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Yes to God, No to Religion?
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Blake2 Away
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Post: #1
Information Yes to God, No to Religion?
There are quite a few threads discussing atheism, christianity, islam, etc.

But, I have yet to see this opinion well discussed: All religions have value. Read the Buddhist teachings, the Christian Bible, the Muslim Koran, the Jewish Talmud, etc.

They all have good things to say (along with some things that don't always make sense).

These books were all written as a collection of wisdom from hundreds of generations and multiple authors.

Perhaps there is something called God that does order the universe or make some sense. After all, why does the universe exist instead of nothingness?

But why not just pray at home, read religious texts, meditate, and lead a good life?

All the organized churches I know seem to corrupt the message rather than bring any clarity.

For every true believer I see in a church or mosque or temple, there are dozens of people who are drawn to religion to 1) make money, 2) show off to others, 3) gain "followers", 4) diddle kids, 5) gain political/social status.

Note, this isn't meant to insult those who find meaning in religion... but I personally only found disillusionment in organizations.

May God bless you all and deepen your knowledge of him.

A man should never be ashamed to own that he is wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
-Alexander Pope
(This post was last modified: 02-03-2020 03:43 PM by Blake2.)
02-03-2020 03:42 PM
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Roosh Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
This sounds like garden variety agnosticism with a touch of secular humanism. In other words, blasphemy.

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02-03-2020 03:54 PM
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Blake2 Away
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
(02-03-2020 03:54 PM)Roosh Wrote:  This sounds like garden variety agnosticism with a touch of secular humanism. In other words, blasphemy.

Roosh, thank you for replying.
How did you choose your religion?

I went to a mosque with a coworker last summer. The sermon and the people seemed good enough but everyone was very focused on the ritual and on obscure text passages. Immediately after the service, many people rudely cut in line at the food shop in the compound.

I went to an evangelical church this past weekend. The people were warm and friendly, but everything seemed too casual. They listened to Christian rock music and prayed, but the feeling I got was a superficial social gathering.

I went to some other churches, but they were full of old people who chanted. Unfortunately, they failed to pass the message on and that church will die from old age in a couple of decades.


I wonder where the people who truly believe and practice what they preach are?

A man should never be ashamed to own that he is wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
-Alexander Pope
(This post was last modified: 02-03-2020 04:10 PM by Blake2.)
02-03-2020 04:07 PM
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NoMoreTO Offline
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
Without being rooted in anything firm, your belief in God is whatever you like it to be, or gets swept up with the times to be whatever others want it to be.

I saw this in Colombia, with the current generation. Just about everyone believed in God (except Marxists), but about half of those people just made God whatever they wanted, made God represent whatever they thought was good. Separated from the Church & Jesus Christ.

So when people say to me they 'just don't like Rel-i--gion'. To me that means they have a sticking point with the rules, or they want to be faithful, but in a way that suits their own tastes and doesn't conform to any concrete Truth.

For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Rom 1:22
(This post was last modified: 02-03-2020 04:40 PM by NoMoreTO.)
02-03-2020 04:16 PM
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debeguiled Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
@Blake2

God knows very well that organized religion has turned many away from him.

You may not ever join a church, or your current feelings might only last for a season. Certainly, exploring different traditions, praying, meditating, trying to be good, these practices will put you ahead of many nominal Christians, and are not to be discouraged.

You seem sincere and well intentioned, and positive qualities like these are not to be dismissed out of hand, and you can bet that God notices them.

Just as being spiritual/not religious has its flaws, so does dogmatic legalism.

I think that if you kept doing what you were doing and added a periodic prayer to God that he show you the truth, you will be okay.

Quote:May God bless you all and deepen your knowledge of him.

Same to you bud, that was a nice blessing.

“That sig BTW is a very asinine anti-family anti-parent quote. You live in a country where 40% of children grow up without a biological father, yet somehow “the greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents”? Sorry but this is fruity Boomer nonsense.”

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02-03-2020 04:40 PM
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Post: #6
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
When I read the Bible I truly feel the message makes sense.
For example, I have gotten something similar to this from the Bible:

[Image: ebd372379de6db5f1f4b7500e16b2f5c.png]


There are a lot of undeniable truths to be learned from the Bible and it can be phrased in many ways.

