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Hi, I would like to know if there are any wiccans I can talk to, if so, please PM me because the amount of stuff that happens in the General discussion would quickly over ride this thread. It might not, though.

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I've tried to take up religions at various times, but never been able to really believe in them. I suspect that ability is something you have to be taught at an early age, or grow up in a culture that includes it; I was brought up--not even agnostic, my parents just never talked about religion at all, and the West Coast liberal culture I grew up in was similarly silent. I had a few weird experiences as a kid because of my complete lack of information or context about religion (including being taken to a Catholic church service and thinking that Communion was "snacktime")--nothing bad, just strange and very scattershot.

 

I've known a lot of people since then of various religions, including a lot of "hardcore pagans" of various flavors. I tend to describe myself as a polypantheistic Zen Discordian agnostic, which sums up as "I'm not sure if any particular godlike thing exists or not, or if it really matters, but I like to have fun with the idea."

 

if I were to make a commitment to an actual religion, I'm pretty sure it would be either Judaism--I have several friends who are Jewish, and some things about it as a belief and as a culture really appeal to me--or Buddhism, specifically the teachings of Kuan Yin. but it's much more likely at this point that I'll just keep muddling through life with what I've got. Hail Eris and pass the hot dogs!

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Question, not directed at anyone in particular:

In Christian or Catholic religion, is it possible to not be a sinner- or to confess/repent/whatever it is that makes you a good person in your god's eyes- without believing in that deity yourself?

This is one of the questions I kind of struggled with when I was considering going back to church. I know some Christians believe that the only way to be a good person is to follow Christianity's teachings, and anyone who believes anything else goes to hell. But that's just not a mindset I can buy into. I believe in a loving God, and I can't reconcile the image of a deity who would condemn a perfectly kind, caring, lovely person because they were of a different faith or no faith with one who supposedly loves all His children.

 

Anyway, one week the pastor at my church gave a sermon that kind of dealt with this issue, and his point was that God's love isn't something someone earns or comes to deserve, it's a gift given by the grace of God and we profess our faith as a way of giving thanks. So basically repenting/going to church/praying/whatever else isn't so much jumping through hoops to prove our worthiness in God's eyes, but rather a way of expressing that we believe in the gift of salvation and that we're grateful because even though He's given it to us even though we haven't earned it.

 

Basically, faith is just a means of expressing belief and giving thanks, not a vehicle one can use to say "God loves me more" or "I'm more worthy of Heaven", or whatever else it is people might say. Even the most devout sin sometimes. No one's perfect. But the beautiful thing is God knows we're flawed but loves His creations, anyway. smile.gif

 

So, I guess the short answer is yes, I do believe that a person can be of another faith or of no faith and still be loved by God. I hope my rambling made sense!

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I apologise; this post has the potential to attack a religion. However, the post is meant to be a ccontribution to the thread, as it might enrich our knowledge on our faith.

 

I do not understand some small Christian groups such as the Ignesia ni Cristo (INC). Firstly, it's strange how they do not celebrate Christmas and yet, some followers would expect Christmas gifts. Perhaps this is addressed mainly to the followers not the religion itself. Secondly, which is about the religion itself, is that it's stupid how they believe that they are the only true religion, and only they would be saved. [1] sad.gif

 

And lastly, I still do not understand how they can compel people to give out 10% of their money as offering. I mean an offering should be given willingly, correct?

 

Sources:

[1] http://iglesianicristo.net/#2

 

Note to self: George, there are a lot more things you need to learn.

Edited by georgexu94

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I've tried to take up religions at various times, but never been able to really believe in them. I suspect that ability is something you have to be taught at an early age, or grow up in a culture that includes it; I was brought up--not even agnostic, my parents just never talked about religion at all, and the West Coast liberal culture I grew up in was similarly silent. I had a few weird experiences as a kid because of my complete lack of information or context about religion (including being taken to a Catholic church service and thinking that Communion was "snacktime")--nothing bad, just strange and very scattershot.

