Theology: Where do you align your beliefs?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Vio, Oct 22, 2015.

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Which category does your own personal beliefs fall under?

  1. Theism - Pantheism

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Theism - Panentheism

    5.6%
  3. Theism - Deism

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Theism - Monotheism

    5.6%
  5. Theism - Polytheism

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Theism - Henotheism

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Theism - Henology

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. Atheism - Negative/Weak

    22.2%
  9. Atheism - Positive/Strong

    27.8%
  10. Agnosticism - TAP

    11.1%
  11. Agnosticism - PAP

    27.8%
  12. Other (please specify what I've missed! ^^)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
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  1. So we are learning of Theology and religion in my philosophy class as of late, and while we are not entirely finished with the subject just yet I learned some pretty interesting things I wasn't really aware of prior to my wednesday class. I've been thinking of what would be an interesting topic to create on iwaku as of late, with out turning it into a debate thread. So rather than induce a debate, I decided to simply ask where my fellow members fall under theology and maybe what their personal opinions of Theology and religion are.

    Firstly I would like to relay some information I learned in my philosophy class regarding this subject, in hopes that maybe one of you will learn something new either about yourself, your beliefs, or of theology in general. Secondly I will provide some questions!

    Now, there are three types of categories listed under theology that I learned in class. There is Theism, which is the belief in the existence of god or gods. Atheism, which is the disbelief in the existence of god and gods. Finally there is Agnosticism, which is the belief in that the existence of god or gods is unknown to them personally or unknowable in general.

    Under Theism there are several subcategories that religion can fall under. I believe that I do not have every single subcategory but here are the main few from my notes;

    1. Pantheism- Identifies god with the universe. The universe is the manifestation of god. Everything in existence and existence itself is a part of god. God = Universe & all things.
    2. Panentheism- God is greater than the universe and while they are immanent (present) they are also transcendent. God is everything and more so.
    3. Deism- God exists but does not interfere with human life or violate the laws of nature.
    4. Monotheism- A single deity exists which rules the universe as a separate and individual entity.
    5. Polytheism- The belief that multiple deities exist which rule the universe as individual entities.
    6. Henotheism- Belief/worship of one god with out denying the existence of others. The belief that multiple gods may or may not exist, though there is a single supreme deity.
    7. Henology- Believing that multiple avatars of a deity exist, which represent unique aspects of the ultimate deity. Example; There is god and god has manifests him/herself in Jesus, Vishnu, Allah, and Yahweh.
    8. There was one more my teacher mentioned but did not specify in his notes, when he spoke of it it reminded me of Norse mythology of there being some eternal battle between good and evil. (I could be horribly wrong on that). I think it started with a Z?
    Then there is Atheism, which I suppose is self explanatory but I will go over it anyways. There are two types of Atheism.

    1. Negative Atheism: Also known as "Weak Atheism" which is simply the lack of theistic belief. My teacher described this as being at a rope course and there is that on person on your team that when approaching an exercise they repeatedly chant "I can't, I can't, I can't. I want to but I can't."
    2. Positive Atheism: Also known as "Strong Atheism" which is the asserted disbelief in god. "God and gods do not exist."
    The third category, which is also been divided into two types, is Agnosticism. Agnosticism was introduced by T.H. Huxley who stated that we would never be able to know about the ultimate origin and causes of the universe. man named Dawkins then divided agnosticism into two "camps". There is TAP (temporary agnosticism practice) which is simply stating "I don't know about religion! I have more current situations that are more important, so I'll figure out religion later". Then there is PAP (Permanent Agnosticism in Principle) which was the idea proposed by Huxley; ie "We simply cannot know".


    Question time!

    As asked in the poll, what category does your belief or disbelief fall under? And what is your beliefs specifically?

    How did you come to start believing in that specific belief or disbelief?

    What is your personal definition of religion? What do you think it is?

    What do you think is the purpose of religion?

    I realize that everyone as their own beliefs, but despite this do you find any other religions or beliefs to be interesting?
     