Psalms 37:29 TPT
The faithful lovers of God will inherit the earth and enjoy every promise of God’s care, dwelling in peace forever.

A man should never be ashamed to own that he is wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
-Alexander Pope
(This post was last modified: 02-03-2020 05:06 PM by Blake2.)
02-03-2020 05:04 PM
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Rush87 Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
I think there are a lot of fake Christians existing in today's climate. It's 2020's version of being punk, or worse yet - A way to profiteer; Not too dissimilar from the fake priests who preach values explicitly condemned in the bible.

Most religions, including a strong majority of Christian denominations have been corrupted to the point where they're filled with lecherous conmen at the top and a strong sprinkling of useful idiots preaching from the bottom. This leads to personal interpretations being preached to spread personal ideology at best and insidious lies at worst.

I've been a Catholic my entire life - I'm strongly discontent with as you put it "The organisations" but have never stopped being an avowed Christian. The reason however, you cannot say 'Yes to God, and No to religion' is that by doing so, you're playing God. You're ultimately deciding what is and is not moral, which will be marred by your own inherent vices.

I follow the words of the bible but I do not attend organised mass, which in my lifetime has grown more and more diluted with sermons run by low iq, third world priests or blasphemous men interpreting the words of the bible to suit their own interests.
(This post was last modified: 02-03-2020 05:36 PM by Rush87.)
02-03-2020 05:35 PM
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HermeticAlly Offline
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
Blake2, the problem is that you're looking at religion from a purely utilitarian perspective.

While a good system for moral behavior is an important part of religion, it pales compared to the bigger questions of whether it's actually true, and whether the religion in question can deal with questions of death and evil. These are the biggest problems facing the human race, and always have been. Another significant question is how we can understand God, and what our relationship to God is. A purely ethical system is useless in dealing with these.

Christianity is absolutely worthless if it isn't actually true, but of infinite value if it is. Christianity deals with sin, death, eternal life, and how we can know and relate to God more than any other religion. There is valuable insight into the human condition and aspects of spiritual problems addressed by other religions (for example, Hinduism tries to deal with suffering by teaching that peace is found with the obliteration of one's individuality and joining a universal consciousness, even though if we're honest, just about everyone finds the idea grim and unsatsifying) but they only offer bits and pieces.

Yes, there are a lot of huckster churches and ministries out there. I would encourage you to keep searching, and seek God and a relationship with him rather than pursuit of a useful moral system.
(This post was last modified: 02-03-2020 06:00 PM by HermeticAlly.)
02-03-2020 05:58 PM
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Rob Banks Offline
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
(02-03-2020 05:58 PM)HermeticAlly Wrote:  ...
Christianity is absolutely worthless if it isn't actually true...

When you say this, do you mean that to be a Christian I have to believe that certain teachings (such as heaven and hell) are literally true?

I recently started going to church. I was not raised in the church. I plan on being baptized soon.

I have trouble believing, for example, that heaven and hell are literal physical places that we go to when we die. I have trouble believing that we remain conscious after death.

I tend to see heaven and hell as metaphorical concepts. For example, if you live a righteous and virtuous life, you are likely to be blessed with a beautiful family and many descendants. If a community has many virtuous people, it is likely to thrive and be successful. This is my concept of heaven. Same goes for hell only it's the opposite.

There are other Christian teachings which I view as metaphorical but nonetheless very useful and practical, and I believe society needs to follow these teachings in order to thrive and be successful and avoid degeneracy.

Is this wrong? Do I need to believe these things are literally true in order to be a Christian?

I am not trying to disrespect or contradict Christian beliefs in any way. This is legitimately something I struggle with in my conversion to Christianity, and I was hoping someone could clarify it for me.
(This post was last modified: 02-03-2020 08:20 PM by Rob Banks.)
02-03-2020 08:15 PM
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
(02-03-2020 08:15 PM)Rob Banks Wrote:  
(02-03-2020 05:58 PM)HermeticAlly Wrote:  ...
Christianity is absolutely worthless if it isn't actually true...

When you say this, do you mean that to be a Christian I have to believe that certain teachings (such as heaven and hell) are literally true?

I recently started going to church. I was not raised in the church. I plan on being baptized soon.

I have trouble believing, for example, that heaven and hell are literal physical places that we go to when we die. I have trouble believing that we remain conscious after death.