 

I've known a lot of people since then of various religions, including a lot of "hardcore pagans" of various flavors. I tend to describe myself as a polypantheistic Zen Discordian agnostic, which sums up as "I'm not sure if any particular godlike thing exists or not, or if it really matters, but I like to have fun with the idea."

 

if I were to make a commitment to an actual religion, I'm pretty sure it would be either Judaism--I have several friends who are Jewish, and some things about it as a belief and as a culture really appeal to me--or Buddhism, specifically the teachings of Kuan Yin. but it's much more likely at this point that I'll just keep muddling through life with what I've got. Hail Eris and pass the hot dogs!

My experience is almost the same, in regards to never being taught a specific religion. My mother never really brought it up much, nor did she attempt to force what she believes in onto me. That's one of the big things that I really, really appreciate about my mom and how she raised me. She thought that it would be better to let me get older and then decide for myself how I felt.

 

Overall, I'd say that I'm teetering somewhere between general agnosticism and agnostic theism. I like the idea of some greater deity watching over us, but I'm not sure that that's actually the case. And I don't think that humans really have the right to say what may or may not exist. In the grand scheme of things, we're so little and insignificant, who are we to say whether something of that power exists?

 

However, the universe is so big and extensive, that I definitely think that it's plausible that some greater force lies beyond. There's just too much we humans don't know and can't understand to give a definite answer as to whether a god exists or not, or at least, not in my opinion and experiences. I know there's a part of me that definitely believes that there's a greater power out there somewhere watching us though, because sometimes when things get really bad, I actually do send a little silent prayer to "whatever deity that may or may not exist."

 

I think the thing I've settled on most is just this: we humans will never know for sure whether a god/s exist because it's outside our comprehension and we are not meant to know. And that's honestly something I'm content with.

 

(Then again, I'm only 16 now, so maybe one day my thoughts and opinions on this matter will change. tongue.gif)

 

///

 

On a more general topic of religion, and less orientated around my own personal beliefs, I think it's very important for humanity as a whole to simply respect other religions and their beliefs. I have an issue with extremists, but people like that exist in /every/ religion, and it's best to just ignore them in most cases. That said, I find other religions very fascinating and interesting, and I have no problem with people who share different beliefs as I do, as long as they don't try to shove their beliefs onto me or tell me what I believe is "wrong." And in return, I will never actively tell someone that what they believe is wrong, or try to convince them otherwise.

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There is something that I've been mulling over since the event that transpired about two weeks ago. I would like to share my experiences since the event, the things I've re-discovered, and the conclusions I've made. In conclusion, I would like to ask a question.

 

First off, let me re-state my position on the god debate:

Evidently I asked way too many questions to stay religious as a young child.

I stayed on the sidelines and watched as both my late little brother, and my cousin were both indoctrinated into the religious belief system. I found it absolutely disgusting how my religious relatives would use the naivete of a small child to propagate their ancient hokum, as the easily impressionable minds of children are not critical enough to demand evidence in order to accept a claim as reputable and true.

 

Thankfully, I managed to teach my late little brother how to be a critical thinker before he could be indoctrinated. Needless to say part of my clan, so to speak, didn't like the fact I was encouraging him to think for himself, and seek answers on his own, so tensions in my family grew. Needless to say, I am not on good terms with part of my family any more.

 

When I denounced faith, I had to come to terms with my own mortality. The inevitability of simply ceasing to exist at some point in time. as cold and foreboding the thought of permanently ceasing to be is, I came to terms with it, and found even greater value in the life I live right now. However, I never really considered how I'd deal with the experience of losing a close family member.

 

It was a harrowing reminder of what would befall all of us one day, in one way or another. I felt that familiar feeling of dread I experienced those many years ago, when I was struggling with my own mortality. Yet no matter how many times people kept telling me that little bro is "in a better place", I knew better. He was gone, all that was left of him was a cold decaying corpse, and a whole lot of memories.

