Organised Religion(115 Posts)
Firstly I am really not trying to knock anyone's faith, or cause offence, this is just something that's been on my mind a lot recently.
Do followers or organised religions believe that theirs is the only correct one, and all the others are wrong? Because if this is so that would mean the majority of the planet are wrong, and of not its basically saying everyone's right in their own way, which doesn't make much sense either.
I just can't get my head around the fact that people might pick a faith based purely on what thier family follow, and then assume that's the one correct one.
Would love to hear thoughts of this.
Short answer is not necessarily.
Slightly longer answer is there are all kinds of people in any social grouping, not all of whom share the exact same beliefs. I converted to Christianity a while back and before that I was really into Buddhism. Before that I was a rampant atheist, as per my upbringing. Throughout, I've stayed a fan of anyone who behaves in a compassionate manner to their fellow humans, regardless of religious identity or any other factors. So personally I don't believe Christianity is the only correct one as you put it. However in my church there are no doubt plenty of people who would not be interested in finding out about other religions, largely because they are happy where they are. Most of them have grown up in that specific faith and to them it's just what you do, they've not sat down and thought about it or experimented with different faiths. Plenty of them wouldn't understand my journey, just as I don't really understand theirs if I'm honest. I think as long as you're a decent human being to those around you, it doesn't actually matter what religion you identify with.
Saying everyone's right in their own way does make sense, it's the only way society as a whole holds together, just look at something as superficial as the range of food on offer in restaurants and supermarkets. I'll bet there's certain foods you would never eat because you don't like them. But they exist, and other people are eating them because they like them. Let that one stew for a while and the religion thing might start to make more sense.
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I guess I just don't really understand who everyone can be right on their own way, as surely there is one truth? Take for example religions with more than one God, how could that tally with single deity faiths? I truly believe in love and let live, and that everyone should believe what they want etc, but from a logical perspective I feel that organised religions are either all wrong, and there is some sort of higher power which isn't like any of them, (or none at all) or one of them must be correct and the others wrong. Speaking about what actually exists, not about what rules and way of life people feel comfortable following. Does that make sense?
I think my way is the best way for me and that thrilling God I believe in wouldn't cast aside anyone who'd done their best- that might be sticking with the religion they were born into.
I also think it's hard to keep the faith going it alone- communities are supportive.
Acubed two ideas for you. Firstly quantum physics. Have you read about the experiments on light where they discovered it can behave as both a wave and a particle?
Second, I would recommend Brad Warner's book on Zen
I can only speak for myself, and the answer is no I don't think my way is the only way! I actually like to believe that the different "Gods" will all turn out to be leading us in the same direction in the end.
As long as no one is harming anyone else with their beliefs then I don't see any problem. And I'm a firm believer in individuals being accountable for their own actions.
I thought the only way to everlasting life was to accept Jesus as saviour?
I grew up with a poster on wall my saying something like
"Football isn't a matter of life and death,
it's much more important."
You grew up going to watch the same football team every week, you chant, you sing, you have high emotion and low depressions, you congregate in groups and recant stories of the past, by the time you are a teenager you have become indoctrinated into worshipping one particular religion/team.
Just like organised religion, you know other religions exist but you worship your team because its the best one. Obviously. Your team may make mistakes but they are explained away by accidents, human error, a bad leader etc but you never deviate from believing your worshipping the one true team and one day, one day you will rule them all.
Truth is never allowed to get in the way of true belief because its the religion your parents took you to ever week, when you were young.
...and deciding to follow another team or no team does not generally get well received..
Yes very into physics (just a fan not an expert), so are you saying different religions can sort of co exist even though they contradict each other? That's an interesting idea. But it sort of comes back to my though that if they can all be right in their own way, is there any point following one, instead of picking best aspects of all? And many are very explicit about worshipping false idols, and how that's just the worst. Surely if the holy texts are the true word of God they wouldn't say this?
Thanks for the interesting replies and hope I'm not offending anyone x
They can't all be right but they can all be wrong. If God will accept people who have a good heart regardless of belief in a deity then ditch the religion and have a bloody good lie in on a Sunday!
Well I would say for eg in Christianity, the belief is that only by accepting that Christ is the son of God and came down to earth to redeem us, can you be a true Christian and enter eternal life. That's at odds with other faiths so no, I couldn't believe in other religions as they are completely different.. Even if they are good, kind people, the teaching is that because we are inherently sinful, we have to have Jesus as our saviour to lead us to God. So saying all Gods and religions could lead to heaven etc doesn't really fit with the Christian teaching and faith.
I would say that there is only one true religion (Christianity) and no other religions can coincide with it because it says in the Bible not to worship idols/ be blasphemous. Regardless of my own belief, if you just looked at all religions beliefs as facts then they would not be able to co-incide with each other due to their differences and contradictions.
Also I do not think that there is such a thing as inherited faith, i really think that you have to make the decision to follow the religion.
So for example in the early days of Christianity, when there were only a couple of hundred followers, does the faith's teachings mean that the rest of the planet we're going to hell? And what about all the people who came before Jesus?
