Debate and Discussion

How do you view the road to Heaven?
Lonnehart at 2:19PM, April 25, 2011
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Not sure where this post should go, so I'll put it here…

Every so often I'm told that to get to the good afterlife I must go to church on every Sunday, read the bible as much as possible and spread the word about this great, wonderful diety to everyone… Other times you just have to be a good person but still go to church. The road to Heaven is sure narrow…

Here's how I see that road. It's not a road at all. It's a very long wooden fence at the end of which is a door. This fence has no holes in it whatsoever, and is very VERY polished. On one side of the fence is some nice grass, on the other paved concrete. Followers of one religion or the other are on either side of the fence. Your journey through life is on the top of this fence. Some of you will lean one way or the other. The followers on either side will either be trying to convince you to join them… the more fanatic ones will be next to the fence trying to reach up and pull you in by force. If you fall into either side it's very hard to get back onto the fence because its surface is so polished and the fanatics will do everything in their power to keep you down. And the fence is so well repaired so there are no holes in it… this is done by the fanatics to prevent people from seeing what the other side looks like (and tempting them to go over the fence).

By the way, balancing on the fence is very VERY HARD. All through life you end up being swayed one way or the other. Doesn't help that the fence is very narrow and you've got people trying to pull you to their side…

If you somehow make it to the door at the very end of the fence without falling off of it I'm sure a nice afterlife awaits you. Don't know what the doors on the grounds of either side of the fence lead to…
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
kyupol at 3:55PM, April 25, 2011
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Its not about religion. Its about your direct spiritual relationship to God.

Start by closing your eyes. Then breathe slowly. Then establish the connection with the clear intent you intend to connect to God. Pray.

Then rinse and repeat. Its that simple.

"Be still and know that I am God" (PS 46:10)
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
El Cid at 6:55PM, April 25, 2011
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Well, if you're a Christian, it's pretty much spelled out that you have to accept Christ as your Lord and Saviour if you wish to gain entry into Paradise after the zombie apocalypse. And likewise if you're a Muslim, you have to accept Muhammad as the Prophet and all that jizz. Um, and if you're a Jew, well you're screwed. Jews don't have an afterlife. :P

I'm (obviously) not a religious scholar, but I don't think it says in any of the Good Books that “just being a good person” is enough to win whatever carrot they're dangling out in front of you. You have to be all in. They want good soldiers, it's tribal like that. Now if you're just being “spiritual,” whatever that means, then yeah I guess you can make it up as you go along. You're just jerking yourself off anyway, so it doesn't matter. Do whatever makes you feel good, as long as you're not sacrificing babies to Baal or anything like that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
BffSatan at 7:23PM, April 25, 2011
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Road to heaven? Well, alright…
Excuse me one second.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:21AM
isukun at 2:51AM, April 26, 2011
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Faith is something I find a lot of religious people don't seem to fully grasp. They think they have faith and like to try to change other people's faith, but really, most have their doubts. True believers put their trust in God. They don't follow the morals established by their faith because they think they have to to get a better afterlife, they do it because they honestly believe it is the right and just thing to do.

That's one of the biggest problems with many organized religions these days, too much emphasis on heaven and not enough on the here and now. Most religious teachings have a particular philosophy and moral structure behind them. A true believer cannot pick and choose what applies to them. To do so is to say you know better than the higher power you supposedly believe in, and that's not faith.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Genejoke at 6:12AM, April 26, 2011
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First off, I'm an atheist. I have absolutely no worry about the afterlife as I fully believe that when we die we become food for the worms and the flies.

So bear that in mind as you read this.

Read your holy book of choice, follow the instructions throughout your life and hope for the best. isukun said it well with this.

isukun
A true believer cannot pick and choose what applies to them. To do so is to say you know better than the higher power you supposedly believe in, and that's not faith.


