36 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. That’s a really good question, tough to answer.
    I almost never go to church; but several times a day, I find myself ‘crossing’ myself, saying a quick five second ‘prayer’ in response to something I hear or see (eg. I live a couple blocks from a firehouse, and the nuns in grade school taught us to say a prayer when you hear a siren, ’cause it means somebody somewhere is in trouble).
    Maybe the more interesting question would be ‘do the Falwells and Dr. Dobsons of the world think I’m religious?’. Or maybe not.

  2. Not a fucking bit, but I still am the most Christ-like person I know.
    I’m nice and thoughtful and I listen. I treat others as I would have them treat me. I help people and am generous with my time, and when I have it, my money.

  3. I don’t know what anyone means by “religious.” If you press my back to the wall and demand an affiliation, I am a Unitarian-Universalist by upbringing, though the Unitarians and Universalists had not yet decided to tie the knot when upbringing got underway for me. My father was raised Baptist, my mother Christian Scientist, so of course they ran straight to the Unitarians when confronted with a kid.
    But I don’t belong to any church any more, and though I respect the seven principles of UUism they are not my moral touchstone. I like to say that I will not allow any religion to get between me and God. I do not believe that “God” has any direct involvement in human life, but rather that the word “God” is shorthand for the awe-inspiring, unknowable mystery of being. Finding a sense of the infinite (say, when hearing really good music or reading something that takes me over the moon) is as close to a religious experience as I’ll ever need.
    And I don’t give a damn about what happens after we die. All the heaven-hell bullshit we’ve been fed is a pack of lies, meant to make men on earth look powerful. That’s what religion is about — people and power.
    So no, thanks, I’m not religious. I do, however, think that life as we know it is awesome in the genuine sense of the word, and every minute we have of it is a precious gift.
    Peace, V.

  4. i had lutheran brainwashing as a child. but church, did that done that. but i am spiritual. finally reading the bible. the lol bible.

  5. Never was very deeply observant, though I was raised going to a Jewish day school and attending religious services on the holidays. I am going to services every week, but it is for social reasons more than ‘most anything, plus, I’ve always loved the liturgy and the melodies, which always sustained me when I was besieged by all the jerks in my day school. The latter are what actually make me hesitant to send my son to a Jewish day school now.
    It took me a long time to realize that there is a lot of merit to some basic values that Judaism teaches – the basic problems lie in taking the Bible too literally (which, despite its relatively humanistic messages for its time, is still quite the chronicle of intolerance) and in the fact that there are, more often than not, others who have little or no consideration for the world around them who use that document as a crutch. Also, any religion that stifles debate or dissent will be mired in its own destruction – which is largely why I’m not an orthodox Jew. The sad stifling of real debate and action on equality between the sexes, Middle East politics, and other issues of importance to the greater health of the community are rotting it out from the inside in an excruciatingly slow process. Too many people, however, seem to need the stifling structure the ultra-orthodox sects require.
    Balance. Religious hierarchies as a whole don’t seem to be too good at that…but certain individuals seem to be able to keep that in the forefront. The trick is surrounding yourself with a community of those good folks, if you can. That can help everybody out a great deal with any messes that come down the pike.

  6. I think that mankind invented god it its own image. All religion is just primitive, wishful thinking in lieu of evidence that speaks to the nature of the universe. Now that we have begun to uncover that evidence, religion finds itself growing ever smaller and more irrelevant.
    So, no, I am not religious. You might even say I’m anti-religious.

  7. I wrestled with my feelings on the matter of religion for years. But as I’ve gotten older and wiser and even more well read, I’m tending toward the “there is no god but chance” position. What I’m waiting for is the revelation that there are many, many populated worlds out there. I want to see if we (Earthlings) hunker down and get serious about making contact, or just generally freak out over the inevitable fact that we’re not alone. My intense conversations with the evangelical types over the years makes me believe that even the remotest chance of not truly being “God’s chosen” will result in a true “end of days” scenario.

  8. I am a lapsed UU. So, no, not even a little bit . And I agree with whoever said ( up there) that I get farther away from anything resembling religious as I age. I thought it was supposed to happen the other way around…

  9. I guess I would say yes. I was raised Episcopal, went Baptist for a while, and have been to a bunch of other denominations. I am not particularly a fan of the Church, whatever that is, but I do believe in a God. I describe myself as a “red-letter Christian (in some Bibles, the words of Christ are printed in red). The farther away from that, the less I believe: so the old Testament, very little; The Pauline letters not so much. Moreover since God is infinite, and I’m finite, I do not pretend to know very much about him or her and do not demand that others agree with my beliefs unless their beliefs dehumanize others. And finally, as a red-letter Christian, I believe Jesus took away our sins, not our brains.