 

Now, it got a lot worse, as since little bro's unfortunate demise, the religious nutters in my family are blaming me for "sending my brother to hell" by "turning him against god". I've had the same tired old argument again and again with them several times already, but you just can't talk to these people. They're like broken record players. It further disgusts me how they're trying even harder to push their faith on me and my religiously neutral parents by using my little brother's untimely demise. The event itself was awful enough, but they're just making it worse.

 

Although the truth doesn't always please us, and sometimes it may well horrify us, that doesn't mean you're right to plug your ears and go "lalalalala" when you are reminded of it. This is exactly what I see in those aforementioned family members I spoke of earlier in my response.

 

And now, to my question.

The thing I've been pondering is, is it really right to subject people to the "better place" theory, regardless of what their religious inclinations are?

I can think of upsides and downsides to both a positive and negative answer, but I'd like to read what you think on the matter.

Edited by Ælex

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The thing I've been pondering is, is it really right to subject people to the "better place" theory.
I personally (being a materialistic realist and relatedly also atheistic) would rather people did not do it. One side of me says it's a blatant lie, and that we should rather accept the truth for what it is than deceive oneselves - in general, I set a lot of importance on personal integrity, and being able to truly trust rather than just hearing whatever someone thinks I might want to hear.

On the other hand, I feel it actually lessens the value of life (and meaning of death) as such. In a sense, not having a "better place" after that and knowing that this really is the only chance we have, can make people care more about what they have, be it not giving up their only chance as easily or actually living their life properly. I have met people who only live for the afterlife they believe in and thus never live their actual life to the fullest, and I've have heard, from psychologists dealing with problematic younger children, how some of them have actually gone forth and tried to kill themselves just to get to this "better place," too.

 

So yeah. This is the only life we have, we have to make the best of it, live it, and remember those who did not make it and carry on their legacy.

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On a more general topic of religion, and less orientated around my own personal beliefs, I think it's very important for humanity as a whole to simply respect other religions and their beliefs. I have an issue with extremists, but people like that exist in /every/ religion, and it's best to just ignore them in most cases. That said, I find other religions very fascinating and interesting, and I have no problem with people who share different beliefs as I do, as long as they don't try to shove their beliefs onto me or tell me what I believe is "wrong." And in return, I will never actively tell someone that what they believe is wrong, or try to convince them otherwise.

I refuse to respect other people's religions and beliefs, as to do so would mean that I would have to respect said beliefs that being gay is wrong, that women are to be treated lesser than men, that one race of people is superior than another.

 

HOWEVER. I will respect that people have different religions and beliefs. This is an important distinction to make from the above - I can respect the person and that they think differently than I do, but at the same time I can think that some of their dogma and beliefs are complete and utter rubbish without compromising that respect.

Edited by Omega Entity

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Alex, I am a religious person, and I do believe in this 'better place' thing, but I really understand your point of view. I just hate it when people try to impose their religious views upon people, especially children. It's okay to share your religious beliefs with kids, but not forcing it down their throat because as you said, they just don't have the mental capacity to process all the information and really ponder whether it is true. It's almost like brainwashing. From a young age, my Christian parents always encouraged me to ask questions, debate and question the Bible, and let me think for my self and decide my religious beliefs. I am grateful to them that they encouraged me to think. Well, I am still a Christian now and you can say it made no difference whether my parents brainwashed me or let me think for myself, but I think it's really important to let kids decide their religious beliefs on their own.

 

Those relatives really sound horrible. Even after what happened they still said those nasty things. Your loss must be very, very painful, and for them to say that is just terrible! Just ignore what they said. You didn't turn him against God or any of that stuff. All you did was to let him discover the truth himself. And what you did was good.

