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Author Topic: I just don't like religion
Boris
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*runs off to copyright the name of a new cereal brand...Cocoa Crusades.*
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
I will join the crusade to eradicate those who worship the taint and blasphemy called White Chocolate

[Razz] [Razz] [Razz]

More for me!

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Juxtapose
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We might be able to recognize some kind of purgatory for those who renounce White Chocolate, but do not embrace the Dark.

I must consult with the Chocouncil.

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Carrie
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
I will join the crusade to eradicate those who worship the taint and blasphemy called White Chocolate

[Razz] [Razz] [Razz]

More for me!

Not if I beat you to it!
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rivka
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*shares*
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Carrie
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*hugs*
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Jonathan Howard
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I am a religious Jew: I practise, I take my philosophical commitment to the traditional oral law seriously, and I spend much of my time studying religion and not for the simple reason that I was "told to do it" (I passed through an atheist phase in the past). But seriously? One of the things that scares me most - as a person who regards himself religious - is the following paragraph:

"By many measures, Americans are strongly religious: 92 percent believe in God, 74 percent believe in life after death and 63 percent say their respective scriptures are the word of God."

Those numbers are way, way too high (in my opinion) for a healthy society in the 21st century.

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Jonathan S
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Wow...I love the sense of humor you guys have. I think I'm going to thoroughly enjoy posting here. [Smile]

On a serious note, though, I've had non-denominational Protestant beliefs all my life. My religion has definitely given my life greater direction and purpose. Much to my chagrin, I also allowed it to make me narrow-minded and judgmental. This is something that can happen easily with religion, and something I've worked on overcoming since I was introduced to a new environment in college.

I believe that the simple core of Christianity is love, and I try to live around that. I can think of no way that this is negative. While there are many commandments, certain things we should or shouldn't do according to my religion, above all we're meant to love each other. The point of religion, to me, is to become closer to our Creator, and to build healthy relationships with our fellow man (and woman).

As for chocolate, I pretty much enjoy it all (at least, all that I've tried). I think Turtles are my favorite chocolaty (is that correctly spelled, or even a word?) food. Oh, and Andes.

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rivka
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Jonathan H, how are your first sentence and your last remotely consistent?
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Juxtapose
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Welcome to Hatrack, Jonathan S. [Wave]
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Szymon
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I personally belive that religion and such as, and people out there in our country dont have religion, and I personally belive that we should help Asia and South Africa.

I suppose you watched miss north carolina on youtube.com Or maybe it was south carolina?

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Dr Strangelove
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Welclome Jonathan S! How did you hear about us?
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Szymon
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Hello Jonathan. Have a nice time here!
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan S:
I believe that the simple core of Christianity is love,

I'm sorry, but this is so blatantly wrong that I can't let it go. The simple core of Christianity isn't love.

It's nougat.

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Tresopax
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quote:
"By many measures, Americans are strongly religious: 92 percent believe in God, 74 percent believe in life after death and 63 percent say their respective scriptures are the word of God."

Those numbers are way, way too high (in my opinion) for a healthy society in the 21st century.

Why?
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
"By many measures, Americans are strongly religious: 92 percent believe in God, 74 percent believe in life after death and 63 percent say their respective scriptures are the word of God."

Those numbers are way, way too high (in my opinion) for a healthy society in the 21st century.

Why?
He seems to equate lack of religiosity with societal health. I would tend to agree, but only when that lack of religiosity is due to the free choice of the masses, not enforced.

Which is really how I feel. While I would like it if more people were atheists (as I happen to think that atheism is the truth), I'm used to living in a country with a majority of religious believers.

As long as religions don't become enforced or outlawed (beyond the occasional outlawing of certain religious practices that cause definite harm), I'm fine with it.

For the most part, I like you religious people. [Kiss]

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King of Men
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quote:
My religion has definitely given my life greater direction and purpose.
How do you know? Could you please point us to the Standard Atheist Version of Jonathan S that you are comparing your own life to?

quote:
I believe that the simple core of Christianity is love, and I try to live around that.
But this sentence would make just as much sense if in place of 'Christianity' it read 'Communism', 'Scientology', or indeed 'chocoholism'. It doesn't tell you anything about Christianity, it just tells you that Jonathan S belives love is a good thing, is a Christian, and has therefore decided that Christianity must lead to love. Which part of your behaviour would change if you were not a Christian but, say, a Moslem?
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luthe
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In the village of Nazareth in Galilee, there lived a young virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph, a descendant of King David.

One day God sent the angel Gabriel to visit Mary. He appeared to her and announced,

“Congratulations, Mary! The Lord is nougat. You are truly blessed!”

Mary was confused by what he said.