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  2. I went with Agnostic PAP. Cause I open to the possibility of a sentient deity out there that created life, but I don't really believe in a god right now. And it really is impossible to know. >>

    I grew up in the middle of religious warfare between my Christian Grandmother and my Jehovah's witness mother. @___@ As I got older I did a lot of research in to those religions plus many others. Cause I didn't like the crap they were telling and how they were weaponizing it against each other. >< I learned neither or them really knew the facts about their own religions, AND that moooost religions follow along the same core sets of beliefs. It's just random things altered here and there. Nothing ever really resonated with me personally enough for me to make it part of my lifestyle. >>


    Religion is a way to believe there is a purpose in life, and an great way to control and keep organization in a community. Humans needed this structure back then and still need it now! It's SO ingrained in our cultures, that most people (especially people who are not religious) don't realize that many of our day-to-day habits and beliefs stemmed from the structures laid down in a religion. You can see that all over the world!

    I like learning new things, and learning about other people's religion gives you more insight to how and why they behave the way they do. It also makes fantastic inspiration for writing. O__O
     
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  3. By your stated definitions; strong atheism comes closest. I reject the claim of the supernatural and am comfortable with this notion. I would have voted weak, but the quote "I can't, I can't, I can't. I want to but I can't." withheld me from it.

    I was not raised religiously. I've been given complete freedom in what to believe or faith to ascribe to. I've come into close contact with Christianity at an early age, but the more I learned of it the stronger I came to reject it. I've learned about various religions since, I even have regularly attended the Hare Krishna during my backpacking adventures. However none have ultimately managed to sway me.

    Myth and ideology. For what purposes these are used differ.

    The original purpose of most religions is to explain what cannot be explained through mere observation. It is a tool to provide definite answers to our curiosity and insecurity. Beyond that it depends on the religion and the people who use it.

    Yes.
     
    #3 Kestrel, Oct 22, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
  4. Atheism - Positive/Strong. Specifically because I've been firmly atheist for several years, ever since I could reasonably have my own opinion about the world.
    I was never particularly religious to begin with. Even as a child, I often questioned the motives of a deity who would create the universe and yet, for some reason, have some particular interest about one ball of dust out of trillions of balls of dust. How could something "up there" take a particular love of something so minuscule, that it's even more unreasonable than asking a person to pick the favourite atom in their body? Just how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, anyway?

    Nowadays, it's because I have a firm belief in the scientific method and what can be physically proven. Just because my limited sensory perception is fooled by something I thought was real, doesn't mean it necessarily was. This world view helped me get through some rather troubling times, when I had difficulty figuring out what things I remembered were real and which ones weren't. Ergo, think of it this way: Either I have to believe in all things that are unprovable--invisible pink unicorns, the flying spaghetti monster, the teapot in orbit between Earth and Mars, Gods and Goddesses, spirits and witchcraft, et cetera--or I have to believe in none of it.
    A security blanket that makes people feel better when they face the realization that absolutely everything should be, may not be, and all that which is, one day will not be, and all that which was, one day will fade even from the most persistent of memories.
    Being blunt? A collective lie we tell ourselves to support our own self-importance against the great, inescapable void that we find when we stare out at the stars. It makes us feel better by soothing the harsh truths of the universe into a more acceptable form that a person's mortal mind can deal with. Ancient peoples used it to comfort themselves whenever volcanos erupted and floods came about. "God must be very angry," they told themselves. Isn't it a wonder how all of our Gods look like we do? Nowadays, we look to the skies, at the great, alienating vastness of the universe, where we plummet towards the heat death of the universe, where we all die in but a billionth of a trillionth of a moment of the universe's life. Where all our greatest poets, greatest wars, greatest accomplishments, all occurred upon a single ball of dust and liquid, that floats perilously through the universe. I don't really blame people for still needing the security blanket that a religion provides.

    That being said, I suppose it depends on the individual person. Some of the smartest, kindest, and even wisest people I've ever met, needed the security blanket that religion gave them. So, whatever I think of it, it has no reflection upon those who believe in it, save for those who become so obsessed with the lie, that they need to make it true by destroying everything that is different around them to do it. So I suppose, in moderation, religion can make you feel better, if you need it. It reflects no weakness on you if you need it either. Some of the most herculean of conquerors, who could slay a thousand men without so much as batting an eye, went to sleep every night comforting themselves with their own psychological security blankets.

