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      07-31-2007, 06:02 PM   #397
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I find it almost incomprehensible that you, Ganeil, a very logical person with highly developed intellect and tremendous knowledge on many subjects, still believe in religious fairy tales and "higher beings." Why do you need them? Cannot find any other "anchor" for your psycological comfort?
I did not realize that this was about my own religious beliefs but about the role of religion in the world.

I may be logical and knowledgeable in some matters but I do not have a sufficiently high opinion of my own intellect to believe it is comparable to that of Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Reid, or Immanuel Kant.

I do not believe that I can know that God exists is the way I know of things in the physical realm. I do know, however, that the values and concepts I hold dear in western civilization are premised on a belief in God and such a belief is essential to their continuing relevance.
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      07-31-2007, 06:55 PM   #398
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It appears to me that you believe in tradition, stability, and order more than in anything else.
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      07-31-2007, 07:12 PM   #399
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It appears to me that you believe in tradition, stability, and order more than in anything else.
I would say I believe in the rights of the individual, the rule of law, freedom of thought, and the equal opportunity to excel more than anything else.

If traditions, order, and stability contribute to furthering those ideals then I am all for it.
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      07-31-2007, 07:25 PM   #400
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All religion is man made and most religious books were written and documented years after the events of the day took place.

If you think about what was going on back in the early years of civilization, most of the people were uneducated and science was kept under wraps to keep the totalitarian religious leaders in power.

We now know the sun does not revolve around the earth. We know what electricity is, DNA, how life evolved and you can almost say for certain that the most uneducated people in the world today, are far more educated than any of the people who wrote the religious documents that created our various religions, et cetera.

In my mind, it doesn’t make since to still put any belief in a book that was written by any uneducated person years and years ago.
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      07-31-2007, 09:13 PM   #401
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I find it almost incomprehensible that religion is blamed for the world's ills when the 20th century was full of examples of secular societies that were responsible for more violent deaths than any religious society in the history of human civilization.

I think Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Germany, Pot's Cambodia, & Mao's China could have used a belief in a higher being.
My friend - the second part of what I said is just as important. My first wish was for there to be no Religion and thus eliminating one of the reasons for war. The second part (which is just as important) was for each individual to have their individual freedoms and be treated as individuals.

Nazi Germany, the USSR, Communist China etc. never gave people individual freedoms and they did not treat people as individuals. They were cults just as Religions (with the exception of Buddhism) are cults.
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      07-31-2007, 09:27 PM   #402
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My friend - the second part of what I said is just as important. My first wish was for there to be no Religion and thus eliminating one of the reasons for war. The second part (which is just as important) was for each individual to have their individual freedoms and be treated as individuals.

Nazi Germany, the USSR, Communist China etc. never gave people individual freedoms and they did not treat people as individuals. They were cults just as Religions (with the exception of Buddhism) are cults.
Therein lies the problem with your ideas. In your ideal, rights are something for governments to give to (or take away from) the people. The entire western liberal tradition, which gave to the world the notion of individual freedoms, is premised on the idea that those freedoms are not bestowed by governments but are gifts to all human beings from God. Once you remove the idea of a God as the source of these rights, another entity has to fill the void as that higher power be that the state or the collective.
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      07-31-2007, 09:51 PM   #403
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My friend ganeil - Governments are about power. They want more and more power. That power comes at the expense of the people. Governments do not give freedom.

You also seem to misunderstand. I am not anti-God. I was talking about Cult like Religions such as Islam, Christianity etc. I never wished for there to be no God. I wished for there to be no cults - or Religions if you prefer to call them that.

Another problem is that God does not give us rights. We give ourselves rights.
Freedom is based on the animal desire to be free. Dogs like to be free, lions like to be free, bears like to be free, humans like to be free etc. God is irrelevant whenit comes to freedom.

If there is a creator (and I think there is because there had to be something before the big-bang etc.) then this creator would have to be somewhat stable. The Christian/Islamic/Jewish God destroys cities (Soddom et al), destroys the world (Noah et al), tells the Jews to kill at the Philistines (promised land story), turns the other cheek (Jesus), forgives them for they know not (Jesus), and then goes on a Jihad. Thay have the same prophets until you get to Jesus and that is where the pi$$ing match starts. I find such a God to be highly reactive and highly unstable. If that is what God is about then I do not want to have anything to do with the such a hateful and vengeful God.

