Yes to God, No to Religion?

ilostabet

Pelican
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.
 

Blake2

Robin
MichaelWitcoff said:
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."
 
ilostabet said:
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...

ilostabet said:
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
 

ilostabet

Pelican
"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.
 

Leonard D Neubache

Owl
Gold Member
"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."

Meliorare93 said:
Leonard D Neubache said:
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.
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Meliorare93 said:
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
The problem with this analogy is that the Bible reflects a better grasp of human nature than anything humanity has produced in hundreds of years. We've acquired fancy gizmos and have grown proud with our accumulated knowledge, but human nature has not changed for the better - in fact, all our advancements have really just made people spiritually worse and cater to our worst impulses. Our current society has no solution to questions of evil, death, and how one might know God. It simply attempts to pave over them with endless distractions and dopamine triggers.
Christianity lays bare the problems with the human predicament, and offers an unprecedented solution to it: God reveals his character and potential for relationship through entering into a covenant with a group of people (Old Testament Israel), and subsequently incarnates directly in human form as Jesus, continuing to reveal God's character, his vision for redeeming humanity, and the ultimate act of sacrifice and vindication as he personally confronts the problem of sin directly with his death on the cross, and defeats it through resurrection.

Rob Banks said:
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.
Yes. If you don't believe this stuff is literally true, then you don't actually believe it.

That's not to say that Hell is a Hieronymous Bosch-esque realm of demons with pitchforks poking poor souls, or that Heaven is playing harps on floaty clouds. These popular images are totally inaccurate, and you're right to be suspicious of them.

The Christian conception of Heaven is being in the presence of God (ultimately, after the Second Coming, inhabiting a new, perfected body on a new, perfected earth that has been united with Heaven), while Hell is a state of suffering in which you are given over to your sin and cut off from the presence of God.

For an image of heaven and hell that's still a bit metaphorical but much closer to the truth of things than the popular conception, you might read CS Lewis's The Great Divorce.

Now, you are correct that if you live righteously, you are more likely to thrive (the book of Proverbs is basically about the flourishing resulting from right living) and vice versa. But there are also exceptions to that (see Job, many of David's lament psalms.)

This all might sound like a bit much, but my encouragement to you is just to stick with it, even if it doesn't all make sense yet. Find mature Christians and ask them questions about this stuff - if they don't know or won't help you along the journey, find some other ones, because they're out there.
 

Rush87

Ostrich
The bible offers an escape from slavery. Slavery of choice. When left to your own discretion, using your own limited knowledge to make moral decisions, you will almost always make the immoral choice. After all, the moral choice is typically log jammed between countless immoral alternatives, many masked as the right choice by the flood of atheist media and backed by the countless millions brainwashed into believing it. We even have Christian priests ignoring the words of the bible to preach acceptance of homosexuality due to misguided empathy. To follow the words of God is to protect yourself from that, and it's as simple as reading the bible.

An easy example to use is no sex before marriage. If left to your own judgement, men and women can rationalize ignoring this sin; He might say "I wanted to have experience in the bedroom before I meet my future wife". She might say "I wanted to know what it's like to be with other men so I'm not tempted after I get married". They both might say "This gives me the best chance of a successful marriage and that's what God really wants. We live in a different time".

It's not what God wants, and we can't take the position of playing God and pretending to know the consequences. This is why plucking a mish mash of different ideologies will ultimately just be a cherry picked guide on how to lead a life that caters to sin. Even if you may not be aware of it.​
 

Sherman

Ostrich
The Bible actually has several deep verses that should be taken literally and constitute the basis for a lifetime practice of interior work. However, there are very few Christians who take those versus seriously or see them as applying to them, and do this at their own peril.

Here is one of the biggest:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

Judgment is hard to overcome, especially in the West, which tends to be highly judgmental. We make hundreds of judgments throughout the day, and it takes serious effort to reduce judgment and replace it with discernment. It’s a lifetime practice. Judgment is the root cause which opens the door so that the evils of the world (including lust) can get inside you.

A church is an organization that provides concrete structures to explain spiritual truths to everyday people. The sacraments and rituals are pointers to the truth and not the truth. Being a member of a church and going through the motions or taking sacraments doesn’t save you from anything. That would be magic, which Christianity categorically rejects. You have to do the interior work.
 