Seriously if you're a believer and want to get into heaven do as the books tell you.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
davidmejia at 6:10PM, April 26, 2011
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The fence is an interesting metaphor. Years ago I was involved in the American Indian Pow Wow circuit, and I knew an overly serious man who said that Indians who try and live both white and red are fence walkers. Trying to have it both ways. That's what religious fundamentalists, and in fact all extremists, whether it be religious, political or cultural, think. You either believe in Christ or you go to hell. You either stand on the side of “right” or you're consenting to evil. And compromise is a weakness. That never felt right to me. There's got to be a third option otherwise what's the point of having my own mind. In today's world we're all on the fence, cause we don't live in closed communities anymore, where our beliefs are handed down from the king,or pulpit. Each person has to work it out for himself, and anyone who tries going back to the good old days of innocent faith has to over compensate with fundamentalism, cause science and technology has opened our minds too much to go back.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:09PM
ozoneocean at 10:10PM, April 26, 2011
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Genejoke
Read your holy book of choice, follow the instructions throughout your life and hope for the best. isukun said it well with this.

isukun
A true believer cannot pick and choose what applies to them. To do so is to say you know better than the higher power you supposedly believe in, and that's not faith.
No. That displays a fundamental ignorance about religion in general.
They are not fossilised cultural relics. Religions grow and change with the cultures they are part of. There are many different forms of Christianity and even more personal approaches to it by each of its members (And all other religions too).
Who are YOU to dictate to THEM what they should do as part of their religion? It's not yours for a start, and aside from that it's just amazingly arrogant and rude to set yourself in a position of personal authority like that, dictating what they need to do to get into their own heaven or how to be properly religious.

This ALWAYS works both ways of course: just as it's wrong a stupid for religious people to dictate to others on “spiritual” matters, so it is with non-religious people doing the same thing.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:38PM
Genejoke at 12:18AM, April 27, 2011
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Who are YOU to dictate to THEM what they should do as part of their religion? It's not yours for a start, and aside from that it's just amazingly arrogant and rude to set yourself in a position of personal authority like that, dictating what they need to do to get into their own heaven or how to be properly religious.

Not arrogant at all, simply that the holy books set out what is expected of their followers. I'm not telling them how to do it their religion is.



The reason there are various forms are because people have picked and chosen what they want to follow. Does this mean that the followers of that branch are all going to heaven? I have no answer as I don't believe.
As religions develop there are moving away from what they started out as, which means they are moving away from the words of god/pick your poison.

I never said people who don't follow it are going to hell, mostly because, as far as I'm concerned there is no such thing. The point is if they claim to follow a belief yet don't live by it then they leave themselves open to the consequences.

Religions may change but that doesn't mean the goal posts change with it. What is more important the words of a priest or the words of God?

IF it is so open to interpretation then it pretty much means jack shit.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
bravo1102 at 12:30AM, April 27, 2011
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Since the Reformation and Christians reading and interpreting the Bible for themselves it has become a personal faith. And very personal even if you want to belong to an established church. It's not uncommon for a Baptist Evangelical to believe in UFO abductions; the missing years of Christ where he traveled the world to study Buddhist, Taoist and Native American Wisdom; and reincarnation but it's not something their church acknowledges. It's their personal belief.

People have a great capacity to believe weird things. Cognitive dissonance is one of the easiest things to practice. The components of a belief system do not have to have any internal logic and all contradictions can be convientently ignored. Faith requires no evidence and that is one thing that makes it special to the believer and aggravating to the non-believer.

The moment I saw the road to heaven I thought of the old episode of Twilight Zone where the man was walking with his old dog along the road after drowning while racoon hunting with his dog. He came to a man who told him to come in but the dog wasn't allowed. The man refused as he couldn't understand a Heaven that would seperate a man from his closest companion. So he walked along saying if worse came to worse he would do without Heaven and keep traveling the road. At the end he came to man who told him to just come in as everyone was welcome and there was plenty of good hunting with your dog if that's what defines love for you. That was Heaven.

It's what you want it to be and the faith that gets you there is personal. It may not mean anything to anyone else and it may not make sense but it defines the world for you. If there is a numinous intelligence that holds keys to a higher existence she would be pretty open minded because people can believe weird things but she loves us anyway.