I tend to see heaven and hell as metaphorical concepts. For example, if you live a righteous and virtuous life, you are likely to be blessed with a beautiful family and many descendants. If a community has many virtuous people, it is likely to thrive and be successful. This is my concept of heaven. Same goes for hell only it's the opposite.

There are other Christian teachings which I view as metaphorical but nonetheless very useful and practical, and I believe society needs to follow these teachings in order to thrive and be successful and avoid degeneracy.

Is this wrong? Do I need to believe these things are literally true in order to be a Christian?

I am not trying to disrespect or contradict Christian beliefs in any way. This is legitimately something I struggle with in my conversion to Christianity, and I was hoping someone could clarify it for me.

Do you believe Jesus Christ was the son of God and God come in the flesh? CS Lewis noted that "All the most terrifying texts came from the mouth of Our Lord" (i.e. Jesus). Just as one example... Luke 13:1-9.
(This post was last modified: 02-03-2020 08:37 PM by Athanasius.)
02-03-2020 08:36 PM
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
Organized churches are organized groups of people. People are corrupt. Therefore, organized religion will be corrupt to some degree.

But here's the other side of it: You are corrupt too. You can't get around the fact that God commands church attendance and that the Scriptural assumption is always involvement in a church body. Sheep need shepherds. Here is what the Westminster Confession says about the matter (my emphasis): "The visible church, which is also catholic (that is, universal) under the gospel (that is, not confined to one nation, as it was before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world who profess the true religion, together with their children. It is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, outside of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation."
02-03-2020 08:58 PM
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Roosh Offline
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
(02-03-2020 08:15 PM)Rob Banks Wrote:  For example, if you live a righteous and virtuous life, you are likely to be blessed with a beautiful family and many descendants. If a community has many virtuous people, it is likely to thrive and be successful. This is my concept of heaven. Same goes for hell only it's the opposite.

This is the Jewish concept of heaven, hence it's more common in the Old Testament (and Joel Osteen sermons). Focus on the New Testament and the Desert Fathers.

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02-03-2020 10:20 PM
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Post: #13
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
Quote:Focus on the New Testament

This.

Jesus raised religion to a completely new standard with the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7.

Anything in the old testament that contradicts the Sermon on the Mount is invalid for us.
02-03-2020 11:38 PM
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Post: #14
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
I think individuals who are intrinsically spiritual, think about the meaning of life and are not easily indoctrinated will be more likely to stay away from organized religion. Because all religious organizations have men at the top who are Type A personalities. All the mega churches, mosques and temples have men who are charismatic speakers who can act ruthlessly in their power politics. It's the Steve Jobs effect.
02-03-2020 11:49 PM
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Post: #15
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
@Rob Banks
There are people who are not righteous but yet have prosperity, beautiful family and many descendants, there must be a spiritual retribution. There are righteous people who live short lives, lives of poverty and less prosperity, there must be a spiritual reward for the righteous. Human beings are both spiritual(Immaterial) and physical(Material), the physical came from the earth so when we die, our body decompose and return where it came from.

But the spirit returns where it came from, God, the immaterial world, "He breathed into his nostrils and man became a living being." As far as I know, you don't need to believe in any of this to be Christian, you just have to deeply confess your sins and wrong doings to God, be born again of the holy spirit and water and the spirit will guide you to the truth, chastise you and keep you in the path of righteousness.
02-04-2020 12:56 AM
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
↑ Just to be clear, I didn't mean to imply that prosperity and good fortune are somehow proof of righteousness and virtue (prosperity gospel).

I just really have trouble believing that we remain conscious after death, so therefore it is hard for me to believe that we can experience eternal bliss (heaven) or eternal suffering (hell).

It is easier for me to see heaven and hell as metaphorical, as I described above. Does this mean that every virtuous person will succeed in life and every sinner will be a failure? No. Just that you are more likely to succeed and have a truly fulfilling life if you are virtuous. And on a societal level, societies are more likely to succeed and prosper if they are made up of virtuous people.

