Firstly anyone who is religious, Christian or other wise these are my own opinions and experiences and you can take what you want from it but its not to be taken in any offensive way.
"We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid."
- Christopher Hitchens
Firstly no offense to Christians but I will never be able to agree with your religion because of the following reasons.
One for the past ten years or so in the city center preachers have just put me right off they yell in your face that you are going to hell, through leaflets that are not made from recycled paper everywhere while trying to give them to people who just aren't interested so maybe 90% plus of these leaflets end up in the bin or the ground. So their only real accomplishment is contributing to littering and deforestation, though even if I was a Christian I wouldn't go to hell anyway since I have never been babtised so would I not end up in limbo or the place in between?
Secondly I disagree with Christian international aid. This is because charity should really start at home. How many people over here are homeless, starving, antisocial, suffering from complex illnesses are to old or frail to leave their homes anymore can you not go help them and fix up our country before you blow tax payers money elsewhere? It is not that I am cruel but I have a degree in Geography with International Development and because Western charities don't understand developing countries needs and culture they make things worse. For instance in one case a British charity decided to replace all the local cows with dairy cows thinking "more milk healthier people, more money for them". The cows all died of dehydration as the climate was too hot and the local cows had been sold on and culled. Another situation was when a British charity built a well and pump with the men of the village, the charity came back after a year and the pump had never been used because it was the women's job to fetch the water and the women didn't know how it worked since they weren't included in the construction. My last example was when a charity gave a big bag of seeds to the male leader of a village to plant. The leader just ate it all and fed it to his pig since its the women who do all the planting he misunderstood and thought it was a gift for him. Had they given it to a female in the village she would have planted the seeds.
So I don't support international charities anymore as around 30% of what you give is probably wasted due to corrupt governments or lack of research before the trip begins. I now give to action cancer and the Hare Krishna monks. At least with the Hare Krishna monks they give me books in exchange for my money and I have an idea where my money is going to (usually their monastery) since they tell me exactly what they need it for and actually like to have a friendly chat with you instead of shoving their religion in your face. They ask "how are you?", "Would you be interested in a book?" They are polite enough to ask you instead of assuming you want to be "saved". So to me just because of that they seem like a more appealing congregation.
Thirdly the whole Hitler and Nazi's history, I just don't know if I can be involved with a religion that caused so much horror and still causes so much horror to people who's gender description isn't to their liking. You can't beat homosexuality out of someone no more than you change a lily to a rose it was born and created that way you can't change it. This generally annoys me since Christianity is supposed to be all about accepting people, recently I have been gaining a lot of friends who are Christian but I don't know if I am a project to them or they are actually my friends since they say as a Christian they need to be friends with everyone. Though are they just friends with me because they want to be rewarded in the after life and if this is the case is this not deception and selfishness which is a sin which will end them in hell? So many contradictions that just confuse me and make me angry as I will never know where I really stand with them.
I have been invited to a Christmas party by my Christian friends too and they say if everyone could bring some food and say if its a desert or snack or whatever and I thought that is fair enough I have an apple pie in the freezer that I couldn't possibly eat myself. About a day later though they said oh yeah this guy in our group is going on a trip instead of doing secret santa that we have been doing the last three years lets all give £5 to him. Which would be fair enough apart from the fact that I have met him maybe twice, I have no idea what his trip is about or where he is going and apparently he forgot to get something for his secret santa recipient three years in a row whether this was intentional or otherwise. This has totally put me off going since I am also moving next year to do a 2 month unpaid internship followed by a trip to Japan. Can I get given money too technically I am going on a trip to develop my CV and career? I don't think it would have bothered me as much apart from the fact that me and maybe 5 other people in the group are unemployed and are struggling with Christmas spending enough as it is and this guy works full time paid in a job center. I just don't understand why we should give him money when we have no idea what he will be spending it on and when he has enough money of his own.
Really I kind of thought bringing a dish of food would have been a good enough exchange for the secret santa since we are not all made of money.
If he was doing a marathon or if it was a local charity that would be fine but I don't like the idea of donating money to a cause that tells people in less developed countries that they can have a bag of rice....but you have to pledge your soul to our religion first! It just doesn't seem fair taking advantage of someone in a life and death situation.
I like doing nice things for people but I do that because I like to do it. I don't do it for anyone else I like the feeling and I like being honest with me there is no hiding anything what you see is what you get so all of this ambiguity I just can't be bothered dealing with.
Lastly I don't think I fear death anymore what I actually fear if other people I am close to dieing so I don't really care too much where I end up where I pass on as long as my corpse end up in a marked grave. I just like to make people happy in life as that makes me happy but it has nothing to do with religion its just me that's it nothing else.
My final thoughts are that I believe science and medicine more than religion as even when I was very sick with cancer it was scientific evolution and new technology that saved me. Acts of men are better than acts of God.
....a humble carpenter etc,etc.Well,we all know the story don't we !!!
I thought seeing as this Good Friday this would be a relevant subject for discussion :)
The trouble is there tends to be fairly polarised views on the whole debate.In fact,debate is just about the last thing people have when it comes to religion as their minds are pretty much made up already.I certainly don't expect to win any converts to my views for sure.
So god,does he exist ??
I'm afraid if you're looking for the truth to that one then I'm afraid my answer will be somewhat disappointing.You have to either figure that one out by yourself or just wait till you turn up your toes to find out,sorry.lol.
Despite what is often claimed there isn't one shred of solid evidence for the existance of a god.I can hear the howls of scorn even as I'm typing but the fact remains there isn't a single piece of real proof that stands up to genuine scrutiny.
Of course,as it's often been stated absence of proof isn't proof of absence and that is true but it does make it hard for someone of a sceptical disposition like myself to buy into the whole god thing.
Now I know many will state that there is a god because they know there is,because the bible say so,because they've felt his presence or because it's the only explanation for life and the universe but religion is all about belief and faith afterall.
Obviously,the truth is nobody,I mean nobody,can say beyond a shadow of doubt that there is or isn't a god but I've never yet seen or felt anything that's remotely suggest to me that there maybe just be one.
My personal opinion is that man created god in our own image for a number of reasons chiefly though because of our unique perspective because we're a living creature,a primate that became smart and self aware yet for all our mental capacities,the ability to imagine,conceptualise,problem solve early humans were unable to fully comprehend the wider world around them.
We have a short lifespan in universal terms,we're born and we die.We know that effects have a cause and we need a meaning,certainties.The universe begjn,the big bang must have occured for a reason which naturally would suggest an intent behind it.
Obviously,a creator was the answer that made the most sense to our human frame of reference.Then the whole mystical,spiritual idea evolved from the animal/naturel dieties of the hunter gatherer age to the Egyptian/Greek/Roman/Nordic pantheon of gods right up to monothiestic god of the big 3 abrahamic religions we've been blessed with for the last few millenia.
The simple fact that we as yet don't fully understand what happened before the big bang,what caused it etc means just that,we don't understand yet.To invent a creator to explain what we as yet can't explain is just plain daft if you ask me :)
So where does that leave me,an athiest then ??
You know,I long ago found out I actually don't really care because what I realised was it doesn't matter in the end.
Is there a god then ??
I don't know but I do know I don't have any use for a god whether one exists or not to be honest.
Happy Easter :)
After taking a brief break from Dooyoo I decided I would come back and answer a discussion topic. I thought it might be interesting to get a bit of debate and when I saw the topic 'religion' I just couldn't help but reply.
In my experience religious attitudes come in two quite extreme forms: pious or what I would describe as offensively atheist. This may not be a particularly popular view but when it comes to religious debate I tend to side with religious people rather than the non-religious strictly based on the lexicon they decide to use. For example, a religious person would say "I believe in a God/gods/etc." whereas from my experience an atheist would say "There is no God". This may seem a petty thing to be offended by or to pick up on but I think it really demonstrates the difference between the two categories. In fact the entire notice of faith is based on belief rather than knowledge so perhaps this notion pervades the concept entirely. Similarly however, I do think that even if you hold a particularly strong belief that does not entitle you the right to say that someone else's belief or lack thereof is wrong and so a level of tolerance need be shown.