    I don't need it, though. I'm quite happy to exist in a universe where I will one day end. I'm just a mortal man with mortal desires, and I never want to live so long that love and suffering become meaningless terms. This brief stint I have with the universe is enough for me, I'll cherish every moment of it. Even if it hurts sometimes.
    Fascinating. Extremely fascinating. Every religion is like a collection of the most stalwart of tales each culture wanted to keep inscribed in the collective memories of their descendants. I can't tell you much about Canada's early history for instance, but I can tell you all about David and Goliath. I can tell you all about Mohammad and Allah's demands that he should read in spite of his illiteracy. I desire to learn more about the function of the rebirth cycle in some sects of Buddhism.

    However, I'm also somewhat cautious of it. I know a lot of lovely people who hold religious beliefs. (Like my girlfriend! Who is a Catholic!... No, I didn't see that one coming either. :ferret:) On the other hand, over five hundred million people of a certain religion who shall not be named publicly support policies such as honour killings and Sharia totally reasonable law. I've seen people so driven to pursue their own interpretation of the universe that they fire bomb abortion clinics, and parade about the graves of dead soldiers screaming that "God loves dead soldiers." I've read on the history of Tibet, and the literal pile of starved corpses of children that Buddhist monks stepped over on their way to "enlightenment." I've read about the horrors of the Crusades, of the Jihads, of Christian missionaries being slaughtered by fervent Shinto believers, of the Boxer rebellion and the Residential School System imposed on the Natives in Canada. I've read all about what happens when people get obsessed with their fantasies, and become so terrified of what might happen if they should lose their security blanket, that they would destroy anything that might threaten it.

    Religion is not inherently evil. It's fascinating, and many good people pursue it. However, I will note one interesting point about it.

    The more fundamentalist one is, the more fervently one believes in the "singular truth" of whatever holy scripture they adore, the more unhinged from reality they become. Enjoy your security blankets, but don't tie them around your neck so tight that the air stops reaching your mind. You might start seeing and doing crazed things in the hopes of getting air that you're depriving from yourself.
     
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  5. 1. I'm in Agnostic PAP, I think. I do belief that there's God being that created this world, maybe because it's due to my exposure to Catholic and Christianity ever since I was a child but on why I've become Agnostic is because I've researched about other religion such buddhism, Islamic, and other religion, I found each of of them have a string that connected from one religion to others. What I mean is that, some religion covers the flaws of other (it's hard to explain but you know like for example, Bob doesn't have this personality but Alex have this personality)

    2. Pretty much I've covered in number one but here's the full story, Little Greensea was born and raise in a fairly open minded family, mother was a buddhist(she switched her belief to Christianity later on) and father is a Catholic. Young Greensea don't know religion until he was grade 1 where he introduced to Christianity at school, there he hear many stories inside the bible, from adam and eve to abraham. Moving forward to grade 5, it was the time where he met a teacher that seems to be rare upto this day, he was the type of teacher that doesn't really involve religion to discipline student (yeah it's really hard to explain once again sorry). He teaches us man to be gentleman (I know they will be people like all hail equality!), he teaches us to respect woman and so on. I was steady for awhile until grade 8/9 where I'm really taken my downfall in christianity, I don't pray, I don't read bible, I sleep during my christian class, and other things. That day wasn't last long luckily, a year later, my friend take me to a youth gathering for christian group (charismatic so if you know hillsong, yeah... basically we sing their song at least one per week)where, I feel comfortable at first but as time goes by, the material that the priest (not that I'm not thankful). So I tried once to the adult ones to see if there's any difference but the age gap seems to big, I mean how the priest relating the topic to daily life and so I stopped coming to church. Since my time at home has gotten a lot, I started to think, what if there's more than christianity? like what if other religion are the one that I should choose? further more my mind was filled with question, like what's adam and eve's race? why does the Eden garden only being told once in the bible, there's nothing that indicate that Eden's garden had gone, meaning that it should be somewhere in earth right now?
    ^---does are some of the sill thing that I wandered, there are some serious ones~ but I'll save it for some other time.

