What are your views on religion/spirituality?

How do your views on religion/spirituality influence your day-to-day life, including if any marriage, child rearing, political views, job, attitude, friends, lifestyle?

Just curious. I hope that I am not opening another can of worms, but… what the heck.

They (my views on religion/spirituality) keep me more chill then I already am. They keep me healthy and a tad more happy.

Ha! Ha! No you don’t, that’s exactly what you’re trying to do! Anyway, I’ll bite. Religion? A load of superstitious hogwash that’s about as far removed from spirituality as its possible to be. The opiate of the masses and all that.

No offense to those of you who may have faith in one religion or another, but to put it strongly, I think religion is for the mentally weak (kind of like coffee drinkers… oops… did I just offend even more people?). Forgive me for being blant.

On the other hand, I do also believe perhaps it’s something that’s somewhat “required” for the existance of human beings, the believe of something greater and more powerful watching over us. Mankind can not just leave everything up to “chance” or fate (even “fate” denotes some kind of supernatural domain); mankind needs to feel in control at all times; but if it’s something he can not control, he believes there’s something behind it all – earth god, wind god, rain god… etc.

And on the personal level, “wishing” is such a big part of day-to-day living that it almost begs for the existance of a religion if one does not already believe in one. Something on going one’s way, he thinks to himself, “god damn it, I wish blah blah…”. Something terrible happens, “why me… why!!” (who is he asking this question to?).

Maybe I am in my narrow-minded mode now. I know I have had more open-minded views before… so perhaps someone can bring this discussion further to the next level…

When did time begin? The universe is infinite. When one thinks about it, it is enough to drive one mad, mad enough to post on forumosa!

Religion for the simpleminded. Why? I know that Marx said the religion was the opiate of the people, but surely he was looking at the peasants and such who attached themselves to symbols like candles, the cross, etc. etc.

What about religion on a more intellectual level. Without religion, would people be able to maintain morality, ethics in the face of challenges?

One of the criticisms of the post World War II world is that there has been a strong decline in religious belief and behavior in the West. This ironically is one of the reasons why so many Muslims look at the Western world with such askance.

Then throw in the moral equivalence and relativism (could we not say that the religion of spiritual guidance of most Westerners liberal arts graduates and intellectual wannabes is the nihilism so popular among French and German philosophers during the same period?

One of my friends used to say all the time, the man who does not believe in god believes in anything. Do you check your horoscope every day? play around with Tarot cards? go to feng shui specialists, buy crystals etc.

How does one explain man’s existence and purpose outside or religion? (Not a leading question). I would like to hear some opinions on this. Is there even a need or are we here eat, shit and die?

[quote]When did time begin? The universe is infinite[/quote]These are answered in ‘A brief history of time’ of which I have read all, and understood a bit :slight_smile: Time started at the big bang, and it’s not infinite, just very big. You might thing it’s a long way to 7-11 to buy a beer, but the universe is much much bigger. At least what Stephen Hawking says has been logically deducted, and he can prove what he says.

[quote]Without religion, would people be able to maintain morality, ethics in the face of challenges? [/quote]I like to thin I am more than cabable of known the difference between right and wrong. I am probably more ethical than some religious people, for example, I think it wrong to kill people, or to look down on woman, gays etc…
Are you saying that some need a religion to be ethical ?

[quote]One of my friends used to say all the time, the man who does not believe in god believes in anything. Do you check your horoscope every day? play around with Tarot cards? go to feng shui specialists, buy crystals etc.[/quote]Some people do believe in that who don’t believe in god. Some people don’t believe in anything without proof… any supersticion/reglion. “It’s in the bible” is not proof.

One can argue the existance of man is of no significance without religion. One can also argue that wihtout religion, man is lost wihtout conscience, moral, ethics and what not. Irnoically, however, some of the most ethical and morally responsible persons happen to be atheists.

Religions allow people to rest their fear and uncertainties in something they “believe” to be profound. And I DO believe there’s a place for the existance of religion for some, or maybe most. But to say that without religion, one can not rise to be moral, ethical, just (or whatever) is absurd and misleading. Christianity, for example, champions only the belief of Jesus Chris shall save one’s soul from suffering comes the doomsday. That, to me is called “terrorism”, not religion. And it’s a load of crap.

If properly introduced and guided, religion can be a wonderful thing. But fallen into the wrong hands, such as peoples of Jesus Christ of modern day, the Crusaders… etc, religions are just as bad as tyrany, dictatorship and barbarianism. I suppose one can say that for just about anything, but nothing as powerful, influencial and potentially mislead as religions.