I don't believe to be a good person you need be religious, but I would say that on average the religious tend to attempt to act more friendly, although this may not always be a reality. They might not be more accepting, which can offend some people (for example the thing that most people pick up on is a so called hatred of things like homosexuality, but this isn't the case of ALL religious folk and its important to realise they do not hate the person but rather the act - although I still understand why it is often offensive). I think that faith breeds kindness as often there is the notion that one should treat others in the same way they would want to be treated or how they might expect others to treat their family/friends etc. This is an important quality and I think its something that makes religion a positive thing.
Often religion is put down for the sake of a few bad qualities. A particular religion that receives a lot of bashing is Catholicism, in particularly citing the dealings of some very terrible terrible men who happen to be priests. I think its important to distinguish the religion from the people and this can be applied to a lot of things. For example, an intolerant person might say something like all Muslims are terrorists which is an asinine and clearly untrue statement and reinforces the need to separate faith from person.
You see, if I believed in fairies if I just so happened to find myself in the paper it would never say "My name, fairy-believer, thinks..." which is something I have seen pertaining to religion. This concept applies to other areas of life such as politics where sometimes the two are blurred together. For example, in the recent American elections often I would see things about God wanting particular running mates to win, or God disagreeing with the specifics of their agendas and what they happen to stand for. The same can be said for religious extremists who like I mentioned previously are often seen as tokens of the entire religion rather than people who happen to follow whatever branch of religion they choose to.
Article 9: Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion explains:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance."
We claim to live in a society where choice over religion is innate and whether we choose to follow a religion or not will not affect our rights. Yet often even in ordinary conversation if someone happens to menton their religion people will be offended/ or look down on their in favour of their own choice in the matter. I think one step towards less conflict is to actualise this concept. We are said to have the freedom to do so but there is not necessarily the freedom to also be accepted for such beliefs. I think its important to educate people of these issues and of the features of different religions in general in order for there to be a step towards complete tolerance.
Overall I don't think the issue of conflict is who is right and who is wrong. Too often do people focus on these particulars instead of the real issue. I don't see religion ever going away and I don't really see the reason for people to try to force it to. If tolerance and education are realised then there wouldn't even be the need to get rid of it at all. I can't imagine a world without religion as it is linked so heavily to other important things such as morality and culture which are things I value greatly. Therefore, regardless of your religion I think that people should always try to believe these things and instill them in their children.
Reading some of the other reviews, I thought, how sad. To not believe that you were created yourself by some awesome, majestic, all powerful creator in itself is sad. I don't want to walk around this earth telling people I came from apes. So I set out to prove there was a God, but not just any god but THE God of the bible. First I read about prophecy (in the bible) so I wanted to study it and see if it came to pass. It DID!! The bible talks about the most powerful nations on earth losing power and their [sea] gates toward the "end". The U.S. and The U.K. have lost power and sea gates. I also tried praying for things that I did not believe I could get on my own...this also worked. I did not receive the things I prayed for instantly, but did over time. Once you really read the bible and understand it you begin to understand why there is war, death and suffering and why God allows it to go on. It is very simple when you realize that the first man and woman rejected God and wanted to live their own way. God gave them what they wanted (2000 years) to do what they wanted to do, live life as they think is right.
We see now why we have all the evils. Most of us listen to satan and our own ideas rather than read what God wants us to do. God promises that if we turn to Him and ask for His help, He will bless us in many ways and will not have the suffering others have.
My title is a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln and sums up to a tee my personal opinion on the whole religion issue. I understand that there are many many people who believe whole heartedly in religion and their own god and if there's anything that I want people reading this to remember it's that I am merely giving my point of view and not in anyway telling anyone that they are wrong and im right as we'll never know until we die (touch wood not soon)
I was forced at school only 6 years ago to study a Religious study subject, hours which I would have preferred to have put into bettering my English and maths areas. However religion still fascinates me even though I am not a believer and I done very well in my final tests in fact surprisingly it was my most successful subject. But while I am fascinated I do not have even the slightest bit of commitment to it to be able to understand or empathise why people believe they should blow themselves up in the name of their god or why religious groups think eating one animal is ok yet another is forbidden.
If religion did not exist would we still have wars in the middle east? would we still have terrorism? would the holocaust have happened to the scale it did? yes I think it all would have because its evident terrorism and wars are just as much about territory and nationality as they are religion however religion gives and extra dimension and fuel to some people's fire.
My mother was married at a Church in a traditional ceremony like many of my other family who if i had to describe them would be "relaxed Christians" they believe in heaven and hell yet are not active enough to attend church on sundays and quote bible passages in everyday life.
To me cold hard facts and scientific proof are what matters and science can explain pretty much everything that has or is going to happen in this world without having to go into the vagueness of god created it so on. Essentially the only solid facts that most religions depend upon are books and stories told many years ago that have stayed being told til the present day and in my humble opinion they are just stories.
Im a darwinist, a man of science and evolution makes absolute sense to me, however I would like to point out just now that I 100% would love to be convinced of an afterlife a heaven and hell because the last thing I want is to just be dead and that's the end but i find it difficult to comprehend that their is this amazing place after death where all the people you love who are gone are waiting for you, it seems too good to be true.
The argument against science is that it doesn't know everything but of course it does not or else it would stop.
I feel that iv aired all my views upon religion and dont need to go on but wanted to finish by saying I genuinely hope that this is the one thing in life I am fully wrong about this and I hope everybody here reading this meets up with people they've lost when they inevitably go.
Please give me your views on religion you never know someone might make a point that could change my opinions slightly :)
I would like to state that what I'm about to write is entirely my opinion, and in no way do I mean to offend anyone. I will mostly make reference to Christianity as I know more about this religion than others.
Although I am an atheist, I have always had a great interest in religion - not so much in participating in the worshipping of a God, but I like to discover reasons as to WHY people believe in something that there is, (in the eyes of an atheist) no evidence for.
Let's put aside those who 'claimed' to have seen God. For many other believers, they have no actual evidence for the existence of God. Most argue that the universe is enough evidence to prove His existence. Yes, the universe is designed intricately but is it possible that the Big Bang could have created all of this...? However, my main problem with this idea is that could a man have created something SO big by himself? If a human makes something it will always stay the same. Things made by man that change are affected by nature. Therefore, if God is man, how has He managed to create something that constantly evolves?
Secondly, I have a big issue with disputes between species (to put it nicely). If God is all-loving, why would he create species that fight - why do we have wars? Ironically, many conflicts have been a result of religion.
Why do people suffer from illness? Poverty? Racism? Natural Disaster? Surely, if God is all-loving, why would He put humans through this.
If God is all-powerful, could He not prevent natural disasters and illness? If he is all powerful, all knowing, all seeing etc; making all living species deal with these issues is somewhat sadistic?
Another argument that I have is why there are so many religions? Every culture is different, and if religion is built like a language, therefore it can be expected that cultures believe in different variations of a God. However, if there is one God, everyone should believe in the same God no? Every human can identify the one Sun and no one argues that there is more than one sun (that I know of anyway). If God is real, we could all identify and accept the existence of one God.
If there is only one God, then why doesn't everyone believe in the same thing? There shouldn't NEED to be variations in religion.... Cultural differences are used to excuse the differences between religions, but if God is fact, cultures should adapt to religion, not religion adapt to culture.
In my opinion, religion has been created to provide comfort to the human species, and it is upto you to decide whether you need to seek this form of comfort. It provides people with the opportunity to tell 'someone' their hopes and fears without being judged. People use it as an excuse when they are going through something tough - 'God is testing me'.
I also think that religion has continued because of society. Using the example of Catholicism - your parents are Catholic. You are raised Catholic. You have children and bring them up as Catholic and so the cycle continues. Of course people can break out the cycle whenever they want, either becoming an atheist or changing religion. However, there are other religions that will not accept you changing religion.
So it is easy to see why religion has continued over thousands of years, especially as societies in general are so religion based.
In conclusion, if there is just one God, I can't see why it is necessary for different religions, and why there are conflicts due to religions. I can't see why natural disasters and illnesses occur. And if God does exist and has caused of this, surely we should hate Him rather than love Him?
As you can see, I have a LOT of questions that need to be answered and to finish,
If God is real, why do I have questions?
Please take this with a pinch of salt if you are a believer. I don't do serious on religion. As David Brent said - I do reality based comedy.
"Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else -- and it hasn't -- it's that girls should stick to girl's sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such and such".