    3. From how I see through my life, belief is a choice and the representation of a person. First, it's a thing that only you who decide to believe on not other people, if you follow just because anyone told you/are then sadly you're not yet to be on that belief. Secondly, what I mean the representation of a person doesn't mean I directly stereotyping a person, the way how the implement their belief to their life is what I meant. I use Christianity as an example just because it's the one I've been exposed the most and met a lot. I ever met a lot of Christian on my life, there are ; types who simply goes to church just because they want to meet up with girls, types who goes to church just because they were having hard time and after that they don't come back after problem solve; types who come just because they want to hang out with friend after the preaching is done; types who come just because it's routine for him/her; types who think he/she's too holy that he pointing every people's sins like he/she's a preacher BUT there are types who come and really listen to it, types that really serious into christianity but at the same time he doesn't spouting random things to people, types who really in need of help and end up to be dedicated to christianity, and many more. Those are some types of Christian I've met, this doesn't mean that Christianity is a bad thing, it's just to show that there are different type of Christian, good or bad. This by any no means other are the better or worst, I've been to Catholic churches as well and boy do I really see some similarities and differences.

    4.It's similar to 3 but it's a Choice where people can choose, it's some sort a life guidance for me but it could be something else for other people.

    5. Yes indeed, it's the reason of why I've become Agnostic for awhile~!
     
  6. I picked TAP (Temporary Agnosticism Practice).

    Mainly because I'm a firm believer in the scientific method, part of which requires me to not dismiss anything as flat out impossible.
    The best we can ever go is "There is no proof/evidence of this".

    Now, if there is no evidence for it I have no reason or incentive to treat it as fact.
    So much so I view religion under the same light as thing such as Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny and the floating teapot.

    But if a day were to come where any of these were every scientifically proven, then I would be obligated to change my perspective on the matter.
    If my response to new information was to plug my ears and cry "God doesn't exist! La la la!" then I'd be spitting on the very reason I became an Atheist to begin with.

    "Wait, you just called yourself Atheist. So why did you pick TAP?".

    Because according to the definitions in the OP the atheist options seemed to be either "I don't know! I don't know! I can't think about it!" or "Nope! No God! I don't care, doesn't exist!".
    While TAP seemed to relate the most to the kind of atheist that I personally am.

    +If we pull up the Agnostic-Gnostic scaling being Atheist or Agnostic isn't even contradicting.
    I was raised in a casual/relaxed Catholic family. So I was brought up believing in God, but was outright told to ignore the Bible, and we never went to church except when extended family invited us to a Baptism or Wedding.
    However, when I was 14 the most Catholic of my Grandparent's ended up dying. This made me began questioning the afterlife, and encouraged me to start digging into my own religion.

    Originally I went to asking my parents, but they gave me the typical "Be a good person, don't listen to the book written by men" stuff. This was an answer I couldn't accept, if we were to call ourselves Christian why were we ignoring the very book Christianity is based off of? So I began to look towards others for answers, specifically I ended up finding an online church ran by a man called shockofgod to join. At first I was thrown right into it, being enlightened by all this religious knowledge, the community etc. It caused me to hit a year long stage of my life where I became more fundamentalist, which caused me to take positions as such "Abortion is murder", "Being Gay is a choice and a Sin", "Climate change is false", "Evolution is just a theory" etc (No I'm not proud of these days at all).

    However, as time went on two main thing's began to happen.

    1) I made a new friend at High School who was an Atheist. And eventually we ended up debating quite a bit on a lot of topics, including religion.
    2) Now being more familliar within the church, I began to start noticing flaws and holes in the logic and reasoning of their arguments.

    Basically, I was discovering the weak points of my religion's arguments. So my first response was to start asking the church more questions, surely they'd have ways to explain these?
    Though the response I ended up getting this time around not only didn't explain it, but I started seeing a more hostile and defensive side of the church.

    So almost as quickly as I had absorbed myself into the Church I began backing out and altering paths to more independent evaluation and thought.
    Give this another year's time when I was 16 and I was now calling myself Agnostic in the (inaccurate/wrong) definition of "I think there's a God or God like being up there, but I don't know what".
    But in truth this was more just a security blanket, I had already crossed the line of being an Atheist but 16 years of being religious made me reluctant to admit it.
    However by the time I was 17 I no longer needed this blanket and was fine admitting to being an atheist, to which I have continued to be ever since.
    It's any organized belief in something that requires faith rather than logic and facts.