 

Zorua9, I'll pray for your dog and you coping with the loss. smile.gif

Edited by Tomato_Juice

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@Alex: sad.gif Firstly, it's quite wrong for people to shove a religion down somebody else's throat. Nor is it correct to say one's religion is the only correct one. However, do not blame your relatives for this. It's quite difficult as Christianity became the dominant religion in most countries, such as the United States. I've seen cases like this in my own country as well, as most population in the Philippines are Catholics (with Muslim in the majority of the southern parts such as in Mindanao). Anyway, as being the dominant religion, it may be seen by others as the only true religion. dry.gif Quite stupid and egoist.

 

smile.gif You are only correct in letting your little brother think critically. It's very responsible of you. On the other hand, I do not like the fact that it causes some tensions between the family. This would be my personal opinion that perhaps simply follow the social norms in your family and do not argue. wink.gif You would only lose an argument with someone who is already close-minded.

 

Note: I apologise as I cannot write the "ae" sound, so instead, I wrote Alex.

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I refuse to respect other people's religions and beliefs, as to do so would mean that I would have to respect said beliefs that being gay is wrong, that women are to be treated lesser than men, that one race of people is superior than another.

 

HOWEVER. I will respect that people have different religions and beliefs. This is an important distinction to make from the above - I can respect the person and that they think differently than I do, but at the same time I can think that some of their dogma and beliefs are complete and utter rubbish without compromising that respect.

That's basically what I meant. In fact, what you just said matches how I feel exactly, and I agree wholeheartedly in everything you just said.

 

I just can't convey what I actually mean because I have a hard time putting my thoughts into words, whoops. xd.png

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I was brought up Unitarian Universalist, which is sometimes a difficult religion for me to explain or describe. Basically we have seven principles we try to abide by, but at their most basic they're about respecting your fellow man as well as the greater web of life on earth, trusting your conscience to do what's right, and seeking peace and liberty above all. I think my favorite one is the one about freely and responsibly seeking truth and meaning.

 

Anyway, within that religion I have decided I believe in reincarnation and that there's some higher power out there, but not necessarily that there's an afterlife beyond reincarnation. I don't know. Some days I feel like I'm still struggling to discover what I believe.

 

I also haven't been to church in nearly six months, which I do feel a bit badly about... maybe I should actually start going again. I should start looking for a church in my new town I guess.

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I refuse to respect other people's religions and beliefs, as to do so would mean that I would have to respect said beliefs that being gay is wrong, that women are to be treated lesser than men, that one race of people is superior than another.

 

HOWEVER. I will respect that people have different religions and beliefs. This is an important distinction to make from the above - I can respect the person and that they think differently than I do, but at the same time I can think that some of their dogma and beliefs are complete and utter rubbish without compromising that respect.

I also highly agree with what Omega Entity said. I may not respect what you believe, but I respect that you have beliefs and that you have a right to believe what you do. I just have the right to call you out when you're doing something that hurts me, someone I know and/or love, or even just being a jerk to other people in general. You likewise have the right to call me out on when I'm being a mega-jerk and hurting others with my words and actions. In that manner, I believe we can hold each other accountable, and not need any specified doctrine of behavior and ethics to follow.

 

To quote from solaflar3 from the beginning of the thread:

My point of view, aimed in particular at anyone who affirms one particular religion;

 

How do you know it's true?

 

How do you know that there is a deity? 

How do you know that the deity which you have faith in is the one and only one?

How do you know that this deity has provided scriptures for you to learn about him/er?

How do you know that your scriptures are the right ones?

How do you know that your interpretation of your scriptures is the right interpretation?

 

I describe myself as an eccentric spiritualist. I take bits and pieces from all different religions that I agree with, that resonate with me, and put them together in my own belief system. Not that hard to do since a lot of them share the same essential base and core beliefs of treating others kindly, unconditional love, and the work on yourself to become a better person. Many also emphasize learning and even questioning to get more knowledge, which I'm a great fan of since I'm a life-long learner thanks to my mother raising me as such.