I don't know about before Jesus.. Jesus is part of God, and before He came down to earth I suppose God alone was the path to eternal life but having sent Jesus down here, ever since then , if He is not accepted as saviour then sin would prevent you from going into eternal life.
Interesting thread; I was co-incidentally thinking about this question yesterday. I really want to agree with Mystery and Imina, but I worry that Selling and Gil might be right.
I think, insofar as I have any clue, I'm more inclined to believe that God is more interested in how we live than the (religious) labels we wear.
Acubed in your second post you said "surely there is one truth?"
If you think on that for a while you might see that the notion of one truth is actually just another belief. Don't forget that the current prevailing Western science-driven view of "reality" is built on the scientific notion/ideal of objectivity. Therefore we are taught that there is a single objective truth and that this is the bedrock of existence. However, as can be shown in the quantum light experiment (and other experiments too) it's not quite as simple as that.
Basically what I'm saying is, part of the journey is to question fundamental inherited/societal beliefs which have up to now gone unnoticed and unchallenged. The Buddha often said "the question does not fit the case", in response to questions asked by his followers.
Ken Silver has a framework I found useful. I identify as post-rational spiritual, however the main discourse on religion in Western society is pre-rational versus rational.
Mystery - I can see what you mean about physics, but I feel that our brains just aren't evolved comprehend the weird subatomic world as there is no evolutionary advantage to it. But yes who am I to say what could be going on on other levels of existence!
I think I still can't see how such contradictory religions can co exist and still be completely right.
Talking of evolution, that's another thing I can't square with most organised religions - at what stage from single celled organism to modern human do the major faiths suppose we became capable of having souls / loving a good life? Also if the holy texts are the word of God, why no hint of what came before (evolution) and what surrounds us in the universe?
Different religions have different ideas about other religions. For example, Christianity and Islam are exclusionist - their adherents believe there is one way to the ’truth’ - whilst Sikhism is inclusionist – Sikhs believe there are many paths to enlightenment, and are quite happy for people to be Christians, Muslims, Hindus etc – all can become close to their own conception of God in their own way.
I think it is quite interesting to compare exclusionist passages in the Bible and the Quran:
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
from Revelations in the Bible
Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikun will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.
from Surah Al-Bayyina in the Qur’an
(Al-Mushrikun means polytheists and pagans.)
So we've got the Bible consigning everyone apart from Christians to Hell and the Quran consigning everyone apart from Muslims - and that explicitly includes Christians - to Hell.
I cannot help but think Sikhism would be more conducive to world peace!
Personally, I feel that if there is a God and if that entity cares about humans and wants to help them and provide them with a meaningful afterlife experience - and those are big ifs – they are not going to be petty and discriminate along religious lines.
Good quotes! Yes, I've never believed but I always thought if there was a god they would probably find it quite funny if people didn't believe in them, I would. Doesn't seem very loving to consign people who don't worship you to hell.
I don't know too much detail about how other Christian denominations deal with this, in Catholicism we believe in sort of gradations of truth (it's not described like that, I'm just trying to explain it without using technical language): so rather than one religion being 'true' and all the others being 'untrue', we believe that there is a fuller revelation of truth in some religions than others. So we don't think the others are 'wrong' (although it might well be that on some specific issues they are 'wrong', but the religion as a whole isn't wrong) but they teach the truth less fully than others. Even within a religion, some people may be closer to the fullness of truth than others.
As long as no one is harming anyone else with their beliefs then I don't see any problem.
But they often do cause harm.
So for example in the early days of Christianity, when there were only a couple of hundred followers, does the faith's teachings mean that the rest of the planet we're going to hell?
Or they were just in their tombs - many were resurrected at the same time as Jesus according to Matthew. There are also versions where Jesus went to hell (or Hades, or somewhere else) to free the spirits of the dead.
Some Christians believe that heaven is empty until the rapture when the righteous will all go to heaven together. This is obviously totally at odds with other Christians.
There area differing views within Christianity about these issues as there is about most things. Get five Christian ministers/theologians in a room and you will have six interpretations of scripture.
There is an exclusive viewpoint that says only Christians are saved. The inclusive viewpoint says that everyone is saved. There are lots of variations between those two points. Personally I work on the basis that it is up to God to judge and not waste too much energy it.
actually outwith, the Quran is far more measured than that on the subject of other religions. that some of the people of the scripture are good people, and some of them are not good people. just like with all of us.
"Among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is he who, if entrusted with a Cantar (a great amount of wealth, etc.), will readily pay it back; and among them there is he who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless you constantly stand demanding, because they say: "There is no blame on us to betray and take the properties of the illiterates (Arabs)." But they tell a lie against Allah while they know it." (3:75)
"Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth." (Quran 7:159)
"Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous."(Quran 3:113-114)
"Verily, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians – all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds-shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve." (Quran 2:62)
And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in God, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to God. They will not sell the Signs of God for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and God is swift in account. (Quran 3:199)
"Then We sent following their footsteps Our messengers and followed [them] with Jesus, the son of Mary, and gave him the Gospel. And We placed in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy and monasticism, which they innovated; We did not prescribe it for them except [that they did so] seeking the approval of Allah. But they did not observe it with due observance. So We gave the ones who believed among them their reward, but many of them are defiantly disobedient."
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