“Don’t be scared, Mary,” said Gabriel. “God has wonderfully blessed you. You will give birth to a baby nougat. You will name him Jesus. He shall be called the nougat of God. God will give him a throne of nougat and his nougat will never end!”

“How can I have a nougat without a husband?” asked Mary.

Gabriel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and nougat you. And God’s Word will become a nougat inside of you. The child will be the perfect, sinless nougat of God.”

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Szymon
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quote:
Originally posted by luthe:
In the village of Nazareth in Galilee, there lived a young virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph, a descendant of King David.

One day God sent the angel Gabriel to visit Mary. He appeared to her and announced,

“Congratulations, Mary! The Lord is nougat. You are truly blessed!”

Mary was confused by what he said.

“Don’t be scared, Mary,” said Gabriel. “God has wonderfully blessed you. You will give birth to a baby nougat. You will name him Jesus. He shall be called the nougat of God. God will give him a throne of nougat and his nougat will never end!”

“How can I have a nougat without a husband?” asked Mary.

Gabriel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and nougat you. And God’s Word will become a nougat inside of you. The child will be the perfect, sinless nougat of God.”

Well said, well said.
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Szymon
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I dont like to talk about it, but hatrackers seem to be tolerant enough, so I here goes.

I am Polish, so I was baptised, I attended to my first Communion, and so on, and so on. But I think I dont belive in God. My friend, who is deeply religious told me not to be worried though- according to the Christianity everyone who seeks God will be saved. Most people have problems with religion, beacuse they dont like Church, either because the say that all priests are gay, pedophile, money-loving and other stupid things or because Church is just a large, well functioning company. I dont agree, I think Church is ok.
Many people dont like to be told that some things are wrong- that they musnt have sex before marriage (Why not having sex, they say, its old-fashioned, medieval and sex is love). They say there is no evil nor good, its all a myth. Yeah its a myth, but well, I know whats good and whats evil nontheless.
Many dont like Catholicism, because they say our religion (you see, I said "our" even though I dont belive in God) is sad, based on suffering and so on. I dont this so.
My only problem is this- I dont belive in God, but I so very much would like to. I cannot belive that Jesus beats Death, I cannot belive in miracles, cannot belive in life after death. But I would love to.

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King of Men
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Well, what of it? I'm sure you would also love to have a million dollars; that has nothing to do with what's true. I suggest you get over your moral angsting about what you would like to believe, and go live your life with what you actually do believe. It'll be much more productive.
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Tresopax
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quote:
He seems to equate lack of religiosity with societal health. I would tend to agree, but only when that lack of religiosity is due to the free choice of the masses, not enforced.
Yes, but what makes it unusual is that he says he is religious himself. If he believes in God, then he is essentially saying he thinks our society would be healthier if more people were mistaken about God.

quote:
But this sentence would make just as much sense if in place of 'Christianity' it read 'Communism', 'Scientology', or indeed 'chocoholism'.
Christianity isn't the only thing in the world that has a statement about love at its core. But Christianity differs from the other things you listed in terms of the nature of that love and what it is directed at. Christianity is about loving other people (as Jonathan S pointed out) and about loving God. Chocoholism, in contrast, is about loving chocolate.

Some other religions also have statements about love at their core, but others do not.

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King of Men
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quote:
Christianity isn't the only thing in the world that has a statement about love at its core.
I think you misunderstood my argument. I was not saying "Christianity is not unique in being about love". Rather I was saying "Christianity is not about love, any more than these other things are". But because all humans agree that love is a good thing, we tend to identify whatever our central belief system is as the source of our loving.

The question you did not quote is an excellent illustration of this: Supposing Jonathan S stopped being a Christian, would his love for his fellow man thereby become less? Not a bit of it, though his vocabulary for expressing it might change. (I realise I'm leaving myself open to the question of identifying the Standard Atheist Jonathan, here. I identify him by pointing to the statistics showing atheists to give just as much to charity, being less violent and less given to divorces, and so on.) Therefore, it is not his Christianity that leads to his love.

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Szymon
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
Well, what of it? I'm sure you would also love to have a million dollars; that has nothing to do with what's true. I suggest you get over your moral angsting about what you would like to believe, and go live your life with what you actually do believe. It'll be much more productive.

What has truth to do with it? I just say itd be great to belive that I wont just rot after death. I live with what I belive alright, thank you very much.
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King of Men
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Well then, what are you complaining about? Go do something useful!
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Szymon
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
Well then, what are you complaining about? Go do something useful!

I was just trying to say religion is not for everyone... You can like religion but not belive in God. Why are you so angry with me? [Angst] Dont be. Dont shout. Peace and love.
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Tresopax
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quote:
But because all humans agree that love is a good thing, we tend to identify whatever our central belief system is as the source of our loving.
This isn't entirely true though. Or, at least, humans seem to disagree sharply about the nature of love and to what it should be given. Some people think it is wrong to love evildoers. Many people hate others who are different in certain ways. This differs both within cultures and across cultures, no? It differs even more across history...