Maybe I am missing something. Maybe it is possible for our soul or spirit to go to heaven or hell after death even if we are no longer conscious. That is something which is beyond my understanding.
02-04-2020 01:07 AM
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Post: #17
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
What you post Blake2 is the same how I see it and feel it... I was a devout christian in my early teens until I saw how corrupted the Vatican and the institute of the Catholic Church is. They don't practice what they preach and all the scandals of child abuse weren't helping either... So I lost my Catholic faith. And just like you I am a seeker and taking from other religions what I can use to make my own practice.

I'm not agnostic I consider myself a pantheist yet I'm probably a heretic in the eyes of devout Christians, so be it... But I do believe in God but not Yahweh/Yehovah/Allah/whatever...

But I also have to acknowledge I miss "something" that binds me with my fellow men. Even if the believers you saw in all the different houses of prayer weren't as devout as you hoped that house of prayer is something that binds them. It's what unites them, it's what makes them a group and that is something I miss. I don't have a group I'm just a solitary seeker...
02-04-2020 01:51 AM
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Post: #18
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
Yes to travel, no to maps?

God demands of Man responsibility. God demands of Woman vulnerability. These are their curse and blessing alike. Libertianism is to Man as Feminism is to Woman.
02-04-2020 03:22 AM
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Meliorare93 Offline
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
(02-04-2020 03:22 AM)Leonard D Neubache Wrote:  Yes to travel, no to maps?
I see it more as yes to travel, no to an outdated map which hasn't been updated to the current roads and traffic...

Feel free to disagree of course
02-04-2020 03:40 AM
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
I don't think you can truly separate the two, since the word "religion" literally means to "re-connect" - in this case, with God. Is there grace outside of the institution of the Church? Of course. Orthodox cosmology maintains that the energies of the Holy Spirit uphold and maintain all creation - there is literally not one space in the cosmos where God is not. This is not to be confused with a pantheistic system like Taoism or other New Age systems in which "everything is God," because that's not what I'm saying or how we see it; rather, it is that God is both transcendent AND immanent, above and beyond creation while also immediately accessible to it.

Approached properly, religion (by which I mean Orthodox Christianity in this case) helps us to get past the layers of things that are not aligned with God's will so we can better reveal and align our lives to it instead. It is to reconnect with who we are at the innermost core of our being, which is to move farther away from the fallen state and closer to the pre-fallen state of Adam and Eve. Eventually, if we make it to Heaven, we will surpass what Adam and Eve attained even in their highest state. So how do we get there? By obedience to God, humility before Him, honesty, asceticism, self-control, temperance, and the other traits and qualities that religion (again, approached properly) helps us to develop in our lives.

I completely acknowledge that from the outside, religion can look like we're trying to "earn God's favor" somehow by doing a bunch of rituals, kissing a bunch of pictures, crossing ourselves the right way, and singing the right prayers in the right order in the right tones on the right day. There are certainly people within the Church who take that attitude, though that isn't what Orthodoxy teaches at all and is essentially missing the entire point of *why* we're doing those things to begin with. We are not legalists, we are not Pharisees, we do not believe in salvation by works or that doing the right religious things earns you brownie points or merit badges with God. All of that, the focus of EVERYTHING we do, should be the transformation and transfiguration of the "inner man," to realign the three main powers of the soul to be less attached to earthly things and more focused on God and the Body of Christ.

If that isn't happening, then religious practices mean nothing - or worse than nothing, as they can build a prideful attitude that makes people think they're better than others because they know more about the rituals or perform them with more perfection. That's the exact opposite of what should be inculcated via participation in the Church, so when you ask "God or religion?" perhaps the answer is "how can I approach religion in the way that brings me closer to God?"

And the Bible answers that question very succinctly: "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27)

Jewish convert to Orthodox Christianity and best-selling author of "On The Masons And Their Lies."
(This post was last modified: 02-04-2020 04:07 AM by MichaelWitcoff.)
02-04-2020 04:04 AM
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
I think Len's reply hits the nail on the head with one short question. No one would accept the same argument with regards to anything else.

Martial arts? I will decline any tradition and just learn it for myself. Or, alternatively, all martial arts traditions are equally valid - so learning Karate is the same as learning Judo (until, of course, you have to fight on the ground).

As others have said, you also run the risk (almost guaranteed) of changing God to be whatever you want and all moral laws according to your whims - so you can keep doing what you want and not feel guilty. People do this even within a tradition, so much more without it.

