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Religion?: 3/20/2012 19:11:28


Lykus 
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Just about every forum in the history of the internet has probably had multiple "discussions" about religion, but most of those deteriorate quickly into poorly backed arguments that I wouldn't even classify as discussions.

Most of you here are pretty smart from what I've seen and are from various countries from all over the world, and It'd be interesting to hear your thoughts and opinions on religion.


Personally, I guess I'd call myself Agnostic, but im always open to (most) new ideas and views.

I don't have enough knowledge or experience with other major organized religions, but I absolutely hate Christianity, and lose respect for *almost* anyone who claims to be a devout Christian/practicing Christian. I could explain further, but im sure anyone who is familiar with the bible and has experienced American Christians can see where im coming from.

Opinions? I especially want to hear from those who live outside America.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 19:17:49

Tacticus 
Level 28
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Nothing wrong with Christianity, its just certain groups of Christians that really give it a bad name.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 19:28:36


x 
Level 58
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i agree with tacitus, theres nothing wrong with christianity. love your neighbour, and kill the gays.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 19:40:12


Najdorf
Level 46
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why kill them, when you can just make them choose to stop sinning against our lord and savior?
Religion?: 3/20/2012 19:41:15


Ace Windu 
Level 56
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Lykus, worms, a can of them.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 19:46:30


AppleCrumbies
Level 16
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Irish Catholic and a devote one.. But you can hate me it's fine we been having haters far longer than you've been around.

God comes in many forms of course people will see him differently.. this is why we have so many religions. ;) I think arguments arise when you come at someone with.. "I hate christians".. Just a guess though
Religion?: 3/20/2012 19:55:24


Moros 
Level 50
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I think there are four possible scenarios for a potential god that has influence on this world and can send a certain amount of people to heaven.

A: He doesn't want to send any people to heaven. Then there would be no point in religion at all if you're going to hell for sure.

B: He wants to send only a certain group of people to heaven. Then I think he'd choose the brightest, strongest and most humble (i.e. Übermensche) to heaven. So it would be not of anything good to send a book (the Bible, the Koran, or anything else) down to earth, full of impossible stories with giant floods and seas disappearing. He would know that someday scientists would discover that those miracles are impossible, which leads to global atheism in a few hundred years.

C: He wants to send as many people to heaven as possible, but can't send them all. Because they have to establish some sort of community in heaven, he would want the best of them. Then he could easier make thousands of miracles every day (like lighting strikes on every building but a church, or even more obvious, hundreds of Jesus's to perform their miracles and spread religion). That would instantly convert everybody but the crazy and stubborn.

D: He wants to send them all to heaven. Then there would be no point in religion at all if you're going to heaven for sure.

---
And if we assume that for whatever reason there is a god. Then again, there are multiple scenarios possible:

A: One religion has it all right. That could be Christianity or the Islam, but it could just as well be one of the cults that sacrifice babies and drink blood. It would be better to follow any of the main religions, because they don't interfere with your life in such a brutal way; or you could follow none at all, because if God were merciful, why would you follow any religion if you can just as well convert at the final second before death?

B: None are right, all are nonsense. Again: there would be no point in religion at all if you're going to hell for sure.

C: All religions hold a bit of the truth. This is very possible, explainable with the following story: ***Three blind men walk down a road. Suddenly, they hit an elephant (let's assume the elephant is just standing there and lets them touch him) The men touch him, but none can reach the full elephant. One of them says: "The thing is long and flexible, like a snake (he touches the elephant's proboscis)." The second man says: "No, it is large and flat, like a wall (he touched a flank)." The third man says: "No, it is small but high like a tree stump (he was touching one of the elephant's legs)."*** The three men all get a different image in their heads about the same elephant, because none of them can see it entirely.
If this were true, then following any religion would send you to heaven, but because you can't be sure, atheism would be a good starting point and it would let you determine for yourself what is the best religion.

---

That's my opinion, feel free to argue about it.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 19:55:50


Najdorf
Level 46
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i agree with everythings apple says. What bothers me really the most, because it actually affects me is when religion gets messed up in things it should like the goverment. Just because people really like their religion doesnt make them stupid. Its people like you that think your superior for your beliefs.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:00:28


Moros 
Level 50
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And against gays? If there is a god and he made them that way, why don't you let them be like that? And if there is no god, it would only make sense arguing about them if they are offensive to you personally. Then I guess you'd have to talk it out with a glass of milk and a lot of cookies.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:12:23

RvW 
Level 46
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Lykus, don't be so quick to jump to (prejudiced) conclusions. For one, remember it's always the exceptional cases (here: the nutjobs) who get all the media attention. Which is, by the way, our own fault, since the media simply shows us what we want to be shown, but that's another discussion.