So "all humans" don't agree about love - but "most humans living in modern Western cultures" do seem to share certain attitudes about love. But I would argue that the reason is because of the powerful Judeochristian influence on our culture. Many ideas we have about love stem from Christian thought - and without Christianity I suspect our culture would take a very different approach towards love.

quote:
Supposing Jonathan S stopped being a Christian, would his love for his fellow man thereby become less?
Jonathan S could stop being a Christian and still retain his attitudes about love. But if Christianity had never existed in the first place, Jonathan S would have grown up in a family and environment that would have held very different ideas about love - and as a Christian I'd think his love for his fellow man would be less. So, I think there are two ways Christianity can lead to love in Jonathan - directly though his own beliefs, and indirectly through the values others taught him.

The same is true for atheists, by the way. Even though you are an atheist, I suspect many of your core values stem in part from Christianity or at least from religion. If religion, in general, had never existed, you'd be a very different person.

So, if we trying to judge the value of religion, we can't just take into account its effect on us as individuals right now. We have to also take into account how it influences our culture over time, and how the religious beliefs of our ancestors have shaped us.

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Sterling
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If not believing in some kind of life after death causes one to spend a lot of time in a stew about mortality, arguably a lack of religion makes such a person less productive.

And just to head it off, yes, it would be more productive not to stew about one's mortality, but that's kind of "don't think about a pink elephant" cubed by biology.

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King of Men
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Right enough, and how much time do you actually spend thinking about pink elephants? Short of clinical depression, we have considerable amounts of control of where we want our thoughts to go.

Tres, I disagree with you on the source of Western morality. But in any case that has nothing to do with the question of how Jonathan S, the actual person posting right here, would change if he abandoned his religion.

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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
Right enough, and how much time do you actually spend thinking about pink elephants? Short of clinical depression, we have considerable amounts of control of where we want our thoughts to go.

Really?

I don't doubt there are people who have a great deal of control over where their thoughts go. And it may well be that many more people, with a certain amount of direction, could gain a kind of discipline that would allow them more control of where their mental processes lead them.

But I see an awful lot of people who seem to be walking engines of self-hatred, self-doubt, addiction, and self-destruction who I like to imagine would be otherwise if they could be.

Or on a much lower level, people who walk around with "I Want It That Way" on repeat in their skulls to the point that its removal with a Makita seems like an attractive option.

[ June 25, 2008, 09:20 PM: Message edited by: Sterling ]

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Tresopax
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quote:
But in any case that has nothing to do with the question of how Jonathan S, the actual person posting right here, would change if he abandoned his religion.
I agree - but the question is not how Jonathan would change if he abandoned his religion. The question is how Jonathan (or the rest of us) has been influenced by religion, and whether that influence has ultimately been positive or negative.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
But if Christianity had never existed in the first place, Jonathan S would have grown up in a family and environment that would have held very different ideas about love...
Like...?
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King of Men
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quote:
I agree - but the question is not how Jonathan would change if he abandoned his religion.
That is the question I asked. If you want to answer some different question, that's up to you. I won't be listening, though.
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Jonathan S
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Thanks for the welcome, guys! [Smile] I discovered the forums because I've read and enjoyed many of Mr. Card's books and was exploring his website. I didn't actually hear about the forums specifically, I just stumbled across them. It seems like a nice community, though. Though I know a few, I don't know very many people who have read his works, so it's nice to be among those who have.

I love the nougat response, Javert. That cracked me up. [Smile]

You pose some thought-provoking questions, King of Men. I appreciate that. I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're asking, so if my responses don't answer your questions, feel free to clarify, expand, etc. until they do.

I've been raised in my religion, so it's true that I can't compare myself to an atheist version of myself. What I can compare myself to is those times of doubt over Christianity. I feel it's natural to doubt and question what we're taught to believe, if only to find that we can strengthen those beliefs by analyzing them. I found that in those times, I lacked peace. I lacked motivation. Now, is Christianity every part of my life? Certainly not. I'm not a perfect Christian, nor do I claim to be. However, my beliefs are strong, and I can say with confidence that I'm much more peaceful when I follow those beliefs than when I don't. That's as close as I can come to the standard atheist version of myself, as you put it. The times when I grow frustrated by the limits of Christianity. I always find myself coming back, with stronger beliefs.