My God is a God who is loving. A God who is kind. A forgiving God. A God who wants all of it's creations to grow, become more patient, be kind and not hurt others. My God is a stable God and does not act as though it had a "Borderline Personality Disorder" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderl...ality_disorder ).
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      07-31-2007, 10:03 PM   #404
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My friend ganeil - Governments are about power. They want more and more power. That power comes at the expense of the people. Governments do not give freedom.

You also seem to misunderstand. I am not anti-God. I was talking about Cult like Religions such as Islam, Christianity etc. I never wished for there to be no God. I wished for there to be no cults - or Religions if you prefer to call them that.

Another problem is that God does not give us rights. We give ourselves rights.
Freedom is based on the animal desire to be free. Dogs like to be free, lions like to be free, bears like to be free, humans like to be free etc. God is irrelevant whenit comes to freedom.

If there is a creator (and I think there is because there had to be something before the big-bang etc.) then this creator would have to be somewhat stable. The Christian/Islamic/Jewish God destroys cities (Soddom et al), destroys the world (Noah et al), tells the Jews to kill at the Philistines (promised land story), turns the other cheek (Jesus), forgives them for they know not (Jesus), and then goes on a Jihad. Thay have the same prophets until you get to Jesus and that is where the pi$$ing match starts. I find such a God to be highly reactive and highly unstable. If that is what God is about then I do not want to have anything to do with the such a hateful and vengeful God.

My God is a God who is loving. A God who is kind. A forgiving God. A God who wants all of it's creations to grow, become more patient, be kind and not hurt others. My God is a stable God and does not act as though it had a "Borderline Personality Disorder" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderl...ality_disorder ).
Forgive me for disagreeing but just governments exist to protect freedom not take it away.

Maybe it would help if you defined what you call a cult religion. Your knowledge of Judeo-Christian theology seems to be limited and I am not clear on what portions of it you consider cult-like.
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      07-31-2007, 10:14 PM   #405
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Forgive me for disagreeing but just governments exist to protect freedom not take it away.

Maybe it would help if you defined what you call a cult religion. Your knowledge of Judeo-Christian theology seems to be limited and I am not clear on what portions of it you consider cult-like.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists five different definitions of the word "cult".[12]

1. Formal religious veneration
2. A system of religious beliefs and ritual; also: its body of adherents;
3. A religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also: its body of adherents;
4. A system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator;
5. Great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book).


The Random House Unabridged Dictionary's eight definitions of "cult" are:

1. A particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies;
2. An instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers;
3. The object of such devotion;
4. A group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc;
5. Group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols;
6. A religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader;
7. The members of such a religion or sect;
8. Any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.
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      07-31-2007, 10:16 PM   #406
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Thank you but I know how the dictionary defines the term but not how you do.
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      07-31-2007, 10:27 PM   #407
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Thank you but I know how the dictionary defines the term but not how you do.
My friend ganeil - I define it as the dictionary defines it.

Have a pleasant night. My best regards to you and your loved ones.
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      08-01-2007, 09:05 AM   #408
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My friend ganeil - I define it as the dictionary defines it.
I apologize but that is really not helpful for me to develop a better understanding of your beliefs. The word "cult" has developed a negative connotation similar to the "A religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader" definition.