    You'll find all wakes of perspectives in it, from those who are so minorly religious it's really in name only, to those who use it as a means to find value in life, to those who let it consume them so much they start harming others, and destroying anything that contradicts it.
    Originally it was our means of discovering more about our universe, back when Science and Religion were the same thing.

    But eventually, by using Science some people began to realize that the theory of Religion wasn't holding up, there are more probable explanations.
    So at this point they were forced to split up, and it was at this point that the purpose of religion changed from being seeking knowledge/understand to being a sense of security and comfort.
    It served as a convenient lie, one that made people smile and helped form communities, but was ultimately blinding them given our current scientific understanding.

    And in some cases, a weapon to help enforce their own greed and values onto the world.
    Wanted an excuse to kidnap women and rape them? Say God desired more wives, and that it was fine if you paid some silver to the father.
    Wanted to kill people who disagreed with you? Call them sinners and agents of the Devil.
    In all honesty, I don't find much interest in the tales given by Religion.
    It's nice to understand what people believed in the past, but when you critically look at it it's very simple by nature and the attempts to hammer in that "God is great" or "This is a Sin" becomes painfully obvious (except for Lesbians. Amusingly enough the Bible only condem's homosexual men, not women XD).
    You might find a couple exciting/interesting stories, but that's not something we have a lack of or anything.
    There are tons of writers for books, shows, games etc that give plenty entertaining stories, those with the purpose of such and not to push an ancient and outdated agenda.

    Rather what I find more interesting about Religion is studying it's effect on people.
    Looking into history, seeing how religion was created, how it evolved, and how it influenced and changed people, society and culture over time.
    It speaks miles about human nature, how human's work, what human's will do in the face of any different situations etc.
     
  7. This is rather difficult since my beliefs fall under several of these categories. Partly because I identify as an agnostic Jew, in which if we use the system placed, PAP agnostic Jew. Agnosticism is more of a 'how much do you know?" type question when it comes to religion while TAP and PAP are subcategories on it, TAP being the reasoning that you haven't thought on it and PAP is more of the fact that you have and know that you don't know. I think Brovo's other thread on the subject perfectly sums up my thoughts that religion has two scales, an up and down one (Theist Vs Atheist) and a left and right one (Gnostic Vs Agnostic).

    That said. I did eventually come under the conclusion that, if I actually had to select one of these options than it would be Panentheism since I do personally believe that god is probably something beyond what we know of the universe and that like. Even so, in truth, while I do heavily believe in a god and follow my religions traditions for the most part in the way that I, my family, and my old temple follow... god is just something just out of our comprehension and we do not try to label or comprehend god, let alone dictate god as 'good' or 'evil' since, as stated he is something that we can not understand and can be any form, any alignment because of such. I do know that me even trying to understand god, god's plans or thoughts is like an ant trying to understand humans and looking up at the tall skyscrapers built on my ant-hill and around me, I just can't fathom it nor will I try unless god comes down to 'ant level' and explain it very clearly to not only me, but others so that we can further understand all the big questions that there are. Until then it's more of a 'yes I believe in god but I have no clue what god is, how god came to be, why god does what god does and what god has planned or didn't plan for our world/universe.

    This is a very very long story that I don't wish to tell in detail so I'll cut the tid-bits out. My mother is Jewish and my father was christian, by Jewish religion if the wife is Jewish than the children are also born Jewish, but Christians also tend to believe the opposite so it's more of a choice than anything, like everything always is. My father tried to indoctrinate me, my sister and little brother in his more christian beliefs and my mother done the same thing for the Jewish beliefs. For me, my mom succeeded. My sister, my dad did and my little brother is still undecided due to never thinking on it. So parental indoctrination plays a key role.

    Second factor is that the traditions of the Jewish religion and the history behind it actually interested me quite a bit, including some of the great ol' kids movies. All with the most catchy songs as fuck. So the holidays (where I don't fast), the traditions, learning a second language, family movies, and the like did help my decisions on the issue.