Homer Simpson ---
A is for Atheism
The universe is endless and so therefore anything is possible so you cant discount there's a bearded bloke drifting around out there. But as it stands for me man created God back then to keep us all in control (they didn't have the internet and telly back then) and if we were to suggest the idea of God today we would be laughed out of town. What I do believe is that we are nice to each other and not forced apart by capitalisms then the world would be a nicer place. Best times and best people I have met are in the third world were consumerism isn't relevant so no one pitched against each other.
B is for British Christianity
58% of us claim to be Christians whilst 33% claim to be agnostics (not sure) and atheists (no way). Many congregations are getting older and reaching the point where their local churches are no longer viable. The older you get the more likely you are to go to church to pray, be it for the obvious reasons of the fear of death and wanting to know if there is life after death, which if there is you don't get to take much with you. No internet, no sex, no telly, no nothing, just a conscious. How dull is that. It's like living in Hull!
Britain has the 4th lowest church attendance across Europe at just 20%, Hungary, France and Denmark battling it out for relegation with us. In France's defence they do have a massive Muslim population. There are 44, 699 Christian churches in the U.K.
C is for Creationism
Under the Tories new 'free schools' rule its feasible that a London comprehensive could be removed from council control, purchased by a private company and allowed to teach creationism, a rather alternative and whacky view of religion. They say the world was created just 5000 years ago and dinosaurs were around when Jesus was. They even have a Disney style theme park in America to back this up. Do you want the state teaching your kids that? Only 40% of Americans believe in evolution whilst another 20% are unsure, and it's on the decrease. Carbon Dating science clearly dates the world as millions of years old, the stone churches religions built on proof.
D is for Death
Most white British people's experience of church is the christening, a wedding or funerals. Funerals are very expensive guys and can stretch to over ten grand, especially if you book the church at weekends. In fact the Churches biggest income is the above and sustains itself on it. The Church is a business full-stop and has a guaranteed income from at least one of the three. Cremations are also expensive for unknown reasons and it was no surprise to discover when my dad died that the church was 'saving' the more expensive coffins 'around the back', whilst flowers also appearing to turn up at the local market to be 'resold'.
E is for Evangelical
These born again churches in American in the 'Bible Belt' make huge fortunes for those who run them, some 'super churches' now bigger than Wembley Stadium! The charismatic preachers become celebrities and many live that lifestyle, silk suits and fast cars and big mansions the norm. Many soon let it go to their heads and the sex scandals flow, but still the flock handing over their wages on the plate at collection time to make sure they get a place in heaven. Gullible fools doesn't begin to cover it.
F is for Fear
If we are being fair there clearly are a lot more decent catholic Priests out there than bad ones and in defense of religions like Catholicism and Christianity you do feel they are far easier targets than Islam and Judaism for their 'malfunctions'. If you say anything derogatory against the Jewish faith they wave the Holocaust card at you like a referee does a red and if you diss the Muslims the fundamentalist wing threaten to blow you up and cut your head off - or both! Fear is what keeps people attached to the church and getting kids young to believe in God s the key to the religions survival. Brainwashing was the word I was looking for.
G is for Gay Priests
One of the greatest ironies about the Catholic Church is for an organization that is so homophobic it seems to have a remarkably high number of gay men in its priesthood, experts putting the number between 25% and even as high as 50% with some diocese. In America the figure has been calculated at around 33%, partly based on the theoretical stat that members of the clergy are four times more likely to have HIV than the general male public of undeclared sexuality, an interesting revelation.
Gay and sex scandals have always rocked the Vatican over the decades, especially in the many priesthood colleges, the 'Pontificia Ecclesiastica', and only last month a male prostitute ring discovered after a police sting trapped an elderly man with a dog-collar performing a sexual act with 17-year-old boy in an alleyway even Dan Brown hasn't discovered, which would make for a cracking George Michael video! Why do you think those guards where such girly uniforms there? The 'Universidad' meting areas have been described as San Francisco bathhouses by some of the crueler critics, hoards of amazingly good looking young Italian men getting very flirty after a drop of the old wine at evening song. You see all these rustic Latin movies where the handsome young priests tries to resist temptation with the pretty local girl in the village yet all along they really lust for the sweaty farmhand!
But humor aside if we accept there is an above average number of gay men in the Catholic Church we have to believe most joined the priesthood to escape their homosexual feelings, the act of celibacy the cure. Gay men are born gay by their genes and so it must be tough if you don't like the idea of being gay. The church provides a sanctuary from that. I don't know what the gay rates are in female Anglican women priests but you suspect high, again an escape from your guilt. The British male vicars in all the sitcoms certainly look like they match the Catholic percentage!
H is for Hasidic Jews
In Israel they don't mess about on recruiting pure members, large areas of their big cites now totally populated by the Hasidic Jews, the ones that dress all in black and grow beards and where silly hats. They are 'encouraged' by the government to claim social security benefits so just to reproduce and grow large families, spending all day learning the ancient text of Judaism the excuse given not to work, 87% unemployment rates across that group. The Kinesit sanction it because they can then build new settlements in contested areas on the West Bank, claiming more land that way so to expand Judaism and their holy claim to the land. It's an antagonistic as the Palestinians sending in suicide bombers and why nothing will ever change there, both sides addicted to the violence that has shaped their conflicts over the centuries.
I is for Islam
The sign of a powerful religion is the people's reticence to comment negatively on it in fear of retribution. That is the only point of religion for me. Keep the people fearful and you will rule as far as the eye can see from the highest mountain. What type of person would question the world was made in 7 days in the year of 1134?
J is for Jewish
These guys consider themselves a race not a faith, Gods chosen people, and so why the Middle-East, a hotbed of all manner of religions, is in a mess. Judaism and Islam are pretty much the same religion but interpreted differently from the same text for political reasons, as are many religions, and so the sooner they realize they want the same things the better. But that doesn't suit the politicians and oil magnets in the region and so on the tension rolls.
K is for Kabbalah
This is effectively the new Scientology, a modern Jewish hybrid elitist religion able to remove vast chunks of cash from celebrities in return for eternal wisdom and a spot on the next religious plain, although I'm not sure who would want to hang out with Sting on a cloud for eternity. 'Who wants to hear Roxanne on the lute then guys? Q sound of lute hitting Stings head!
L is for Loot
The Church and religions are some of the richest organizations on the planet and their property portfolio alone in England is more than the Queens and every Duke put together. But I bet you didn't know who they invest their money in. In the year of 2000 it was revealed the Church of England had a £20 million stake in GKN, a producer of military helicopters, and ones soon to be straithing and blowing up Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the Church declined to dump its £17 million share in GEC when the arms company merged with British Aerospace, especially as the share priced trebled. 19 Anglican Cathedrals in the UK are also listed as holding share in companies like Vickers and McDonald Douglas. The Church is about making money out of decent but misguided lost souls and they are raking it in from all manner of contradictions to their faith these days.
M is for Muslims
Muslims believe there is one and only one God. There are 1.59 million Muslims in the UK are they are growing very fast, some 14 times faster than the average British family. Muslim women are the least represented in the work force, just 23% in employment. I would love to see Germaine Greer tackle that one hands on! 300.000 of Muslims of working age are classed as 'economically inactive' in the UK. The average Muslim family size is 3.9 children to white British 2.2 children. The most powerful religions encourage large families to spread the faith. One-in-four Muslims males have been cab driver in the U.K during their working lives! There are 10,000 Muslim in British jails, the highest faith by far. It's an integration of sorts I suppose. Only the famous British tolerance is holding back building tensions of the increasing 'ghettoisation' of Islam here. France is an example where we will be in twenty years time on Muslim race relations, riots in Paris and the big cites normal now on race lines. 10% of France is Muslim but account for 69% of the prison population there.
N is for Nepal
The most tranquil of religions, like the cutest animals, usually garner the most sympathy from the west. For some reason liberal westerners seem obsessed with sticking up for the oppressed Nepalese and no time for the persecuted Nigeria Christians that are slaughtered every year. Mainly teachers and social workers scream for Nepal independence, the Dolphins of the religious faith.
O is for Obedience
I suspect most intelligent people don't take to religions because of that fear and obedience side. I'm not saying people who follow Gods are thick but I am saying they need to be told what to do in life, a bit like working-class grunts in the army that look up to the officer class.
Pastor K: Jesus had long hair!
Hank: Only 'cause I wasn't his father!
