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Which Religion is Right?


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The title is a bit misleading, perhaps to draw some more folks in. What I'm looking for is more along the lines of how you judge which religion has the right answer for your spiritual questions. Do you just believe the religion you were raised in is the right one? Is the religion with the most followers the right one? Do you study as many as you can and choose the one that represents your beliefs best? Do you think there is something basic to all of them that is generally correct and the rest is just scenery? Or do you have another reason why your faith is in the right place?

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I personally don't believe in God but I do understand that religion is important to some because it's the only source of hope they have. So, which religion is right? Any one that doesn't kill people.

You know, I think one of the problems I have with the past few posts is that "Modern Christianity" is an extreme generalization. It seems to me that there's an attempt to explain how "Modern Christian

That's because most of the time they have different trends.   I think we should separate them, is my point.   I don't quite know what you mean by that. First off, Jews never had holy men (prophe

It's tough for me to answer because I never had a religion. I did have faith, and that faith evolved and changed throughout the years, until today it involves non-deity-related morals.

 

I'm mentioning this because I think there should be a distinction between religion (which is more a system, usually organized) and belief. Which are you asking?

 

~moo

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I'm mentioning this because I think there should be a distinction between religion (which is more a system, usually organized) and belief. Which are you asking?
Faith, or beliefs, are usually influenced by exposure to some kind of more organized religion, and may retain varying amounts of that influence. Your beliefs sound like they have undergone some changes through study and experience until it's right for you, and that's what I'm getting at. Others have very sacred and unbending beliefs. I know it'll be different for each person, and I'd like to hear how those differences are expressed.
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But was never religious, Phi, nor did I grow up in a religious surrounding. My family was always atheists and though we're all Jewish, we consider that cultural/historical affiliation, and not religion.

 

That's not to say I don't have beliefs, though. I think the distinction between belief and religion is enormous. Belief is personal; might be affected by the environment, but it's ultimately yours. Religion is mostly external, a system or group of laws, etc.

 

It's a different approach, and, in my opinion, should be a different question.

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I would like to believe that I have rationalised my way to faith, and, although my logic is not infallible or perfect, and I have doubts, I also have hope as a believer. I think I would define atheism as a logic which cannot, by definition, have hope for the future of the consciousness, and therefore tends towards existentialism. Moreover, I cannot see that any secular system can be truly independent of the scriptures; they have to acknowledge the sheer influence of belief systems on the systems of philosophical thought.

 

Without being partisan, I can refer to The Prophet by Gibran:

 

Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."

 

Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."

 

For the soul walks upon all paths.

 

The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.

 

The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

 

http://leb.net/~mira/works/prophet/prophet17.html

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I was raised to be a Christian, so that's what I believed initially simply because it was what I was told. I stopped believing in it when I realized the world was full of religions and people who believed in them as fully as Christians believed in theirs, and there was no way to figure out who was right. At most one of them could be, but if that was the case you'd think there would be something different about it from all the wrong ones. So I figured they were probably all wrong, and secretly became a "probably atheist." Talking to religious people on the internet about it just reinforced that view with lots of other reasons, and I gave up thinking about it at all for several years. When I started studying philosophy seriously, my views on the matter became greatly elaborated, and I no call myself anything (although most religious people would still probably call me an atheist). The entirety of what I believe is too elaborate to go into here, but it's steadily evolved over many years of reading and discussion and thinking about as many different viewpoints as I could find.

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I was brought up a Christian, and mostly influenced by my mom. She is an ex-Catholic, and brought me up to read the Bible and try my best to understand it myself, rather than relying on others to tell me what it says. At this time I was also a young earth creationist, which seemed to me the only sensible interpretation of the Bible. I have always been interested in science, and that has been a strong conflict for me for about a decade. Upon finding undeniable proof that evolution was true, I abandoned Christianity. As Sisyphus said, I also realized before that that there was no way to show Christianity the "true" religion compared to the others, but I mostly ignored that. About 1/2 or 1 year after dropping Christianity, I also unhooked my morals from God and the bible.

