Religion related questions

Posted by: Omenomen

I feel silly writing this, but God knows how it will turn out. Anyway, I had a little exchange of words on religion topic today, vague subject, and vague conversation. But from that little exchange, I figured out that my interlocutors have hazy idea about religion, both as a concept as well as a term. Nothing new, very common situation. I know that religion quite often gives us impression of something familiar, simple and well known. But knowledge of an ordinary man about religion does not exceed knowledge of a toddler about Newton's laws. Yes, when he stumbles, he falls down, not up, that is everything he knows. But what stands behind it can not be discovered by common sense and mere feeling. With religion is no difference.

In every science we must start from the alphabet. So, I will start with the shortest explanation of the crucial terms, without which we can not understand each other.

Religion - bond between man and God in the narrower sense of the term. It also implies bond between the believers, belonging to a community.

Faith - inner, spiritual part of that bond which includes feeling of God's presence in our life and our trust in him.

Revelation - the cornerstone the religion is built upon. Legacy came directly from God through the founder.

Tradition - chain of that legacy incorporated in a community, transmitted from generation to generation.

Traditions - our response to that legacy in terms of practice.

Confession - our response to that legacy in terms of understanding and interpreting. Often synonym for a creed or a community.

P.S. As you do not start a conversation about legislation without knowledge of terms as law, constitution and custom, you do not start conversation about religion without knowledge of these terms. Before you express your opinions and credences upon the subject, please ask. I am willing to give any explanation I can.


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expert

I feel deeply sad about the happenings in France today. I will be offline for a week showing my support to France Nashko_2901_external-content

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expert

WOW!!! While i was coping with the storm and slept after that the thread became viral. I thank all and mainly Omenomen for opening this. I am really thrilled and happy that we all have the freedom and decency of deploying our argumentation on God/Religion !!!

I even thank my God for this!!
As i am busy in the store will try offer more arguments to the thread when i can, later.

Meanwhile i would like to add some news showing off the difference of cultural levels between the advanced West and other cultures:

Turkish Fanatics chasing Armenians in the streets of France:

mobile.twitter.com/AntiwarRawitn...

Turkish army troop searching passages for inserting Fanatics in Greek Borders:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZpwbvyV...

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senior guru

God is infallible, man is not.
Religion is man's device to worship, commune and praise God.

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Hide 4 replies...

@Bread&Circuses I have a hard time believing any of the modern religions.. I can't quite grasp it.
I don't believe I ever will ..

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@CollideDuhScopeTwo Do you believe any of the OLD religions? Just asking for a friend!

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@CollideDuhScopeTwo No one truly quite grasps the fullness of it. That is where faith steps in.

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top expert

oh i forgot one: my favourite
The Unknown God
The Greek God Of Miscellany

To make sure that they didn’t leave anything out, the Greeks came up with one extra god: The Unknown God, or the god of everything they forgot to mention. This was a sort of placeholder god who was used for everything they hadn’t thought up yet.

They started worshiping the unknown god after Athens was hit by a plague. No matter how many animals they ritually slaughtered, the plague didn’t go away—and ritually slaughtering animals was all they knew how to do.

So the Greeks tried something a bit different. They sent a flock of sheep into a field, made an altar to all the miscellaneous, unspecific gods, and slaughtered the sheep, hoping that this act would appease whichever god they’d never heard of.

smiley Thats what religion is about:
Just in case....better slaughter something

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Hide 5 replies...

@Adrian88 Thank you mentioning this Adrian! The Greek intelligence was always refusing to subdue it's mental freedom to the authoritarian thinking trying to find the deepest truth in the essence of everything. This of course did NOT stayed inside the borders of the Greek civilization. It was spread all over the world. Became part of German, English, French and many other scientists and thinkers as the spirit of Enlightenment blessed all of the West by it's own choise

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@Adrian88 The god of miscellanea. How did you dig him up? smiley

Not quite. The shortest history of that god would be: Greeks were aware of the multitude of their gods. They were also aware that number was growing over time and they were introducing gods from the neighboring nations. So, they naturally asked themselves: Did we give honor to literary every one? Is there some god remained unnoticed? So, they put a statue of unknown one in their pantheon. Knowing nothing about him, they did not give him any specialty, just referred to him as "miscellanea".