John Lennon was right, if there is no heaven or hell all you need is love.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
Genejoke at 1:16AM, April 27, 2011
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What we believe could be largely irreverent to god/whatever, we have free will and are free to believe and live as we will.

However if your belief subscribes to something that dictates how you should live in order to get into heaven then do it and don't bitch if you don't make it.

No one can tell you what the path to heaven is, but religions try, if you accept them as fact, live by it. Does it mean that when the time comes you will get into heaven? I guess that depends on whether the said religion was right.

As an atheist I expect nothingness, if I end up somewhere it will be fascinating and will prove me wrong. I can live with that.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
ayesinback at 9:49AM, April 27, 2011
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I believe we are making our own heaven or hell by how we affect and effect every day we live. This is our experience and how we handle ourselves each day very much defines it.

As far as an afterlife heaven or hell, I believe there is an existence, but so far I haven't found a religion that describes what I believe is out there.

From what I've gathered, religions were born to shape and control ethical behavior, and the enticement was being able to promise the adherents a certain spiritual empowerment. The big carrot dangling from the stick was heaven, and hell was thrown in as the “or else”. I over-simplify, but essentially that's how I see it.

I believe each person is comprised of a physical being, a mental being, an emotional being, a social being, and a spiritual being. Physical and social are generally easiest for most to perceive, and in current society they seem to be the ones that most people focus on.

But there comes a point when even the most physically-advantaged, popular, “successful” people realize they are unhappy or “missing something”. There's no one answer to this, but I think it's often because they are lacking a developed spiritual life, even if that means only appreciating their own spirit. And so history and custom advises these people to look into religion.

I am not religious, truly – not at all, but I am spiritual and I try to be ethical.

I was raised Christian, and I try to adhere to the teachings of Jesus. I see Jesus as one of the world's greatest teachers, and can loosely say, from that point, that he is my savior because he tried to teach each of us how to have a personal relationship with God. And it's hard for me to write God without putting it into quotation marks — I generally refer to the “Creator” as “Great Spirit”. The Great Spirit, in my belief, is outside, super, to any definitions that humans can give it, but I believe that collectively we are all part of the great spirit. From that standpoint, each one of us has a spark of divinity. a soul. a spirit.

Also, from what I've gleaned, Jesus never came here to create a religion (That was St Paul's doing, primarily, with the other apostles and disciples) — in fact, he was incredibly unpopular with the masses because he challenged the religious rules over and over again.

He said that a spiritual relationship is not based on how well you attend to the laws and rules, but instead how you maintained yourself from an ethical standpoint. And that standpoint was outside yourself: how you concerned yourself with the welfare of others. This is what I believe. Individuals are better able to connect with their own spirit, and with others, when acting in a constructive, positive, “building” framework, and for the most part, we all know what those positive traits are.

But today's major religions dictate ethical behavior not so much by what results from that behavior (eg., the welfare of others) but by compliance to the methodology — so ironic, because this seems to me exactly what Jesus was rebelling against.

imo: Spirituality is a part of each of us and needs to be personal. Religion is a structure with rules, promises, and threats, created overtime by a collection of individuals. Many who follow a religion's dictates with a pure heart will have a rich and healthy spirituality because they are doing so willingly, and they maintain a working concern for others.

But for those who adhere to a set of rules strictly for a big personal pay-off? Yup, they may well be religious, but spiritually bankrupt.
under new management
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:14AM
ozoneocean at 1:06PM, April 27, 2011
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Genejoke
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Who are YOU to dictate to THEM what they should do as part of their religion? It's not yours for a start, and aside from that it's just amazingly arrogant and rude to set yourself in a position of personal authority like that, dictating what they need to do to get into their own heaven or how to be properly religious.

Not arrogant at all, simply that the holy books set out what is expected of their followers. I'm not telling them how to do it their religion is.
This is not the case Genejoke. You are misunderstanding how religions work.
As as I say, "they are not fossilised cultural relics". They change, as does all human culture.