    Now finally, I meditate quite a lot and am probably the most spiritual person in the family since I take some time out of my day (at least two hours straight) to both further whatever spiritual connections I may have with god, if any and to ponder on what it is I believe in, why I believe in it and the like. I am curious on looking outside of my own beliefs and looking at the premise on the very ideals I believe in and question them to further expand them. In short, I came the the eventual conclusions that I did after long hours of studying my religion and looking inward to answer the more unanswerable questions and find from within what it is that I believe in. Despite the fact that I say 'I don't know' on many aspects of god, most of which I can't answer I can say that I am a strong in my faith that there is a deity of some fashion.

    TL;DR: Indoctrination into the religion, comfort of the traditions within the religion, knowledge of that the religion is about and taking the time to look within myself and find out what it is I personally believe in from within are all the reasons why I believe what I personally believe.

    I don't understand the purpose of this question here. Religion is system of faith and worship, that's all it is. It's even in the definition. :/

    This is a very hard question since there are many 'purposes' in why people would take-up religion. Though in it's core, taking away traditions, beliefs, indoctrination, and even organized religion... Separate all of these things and leave only the individual, religion then becomes one's personal belief and faith (or lack there of). Religions should be something not found because someone told you to believe in it, because you read a very convincing book or even because it's what others believe in but instead an internal thing that the individual's own faith and belief holds. In a sense, I suppose religion in itself is a form of spiritual enlightenment in which the individual believes in what they do. Asking questions about your beliefs, reading up and trying out other practices and experimenting, all while taking the time to think up on what it is you personally believe and what better suits you is all the process of this spiritual enlightenment, though in the end I do think that, THAT is the purpose religion SHOULD have.

    "What of Atheists? Are you saying that they're not 'enlightened' with their own beliefs?! ASSHOLE!"

    Actually I am saying quite the opposite. Since I'm more of a fan of personal belief than organized religion, I do think that even Atheists hold their own form of 'spiritual enlightenment's. This is because their personal belief, while nothing excessively 'spiritual', is their own since they found within themselves through the very same process I found mine. They are normally comfortable with what they believe and thus normally don't need to question it. So in a sense I could say they all achieved their 'spiritual enlightenment' already.

    After this we go more into another side of the same question, "What is the purpose of YOUR Religious Belief?" in which the answers are infinite since normally everyone's religious belief is different in one way or another and even in organized religions, people believe what they do through how they interprate things. This leads to a near infinite number of 'purposes' that religions may hold.


    Oh definitely. As stated that was the process in me accepting my own. I tried 3 Christianity and 1 Catholic churches, All but two had their perks, and that is because they spread a LOT of hate and demanded people to fear instead of worship happily. I looked into Shintoism and while I wouldn't believe in it, it is a very interesting religion. Buddhism is a really good religion I looked into and even took some religious aspects from, hence the 'self-spiritual enlightenment' aspect and my daily meditations. I haven't read the Quran despite owning it and Hinduism, while another very interesting religion in itself and I even had a phase where I was Polytheistic and was Greek after reading a bit on it's religion as well. Some 'new age' religions did catch my eyes as well but in the end 'Jewish' was the outcome that I most accepted and preferred as my 'true religion'.

    So yeah, I'd definitely take a look at other religious beliefs if presented to me, and while the chance of me converting is slim, I'd still likely use small portions and aspects of those religions into my characters for RPing due to how they inspire more ideas to me, especially for fantasy RPs. ^^
     
    #7 Drakel, Oct 23, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  8. As asked in the poll, what category does your belief or disbelief fall under? And what is your beliefs specifically?
    Agnostic PAP. For me I think it is impossible to find out whether or not there are deities and both theist and atheists have good points, but I don't think we can really prove anything.

    How did you come to start believing in that specific belief or disbelief?
    My family on my mother's side is either agnostic or atheists (never really asked), at home I haven't really been exposed to anything religious nor do my family speak of this kind of subject. My family on my father's side, however, is a Buddhist family and for the first seven or so years of my life I watched her pray to statues, keep religious relics that are supposedly things to bring luck, those little shrine things were left by the entrance, paintings of deities, lights incense and leaves fruit out for them to bless. I believe I once considered myself a Buddhist, but I wasn't pushed to follow the religion. To be honest I think things just changed when I matured, I went to a Catholic primary school and went to church every Friday morning but again wasn't pushed to follow the religion and I just saw it as another subject to learn. I'm not sure when... maybe my first year of Biology? :P

    Seeing the science side of things and kinda debating to myself, both sides made sense in their own ways. But they happened so many years ago, it's hard to prove either.

