A Question about Traditions.

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Minerva, Feb 23, 2016.

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  1. This isn't a question about like, family traditions. This is a question about religious traditions.

    Is it religiously, and/or morally ok for someone of one religion (specifically Christianity, but other religions too) to participate in another, and specifically another Religion's traditions?

    Like, say, a Catholic travelling in Japan washing his hands in a shrine before entering a Buddhist temple. Or a Buddhist partaking in Communion.

    Should that be allowed? or should you say "I'm sorry, but, I'm Catholic." or whatever, and not have to partake in Communion or wash your hands in front of the gods.

    Note: Please be courteous. This is not a place to say like, "But Christianity Stole from a bunch of other Religions!" or something like that. Nor is this a place to debate religion. I am simply asking a question that I would like to see answered.
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  2. If anyone is curious about what brought this on:

    I was listening to an NPR piece this morning where they were in Japan and the reporters had to wash their hands in front of the gods before they went up to some temple, and I was just wondering, like, what if you were Christian or Jewish or some other religion. Would you still have to? Can someone of another religion wash their hands, or would it be a sin?

    I don't know. I think I need sleep...
  3. I've always thought that if you don't believe in it, it doesn't "affect" you. Unless you "invite" it, or something. I don't generally want to partake in a foreign religion's traditions because that's not a thing I'm comfortable with. Just a thought.

    I saw a movie once where they stated that a curse is useless if you don't believe in it/fear it. Don't remember the name, but it was funny.
    #3 Dipper, Feb 23, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  4. 1.) It depends on the doctrine of your religion, some religions are extremely averse to practicing or accepting any other forms of worship or tradition.

    2.) If there's no doctrine against it, sure! Respecting another culture or religion comes with living a diverse life, everyone eventually is going to be in a situation where he/she is asked to observe something. Now, it's completely understandable to exempt yourself-- generally, people will be understanding, but it's not all that difficult to make someone else feel better by small gestures of respect.
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  5. Christianity's the Grinch that stole Solstice

    From my understanding as an agnostic atheist who only knows what he's heard and read, a lot of Eastern religions like Buddhism and Shinto are pretty laid back for religious doctrine and allow for followers to adopt and follow traditions of other faiths, whereas Abrahamic (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) and other monotheistic faiths are much more along the lines of "one God per customer, thanks".

    However, that said, I think being respectful to another culture's faith can be greatly beneficial for anybody, and the way I look at it, you're not worshiping those gods, just being respectful to a faith that exists alongside your own. Love thy neighbour, and all of that. Besides, it's pretty much impossible to do everything in a holy text like the Bible says, because it was A) written for and by an age long since past, and B) a lot of the stuff would get you thrown in jail or you are committing sins just by something something as innocent as throwing on a t-shirt made of the wrong materials or eating mystery seafood, and I'm pretty sure nobody's stoned David Blaine for being a magician yet. So I think it's safe to say that the people using their holy books to spread hateful messages are hypocritical bags of dicks who are cherry picking the fuck out of it, and they're supposed to be used as moral and spiritual guidelines for people so they can live more fulfilled lives and be closer to their god.

    So, yeah, I say go forth and wash your hands and be respectful. The way I look at it, if there is a God (or gods), and they're omnipotent and created everything, they also let other cultures develop their own unique religions and customs and what not. Could be different cultures got the same message in a way that they would respond to.

    That's enough philsodervs for the night.
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  6. In regards to Christians doing things, I generally think they aren't allowed to do anything that acknowledges/worships another god or deity above theirs. Early Christians in the Roman Empire often didn't eat meat because the places that sold it usually it from temples to Roman Gods; the meat had already been dedicated to Roman gods, and therefore eating it was tantamount to taking part in the worship of Roman Deities. As for how much certain acts acknowledge other gods is up for debate (for, like, theologians or something, just not educated laymen like me). I wouldn't know about how much non-Christian purification rituals would be considered acknowledgement of other gods, but I'd say go for it.

