is the question of evolution. I believe that the observed facts that supports it make it improbable that there is any other explanation for it. I of course do not rule out other explanations.

    I apologize for not being able to provide any solid answers.


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Tolvo on Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:04 pm

    Don't feel sorry, it's alright. Trying to explain such an important world/otherworld view to another can be quite difficult. If I can do a comparison, what you have described almost sounds a bit like the Force, no disrespect intended and I'm not saying they are exactly the same. It just sounds a bit similar, though yours sounds much more alive. It seems almost like a path, destiny, time, or that you view the universe itself as god with you being a part of it. Does that sound about right? Or I am I way out in left field?
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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Encore on Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:16 pm

    The last comparison were really good.

    "/// you view the universe itself as god with you being a part of it."

    Though... Not entirely perfect, but nevertheless it is quite fitting, yes. Though, not from a pantheistic view, though maybe something similar.

    "a path, destiny, time, " There is something to that too, except I don't really believe completely in destiny. Though, I suppose it could partially "destiny" could be something we call the coincidences that build people's life. Coincidences and chance.

    Time... Yeah, let's call it that...



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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by IHateTheFourKings on Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:45 pm

    I was raised Roman Catholic, but never really believed in any of it. I eventually turned to deism, and am now an atheist and staunch secularist. While I feel religious freedom is essential for a happy society, that freedom does not and should not extend to forcing religious laws of divine command on other people. Morality is how people live peacefully with others, not the archaic and myopic supposed edicts of deities. "Because [insert god] says so." is not a valid justification for determining right from wrong. I have so much I can say on this topic, but I'll end it here for now. Just keep in mind that atheism only means the rejection of a belief in gods, and that any other positions espoused by me are ultimately not tied to it.

    As for Kent Hovind, he's a joke. His "doctoral dissertation" starts with "Hello, my name is Kent Hovind.", and this is the "university" from which he got his "diploma": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Bible_University


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Tolvo on Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:50 pm

    Four Kings I already reported the post with the video for being offensive, don't respond to it and illicit more arguments.

    Also do remember to be careful about the beliefs of other people, and to not be judgmental or overly dismissive. However in regards to your views on politics and religion, that's fine to talk a bit about.
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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by IHateTheFourKings on Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:54 pm

    Got it. I didn't mean any offense on a personal level, but it's understandable if my statement would be construed that way. I'll do my best to avoid making more posts like my last.


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Tolvo on Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:57 pm

    Thank you for being understanding Four Kings.
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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by AnCapaillMor on Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:03 pm

    Born a catholic, raised a catholic, was an altar boy for 4-5 years, even came out of retirement 4 years later at 18 to help with easter services. I have not been religious in any way since i was 17. I understand religion, i see the need for it, it's goodness but i also see how it can and is abused. I respect it but it's illogical to me


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Encore on Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:06 pm

    I am a secularist as well, that is I believe that there should be a separation of church and state, and no exceptions. People should have the right to believe what they want, but there shouldn't be any involvement in each other.


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by TheMeInTeam on Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:26 pm

    I was forced to go to church as a child, but not for very long. I've wound up in about the same belief pattern as Tolvo. I do think research into how our own minds handle things can potentially be fascinating however.

    Some of the general rituals/expectations of whatever branch of Christianity we happened to be attending during a given period I found annoying. I have no problems with the spiritual side of people's beliefs. My only issue as an adult with organized religion is when the people organizing it have ill intent. I consider violence in the name of any belief system to be a farce.

    But beyond that, I don't really know. It's hard to be for-sure correct or incorrect in a belief system, and I've observed much good from them also. I just struggle to buy in personally; it's hard for me to accept the beliefs of others simply because they insist something that can't be proven is true, or is the right viewpoint...or even in some cases the only right viewpoint.

    Church and state is another issue entirely. The reality there is that no matter who is leading, when beliefs become law, they are the laws of man and applied as such. No state has ever been an exception. People behave based on incentives, and over time no office will forever have people who resist the true incentives presented by a given position. When you mix church and state, state corruption eventually wins, and worse, influences the church's teachings, which from the framework of a religious state is backwards in theory.