Also of note is that this attitude is only possible within certain material circumstances: just as Protestantism was only possible with the printing revolution, and before that religion and tradition were inextricably linked, starting in the 19th Century and now with the internet you can go further down into individualist ecumenism and say: all traditions and teachings are of value and I will learn from them all.

It's religion's version of Tinder. And just as one is removed from healthy relationships between men and women, the other is removed from healthy relationships between man and God. I will go even further and say that it's preferable for a tribal African or Indian Hindu to keep his, albeit incomplete, tradition than to subscribe to this perennialist credo of 'learning from all of them' even if that means learning about Christianity - but what he will learn is about it, not learn IT. Every religious tradition obviously has a grain of truth, but if you mix them all together the grains of truth end up lost in a disgusting porridge.

Pandemics are part and parcel of living in an industrial system.
(This post was last modified: 02-04-2020 04:23 AM by ilostabet.)
02-04-2020 04:23 AM
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Post: #22
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
(02-04-2020 04:04 AM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  And the Bible answers that question very succinctly: "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27)

James 1:22
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

"Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world."

A man should never be ashamed to own that he is wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
-Alexander Pope
02-04-2020 04:23 AM
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RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
(02-04-2020 04:23 AM)ilostabet Wrote:  Martial arts? I will decline any tradition and just learn it for myself. Or, alternatively, all martial arts traditions are equally valid - so learning Karate is the same as learning Judo (until, of course, you have to fight on the ground).

I personally think this is a faulty comparison... You assume that one studies the religion on his/her own. And with that comparison you could even say that you'll be a better fighter if you stick to one tradition which is just plain wrong. You'll be a better fighter if you know different traditions and master them all...

(02-04-2020 04:23 AM)ilostabet Wrote:  Every religious tradition obviously has a grain of truth, but if you mix them all together the grains of truth end up lost in a disgusting porridge.

Lets agree we disagree
02-04-2020 04:54 AM
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Post: #24
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
"You'll be a better fighter if you know different traditions and master them all... "

As with all metaphors, they start to decay around the edges. But still, the question is: can one master them all? I don't believe so.

What happens when the teachings contradict each other (in fighting and in everything else)? You choose what to follow - which is the problem stated earlier by many. You need an external measure beyond your own - we are way to selfish to be our own moral guide. And perennialism leads you to that necessity.

But sure, we can agree to disagree.

Pandemics are part and parcel of living in an industrial system.
02-04-2020 05:01 AM
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Leonard D Neubache
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Post: #25
RE: Yes to God, No to Religion?
"I'll learn from all religions" will inevitably devolve into "I'm going take from Christianity the drinking wine part and from Islam the taking of sex slaves part".

As ilostabet said. "You are almost guaranteed of changing God to be whatever you want and all moral laws according to your whims - so you can keep doing what you want and not feel guilty."

(02-04-2020 03:40 AM)Meliorare93 Wrote:  
(02-04-2020 03:22 AM)Leonard D Neubache Wrote:  Yes to travel, no to maps?
I see it more as yes to travel, no to an outdated map which hasn't been updated to the current roads and traffic...

Feel free to disagree of course

I used to think like this. Looking back it's pretty laughable. Imagine looking at a library of medicine and then turning your back on it because it was "mostly outdated" and thinking you were better off starting over on your own.

"Hmm, I wonder what this plant will do for me if I eat it? Ahh, life-threatening poison, apparently. Well that's a month of my life down the drain (thankyou hospital for saving me) and now I have IBS. But we're making real progress here! Thank goodness I'm not constrained by the medical orthodoxy."

Many people want God without any earthly authority to even check on their progress. This is why confession is so important. For Catholics that practice it they know that the priest is obligated to forgive them for their sins but they're still far more likely to think twice before zipping up that furry suit at the Hyatt and knocking on the door of room 307

Most people dodging religion are simply trying to get the juice without the squeeze or they're so arrogant that they truly believe that everyone who came before them was an idiot whose revelations are thusly worthless.

FWIW the levels of narcissism these days make the latter far more common than they've ever been in history.

God demands of Man responsibility. God demands of Woman vulnerability. These are their curse and blessing alike. Libertianism is to Man as Feminism is to Woman.
(This post was last modified: 02-04-2020 05:23 AM by Leonard D Neubache.)
02-04-2020 05:22 AM
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