    What is your personal definition of religion? What do you think it is? What do you think is the purpose of religion?
    Different beliefs to explain how this world was created. To understand how we came about and it kinda creates communities who share the same belief. I also think it is a type of response to the things that can't be explained.

    I realize that everyone as their own beliefs, but despite this do you find any other religions or beliefs to be interesting?
    I find religion to be a really fascinating subject, having studied in a Catholic school those textbooks we had that summarised bits and pieces of the Bible and the Bible copies we had were actually an interesting read. And the things that the stories would teach us were pretty important, I guess, setting aspects like kindness and selflessness into personalities. My favourite game was the one that exposed me to Shinto religion, which in itself is pretty 'woah'. And learning about Buddhism and Taoism... yeah, it's more interesting than one would think with all the different beliefs and aspects behind each religion.
     
  9. Despite how I am or act, I am LDS, or as some people say, "Mormon". Its hard to answer this question. We believe there are multiple gods, but that there is only one true God.

    My parents planted that seed. And through a lot of thought and questioning about myself and the world around me, I came to the conclusion that I did.

    Mostly, just ascribing your spirituality with an organization that has the same beliefs as you. Religion is a general "catch all" term, though, that includes everything that isn't a cult.

    I think Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said it best- "Science is about taking things apart to see how they work, Religion puts things together to see what they mean."

    Every religion is very interesting, with the exception of the religion who's founder was in his 40's or something who decided to marry a literal 6 year old. (To be fair, he possibly didn't consummate until she was 9.)

    A lot of religions that were popular in Japan I tend to have interest too, seeing as how I spend a lot of time there and did so as a kid as well.
     
  10. I went with the Postive/Strong Atheism choice in the poll. I don't care for this method of arranging beliefs on a single axis scale of theism to atheism with agnosticism cast as the middle point, but if that's what we're using here then the stronger version of atheism is the closest thing to my beliefs. The wishy-washy explanation of Negative/Weak Atheism just doesn't feel quite right. When categorizing religious beliefs I prefer the two axis model of theist/atheist and gnostic/agnostic because it allows for more accurate labeling. Under that model I would call myself an agnostic atheist who is as close as one can get to gnostic belief without crossing the line.

    In other words, I don't believe in any sort of deity. However, I am not 100% certain that there isn't or wasn't ever some kind of deity, so I'm not the kind of atheist who positively asserts that there is no god. There are many questions left about the universe and how it came to be that science has no reliable answer for, and as long as that remains the case there is in fact a possibility that the answer is “a god did it.” Over the years I've come to look at most things, particularly beliefs and opinions, through the lens of the scientific method (side note: I wrote this before reading responses to the thread and I'm highly amused that I'm not the only one to think this way), because that logic and proof based methodology is essentially just a more formalized and thorough version of my natural way of thinking. When it comes to religion and grand questions about life and the universe this means that all I really have is a hypothesis: I don't think there is or ever was any sort of deity. So far I have found nothing to prove this hypothesis false, but all it would take is one piece of solid proof for the existence of a deity to make it all come tumbling down. This is why I don't step over the line into gnostic atheism, because doing so would be to deny the possibility that I am wrong, and I try my utmost to avoid that particular brand of arrogance.

    I grew up with very little religion in my life. My father wasn't in the picture much at all and my mother wasn't very openly religious. She identifies herself as a “kind of Christian” because she thinks the basic morality professed in the New Testament of the Bible is pretty solid, but her actual beliefs about the nature of the universe and what happens when you die is pantheistic stuff about how we're all interconnected and are part of what more formal religions call God or Allah or whatever. She never pushed her beliefs on me or my siblings though, and it wasn't until I started really exploring the whole idea of religion in my young teen years that I actually learned she wasn't just a run of the mill Christian who didn't bother going to church.