As for what part of my life would change from being a Christian to a Moslem...hmm. I must admit that I'm not as knowledgeable about other religions as maybe I should be. It's not a lack of respect for them, it's just a firm belief in my own. However, I think the defining aspect is in the name of the religion. CHRISTianity. The perfect sacrifice of Christ is the best example of love that I can imagine. That's what I try to follow, and that's an example that is not displayed in Islam. This is not to say that there aren't fine examples there, as there may very well be. But it's not the same one, so my understanding and example of love would be different. As Tresopax pointed out, some people think it's wrong to love evildoers, and those who are different. By Christ's example, we're instructed to love everybody.

Thanks again for asking this stuff. I used to get offended, for some reason, when people would question my beliefs. I appreciate it now, because you're forcing me to think about why I believe what I believe.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan S:
You pose some thought-provoking questions, King of Men.

Ah newbies. [Wink]
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TomDavidson
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quote:
That's what I try to follow, and that's an example that is not displayed in Islam.
You realize that many Muslims would disagree with you? [Smile]
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T:man
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Jonathan S:
You pose some thought-provoking questions, King of Men.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ah newbies.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hee hee I just ignore him. [Razz]

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Tresopax
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quote:
That is the question I asked. If you want to answer some different question, that's up to you. I won't be listening, though.
The question this thread asked is what's the point of religion? My response relates back to that.

quote:
quote:

But if Christianity had never existed in the first place, Jonathan S would have grown up in a family and environment that would have held very different ideas about love...

Like...?
Well, for instance, without the existence of religion I suspect most people in our culture would show far less unconditional love towards unrelated fellow human beings - particularly those who are different or considered of a lower class.
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
Well, for instance, without the existence of religion I suspect most people in our culture would show far less unconditional love towards unrelated fellow human beings - particularly those who are different or considered of a lower class.

I would be hard pressed to find anyone, religious or not, who has unconditional love toward unrelated fellow human beings.
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T:man
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I do, anyway hoo wants ice cream *offers the ice cream to Jonathan S.*


*Realizes its not ice cream just frozen yogurt and runs away*

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lem
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quote:
I think you misunderstood my argument. I was not saying "Christianity is not unique in being about love". Rather I was saying "Christianity is not about love, any more than these other things are".

I identify him by pointing to the statistics showing atheists to give just as much to charity, being less violent and less given to divorces, and so on.) Therefore, it is not his Christianity that leads to his love.

I think trying to explain and over-ride individuals self diagnosis of how religion has either benefited or hurt them is about as accurate as telling someone how much pain they are in.

Since everyone responds to pain differently, there is no specific pain test a nurse can administer a patient. Instead the nurse uses a sliding scale for the patient to self identify the pain.

When I abandoned my faith and became agnostic my love for my fellow man (and woman) increased. There was a serenity in accepting emptiness and my value for life increased--as I did not have faith life was eternal.

However, that is my reaction. Whether a religion leads someone else to greater love or gives them the tools to better practice greater love is not something I can disqualify just because of my experience.

That is as arrogant as a proselyter trying to convince me I'm really not happy until I accept Christ. I really believe religion is like pain. You can only go on the person's self analysis.

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Speed
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quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan S:
The perfect sacrifice of Christ is the best example of love that I can imagine. That's what I try to follow, and that's an example that is not displayed in Islam.

Yeah, I'm sure there's nothing in the Muslim religion about the glory of martyrdom. [Wink]
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Jonathan S
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To Tom and Speed:

I see your points, and apologize for my lack of clarity. What I meant by that was that the exact same example didn't exist in Islam. I fully agree that the same TYPE of example exists. I was talking about specifics. I meant that they didn't have the Christ example.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Well, for instance, without the existence of religion I suspect most people in our culture would show far less unconditional love towards unrelated fellow human beings - particularly those who are different or considered of a lower class.
Is it your contention that a statistically significant percentage of people in our culture show unconditional love towards fellow human beings of lower status or significant difference? That has not been my observation.

Myself, I believe a significant percentage of people attempt to demonstrate that love when reminded of the possibility without feeling it for a moment.

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by Speed:
quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan S:
The perfect sacrifice of Christ is the best example of love that I can imagine. That's what I try to follow, and that's an example that is not displayed in Islam.

Yeah, I'm sure there's nothing in the Muslim religion about the glory of martyrdom. [Wink]
Yeah, the suicide bombers in Iraq are doing it all out of love...
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T:man
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The love for their 72 virgins! [Wink]
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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Well, to love such strangers must be unconditional!
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T:man
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I've just noticed not one of my friends ar athiests [Eek!] its wierd 2 of them are muslims and 3 of them are catholic/protestentant.
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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When I was growing up, my friends included a couple of Hindus, two Buddhists, a few Catholics, at least two Muslims, and a whole lot of Jews. Any atheist friends? Sure, those were the Jews and Buddhists. I think my family is still probably the only Protestant household on the block. It was a very interesting experience, growing up with so much spiritual diversity.
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T:man
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Fogot the numerous jewish dudes
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