So when somebody decides to implement "love thy neighbour" and "don't do upon others what you don't want done upon yourself" (sorry if my quotations are a little off; English is not my native language) by beating up gay people or Islamic people or whatever, always remind yourself that for every idiot Christian there's a million Christians who *are* sane, normal, pleasant people (*and*, most of which completely agree with you about that idiot being, well, an idiot).

Maybe the comparison is a little crazy, but the reason you never see moderate Christians on television is the same reason the news doesn't report on planes which leave on time, have an uneventful trip and land without a hitch: nobody cares...

There are of course always exceptions; for instance, Pope John Paul II definitely got a lot of (media) attention, but to the best of my knowledge was a very good person, who did some [amazing things](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Paul_II#Role_in_the_fall_of_Communism) (just one example, there are many more on the rest of the page).

Besides, there's also the huge difference between people living by Christian norms themselves and people wanting to force Christian norms onto others. That first group I have absolutely no problem with, the second group however... If someone doesn't want to be in a same-sex marriage themselves (either because they're Christian or because they're straight :p ), sure, their choice. The moment they feel the need to tell other people they can't either, then it becomes an entirely different matter.

Someday, I should start a new religion, with just one important rule: you're only allowed to marry someone from another religion (doesn't matter which, just another, agnostics are also okay). Why? Because it will make discussions with hardcore Christians who have a problem with gay marriage so much more fun. ;) "So, you want to impose your rules onto other people? Sure, but then I get to impose *my* rule on *you*!" (This pretty much hinges on hardcore Christians wanting to marry other hardcore Christians, but that should be a safe bet.) Best part is, as long as I'm the only follower, I can actually abide by my own rule. :p

---

Just to be perfectly clear, everywhere I've said "Christian" in this post I could just as well have written "Islamic", "Jew", "Buddhist" or even "[Flying Spaghetti Monster](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster)" (only using John Paul as an example wouldn't make a lot of sense in that case).

---

@Ace:
Want to borrow an opener? :p
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:15:14


Richard Sharpe 
Level 59
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Truly impressive Lykus... like the bigotry from you. Glad I stopped playing you.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:23:41


dodo comander 
Level 57
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Lykus, whats wrong with Christianity? I mean Ya in religion somethings aren't all right. But shouldn't it be about looking at what makes it good and not what makes you hate it.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:38:15


Ace Windu 
Level 56
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Thanks for the opener RvW.

I am an athiest. I don't hate Christians or any religious people, that's just stupid and prejudiced, but I do hate some of things that are indoctrinated into people.

The worst one from Catholicism atm is the contraception thing. Millions of people in Africa are contracting HIV because of the churches abstinence only policy of contraception.

Catholicism also has a history of huge cover-ups of child abuse in my country(Ireland) and around the world. The Church's reputation was more important than the welfare of the hundreds of children getting abused by priests.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:42:56

RvW 
Level 46
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@Moros:

|> B: He wants to send only a certain group of people to heaven. Then I think he'd choose the brightest, strongest and most humble (i.e. Übermensche) to heaven. So it would be not of anything good to send a book (the Bible, the Koran, or anything else) down to earth, full of impossible stories with giant floods and seas disappearing. He would know that someday scientists would discover that those miracles are impossible, which leads to global atheism in a few hundred years.

Could you please use another word than "Übermensche", that has a very nasty connotation ("bij-klank"). Thank you.

There's a little flaw in your reasoning; people are not born as adults, they spend a lot of their life growing up, forming a personality. Sending a book to Earth letting people know what you consider "good behaviour" would actually make a lot of sense for a god.

