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One Person Religion

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One Person Religion
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Messages: 1 - 16 (91 total)

5/12/2003 6:22 PM
1 out of 91

Is a person in a one-person religion considered Sectarian?
Or, does only one person constitute a sect?

I've talked to some of these people. They are not Atheistist, Christians, Moslems, Wiccans, or anything else that fits neatly into one of the Belief-O-Matic classifications.

They are: Independent, Reasonable,Strong Willed,
Charitable, Tollerant, and opposed to any kind of tyranny.
But. . .They believe in a god.

Although, it's certainly not the same
God of Our Lord And Savior Jesus Christ.
It's their own god.

Who are these guys?
(Who are you guys?)

In spite of our theistic difference I think they
occassionally hang out at AC&C because we
have one thing very much in common. The
major religions treat us the same--like dirt.

5/12/2003 7:08 PM
2 out of 91

" Or, does only one person constitute a sect? "

Most definitions of a sect use the word 'group', thus requiring plurality.

I'd be inclined to compare them to voters who decline involvement in a political party. They are classified as independents.

Depending on the arguments used to support or distinguish their beliefs, it is possible they could be classified as theistic agnostics.

5/12/2003 8:58 PM
3 out of 91

The catch-all name would be "freethinkers." But with additional information, they might be classified as "non-congregational Christians" or "non-congregational Theists."

5/12/2003 9:41 PM
4 out of 91


I would love to think that I fit your description. I should print it up and hang it on my wall as a goal to strive for.

I consider myself a free thinker. I am very reasonable, up to a point. As for stong willed, I'm at least stubborn. Does that count? I am tolerant with those who are tolerant. I give more respect than I get, but I have no respect for those who give none. Even so, I think I tend to be too charitable, if anything. As for opposing tyranny, my first reaction to anyone who tries to tell me what to do or what to think is to tell them what they can do with their opinions.

YEs I do believe in god. Nevertheless, if I talk about (G)god with other devout believers, we would probably more to disagree about than to agree upon. Try to tell me about what god I believe in, or to make assumptions about that god, or about me because of my belief in god, you can refer back to the paragraph above. Odds are, whatever concept of god that an atheist rejects is not a concept that is even remotely attached to the god I believe in. A favorite quote comes to mind: "Tell me what kind of god you don't believe in, chances are I don't believe in it either."

I am uncomfortable with labels and snappy catch-phrases; even more so when it comes to things that are important. This makes it difficult to sum up the god that I believe in in short sentences, so I won't bother, at least not all at once. If you have any questions, ask away. You asked who I am, and that's the best way to find out.


By the way, that should be "bigboo-TAY!"
"Remember, wherever you go, there you are."

5/12/2003 11:42 PM
5 out of 91

fler and slim:

Thanks, this helps. I have a practical need for this information and I prefer to go directly to the source--my fellow posters at bnet.


Thank you for the complement, It's always good to chat with another Buckaroo Bonzai fan. I am as fond of being labeled as you are.

I have recently observed a repeated and quite unexpected result when discussing my atheism.
It goes something like:

"Your an Atheist? I never would have guessed.
You know, I'm glad that you've brought that up
because you probably didn't know that I. . ."

And then they proceed to describe their very
personal views of spirituality using pretty
much the same items I mentioned in post #1.
Then they thank me quite sincerely for being
someone who they can speak with openly about
such matters. Go figure.

Sure beats the usual:
"Aren't you afraid of going to Hell?"

Charisma? I'd like to think so.
But, I a more reasonable explaination is that my lack of a god and their belief in a personal god puts us both in harms way.

5/12/2003 11:52 PM
6 out of 91


Open-minded people are almost always delighted to meet others of like mind, regardless of what other aspects of their lives might differ. Such individuals are all too rare, and should be appreciated when you find them. Once that similarity is established, there are very few differences which matter, because they can all be discussed, and both parties will come away the wiser and enriched by the experience.


When I lived in Japan, I had a prairie dog named Buckaroo Banzai.

5/13/2003 12:20 AM
7 out of 91


Going to Kamogawa and Tokyo, for the second time, this fall.

What is the bone of contention between
a devout believer and an open-minded theist
(not my attempt at a label) such as yourself?

5/13/2003 9:26 AM
8 out of 91

*The* bone of contention? You say that like there's only one.

There are many points that come between myself and the stereotypical fundie Judeo-Christian-Islamic theist when it comes to the concept of God (capitalization provided as a coutesy to those who use it, not as a matter of my usage, minor bone right there). The main issue would be that one of the central concepts of God professed by these faiths (again at the fundamentalist level) is that of primacy. "There is only one God..." and futhermore "...I am a jealous God." This is one of the main reasons why Jehovah's Witnesses eventually leave my porch, never to return. We can talk pleasantly up until then, but I do not accept that tenet of their faith.

A second concept that is a fundamental issue is that this one God demands obedience, and has the will or the right to dictate and ensure moral and "right" behavior. I reject the elaborate system of ethereal rewards for being "good", and especially the dire and eternal puunishments for being "bad." It is in my own best interest to do the right thing, whenever and wherever possible. Be it karma or social conscience, I believe that it is an inherently obvious point that one should treat others as they wish to be treated, and it doesn't take a divine mandate to figure that out.

I realize that I am predominately preaching to the choir here.

However, I can find places to agree with them on "evidence" that we can point to for our beliefs. I too believe in miracles. I am one, as are you, dear reader. The very planet that supports us is a miracle worthy of any god, let alone the universe than dwarfs us in scale and magnificence. This is not to say that I believe that God created it (another bone). The fact of its existence is enough to inspire in me an awe and wonder so akin to worship as to make no difference. I find god in the mystery that has always, and *will* always lie beyond the boundaries of our knowledge. God is in the void between the stars and within the atoms. Whether it is the force that created the universe, or the universe created it, I neither know nor do I care. I believe in its existence, because I live, breathe and eat it every day.

This is not a summation of my beliefs, by any means, but it is a central aspect of them.

For me, this concept has fit into few molds that have been comfortable. There is a little Tao, a little Buddha, a little Humanism, and a lot of introspection. I was very uncomfortable with the word "god" for a long time. I felt that it carried too many of the negative connotations so often attached to it, a few of which I have already mentioned. I believed that referring to "god" in discussing my beliefs suggested to people that I believed in something that I did not, and was dishonest. I found other words to use, but none of them were comfortable either. My epiphany came with the realization that disallowing myself the use of the word "god" was to abdicate to the tyranny of those who had hijacked "God" for themselves as their own exclusive property. I no longer do so. God is a word that reflects what I feel, and any associations that others bring to it is their problem.


5/13/2003 9:34 AM
9 out of 91


"Going to Kamogawa and Tokyo, for the second time, this fall."

I would love to go back. Can't afford it yet. I lived up on the northen end of Honshu, in Aomori prefecture. Beautiful country, wonderful people. I would have stayed forever if I could have. I'm assuming Kamogawa is near Tokyo? I am not as familiar with the south. What brings you there (beyond the obvious attractions of Tokyo)?

Yours in jealousy,

5/13/2003 11:26 AM
10 out of 91


Kamogawa is out on the Boso peninsula, south
and east of Tokyo Bay. Parts of the area remind
me of Hawaii.

So, if you and I were at a picnic with a group of Evangelical Christians (this would require significant amounts of alcoholic beverages on my part) who do you think would "catch more Hell" from the other guests, me, the dammed and doomed Atheist, or you, who has taken their God and turned him into GD's Version of God?

(God v1.1)

5/13/2003 11:35 AM
11 out of 91


I forgot some things. We have a Sister City program with
the City of Kamogawa. It's been active for about 10 years. There is a regular exchange of students, local government leaders, business leaders, and, this year, a citizen's delegation. The kids, 9 and 6, go too. It's their second trip as well.

5/13/2003 1:01 PM
12 out of 91

I don't think I've turned anyone's version of God into anything. Aside from the spelling, I more or less started from scratch. And it's closer to god v8.11b.

As for that barbecue, I have a feeling we'd wind up back to back... at the stake. ("How do you like your heathen, rare or extra crispy?") Most fundamentalists don't take any kind of rejection well, so I don't think it would be a matter of degrees. Let's skip the barbecue and go get a beer.

Misawa, the town that I lived in, has a sister city, too. Somewhere in Washington. The first non-stop trans-pacific flight began in Misawa and ended in Podunk, WA, or wherever (no offense to the residents thereof, I just can't remember the name). A lot less famous than the Spirit of St. Louis (ever hear of the Miss Veedol?), and it didn't make anybody famous and rich, but the folks in Misawa are very proud of their piece of history.

5/13/2003 3:37 PM
13 out of 91


So, there are no parts for Satan or Jesus in v8.11b?

5/14/2003 12:08 AM
14 out of 91

Well, Jesus was, for his time, a fairly righteous dude (in the Ferris Bueller sense of the word, please don't quibble over details; all of us can be and have been royal pricks at some point) His teachings rank in my consideration with those of the Buddha, the Dalai Lama and Ian Anderson. Lots of people have pieces of the Truth Acording to Me. Sometimes you have to weed through a lot of extraneous crap to get to it, but folks will sift though mountains for just one speck of gold.

As for Satan, humanity has proven to be capable of such hideously atrocious acts and thoughts that we need no other model for evil than a history textbook. I think that the figure of Satan is a convenient crutch which allows people to deny that part of themselves which can give rise to psychopaths and genocide. It's easier to externalize it and say "Satan made them do it." Truth is, they's just plain folks, perhaps lacking some of that veneer of inhibitions which we call a conscience. I have seen the enemy, and they is us.


