ForumsWEPRThe Religion Debate Thread

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nichodemus
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nichodemus
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So yeah, our threads on religion have long since died out, so I figured it would be time to start afresh here!

Do you believe God exists (I know almost all of you don't)? Do you feel religion is important today? Is it a force for good? Discuss everything related to that here!

I'm going to start the ball rolling:

We all know about the rise of ISIS and the terrible acts it perpetuates. Does that show that Islam and religion in general is an awful concept? Is it the people who twist it? Or is it fundamentally an evil force?

Roping in the WERP frequenters
@MageGrayWolf @Kasic @Hahiha @FishPreferred @Doombreed @09philj

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Doombreed
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Doombreed
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Justiciar

Love and forgiveness may be a central tenet of certain religions, but those values are not exclusive to those religions. Do you think that religions actively help spreading those values, or would secular groups in a society without religions do as good a job?

That is a very interesting question. And of course those values are not exclusive to some religions.

Now as for whether religions help in spreading those values, I'm going to remain optimistic and say they do . However I mean this, in a relative and subjective way. With all the fanaticism, religious propaganda, the theological education problem and all of these, every religion's work is severely inhibited. Of course these are not the only reasons, religions are also being limited because of the advances in science and technology which have made our world far more progressive and open minded than ever before in human history for example. So obviously, religion takes a secondary role in our lives and is slowly pushed back in terms of importance. And with the fanaticism, the conservative "attitude" and the rest of the problems, it has all become an amalgam that is difficult to analyze and fully define.

However, like I said, it helps in actively promoting those values even with such a problematic background and the multitude of negative factors. It still obviously assists a lot of people in terms of spiritual guidance. It may seem somewhat simple and even childish to some of the more 'rational' members of our society but I think it appeals to emotions, not intelligence.

Of course emotions have a deeply personal background and what people feel when reacting to something can vary widely. What can bring joy to some, may make others feel contempt or sadness. So not everyone will perceive religion and those values the same way (that's another reason it is not taken seriously by a great many members of the modern society in my opinion)

Due to the complexity of the matter, I'd say it is very hard to actually figure out how much it helps and compare those results with a fictional society without religions. My opinion is that it is somewhat helpful in our world, despite the problems. It may very well be the case that secular groups in a society without religions would do a better job. But remember that this has a lot to do with fanaticism and hatred. Even without religions, people will always find ways to vent their anger, to judge others, to stick to irrational ideas etc.

Here is a simple example: Think of the irrationality that is hooliganism. People will beat each other up, and have even killed others for not supporting the same team. In a way, ISIS are the hooligans of religion. That is, they are using religion as an excuse to exercise their capacity for violence. So, to sum it all up, people will always find ways to give in to their anger, to resort to violent behavior, with religion or without it.

MageGrayWolf
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MageGrayWolf
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But personally, I am glad that the essential things, the lessons of love and forgiveness still come across.

Considering the brutality that can be found in such books and that it can be used justify doing harm, it fails at even this. If a book is both supporting "evils" and "good" it fails to do either.

nichodemus
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The thing is, people have become nicer over time since these books came out, and many verses/chapters are quietly dropped. For example, the rather problematic verse in the Quran that all babies are born Muslims, and subsequently become Christian/Hindu/Atheist etc. That's why the rest of us are technically infidels according to their book.

Yet we hardly see Muslims today viewing us as such. Which is great, but it makes you wonder why people do it. Do they not believe in the whole book? Do they cherry pick? Or are people really just plain nice, want to coexist, and large parts of the text worthless over time?

Even if most people choose otherwise, there is always the danger of a small minority lapping it up wholesale. And that alone is a dangerous and worrying thing.

Anyway, yay more people are debating!

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Considering the brutality that can be found in such books and that it can be used justify doing harm, it fails at even this. If a book is both supporting "evils" and "good" it fails to do either.

It is because of this heritage, and the general dogmatic qualities of religions, that I personally tend to think that secular organisations in a secular society would do better, overall. However, I cannot really be sure; it would mean religions are per se worse. That is problematic if, like me, you think religions are just human, not lead by supernatural deities. What then, makes them specifically worse at it? The dogmatic principles?
Reiki000
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Reiki000
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The thing is, people have become nicer over time since these books came out, and many verses/chapters are quietly dropped. For example, the rather problematic verse in the Quran that all babies are born Muslims, and subsequently become Christian/Hindu/Atheist etc. That's why the rest of us are technically infidels according to their book.

Yet we hardly see Muslims today viewing us as such. Which is great, but it makes you wonder why people do it. Do they not believe in the whole book? Do they cherry pick? Or are people really just plain nice, want to coexist, and large parts of the text worthless over time?


We muslims cannot cherry pick nor neglect parts of the quran. Someone who embraces islam accepts everything that is written in the book(and that the earlier books were legit too but altered over time). The thing is, the quran is not like your average book. Definitely not like the bible. It is a collection of all the verses that have been send to the prophet(pbuh) over 23 years. They were answers/clarifications/advices etc. to events that happened during those 23 years.