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@Adrian88 Did you ever read of when Paul went to Athens and explained to them who the unknown God was?

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@nathandebora Paulus schrieb and die Phillipper
"kann nicht kommen, habe Tripper"
[roughly translates:
Paulus wrote to the Philippians
"i cant come i have gonorrhoe"
I admit it rhymes much better in German
smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley

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@Adrian88 smiley smiley smiley smiley Somehow I find Xochipilli (The Aztec God Of Gay Prostitutes) and the ways to honor him (psychoactive flowers and mushrooms - NOT slaughtered Gay Prostitutes) more appealing smiley smiley

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senior guru

"I will write my words upon their hearts." Is that not the gist?

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Hide 2 replies...

@bondojoe I have missed you!!
No talky on homesite?
Not related to Yosemite smiley

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@CollideDuhScopeTwo Thank you I have missed you too! I'm waiting for the election to be over, and maybe sanity will return in some form. Also, the censorship here is cramping me.

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moderator

Okay. So we have the alphabet. Now we need a question/topic to apply it.

How about: Should interpretation of religion be left to the person or to the church?

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Hide 27 replies...

@JudgeDredd As Martin Luther brought the Bible to the masses, he enhanced religious thought of the individual. Is it not a person's choice to follow a church, which church, create their own church or follow no church at all and be faithful in their own way ?

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@Bread&Circuses I replied Dred, it's basically the same question smiley

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@Bread&Circuses Hey, you got my vote smiley smiley Thats exactly what I am asking here.

Which leads to another question as well: if one ascribes to religious fundamentalism (i.e. the literal interpretation of the Holly Book), why would anyone need the church as a middleman?

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@JudgeDredd In 1 Corinthians 11:18, we read of instructions for “when you come together as a church,” indicating that there was a unique gathering “as a church” that was not the same as a few Christians hanging out and talking about Jesus. To form, engage and exist in a community with all the benefits afforded by community of the like minded.

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@Bread&Circuses You noticed that well. Anything comes to mind about my question?

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@Omenomen As Martin Luther brought the Bible to the masses, he enhanced religious thought of the individual. Is it not a person's choice to follow a church, which church, create their own church or follow no church at all and be faithful in their own way ?

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@Bread&Circuses Luther's story is long. He definitively did not bring the Bible to the masses. Translations in contemporary languages existed centuries ago. But yes, they were not cherished and his fight was partly about it.

In my comment about the canon, I tried to inspire you on thinking. Every community is called a church, yes. But the congregation of all the communities is also called church, this time with capital c, the Church. The idea comes from the deepest belief of Christians that we are all connected, regardless of time and space, connected in Holy Spirit. But that connection has to be manifested in some way. And here we come to the Tradition.

You mentioned 1 Corinthians 11:18. Those communities were not isolated and were not formed by an accident. They were founded either by the apostles, either by their disciples. And one community was recognizing another based on the apostolic tradition. ...
Read more

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@Omenomen Mlk was a Republican.. just saying as I read further..
Most people don't realize that or refuse to mention it..

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@CollideDuhScopeTwo Martin Luther (1483-1456), the reformer.

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@JudgeDredd Guys as Cyclon Cyrce is droping it's Grace on my roof i have to leave and secure the property. Will catch up 2morrow

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@Nasos You're a silly dork! I love it! smiley

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@CollideDuhScopeTwo Wait.. he/she was very real smiley ... oh my

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@CollideDuhScopeTwo u r hillarious ! U make me laugh! Need to get going with my work, catch u later. Take care

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@Nasos You too ...please I am begging you to forgive my ignorance.
I can be such an arse sometimes.. UGH

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@CollideDuhScopeTwo Everything is ok! Yer fine

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@JudgeDredd I see your's and Bready's question are both related to the church. Church itself is made of persons, without them, it does not exist. So, the question would rather be: is interpretation up to an individual or to the authority?

For the catholics and the orthodox, the answer is to the authority, without a doubt. But who is entitled to the position of authority?