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Soul of Stray Demon on Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:34 pm

    I was raised Atheist, and my father happens to be one of those people, who is extremely against the idea of believing in religion, and thinks that anyone who does, must be stupid. I, myself, however am more Agnostic. There is no way to prove the (non)existence of a God in this world anyway, at least, none that I can imagine that are perfect.
    I'm not even going to make a point about whether or not God exists then, but instead discuss, whether it is alright to believe in religion in the first place.

        While I do see a lot of evil that religion has done in history, like helping Hitler during World War II. ( http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/may/25/nazis-escaped-on-red-cross-documents ) or setting us back centuries in scientific understanding during the dark ages. I also see a good side to it. It gives people hope, and can help them to aspire to be better people. One of the arguments for religion, is that without it, we wouldn't know right from wrong. If God didn't tell us, we would be savage. I believe this to be wrong though, because I consider myself a great person, despite having never actually been to a church before in my life. But I also know that there are some people, who would need a God to tell them. And for those people, religion is quite helpful.

    I think the main problem I have with most religions, is that people will say they are Catholic, or Muslim..etc, but won't truly understand the full belief of their religion. For example in the Holy Bible, it pretty much explicitly says, that if your child misbehaves, then you're supposed to kill them. Or where it mentions that slaves should be accepting of their place in life, and serve their owners happily. ( http://biblehub.com/ephesians/6-5.htm ) I'm fine with people believing in a God or whatever, but when they say they follow a religion, but don't know the first thing about what they believe, then it's quite irritating to hear them say they are right. I'm not going to say they are wrong, because for all I know, they could be right. I just wish people knew what they were talking about before they spoke.

    I guess this isn't as much a complaint against religion though, as it is a complaint against some of the people who follow religion. Of course though, there are quite a few atheists who also don't understand what they are saying, and just say things because they were taught that.

    To end this then, I'm gonna put out, that it shouldn't really matter what you believe anyway. If there is a God, and he's nice and caring, then I'm sure I'll be treated equally. I don't think any nice caring God, would treat me differently, depending on whether or not I believe in him. I know for sure if I was him, I wouldn't care about something like that. And if he's a mean-spirited God,.. then's what the point of trying anyway?

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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Shakie666 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:54 pm

    I'm an atheist I guess, in that I don't believe there is a god/deity. I also don't believe in life after death, which makes death sort of terrifying (unless, someone invents immortality before then, but thats another discussion entirely). Thats not to say I wouldn't believe in these things if someone presented me with credible evidence for their existence. Alas, so far there isn't any (that I know of).
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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by TheMeInTeam on Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:55 pm

    And if he's a mean-spirited God,.. then's what the point of trying anyway?
    So you don't get WREXOR'd big grin. In other words, curry favor so that the mean things happen to someone else. Probably not an ideal way to approach it, but a rational decision assuming one does believe in a mean-spirited god.

    One of the arguments for religion, is that without it, we wouldn't know right from wrong. If God didn't tell us, we would be savage. I believe this to be wrong though, because I consider myself a great person, despite having never actually been to a church before in my life. But I also know that there are some people, who would need a God to tell them. And for those people, religion is quite helpful.
    The argument you mention that others sometimes present (religion is necessary to identify right and wrong) is not defensible. Right and wrong are human classifications that categorize human choices. They can be defined by religion, but there's no fundamental logical requirement that they are. For example, one could rationally point out that killing people at random, and allowing it, would have a negative impact on any organized society, or that no protection against theft removes incentive for the accumulation of wealth. These are not necessarily the best reasons to consider killing and stealing wrong, but they are viable reasons and therefore refute the notion that religion is REQUIRED in order to be able to distinguish right from wrong.


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Encore on Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:57 pm

    TomBombadil515* wrote:If you believe in Evolution, I recommend you disregard this video. If, however, you are an open-minded person, I encourage you to watch this video-- you WILL learn something.



    I would like to add that Kent Hovind is very controversial, but if you can see past that, then you will see that he gives light to many truths.
    Though, what is truth? Remember that everything we see is subjective. Of course I am opening my views on this, but even if someone said "This is the truth and there is no doubt" we still experience it and therefore it is filtered through human mind. No one is infallible, and saying something is true based on someone's else's personal opinion and view.

    Now, of course he can be right, I am not denying that, just as the people that believe alternative spirit science can be right, but saying it is truth is a whole other matter.