For example verse 5 of chapter 9 is usually used to &quotroof" that we muslims have the right to kill all the infidels wherever we see them. This verse descended after the Hudabiyah event. After a group non-muslims attacked a muslim group eventhough there was a truce between the muslims and non-muslims. It means that we have the right to wage war when a pact/truce is broken(earlier verses told the muslims that it is of upmost importance to not break pacts).

It is true that everyone is born a muslim. But they are not seen as apostates because an apostate is someone who has seen the truth, embraced it, and afterwards denied it. A baby that is born into a non-muslim family doesn't leave islam because he denies the truth. He "leaves" islam because he grows up as a non-muslim.

I hope this clarifies everything.

Btw, I haven't been commenting for 5 years(?), this is so exciting!

Wassalaam

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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It is a collection of all the verses that have been send to the prophet(pbuh) over 23 years. They were answers/clarifications/advices etc. to events that happened during those 23 years.
So it's different in that it applies to a specific time frame?

It is true that everyone is born a muslim.
Well, no, it isn't. Being muslim, at least by the English interpretation of the word, requires that one is an adherent of the corresponding faith. No one is born an adherent of any faith.
Reiki000
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Reiki000
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Peasant

So it's different in that it applies to a specific time frame?

Well, yes. But that does not mean that the quran can be neglected because those events and thus those time frames have already passed. Yes, not every verse is "turned on" right now. Not as long as similiar circumstances(like the ones when that specific verse descended) occur.

There is also the fact that not every verse is a response to events that occurred during the lifetime of the prophet. There are verses about past prophets that tell us about them or some (great) events during their lives. Our duty is to take lessons from them. There are verses tbat says that we should pray and do charity etc. It all depends on the verse really.

Well, no, it isn't. Being muslim, at least by the English interpretation of the word, requires that one is an adherent of the corresponding faith. No one is born an adherent of any faith.

Apologies for not being clear: it is true as in, it is true that we believe that everyone is born muslim.

Wassalaam

TheBigDiesel
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TheBigDiesel
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Peasant

Do you believe God exists (I know almost all of you don't)?

Yes I do. Why? I have a relationship with God. Is it possible that who I believe to be God, in reality is just my subconscious? Yes. However I highly doubt it. He helps me push past my limits and do the seemingly impossible that I know I would never be able to do on my own. I ask God to help me with something and then the next day, in a way I would of never thought of, I receive help with what I was attempting to do. Coincidence? It very much could be.. But there can only be so many coincidences before you start to realize that there may be something to this.. Even if it really is all in my head, I would still talk with Him because by doing so, I am accomplishing amazing things that I never dreamt possible. Anyways, maybe thats more than you were asking for.

Do you feel religion is important today?

Yes, religion is very important today and can make positive and negative impacts on various things. ISIS for example, is making a negative impact. Quite a large one at that. Many of the more populous religions steer towards helping others and doing good for others and the world. Hence followers of these religions typically aim to make a positive impact.

Is it a force for good?

Depends on the religion and the followers of that religion. Their the ones to determine whether its used as a force of good or evil. Christianity for example, the main mission for most Christians is to establish a healthy, loving relationship with God and then spread that love to others. Whether you believe in the the Christian God or not (most of you seem to not, which I completely understand and fully respect), you have to admit that their mission is a pretty great one. After all, what are we without love? I think we could all agree that the world could use some more of it.. Just think about what the world would be like right now if everyone followed the ten commandments.. Hard to even imagine...

We all know about the rise of ISIS and the terrible acts it perpetuates. Does that show that Islam and religion in general is an awful concept? Is it the people who twist it? Or is it fundamentally an evil force?

All of the main religions have the extremists/the people who twist the religion. Which, personally, I don't believe that they should really be considered part of that religion. ISIS, in my opinion should not be called "Muslim extremists" but instead be called a different religion all together. So, no. ISIS does not show that Islam and religion in general is an awful concept. The awful concept is the idea of "selective hearing". This of course, when it comes to religion, I'm referring to how some people tend to believe the parts of a religion that they want to believe and then they don't believe the rest, possibly even changing what the religion says all together. Which then leads to a screwed up version of that religion in which case could ultimately end up being an evil force.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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I ask God to help me with something and then the next day, in a way I would of never thought of, I receive help with what I was attempting to do. Coincidence? It very much could be..
No, it couldn't. Coincidence would require some temporo-spatial overlap between the two events. What you should be asking yourself is whether this is a case of confirmation bias.

But there can only be so many coincidences before you start to realize that there may be something to this..
Why should the number of coincident events pertaining to anything be finite? It would certainly be reasonable to suppose that there is a finite number of mutually concurrent events, but that does not in any way suggest that a causal relationship exists between any of them.