P is for Pedophilia in the Catholic Church
So, just as the church is a sanctuary to hide away with your secrets it also offers an intimacy around young choristers in the catacombs, let alone the many young families Catholic priests visit to offer advice to. So it's also fair to say it's a haven for pedophiles and sex offenders, often choosing careers they can get access to children and so win their trust. The Catholic Church has a bad record on this alas.
That intimate access and perceived trust of the church over the centuries seems to be the driver for the huge sex scandals around the world involving Catholic Priests we keep reading about, some 4392 priests still being investigated in America alone. Although the recent organized attacks on the Pope and his Church were aimed to peak at Easter so to defame the religion by other religions, they cant side step this damaging issue, and if this is the only way to get this issue out in the open then so be it. It's quite clear the Catholic Church would prefer that not to have to deal with it over the decades and so foolishly suppressed it, which has allowed for it to fester. The senior clergy were covering it up with rampant arrogance by not acting on complaints and just moving the priest to other dioceses, where they no doubt took that as the green light to re-offend. I think there was one priest working at the Gatwick Airport Church in the 1980s who reveled in the chance to abuse kids because they were transient passengers, this his fourth parish to do just that. The high numbers of Priests that have been allowed to offend this way was quite disgusting. But in the decade of anonymous help-lines for just about everything these days to grass up people the dirty old Priests had no chance this time. What we do know is the old Hitler youth Pope has owned up and is not looking well on it, white smoke likely to coming out the chimney this time next year if you ask me.
But there's another angle to this that may get the Priest off the hook some, Hebephilia, the attraction by adults to pre-pubescent boys, 15 to 17- year-olds, the vast bulk of the accusations coming from this age group in America towards priests, mostly against priests ordained before 1970. What if young gay Catholic men confront their sexuality problems to their priest, the moth to the flame, reciprocating their feelings with young priests, homosexuality back then very underground? 59% of the accusations came from the plaintiff making just one compliant. It seems the claims against the Priests really took off in America when lawyers began class actions, the chance for big pay-offs if the boys say the sex was forced. Could cash be the driver to the sexual abuse claims? When there was spate of sexual abuse claims against children's homes in the U.K., it also saw a large number of people come forward to say they were abused at the same homes, but people who had not mentioned it until that point of compensation being involved. If you hated the staff at these places or want someone to blame for your homosexuality it's a great way to get revenge, ruin their lives like they are or someone else ruined yours. A lot of these kids were damaged in the care system so had not done well in life and so said hey, I was abused! Where's the money?
The Catholic Church hit back and compared the persecution of their priests as of 'like the Holocaust', an outrageous statement to make if you consider the Catholic Churches 'inactivity' during World War Two to stem the Holocaust. Arch Bishop Rowan Williams chipped in on the other flank for the 'Church of England' in comparison saying the Catholic Church had "lost all credibility", somewhat ironic me thinks from the suspiciously wispy one. His Church is old and feeble now because they haven't tried to get new members in and so preaching to grave dodgers on Sundays and so have zero clout in high society and government anymore to have an opinion, why Islam will soon to be the biggest religion in the U.K.
Q is for the Queen
She is the supreme head of the Church of England, second only to Jesus. As Jesus is not about she gets the top chair at the table. She adheres to the '39 Articles', a kind of doomsday book for religion that helps the faiths work together here. Rule 21 allows her to decapitate the serving Prime Minister. although it hasn't been used of late, mainly because most have been headless chickens anyway.
R is for Relief of tax
Just as a big chunk of Polish workers set themselves up as companies for 20 Euros each before they came to England so to evade paying tax here there are similar loop-holes for religions. Places of worship are exempt from council tax. If you can claim 4 or more people worship in your house and you have an area set aside for prayer you can get a reduction for that room. There are BNP style rumors that Muslims are claiming their houses are mosques to get reductions and this racial political correctness is not seeing enough checks on those claims. There were claims of 11,600 Mosques declared in Blackburn alone! The truth just 47 places of Muslim worship. There are only 1400 registered mosques in the U.K. The claims were racist propaganda. There huge loopholes for all religions to dodge tax though.
S is for Sikhs
They are the most impressive religious group in the U.K with the highest home ownership, exam passes and the lowest unemployment. In fact they are really rather marvelous and put their neighboring Bangladeshis and Pakistani Muslims to shame here. The Sikhs box-tick all the good stuff as far as family values go and you guys should let them know we appreciate that. They are the model British - Asian citizen, guys like Monty Panesar expressing that duel patronage.
"No offence Apu, but when they were handing out religions, you must a been out taking a whizz".
-- Homer Simpson---
T is for Terrorism
The vast majority of terrorism is done by Islamic fanatics because the religion is so vast, now numbering one billion world-wide. Statistically you are bound to have a few sociopaths in that number. If the poor demented souls who blow themselves up had grasped the fact that the ones that tell them to do it in the name of their God are the ones that don't volunteer to blow themselves up then the quicker people would realize these blasts are for political reasons not religious. Some of the Palestinian thugs that teach the Jewish hate in Gaza are earning between $40-70,000 dollars a year out there and quickly lose that cash when the people stop exploding in downtown Tel-Aviv, why Palestinian militias are now turning on each other as the wall goes up around Israel and stops the suicide attacks. Sri-Lanka used to have the highest number of suicide bombers during the Tamil war but after 2001 Afghanistan and Iraq reclaimed the title for fundamentalist Islam.
U is for Unitarian Universalism
These guys and girls have a more open view on God and prepared to detach themselves from strict doctrine and rules. They believe God could well be inside you and a metaphor of sorts. If your good to your fellow man then that's Gods work. I kinda like that. We do get some lovely feelings when we help out people so if that's religion then Im all for it!
V is for Vestry
This is a traditional store room attached to the church were vestments and items of worship are stored. Its also were the dirty old priests and vicars go to watch the quiorboys change.
W is for Women in the priesthood
It's all very odd that any higher being would write out women from having any major role in the church, which reinforces the obvious feeling that men wrote the bible just to control everything. If I were women believers of the world I would set up a separate church. You have your own golf tour so why not!
X is for X marks the spot
A Chinese evangelical church is claiming they have finally found Noah's Ark atop Mount Ararat in Turkey, the mythology that the boat lays there a long held tale. They produced a grainy dodgy video of the insides of the ark. For some reason the church committed the hoax by placing old timbers on the mount and have no owned up to the con. The Ark, of course, was one of many stories of the Old Testament taking rather too literally and was only ever meant to be used as a metaphor. Why would God flood the earth and start again? Is he (or she) admitting they got it wrong first time around with man if they did?
Y is for Yuletide
This was the original pagan festival that was incorporated into traditional Christmas festivals in following centuries, presumably to eradicate paganism and bolster Christianity, but consumerism winning out in the end. Father Christmas started to wear all red and white purely because Coca Cola dressed him that way for their early advertising campaigns. The oldest religions are slowly absorbed and become newer religions and merely hybrids of myths and stories. People only believe in things they want to believe in so they can block the terror of death and reality out.
Z is for ZZZZZZ
ZZZZZZZ is for any religious programming trying to convert you. I was in my local park last week in the stunning weather and the religious Christian types had a mixed faith bash going on and there was a nice ambience to it....happy clappy uplifting soft rock and no preaching, but once you get it on TV its old people and men that look suspiciously gay trying to convert you to Jesus and the whole thing rather antiquated and delusional. We all know when the Songs of raise cameras turn up it's a full house at the local church but when they don't it's a county cricket crowd on a wet Wednesday. Make religion modern and younger and you will get more punters in. If not it dies on its ass, as Christianity is doing.
Hank: You aren't making Christianity better; you're just making Rock and Roll worse.
---King of the Hill---
GOD? Religion... it cant be true, can it?
Ok so i just been reading through dooyoo and while I dont usually like to talk, chat or argue about religion due to the offense it causes people. But to be honest Im quite bored. Its 25 past 1 can I cant sleep.
^ I know that i didnt need to post that but i have now and it would seem like excess work to backspace at this point in time.
Anyway this post is mainly going to be about the christian/judah, GOD/Religion as i dont know much about other religions.
So to kick it off, Im athiest. 18 and i really can see the plausibility in GOD. I think the main reason for my atheisticness (i dont know if its a word its 1:30, give me a break) is due to the many different paradox arguments etc. Example : Can GOD create a rock so heavy it cant be lifted? if no, he cant be all powerful. If yes, can he then lift the rock? (thus by lifting the rock, the rock is liftable and therefore the first act of creating the unliftable rock was not done)... or something along those lines.