5/14/2003 9:29 AM
15 out of 91

Uh, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame?

5/14/2003 10:32 AM
16 out of 91

Why not? It's GDs spiritual way. (GD?)

I'm surprised the lore of Jesus and his
abilities does not include musicianship.

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Messages: 17 - 32 (91 total)

5/14/2003 12:16 PM
17 out of 91


Yep, that's him. Many of the songs on "Aqualung" constitute a religious manifesto, and the philosophy of "Thick as a Brick" has been very influential to me. He was not only a brilliant musician, but a serious thinker about life and our relation to it, as are all great artists.

I tend to include him exactly because of your reaction. It gets people's attention and reinforces the fact that not only those who deal exclusively with philosophy and religion are capable of brilliant insight. Too many people quote from established "authorities" thinking that this lends weight and substance to their own insubstantial arguments. In my opinion, if what they are saying doesn't stand on it's own, then they're full of crap, and should just shut up.


5/14/2003 12:27 PM
18 out of 91

Gooddogma-sit - you're frightening me -- someone else who sees the "religion" in Aqualung...

In my youth, "Aqualung" was the traditional album played while my brothers and I put up the Christmas Tree...

My brother's thought it appropriate after all the sentimental and religious themed Christmas songs from the "Happy Holidays" albums my mom made them play as we assembled the holiday trimmings...


5/14/2003 12:48 PM
19 out of 91

Thick as a Brick! Yeah! Beginning to think no one else appreciated that album.


5/14/2003 1:05 PM
20 out of 91


I think that the religion in "Aqualung" would be obvious to any but the most oblivious listener.

Your association of Jethro Tull with Christmas strikes a parallel in my life, too. My dearest friend maintained that "Thick as a Brick" was a Christmas album, only to be played during that time of year. Now this may have been because he had heard it too often and wanted to limit its playtime to one season, but nevertheless...


5/14/2003 1:12 PM
21 out of 91

Jesus sang and danced at his last supper. The psalms of David are pure song. Song is considered one of the highest forms or praise and prayer. Music/ song is amazingly powerful, I am a fan. In fact Rolling Stone recently published an article about the psychological impact of music and lyrics.

5/14/2003 5:26 PM
22 out of 91


I think with modern instruments, "Jesus Unplugged: Jamming On The Mount" would be a brisk seller even today.


A "big thumbs" up to any religion daring enough to incorporate Jethro Tull as a spiritual reference.

So, are the works of Jethro Tull: Ian's, or God's, because God is "speaking through" Ian? As an Atheist, I've always had a problem with someone giving God credit for every cool and creative thing a human being does on their own. I think there is a difference between "God created Mozart" and "When Mozart plays--that's really God playing the piano."

Your god may also prefer Tull over Mozart or Gregorian chants.

5/14/2003 6:14 PM
23 out of 91

Any work of religious significance represents purely the author(s)'s insight into and perception of the nature of god (creation, the universe, whatever).

I consider Stephen Hawking to be as much of a prophet as Mohammed (or Ian Anderson). He disseminates the truth as he sees it and makes it accessible to the masses. He seeks to enlighten us as to the nature of the universe which created, sustains, and destroys us. He celebrates its mysteries along with his understanding of it. If any human being can, he may possess the kind of mind that can truly concieve of such enormous spans of time, distance and scale. Just because there is no mention of god does not mean that a work has no spiritual or religious significance. Even if a work specifically mentions god, that is not necessarily a part of what I will take away from it.

Truth is where you find it.

Some of my other "secular" sources of inspiration are: Madeline L'Engle, Antoine d'Saint Exupery, Tolkien, U2, Amy Ray, John Lennon, George Harrison, the films of Hayao Miyazaki, Dogma, Japan (yes, the whole country), the mountains where I live... the list goes on. All of these things have, to a greater or lesser degree, influenced my perception of the world and my place in it. This is, to me, the essence of religion.


5/14/2003 6:22 PM
24 out of 91

I got so carried away that I forgot to mention:

I agree with you, john. People giving "God" all the credit for human brilliance is as cheap a cop out as giving Satan credit for all the evil in the world. Humanity is capable of creating works of beauty that rival anything else in the universe, from an orchid to a nebula. We deserve a little credit for that.


5/14/2003 6:49 PM
25 out of 91

Any H.P. Lovecraft fans out there?

One of the things I enjoyed about his fiction, was that he did not operate under the presupposition that the deities he created were benevolent. In the universe he painted, about the best humanity could really expect was indifference.

What grounds do the free thinking theists have for expecting anything different?

5/14/2003 7:13 PM
26 out of 91


I love H.P. Lovecraft. As far as expecting indifference at best, I think that his mythos was far more actively malevolent, or at the very least predatory.

As for your other question, I can only speak for one free-thinking theist. Besides, who said I expect anything at all?


5/14/2003 8:25 PM
27 out of 91

As for the disposition of Lovecraft's deities, I suspect we are fairly close to agreement. If indifference was the best case scenario, anything less could well be malign or predatory.

And I may well be guilty of a generalization. Happens to the best of us sometimes. But on the whole, it has been rare to come across even free thinking theists who regard the idea of deities as entities to be regarded with suspicion. The personal gods of others I have spoken to are certainly not as threatening as the traditional Judeo/Christian deity, but I have yet to come across one who regards their personal god as something to regard with fear or dread.

Why not? Do you have any conclusions or theories at all as to the disposition of your deity? On what grounds? Regard the questions not as confrontational but as more inquisitive. I am curious of the logic that paints the picture of your god.

5/14/2003 8:50 PM
28 out of 91

Speaking of U2, Bono is an interesting individual to me not only for his talent (the sum is greater though in that band) but as a man who lives his faith. He has done much work trying to help relieve debt of poor countries. He also wrote an introduction to the publication of selections from the book of psalms.

An introduction by Bono

As far as giving credit for creativity I am of the belief that an individual deserves credit for developing talent and the giver of the gift deserves praise for providing it and the inspiration we feed off.

5/19/2003 3:48 PM
29 out of 91


Wow. You guys ask really good questions.

I was a classics major, with a minor in religion, so I�ve studied a lot of gods, both contemporary and long dead. Back in the beginning, most gods were deifications of powerful realities in the world (cave bear cults, volcano cults) or of forces of nature (Norse and Greek pantheons). These gods behaved accordingly. Both feared and revered, they could destroy as easily as provide. As man tamed his environment, the natural forces became less of a threat to his existence. The gods no longer existed out of a need to appease, so it began to be believed that more than just preventing harm, one could gain favor from these gods. Gods became not only protectors, but advocates.

But there is another aspect of gods that developed out of less self-absorbed interests than simply averting harm or gaining favor. Gods represented mysteries, and the unkown. Not only fearing the effects of natural forces, people sought to explain them. They did not know the cause of thunder, so they created stories, sometimes along with gods, to explain the phenomena. Some more brilliant and introspective souls along the line wondered, not only about the origins of wind and mountains, but of themselves: �How did I get here? I, too, am a force of nature. I can create and destroy. Did a god then make me?� From this question there developed the figure of the Creator. This is , in my opinion, a more enlightened concept of god. It developed from an interest that is less immediate, and more representative of the true nature of the human mind. It is a result not only of our will to survive, but our ability to imagine and our desire to understand. This is not an evolution from the previous concept, but a parallel development.

My concept of god stems more from the latter than the former. As a representation of the greater unknown, whether it is to be feared of not is a matter of perspective. The voids in our knowledge and understanding could be filled by anything. New discoveries could either be harmonious with an established world-view, or in direct contradiction to the very foundations of our understanding. Since religion is defined in part by me as the way in which we understand the universe and our part in it, then you could either fear or anticipate the revelations that lie beyond the boundaries of our current knowledge.

To further answer your question, even to attribute a �disposition� to my own concept of god is to anthropomorphize it to an unacceptable level. My god is amorphous, having no shape or form unless it is all shapes and forms, and that of the spaces between them. There is room, nevertheless, in my view of god for many other conceptions of it, and even for those who have none. Symbols and archetypes are powerful things in themselves, and represent aspects or conceptions that are easily contained within my own religious view. Some might even expand upon it or add to it, so I try to approach my continuing spritual journey with an open mind.


Thanks for the link, loved it. It deals with a lot of the same stuff that I often think about. Another text to add to my sources.

5/19/2003 4:24 PM
30 out of 91


When your life on earth ends, hopefully a long and fulfilling time from now, do you join with your god in "heaven"? Or, what is supposed to happen in the next chapter?

5/19/2003 5:20 PM
31 out of 91

Johnny, I've got no flippin' clue. I can think of what I hope, or what I wish, but I've got no idea. I came up with an idea a while back and posted it on a different forum:

I think that I may have come up with a truly atheistic vision of the afterlife. This thought is just a mental exercise and represents neither an advocation of atheism or life after death. It is just a thought.

This was all inspired by a dream I had in which I died. In this dream, after the last conscious thought that I can remember, there was just nothing. Black, quiet, peaceful, like floating in a sensory deprivation tank. There was no fear, no thought, no sense of time or loss. One of my greatest fears at the time was that after death the was just nothing. Like piper, it seemed a waste, and was a frightening concept. But here, I had seen my worst vision of afterlife, and it wasn't frightening at all.

This got me thinking about the relativistic perception of time while dreaming. According to the scientists, we dream during REM sleep, a state that lasts at most five minutes of so. In spite of this time limit, most of us have had dreams that seem to last for hours, or even days. Dreams can also seem very real. As the Guru said to Peter of the Monkees: "the human brain is unable to distinguish between the real and the vividly imagined experience." In my dream, the peaceful darkness lasted for what could have been seconds or forever, I couldn't tell the difference.