FilipSRB

Woodpecker
I'm not gonna comment about the other religions but if you believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord then you can't really opt out of His Church. Contrary to the statement in the opening post, organized church didn't corrupt the message, but on the contrary, preserved it for two thousand years.
 
FilipSRB said:
I'm not gonna comment about the other religions but if you believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord then you can't really opt out of His Church. Contrary to the statement in the opening post, organized church didn't corrupt the message, but on the contrary, preserved it for two thousand years.
I too believe this but every Church I've gone too seems to be spreading this defeatist narrative. "Pray for the refugees" - what I pray for is that they all stop being used as globalist pawns, not pray that they get free shit from the US and Europe at the expense and detriment of their heritage populations. "Respect women" - women need to fit into their roles as Biblical descriptions annotate and they will find true happiness as mothers, grandmothers, and part of a larger community of faith and family, not lets remove all consequences from their actions and let them destroy the lives of men because they have a taco in between their thighs. "hate the sin, love the sinner" - fine and dandy but don't you bring that homo crap around me or mine, and don't be promoting it even passively in the house of God of all places.

I think a pure religion would be the solution, as all forms of existing organized religion have been co-opted by the devil or have been corrupted by his pawns. This religion, a purer Christianity, perhaps an Orthodox offshoot that goes on the offensive against degeneracy rather than the defensive, would perhaps unite all of the lost and wayward souls around the world, and the fallen Christians to return to God's side righteously. If there is such a Church, then I do not know about it, for if there was I would already be among its ranks.
 

Rob Banks

Pelican
↑ Just because a particular religion (for example Roman Catholicism) promotes degeneracy nowadays doesn't mean the religion itself is false and that we need to create a new religion (or even a new version of Christianity).

In the case of the Catholic Church, while it is true that the vast majority of churches these days promote degeneracy and leftism, those are not the true teachings of the Church. Many traditionalist Catholics (who should just be referred to as "Catholics" without the "traditionalist" qualifier, as it is redundant in my opinion) are fighting against this promotion of degeneracy.

Why should a Catholic (or a member of any religion, for that matter) give up his religion just because evil people are attempting to subvert it? Isn't it better to stay and fight to preserve your religion's true teachings?
 

Eusebius

Hummingbird
Gold Member
The man who reads a variety of religious texts privately without committing is simply not doing what those texts teach. A private, secret practice of Christianity is directly contradicted by the Bible. So be a humanistic scholar if you like, flipping through the pages with a cup of tea when you feel like it. But that's not being a Christian.
 
The problem I had growing up Catholic was the praying too all the humans who were sanctified throughout its history, when the Bible clearly states otherwise, that and the pagan symbolism in most of its "church tradition" which is "church tradition" and not something along the lines of God's word. I think it was a great force for a nonsecular society for the last two millennia, but there is just too much pagan roots that still reign prevalent to this day when it should be more of an emulation of Christ's walk and actions. How can a church that vast and large hierarchy with perhaps almost as much money as the Rothschild clan allow itself to be corrupted and splintered? Yes there are really good Catholics who reject degeneracy but to speak out against it nowadays would call into question their confirmation into the church. I was confirmed, many years ago, and I almost regret it because I would rather continue the solitary lone forager path to Christ and God that I have been on than take part in something that is so easily corruptible. Despite the remaining Catholic strongholds of pious teachings and moral laws, which most of are in Europe and Africa, there is too much of a stain of the other side for me to consider it a religion worth saving. If I am wrong then I pray God forgive me, but there must be an offensive against this crap by an organized and un-co-opted group, who do not fear retaliation from the demonic servants and their rabid leftist pawns. I sometimes feel I must start one myself if I must, and chances are if I am thinking this then someone else certainly has. We are not alone in this. I want to be able to say Yes to God and Yes to Religion, and move forward with cohesive strategies that produce real-world changing results, but so far I have crossed Catholicism off that list because of its easily corruptible nature, I haven't crossed off Orthodoxy yet, but I think that's where our strengths must gather if we are to produce a new result.