Before we go deeper into that question, I will give you something to think about. New Testament has consisted of 27 books. That number is called canon. All the books are written in 1 AD. But they are only a tiny number of books that have been written. I assume you heard of the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene.

Now, Christians of the early Church lived in small communities, mostly in big cities in the Mediterranean, from Palestine to Spain. During the 2nd century, canon was formed in all those communities independently. ...
Read more

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@Omenomen But what of the churches like St. Thomas who went to India and formed a radical Jewish sect? His documents were destroyed by the Portuguese Catholics but the history is well known and the tradition continues there.

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@Omenomen I have been to the cathedral in Chennai.

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@Omenomen "All to one, the communities accepted those 27 books and rejected the others"

What were the "others"?

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@JudgeDredd Various Gospels. Gospel of Thomas, Peter, Philip, Mary, Gospel of Egyptians, various acts and epistles. In a word, much more than those 27.

They are called Apocrypha. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testam...

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@Omenomen How is it possible? I am not sure. Unless you infer some kind of divine intervention, it doesnt compute. All the communities sharing the same interpretation to the letter without any form of communication and without any alterations to the end result to accommodate their unique identities and morality? Not possible.

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@JudgeDredd Alright. Imagine the ancient world. The Roman Empire. Everything looked so bigger, you needed days from Jerusalem to Antioch by feet, and weeks from Antioch to Rome by sea. But people were traveling, as well as letters, as well as ideas.

The early Christians were communicating. We have a vivid picture of it in Acts of the Apostles and in Paul's epistles. Later, we have circulating letters like that one from Clement of Rome and travelers like Justin the Martyr or Irenaeus of Lyon. So, there were many ties between local communities actually, they were not by any means isolated.

Now, the problem of the Scripture. Oral word is older than the Scripture. You had Christians in Spain before the first Gospel is written. And once it has been written, it started circulating like a fire. Christians were traveling from city to city, and from East to West and spread the written word. But here is the problem. Many Gospels were written around the same time. That is number one. And number two, there are always corrupted ones. Mistakes were made accidentally, in scribing, or with the purpose, because the scribe did not agree with the author.
...
Read more

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@Omenomen So, if I understand this correctly, the choice of the books was made on the basis of the language they were written (Latin). Still that doesnt explain the process of distinguishing between the original Gospels and the erroneous ones. There would need to be a point of reference to identify the erroneous pieces or someone with intimate knowledge of all the books written at the time.

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@JudgeDredd No. They were all written in Greek. I took example of Carthago just to make the problem spicier. You see, if somebody who almost did not know Greek made distinction between those 27 texts and the multitude of the others (again all in Greek), that makes the phenomena even more wonderful.

The outward explanation would be that they all shared the same mind. They had the same feeling/understanding of the faith. The mysterious part of the phenomena is that they did not condemn all the other texts. Some of them were clearly heretical, but some of them they regarded as pious and useful. Gospel according to James is typical example. Most things we know about Mary is from that book. It was quoted and praised in the early Church but never integrated into the canon. We know for sure that there were epistles of St. Paul, that are lost. They were never included either. So, what made the early Christians take those 27 only? What is special about them?
...
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@JudgeDredd The 39 books of the Old Testament form the Bible of Judaism, while the Christian Bible includes those books and also the 27 books of the New Testament. This list of books included in the Bible is known as the canon. That is, the canon refers to the books regarded as inspired by God and authoritative for faith and life. No church created the canon, but the churches and councils gradually accepted the list of books recognized by believers everywhere as inspired.

It was actually not until 367 AD that the church father Athanasius first provided the complete listing of the 66 books belonging to the canon.

www.biblica.com/resources/bible-...

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@Bread&Circuses "The churches and councils gradually accepted the list of books recognized by believers everywhere as inspired".

The more you think about the process itself, the more amazing it looks like smiley

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skilled

You are looking at it from a narrow Protestant-or-Catholic point of view, there are other Christian churches (meaning communities, not buildings) with valid claims to truth, and other religions with the same basic principles.

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Hide 2 replies...

@Buttless Are you an Orthodox, maybe?

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@Omenomen Nothing orthodox about me!