 

If science counts as a religion, then I would say that would be the best. It requires almost no assumptions, and the assumptions that it does require are the most reasonable. As such it is the most likely to be true, and also has excellent evidence showing that it works. Science allows us to do today what a few hundred years ago would have been considered undeniably divine miracles (should we choose to pretend so).

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I began reading at an early age (around 3). Many of my relatives gave me books. One I remember was this endangered species book, which at the time was way ahead of my reading level, because of this, initially, I was more interested in the vivid pictures, however as I learned more words and read more of the book I began to understand evolution, as it was briefly described in that book. It made sense to me since I was little, maybe its because I was introduced to it first, and their was a illustration in the book, that took up a whole page that I always loved and it was a long evolutionary tree, showing the evolution from a sea creature to a chimpanzee.

 

I remember when I was in about second grade I mentioned evolution around the dinner table with my Grandparents, and they were strict Catholic, and you can guess they didn't take it well. This upset me really bad, I think this also might be one of the reasons why I have such a negative view towards religion.

 

Even though I grew up in a Catholic family, my parents were pretty open about religion and accepting of other peoples beliefs, I think that allowed me to explore beliefs on my own. However, I never really got into religion.

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I personally don't believe in God but I do understand that religion is important to some because it's the only source of hope they have. So, which religion is right? Any one that doesn't kill people.

 

Bee

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I was raised in a pretty strict Methodist household but was always interested in reading anything and everything. By the time I was 20 I began to question why whatever Jesus, Mohammed, Confucius or whoever had any more validity than what Neitsche, Marx, or Sartre had to say. Although most religious people would likely refer to me as an atheist, "god" can be defined in such a way that nobody is truly an atheist. I use the term nondenominational nontheist.

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I don't believe any religion is "right" or "wrong", per se.

 

My beliefs are pretty simple:

 

I believe that there is a way of behaving and treating other people that is optimal for the health of a person's "soul", and that is the best for the health of the community as a whole. If you want me to spell that out I can, but it would neddlessly clutter my point here, I think....

 

Pardon me while I jump into a somewhat confusing metaphor that I like to use...

 

Anyway, that optimal behavior is a goal for each individual... I call it a "cabin in the woods". It is a place that, when you reach it, provides spiritual warmth and sustinence. I believe that place is the same for everyone.

 

I don't think their is only one path in the woods to reach that cabin, only that there is only one cabin at the center of many paths.

 

As such, all religions have their own map to that cabin. I may think that my map -- the Catholic map -- is more direct than some other religions, but everyone is free to choose their own road.

 

Also, I think this cabin is for every person (as inner peace and contentment are every person's goal). Some people believe they don't need a map.. and indeed many of those people still get their that way. Though I would guess not as many do as I have seen too many people take the wrong path in life, insist it's the right one, and end up ruining their lives in the process.

 

To be fair, I know plenty of people who insist they have a bonifide printed map by some religion and they still stray off the path while insisting they're reading the map properly.

 

And in the defense of everyone these maps are a pain in the ass to follow!

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My family was always atheists and though we're all Jewish, we consider that cultural/historical affiliation, and not religion.

 

This is quite interesting. In a similar way I would have to consider myself "culturally and historically" Christian. Not that I believe as such, but I am in acceptance of how Christianity has influenced Britain's history including laws.

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I suppose I'm "culturally Christian" too, in that I string up lights, drag a pine tree inside, exchange gifts, and have a big family party on December 25th every year.

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This is quite interesting. In a similar way I would have to consider myself "culturally and historically" Christian. Not that I believe as such, but I am in acceptance of how Christianity has influenced Britain's history including laws.