    TheMeInTeam wrote:
    The argument you mention that others sometimes present (religion is necessary to identify right and wrong) is not defensible. Right and wrong are human classifications that categorize human choices. They can be defined by religion, but there's no fundamental logical requirement that they are. For example, one could rationally point out that killing people at random, and allowing it, would have a negative impact on any organized society, or that no protection against theft removes incentive for the accumulation of wealth. These are not necessarily the best reasons to consider killing and stealing wrong, but they are viable reasons and therefore refute the notion that religion is REQUIRED in order to be able to distinguish right from wrong.
    To build on this, right and wrong is required for an organized society, but religion isn't required for right and wrong?

    Since we are social creatures it would be ineffective to be killing each other needlessly, unless something is wrong, and claiming that something (That has, in many ways, caused many deaths) is the foundation for right and wrong seems, from a few viewpoints, contradictory.


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by Soul of Stray Demon on Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:08 pm

    I was mentioning the right and wrong argument, as I have heard it used a few times in my life. Sure, I do live in the bible belt area, and I'm sure most of the people I've been discussing it with, aren't that bright, but I have heard it used a few times.

    As for the some people needing religion to know. I mean this more as, that some people would defy social ideals, but the idea of eternal punishment, scares them enough so they aren't doing as much wrong.

    I personally don't know anyone like this, but I can envision someone out there being that way.


    And I don't really get what the big fuss is about evolution anyway.

    It's not an attempt to explain how the world came to being, it's just an attempt to explain why and how life-forms have changed over time.

    And for all the Catholics out there, (just the ones who follow the Vatican and the Pope)
    Ever since Pope John Paul II, every Pope since then has acknowledge evolution as a truth.

    "In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points.... Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory." (Pope John Paul II)

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    WhatDoesThePendantDo?
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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by WhatDoesThePendantDo? on Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:57 pm

    I like Christopher Hitchens and I think that really says enough about my opinions.

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    SirArchmage
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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

    Post by SirArchmage on Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:13 pm

    I am a nihilist. I believe in the nothingness of life, essentially. Or a lack of purpose to life. I do not believe that there is any purpose to live, any moral values that are correct or are not, any rhyme or reason to the things we do that connect to a higher purpose or being. And even if there is a fate, or a god, I do not see a reason to take any notice at all to fate or a god.

    But, me being me, I am a very odd person and am an optimistic nihilist. I believe in creating a point in life when there is none, ourselves making the world interesting out of our own creation. In short, that we by making a purpose for ourselves to live aside from just reproducing are the most powerful people in existence. Nearly cheerful if looked at that way. I do have moral values, which all revolve around trying to make life better for people as a whole. I even am optimistic about all the bad things in the world, seeing them as ways to improve life and giving us more purpose. And if not that, then the bad things in life shape us, make us smarter, and more mature so that we can more thoroughly enjoy living.

    Why am I a nihilist? From a long time of looking at the world, trying to see a purpose, and not being able to find one that really made sense. Or that I felt was really true. Saying I am an atheist does not cover it, I feel. Too many areas in life where I simply fail to see any rhyme or reason to what has happened that can be explained in any spiritual way. I have studied many religious arguments, and tried to think about things as if there was a god looking down and judging my actions. Even with that thought in mind I never felt a motive to go according to the wishes of a religon. Fairly arrogant in thought that God would look down at me and say "obey", and I would stare back up and whisper "no" (Anyone get that reference? No? Okay I'll stop). Because in my mind the world is perfectly fine as it is. Any worse it would be complete and total chaos. Any better and life would be fairly boring. So why do what is told of me so that I may go to heaven if I am perfectly content here, and simply do what I want while I have the time? It is an odd viewpoint, and amusing to me, though probably only amusing because I do not even believe in such a god.

    I will say however that I have thought much about, not gods, but higher beings of sort. About other dimensions and the thought that some mythologies, not just one, might be real.

    I may further elaborate on it, and I may not, as I am not completely sure my theory of it has any real merit or relevance pertaining to this thread.



    Sorry if any of this is confusing, but I have never really talked about this before, and I am currently fretting about the two spiders I just found dangling off my hair a few minutes ago.


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    Re: Religious/Spiritual Discussion Thread

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