I also tend to question whether if there was to be an all loving GOD, why would there be so many evils in the world (by evils i mean famine, disease etc), is it a test? is he/she testing us? what about still births? what would be the point in creating life just so he can destroy it immediatly.... is he testing babies?
Now, i know that a lot of christians are going to say that evil is mearly the absence of good (just as black/night is the absence of light). But can that be true? really.... if i walk into maccy d's and order my meal and get change, i then have the option to put my change in the charity box. now presuming that the general consensus is that it is good to but money in charity boxes, if I decide not to.... does that make me evil.
While on the topic of evil I would like to quote a Greek philosopher 'Epicurious'
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
Right, next on the agenda is religion and control.
Im sure many would agree that religion was the science of its day. Therefore people believed in it due to it being the only plausible option. I dont think that religion was created to control people, however as time has moved on I think that it is more about the control and power. And the more followers you get, the more powerful you start to become. No matter how implausible the idea may be.(implausible to me)
With this I refer to the 'Eskimo, Priest' joke:
Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?"
Priest: "No, not if you did not know."
Eskimo: "Then why did you tell me?"
i'll probably edit/add to this tomorrow, but right now im feeling sleepy.
ok im gonna finish be linking to this video:
please comment and rate.
but also bare in mind that i will add to this. also please try not to take the spelling into account if you do rate as im really tired and i will edit tomorrow (as i already said).
Oh and also i dont have spell checker as im using 'notepad' so i can see where the mistakes are. Okay im waffling now.
In this op I will summarise the religious experience argument and explain why some may see this as a weak argument that does not prove God exists;
When a person has an experience which is distinctively spiritual, like an experience of the supernatural, an encounter with God or gods, or a particular perceptual shift in a commonplace experience which leads them to the conclusion that God exists, or that God is communicating with them directly, they are said to have had a religious experience.
Reeper and Smith defines religious experiences as "An experience through the empirical senses of something that is transcendent, and beyond the ordinary world of experience.
The religious experience argument states that;
We have an empirical experience of something which is beyond the world of the senses\transecendent.
We can conclude that this is a direct experience of "God"
Therefore God exists.
This is similar in logic to the cosmological argument, in that it relies on inductive reasoning. Here, the individual has inferred God, often specifically a God of classical theology, when it may not have been necessary.
People who argue the case for religious experience cite that it is self-authenticating for the individual, that religious expereince is empirical, that perhaps the majority of faithful people become so due to a direct religious experience, and that religious experience is direct and requires no intellect or reasoning. Finally, as Swinburne says, we should accept our own experience as valid unless we have reasonable cause to question it.
Still, the argument has a wide range of strengths and weaknesses, but the argument cannot in fact, be disproved, though some may argue that the religious experience argument does not show that God probably exists;
Firstly, that there are problems defining religious experiences to begin with, and that their characteristics, are largely quite arbitrary in critera and often unique.
Secondly, religious experience is, by nature, subjective, and that there are a variety of non-religious explanations. In the case of Teresa of Avilla for example, who experienced in a dream an Angel of the Lord thrusting the Spear of Longinus into her chest, she had been said to be fasting at the time, which could have explained the dream as a hallucination to begin with.
There are myriad explanations for all kinds of religious experiences overall, such as mild temporal lobe epilepsy, drug-induced hallucinations, delusions, or simple, straightforward lying.
Also, the very existence of religious experience also begs the question; "Why is religious experience not available to everyone?" and why do members of different sects and religions have conflicting, even contradictory experiences?
There is of course, no reason to infer god from the experiences, despite inclination, due to the amount of other explanations.
Finally, religious experience is empirical, and hence, since they differ from ordinary expereince, we should require stronger evidence to validate it than we would everyday empirical experiences.
But how successful are scientific explanationsin challenging the validity of the religious experience?
Science has made an effort to challenge the validity of the religious experience argument. For example, scientists such as V. Ramachandran have argued that religious experiences are caused by stimulation of the temporal lobes of the brain, which in turn lead to feelings of euphoria and unity with the universe, when signals are sent to the medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate, which are important brain regions for accessing a sense of self.
This information was gathered via CAT scans of people with and without temporal lobe epilepsy, to see how they responded to words relating to religion. It was also concluded that those with temporal lobe epilepsy were more attuned to religious thinking than those without.
Many scientists and some theologians have also dismissed Seventh Day Adventist founder Ellen White's testimonies of religious experience, with evidence that she had experienced intense blunt trauma to the head at an early age, which caused damage to the temporal lobes, causing epilepsy.
Leading psychologist Michael Persinger designed a device to stimulate the temporal lobes, - The eponymous Persinger's Helmet. This device led a wide sample of people to claim to have had religious, spiritual or just unusual experiences when they had worn it, ( a high percentage receiving a "sensed presence") adding much credence to the idea that religious experiences are a naturally occurring neurological phenomenon, rather than a divine event.
Andrew Newberg studied the neurological conditions of those who meditate intensely, as they were doing so, and concluded that after intense meditation, which could be said to be a form of religious experience, parts of the brain relation to time, space, and self were shut down, leading the subject to assume they had experienced God, when instead they had undergone a purely neurological change.
I do not believe that science has, or indeed could, fully dismissed the idea of religious experience, but it has certainly helped to explain the physical effects that take place at the same time. Since it is undoubtedly a symbiotic relationship, it could be said that brain activity is causing the subject to experience God, but it could also be said that the unusual neurological conditions are a means, or a side-effect of God's own chosen means of communication. That is to say, that the religious experience is causing the seizure, rather than the seizure is causing the delusion of a religious experience. In keeping with Ockham's Razor, however, I would be inclined to argue the latter.
[Note to the reader - GillMN, Cutecandy, GentleGenius, anwar7 and a couple of other dooyoo members were, simply, unconvinced with some, perhaps even most, of the conclusions I came to, in my previous review, on this subject matter.
Before I forget to do it, I want to, publicly, thank them for their honesty. I appreciate it so much! After having read their comments, I decided to, carefully, re-read my review, and I came to the very same conclusions they did.
First I thought . . . I will, simply, edit my review in order to remove that which is incorrect and superfluous and add what seems to be lacking, which I, subsequently, did.
The thing is, I was still not happy with the review, at all . . . In the end, I decided to rewrite the entire review, I think, because other ideas began to take shape in my mind as I was mulling the subject matter, which is a very complicated one, over and over and over in my mind. The review which follows, below, is the end result of this, above mentioned, process. I trust that it will make more sense to you than my first attempt. Mayan Viljoen]
--- Introduction ---
My dear dooyoo friends . . . If you are not already familiar with it, I ask you kindly to read the disclaimer I have written, especially, for reviews of this nature, before you proceed, any further, in reading this, specific, review. The disclaimer can be found in the first 2 paragraphs of my review "On the road from Nightmare to Blessing".
Please take note! . . . This is a lengthy review.
--- The source material ---
As I was wrestling with this subject matter, I turned, once again, to the passage in B'reshit (Genesis) 4:1-8. I read and re-read this passage, several times, and became more and more convinced that some of the answers (at least), with regard to this issue of religion, can be found right here. For the sake of convenience I decided to type the passage out, exactly as it is found in The Bible.
And Adam knew (my insert: "knew" - An ancient Hebrew way of saying . . . "had sexual intercourse with . . .") Chavah (Eve) his wife, and she conceived and bore Qayin (Cain), and said, "I have gained a man from YHVH." (my insert: YHVH - the 4 Hebrew letters, making up the Personal Name of The Almighty)
2 And again, she gave birth to his brother Hevel (Abel). And Hevel became a keeper of sheep, but Qayin became a tiller of the ground.
3 And it came to be, in the course of time that Qayin brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to YHVH.
4 And Hevel also brought (my insert: an offering, by implication) of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And YHVH looked to (my insert: accepted) Hevel and his offering,
5 But He did not look to Qayin and his offering. And Qayin was very wroth and his face fell (my insert: "his face fell" = his face was downcast).
6 And YHVH said to Qayin, "Why are you wroth, and why is your face fallen?
7 If you do well, is there not acceptance? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you should master it.
8 And Qayin told Hevel his brother. And it came to be when they were in the field that Qayin rose up against Hevel his brother and killed him.
[Passage was drawn from the Bible translation called . . . "The Scriptures",
Published & distributed by Institute For Scripture Research (Pty) Ltd, P.O. Box 1830, Northriding, 2162, South Africa.