Now if we consider that REM sleep is really very similar to waking consciousness in terms of brain activity, then we can see that it only takes a small removal from the tyranny of time's relentless march to free the brain from its limitations. Therfore, if we look at the moment of death as being about as far from waking consciousness as you can get, then it stands to reason that that moment of time could be stretched out by the brain to be as close to infinite as makes no difference.

In this view, your afterlife is literally self-created. Perhaps you could retreat to some core memory of joy and comfort, only to linger there for a percieved eternity. Of course, the downside is if you have a nightmare down there in the core of your lizard brain...


5/20/2003 11:41 AM
32 out of 91


As a countermeasure, I will try to live a life that continuously replenishes the supply of "happy memories" in the core of my brain.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank you for sharing your thoughts and say that this is indeed a most pleasant conversation. We have much in common.

We are both ultimately responsible for the stewardship of our individual minds and we do not delegate or allow others to undermine this authority.

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Messages: 33 - 48 (91 total)

5/20/2003 1:08 PM
33 out of 91

Thank you, john,

I am also very much enjoying this thread. Unlike so many others on this site in general, it has managed not to degrade into a shouting match. Perhaps that is accounted for by the fact that the traffic has been relatively low, at least in terms of the number of posters.

I would in turn like to thank you for providing me with the opportunity to fully express some of the thoughts that have been percolating below the surface for many years. I am pleased to find that I do indeed have answers for the questions that have been posed. I am also delighted in that I have managed to not be caught out in any blatantly contradictory arguments, at least as of yet.

Who would have thought that you could affirm your faith by talking to a bunch of atheists?

Let's see how long we can keep it up :-)


5/20/2003 7:16 PM
34 out of 91

Good Dog,
In my opinion Bono is asking real questions and making real statements about his belief(s). Since returning to organized religion a few years ago after twenty years of barely dabbling in it I have been struck by a couple things.

First, counter to popular belief, I am not told what to think, I can openly express my feelings about everything and am taught not what to think but to consider how to think. Life is simply not black and white. I am taught, willingly, to take in account the impact of my actions on others and to put others first. Second I am challenged personally to challenge societal views. To consider counter-culture views. To consider the rights of others above my own "needs". To consider the true meaning of money and wealth and life and human rights. To consider my purpose.

Second, I am taught to continually question my beliefs. To understand if they are real. To truly attempt to understand faith. To question my beliefs otherwise they just become beliefs. If it�s true it will be. To me if Christianity was not true, if it was simply a theology forced on people for 2000 years, then would it not have run it�s course by now? Why are the number of believers increasing and why do people believe? Huksters come and go but truth grows.

Can organized religion become corrupt? Of course. Are humans at the helm of a mechanisn that attempts to explain God? Yes. Have we got it completely right? No. But to me it�s the best we got and for me personally it�s better than the alternative.

5/20/2003 8:13 PM
35 out of 91

" To me if Christianity was not true, if it was simply a theology forced on people for 2000 years, then would it not have run it�s course by now? Why are the number of believers increasing and why do people believe? Huksters come and go but truth grows. "

If Mohammed was a huckster, why does Islam linger? If Sidhartha was a huckster, why does Bhuddism linger? Why are there still Hindus?

When you claim that the numbers of Christians are growing, are you claiming that as a percentage of the earths total population, or just a simple increase in the body count? There are a lot more Jews, Moslems, Bhuddists and Hindus than there were a hundred years ago. Atheists too.

Has the Christian truth actually grown? Ever since the renaissance in western Europe, Christian organizations have been forced repeatedly to re-interpret their bible. Attempts to reconcile the the assertions of Christianity with the truths of the world have led to such radical actions as the rise of Mormonism. The infallibility of the bible, the source of most Christian
truths, has been discredited by all but the most absolute fundamentalists. Liberal theologians now face the task of trying to resolve ever more blatant conflicts between what the text of the bible says, and facts we face on a daily basis that are contradictory. What part of the Christian truth has grown?

5/21/2003 8:50 AM
36 out of 91


In jb's defense, I am certain that he did not mean to play down the significance of any other religion in talking about his own. We all see the world primarily through the lens of our own beliefs, even you. The measure of our open mindedness does not lie in surrendering our own perspective, but in recognizing the validity of others.

You mentioned the repeated necessity of biblical reinterpretation over the years, but how many times have scientific texts been rewritten over the last couple of centuries? Established "truths" constantly need to adapt to new environments and changing circumstances. While I agree with you that the bible has an ever increasingly hard time of maintaining an absolute authority, just pointing a finger at its continual reinterpretation is a flawed argument. It is a double edged sword that can just as easily cut against you.

As for Christian truth, its essence has changed very little over the thousands of years of its existance. It persists in spite of constant refutation of the bible, and stems not from a rejection of reality, but the acceptance of a "higher" reality. The comfort of knowing that you are watched over by an agent of God who will accept you with all of your flaws and can love you in spite of them is understandably compelling. A religion is better appreciated by trying to understand its appeal to the believer, rather than listening to the arguments and threats sometimes applied to the "infidels," or even to its own members, in an effort to convert or control. These are the actions of temporal authorities, not necessarily the foundations of faith. I am definitively not a Christian. Nevertheless, I can appreciate its message, and understand its appeal to its adherents.


I too come from a religious tradition that expressly encouraged me to think critically about my own beliefs (Unitarian Universalism, by the way). It is certainly not necessary for a religious faith to be a mindless, cultlike institution of following creeds and edicts, although it is easy for it to become so.

5/21/2003 10:54 AM
37 out of 91

If Mohammed was a huckster, why does Islam linger? If Sidhartha was a huckster, why does Bhuddism linger? Why are there still Hindus?

Good question. Maybe there is truth in those religions. My belief is in the way of Jesus, Christianity. That is my only way. That is not to say there is truth in anothers. The wife of the missionary who was slain in the Phillapians made a very bold statement when she said she believes we (Christians and Muslams) pray to the same God. Christians and Jews pray to the same God. Who am I to say God doesn't speak in some way through all or most religions.

And Firstly, (to follow the chronological order I set in my previous post : ) ) my belief in regards to religious growth (including Christianity)is as population grows it would make sense that theistic beliefs would dilute. Certainly there is organized religion keeping these beliefs alive but as I have said I am also free to believe what I believe. If people are forced to believe something they will ultimately rebel. I have to say my faith has grown with the aid of religion for sure but has been made real by witness. By personally experiencing the power of God not only in my life but in the life altering change I have witnessed in others. Example after example of a life saved. Examples of an atheistic mind coming to know a supreme being not by any logical proof but just simply because. That is mind blowing. If it were not true it would not continue and not have the positive impact (faith not religion) it has.

What part of the Christian truth has grown?
For me all of it. I am in complete agreement that we have to interpret biblical teachings again and again. The truth in the text is proven to me by the constant revisiting that takes place and with each visit scripture takes on new meaning for me in my life.

5/21/2003 3:05 PM
38 out of 91


You have an intrguing stance. I think it is true that Christianity has grown, just as Islam has grown. You need only look at the Christian converts in China and Japan to see this. Clearly these are people for whom Christianity is completely novel. We could look at Africa, too, but there the missionaries and colonial masters played good-cop/bad-cop until the people gave in, which I think is not what you had in mind.

But this is an odd way of going about establishing an empirical fact. The same sort of logic ("If everyone believes it, it must be true") once lead to the "fact" that the world was flat.

More importantly, we cannot use the "test of time" concept to establish the truth of a supernatural hypopthesis. Supernatural concepts cannot be tested empirically (nor would you want them to be), so repeated tests over time don't signify. All we can conclude from the test of time is that Christianity is comfortable, or that societies that adopt it grow faster than others. This might mean that something in Christianity is "good", but I don't think you can use it to prove God's existence. Please forgive my neurotic need for logical consistency, here.

I do not mean to say that God does not exist. As I said, we cannot prove or disprove the concept. Personally I suspect that he/she/it doesn't, but that stance doesn't amount to anything better than the test of time. However I do applaud those (like yourselves) who think for themselves about what kind of God is consistent with what we _do_ observe. For example, GD sez:

"To further answer your question, even to attribute a 'disposition' to my own concept of god is to anthropomorphize it to an unacceptable level."

Which makes sense, because if you take a look at the world (especially in Uganda, &cet), you'd have to conclude that any anthropomorphic God is one sick puppy.

GD: tell me about the message in Thick as a Brick. I was always too stoned to listen to the whole albumn...

5/21/2003 3:57 PM
39 out of 91

But this is an odd way of going about establishing an empirical fact. The same sort of logic ("If everyone believes it, it must be true") once lead to the "fact" that the world was flat.

I don�t see these ideas as the same and it is not my intention to imply because people believe it it must be true. No way. People believe a lot of weird stuff. The evidence for me is based on its growth instead of decline and also on personal experience. A belief in God is not the same as a belief in a physical idea.

More importantly, we cannot use the "test of time" concept to establish the truth of a supernatural hypopthesis. Supernatural concepts cannot be tested empirically (nor would you want them to be), so repeated tests over time don't signify. All we can conclude from the test of time is that Christianity is comfortable, or that societies that adopt it grow faster than others. This might mean that something in Christianity is "good", but I don't think you can use it to prove God's existence. Please forgive my neurotic need for logical consistency, here.