    Then again, I was raised and taught to a rather conservative Christian denomination, so I dunno about more liberal denominations.

    Also, as for non-Christians taking communion, that's really up to the individual church/denomination. There are churches who'll let anyone take communion, there are churches who only let fellow Christians take communion, and there are churches who let only Christians of their particular denomination and beliefs take communion.

    This. Preach this to the heavens.
  7. Since the news piece that inspired this had to do with Japanese traditions, I might add that Japanese culture has some interesting views about religion. Most Japanese people profess to be non-religious, but still participate in Shinto ceremonies, festivals, etc. They also pretty universally celebrate Christmas, pray to God (Kami) and have Christian-style church weddings. Shintoism is not an exclusive faith, and some people practice Shintoism as well as Christianity or Buddhism at the same time. So it might not occur to them that washing hands before entering their shrine would constitute a conflict of faith for a Christian.

    (Note: I am not an expert on Japanese culture and religion, this is just from what I've read from college-assigned material/my own research. If I am incorrect about something please contradict me. :U)
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  8. As far as communion goes it is biblicaly clear that only those who have accepted the salvation of Christ should partake. It is also clear that under certain conditions even a follower should not partake (e.g. harboring anger or resentment)
    I'll be happy to post the verses later when I'm awake enough to find them if you like.

    As far as other religions go, that's up to the religion and your own comfort level. If a religion asks people not of that faith not to do something then I wouldn't (for example not taking photos of the buddhist scrolls).
    If they say something's okay but you're not comfortable with it, then also don't do it ^_^

    Personally, when I took martial arts classes I wouldn't participate in the meditation portion, in fact I made sure not to even be there for those lessons. Not because there's anything wrong with meditation, but because the manner that particular class was lead made me feel it would be practicing in another faith and I, personally, was uncomfortable with that.
  9. If you wish to experience another culture's ways, be prepared to do as they ask of you. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When you're in someone else's house, play by their rules, or leave the house. My atheism does not preclude me from doing the respectful ceremonies necessary to enter a Buddhist temple. So long as such behaviour is kept within the confines of their places (ex: Christian ceremonies are held within churches and not over all of society), we should be fine.

    Let everybody have a space to do their thing, and if you want in that space, respect their ways. If you can't because your religion bars you from doing so, I would argue that you have a flawed interpretation of your religion, but would merely suggest that you simply avoid that particular space in the future. I don't go into churches and demand that Christians accommodate my blasphemies, so, you know... Don't be a dick.
  10. I think this needs to be divided into two sections.

    1) Are the Religions cool with it?

    This can get complicated, fast. Because a number of religions own holy books contradict with themselves without another even needing to enter the picture. So once you got two Religions comparing beliefs to see if they have mutual ground? Then it can get even more tricky. But ultimately it could fall down into one of three situations.

    1a) Both are Chill
    Likely to be the case if the religions in question are those like Shinto and Buddhism. In which case, you're in the clear.

    2) One's Chill, One isn't
    Basically the scenario depicted in the OP. Doesn't even dawn on one that it's a problem. But the Christian Church is likely to complain saying it's a sin for worshipping other Gods. Though, like I said above religions contradict themselves even. So either you need to consider the second section, or you need to prioritize one religion over the other.

    3) Both are not Chill
    Two differing Christian Branches, one's Christian and one's Islam, you get the idea. In this one the holy texts are pretty clear, so you're not in the clear as easily. For this one you would definitely need to consider the second option.

    2) Are people Culturally cool with it?

    Which leads us here. A lot of people tend to be more casual about their religion.
    I mean, how many people here are Christian? Now how many of you stone people for working on Sunday?
    If you didn't raise your hand to the second one (which I'm hoping is everyone) then you've basically just shown that culturally people don't need to be controlled by the scriptures, you can do stuff practically, you can effectively pick which parts to follow etc.

    So in this situation it basically boils down to are the individuals involved fine with it. And here you've got two different aspects to consider.

    1) Respect the Host
    The side most people here seem to agree with. You visit their holy place, you follow their rules. If you don't like it then you probably shouldn't be visiting the place in question.