Also, a lot of those biblical miracles are not so impossible as they may seem. I can't find the link any more, but a while ago I came across a page discussing that exact theme. For instance, Mozes parting the Red Sea seems to be actually possible given an exactly right combination of an earthquake and very strong wind.
Is it rather unlikely to happen at exactly the moment Mozes raises his arms? Of course. Is it already considerably more likely to happen when he struck up camp for a few days (and in later retelling it became "when he raised his arms"), yes, but still pretty unlikely. Is it actually rather likely that at some point in history it happened, there was someone to see it happening and in later retelling it got incorporated into Mozes' story? Difficult to put an exact number on of course, but at least it starts to sound at least semi-credible.

|> And against gays? If there is a god and he made them that way, why don't you let them be like that?

The problem here is the comparison with criminals. If god created someone who likes to murder people, we sure aren't going to let him be like that; he either "voluntarily" suppresses his desires or he's going to jail.
The difference is of course that a murderer inflicts harm on other people, while a gay does not, but "tiny little details" like that are remarkably difficult to explain to people if they're fanatical enough. (Not to mention "but I can see them holding hands and I know what they do when they're alone; that hurts my morality" (answering: "you being a self-righteous idiot hurts my morality, so grow up, get a clue and stop whining" never seems to have the desired effect...))
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:52:00


Jesus
Level 2
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O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.

Proverbs 8:5
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:55:06


Mostly Harmless 
Level 55
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I don't think the right way to start a discussion about religion is by stating 'I don't know much about it, but I hate Christianity'.
That's usually how you start a flame war.
(OK, I don't want anyone to start a flame war, just thought I'd point this out).

As for my views:
Yes, there are bad apples in any religion and those are generally the most vocal about their beliefs. Yet, a majority of the USA is christian in some way or another, and I'm sure most keep their beliefs to themselves (note: I've never actually been in the states, and I don't think my country is really comparable to the US in religiosity, but still I imagine not all christians want to force their belief on you there, just a vocal minority. (Wait, is *religiosity* even a word? No idea really,though it probably should be. But I'm completely straying off topic here)).

Anyways, I think that goes for religion across the world in general.
The 'nutjobs' might despise their religious opponents, and try to force their beliefs on the rest of the world, but the majority just wants to get along with others.
I've had some great conversations with some christian friends (I'm an atheist myself), where we don't try to convince the other party of our own (lack of) belief. It works as long as it's based on mutual respect. That's the most important thing about these
discussions: respect the viewpoints of others, as long as they respect yours too.
And you won't get nor deserve much respect when you start by stating you hate the other party.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:55:50


Ace Windu 
Level 56
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I'm not sure how this world could possibly be overseen by some "higher power." Would things be like this if we had a benevolent, omnipotent being watching over us?

How do you rationalise your beliefs with the suffering, inequality, war, genocide etc. the list goes on.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:55:55

RvW 
Level 46
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|> The worst one from Catholicism atm is the contraception thing. Millions of people in Africa are contracting HIV because of the churches abstinence only policy of contraception.

Which cardinal was it who said "An HIV virus is smaller than the pores in a condom, so condoms can't work."? ([possible sources](https://www.google.com/search?q=condom+pores+hiv+%28+cardinal+OR+church+OR+vatican+%29)) Well, water molecules are smaller still, so just fill a condom with water, notice how it's *not* leaking and see for yourself how valid that theory is...
What really offends me though is that he *must* know he's talking bull, he *must* know there's countless people (mostly in Africa) who blindly trust anything the Church says, so the only possible conclusion is he's deliberately risking other people's lives!

|> Catholicism also has a history of huge cover-ups of child abuse in my country(Ireland) and around the world. The Church's reputation was more important than the welfare of the hundreds of children getting abused by priests.

There's (apparently) a huge difference between Christians in general and "the Church" in particular. Please don't judge the first group by the acts of the second (also, not all cardinals and higher ups are bad of course).
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:57:34


Ace Windu 
Level 56
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Sorry, ^that question is an open one^, not directed at anyone in particular btw.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 20:59:12

RvW 
Level 46
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|> How do you rationalise your beliefs with the suffering, inequality, war, genocide etc. the list goes on.

Oh, that's simple, with the assumptions things would be much worse still if there was no god. Either that or the "God's testing our faith" line...
Religion?: 3/20/2012 21:02:50


Ace Windu 
Level 56
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|>There's (apparently) a huge difference between Christians in general and "the Church" in particular. Please don't judge the first group by the acts of the second (also, not all cardinals and higher ups are bad of course).

Of course ordinary Catholics weren't at all to blame for the cover ups, and I hold no grudge against them(otherwise I wouldn't get along well with my mother :P).