 

My mom was inducted as a catholic but angered the nuns of her religious school with her constant questioning, and likewise was frustrated with the lack of answers. She raised me without religion, so that I could decide for myself and respects my right to my own beliefs as I respect hers. Some things I've learnt by osmosis [like Christian things in this highly Christianized culture of America], and other things by deliberate research [google is an amazing resource, seriously]. She's also done her best to answer all my questions, to encourage me to think for myself, as well as to admit when she doesn't know and to share her best guess as well as how and why she came to that conclusion. She and my father are scientists to the heart, engineers, and my father is definitely an atheist that believes we all cease existing when we die. My mom is a tentative atheist in that she can get with the idea that there's something out there that we don't know about, so who's she to really make the final call? She doesn't believe in any religious structures thanks to her upbringing, but she's open to some "off-beat" things like I've found out and gladly explained to her [funny image that: a 11 to 15 year old explaining to their engineering parent about spirits, time travel, aliens, Universal Laws, gods and goddesses, magic, and the like with perfect sincerity, level-headedness, lots of metaphors, and pretty well reasoned arguments.]

 

I know there are beings that we identify as gods and goddesses because I've talked to them and worked things out in an agreement/deal with them, and seen them. I regularly hold conversations with a being I call the "High God" or "Light God" that I believe is the planetary god of this world, and as such is very involved with the people who live here, and is known in the bible and other monotheistic religious texts as "God" or "Allah" in that manner. I've worked with angels, touched and seen and heard them, and hell even smelled them a time or two! Same with demons [mostly the kind ones along with some truly negative entities]. I've dealt with spirit attacks that have made my life hell, and seen some of the most mindboggling coincidences in my life many times over, that have convinced me without a doubt that this is "Real." Even if it's not "real" to someone else, it most assuredly is "real" to me and part of my reality and life. I've had visitations by aliens at times during my teenagehood with one that really boggled my mind and left me a bit baffled for a great while after. I've also seen and talked with the energy vortices in Sedona, AZ, and communicated with trees, animals, the wind, candle flame, and even the being that governs the Sky, as well as the Earth. Talking to spirits and beings without physical bodies seems to come naturally to me.

 

As such, through reconnecting with spirits from my past life, from my home world where my soul came from, and the ensuing memories of those times from that contact, I've come to strongly believe in reincarnation, as well as the soul existing long before and long after death. Hell, I've helped some ghosts over into the afterlife that awaits them, and chose not to become a medium because I'm still a tad bit freaked about that!! I've even done meditations where I soared through space by way of the astral realm and came back down to my body on Earth.

 

That's just the tip of the weirdness iceberg that has been my life though. It's always when it comes to trying to describe things like this or list off what I've done and what I've lived through, that I take a step back and realize how frickin' weird my life is... ._. Whelp.

 

Anyways, I'm sure someone else would say its a whole delusion or hallucination. If it truly is then its the most believable and well-crafted one I've ever had. Also, I've dealt with a mind going berserk before, and noticed that it tends to be very chaotic, like a dream, where it keeps contradicting itself each moment. However, this life with the spirits, is very predictable, obeys consistent rules that I've noticed, and doesn't contradict itself but rather reinforces itself. I've played with my touching spirits and experimented so much that now I can discern the exact and thin layer of vibrating air that serves as their "skin" or body's "boundary." It's very cool and rather subtle but always there. All my senses always reinforce what the other is getting when it comes to spirits. However for any mind freakout, that always contradicts what any of my other senses get. A very handy clue for figuring out what is "real" and what is "not." At least for me!