But it is evidence because it is based solely on a belief on God. I agree that simply because something survives does not make it good. Something that not only survives but grows and as you point out has something �good� about it must have some substance to it or must be worth exploring. It could quite possibly be more than comfortable. And if there is something �good� about Christianity what is it?

5/23/2003 3:59 AM
40 out of 91

(Can I call you Ben? and why "jb-" rather than "ob-?")

Ah. I've had arguments like this before. You're trying to say that Christianity is "true" in the sense that it is good. I originally interpreted it to mean right in the sense of "empirically correct." For me, hypotheses are right or wrong, but actions are ethical or unethical. Beliefs are just hypotheses held by a certain person to be correct.

If this is correct, then I suppose there may be something true (in the sense of good) about Christianity.

But this is a strange way of using the word true.

As for your assertion that belief in God is not the same as belief in physical ideas: why? What can you mean by "existence" if not physical existence? I suppose you could mean existence in some metaphysical way (i.e. you could declare by definition - or by repeated, ad hoc redefinitions - that God exists in a way that is not subject to testing). But testing is testing. If you cannot test God's existence then you also cannot use historical evidence to show that he does exist.

If you want to define God so that I cannot disprove his existence, you have to be content with a God that you cannot justify beyond emotional arguments (i.e. "it feels good to believe in him/her/it").

Finally, you've ignored my argument that the increase in Christianity is the effect of emotional or historical artifacts. My example of the flat earth was not trivial. When you cannot examine evidence, people will believe what they want to believe.

But listen, this whole argument is straying from the friendly intent of the thread. The idea was one-preson religion. What do you believe that is _different_ from Christianity?

5/24/2003 12:55 AM
41 out of 91

To be honest I was under pressure to pick a screen name and jb1knobe was one of the first things that popped into my head. I�m really not much of a Star Wars geek but have enjoyed the movies I have seen. And of course I am a fan of � the force.

There is no way I can engage in any logical argument that would prove the existence of God. Wismer has done an excellent job doing so but in the end what�s the point arguing evidence based existence of God to an Atheist. Even with all the evidence we have around us there is none convincing enough and it is based in logic. There is more than pure logic otherwise we would be emotionless animals.

What is interesting is your statement about a certain goodness that can be associated with Christianity. So much wrong has been committed in the name of organized religion it is good to hear the term �good� mentioned. I am not making any argument at all. I am asking a question. If there is good associated with Christianity then why? I see this good possibly being associated with truth. It looks like you may not agree with me on the definition of truth. I see truth and goodness related. If everything we define is ultimately relative then of course so is truth. Definitions are constantly changing based on experience. But if something exists that at it�s core is good or �the� then this could be the ultimate definition of truth. Really Wismer has done a much better job than I explaining with some logical order.

To the original post I have no personal God as defined by JBB. I don�t buy the argument that organized religion treats Atheists as bad as inferred by him (or her). Most of the truly religious people I know are very accepting of everyone. Also it should be expected that theism and atheism are at an opposite so disagreement should be understood.

5/24/2003 2:03 AM
42 out of 91


If you do not accept logic as a basis for determining truth, you will forever be held captive by whatever snake charmer comes your way.

Furthermore, we have no basis for communication. In fact, I don't know what you were thinking when you began to post over here. Did you seriously believe that people who have devoted their lives to using their minds rationally would simply give up their beliefs because you have a mystical feeling in your left toe?

You may not have noticed this, but everyone else on this thread - theist and atheist alike - are trying to seek a logical resolution to their issues.

5/24/2003 10:44 AM
43 out of 91

If you do not accept logic as a basis for determining truth, you will forever be held captive by whatever snake charmer comes your way.

It could also be said that if one requires pure (speculative) logic as the basis for truth then they are limiting reality. I do accept logic as a way of determining truth but not the only way. We have hearts and minds. I choose to listen to both, the mind can be fooled as easily as the heart some times and the belief that intellectualism reigns supreme is wrong. This is a basis for a potentially destructive pride. The belief that my intellectual �truth� is correct because it has been proven leaves no room for others reality.

I am aware of the nature of argument that is implied on this board. I don't buy it. This is religion, this is belief in the unseen, this defies logic. It can only be proven by other means.


5/24/2003 10:45 AM
44 out of 91

Did you seriously believe that people who have devoted their lives to using their minds rationally would simply give up their beliefs because you have a mystical feeling in your left toe?

It wasn't my toe, it was my heart.

5/24/2003 4:38 PM
45 out of 91

Ok, chest. Other people have 'equally mystical in feeling and contrary in content' feelings in their hearts too.

5/24/2003 4:46 PM
46 out of 91

Basically, there's just as much pride (and alot less objective oversite) involved in using your 'heart' or feelings. Because, if the feelings in your heart are contradicted by the feelings in someone else's heart? So, who, then, is right? It's your heart, of course, right? Well, the 'feeling in my heart' says the god concept is not only implausible, but rather horrific in the details, and I have no emotional connection to it. So, guess my heart trumps your heart, right? And since it's my 'heart', I don't have to bring any objective facts or evidence or anything else to the party. Just what I feel.

5/25/2003 10:12 AM
47 out of 91

My heart and mind are called upon to try to understand God. I do try hard to reconcile the two.

In reply to a "feeling in my big toe" I have to say I experienced a physical sensation in my heart unlike any other. This was critical in my understanding that God existed because in my mind I was asking, loudly, the question directly to God or whoever was listening whether or not He existed. The answer was in my heart. : )

5/25/2003 1:29 PM
48 out of 91

The thing with that is, that others have asked, and gotten nothing, or a different answer, or an answer from a different God. That's the thing with the whole 'heart' business. The same 'organ' that tells the abused wife 'Oh, he really, really loves me. He's doing it for my own good'. It's notoriously unreliable, and non-transferable.

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Messages: 49 - 64 (91 total)

5/25/2003 1:40 PM
49 out of 91

I consider my heart to be no more a cognitive organ than my colon or adenoids. They each have a function, but understanding the cosmos is not one of them.
Man's primary tool of survival is a rational mind. Depend on it.

5/25/2003 2:41 PM
50 out of 91

How is the gut (or heart) instinct of Jb less valid than your logic? I understand that logic is king here (on this board). But there are times when it doesn't work, and really doesn't even apply... For instance - anyone of you ever been in love? Did it seem logical to you? Could you have empirically explained it to another who wasn't in love at the time? Could you write a thesis about it, prove it beyond a reasonable doubt? Convince others that this love that you felt was true, actually did exist, and could be quantified?
Really now... I am not drawing a comparison between being IN LOVE and being A BELIEVER, but I am pointing out that it's really quite single-minded and rather ... convenient ... to ignore that entire aspect of the human experience. (the aspect being 'the unexplainable') We've all shared that experience in one way or another. To some, these experiences amount to a biological or chemical reaction in the brain or body, to others, there is something mystical - to still others, it doesn't matter whether it's mystical or biological, it just IS.

5/25/2003 2:54 PM
51 out of 91

Because, let's compare it to being in love. Certainly, alot of the time it works out just fine. But the same emotion the poets praise is the same thing, as I stated, that makes people take back abusive spouses again and again, inspires stalkers to believe that, somehow, if they leave threatening notes and dead flowers at the doorstep of their beloved, it will gain their love in return. Love isn't always returned, it isn't always smart. People fall in love with people already married, with people who are abusive, and can have love become toxic. And if you're going with your 'heart', how do you tell when, no matter how much you love them, being with someone is impossible, or bad for your health?

5/25/2003 2:56 PM
52 out of 91

Oh, and the same 'heart feeling' that tells someone 'Jesus is the Truth' also tells someone else that 'Allah is the truth' and someone else that 'Gaia is the truth'. And sometimes, it isn't telling another person a darn thing. I'm not 'denying' JB's experiences, they're just /his/ experiences. I'm not having the same ones. I'm not denying my 'heart', my 'heart' isn't telling me a thing, so you could say that I'm following it, since it /isn't/ telling me to believe in God. So, where's that fit in?

5/25/2003 2:58 PM
53 out of 91

"It's notoriously unreliable, and non-transferable."

In addition - no emotion, no feeling, no instinct, no reaction, is ever reliable, or transferable.
I don't know how many theists you've ever heard try to make the claim that God is logical, or that believing in God is logical. Maybe a few. I guess I would counter that though. It's not a question of logic, for me. And perhaps for others. It's a question of belief, of knowledge, of understanding, of a personal experience. I make no claims that my faith or anyone else's is transferable, or even applicable to anyone else. I don't think it is.
The key here is to be able to acknowledge that while your conclusion may seem the most logical to you, mine may simultaneously seem the most logical to me. That doesn't make you wrong or right, or vice versa. It makes us different. It's important to not go under the assumption that everyone who believes differently than me is going to make every effort to sway me to their 'side of the fence', because I don't particularly need anyone to justify my faith for me, that's God's job (in my mind). My expressing my experience does not make me obliged to convince anyone else of the rationality of it. That's only necessary if I'm trying to convince another to believe as I do.

5/25/2003 3:07 PM
54 out of 91

"Oh, and the same 'heart feeling' that tells someone 'Jesus is the Truth' also tells someone else that 'Allah is the truth' and someone else that 'Gaia is the truth'."
As it should be, has been, and always will be...
My point was that my perspective, beliefs, or heart are no more, and no less, valid than anyone else's. I would never imply that you don't follow your heart - I don't know anything about you, how could I say that?