  10. Yup. A Protestant Christian, had a “born again” experience at 16. Am very happy to see the views of more politically moderate and liberal Christians finally getting more exposure, as I believe theirs is a much more accurate reflection of what Jesus taught, rather than the perverted version of Christianity propagated by the religious right.

  11. I don’t know; it depends on what you mean by “religious.” I am a practicing Catholic. I try to pray a few minutes every day in the morning and (during the work week) in the evening. I go to Mass every Sunday, and I got ashes last Wednesday. I write checks to various charities, mainly because I have a lot of sins to atone for. Unless my pockets are empty, I give some change or a dollar to panhandlers whenever they ask, because I see Jesus in them. None of this makes me one bit better than anyone else.

  12. Well…kinda 🙂 But only in a Methodist pastoral sort of way. Which, according to some, isn’t really religious.

  13. No. I’m not even what some people would define as “spiritual,” although if anyone can actually come up with an actual definition of that word that refers to something real (either in the sense that dirt is real, or that mathematics is real), I’m still waiting.
    I’m interested in religions (plural), but I don’t believe in anything supernatural. I’m not even a dualist, which a lot of supposedly non-religious people still are.
    Hey, Liprap: Have you ever looked into Humanistic Judaism? They’resecular but invested in Judaism as an ethical and cultural system, and they seem like a big bunch of DFHs. If there were a congregation closer to me than two hours’ drive away, I’d check ’em out myself.

  14. In a religion of one, I am both Pope and parishioner. Like my shoes, there’s only enough room in my faith for me. I am devout but only on things that affect my life.
    I am not isolated from other beliefs and religions. I listen to the wisdom of others, learn from the words of people I respect, and watch the trials of those who walk before me. I cannot claim to have all the answers, but I have mine. All faiths and beliefs are true to those who hold them.
    According to my faith, the worst thing I can do is impose it on someone else.
    That which I find Divine is greater than me but not separate from me. She is Mother Protector.
    on a side note: I eat Christians for breakfast!

  15. Nope, total atheist, I’m convinced that religion has been a blight on humanity and an utter disaster for our species.

  16. What? Me religious? Don’t be silly. I’m one who really enjoyed Bill Maher’s movie “Religulous” (I thinks that’s how he spelled it.)

  17. …why yes, yes, I am…
    Not only am I religious, but I am also the leader of the Elder group in my local congregation. It’s a tenuous, shaky relationship, if for no other reason than I am in all likelihood the most progressive congregant (and elder) in the entire little universe occupied by the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church…
    We have the most interesting convertations…

  18. Interro, I have looked into it. Reconstructive Judaism has many of the same tenets as Humanistic Judaism…but maybe it’s just my upbringing – seeing God as a “force” doesn’t quite do it for me (yes, folks, Mordecai Kaplan came up with that idea well before George Lucas). And yes, I need “some” structure as well, some sort of familiarity in my services to what has gone before – and I have been fortunate to find a congregation here that has that.
    I tend to think that the main emphasis in any effective congregation ought to be that of action over faith: yes, believe in God and have the values, but put them to work. Don’t just sit there and think God will provide. Nobody won the freaking lottery from not buying a ticket.

  19. I’m not religious at all, but not because I hate religion. On the contrary, I think organized religions of all stripes have accomplished great and wonderful things. The art, music and architecture of European Christianity from the Middle Ages to the present, for example, I think have made Christianity worthwhile. Who can listen to Mozart’s Requiem or look at Michelangelo’s Pieta and not see something worthwhile in them? I think religions generally have their hearts in the right place–I have great respect for the foundational tenets of Christianity, for example. Pretty much all of them boil down to “Be excellent to each other.” Who can argue with that?
    My problem with religion is that, like humanity in general, oftentime the assholes get hold of it and screw it up. (I’m looking at YOU, James Dobson. The rest of you assholes can stand in line for the LOOK.)
    But even now, I see good people doing good things under the auspices of organized religion. I will NOT diss those actions or those people or their faith because of the jerks who give religion a bad name.
    And if I could find a faith that touched my emotional nature but still satisfied the demands of my rational self, I’d be all over it. Just haven’t found it yet…

  20. I tell people I’m agnostic but I’m really a pagan in the old Latin sense*. Sometimes I have my doubts (beliefs?).
    “If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
    With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

    That isn’t simply ceremonial deism and it doesn’t strike me as false. It’s something. An invocation, a prayer…I don’t know what. It’s not words to a flying spaghetti monster or something to be mocked. Maybe it’s just human.
    * – The more common meaning of classical Latin pāgānus is “civilian, non-militant” (adjective and noun). Christians called themselves mīlitēs, “enrolled soldiers” of Christ, members of his militant church, and applied to non-Christians the term applied by soldiers to all who were “not enrolled in the army”. [Wikipedia]

  21. Religious? No. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. This is not a religion but a way of life.

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