However, these higher-ups claim to be bastions of morality and constantly claim that there is no morality without religion. I would argue that religion is not only completely unneccessary for living a moral life but actually forces you to defend immoral things e.g. denying gay people rights
Religion?: 3/20/2012 21:03:59


Jesus
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Ace:

Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.

Matthew 15:16-19
Religion?: 3/20/2012 21:06:22


Ace Windu 
Level 56
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|> Oh, that's simple, with the assumptions things would be much worse still if there was no god. Either that or the "God's testing our faith" line...

God is omnipotent, surely then he knows what everyone will do? He exists outside of everything that we know i.e. space and time. Then there can be no test. He knows all, doesn't he?

And things would be worse? That's just silly. He makes things a little better then? But still allows all the horrors that occur? Sounds more malevolent than benevolent.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 21:08:04


Ace Windu 
Level 56
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Yeah yeah Jesus, I get it, we're all terrible on the inside. Thanks for giving us original sin so you could come down and play hero though, smooth.
Religion?: 3/20/2012 21:13:00


Jesus
Level 2
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Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your heart?

Luke 24:38
Religion?: 3/20/2012 21:13:40


[WM] Anonymous 
Level 52
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lol..never start a thread about: religion, sport/fav teams, racism. they will always be a mess
Religion?: 3/20/2012 21:20:10

hangblague
Level 5
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Go Blackhawks! (Whoops)
Religion?: 3/20/2012 21:36:39


Lykus 
Level 4
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okay i didn't real *all* of some of those long posts on the first page, ill come back to them later.

I don't base my opinions solely off the extreme cases that are on TV and shit. I see it all, from the "facebook christian" to the people who live their entire lives carrying a bible, and everything in between.

@Ognian: I guess i didn't make it clear, I meant that i don't know much about *other* organized religions like Catholicism or Islamic, which is why I was only commenting on Christianity.

@Richard: Bigotry is like stereotypes, If its 100% true, is it still wrong? Go ahead and believe that God snapped his fingers and created the entire universe in 7 days, while you're at it, go kill 90% of your friends and family because they've done work on a Sunday.

@Ace: <3
Religion?: 3/20/2012 21:40:59

RvW 
Level 46
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|> Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.

Come again...!? Wasn't it usually love which comes out of the heart (I mean, we *are* speaking metaphorically, right?)...
And how is "stuff which goes into the sewer" (how did that make it into the Bible anyway; the sewer wasn't even invented back then...) any better than stuff you just puked out?

@Ace:
Just to be perfectly clear, while I'm technically Christian (baptised, first communion, confirmation) I wouldn't describe myself as such. Sure, I do believe in the "core" ("don't do upon others (..)", "love thy neighbour" (they meant [like this](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0265208/), right? ;) ), etc. -- in short, the "just be a decent person" rules) but that's about it.

The way I see it (more or less following Moros' approach here), if there is no god, it doesn't matter anyway. So let's assume there is one. Then either he [1] made me exactly how I am (again, no point fighting it), or I have at least some free will, so let's assume that I do.
Now, there's (in broad strokes) three ways this god can judge whether you're fit to go to heaven. Either he determines how well you paid lip service (did you pray every day, did you go to church every Sunday) or he determines how well you lived by the rules, the third option is taking both into account.
In the first case, I don't particularly like this god at all anyway; why would I even want to go to a place run by someone who only cares about keeping up appearances?
So I'm putting my money on the second case.
In the third case, it would greatly help if the second part is (preferably by far) the most important. But hey, if I was created by god, it's his own bloody fault my mind is not wired up in such a way to make me able to believe in him; it would be a pretty nasty trick to then use that against me, right? Besides, what else am I gonna do? Be one of those "agnostics" that pray everyday "because it doesn't hurt"!? I sure wouldn't want to have to answer the question "I see you prayed to me everyday... yet in your heart you don't believe I even exist, how come?"... (And again, I wouldn't much like any god who'd be impressed by any answer I'd come up with, since no matter the exact wording, it still boils down to "Better sure than sorry".)

---

[1] That's just a practical abbreviation for "he/she/it"
Religion?: 3/20/2012 21:45:45


Jesus
Level 2
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Lykus, A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11)

RvW, When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (Proverbs 10:19)
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