And the love analogy... you might have missed what I was trying to say there. I was making the claim that love is NOT logical. Emotions are NOT logical. Feelings, beliefs, and opinions are often NOT logical. Sometimes they lead us astray. It's the balance of logic and heart that makes things work. It's the willingness to acknowledge the value of things making sense to us, and to simultaneously be able to acknowledge our feelings about something. This is why it is so important that you do things the way you do them - you DO listen to your heart, it tells you something, and then you THINK about it, and respond to it as you see fit.
The difficulty with what is called logic is that it often has a hidden agenda - one believes that they possess logic in their argument, and it therefore somehow removes validity from the argument of another. It doesn't work like that when it comes to feelings, thoughts, or beliefs. For whatever reason, biological or mystical, we were not constructed that way. We don't follow a perfect, structured, quantifiable path, in thought, in deed, or in word. There's just something about human beings that makes that very difficult, if not impossible for us to do. My suggestion would only be that we leave room for that reality - in our own minds and beliefs, and also for others.

5/25/2003 3:12 PM
55 out of 91

But at least, if we claim to be using logic, we have to present /some/ kind of hard fact to back it. If I'm claiming that it's verifiable that 'God is Good', then I need a clear definition of 'god', and 'good' and a chain of evidence that points to God doing things that fit under the defintion of 'good'. But if I feel it, then no matter what this being does (if it is provable it's doing anything), from ordering me to slay my neighbor to tossing my parents into hell, because I 'know in my heart He is good', then whatever he does, it is given the best light possible, no matter how little sense it makes.

8/11/2003 2:10 AM
56 out of 91

Hello "guys"

Before anyone gets offended, guys like god is a gender inclusive term and takes the gender inclusive personal pronoun, hesh (pronounced "heesh" please).

What about those of us that believe in God when Hesh is helpful for other people, whatever name they give Heshm, but have no need or interest in believing that God is necessary personally.

Far be it from me to castigate, criticise or even refuse to worship and or pray to god (or God, or Yahweh, or Allah) in the appropriate context. I feel no hipocracy in reciting the Lords prayer (Douay Version, I just stop early in a Protestant Church), if I am attending a mass or other religious service. Communion was harder, I had to sit that out for many years.

I refused to participate when I was still insecure in my lack of belief in a personal god for myself. But like the White Queen, once I learned how to believe six impossible things before breakfast, and yes it does take practice, I have no trouble believing the Credo as I sing it. I can even feel the joy and wonder of the "Et Expecto" although if you asked me in a different context if I believed in life after death, I would certainly say no.

But I'll be damned (probably in any case) if I will pass up an opportunity to feed the non-logical exhilaration of fine music and art by refusing to believe in the God that the artist obviously lived with intimately. I see no way to appreciate Michelangelo's Pieta without believing in the Virgin Mother ministering to her Miraculous son.

Although I have disappointed many by being unable to accept Jesus as my personal savior, and I can't say I think they are better than I for being able to, I am able at times to suspend disbelief if necessary to learn or to grow.

Where does that leave me?


8/11/2003 12:36 PM
57 out of 91


I would say your spirituality is highly personal and unique. It also sounds like you are happy doing things your own way, even if other individuals or groups do not accept your approach.

What we share is the self-determination. Each of us will establish and maintain our connections to the world outside of our physical selves on our own terms.

If you like only a couple of things Jesus did or said, and you have no use for the rest of the Bible, that's no threat to me. If you sample the "good parts" of all the major religions to create a blend that works for you, that's great and I would give you added points for versatility, especially if this allows you to experience music and art at a much deeper lever.

I have no gods. Is this a threat to you? Probably not.
If you and I were both in a cathedral or museum, would you think "John you can't possibly enjoy this religious artistry--your an atheist"? Probably not.

We both think for ourselves.
Is this a threat to some people?

8/12/2003 12:30 AM
58 out of 91


I have no gods, personally, but I can't claim to be atheist or agnostic, as I believe God is real and influential for others, and therefore cannot be denied either logically or especially philosophically.

If we both went to a cathedral or museum, I would be sure you would enjoy the art, as for many years I was in the same boat. In fact I tap danced around a lot of religious issues the first time I saw the Pieta live. I reinterpreted to archtype mother and fallen son, to avoid looking at what Michelangelo created. It was nevertheless incredibly beautiful and moving. No shame on me. I did the best I could.

Choral music has been a major component of my life since childhood, and that meant singing masses whether you believed in them or not. I certainly know what it is to enjoy the art and yes, to interpret the art, without confronting the God behind it. In fact I had sung Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis" many times, and studied the "et expecto" to exhaustion as art, until it finally convinced me that I had to learn to believe impossible things if I was going to understand it.

Which led, finally, to my recent post. Thank you for the qustion that helped me articulate it.


10/15/2003 2:50 PM
59 out of 91

I can't claim to be atheist or agnostic

So what is someone who believes in God doing hosting Atheism boards? By one definition of Atheist, �A person who does not worship or believe in a personal God� I have been an atheist all my life. I have also learned most of what I know about managing a life without God from atheists.

I have also learned a lot about managing my life from religious groups. The best thing about being an atheist, is that you can participate in the warmth of the community without feeling the need to join the line behind the pulpit. I always throw my admission ticket in the plate when it comes by, and will congratulate God�s mediator at the coffee hour, particularly if I learned something, but so far I have been largely immune to buying into their belief after the coffee.

Please note: My belief in God (as interpreted by whoever I am talking with or studying) is in no way ironic or metaphorical. If they have experienced God, I am not arrogant enough to believe that just because I haven�t, their experience is not valid. I will do my best to believe in God their way for the duration, in the hopes that I can learn more that way.


1/30/2004 12:10 PM
60 out of 91

This thread REALLY deserves a BUMP!!!

John, it's really refreshing to see a post discussing individuals who sound like me. I've played with a variety of BS (Robert Anton Wilson's favorite acronym for Belief Systems) in my life... Christianity, Paganism, Hinduism, Buddhism, ah, the list could go on and on. I stopped playing with them altogether when I realized just how much they have in common. And I see similarities between religious and SOME atheists, but not all.

I finally figured out why BNet has been annoying me so much lately. You get all these people with different beliefs together, and all they do is argue over who is "right". But they all sound the same! And they all seem stuck to me... like they just stopped after one spiritual experience and went, yep, this is it!

As for me, my goal is to have no beliefs, meaning no yes/no attachments to any ideas. I'm on the right path, but there are still ideas that I really believe in (or just really like) and there are other ideas I absolutely reject.

But how many people *believe* in not having beliefs? Not many. And boy, do those who have beliefs freak out when encountering someone whose goal is to believe nothing. I get accused of having no meaning, assigning no meaning to life, no greater purpose, I'm told my "beliefs" are simply a convenient way to do whatever I want (since when is that a bad thing?), etc.

But you are right: I have a lot in common with atheists, even though I don't fully call myself one... (I can't give a yes or no answer in regards to a God, only a "highly unlikely and really silly-sounding"). We get a ton of crap from those who believe something so strongly they don't even stop and think about it.


1/30/2004 1:47 PM
61 out of 91

AciraZade: You get all these people with different beliefs together, and all they do is argue over who is "right". But they all sound the same!

Yep, it's like a bunch a people argueing about which coffee or flavor of ice cream is the best. Makes my head spin sometimes. Sometimes you need to take a break from it all and simply enjoy which every flavor of coffee or icecream you like -- even if it turns out to be diet soda or sorbet :)

(I can't give a yes or no answer in regards to a God, only a "highly unlikely and really silly-sounding").
LOL! that's exactly how I describe my response to gods. I've taken on the atheist label though. Sometimes I put on the Secular Humanist hat as well.

We get a ton of crap from those who believe something so strongly they don't even stop and think about it.
Don't discount the people with strong believes so quickly. I think many times the "believers" have given their beliefs alot of thought.

For me it's like ice cream...

you try all sorts of combinations and flavors of the month until you find one you like more than all the others.

Or sometimes you focus on comfort - which one reminds you something nice - or familiarity.

Or sometimes you focus on texture, visual appeal, or calories (you might not like the taste, so well, but it compensates by being great in an area you find appealing.)

It's hard to find the perfect balance of texture, taste, calories, social acceptability, general warm fuzzy feeling in a single scoop of ice cream, but when confronted with 33 (or more flavors) you go with the one that meets most of your criteria for perfect icecream.

Every now and then, you find someone who likes to "dabble" and will continuously try new variations of ice cream (shakes, sodas, or other additions like cookie dough...), or will pick a type that best suites their mood at the moment. I've never met anyone who wouldn't eat ice cream (except a Lactose intolerant friend who goes for the frozen Ice treats!)

And just like with your favorite flavor it's really hard to convince some else that it should also be their favorite flavor!

(who's off to the Diary Queen for a Tropical Blast...)

1/30/2004 4:12 PM
62 out of 91


Don't discount the people with strong believes so quickly. I think many times the "believers" have given their beliefs alot of thought.

Bless you!

(And hopefully, those of us who have given it a lot of thought will also remember to regard others who believe differently, just as thoughtfully! :) )

2/2/2004 1:55 AM
63 out of 91


You sound like a spiritual maverick--and I'm glad you are.

Bnet could create a space for One Person Religions.
Selfishly, I hope they don't because I prefer the company of
people with unique and interesting viewpoints.

In a nation that prides itself on "rugged individualism",
"expressing yourself" and "doing it My Way",
why can't we have millions of religions here?
Maybe we do?

(I can only speculate that the Catholic Church and other name-brand
religious enterprises would not be so enthusiastic.)

During casual conversation when my ears hear the familiar:
You don't believe in God?
My brain immediately translates this to:
You don't believe in MY god?.
(Sad. Things were going so well until this point. . .)