    2) Respect the Guest
    Some practices can be extremely odd/awkward to others, make them very uncomfortable. And I think it's also safe to say, throwing all religious requirements at visitors is a quick way to scare people off, and prevent people converting if you happen to be a Religion that cares about that.


    Both have valid points to them, and it does ultimately boil down to a balance of respect, how much a person cares about it VS the other etc. Sometimes a compromise may need to be made, sometimes it's in people's best interest to simply not be put in such a situation. And honestly there is no right or wrong answer, objectively speaking. Some people may feel very strongly one way or the other, perhaps to the extent where someone arguing for the other side seems unbelievably rude.

    But remember this, you only feel that way because that's the way you were raised culturally. There are many cultures around the world that may view acts you see as polite as being insanely rude. Even within the same culture you get those who value certain aspects more than others. So in the end? I don't think there is a right answer that can be applied universally, you've got to look at it on an individual case-by-case basis. The only part I can say applies universally is to always have respect for the other individual be in mind.
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  11. I'm going to make this short and sweet. If your of one religion and going to visit a place of shrine/temple/church and are not willing to do the small respectful things of the culture, then don't go. It's that easy. In the end these are holy/sacred places of some religion even if they are not your own. They are not just some tourist thing to go see, and if they are to you then you should do what they want you to. They are allowing you to visit a place of worship, and saying you can not do something because of your religion I think is very disrespectful. Even if your a reporter of some sort and going to visit someone in this type of setting, you had to know what you were getting into. It's either you lose the story and someone else gets to write on the topic at hand or you go along with what you want for answers. Personally I would love to go visit all types of religious places, just to experience the different cultures, as that is something I'm very interested in.
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  12. Insanity's point about the reporters reminded me of BioShock Infinite where to get into Columbia, you as the player must accept a baptism. A few people apparently took a lot of offense to that because of their religious beliefs and returned the game and/ or ranted about it online.

    It's fascinating where some people draw the line.
  13. They're offended by that... But not shooting countless people?
    Not by the racism the community of Columbia has?

  14. As I said, it's fascinating where people draw the line. Those people clearly are capable of disassociating themselves from the violence that the game forces them to partake in, but they feel even playing as an avatar that isn't who they are is something they simply can't disconnect from. Everyone's different, and I for instance never felt comfortable killing innocent people in games even though they aren't real and it has nothing to do with my personal morality. That in mind, I can see how someone might feel uncomfortable with the idea of doing a religious ceremony in a video game.
  15. I get how certain things in a game should make people uncomfortable...
    But I always found it bizarre how violence almost always get's a free pass.

    And the only instances (other than you) where I've ever seen someone voice such personal uncomfortableness, they've also been part of the Jack Thompson "Video Games cause Violence, ban them!" crowd.
  16. We're kind of thread jacking, so I'll cut this off here. If you want, I'll fire you off a message or something.
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  17. For context of my answer to this thread's questions. I am half-Jewish in the sense that my mother was Jewish and me Father was a christian. I decided to partake in the Jewish traditions and identify it as my personal choice in religion. My mother's side of the family is either dead or has converted to Christianity, my father's side varies from average christian to fundamentalist Christians and the area I grew up in was heavily, heavily catholic. To add to it I actually had one Buddhist friend and one Muslim friend in my life as well, along with many Atheist or Agnostic friends.

    There is a time, a place, and a how and it depends on your religion AND the other religion in question. Some religions may say it is okay to follow some traditions of other religions, others may say that it is not. If you are not sure ask someone who practices that faith, study it or if the problem is your uncertainty on whether or not YOUR religion accepts it, than ask your religious leader or study on your own religion to find out the answer. Education is key to this though, and is very helpful when coming to respecting the other's religion.
    There is a major difference between signifying devotion and following traditions out of respect. The best example is Hinduism, which you are not allowed to walk into their temples with shoes on, but instead barefoot or with a form of sandal called "Khadau" because by their religious beliefs you can NOT make the temple floor dirty, out of respect to their god's place.
    At the same time, taking the communion and NOT being of christian faith is actually insulting in it's own right because it is a sacrament of devotion to Jesus, eating his 'skin, blood and soul'. If you don't believe in the christian faith and you take it, you are treating it like it's just some average wine and bread and not like it's an important holy symbol... especially if it is well known that you are not of their faith. Respectfully declining and stating that you follow a different religious belief and thus can't is actually more commonly looked up upon than down since you're respecting the fact that it IS a sacred religious tradition for only the believers of that faith.