Whether you believe in the the Christian God or not (most of you seem to not, which I completely understand and fully respect), you have to admit that their mission is a pretty great one.
No, because it really isn't. Any mission which uses indoctrination to propagate willful ignorance and superstition can only be a detriment to society as a whole.

Just think about what the world would be like right now if everyone followed the ten commandments..
Consider what it would be like if everyone followed the principles of Epicurean hedonism, rather than a set of vague, overgeneralized, decrees demanding blind obedience.
popington
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popington
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Lord

as some one who has grown up in church this affects me personally...
i have been raised in a Baptist Christian church all my life.
i never experienced God in my life, so when i hear all these religious people saying they just "feel God in their life all the time" it does not relate to me at all.
so over the years of growing up in church, but not experiencing God at all, I dont really know what to think.
since I've grown up in church, its been kind of implanted in to me that God does exist and that there is no other alternative. but now that i am old enough to think for myself, i dont know what to think anymore. i dont "feel" God there at all, but for some strange reason, i still feel like He *might* be there. (that could just be the teaching I've been under all my life though.)
and on top of that, about 2 years ago, i found out i was gay. based off of what i have been taught in church, Christianity and Homosexuality dont go together at all.
so at this point, i am ready to leave church. since i am not a christian, why should i go to church? i find it quite boring, and it doesn't relate to me at all. and the church i am at is way too conservative for my "worldly" views. lol
i am still under my parents authority (I'm 15) so i am not allowed to "not go to church". but once i am out of my parents authority i want to leave church.
though since there is still that weird impression that God is there, i was kind of thinking i would try church and christianity again when i am much older, and after i have experienced the "worldly" things i wanted to experience that the church says i can't do.

nichodemus
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nichodemus
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@popington Well, one good thing at least, is that some churches are increasingly accepting of homosexuals (And more so in Europe I feel, at least). Take it as you may, you might want to think more about it as you're still young, but in a couple of year, you can make your own choices!

popington
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popington
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Lord

well the thing is, i believe what I've been taught about it. i dont like it, but i do think its true.
if God is real and all that jazz, then homosexuality is wrong because whenever it is mentioned in the bible, it is strongly spoken against, and no where is it supported in the Bible...
which is dumb... its just loving who you want to love.
so even if i went to another church, i still wouldn't feel right. at least not unless someone gave me the most convincing persuasion speech ever. lol
i just dont believe christianity and homo go together, so what can i do but leave church?

HahiHa
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I ask God to help me with something and then the next day, in a way I would of never thought of, I receive help with what I was attempting to do. Coincidence? It very much could be..

Or probably just confirmation bias, as Fish said. The problem I see with God answering people's prayers is that it makes no sense to me. If it was the case, it would seem he is very, very picky about which prayers he grants. For example, why would he help you with (as I assume) your relatively mundane day-to-day problems (no offense meant), but ignore all the pleas to cure a beloved one's illness? Oh, and it would appear that God has preferences when it comes to sport...

It also implies that all those seemingly impossible things you managed to overcome, you did it without divine intervention. Naturally, if praying helps you in doing so, I can respect that.

Christianity for example, the main mission for most Christians is to establish a healthy, loving relationship with God and then spread that love to others. Whether you believe in the the Christian God or not (most of you seem to not, which I completely understand and fully respect), you have to admit that their mission is a pretty great one.

Actually, this is one of the parts that irks me most about religion in general and Christianity specifically. It is this feeling of duty some have to "deliver the good news" to the seemingly lost people. Yes, I am talking about missionaries and proselytizing (as opposed to a genuine discussion, which I tend to enjoy). I find it very arrogant and condescending, to be honest. Other cultures, religions and non-religious people have just as much of an understanding of love and mutual respect as Christians do (if not more, looping back to the topic of homosexuality addressed in the posts above). The worst missions are those only offering help in return of blind acceptance of their beliefs, like various sects did after the catastrophic Haiti earthquake.
BalkanRenegades
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BalkanRenegades
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I ask God to help me with something and then the next day, in a way I would of never thought of, I receive help with what I was attempting to do. Coincidence? It very much could be..

Lol, it sometimes knows to be true. I'm wearing brojanica (Serbian orthodox religious handband) with six Saints on it and I think it protects me. If you ask me, there is no coincidence... Almost every day I find articles in online news about people who "visited God" and "experienced death". I am very suspicious about those, but there are even more stories with proof. Try searching web a little bit and you will find bunch of them.
nichodemus
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I went through a phase in life, where I brought blessed Buddhist charms into exam halls, or took them with me on overseas trips.

They don't work. I was just as good/bad at exams as I was with or without them. My parents then told me that I needed to put in hard work as well, as God, or whatever is up there, won't do anything for free.

Well, here I am after years of not praying and bringing in charms, and my results still fluctuate with how much effort I put in.

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