Is this the context in which you consider Christianity & Islam cult-like?
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      08-01-2007, 12:06 PM   #409
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My God is a God who is loving. A God who is kind. A forgiving God. A God who wants all of it's creations to grow, become more patient, be kind and not hurt others.
I like your ideas, Enfield, but as any ideas related to the concept of "God," they are a bit utopian and illusory. This world, and our planet in particular, was created or evolved as a mechanism where parts of it destroy and/or consume other parts in order to survive. Life is a constant slaughter of the weak by the strong. But you can't call it cruel or wrong because that is how the world exist. Predators eat herbivories, herbivories eat plants, plants consume water and oxigen from the earth, and so on. The humans, by far, consume and destroy the largest share of the planet's resources to fulfill their often selfish and capricious needs. Given this global scheme of things, the concepts of right and wrong and good and evil make no sense and only lead to hypocricy as even a deeply religious person cannot afford not to destroy a living being (animal or plant) because you have to destroy and consume in order to survive. I understand that to distinguish ourselves from just mammals we need to have some illusory ideas; otherwise the society will turn into a chaos. But, I'm wondering if having organized religions such as christianity, islam, and judaism is the only way to keep our sanity.
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      08-01-2007, 05:52 PM   #410
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My friend ATG - what you write makes sense. I have been listening to the Dalai Lama - a much wiser man than I. He talks about injesting meat and killing animals. Tell us how his Physicians have basically ordered him to consume meat. He talks of moderation in eating meat as well as moderation in everything else. I like his ideas. I do not think that Religions like Islam, Christianity or Judism are the way to go. Being an animal - humans have to consume but we should do it in moderation.

My friend ganiel I do believe that Religions like Chirstianiny have become cults. Christianity has become the cult of Jesus. Islam has become the cult of Muhammad. There are 1.5 billion Christians and something like 1.3 billion Muslims. There are 6.7 billion people on this earth. Thus 22% of people are Christain and 19% are Muslim. Therefore 78% of people are non-Christian and 81% of people are non-Muslim. Therefore these cults are of minorities and are not of mainstream conventional people. Both groups have people who are extremist and unorthodox.

To be honest I believe there are less than 1.5 Billion practicing Christians and there are less than 1.3 Billion practicing Muslims. These are extremist cults around a charismatic leader (Jesus/Muhammad) and are unorthodox in their beliefs - they both have magical and non-logic based ideas.

So - my belief is that these Religions are cults. This is my personal view. I will not impose it on anyone unlike these Religious cults. Christianity has a lot to answer for in the Americas (& their treatment of Natives), Australia/NZ (& their treatment of the Natives), Africa (& their Treatment of Natives), the Crusades (and their treatment of natives). Islam has a lot to answer for including the treatment of Africa (and it's natives), treatment of Asia/South Asia, and Eastern Europe. Both these cults are intolerant and impose their view at the point of a sword or the barrel of a gun.
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      08-01-2007, 06:39 PM   #411
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My friend ganiel I do believe that Religions like Chirstianiny have become cults. Christianity has become the cult of Jesus. Islam has become the cult of Muhammad. There are 1.5 billion Christians and something like 1.3 billion Muslims. There are 6.7 billion people on this earth. Thus 22% of people are Christain and 19% are Muslim. Therefore 78% of people are non-Christian and 81% of people are non-Muslim. Therefore these cults are of minorities and are not of mainstream conventional people. Both groups have people who are extremist and unorthodox.

To be honest I believe there are less than 1.5 Billion practicing Christians and there are less than 1.3 Billion practicing Muslims. These are extremist cults around a charismatic leader (Jesus/Muhammad) and are unorthodox in their beliefs - they both have magical and non-logic based ideas.

So - my belief is that these Religions are cults. This is my personal view. I will not impose it on anyone unlike these Religious cults. Christianity has a lot to answer for in the Americas (& their treatment of Natives), Australia/NZ (& their treatment of the Natives), Africa (& their Treatment of Natives), the Crusades (and their treatment of natives). Islam has a lot to answer for including the treatment of Africa (and it's natives), treatment of Asia/South Asia, and Eastern Europe. Both these cults are intolerant and impose their view at the point of a sword or the barrel of a gun.
I guess we will have to agree to disagree again. The two largest religious denomination on Earth, Roman Catholicism and Sunni Islam, surely cannot be considered unconventional. If they are unconventional, what would conventional be? Their beliefs are also no more unorthodox than any other set of religious beliefs.
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      08-02-2007, 11:21 AM   #412
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Enfield, I applaud your apparent decision to turn to buddhism despite your muslim roots (my understanding from the other thread).