 

I can always elaborate if someone wants me to go further, but I think this is enough for now. I've not really gotten this from other people, and certainly not from a scripture or doctrine, its really just based on my own experiences as well as taking things from what other people have said about events like this [often from the New Age section] and finding what works for me and what doesn't. I take what works and leave the rest. I certainly know that others don't believe or see thing the same way I do, and that's perfectly fine! You can go and do your own thing and I'll be over here doing my thing, my way. smile.gif Sounds wonderful to me! <3

 

 

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i guess id be described as a "soft" agnostic or something? as opposed to a strict agnostic. so far thats the only term ive come across that comfortably describes how i feel.

*:・゚✧ follow for more soft agnosticism*:・゚✧

i kinda lean towards being spiritualistic sometimes when it comes to certain things but i dont really practice anything...

Edited by Switch

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I have no religion and I believe in nothing. I do respect others views though as long as they don't try to make me see things their way. I also would be considered agnostic but I'm not. I won't put a label on myself.

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Happy Beltane everyone from the baby pagan! 😁

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I don't belong to a particular religion but I do believe in God. I find it difficult to identify completely with a single religion's ideals, I'd rather let my beliefs express themselves within my life in their own, unique manner.

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Overall, I'd say that I'm teetering somewhere between general agnosticism and agnostic theism. I like the idea of some greater deity watching over us, but I'm not sure that that's actually the case. And I don't think that humans really have the right to say what may or may not exist. In the grand scheme of things, we're so little and insignificant, who are we to say whether something of that power exists?

That's exactly what I was thinking.

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I have a lot to say on this subject, so I will try and keep it short and sweet.

 

I was raised in a catholic church in a religious school, and I was heavily abused by the teachers and priests. I'm not saying all catholic institutions are like this, I'm just saying that it happens to be my personal experience. I don't really want to get into it. I got to therapy every week, if you have any doubts that it's legitimate.

 

At an early point in my life, I found paganism. There is a goddess named Nyx. She gives me this feeling or warmth and motherly love. I love her, and I don't care for labels or ceremony, but it feels like she's been with me whenever I've needed her. She is an independent goddess and I'm independent person. She lets me raise or fail on my own, but she is always there when I need her comfort.

 

I've gotten older now, and I've read many, many books by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. At this point, I am really confused. My head says I am giving into human tendencies and that there is really nothing out there. My heart still belongs to Nyx. I don't know what to do or where to go from here, but I figure as long as I keep walking, I'll find my place eventually.

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Well, I hope that I don't start any arguments, ect, and am usually reluctant to post on this kind of things.. but eh.. >.>

 

I come from one of the least religious countries in the world, where only approximately 14% of the population having religion as a part of their daily lives.

 

I was never raised religious, and to this day, do not see religion as anything important in life, to me, its something that causes hate between people of different opinions and religions, it causes wars. So many people like to say god made everyone perfect, but they are quick to tell a gay person, for example, that they are going to hell.

:/

 

I believe in natural things, kind of spiritual. I guess you could say kind of a Wiccan, but I do not label myself as any such religion, ect.

 

I'm aware that not all religious people are the same, and as extreme to say "you made a minor sin, you're going to hell" ect. And that's fine. I don't judge people, not unless they do so to me.

 

So by all means, I don't care if people are religious, it's their own right to believe in what they want to. Just as it is my own personal opinion and right to be against religion.

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Okay, so I'm a streamer on Twitch, but when I'm not streaming, I usually mod other people's channel and there is this one guy who croons about his religion and it insults my religion in the process and I time him out. He then goes to say I'm persecuting him.

 

The question is, am I in the wrong for doing that?

Edited by Raptor of Dragons

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If he's insulting your religion in the process, then he's being uncivil and you're in full right to do that.

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Okay, so I'm a streamer on Twitch, but when I'm not streaming, I usually mod other people's channel and there is this one guy who croons about his religion and it insults my religion in the process and I time him out. He then goes to say I'm persecuting him.

 

The question is, am I in the wrong for doing that?

You're not wrong for doing that. it is rude to insult someones religion just because they don't believe in it. Instead of insulting, he should maybe not talk about it at all.

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