To be a fulfilled individual, religion is not necessary, although to some it may be helpful. Unfortunately to most, religion is something to be blindly blieved in (but not necessarily practiced) just in case (one never know when the “Boss” up there is going to call upon him). If religion is something one HAS to rely on to go on with life, it’s not living; it’s a life dictated with rules by some of the biggest hippies who died thousands of years ago (and for all we know, they may have done it for the hell of it!).

For the record: I have been raised as a Catholic but at the age of 15-16 I rejected all the things taught and forced onto me in relation to religion. I do not, cannot, believe in any god nor the bible. Perhaps this is because I am a very rational (is this the correct word?) person and less of an emotional one, I need to see hard evidence and facts rather than believes.
That said I can respect or tolerate other peoples religion, but might not necessarily agree or understand it, the latter in relation to fanatics (not Muslim fundamentalists but in general as it applies to all religions).
If someone wants to practice his (choosen) religion and it does not affect others, ie not inflict harm or inconvenience them, then that’s fine with me - do as you please. But I do have a problem with people who try to convince me that I need to have a religion or believe in god and who cannot accept my point of view on the matter. That makes it difficult for me to tolerate those, up to a point where I could get really angry. It’s my choice not to believe as it is yours to believe and I expect others to accept / respect that.

True, that’s why I try not to think about it. Though I don’t think this directly relates to religion. IMHO.

I don’t think religion is the answer to the problems in the world, in fact it could just be another reason for conflicts (as it has been in the past); and the lack thereof might not be the reason for the decline, which probably depends on your point of view if there is such a decline.

Religion works very well (not exclusive though) for people with lower education, thus giving others a chance to control them.
Western people are in general better educated and more open and free and thus perhaps less prone to be influenced.
I strongly believe e.g. politics and religions should be strictly seperated as to avoid and disadvantage of those practising a less popular religion or those who don’t practise any at all.
The moment you force people to practise their religion, even punish them for non-compliance with certain regulations (as it does happen) makes the whole thing for me pointless. Religion should be the choice of an individual, not the means of collective coercion.

Tell your friend he is wrong. I am not religious and I am not superstitious.

The latter :wink:

As with the first question it would probably drive me mad to think about it, like the famous “What is the meaning of life?”. If someone finds the answer I am willing to listen but don’t think I need to make an effort myself to figure this one out. There are so many unanswered questions and for me this is just one of them which I am probably not qualified to answer in a logical way.

One point, has not the separation of religion and politics and tolerance and promotion and respect for diversity or whatever also became a “tenet” of the faith of many Westerners now? a tenet that many will defend with religious zeal and intensity? Not to play word games or engage in sophistries but is not part of the Western inability to “understand” Islam related to the fact that we inherently believe that our “system” is in fact “superior” and are we not in a way also trying to “convert” them to respect “separation of politics and religion” and to promote “tolerance” and “respect for diversity?”

That said, I believe everyone eventually has to choose something to stand for and I am in no way suggesting that we do not fight groups like Hezbollah or al Qaeda. Just food for thought. Any opinions?

Ha! Ha! No you don’t, that’s exactly what you’re trying to do! Anyway, I’ll bite. Religion? A load of superstitious hogwash that’s about as far removed from spirituality as its possible to be. The opiate of the masses and all that.[/quote]

Spiny Norman is not going to be happy about this :smiling_imp:

“Understanding” Islam is a tricky one, the problem I have with it that’s it (the Koran) was written hundreds of years ago when things were different. In my opinion Islam in it’s original way does not fit into todays world though we have examples of countries which try to balance the old ways with the new times, where e.g. women are granted (nearly) equal rights.
I also strongly disagree with the pope on the issue of contraception, i.e. a good Christ should not use condoms (even you only have one partner), in my opinion also an outdated view and “not practical” today.

I think you are right and forcing our views on them is probably as wrong as them trying to force theirs on us. Though saying our system is superior would be a very biased view, we grew up with this system and instead of saying “superior” I would rather choose a wording like “being used to”. Yet we should show respect or at least tolerance, not superiority.

Furthermore I would object to claims that Al Kaida and others are as religious as they claim, they are fanatics who use the religion as a tool or excuse, to make others die for their cause and “explain” the terror and pain the inflict. My guess this is because they want to seize power, i.e. do this out of personal motivation and not for their Muslim brothers.
Many Muslim leaders have agreed that this is not the way Islam teaches them and condemned the attacks.
If you allow this comparison I don’t think the Ireland conflict has anything to do with religion (anymore) either. Though Ireland has more Catholics and England more Protestants it’s a fight about territory, not about religion as such.