I also agree that moderation and balance is the most important thing in life.
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      08-02-2007, 03:39 PM   #413
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Enfield, I applaud your apparent decision to turn to buddhism despite your muslim roots (my understanding from the other thread).

I also agree that moderation and balance is the most important thing in life.
It wasn't an easy process ATG. I was born into a Sunni Muslim family. It was not through any choice I made. It happened.

There are good things about Islam. There are good thing about Christianity. I looked at Judism and felt it the same as the first 2 religions. Hinduism did not appeal to me. Neither did any other faith or for that matter lack of one.

Buddhism is about personal growth and development. Each life has a purpose. The purpose if to become a better living being. That means opening ones mind to the possibilities including the possibility that one can be wrong. I would not call me Buddhist either. I would call me someone who believes in One God and has a Buddhist philosophy in life.

Thank you for your kind wishes. Hopefully I will develop into an improved person over time. I wish you the best my friend.
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      08-02-2007, 04:09 PM   #414
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If you haven't read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, I strongly recommend it. it has some important relevations that will hopefully help you on your path to self-development. But, honestly, there is no path, and the book talks about that as well.
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      08-06-2007, 09:02 AM   #415
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Thanks for the pointers ATG

here's an interesting clip (26 minutes) talking about the origins of 3 of the great religions:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...75979627863972

Would love to hear your thoughts (as well as the thoughts of other thoughtful people) on this clip.
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      08-06-2007, 06:59 PM   #416
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Enfield, it has been interesting reading your posts and imagining what you have gone through. My question for you is this: You state that government is about power and limit individual freedoms, which is something you are about. What, then, do you propose in the place of government? Anarchy is definitely not the answer, and I believe that if everyone is given individual freedoms, the world would become chaotic.

Yes, my freedoms are limited because of government interaction, and there are definitely some things that I wish I could do (Drive 120 mph for example =D), but the government instilling and enforcing laws against theft, murder, etc. lets me sleep at night, which is a freedom that I'd rather not give up!
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      08-06-2007, 07:20 PM   #417
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Read "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" By: Christopher Hitchens.

This book was a real eye opener and it has completely changed the way I see religion, government and the world as it relates to how we treat each other.

Some background on me. I'm an African America born into this world and raised a Catholic. In a very strict Catholic values environment.

I wanted to be a priest until I was 19 and have recently been questioning everything I believed in.

I feel I'm now on a journey to find the truth. What ever that may be.
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      08-06-2007, 11:06 PM   #418
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Enfield, it has been interesting reading your posts and imagining what you have gone through. My question for you is this: You state that government is about power and limit individual freedoms, which is something you are about. What, then, do you propose in the place of government? Anarchy is definitely not the answer, and I believe that if everyone is given individual freedoms, the world would become chaotic.

Yes, my freedoms are limited because of government interaction, and there are definitely some things that I wish I could do (Drive 120 mph for example =D), but the government instilling and enforcing laws against theft, murder, etc. lets me sleep at night, which is a freedom that I'd rather not give up!
You ask very good questions my friend. I will be the first to admit that I do not know all the answers. When I was a teen I was stating what I had been programmed by my culture to say. I thought I knew all the answers.

Knowledge can be a curse. The more I learn - the more I realise how little I know.

I believe that most people are good. I think everyone values kindness. I think that Buddhism provides some of the answers - "some" being an important word.

In Germany you can drive at 120mph on the unrestricted autobahn. I find driving in Germany to be quite predictable and civilised. I believe that if you give people the chance and don't baby them, then they will rise (or at least try to rise) to the occasion. A lot of US states allow people to carry hidden handguns. Is there more anarchy in those states as compared to the UK where there is a universal gun ban?

Human being have been trying to find the answers for many thousands of years. Wiser men and women than I have tried. Maybe the asnwer is that there is no answer.... Can you be comfortable with such an answer? I can be comfortable with such an answer.

There are choices in life. There are the extreme choices and the the 'middle of the road' choices. I think if we stick to the 'middle of the road' choices we will do okay.

So to answer your question I would suggest Limited Government. You may ask what is 'limited'. I think the original US Constitution & Bill of Rights helps get us part of the way.
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