Internet Web Page: http://www.messianic.co.za
Let us now begin to analyse this passage of Set-apart Scripture, with regard to our subject matter, by first looking for that which is written "on the lines" (i.e., that which is, obviously, there).
We see that both the brothers have a desire to worship (express their thankfulness to . . .) Elohim (God) and that both of them, subsequently, do just that.
We see that the Almighty One (blessed be He) accepts Hevel's sacrifice (or system or religion of worship), but that, for some or other reason, He rejects Qayin's worship of Him.
We see that, as a result of the above occurrence, Qayin, eventually, becomes wroth to the extent that he overcomes and murders his brother.
To summarise this section, we can say . . . Here we have two systems of worship (or religions). One is accepted by the Creator and one is rejected by Him. I am going to call the former true worship and the latter false worship or, simply, religion.
--- Some destinations of religion ---
I specifically, equate Qayin's worship, and not his brother's, with modern day religion, because I recognize a couple of strikingly familiar similarities between where Qayin, eventually, ended up (verse 8, above) and some noticeable characteristics of a few religions of our time. Let us name a couple of these by name.
The end result of Qayin's worship is murder. History tells us that physical murder was one of the overriding"activities", if you like, of the Christian Church, for centuries on end. I am so sorry to disillusion you, if you did not know this, but it is a well known fact and very easy to prove, today.
In the above account we see that Qayin became very angry when he saw that Elohim (blessed be He) rejected his, particular, brand of worship. Anger and hatred towards the Jews, first & foremost, but also against any entity, whosoever, who dares to support the Jews (financially, militarily or otherwise) are, very distinguishable and visible characteristics of the religion of Islam, today.
If you read the above account a little further, you will, soon discover, yet another by product, so to speak, of Cain's religion, which is total indifference towards the murder he has just committed. Elohim asks him where his brother, Hevel, is. We do not see any indifference in the first part of his answer, i.e. "I do not know", even though it is, of course, a blatant lie. He finds it necessary, however, to add a second part, i.e. "Am I my brother's keeper?", to the first. It is right here where we notice the indifference. [B'reshit 4:9(b)]
Indifference is nothing new to modern day religions. The Al Qaydah leadership could care less about how many people died during the 9/11 attacks in Manhatten, New York, in their relentless pursuit of the, supposed, goals of the Islamic religion. If we continue in this vain, I am sure we will find more similarities than these.
--- The core issue ---
Are you thinking what I am thinking at this point? If we can only find out WHY Elohim (blessed be He) rejected Qayin's sacrifice (worship), we will be able to identify at least one (perhaps more), major, distinguishing
characteristic of religion, which is, really, my objective with this review.
In this, we do, however, have a problem. The critical words of verse 7, above, i.e. "Ha-lo im taytiv s'et . . .", meaning . . . "Will you not be accepted if you do well? simply does not give us enough information to discover, with any certainty, at all, WHY Elohim rejected Qayin's particular brand of worship.
Even though we can agree that we can not know the reason, for sure, from the text, there is nothing to stop us from speculating about it, and this is what I would like to do here, with your permission. This is exactly what scriptural commentators do in cases like these. Why can't we do it? What makes them so special?
There are several different opinions amongst scholars about why Elohim rejected Qayin's religion, but the one that still makes the most sense to me is the one that suggests that the latter's heart attitude towards his Creator was not right. You see, the Creator of the Universe has a unique ability to look deep into the hearts of human beings. He sees everything!
What did He see when He regarded Qayin's worship? Did He perhaps detect Qayin just going through the motions? Did he see resentment in that worship, or was it something totally different? I am as convinced as I can be that heart attitude lies at the very core of this issue. The fact that Elohim does not provide us with enough information to identify Qayin's specific heart attitude, toward Him, from the text, should, perhaps, tell us that this is not critical for us to know.
--- A closer look at the difference between Qayin and Hevel's religions ---
What was the critical difference between the religions of Qayin & Hevel, and for that matter, between true and false worship today? I have suggested, above, that it was, and is, to this day, primarily, a difference in heart attitude.
Hevel wanted to please Elohim (blessed be He) with everything in Him; with his whole being and no one knew this better than Elohim Himself. Hevel understood, exactly, whom he was worshipping, that it was the King of the Universe, the Creator of everything that is. Hevel feared the Almighty One and fully understood that the former would be satisfied with nothing less than the very best he could give.
He selected an offering . . .
". . . of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat." [verse 4(b) of our passage, above]
These words suggest to me that Hevel took meticulous care, in selecting the very best lamb or sheep in his flock for his offering to Elohim. He took the time, he made the effort and his entire being was utterly sold for the object of his devotion and worship.
Qayin must have thought . . . "What a nuisance is this now? Can Elohim not see that I am busy earning a living here? Oh well, if it must be, it must be . . . Let me see where I can squeeze a moment out of my busy schedule to concoct some kind of sacrifice to offer up to Him, just to keep Him satisfied." Perhaps he even thought . . . "Who will really know that my sacrifice is, in any way, different from the one that crazy brother of mine is preparing? What an idiot he is, going to all that trouble for an unseen God, who might, very likely, not even notice it, never mind reward him."
Oh my goodness . . . How familiar does this, suddenly, sound? I remember days when this is exactly how I felt about the Elohim of the Bible, and the thing is . . . If we are not deadly serious about our relationship with our Elohim and are not working out our salvation with fear and trembling before Him [Phil 2:12(b)], on a continual basis, this kind of attitude, not only can, but certainly will make a comeback in our lives. The latter will, often, happen without us even being aware of it, before it, of course, becomes blatantly obvious. I say the latter out of bitter experience.
Once I used to be quite content with Qayin's kind of religion. These were days in which I cried out to Him . . . "Oh my Elohim, don't you see my worship? Why do you then withhold Your blessing from me?" Today I only understand, too well, why He avoided me. I don't, ever, want the separation from Elohim, which Qayin's religion causes, back in my life, again, not even for all the money in the world.
Today my only desire is that my religion, will be pure and pleasing to The One (blessed be He) who gave me life and everything good with it. I desire only Hevel's pure worship in my life.
--- Some conclusions ---
Even though we can not say, for sure, what it was which offended Elohim to such an extent that He rejectedQayin's religion, we can conclude, with a fair amount of certainty, that the most the latter was willing to offer up
to Him, was his second best.
If we learn nothing else from His Word, may it be that we will learn this lesson. The Elohim of The Scriptures (The Bible) is NOT, and will never be, the "left over" or "spare time" Elohim that Qayin wanted to reduce Him to,
and neither will He, ever, accept this kind of worship from us. This is the clear message of B'reshit 4:1-8.
He is the Almighty King of the Universe! Sometimes we can forget just how BIG He is . . . He stands completely outside of the Universe He created . . . a universe scientists, from all over the world, now agree, to
be millions upon millions of light years wide. In this entire span of the universe only the most powerful of telescopes in the world, like the Hubble, are able to find the planet on which we live, and this only, if the
telescope in question is pointed in exactly the right direction.
A light year, for those of you who have never heard of this concept, is the distance light travels in one year. Light travels in the region of 300,000 km's p/s (per second). Only the light year can be employed to measure
any kind of distance in Elohim's universe . . . to even think in terms of km's is a laughable matter.
In this unimaginable large universe there are hundreds of thousands of galaxies, each of them containing, among other heavenly bodies, billions among billions of stars. This is what is written in His Word, in T'hilim
(Psalm) 147:4 . . .
"He appoints the number of the stars and gives names to all of them."
Sure, you can take all the time you need to consider what you have, just, read . . . and then we can move on.
--- . . . But there is even more ---
What, on earth, is that, you may ask? Well, even though Elohim accepts only one of the two religions (i.e., that of Hevel), He is, clearly in total command of both. In fact, it is not a stretch to say that He sees this domain of religion as His property, so to speak. The latter being the case, there is, yet, another very important twist in this tale . . .
What is it? There is not even the slightest suggestion, anywhere in our text, above, that Qayin was ordered by anyone, at all, to bring a sacrifice to Almighty Elohim. There is nothing in the text to suggest that he did not
have every freedom in the world to say . . . "Blow this God, all that He is, all that He stands for and all that He, supposedly, wants from me, in this world."
Conclusion . . . Elohim did not involve Himself with Qayin . . . Qayin involved Himself with Elohim; morespecifically, he involved himself with that which pertains to the latter, i.e. religion.