Edit: yes I have met many who have fallen away from Catholicism, and what I notice is that the Boomer's, Gen X, Gen Y, and Millenials who grew up Catholic and fell away are one of the predictable NPC types: obese and critical of being judge for anything, feminist and critical of being judge for anything, both, gay and / or deviant and critical of being judge for anything, lazy loafing don't cares 'X' about religion or faith and just care about sports or some other shit, and then the woodwork Catholics who come out for funerals or weddings because it gets them off their lazy asses. I rarely meet anyone other than my Grandmother who prays the rosary every day. The fallen Orthodox I've met aren't too different, the younger ones usually are sporting millenial haircuts and tatted bodies, pierced faces, excessive drug use and / or alcohol use, bastard children in tow, recidivist behavior, egocentric goals that lead to no production other than to feed themselves / refill their tanks etc.

I have definitely met more fallen Catholics than fallen Orthodox, and though I consider myself not a practicing Catholic the difference between them and me is that I have taken up Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior, and personal messiah, and I pray only to Him and the Father, every day, for strength and guidance, even when I slip up, and I continue to do so. No religion has ever made me pray as much as I do now.
 

An0dyne

Robin
Rob Banks said:
↑ Just because a particular religion (for example Roman Catholicism) promotes degeneracy nowadays doesn't mean the religion itself is false and that we need to create a new religion (or even a new version of Christianity).

In the case of the Catholic Church, while it is true that the vast majority of churches these days promote degeneracy and leftism, those are not the true teachings of the Church. Many traditionalist Catholics (who should just be referred to as "Catholics" without the "traditionalist" qualifier, as it is redundant in my opinion) are fighting against this promotion of degeneracy.

Why should a Catholic (or a member of any religion, for that matter) give up his religion just because evil people are attempting to subvert it? Isn't it better to stay and fight to preserve your religion's true teachings?
Because the Lord tells us to flee from false teachers/prophets and have nothing to do with them. "Expel the immoral brother." Etc. The hireling cares nothing for the sheep.
 

debeguiled

Peacock
Gold Member
FilipSRB said:
I'm not gonna comment about the other religions but if you believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord then you can't really opt out of His Church. Contrary to the statement in the opening post, organized church didn't corrupt the message, but on the contrary, preserved it for two thousand years.
Unless you were raised in a church and signed on early in life, you are going to start out in seeker mode.

There are many good reasons why people often stay in seeker mode for a long time before they join a church.

Many of those reasons come directly from the actions and attitudes of nominal Christians.

While you want to share sound doctrine, you also don't want to discourage someone who isn't a Christian now, but may become one ten years down the road.

For all you know, God actually expects that person to stay in where he is for another couple of decades and convert much later.

It doesn't mean that he isn't learning Christian lessons all along the way, it just means he hasn't formally converted or joined the church.

Approaching a person who is still in seeker mode with ultimatums isn't only ungenerous, it approaches hypocrisy.

Ask yourself how long you stayed in seeker mode, and how patient God was with you, and then ask yourself how effective it would have been if someone waved away your questions and conclusions and said, no, do it this way, only.

It is the difference between the letter and the spirit of the law.

Another thing I have noticed with the recently converted, and I am not saying this applies to your personally, it is a general observation, is that many people feel guilty for all the years they wasted and their solution to rectify this is to come down forcefully on people who are in the same place they were just a few months or years ago.

Not an effective strategy.

It reminds me of my stepdaughter who used to love the Spice Girls, and then one day discovered Emo music, and all her CDs and Spice Girl posters disappeared seemingly over night. (I was tempted to secretly save them and show them to her when she grew up.)

All this was okay. The problem was she was pretending that she had never loved the Spice Girls. And she would look down on anyone who did.

All I am saying is, we all used to love the Spice Girls, so let's not pretend we never did.
 

FilipSRB

Woodpecker
I actually completely agree with you debeguiled. I definitely did not want to come across as forceful but I guess I missed the mark with this one.
 

Athanasius

Kingfisher
When someone says there are grains of truth in all religions, I say "says who?" How have you decided where to pick and choose to assemble your religion? Having seen this for a generation, when someone adopts some form of MTD, it's someone who just wants to do their own thing instead of what God commands them to do.

Revelation is key. To Jesus and the Apostle Paul, the Scriptures aren't just a collection of moralisms or history. They are Theopneustos, "God breathed" (2 Tim 3:16), and we are commanded to follow them (Acts 17:30-31).
 
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