“Holy books” are not instruction manuals. They never have been, not even in the earliest days of proto-religions. They're simply adjuncts to the rest of that religious experience.

If you are looking for some religious “voice of authority” that depends on the religion and the sect. In some cases there is more reliance on religious texts, in others the voice of the priest, minister, or higher religious authority is more important (bishops, Cardinals, the Pope etc), for still others it comes down the personal cognizance. None of them are the same.

Religion is a very messy, human thing. It doesn't work like maths or physics where you can refer to a book of rules and laws and it's always the same whoever is reading it. Religion is more like art, language, or music- culture specific, lots of ways of looking at it, many styles and forms, changes over time etc.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:38PM
Genejoke at 2:21PM, April 27, 2011
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No misunderstanding at all. I just consider most of what you said irrelevant, how religions work is not the issue here.

How do you view the road to heaven?

I pretty much said I see it as being dictated by god, the holy books show us the path. We follow that path but all those shifts and changes can leads us away from the path. The only truth is in the words and teachings of god.



I'm trying to work out how to explain this as you seem to be confusing the point. Regardless of your religion if you believe in it you should be following it or accept whatever the consequences of not following it are. The human changes in religion may have no meaning to a higher power.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
Lonnehart at 3:31PM, April 27, 2011
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eh… I have a mistrust of holy books. I can't see following them since there's no way to know if they've been changed for one reason or another by publishers who want to sway people one way or another…

When I use the “fence” metaphor, some people take it as me placing myself over everyone else. That's partly true though, but not to make myself feel “superior”…

I like to try and see all sides to an argument, ideology, etc… before making my decision. Most people in the world are on the fence. They may lean one way or the other, but most are still walking towards that stairway that's at the end of the fence.

Those who have been completely blinded by their beliefs are the ones who have fallen or jumped off the fence. Most of those people are away from the fence, content with their beliefs. The fanatics/zealots are right next to the fence on either side, polishing and repairing the fence so people on their side don't see/hear what's on the other side (tempting them to get back onto the fence or go over it). They also try to stop attempts to get back onto the fence and at the same time try to get the people on the fence to join their side being convincing about their beliefs or worse… if the walker is leaning far enough they'll try to pull them down by force.

I've always been told that the road to Heaven is a very narrow one and it's very hard to stay on it. What could possibly be narrower (and still let you stand and balance) than the fence of neutrality?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
ayesinback at 4:23PM, April 27, 2011
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I like your fence metaphor from the standpoint that I see heaven as the journey, not the destination.

I agree about what you write about “holy” books and have never, not even as a five-year old in Sunday school, understood how some people claim them to be “the word of God”. Books are written by people, and cannot be divorced from individual slant.

A reward like Heaven does not come to one who follows rules. Sorry I was so long-winded in my earlier post, but basically that's what I was getting at.

An Olympic medal can be taken away from a record-breaker (even though “the rule” in athletics is to achieve an outcome, isn't it?) because the athlete took steroids, which is unsportsmanlike.

Well, that's how I see religion v. spirituality. If you're not sportsmanlike in your spirituality, it doesn't matter how well you comply with all the “how-to” holy rule books. You won't be getting the medal.

under new management
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:14AM
Genejoke at 11:22PM, April 27, 2011
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eh… I have a mistrust of holy books. I can't see following them since there's no way to know if they've been changed for one reason or another by publishers who want to sway people one way or another…

Well there is that, which means you're all doomed to an eternity in hell. :) However that mistrust means you have to follow your own faith and no one can tell you that. Which takes you to what bravo and others were saying.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
bravo1102 at 2:17AM, April 28, 2011
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Remember that Christianity has had a Reformation, Counter-Reformation, Enlightenment and then the Scholarly Reinterpretation until we got to Fundamentalist Literalism.

So Christianity;s holy books have been put through all kinds of tough reworking and rewording and re-re-reinterpretation.

Mainstream Judiasim sees the same works as analogies to live by for 2000 years with literalism being relatively recent after a huge messianic let-down.