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senior guru

Being we're on the subject, I highly recommend this movie :

dosmovies.com/film/Luther

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expert

Nice post Ome, food for thoughts. Are u referring to me , not knowing the differences between Religion and Faith for example?

I don't agree with the given basic explanations about Religion u give . It is quite misleading and it's intentionaly connecting Faith with Religion. Why : unless it's mistaken in translation if its "narrower" then it's more private than Faith wich is not. If it's "wider" then the explanation doesn't hold the subjectivity of the termine as man made and not God made. Revalation maybe God's act but Religion not. And this is where problems start is u ask me
As i don't like to hold the royalties of something i would use the termine of Religion as it is given in Wikipedia:
"Social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion"
...
Read more

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@Nasos I had the conversation with you and Dred, but I am pretty sure it goes for every single member of this site. Yes, you do not know the difference between the terms. What wiki says is true, but at the same time misleading. Again, we can not have further conversation without understanding the terms.

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@Omenomen I am sorry that we disagree!

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@Nasos I am not. Got used to it smiley

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top expert

Look omenomen: it appears a bit weird that YOU talk about the "common [christian] man" as if from a superior overview - and than start defining
an even weirder "alphabet of religion" .
But: see? thats quite the way i feel towards christians and any other believer with an invisible friend.
Currently this planet has roughly 3000 major deities (not counted the millions of smaller ones, especially in hinduism.)
So if you believe in your one -i assume christian- god that makes you an atheist/disbeliever towards 2999 other gods.
There is no reason at all why your god is more likely to be the "real god" (if existing at all) than any other.

I actually think these funny gods make far more sense than yours:
Cardea
The Roman Goddess Of Door Hinges

“Goddess of the hinge!” wrote the Roman writer Ovid, praising the great deity Cardea. “She opens the closed, by her power, closes the open.”

Saehrimnir
The Norse Pig Of Eternal Bacon

The Norse knew that no religion was complete without divine bacon. After all, they couldn’t worship gods who settled for the garbage we mortals eat. The gods needed divine food—and that’s where Saehrimnir comes in.
...
Read more

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Hide 4 replies...

@Adrian88 Although I did enjoy your collection of Deities, Omen does have a Masters in Theology. That alone makes his knowledge on the subject superior to yours and mine. You are entitled on your opinion of course, as am I, but that doesnt change the fact that our observations/arguments could be wrong from a theological standpoint. smiley

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@Adrian88 Alphabet of religious terms, yes. When I say sanctuary, you don't mean toilet. One word has to has the same meaning for you and for me. Otherwise, our talk makes no sense.

The number of religions is confusing you? There is nothing confusing about that. It would be really weird people have the same vision of God. But does it mean they are all true? Equally wrong?

Let me ask you something. If you are an archeologist and have a long dream to discover some site, and finally got an opportunity to join a group that goes to the supposed field, would you give it up because there are different groups around competing yours, searching on different localities? Will you lose your scientific appetite then?

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@Omenomen Nope. not confusing. and i think the admirers of Xochipilli have a fairly different vision of god.
nice example with the archeologists. Out of all curiosity as the driver of religion. Curiosity is the driver of science and therefor your natural enemy.
It is rather similar to the hunting the Loch Ness monster or El Dorado.
smiley smiley smiley

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@Adrian88 I beg to differ. Be true to at the very least, yourself

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top expert

I thank god for making me an atheist. amen .

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@Adrian88 Adrian, you are the biggest troll on this site smiley

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top expert

Ignatius von Loyola
trank gerne Schnaps mit Cola
dann torkelt er durchs Kirchenschiff
und kotzt auf seine Stola

Adrian88_4767_1498780-paul-the-cartoon-priest-character-getting-drunk-black-white

Ignatius of Loyola
liked drinking booze with Cola
then he reeled brave through the nave
and vomits on his stola.

Adrian88_4242_priest_vomit

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@Adrian88 Mean eating a bear. Well, funny. But why you are not more constructive instead?

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@Omenomen That WAS constructive! and actually you are right. i was to lazy to make my own graphic of a vomiting priest so it took the very fist one google pic puked out. it shows a priest vomitting on a child`s toy. I dunno why he does that- the text just says so.
probably its from the St.Bacchus orphanage.

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