Yeah, I don't know if it's exactly the same,even for the idea that judaism is percieved by many people as an identity. I *consider* myself jewish, I celebrate the holidays (though I don't do the stuff for religious reason, but I do discuss the history, custom and importance for our family, culture, etc), I studied the OT, and I feel very strong about my feeling that I belong to the jewish nation. Actually, I'm a bit annoyed about the religious extremists who seem to 'hijack' judaism and try to present it as religion only, while claiming that *I* am jewish (even though I'm an atheist, I'm still jewish, unlike, usually, christians) just a very bad one in their eyes.

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Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are considered separate but interrelated?

 

By Jewish nation do you mean Israel, or is it something wider than than?

 

Christianity spread from being a Jewish cult to something much larger and inclusive of other ethnicities. Apart from what ever mixing has naturally occurred I cannot consider myself as being directly descended from the Jewish cult. I am not "ethnically a Christian" LOL.

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Science provides me with enough answers that I don't feel I need to turn to religion for additional explanatory power. The things science regards as unknowable are the kinds of things for which I don't believe religion offers satisfactory explanations either.

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i would say a religion based upon the universal balance should be considered right

 

"There is no evil in my book, there is only balance. Balance exhibited by every single law or theory in nature and observed by man.

If there is a god then there is a anti god << balance

There is God and there is Satan < balance

you have Zeus and you have Hades < balance

you have Loki... er Hel, and you have Odin < balance

you have night and you have day <balance

you have sky and ground,

you have solid and gas

liquid and plasma

living and dead

Entropy and enthalpy

Balance is the #1 thing that i have ever observed in the world.

it only makes sense to me that if there is Evil then There would be good. but neither are real because they only exist as placeholders if the need arises that they must be in order for balance to be achieved"

Taoism FTW!

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Religion, or spiritualism or personal belief, seems so mixed up in rationalism and logic. When I've asked people why they believe what they do I get all sorts of evidence and some really cool lines of reasoning, but I don't understand how you can prove something logically when it is unobservable with ones physical senses. I understand why religion needs it either.

I think the forcing together of these two great paradigms, spiritualism and secularism/rationalism, is unfortunate, and it seems to me -- rather illogical. Both from different worlds, the natural and the supernatural, and both based on totally different ideologies.

 

Personally, whether right or wrong, I believe because I've tried it, and it feels good -- it tastes good. In my opinion, that's the very tone of the entire New Testament, especially the Gospels.

 

By the way, how's it goin'? :D

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Personally, whether right or wrong, I believe because I've tried it, and it feels good -- it tastes good. In my opinion, that's the very tone of the entire New Testament, especially the Gospels.

Interestingly enough, that's what believers are saying about Islam too. And Judaism too. And Hinduism. And other types of Christianity. Etc. Etc. Etc.

 

~moo

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Religion, or spiritualism or personal belief, seems so mixed up in rationalism and logic. When I've asked people why they believe what they do I get all sorts of evidence and some really cool lines of reasoning, but I don't understand how you can prove something logically when it is unobservable with ones physical senses. I understand why religion needs it either.

Read up on the ontological argument -- it's fascinating. I might start a thread on it soon, once I've learned more about it.

 

By the way, how's it goin'? :D

All these people come out of the woodwork as soon as we open up Religion again...

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Read up on the ontological argument -- it's fascinating. I might start a thread on it soon, once I've learned more about it.

 

Your thread would be short-lived since it's fundamentally flawed and proves absolutely nothing.

 

 

http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2009/08/ontological-argument-for-god-rebuttal.html

 

http://onphilosophy.wordpress.com/2006/06/29/the-ontological-argument-examined/

 

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theism/ontological.html

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontological_argument#Criticisms_and_objections

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It may be wrong, but the question of why is far more interesting. For example, my philosophy of religion professor would disagree with several of the links you gave, although I personally agree that existence is not a property. (Though I have yet to read my professor's reasons for disagreeing with that, so I may yet change my mind. We'll see.)

 

I think the first link you give, for example, misunderstands the argument. But again, something for a different thread, when I've finished learning about the argument.

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