It could be said that a messianic let-down is also behind Christian Fundmentalism which occured after all the Apocolyptic visions of the 19th Century that all fizzled. (Millerites led in so many different ways) And there's always a conservative backlash to liberal reinterpretion whether it's German Bible scholars or Medeival Arab philosophers.

Except that in Islam the literalists eventually won whereas the Christian Fundamentalists are only incremental in the United States since the turn of the 20th Century.

We should realize that none of us are getting to heaven because we've all denied the “True” teachings and intent that can only be discovered by a literal interpretation of Sacred Text.

Or maybe it'll be like the Dave Allen joke where a guy is shown around heaven and there is each religion on their own cloud all happy except one cloud has a HUGE wall around it. “Who are they?” The guy asks. Peter replies “Oh those are the Evangelical Christians; they think they're the only ones up here.”

One horse laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. R.L. Mencken, someone who knew his comparitive religion.

We would all do well to listen to militant Atheists and Great Agnostics and let fundamentalists strike their revival tents and go the way of the horse and buggy. But you might as well try to fill a sieve with water as debate religion with a believer.
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DAJB at 3:00AM, April 28, 2011
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ozoneocean
“Holy books” are not instruction manuals.
It's not often I agree with Ozone, but this is spot on, and is pretty self-evident from the contradictions within each of them.

So-called “Holy books” were written by many different people over very long periods of time. In the case of the Bible, for example, over thousands of years. Each contributor brought their own experience to it, based on the circumstances prevailing at the time they were writing. Subsequent generations then cut parts out based on what they thought the books should say.

If we simply followed the teachings of the books to the letter, Christians of all denominations would be running around in circles, not sure whether they're supposed to be turning the other cheek as the New Testament tells them to, or demanding an eye for an eye as the Old Testament suggests. Reading the Bible (or any other religious text) should be a starting point for forming your own interpretation of what it means to belong to a particular religion, based on your own experiences and the world we live in today.

But then I'm an atheist, so what do I know? Plus, since I think I'm agreeing with Ozone, there's a pretty good chance that I'm wrong!
;-)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:04PM
Genejoke at 5:05AM, April 28, 2011
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If we simply followed the teachings of the books to the letter, Christians of all denominations would be running around in circles, not sure whether they're supposed to be turning the other cheek as the New Testament tells them to, or demanding an eye for an eye as the Old Testament suggests.

The new testament supersedes the old, when there are contradictions then the new testament is the one to follow. The clue is in the title, New testament. :)



last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
DAJB at 6:11AM, April 28, 2011
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Genejoke
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If we simply followed the teachings of the books to the letter, Christians of all denominations would be running around in circles, not sure whether they're supposed to be turning the other cheek as the New Testament tells them to, or demanding an eye for an eye as the Old Testament suggests.
The new testament supersedes the old, when there are contradictions then the new testament is the one to follow. The clue is in the title, New testament. :)
I agree that that's the logical and, more or less universally accepted, interpretation but it's still only an interpretation. The Old Testament is still part of the Bible. If it was supposed to be no longer valid and completely superseded, then the early Christian Church could have simply decided to rip it up and rely solely on the Gospels and the writings of the Apostles etc. They didn't. They kept it and continued to regard it as “the word of God”, notwithstanding the fact that Christ's teachings contradicted much of it.

Besides, I think you've just proven Ozone's point. Religion and religious “rules” (or at least the way they're interpreted) do change, so it's impossible to follow them rigidly and claim that you're doing the “right” thing. Tomorrow they'll have changed again!

The very foundation of Christianity is based upon the idea that one man (or, if you prefer, one God made man!) challenged the rules and said that the religious hierarchy had got it wrong. A few centuries later, Islam arose because Mohammed believed the rules were still being interpreted incorrectly. Later again, the Protestant movement came about because its followers believed the Catholic church wasn't following the “rules”. In each case, it was perfectly possible for both sides to argue their case by reference to “Holy” scripture.