Dear friends, I want to suggest to you that exactly the same thing happens today. People involve themselves with Elohim, all the time. I will quickly prove this to you. Where does the word "Armageddon" (Heb. - Har Megiddo = the Mountain of Megiddo) come from? Answer: It comes from the book of Revelation. Revelation is the last book of His Bible.
If man now produces a movie with the title "Armageddon", the former has, clearly, involved himself in Elohim's domain. Elohim has now got every right (Not that He needs to earn the right to involve Himself in any aspect of His creation, but He may choose to do it this way) to involve Himself in any aspect, whatsoever, of this movie.
After Qayin involved himself in Elohim's domain of worship, got it wrong, and was judged for it, the latter (having known, already, ages ago what, exactly, Qayin was busy planning in his mind) gave him some good
advice, i.e. . . .
". . . sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you should master it." [verse 7(b)]
When people involve themselves in His domain of religion, today, He, likewise, gives them some good advice,perhaps something like the following . . .
"I am now involved in your life, because you have been playing around with religion, which is My domain. Religion is very explosive stuff! Please stop, right away, to dabble around in it and rather learn what is
acceptable worship of me, or I will judge your religion to such an extent that you will feel it! (With regard to the latter, see Revelation 3:15-18)
If you are not interested in Me or that which pertains to me, I do not know why you involved yourself in My domain in the first place. Please make haste to completely sever any ties you have with that which clearly belongs to me. In this way neither of us will be confused as to where we stand with one another."
--- Final conclusion ---
If we want the Elohim of The Scriptures to bless us in our lives, we will have to learn (preferably as soon as possible) to serve him as Hevel did. If we don't, He will certainly judge our religion, just like He did Qayin's.
Those who don't want anything to do with Him, will have to make sure that they don't involve themselves with something He, obviously, views as His domain. If they get this right, He will very likely also leave them alone.
If they, however, don't get it right, they will, in effect, grant Him the permission to have a say in their lives, which He might or might not accept.
Thank you so much for having taken the time to read this review through. I trust that you have benefitted from it, somewhat.
In this op I will attempt to highlight and assess the core principles of Act and Rule Utilitarianism. I did want to place this article in a topic of its own, but the Dooyoo team told me to put it here for some reason. Anyway, here goes;
Until the 18th Century, Christian responses to moral issues formed the basis of moral philosophy in Western Europe. Then, coinciding with industrial and scientific revolution in the 1750s came The Enlightenment, which of course entailed the rejection of traditional authorities such as the bible, church leaders, and particularly in France, even the monarchy. Science became the new authority on morality, founded on the idea that;
"Nature can be understood, and predicted by scientific laws."
-Sir Isaac Newton
This period established a staunch belief in the power of Human Reason alone, and a subsequent rise in atheism and humanism. People started to believe in the power of humans to control their own destiny, and that Christianity, particularly ideas of God and the afterlife merely obstructed human spiritual and moral progression. With the implications that this new outlook provides, 'If there is no God, then who\what decides what is right or wrong? Is morality entirely arbitrary?' It should come as no surprise that around this time came the emergence of Utilitarianism.
Classical Utilitarianism, or Act Utilitarianism is a non-dogmatic, atheistic and teleological ethical belief system devised in the late 18th Century by jurist, philosopher and social reformer Jeremy Bentham. An entirely consequentialist moral philosophy, Utilitarianism is concerned chiefly with one core value; Greatest happiness, for greatest number. Act Utilitarianism attempts to achieve this, by relying on a mathematical formula which Bentham named The Hedonic Calculus. This formula supposedly calculates whether or not one should take an action, based on numerical values relating to the happiness that people the World over would experience consequentially. For example, were I to attempt to answer the question 'Should I get out of bed today?' employing only Utilitarian method. I would have to weigh up all the pros and cons that saying 'Yes' or 'No' would entail, relating to my own happiness, and the happiness of all other people my presence would affect that day, I would do this with a series of simple equations with categories of happiness such as duration, intensity propinquity, certainty, richness, extent and purity.
Act Utilitarianism concerns itself with virtues of consequence of actions, and considers original motivation for actions, or adherence to deontological absolutes completely irrelevant. Laws are irrelevant, Religious tradition or imperatives are irrelevant. There are no absolutes. There is only the Hedonic Calculus. The ends must justify the means.
Naturally, this relativist philosophy has its weaknesses. For example, gang-rape is completely justifiable under Classical Utilitarianism, since it provides greatest happiness for the greatest number of people, and victimization of the minority is not important by comparison. Also, there is of course the problem that consequentalism is near-impossible to abide by in this way, since we cannot know the outcomes of our actions with any real certainty, that is to say, we can only predict and estimate, we cannot know the future. 18th century Idealist philosopher David Hume points out that although we may be able to predict the effects of our actions in immediacy, surely every action results in an infinite chain of reactions, and future events that we cannot possibly predict. Judgement like this is always entirely subjective too, and relies entirely on predictive value and of course there is difficulty deciding what justifies pleasure. Think of people who avoid pleasure of food in order to retain their health, and ultimately extend their lives. Long-term results are frequently overlooked with this particular scientific method.
Nonetheless, Bentham's Utilitarianism is at least based upon reason alone, and is certainly one of very few practical responses to moral decision-making. Bentham was certainly a pragmatist, and had no time for metaphysics or epistemology. He spent his life looking for practical solutions to social and economic problems in the newly industrialized Europe, and arguing for changes in the way society treated women, animals, the poor and homosexuals - all based on Utilitarian principles rich in rationale, rather than intuitions, emotions, or divine commands. One must also note that this is a useful response toward difficult moral decisions that cannot always produce happiness. Dilemmas involving operations, drugs, transplants etc. aren't always so straightforward, and often Doctors must make huge decisions pertaining to who is worth treating. American health institutions today operate on Utilitarian principles, - Doctors use a system with the acronym moniker QUALYS, that is 'Quality Adjusted Life Year Schedules,' a simple calculation of #Quality of Life (numerical value)# x #Years likely to live.# (numerical value.) So let's not be so hasty to reject Bentham's philosophy without first examining his legacy.
As you may have expected, Act Utilitarianism was criticised by English philosopher John Stuart Mill, who felt that whilst this approach was sufficiently pragmatic for institutional economics like budgets for prisons and hospitals, it was too reductive. This quantitative approach was unrealistic for Mill, who, among other criticisms, felt that such mathematical reliance on actions was ultimately depressing, and not worthy to be used in everyday life. As a result, a new form of Utilitarianism was born, Rule Utilitarianism.
Still attracted to Utilitarian ideals, but critical as his profession and reputation would suggest ,John Stuart Mill suggested three modifications to Bentham's theory.
Firstly, emphasis on pleasure should be changed from Quality to Quantity. Mill felt that intellectual pleasures are far higher in virtue than immediate physical ones. Pleasures of the mind, spiritual pleasures, are higher than base pleasures of the body. For example, reading poetry is always a better pursuit than eating a delicious cake.
Obviously, the two are linked, for it is unlikely that intellectual pursuits can be attained if you are cold and hungry, but, following the meeting of some base survivalist requirements, Mill feels that there is a clear distinction in high and low pleasures, and that higher ones are to be preferred. He acknowledged also, that some people inevitably choose lower pleasures, but this is only due to weakness of character, and lack of practise.
'It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig, satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied, than a fool, satisfied.'
This does serve to overcome difficulties involving justification of 10 sadists torturing one victim to maximize pleasures. It rejects this example on the grounds that such base physical pleasures are simply of lower priority than higher pleasures of compassion, respect, and training to overcome one's tendencies to only indulge in base, ego-hedonistic and carnal pursuits.
Nonetheless, it can be difficult to distinguish between higher and lower pleasures, says Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) who feels that life is more complex, and for every activity, physical or intellectual is for everyone qualitatively and quantitatively different, and that 'higher pleasures' are merely an arbitrary result of societal conditioning. Sidgwick is critical of such intellectual snobbery, but I digress;
Secondly, Mill suggested a positive place for rules within an overall Utilitarian approach, using the example of lying in order to gain advantage. He argues that society requires the principle or rule of truthfulness, otherwise trust would be impossible. Therefore truth as a rule is a general means of securing greatest happiness for greatest number (Principle of Utility) in the long-term. This application of moral absolutes has led Mill's Rule Utilitarianism to come under some criticism, and comparison to Christian deontological absolutism. It has since also acquired the name "Soft Utilitarianism" by some who have suggested that by introducing arbitrary general rules, Mill has inadvertently endeavoured to abandon the central feature of Classical Utilitarianism, that is, its relativism and lack of absolutes.
