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 Post subject: What is Religion?
PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 6:55 am 
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What is Religion as understood by those practicing a "religion" in today's world?

To me, this article seems to sum it up pretty well and the material I've posted at the bottom of the page is interesting, also:

A good example of a narrow definition is the common attempt to define “religion” as “belief in God,” effectively excluding polytheistic religions and atheistic religions while including theists who have no religious belief system. A good example of a vague definition is the tendency to define religion as “worldview” — but how can every worldview qualify as a religion?

Some have argued that religion isn’t hard to define and the plethora of conflicting definitions is evidence of how easy it really is. The problem lies in finding a definition that is empirically useful and empirically testable. So far, the best definition of religion I have seen is in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It lists traits of religions rather than declaring religion to be one thing or another, arguing that the more markers present in a belief system, the more”religious like” it is:

Belief in supernatural beings (gods).
A distinction between sacred and profane objects.
Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.
A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods.
Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual, and which are connected in idea with the gods.
Prayer and other forms of communication with gods.
A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.
A more or less total organization of one’s life based on the world view.
A social group bound together by the above.
This definition captures much of what religion is across diverse cultures. It includes sociological, psychological, and historical factors and allows for broader gray areas in the concept of religion. It’s not without flaws, though. The first marker, for example, is about “supernatural beings” and gives “gods” as an example, but thereafter only gods are mentioned. Even the concept of “supernatural beings” is a bit too specific; Mircea Eliade defined religion in reference to a focus on “the sacred” and that is a good replacement for “supernatural beings” because not every religion revolves around the supernatural.



A better definition is:

Belief in something sacred (for example, gods or other supernatural beings).
A distinction between sacred and profane objects.
Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.
A moral code believed to have a sacred or supernatural basis.
Characteristically religious feelings (awe, sense of mystery, sense of guilt, adoration), which tend to be aroused in the presence of sacred objects and during the practice of ritual.
Prayer and other forms of communication with the supernatural.
A world view, or a general picture of the world as a whole and the place of the individual therein. This picture contains some specification of an over-all purpose or point of the world and an indication of how the individual fits into it.
A more or less total organization of one’s life based on the world view.
A social group bound together by the above.
This is the definition of religion used here. It describes religious systems but not non-religious systems. It encompasses the features common in belief systems generally acknowledged as religions without focusing on specific characteristics unique to just a few.



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Source: http://atheism.about.com/od/religiondef ... nition.htm

Here are more questions:

Some religious leaders seem to tell us that we're not smart enough or good enough to discover God on our own. Who says?

If God is good and perfect, why is there so much evil and suffering in the world?

How can anyone rely on the Bible for answers, if it's just a loose translation of ancient myths anyway?

How can we trust religion if it has advocated slavery and the subjugation of women throughout history?


Source: http://religion.coffeehousetheology.com/

Catherine

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 12:09 am 
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here's something i found interesting ...


Does God exist? Is there evidence for the existence of God?





Question: "Does God exist? Is there evidence for the existence of God?"



Answer: Does God exist? I find it interesting that so much attention is given to this debate. The latest surveys tell us that over 90% of people in the world today believe in the existence of God or some higher power. Yet, somehow the responsibility is placed on those who believe God does exist to somehow prove that He really does exist. To me, I think it should be the other way around.



However, the existence of God cannot be proven or disproved. The Bible even says that we must accept by faith the fact that God exists, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists. But if He did that, there would be no need for faith. "Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'” (John 20:29).



That does not mean, however, that there is not evidence of God’s existence. The Bible declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Looking at the stars, understanding the vastness of the universe, observing the wonders of nature, seeing the beauty of a sunset – all of these things point to a Creator God. If these were not enough, there is also evidence of God in our own hearts. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” There is something deep down in our beings that recognizes that there is something beyond this life and someone beyond this world. We can deny this knowledge intellectually, but God’s presence in us and through us is still there. Despite all of this, the Bible warns us that some will still deny God’s existence, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1).



In addition to the Biblical arguments for God’s existence, there are logical arguments as well. First, there is the ontological argument. This argument basically says that since over 98% of people throughout history, in all cultures, in all civilizations, on all continents believe in the existence of God – there must be something (or someone) causing this belief. A second is the teleological argument. The teleological argument is that since the universe displays such an amazing design, there must have been a Divine designer. For example, if earth were even a few hundred miles closer or further away from the sun, it would not be capable of supporting much of the life it currently does. If the elements in our atmosphere were even a few percentage points different, every living thing on earth would die. The odds of a single protein molecule forming by chance is 1 in 10243 (that is a 10 followed by 243 0’s). A single cell is comprised of millions of protein molecules.