Our understanding of what is meant by the rules and what we have to do in order to comply with them, has always been shaped by the circumstances of the age.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:04PM
Genejoke at 7:02AM, April 28, 2011
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Besides, I think you've just proven Ozone's point. Religion and religious “rules” (or at least the way they're interpreted) do change, so it's impossible to follow them rigidly and claim that you're doing the “right” thing. Tomorrow they'll have changed again!

Not disputing the changes I just don't see them as relevant in a broader sense. What the “rules” are is irrelevant to the point I was making, ozone just went off on a tangent.

Someone
Our understanding of what is meant by the rules and what we have to do in order to comply with them, has always been shaped by the circumstances of the age.

Would god see it that way though? would god care for the whims of man?

recently deceased christian
Why can't I come in? I lived a good life, I accepted jesus christ as my lord and saviour. Why can't I come in?

god
I quite clearly told your ancestors what was required of man to gain entrance heaven, just because you idiots twisted and changed my words to suit your needs doesn't mean the rules changed. now kindly fuck off.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
bravo1102 at 4:24AM, April 29, 2011
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There is of course one small probelm with holy texts; the glorious past of the Patriarchs and prophet, the Apostles or the Prophet and his successors may never have existed.

They're only later inventions or re-writes in light of what's went on when they were written. Most of Genesis was written during the Babylonian Captivity in an attempt of the exiled Hebrews to retain their own identity. Except they borrowed very freely from their hosts. Then of course Yahweh's consort was written out of all the surviving texts. After all part of the new identity of the Hebrew people was as monotheists with only one diety and a strong male one at that.

You can almost see an exiled Hebrew fighting in the street with a Babylonian; yeah I can't name my god he's kick-ass like a Biblical Chuck Norris! He'll murderize Marduk! Hah, Marduk sounds like a webcomic hosting site… Matter of fact my god's name is a pun! Hah, he's so tough he doesn't need a name ‘cause he’s I AM!

Of course this assumes that people in the 5th Century B.C.E had a sense of humor.

One thing that is forgotten that the more interpretations of holy writings change the more they keep yearning for what was. Each reinterpretation of Christianity was an attempt to regain the purity of the Church of the Apostles. Each reform movement in Islam has been an attempt to get back to the true teachings of the Prophet and his successors even though the present had increasingly less relation to this mythic past.

It has been argued that all religion is some yearning for a golden past as opposed to fixing the present. Christianity was a small break as it looked toward a return of a mythic son of god who would destroy all the oppressors and usher in a new golden age. But then in the troubled times of the first few Centuries A.D. everyone was looking for a savior. The world was falling apart. And periodicly when everything was falling apart again back to the books to reinterpret the texts to reclaim the faith that will get the believer through the new problems while waiting for a new messianic golden age and looking forward to a reward outside of this trail of tears.

The belief is universal and the reinterpretations are so much window dressing. Look at a history of the definitions of god until we get to god is undefinable. And then there is god-shaped hole in the spirit of Man. Believers want to be assured they matter in the sight of something bigger and oh so much better than this mess. They see past and future and ignore the present because it's too painful in the here and now unless we try to make it just like a golden past that never really existed except in our minds.

Nah.

You see there is no road to heaven because here an now is all you have and all you ever will have. Make the most of it. Seek out the rewards in this life and around you. What is past is history and the future is a mystery and right now is special; that's why it's called the present.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
meemjar at 5:13PM, May 1, 2011
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@ Genejoke and all others who claim to be athiest.

Well, I'm not an all out Athiest, I'm an Agnostic.
Some would say THAT's being on ‘on the fence’ but that's the best place to be in my books.
You get to see both sides.

As it is I'm not convinced either way that the gods exist or not.
Unlike a full-out Athiest, I'm willing to believe that SOME kind of entity might be out there; a cosmic conciousness that watches over all.

I just place NO faith or loyalty in the man-made institution of religion.
Too many hypocrites, fanatics, book-thumpers and opportunistic evangelists out there abusing the religions for their own gain.