Finally, Mill deals with the fact that agapé [Selfless love and self-sacrifice\altruistic action] is impossible within the boundaries of Bentham's Act Utilitarianism, by pointing out that Christ's teaching of "love your neighbour as yourself" is 'the ideal perfection of Utilitarian morality.' He also argues that self-sacrifice can in some scenarios lead to the general happiness of humanity.
Mill seems far too optimistic about the power of human reason itself, and rational Utilitarianism's capacity to overcome all socio-economic and moral problems;
"Most of the great positive evils of the world are themselves removable, and will, if human affairs continue to improve, be in the end reduced within narrow limits. Poverty my be completely extinguished by the wisdom of society, combined with the good sense of individuals, even disease may be indefinitely reduced in dimensions by good physical and moral education - All the grand sources of human suffering are, in a great degree, almost entirely conquerable by human care and effort ."
Here, Mill illustrates that Utilitarianism serves to overlook real weakness and even evil that is irrefutably present in human nature. Within a century of these comments and ideals' purveyance, the World would see two horrific World Wars, and immense global poverty, and disease. Not only is Utilitarianism arbitrary (Is happiness even what people want? What is pleasure anyway?) it stems entirely from ethical intuitionism, and remains perpetually unable to acknowledge even its own groundlessness.
Hope this was helpful. Thanks for reading :)
What is religion? Religion is faith. Religion is belief. Religion is opinion.
How many religions in the world? Well according to a quick wiki-google search, there may be 20 main religions, tens of thousands of sub strands of these main ones, not to mention the thousands of minor religions. To take the 20 main, which will capture the large proportion of the worldwide religious population. Religion 'A' does not coincide with Religion 'B'. Religion 'C' is in direct conflict with Religion 'D' etc etc.
All these religions must have started somewhere. If we had time travel and could look far enough back, it must be possible to ascertain how a religion became. Originally, and I mean right at the very very beginning, 1 person must have had an opinion. They share it with another. If that person concurs, they too will share that opinion. If they believe it strongly enough they will even raise their children in concordance with that belief. Over time the belief spreads, opinion becomes aligned and yesterdays opinion is today's belief is tomorrow's faith.
We are not born religious. A baby is a blank canvas, unable to compute or decide what direction their life may lay. The originators of religion must have discovered their opinions on their own. Is it therefore fair to expect today's population to not discover on their own?
Do I agree with religion? No.
Do I have a problem with religion. No.
Religion is opinion, and everyone is entitled to opinion. It is a charactistic of having a human brain capable of creating opinion. When those try to enforce their opinions and beliefs on others - that's when it becomes intrusive. Nobody will argue against the frustration experienced from the door to door canvassers of various religions. At least at my age I can defend myself, reason and argue my beliefs (and send them packing if they get too forceful). Is there any essential difference by indoctrinating a baby or child into a religion they haven't chosen for themselves? Does a parent have the right to inflict their beliefs on to their child? It's a question that although I have my own opinion on (I think each individual should be able to discover for themselves), I do not know if it correct, as I raise my children according to what I believe is right or wrong - is there essentially any difference between THAT? These are fine lines that are being drawn, and of course there is no right and wrong. Only opinion.
In theory there should be 6 billion religions, not 20. One for each person on the planet. I guess some opinions are deemed better than others.
So why are people religious? Because they ultimately believe in that original opinion.
What do they get out of religion, (aside a deemed better school place; don't get me started on that)? I guess, not being religious that people get a degree of comfort, reassurance, explanation. But that is not for me to say.
Why am I not religious? For me being religious is believing in an overriding, greater power/being/force. For me that suggests that I am not in control of my life, that things are preset, and that whatever I do is to an extent governed by this greater presence. For the same reason I don't believe in fate and destiny, I like the idea that my life is in my control. As much it can be anyway.
I was brought up by a Mum and Dad who believed in Christian values. Although my Dad did not go to church my Mum did, and it wasn't long before I was enrolled at the Church Nursery and Sunday School. Each night my mum would stand by me as I said my prayers. I even joined the Church Choir - but to be honest that was only because I wanted 'sweetie' money. Shortly afterwards I would go to a Church School, who were responsible for me joining a Bible Club and swearing my life as a Christian.
So where does that leave me today? What memories do I have of those years? Well to be honest I can't remember much of nursery but I do remember Sunday School, especially all the games we used to play. I also remember the lessons and prayers we had. At that age it was all about the Ten Commandments etc and how to be good to people. Although this comes up under 'religion' it really should be values that we all hold anyway. No matter the colour, age, religion we have. It is what holds society together. In my senior school I feel that I was 'somewhat' brain washed into the church way of life. I was 'forced' (I'm sure there is a better word) to commit my life to Christ. Become a Christian and go to chapel In this same chapel, there were things that went on that I'd rather forget. Thankfully not to me. It was an all boys school, and I'll leave it at that!!
My wife also went to a Church School, but we never met through the Church. In fact it was actually at the football match. We both got married in a church. Our children have been christened at church. But we are not church goers. In fact I am really confused as to whether I am religious or not. When times are tough I find myself praying (usually at my Nans grave) but I don't think deep down I believe she can hear me. It just comforts me a bit. Strange I know. I haven't forced the religious route onto my children. If they see the 'light' that is upto them. What does matter to me though is that they grow up to be good people, and hold values. Too many people who call themselves religious, and believe in their God, have no values at all. They aren't good people. They use their hatred in the name of religion and that can never be right.
I'll still have my private prayers from time to time. But instead of going to church I believe in being good to others. I'm not an angel but I do believe in right and wrong, and whether that came from my Church years or the values passed on from my lovely Mum and Dad, I'm really not sure. My children will (and are) being taught right from wrong. I don't say prayers with them. I don't take them to church. But they are good children. Just going to Church, doesn't make you good!!
NO 'man upstairs'My wee sister, the youngest child of our family, has now been told that their is nothing more the doctors can do for her. She has a brain tumor which is cancerous. the most agressive one at that too. she's had so many operations ive lost count and is far to tired and poorly to do anything. this all start last decemeber 08. its now august 09 and the only thing that is keeping her alive is her medicine. doctors cant even seem to get that right!I haven't believed in 'the man upstairs' since i was 8, due to my own reasons.What has happened to my family and my bofriends family over the last few years has confirmed that i am right. Their is no 'God'. No one looks out for us in this life! Don't be fooled people.
I think my first experience of organised religion was around the age of ten, when I first stayed overnight round my friend Hugo's house. I knew his parents were devout Catholics, but at that age I barely knew what it was. Most of the day would be spend swinging on a rope over the river by his house, or winding up his sisters, playing with the dog, anything to keep us amused. There was no Grace at the supper-table, but at night we'd go to bed in his two bunks and one of his parents would come to us and read a prayer, or two, and kiss us both good-night.
I am of course not hinting anything derogatory by this, both his parents were friends of the family and we often went on skiing trips to Europe with them, I knew them both very well, and knew they had my best interests at heart. Every time I stayed over at his house I would await one of his parents to come in to continue the routine that they had done at previous visits. They would, of course, like clockwork enter the room, read the prayer, I would stifle smiles, and respectfully repeat 'Amen' when they had finished, being the friend I was, never mentioned anything.
Our school was sat in the North of Essex, and often our school would participate in Away games of sport in other schools. One school, however, would insist that grace was read systematically by every pupil before food. The loud drone of children's voices murmuring the prayer grudgingly was enough to put me off from saying it, and of course as a different school we were not expected to. But either way, we just wanted to eat, nothing more.
At secondary school, I became much more vocal in my abstinence from the organised religion that my new establishment was forcing upon me. I say forcing upon me very loosely.
They didn't force religion down our throats, and it was only once a week. Yet the Chaplain would be very vocal in his displeasure when no-one said 'Amen', often asking us to repeat the word, or even the entire prayer in full. Prayer would be the time for cracking jokes and talking to our friends. Of course, none of us cared. The majority of the school from the age of fourteen onwards was into getting drunk, smoking drugs, and meeting girls. The thought of prayer meant nothing.