I'm guessing that it must be the same when you
discuss with others your connection with something
beyond the boundaries of your physical self.
You have a god--but not theirs.

At this point people can sometimes "freak out" as your mentioned
for a number of reasons:

People crave validation and most do not handle rejection very well.

Perhaps they lack the conviction, or at least curiosity,
to try to understand the ways of those are different.

Or, much worse, they may have been trained to be repulsed. (You don't like Jay-EEE-zus. So, why should I waste my time talking to someone who going straight to HAY-el.)
I feel very sorry for these people and of their small operating envelopes.
I do NOT feel sorry their teachers.
People who teach bigotry to others are a "ton of crap".

I will step off my soapbox long enough to say that there
are the rare Christians, very comfortable with their spiritual
and personal selves, who will ask about my Atheism--to Learn.
They are interested in knowledge. Knowlege about how others think.
It is no accident that some of these same people are close firends.
We are very different spiritually.
But together we eat, drink and make merry--
just like Ecclesiastes says we should.


Cookie dough is "best" when it's
eaten without ice cream ;-)

2/23/2004 11:45 AM
64 out of 91

One of the reasons
has been missing recently is that he has been helping his family get ready for the arrival of

Gabriel !

A boy.
8 lbs. 1 Oz. 19 in.

for the astrologers lurking, born at
3:31 pm EST Feb. 22, 2004.

The entire family, including gooddogma-sit, survived the experience with no lasting trauma.

Congratulations Gabriel.

Welcome to Beliefnet and this wonderful world we live in.


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Messages: 65 - 80 (91 total)

2/23/2004 2:35 PM
65 out of 91

Can I have my own god too? Will he smite everyone else?

2/23/2004 9:10 PM
66 out of 91

I could see myself as possibly fitting into this one person religion thing. Every �one person theist� has their own legitimate belief. Thought maybe I should add mine for increased variety.

To me God isn�t a religious entity, but embodies the concept of the �universal.� All �religions� seem to me to strive towards an understanding of this concept, each in their unique way--and I by no means view this in itself as a bad thing. There is certainly much of life, ourselves, and our environment that is still a complete mystery. As one trivial example: There exists no explanation of how acupuncture works--never tried it and I�m not saying it�s a cure all--but to me its empirical evidence that we still lack vast quantities of knowledge in terms of how our bodies work.

Its a perspective issue: to reject the notion that we are still very ignorant at large is to risk suffering from the hubris of �I already know everything there is to know.� [not too uncommon--irrelevant of theistic belief/disbelief--and, to me, a poor form of empiricism]

My personal presumptions (absolute causality included) lead me to believe that we are still gravely ignorant of much, which I find a beautiful thing: wonderment, mystery, probability, randomness, chaos, and, underneath it all, absolute predetermined order. Everything falls into this order, even art, music, the most robust of �free� will power, and the most sublime subjective experiences. (Its not in the least bit denying their existence, objective or subjective: its having awe at the often inconceivably vast greatness, complexity, and mystery that is potentially fully explainable, hidden within as of yet unknown, fully-causal, absolute laws of physics that gave rise to all other forms of fully-causal organized energy--life, consciousness, etc.; as of yet not fully understood absolute laws of pure physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, etc. emerging from and imbedded into energy in perpetual motion that was once fully contained in a single infinitesimal singularity which �was the first ultimate cause� and which �recreated� its non-sentient �self� into everything that is.) Unfortunately, the only words that can be employed to convey the overall concept/connotations of this belief/perspective are those of �God and the Universe are one and the same thing.� Its a strictly metaphorical usage of God to someone who holds a different concept of �God,� [namely, almost everybody] but the concept/perspective of pantheism is quite real (subjectively speaking) and no other �definition� comes close to conveying it. Its the same thing as when I use soul, as in �She has a beautiful soul,� to mean that she�s got beautiful emotional and cognitive character traits comprising of both learned and inherited components which ARE the behavior of her total, fully-biological, nervous system and which will some day die with her inevitable biological death. �Soul,� in this sense (i.e., what a Christian would call �soulless�) is a quite real thing to me, and to a few other atheist alike--and only the word soul can communicate this concept adequately. �Personality,� �character,� etc. have different connotations. (Though, just like other atheists, I will openly assert with conviction that no such thing as �a soul� exists--it�s not at all contradictory when viewed at from the perspective of semantics.) So, technically speaking (although there�s no rule book for it) pantheism is atheism that employs a specific set of perspectives (not shared by all atheists) in addressing objective reality--which can only be communicated in our imperfect language by �God and Everything are one and the same thing.�

2/23/2004 9:11 PM
67 out of 91


In my younger years, I also discovered that if I indulged fundamentalist, evangelical Christians in their unwarranted solicitations--and eventually caused them to doubt not only their specific faith-based beliefs but their morality as well--they either seemed to enter a nervous fit or a major crisis. A few of these intrusive solicitors even acted as though the devil was working through me to �corrupt them.� It was funny/sad to me but then they�d act as though they�d passed a �test of doubt� and it seemed as if I�d inadvertently increased their faith ten fold. If I�d explain my own meaning of the word �God� and then started talking in their own language about what �God� really is, wants, decrees, etc., I found that at least I could nudge them towards not being so anti-Semitic, anti-empiricist, anti-evolutionist, etc.

Personally, I could hardly care less what others believe in, but bigoted behavior and the like I never cared much for--no matter how self-righteous/�God-ordained� it gets.

Just one more perspective.

2/24/2004 1:04 PM
68 out of 91

To those who believe in a non-conventional god:

As you use the term, what characteristics must a thing have in order to qualify as a "god"?

I've always assumed that, at a minimum, a god must be sentient--that is, capable of making purposeful, conscious choices. After all, why worship something that can't even recognize you?

I guess more to the point on this board--why even refer to something as a god, if it could just as easily be categorized in more accessible and recognizable terms--as a physical force, or an emotion, or an abstract concept that you hold dear?

Is the gravitational force a god, for instance? Is the speed of light in a vaccuum a god? Is the biological emotion of love a god?

2/24/2004 6:14 PM
69 out of 91

nycbonvivant -65
Can I have my own god too? Will he smite everyone else?

I'm only johnsmallberries on this thread, but I don't see why your god can't do anything he wants to just like the regular gods.

However, keep in mind that most of the people on the atheism board are pretty disgusted with the smiting behavior of the Abrahamic God in particular. I'd be pretty quiet about believing in a smiting God.


2/24/2004 8:47 PM
70 out of 91

Maybe I�m getting this wrong and post 68 is in no way addressed to me. Something tells me that this isn�t the case :) So, simply overlook the following if I�m making an incorrect presumption in responding to that post. :) [and I�ll offer �my bad� in advance]

As for me, I could simply say, �please read my posts a little more carefully.� But because I don�t want this to draw on indefinitely:

What part of �no such thing as �a god� exists� is not understood? Where have I ever referred to the universe as �a God?�

Are there difficulties in comprehending that in our imperfect language a word may convey equally-valid, multiple, implicit, context-related, subjective semantics which can not be �just as easily� communicated through other words? If I were to honestly tell you that there�s �magic� in rock-n�-roll, would you then go assuming that I practiced wicca? But please inform me: what other �more easily communicated word� can I use for the existentialist concept of the �universal� from which we are all created and of which we all are a part of which--irrelevant of details and labels--has been equally shared by numerous ancient and modern atheistic philosophers, scientists, Buddhists, Judaists, Muslims, Hindus, Paganisms, Christians, Voodooists, Warlocks and Witches etc., and which can also be readily understood from within a primarily Christian culture? I�d love to discover this �more accessible and recognizable term� which I could then state �is one and the same thing with �the universe� itself.�

As far as why employ the concept, 1) its my belief--is there an inquisition on the horizon I�m not aware of?-- 2) not only can I defend it logically and empirically to people that bug me about it (trust me on this one) but, personally, I also find it to be a quite beneficial belief for both my personal and scientific life, and 3) the added bonus of a beneficial, utilitarian, pragmatism within my current cultural context. [again, read above posts a bit more carefully.]

As for the other two people that I�ve noticed have also offered their perspectives--I haven�t read through the whole thread--to the best of my current understanding, the questions given are equal nonsensical, fallacious, and non-applicable to their �system of beliefs� as well. One seems to me to fall on the extreme end of a spectrum called �agnostics,� and the other seems to have a commendable sense of respect for what other people hold as sacred (this, to the extent that other peoples beliefs do not become destructive in nature).

Not that this has occurred, but--on a related topic--what reason would one have to cause descent among a group of people that--irrelevant of details--share a common overall viewpoint which is loosely labeled as �atheistic/agnostic?� (it would sort�a remind me of religious self-righteousness/omniscience and the quest to outlaw �heresy�--same darn difference) Don�t atheists have more pertinent/beneficial things to talk about other than �who holds the �truly correct� atheistic viewpoint?�

2/24/2004 11:39 PM
71 out of 91

Well... I don't think you could consider atheism to be a sectarian religion because its only defining precept is a shared one therefore you would have to extend it to a more granular level. However, I would question wether or not a religion was a cult when everytime one of its members refers to God it adds a long list presumptious qualifiers. Like our and lord

2/25/2004 10:08 AM
72 out of 91


My post #68 was not addressed specifically to you or to any other poster on this thread. I apologize if my careless phrasing caused you offense.