    Anyway, around the age of 13 I started looking into various religions because I'd found all sorts of contradictions and issues with he generic Christianity that I'd seen and heard around me. I'm not the sort to just have faith in a thing, so those things prompted me to look elsewhere. I ran the gamut of religions in my informal research, everything from the big boys of Islam and Judaism to more niche things like Wiccan beliefs and Satanism (which is less edgy that one might expect). At first I flirted with deism, then for a while went with the temporary agnosticism as described in the OP, then landed on full on gnostic atheism for a while in my older teen years (because I was a little silly and thought that my personal rejection of all forms of theism meant that clearly the entire concept of a deity was a lie). It wasn't until I was 17 or 18 that I readjusted to my current beliefs after taking some time to take a critical look at my thought process on the matter after some people I argued with on the internet asked some good questions that I couldn't answer at the time. I'm one of those rare cases who actually changed their mind because of an internet debate, heh.

    I define religion fairly broadly: its a set of beliefs concerning the origin of existence (especially how humans came to exist) and/or the ultimate purpose of the things that exist (especially humans), and sometimes they also try to explain things about the nature of reality as well. Religions all give some explanation of how things came to be the way that they are and/or some reason for existence, or at least some reason for humans to exist. The nature of reality thing is a little more spotty, not really required to make something a religion, and it's less obvious than the other two things: part of it it might be an attempt to explain what stars are, or it could be something like how Buddhism essentially says that the world experienced through your basic senses is crap and you should strive to liberate yourself from it.

    A key part of the definition is the word 'belief,' meaning that it is accepted to be true without solid proof. This is why I maintain that agnostic atheism (as my kind of belief would be called on the simple two axis model of religious classification) isn't really a religion: it's essentially a denial of faith, a refusal to just accept something as true without proof. Same for science: the hard sciences try to explain how things came to exist and the nature of reality, and some of the soft sciences try to find purpose for humanity, but it's all about proof rather than taking things on faith. Gnostic atheism, the “there is no god and never has been and I know it for sure” kind, is definitely religious because people who think that way are believing something that lacks proof.

    Religion is, at its core, a search for answers. All religions try to answer fundamental and often existentially terrifying questions about reality and humanity. What are we here for? Where did we come from? What happens when we die? What makes a person good or evil? Does justice exist outside our own minds? So on and so forth. Established religions are essentially a set of accepted answers to a range of these kinds of questions. For example, Christianity gives a creation story to answer why we are here, an explanation of post-death things to answer what happens after we die, and a moral code that can be used to judge right from wrong to answer what makes a person good or evil. Even the little specific bits like how to perform certain religious rituals are answers to secondary questions: some deity's judgment is the answer to 'what makes a person good or evil?', and the special rituals are the answer to the followup question 'how can I be a good person and please the deity?'

    Some have already noted the security and comfort qualities of religion. I say those things are secondary benefits to the purpose of getting answers, not the main purpose and and of themselves. Some people may cling to it purely because of the comfort it provides, but religions were born from people trying to answer big scary questions and explain the world around themselves. The constant comparisons between religion and science are usually quite reasonable because they share the purpose of finding answers about things but differ in methodology. It's worth noting that people can get the same warm and fuzzy feeling of security by fending off big scary questions with answers derived from science just as easily as with answers from religion.

    Very much so. I like seeing all the different things people of the past came up with to answer those big questions, and the moral codes they provide are pretty interesting little windows into the societies that birthed them. I'm also quite interested in how they shaped the course of human history and continue to have a huge impact despite the rise of science.
     
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  11. As asked in the poll, what category does your belief or disbelief fall under? And what is your beliefs specifically?
    Agnosticism - PAP. I deem it impossible to know if there is a divine being.
    For example, a christian god could hypothetically void all evidence of his existence.

    How did you come to start believing in that specific belief or disbelief?
    As far as I recall, there never was a time where I was completly sure that a divine being does or doesn't exist.
    In a way, I always was an agnostic, even if I didn't know what agnosticism is.

    What is your personal definition of religion? What do you think it is?
    Let's see...
    Yup.

    What do you think is the purpose of religion?
    Religion has certain benefits for different people. Some gain hope, consolation, a community to socialise with - others see it as a way to appeal to a certain group of people, perhaps just like with nationality.

    I realize that everyone as their own beliefs, but despite this do you find any other religions or (beliefs to be interesting?
    They can be interesting, but I personally am not too interested about religions or beliefs in general right now.
     
    #11 Wolk, Oct 23, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
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