A third logical argument for God’s existence is called the cosmological argument. Every effect must have a cause. This universe and everything in it is an effect. There must be something that caused everything to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be something “un-caused” in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “un-caused” something is God. A fourth argument is known as the moral argument. Every culture throughout history has had some form of law. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong. Murder, lying, stealing, and immorality are almost universally rejected. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from if not from a holy God?



Despite all of this, the Bible tells us that people will reject the clear and undeniable knowledge of God and instead believe a lie. Romans 1:25 declares, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen.” The Bible also proclaims that people are without excuse for not believing in God, “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).



People claim to not believe in God because it is “not scientific” or “because there is no proof.” The true reason is because once people admit that there is a God, they also must realize that they are responsible to God and in need of forgiveness from God (Romans 3:23; 6:23). If God exists, then we are accountable for our actions to Him. If God does not exist, then we can do whatever we want without having to worry about God judging us. I believe that is why evolution is so strongly clung to by many in our society - to give people an alternative to believing in a Creator God. God exists and ultimately everyone knows that He exists. The very fact that some attempt so aggressively to disprove His existence is in fact an argument for His existence.



Allow me one last argument for God’s existence. How do I know God exists? I know God exists because I speak to Him every day. I do not audibly hear Him speaking back to me, but I sense His presence, I feel His leading, I know His love, I desire His grace. Things have occurred in my life that have no other possible explanation other than God. God has so miraculously saved me and changed my life that I cannot help but to acknowledge and praise His existence. None of these arguments in and of themselves can persuade anyone who refuses to acknowledge what is so plainly clear. In the end, God’s existence must be accepted by faith (Hebrews 11:6). Faith in God is not a blind leap into the dark, it is safe step into a well-lit room where 90% of people are already standing.

link:http://www.gotquestions.org/Does-God-exist.html

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 12:31 am 
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religion is simply a crutch to help one get thru life.

as an atheist, i don't worry about if there is a god or not, i leave that argument for those who feel a need to believe in a god.


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 Post subject: Correct
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 12:24 pm 
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mga wrote:
religion is simply a crutch to help one get thru life.

as an atheist, i don't worry about if there is a god or not, i leave that argument for those who feel a need to believe in a god.


It is indeed a crutch!

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 1:31 pm 
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A very complex crutch.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 11:41 pm 
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quote from buckshot:

"People claim to not believe in God because it is “not scientific” or “because there is no proof.” The true reason is because once people admit that there is a God, they also must realize that they are responsible to God and in need of forgiveness from God (Romans 3:23; 6:23). If God exists, then we are accountable for our actions to Him. If God does not exist, then we can do whatever we want without having to worry about God judging us. I believe that is why evolution is so strongly clung to by many in our society - to give people an alternative to believing in a Creator God. God exists and ultimately everyone knows that He exists. The very fact that some attempt so aggressively to disprove His existence is in fact an argument for His existence. "


I don't intend to argue every point of your post, but the above paragraph was interesting. It supports the thought that religion was created by man as a means to control mankind. By now, one would hope that mankind has evolved. Do you need to have a "god" to know it's just morally wrong to take another human's life or property? Or, are people so afraid of dying that they need some fantasy world of a "life after death"?

If people of faith truly believed in the real existance of "god", then why would you go to a war, declared by a single man, and murder any fellow human being? Is god an american, muslim, a jew?

Or, perhaps, "god" has some political favorites and he favors the western world over the eastern? Does "god" prefer american troops over muslim troops?

God supposedly rules over all things, and he supposedly afflicted Egypt with seven plagues because of the way Egypt treated a handful of Jews, yet, god sat idly by and did nothing when Hitler had slaughtered several million...what was that all about? perhaps god was on vacation during those years...??

It was easier for mankind, many ,many years ago, to conjur up illusions of some devine intervention when some one asked "where did we come from"? "where did the moon come from"? etc etc...mankind was not scientific back then. But, today, we have facts that support evolution in all species of plant and animal life. We can show how the earth created itself and is always changing. We don't have to think that heaven is above the clouds...we now know that space is above them....for millions of light years away!! we now know that hell doesn't exist below the ground.

In fact, as evolution proves it's position stronger, religion is caving in to this by acknowledging that evolution does exist, but because of the complexity of life, there just HAD to be a divine intervention somewhere along the line. (follow the arguments going on in Kansas right now)

One can't seriously believe that god said "poof" and the earth was born, then he said "poof" and man was standing there......don't you find that a bit strange???


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 12:27 am 
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Found at another forum:

"Religion: The worst crime ever committed against mankind by mankind."

http://www.smirkingchimp.com

Catherine

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