My original post was an attempt to raise a serious question that I've been mulling over for some time. "Theist" and "atheist" are emotionally loaded terms that may conceal more than they reveal, and maybe it's time to shelve the terms in favor of something else. As I see it, the question of atheism vs. theism--a heated political and social issue in contemporary society--boils down to a matter of definitions. But, ironically, there doesn't seem to be any consensus on what a "god" is, so people end up "choosing sides" based on a subjective, maybe even illusory, target.

Even though I don't believe in what I think of as a god, maybe I do believe in something that you think of as a god. To facilitate discussion, maybe there should be a term for beliefs like ours. But there's no point in creating such a term, until we pinpoint what those beliefs might be.

So I'll pose my questions again: Are there any characteristics that something must have, before you would call it a god? Do you believe, for instance, that your god is sentient? Does it matter to you whether or not your god is sentient?

2/25/2004 8:53 PM
73 out of 91

No problem. :) When I fist got here there were some commotion going around about �crazy� new age atheists or something like that :) Didn�t even come to this board to talk about it--but it seemed that just by coming here I inadvertently caused some problems with some: since then seems like I�ve wanted to at least remedy the problems I caused a bit before I check out. :)

Well, my personal take is like this: I deal with the word differently based on context. E.g. although Christians and Jews both use Genesis, they actually have drastically! different meanings of what �God� is/represents, etc. So, I absorb the meaning of the word from the context I�m in. If I�m discussing classics, Gods are sentient but quirky, rather dumb sometimes, and always limited in power--and are in no way the �universal� which, in classics, is Chaos: the �nothingness� that span around itself until it created an egg which cracked giving birth to deities that gave birth to other deities like Titans ect. ultimately birthing the Gods of Olympus--heaven for them is literally �sky�; the afterlife is spent in Hades: both �hell� and �heaven� in Christian semantics, which often incorporates notions of the Egyptian river Styx as well as other barriers such as the �river of fire�. The Judaic God has �sentience� only in a metaphorical sense by Christian standards: for their God is not /typically/ conceived of as a deity, but more akin to ultimate existence itself lacking true �name,� shape, etc.--heaven often is meant to mean existence on earth during life. Christian God is a mix of Judaic God and Pagan God: heaven becomes afterlife in the sky; hell in the world below which now becomes conceived of as the �river/lake of fire.� Mary was impregnated by God in the form of a dove, just as Leda was impregnated by Zeus in the form of a swan, etc. �Holly Ghost� represents aspects of the Judaic God; �Father�/God represents a mix of Holly Ghost and a sentient Zeus-like God; �The son� is the son of the Zeus-like God (of course, all three are also one God). Many eastern religions tend to conceive of �God� as �nothingness,� existence itself, yin/yang, forces of energy; to attain zen is to realize that you are one with everything and that everything is, in fact, nothing. This is their �notion of God,� which is why from the semantics of western culture they have no God whatsoever but, rather, an understanding of the �universal� aspect of existence itself. And there are many other faiths/notions of �God�. So, for me, God becomes whatever the context defines the notion of �God� as: each notion is equally sacred and subjectively real within its proper context of cultural belief. Also, I find that each �notion� of �God� must be fully understood from the unique semantics of its own context. Labels carried from one culture to the next often cause grave fallacies in understanding.

Obviously we are currently living in a predominantly Christian culture, and so our notions of �God�/theism are constantly overshadowed with the Christian semantics: God is a sentient deity like Zeus while simultaneously being �everything that is existence�. I.e., in our culture the word God is simultaneously loaded with the intertwined and inseparable semantics of both �a deity� and the notion of �the universal�.

To me, to be �atheist� is to hold the belief that no such thing as deities, i.e. �a god/gods,� exist. I think all can agree on this.

It seems as though the notion of �the universal� also encompassed by the semantics of �god� is what�s causing some of the problems you�re referring to.

2/26/2004 2:51 PM
74 out of 91

It seems as though the notion of �the universal� also encompassed by the semantics of �god� is what�s causing some of the problems you�re referring to.

I guess so (although I'm not totally convinced that concepts like "universal nothingness" are god-concepts). Thanks for your thought-provoking post.

Let me take a step back and attempt to explain what I believe (or, more accurately, don't believe). When I say I am an atheist, what I mean is that I don't believe in incorporeal, sentient beings. I believe that sentience is strictly a biological phenomenon. I also believe that crediting non-biological forces with intelligence and purpose is an unwarranted leap of anthropomorphism. In other words, humans are purposeful beings, and many of us naturally (but illogically) assume that the rest of the universe must be purposeful as well. To me, this is like a group of triangles concluding that the universe must be triangular.

This isn't to say that my beliefs are set in stone. If I were to see solid evidence of incorporeal intelligence--a god, a demon, a ghost, whatever--I'd believe in it. Until that happens, however, I'll regard sentient god claims with suspicion.

That said, I don't have a problem with the concept of a non-sentient god. After all, I believe in many things that are non-sentient--the universe, rocks, viruses, the force of gravity. If one of these is "god," then so be it: it's a god that can't damn me to hell, that requires nothing from me, and that doesn't even know I'm there. A god of indifference. There's something vaguely comforting in that.

To some extent, though, I wonder if using the word "god" means anything, when you apply it to something that is non-sentient. Does the label "god" have any practical effect?

Take pantheism. I believe that the universe exists. Does that make me a pantheist? Apparently not, because I don't assign the "god" label to the universe. But what's the difference?

2/26/2004 9:20 PM
75 out of 91

Thanks for the reply :) --and opportunity to /try/ to explain �pantheism� a little better.

The meaning of God in pantheism is not objective. So, the way you address �god� has no meaning within the pantheistic perspective. Its the subjective cultural meaning of God that is then changed by having it equated with �everything/universe/nature/etc.�

Another way to put it: Pantheism is a philosophical perspective (and in no way a religion) that addresses strictly the transcendental concepts which are culturally ascribed to notions of �God.�--and this in a way in which the transcendental concepts become fully empirical, causal, explainable, �material�, in a sense become fully nullified since they�re no longer transcendental. :) Funny, but true. :) . . . I�m serious:

Think of Pantheism and Nihilism as being two different atheistic beliefs. Both hold the exact same atheistic tenets--there is no absolute objective purpose; no deities; no supernatural; no �duality� btw. mind&brain, spirit&body, etc.; no sentience, intelligence, consciousness outside of biology; etc.--but the two atheistic philosophies have different outlooks/perspectives/interpretations of these tenets.

Nihilism then is the exact atheistic bipolar opposite of Pantheism. [And to be a nihilist, I strongly feel, is to be an absolute hypocrite (not to mention nincompoop): of course life and existence has value to you, because you�re alive and living and you exist. �Nihilism should commence with itself�--I think--is a rather apt quote. :) ]

BTW, I doubt that �pantheists� have ever had any need, inclination, etc. to �convert� atheists to pantheism, any more than �atheists� have wanted to convert humanists to atheism.

But we�re living in a religious world: the prevalent reality of God in the cultural sense is very real. Pantheism transfers all the awe, reverence, �divinity� of �God� onto the universe itself. There is no sentient, intelligent deity; what there is is the universe itself. Don�t worship it, cuz its a waste of your time, life, and existence. But have reverence for it and everything it encompasses: yourself included.

Here�s another way of looking at it: By saying/conceiving God and the Universe are one and the same thing, you attain an open-minded, empiricism-driven atheism where materialism has no nihilistic, nor �materialistic,� connotations.

Again, pantheism is an atheistic philosophical perspective: a subjective means of ascribing value to existence itself.

2/27/2004 6:25 PM
76 out of 91


I appreciate your deeper explanation of pantheism. I think, in many ways, that I am a pantheist, as opposed to a nihilist.

Your previous post brings out one implication of the "god" label that had escaped my attention: a god is something that is deeply important, so assigning that label is a value judgment, even a sign of respect. And I do believe that the universe--and many specific parts of it in particular--are deeply important.

Have you given any thought to the possibility that a pantheist's sense of reverence is to some extent motivated by self-interest? I.e., "I am a part of the universe, therefore it must be important." I reject the notion that this universe is important to someone who doesn't reside in it, and is completely unaffected by it. This is the only thing that (potentially) sticks in my craw about what you have described.

But I do really like the concept of the transcendental merging with the natural, without losing its importance.

2/27/2004 7:39 PM
77 out of 91

:: Thomasina blantantly ignoring the rule about proselytizing::

A god of indifference. There's something vaguely comforting in that.

Ah, a man after my own heart!

Why not join my fledgling Church of the Great Cat Goddess. She could care less if all humans lived or died. She's ignoring you right this very moment! Your nobody until you've been ignored by the Cat!! She's a perfect fit for your outlook on gods!

Come join me! I'll be happy to send you a complimentary Lucky Cat Whisker to remind you of the indifference of the Great Cat Goddess!

Do I feel a conversion about to happen?!? :)

Reverend Thomasina
Seated Most High
Church of the Great Cat Goddess

2/28/2004 12:28 AM
78 out of 91

With all due respect to the Great Cat Goddess, people who follow a personal spiritual philosophy frequently describe gods who seem to have no compulsion to smite and destroy. This is refreshingly different from the Wrath Of God behavior of mass-market gods who apparently need to go on a rampage now and then to keep the flocks attention. Indifference would be more effective.


Thank you for sharing the news about Gabriel.

gooddogma-sit: (when you do get a chance to read this)


2/28/2004 1:39 PM
79 out of 91


I have a great (well, at least fat) cat goddess of my own. Great, fat, and orange.

She's good at ignoring us, but only sometimes. Sometimes she crawls on our chests at night and screams until we wake up and pet her. Her moods are fickle. Not too different from that grumpy sourpuss in the old testament...