I've known many a man who has not set foot in church a day in his life and has been a better neighbour and philanthropist than a lot of people who go to church only to lie, cheat and steal.

>:) ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:58PM
ozoneocean at 9:52PM, May 1, 2011
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Genejoke
Would god see it that way though? would god care for the whims of man?

recently deceased christian
Why can't I come in? I lived a good life, I accepted jesus christ as my lord and saviour. Why can't I come in?

god
I quite clearly told your ancestors what was required of man to gain entrance heaven, just because you idiots twisted and changed my words to suit your needs doesn't mean the rules changed. now kindly fuck off.
That's a weak straw man example though, isn't it?
Because;
A. You're an Atheist and don't believe in a real god anyway, so the entire situation is preposterous from your point of view.
B. WHICH “words” are the original ones that this god is meant to have given the Christian?
C. We know that religious texts are the work of various cultures over hundreds of years (as Bravo explains), none of it could be literally the work of a god or gods, so the made up situation is invalid.
D. As previously stated, it is very rare that a religious text is looked upon as a final or single authority in any religion or sect. Belief and religion is varied and individual- for someone external to the belief systems to come along and dictate terms is silly.

Your conception of “rules” is really your own simplified view and can not be applied universally to religion. I'm sure you could find a few sects that work very strictly with specific, simple rules, and maybe even some that ONLY work with unchanged rules based on 2 or 3 thousand year old writings, but that only applies in those cases. :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:38PM
bravo1102 at 3:28AM, May 2, 2011
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South Park got it right. When you end up in Hell St Peter will get up and tell you

“And the correct answer was the Mormons…”

The Book of Mormon is one the most recent and certainly successful revelations. When was the last time you heard anyone espousing their unwavering belief in the Urantia Book? The Urantia Book is an even more recent Revelation recently revealed to have been written by a bunch of dissatisfied Seventh Day Adventists. Seventh Day Adventists are descended from another group of unhappy failed messianic “Second Coming that wasn't” types.

I'm sure we'll have another group of these after May 21st.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
Aurora Moon at 5:31PM, May 2, 2011
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meemjar
@ Genejoke and all others who claim to be athiest.

Well, I'm not an all out Athiest, I'm an Agnostic.
Some would say THAT's being on ‘on the fence’ but that's the best place to be in my books.
You get to see both sides.

As it is I'm not convinced either way that the gods exist or not.
Unlike a full-out Athiest, I'm willing to believe that SOME kind of entity might be out there; a cosmic conciousness that watches over all.

I just place NO faith or loyalty in the man-made institution of religion.
Too many hypocrites, fanatics, book-thumpers and opportunistic evangelists out there abusing the religions for their own gain.

I've known many a man who has not set foot in church a day in his life and has been a better neighbour and philanthropist than a lot of people who go to church only to lie, cheat and steal.

>:) ;)

that's exactly how I feel about the matter too.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:11AM
Genejoke at 11:42AM, May 4, 2011
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@Meemjar, that sums me up fairly well. I consider myself an Atheist rather than agnostic because while I am open to the possibility I don't consider it likely. You could say agnostic atheist if you want.

Someone
A. You're an Atheist and don't believe in a real god anyway, so the entire situation is preposterous from your point of view.

Essentially yes, but that's no different from you.

Someone
B. WHICH “words” are the original ones that this god is meant to have given the Christian?

You're taking it too literally. However many believe that those who have written them have spoken to god and are doing his bidding, such as those who compiled the bible. yes, to me that is nonsense yet people believe it. Whether it is fact or fiction is irrelevant, if the followers believe it then they are likely to try and live by those teachings.

If they truly believe in those words/teachings/whatever then acting or living any other way is potentially damning themselves.

If there is a god and there is one true religion then most of us are fucked anyway, what we believe won't matter only what is. I've sort of been making two points so i will try and clear them up as it seems to have upset you.

Perhaps my POV is better put like this. I see the path to heaven as being true to your beliefs. Do I think there's room for wriggling, don't bet on it.