Well I think that actually people do declare the superiority of their own system each and every day in a myriad of ways (I love myriad, never used it before hearing it myriads of times in Taiwan).

Islam is all encompassing (day to day life from eating to work to lending money). Western religions may have been once (technically Judaism still is), but in a way “science” and “reason” have replaced “religion” as articles of faith in the West.

Is one or the other superior? Depends on who you ask, but I have a feeling that we have been and will be called upon to do so with ever greater frequency to defend what we “believe” in. The problem is these kinds of issues raise great ethical confusion.

As I recall many women’s organizations in North America were “against” the war in Afghanistan despite the fact that they had for years railed against the Taliban for their oppression of women, trampling of human rights, etc. Yet, many were conflicted as to whether to actually fight a war over such a thing (I am deliberately leaving the other arguments out of this debate to focus on the internal struggle over questions of specific morality). Others believed that a war could foster improved relations etc.

I think we have seen a lot less of this (feminist involvement) in the war in Iraq but I think that part of the difficulties of the debate over this particular “engagement” is that underlying the real issues of whether to go in or not (Weapons of mass destruction, etc) have been moral issues of improving the lives, freedoms, rights of a thoroughly oppressed nation. Again, however, many would like to have seen things change without resorting to violence (which opens a whole different debate) and finally there were others who merely wanted to drag these “damned troglodyte heathens into the 21st century.”

Another point that was raised in a private discussion was the need to be “good.” The person in question was arguing that so many people flit from issue to issue today with very facile understandings of what is going on to be able to display their “goodness” and temporarily feel “morally superior.” The need to do so (he gave particular examples of chronic peace protesters, petition signers, dolphin free tuna, cruelty to animals, anti-fur, ozone layer now global warming activists as opposed to more traditional Christian fundamentalists), stems from the fact that these people have no religious meaning in their life, no sense of the divine or spiritual and since in his opinion this is almost a fundamental drive in people akin to eating, sleeping and sex, they have had to create this in movements such as those detailed above. He questioned therefore whether people can say that they are not religious or atheist while being so “active” in such “activities,” which while not traditional religions in name provide the same cathartic release as bible banging, hymn singing, I have sinned and now am saved sermons. Any thoughts?

I am not religious, I am not superstitious and I don’t engage in such chronic activities.

(I would deny that I am a chronic peace protestor but if you view my posting here on forumosa as chronic I am guilty :wink: .)

Do you feel the need to be “good?” This could be contribution to fellow man, etc. etc. making the world a better place to live (though this would not necessarily stem from religion). My question is when does this become a religious as opposed to human need and if different, what implications does this have for the need for religion or “goodness” in one’s life?

Second, the old chestnut, are there universal values and can they be codified in such a way that all nations, religions, etc would suscribe to them thus providing a basis for international law and definition for human rights etc. ? I have seen recent attempts but believe they fall far short. Can Islam or even Christianity for that matter give up on the idea of aggressively proselytizing to show their dedication to their faiths? Is this even desirable? Or are there parameters that could be set to ensure that “conquer with the sword” is not the mode of conversion?

I take it all back. Because without religion, we wouldn’t have this.

Define your biggest moral conflict and whether you won the battle and lost the war or vice versa.

Religion is about faith; and everyone has faith in something. For the Christians, their faith is that the Bible is the ultimate truth and that they are saved by grace; for Islam it is the Al Qur’an and that Muhammad is the last prophet; for Rascal it’s the World Peace; for some it’s money and wealth; for others it might be power, etc.

I like the article but who says “you can’t have inflatable people”.

Sandman, you have one stashed under your bed don’t you? :wink:

I don’t have faith in world peace, it’s more a desire if you will. Don’t think that equals a religion though.
Perhaps we would need to define religion first, i.e. is faith merely part of religion and can an individual have a unique faith and yet it can be called a religion or does it need to be shared and practised by more than one (how many)?

Main Entry: 1faith
Pronunciation: 'fAth
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural faiths /'fAths, sometimes 'fA[th]z/
Etymology: Middle English feith, from Old French feid, foi, from Latin fides; akin to Latin fidere to trust – more at BIDE
Date: 13th century
1 a : allegiance to duty or a person MY WIFE: LOYALTY b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) OOPS: sincerity of intentions OOPS
2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God [b]NONE/b : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b [b]NO SIRREE/b : firm belief in something for which there is no proof WHAT IS PROOF?(2) : complete trust MY WIFE
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction CHECK MY AVATAR; especially : a system of religious beliefs
synonym see BELIEF NOPE

  • in faith : without doubt or question : VERILY