    Before you EVER go inside another temple of a religion that is different than yours, either have a friend of that temple, who can explain the traditions and why they are what they are to you so you know what you should or shouldn't decline, or study up on the religion. There are times when it is VERY disrespectful to follow sacred or devotion traditions of a temple/church/shrine and there are times when it's even more so to NOT do such. Knowing the difference between the two is of great importance.

    Religion by nature is it's own tricky subject, despite it being a set of beliefs. It depends on YOUR religious beliefs and the set of values you have. If you do not know you should look into the other religion and then into your own and determine this yourself. Most of what I have to go by is from personal experience and from my own limited knowledge of other religions. For this question though, I would say yes you can do it to show your utmost respect to the religion since it is doubtful that you'll be breaking a commandment/Mitsvah/Rule of your religion.

    Many religions DO have a 'safety net' to fall back on for when you DO sin, knowing your religion's version of these is important since if you go into a religion's god(s)' place, there is a chance you might have to sin just to be respectful towards this religion. At the same time, if you go into a religion's god(s)' place, you need to know that your religion is not theirs, and thus try everything in your own power to stay the utmost respectful in many of the holy place's traditions. ALWAYS pay attention to the main details of the traditions, their meanings and their importance. If a tradition is considered sacred and should only ever be done by the practitioners of that faith, than do NOT participate in it for you'll in turn insult them. at the same time other traditions of importance, like washing your hands, or taking off your shoes or things like that are to be done (Otherwise don't even bother.)
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  18. Idk how well I fit in this discussion, but even as an atheist I'll throw my cents in

    actually, not belonging to any religion, I may be specially qualified to answer.

    if I'm at a table breaking bread with a christian family and they say grace, I will bow my head and join them. My hear'ts not in it, obviously, so I don't think it can be counted as 'praying', but I'm still participating (as opposed to staying sitting upright with my eyes open). Nobody's ever had a problem, in fact people are usually appreciative and glad, and would feel awkward if I didn't.

    When I stay with my religious family on weekends, I accompany them to church on Sunday morning, because it's tradition. The church is always very welcoming; I sing along with the hymns, stand/sit/kneel when told, eat/drink communion, and then when I leave I carry on my godless life.

    In contexts like these, I consider participation (when invited) to be more respectful than if, for example, I'd kept my eyes open / slept in and said "sorry, atheist." It does in fact make me a little uncomfortable during dinner prayer and sermons, but I participate anyway because A) respect, B) I know it runs two ways. The odd time I dig in first and forget that my religious guest/host wants to say a prayer first, it makes THEM just as uncomfortable as when I have to be quiet for two minutes while they thank their cosmic imaginary friend for the food I bought. Participation in cases like these avoids conflict and minimizes discomfort; it's more of a social courtesy than a religious one if you ask me.
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  19. As a bit of a twist on the OP's question.

    What do you guys do if the host has no religious requirements, but the guest does?
    For a minor situation, say you're at home and all about to eat dinner so you dig right in.
    But right when you bite down on your first forkful you notice your Christian friend whose over is in the middle of giving grace?
  20. I don't go into someone else's home demanding they conform to my needs, they don't come into my home demanding I conform to their needs. Or, to put it as the kids these days would say it: Equality, motherfucker, do you speak it?

    Although, I guess it's up to the host and the guest to ultimately resolve. If I had a house guest that insisted on prayer, it takes a few seconds out of my day to grant it, so, no problem.
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