The other point is that if religion is correct, then what we personally believe is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that which the correct religion tells us to believe.

Someone
Your conception of “rules” is really your own simplified view and can not be applied universally to religion. I'm sure you could find a few sects that work very strictly with specific, simple rules, and maybe even some that ONLY work with unchanged rules based on 2 or 3 thousand year old writings, but that only applies in those cases.

No that's your simplification of a broad statement. Granted I may have put the point across poorly but you really went off on it. Are you missing Lefarce by any chance? :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
theorah at 2:04AM, May 5, 2011
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I can think of two big religions that specifically encourage in most of their teachings, that the best way to follow their religion is to take personal interpretation and not create ‘right and wrong’ by definition of the religion's stories/ideas (I'm thinking of Hinduism and Buddhism, I think Taoism does this too but not really sure!).
Although it can take a while to grasp, one of the biggest points of Buddhism in particular is that everything changes, and so you just have to stop trying to define yourself with set values/morals/standards, and that is the road to ‘heaven’ or eternal happiness, is being able to stop separating yourself from everything, or rather stop living within context and definition. Gautama Buddha said himself that you should not directly follow his teachings, but come to your own conclusion.

And I'm pretty sure its the same with most people interpreting religion into their lives. Every Christian I know has learned to let go a little bit, but they still proudly define themselves as Christians. I think to most religious people, it comes down to something much more emotional and cultural then dogmatic- they feel like they are apart of this religion, and any contradiction or rule they dont always agree with doesnt matter so much. I think there's a small conflict at first, but most people I know who are older and religious have put away any doubts and just do what they feel is personally best I guess. I think its hard to enjoy life otherwise, and anyone knows religion/belief is there to highlight life rather then make it worse.

Of course, you could argue that by following the statements of ‘interpret as you want’ people are then still living by your idea of how people might interpret religion. :P
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:25PM
bravo1102 at 2:32AM, May 5, 2011
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One problem that atheists have with Words(s) of god is that over the years believers have gotten into the habit of picking and choosing which commands to follow. Many are clearly obsolete just read the Old Testament for all 600 or so for Hebrews which make life very difficult for the Orthadox sects. But even they pick and choose.

Absolute adherence is left for Islam. But even Sharia law is open to interpretation and not completely uniform. There are several versions of it. Muslims are notorious lawyers even in religious law.

So which version do you choose? Which one is truest to the intentions of the deity?
Theologians and clergy have been debating this ever since the laws were written. So atheists make the point that these teachings can't be as strict as many say because there are so many variations and if these texts were the true Word of God surely He wouldn't leave so much room for interpretation. And Free Will isn't a valid counterpoint for the faithful because not all sects even hold with that belief.

So we're back to South Park's bit about at Judgement Day Peter getting up and declaring the “correct answer” but that doesn't fit one supposed definition of god. He is supposed to love and understand and forgive us, not declare there's only one path (at least in parts of Christianity and Judaism. It's different in Islam)

Unless you simplify it to the point of all paths lead to the deity. But of course it was proven conclusively 2500 years ago that a diety is not necessary for a moral life so why can't there be a life without god? That effectively takes god out of a man's life. Because if all paths of religion can lead to god, it can argued a life without religion is just as valid if not more valid logically.

So much so that even learned theologians have reached that conclusion and there are sects of religion without a belief in god. (Not science, I'm talking actual sects of Judiaism and Christianity. It was the nearing of Muslim philosphers to this conclusion in the Middle Ages that led to the proscription of such study)

So all the words of god can be invalidated and ethics and morality can be removed from the realm of the deity. A human can live their lives for today and not worry about the path to a mythical eternal golden age because there is so much picking and choosing among the faithful.

And there aer as many holes in that as there is in religious faith and that's what fuels the debate because so much in religious belief cannot be proven that it has to be taken on faith. And if a mind questions it all at the end of the day a human can end up rejecting it all. If there are so many paths to heaven why does there have to be any path to heaven?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM

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