(What is a worship service like in the church of the Great Cat Goddess, I wonder?)

3/13/2004 8:18 AM
80 out of 91


Thanks to you for sharing in the joy of my family. Gabriel's a pretty cool little being, even if "being" is about all he does right now. He is falling asleep in my lap at this moment, allowing a brief respite in which I can actually type with two hands. My children are my own little proof that miracles do indeed happen every day.

It was great to see that this thread has kept itself going (with a little push here and there from Jcarlin). It lacks a lot of the acrimony and contentiousness that all too often pervades other threads on this forum.

That being said:


Are you talkin to me? Are you talking to me?

Who you calling an agnostic, pal?

If I had to label my beliefs, I would call myself a pantheist, as well. You and I both seem to have a reverence for the larger universe and the myteries and wonders inherent in it, as well as a respect for ourselves as an expression of that mystery.

In the words of another of my personal prophets:

I am made from the dust of the stars
and the oceans flow in my veins
-Neil Peart

My new son is my reminder of that precious legacy, and the responsibility to that legacy, that we all share.


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Messages: 81 - 91 (91 total)

3/17/2004 11:52 PM
81 out of 91

Thoughts on a one person religion�

Truth and Lies:

What is truth? Is it a subjective thing with no boundaries to it or is it definitive�.final�.complete?
If the truth exists, then it is a singular thing not subject to opinions or thoughts, but ultimate in nature as the total definition of the reality in which it exists. If truth does not exist, then there is no definition of reality, no completeness, no ultimate. All that remains in the absence of truth are opinions and ideas as each of us are left with only our individual impressions of it.

As this is the case, we can find the truth here that opinions and ideas are not related or subject to the truth at all by necessity.

We can also find the truth that each of us, regardless of the truth opinions we hold, all have opinions on it.

Johnbigboote wrote:

What we share is the self-determination. Each of us will establish and maintain our connections to the world outside of our physical selves on our own terms.

This simple truth reaches even to the nature of universal, total perhaps even ultimate.

If I can find truth here, does it not exist? Are these truths subject to individual opinions and ideas or are they complete in and of themselves?

If then truth does in fact exist and is in fact ultimate in nature not subject to opinions or ideas, is it not true that opinions and ideas may be in opposition to it? If an opinion or idea is in opposition to the truth, is it not then a lie? If some are a lie, are those best excluded or included?

Shuaj wrote:

Did you seriously believe that people who have devoted their lives to using their minds rationally would simply give up their beliefs

If you keep a lie does it not remove the truth it opposes from your possession? Is not then a lie simply the absence of the truth?

If we can conclusively say that having an opinion or idea is equal to a search of a sort and that a search for something requires the absence of that which is searched for, then is it true to say we do not search for the absence as it is its absence that caused the search in the first place?

If this is true then is it not true that lies must be excluded as the search calls for the exclusion of absence?

As it is true that we all have an opinion on the truth, is it not also true that we are inherently on the search for it?

If the seeking of the truth is inherent to the human condition, is it not self opposing to hold onto a lie?

Jb1knobe wrote:

I see truth and goodness related.

If opposing self is bad, then is not the truth good as it represents the fulfillment of the inherent search? If the truth is good are not good things also true?

Johnbigboote wrote:

Perhaps they lack the conviction, or at least curiosity,
to try to understand the ways of those (that) are different.

If the truth is good and good things are true, then is it true that understanding ways is the most important or is it actually understanding truth that is always to be strived for if it is goodness that is actually sought?

If it is true that truth should be pursued in all things rather than understanding ways, is not understanding ways actually, at least to the point of degrading it, in opposition to the truth?

If you intentionally pursue degradation of the truth, are you not opposing it?

If you oppose truth are you not then opposing goodness? If you are opposing goodness are you not doing harm?

If these things are true, then is it the truth that is to bend to the individual or is it the individual that is to bend to the truth?

3/18/2004 1:59 AM
82 out of 91

tr1nity 81
What is truth? Is it a subjective thing with no boundaries to it or is it definitive�.final�.complete?

Thank you tr1nity, you have started a very nice explanation of just what a one-person religion is. In my one-person religion truth is a subjective thing with no boundaries. And reality is not complete and ultimate.

Each of us in our quest to provide a meaningful existence for our loved ones, our society and ourselves is exploring a reality that has no definition, and no need for one. Reality unfolds to us as we progress.

We never really are complete as our loved ones and our society will still be exploring the unfolding reality long after we are no longer able to do so. There is no Ultimate. Stars are being formed as we speak. Who can suggest what will be found around them?

[Response Part 1]


3/21/2004 7:58 PM
83 out of 91

What is truth?

In my opinion there is both objective and subjective truth. Objective truth is scientific truth - the impersonal physical laws of the universe - and is unchanged by any sentient opinion, presupposition or ignorance of what these laws are.

Subjective truth is the truth we all bring to our own lives. Whether this resembles objective truth or not is beyond the point. It is personal to each of us and therefore any semblance between one man's 'truth' and anothers would be based on his/her environment, teaching and opinions.

3/21/2004 11:40 PM
84 out of 91


Welcome to the Atheism boards. Seems you have been around for a while at Bnet, but I have not noticed you here before. Thanks for your thoughtful contribution. We are a pretty independent bunch here, and disagreements are part of the fun, so don�t take any challenges personally. We look forward to your continued participation.

You may wish to check out my welcome thread for some ground rules and maybe some fun.

Host, Atheism Boards. (ACC, LAA, A)

3/22/2004 5:54 PM
85 out of 91

Thanks jcarlinbn

You're right, I've been around for quite a while but have mostly just been reading and not participating much until I got to know the environment a bit better.

I look forward to contributing to more and more discussions in the future.


4/25/2004 8:57 PM
86 out of 91

Our Host suggested I respond to this thread. I have read all of the posts and feel a bit humbled and at the same time elated by the breadth of intelligent discussion that occurred. I hope what I have to add is useful.

On the original question �Is there a one person religion� my gut reaction was �they are all one person religions.� After I thought about that reaction for several hours while working on a car, I came up with these ideas:

1) At daybreak there are literally millions of the followers of the Islamic faith that are on their knees facing toward Mecca and saying their prayers and yet I believe that each of those supplicants has a unique perspective on their faith, their families, their society.
2) Bnet itself is a great example of the diversity of beliefs and BS�s. I believe one of the earlier posters used the analogy of flavors of ice cream for both theists and atheists. Maybe you could think of the number of potential different beliefs as a really really big Baskin and Robbins with almost unlimited flavor choices.
3) I thought of an older congregation that had listened to sermons from the same minister for years; I remember talking to many of them about their beliefs and always found unique perspectives and accommodations or compromises between their beliefs and those taught by their church with as many variations as there were parishioners.

So, then I began to have doubts that no matter how many flavors there were, they could be categorized into types that were alike � the chocolates, vanillas, strawberries, cherries, etc. Apparently that is somewhat what we do when we identify Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Islamics, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. If a person claims membership to one particular church we usually make an assumption that we can somehow know the person�s core beliefs by their affiliation. When a person fills in the �Other� line in the religious questionnaire with �religious � unaffiliated� or simply �unaffiliated� we don�t have a clue what they might believe without further information. I think each person, whether claiming a particular flavor of faith or not, has a unique perspective of god(s) that fits their personal BS.

My first image of God was an older man with long white hair and beard, who sat on a golden throne and was gazing downward and frowning. My last impression of God was that God was simply the life essence present in all living things. By definition that belief made me an atheist. When you dehumanize God, He/She loses the identities that most religions use and it opens you to a lot of other possibilities.

4/28/2004 5:53 PM
87 out of 91

Was it LBJ who pointed out that when two people agree on everything, then we can be sure that only one is doing the thinking?

By extrapolating that idea into theology, I would propose that anyone who has taken the time to ponder spirituality and scrutinize religious claims, no matter what he decides, is truly a sect of one.

10/20/2004 6:02 PM
88 out of 91


10/22/2004 6:22 AM
89 out of 91

I think that it is obvious that religon will mean something different to each individual. Every experience affects different people differently. We all experienced 9/11, for example. I'm sure it affected all of us differenly and that we all have unique interpertations of the event. That does not mean, however, that groups of people will not share basic core beliefs on what those events meant.

There is a community compnent of judaism that is integral to the religon. The requirment of a mynion, for example, ensures that prayer is not done solely on an individual basis, but as a community. There are aspects of relgious belief that require community and effect community. While I am not an expert on all religion, I would assume that this is applicable to other faiths as well.

11/3/2004 11:43 PM
90 out of 91

Nightshades 10/22/04 6:22 AM --89
There are aspects of relgious belief that require community and effect community.
While true, it is possible to participate in the community and be affected by the community, without agreeing with all of the beliefs that the community espouses or perhaps requires. As an example I have been the required guest at a Seder, and participated in the rituals and yes, was affected by them. In fact the Seder in question did affect my One Person Religion. However I have no interest in visiting Jerusalem next year, or any year for that matter. And there are many other beliefs explicit or implied in the Seder that I choose not to accept.

In jbb�s original post I find no hint that a person with a unique take on God, necessarily needs to go it alone. And exploringinsides, certainly generalizes to include most participants in many traditional congregations. As you point out, sometimes the community an important part, but perhaps within the community there may be some whose take on the basic core beliefs are so different that they may in that one person category. If you will excuse a wry observation from a respectful guest, in some of the Jewish synagogues in NYC that I was acquainted with sometimes it seemed that most were in that group.


5/10/2006 8:50 PM
91 out of 91

Continued here

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