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Are you guys religious?(79 posts)

Are you guys religious?Allen az
Dec 21, 2001 1:55 AM
Well, I said that religion is "BS" on my site . And this is a message someone left in my Guestbook, (I won't mention names)....

"Hey dude man, decided to stop by. Good to see your website up. Couple of pointers: when you go to college, take a couple of fun courses about religion to know what it really is. Your statement that religion is BS is so out of style its not even funny. I d"

I do think it's total BS/lies & unnecessary. I'm probably the minority on this subject, but what do you guys think about religion?

Hmmm.... maybe I should take some college courses?

re: Are you guys religious?morey
Dec 21, 2001 5:53 AM
According to most dictionaries, which do not ascribe a certain belief i.e., christianity, but a belief in a superhuman power beyond our control, I would say yes.
re: Are you guys religious?PaulCL
Dec 21, 2001 6:02 AM
Rather wide open subject, don't you think??

I looked at your webpage the other day. I, too, was struck by your statement that all religion is "BS". Kinda harsh. I also noticed that you are 17 years old. Not to sound like some old guy (39) telling you what to expect, but expect all of your opinions to change over time - perhaps even your opinion on religions. By calling all religions "BS", you will insult a large majority of the public.

But to answer your question: I was brought up Catholic. I married a Methodist who has started to attend services again after 20 years of abscence. I have chosen not to join her - causing strife within the family (I ride Sunday AMs). By age 39, I feel that I am experienced enough to know what I believe in - but even 'old farts' change. You never know.

Take those courses. Learn about different religions from a historical or scientific perspective. You never know what you might learn....
As a matter of fact I'm not.Sintesi
Dec 21, 2001 7:35 AM
I'm almost a logical positivist in my outlook (you want to talk "out of style?") Religious histories and myths are not very good at telling us how the universe works. In fact they're horrible, but, by the same token, science can only talk about what is empirically verifiable and virtually nothing else. That's leaving a lot of the human experience out of the picture.

I suggest a philosophy of science course along w/ the couple of comparative religions courses. It will help you understand why you think religion is BS it will also help you find out how far science can go.

But all in all, stick to your guns. It's OK to think religion is BS because it ain't for everyone (by the way not all religious people practise what they preach obviously) and if they are offended so be it. It's offensive to me when some claim that people are going to burn in hell if they don't follow such and such precepts. Religions can get a little troubling that way.
define religious...4bykn
Dec 21, 2001 8:20 AM
If by religious you mean christian, I'm not.
If by religious you mean a belief in a concious entity that is in control of our world, I'm not.
If by religious you mean being in awe of nature and this wonderful world we live in, I am.

I don't mean to try to push my religion on others, but consider attending a Unitarian-Universalist church. Definitely not BS.
define religious...Allen az
Dec 21, 2001 9:27 AM
A belief in a concious entity that is in control of our world. Or, if you practice religion (any).

I think I will take a religion course in college.
Information about anything is always good. I doubt I'll end up practicing anything though. But hey, I'm still young.

It's just that all of the stuff Iv'e heard about religion is very hard to believe. An example: Islam says that if/when you get to heaven, you will have 10 virgins "waiting" for you; (you know what I mean).

I think religion started because people didn't have a lot of science back then. They didn't have an explanation for lightning, rain, thunder, the "bright yellow circle in the sky", earthquakes, etc. So they turned to a god, & thought he/she/it was responsible for everything they couldn't figure out.

Whoa a many virgins?PaulCL
Dec 21, 2001 10:42 AM
TEN! Yo...sign me up, then shoot me dead! Party time!

I agree with you on this one. How about the right-wing conservative fundamentalist that want to dictate your clothing, your music, your entertainment all in the name of God. Like whether a woman wears a dress or pants is going to affect her life in the "thereafter".
actually, it is 72mr_spin
Dec 21, 2001 12:37 PM
Read this. It explains it all
Mom said it was 10, she is a muslim....Allen az
Dec 21, 2001 12:49 PM
doesn't matter though, still difficult for me to believe anyway.
Man! What's in it for the virgins? (nm :-)Kristin
Dec 21, 2001 12:55 PM
the other virgins? (nm :-)Dog
Dec 21, 2001 1:40 PM
It's a mistake to get into this, but...cory
Dec 21, 2001 8:31 AM
For what it's worth, I'm not religious at all. Whatever thoughts I had about a good and all-powerful god disappeared when I was just a little older than you, in Vietnam. Nothing I've seen since, including having a son who developed leukemia at age 2, has changed my mind.
No point in debating that; it's an old argument and nobody's going to change his or her mind. What I would urge you to do, though, is keep your mind open. You're very young (you love hearing that, right?), and your opinions are going to change many times in the next 20 or 30 years. No reason to shut out anything now. Religion is a great comfort to people who have it (which is why it's so popular, I think...).
Dec 21, 2001 8:36 AM
A confessing Christian. A former elder in the Christian Reformed Church and since there are no CRC churches where I now live, a weekly attendee of a Baptist church.
Maybe, maybe not!I AM
Dec 21, 2001 8:53 AM
I do not attend church as I find organized religion not for me.
I will not explain that in any great detail because I would offend some people, but I have seen some things that churches and the people that attend them do that make me ill. I don't think you can be a complete a$$ and get to heaven in the end just because you attend church. Thinking about it I guess I live my life by the ten commandments and am generally a good person which I think makes me more religios than some attendees that I know. I guess when our clocks finally stop ticking we will all figure it out then.
I also noticed that comment in your web site...Bruno
Dec 21, 2001 9:16 AM
I also noticed you have a very high I.Q. It's common for intelligent people to realize that its mostly made up and unsupported by facts. But its not BS and unnecessary. Many people need religion to bring sense, purpose and strength to their lives. It's deeply rooted in our culture (all cultures) and it's the factor that has mostly shaped the course of the world. Religion has been one of the most common causes for war throughout history. There is no need to mention recent examples. Studying religion can be very rewarding. Books like the bible and the coran have beautiful tales and have been read by so many people through out time that just as an experience are worth reading. You don't need to believe them, challenge them, or judge them. I was brought up with no religious education of any kind. I do not practice it and never will but I respect people that do. I would take the BS sentence from the web site. Just say that you don't practice any religion or something like that.
Take some philosophy coursescioccman
Dec 21, 2001 9:18 AM
Check them all out, simply to see what they're about. JC courses are good for this type of investigative learning done out of personal desire. Western, Ancient, Eastern, Far Eastern. Take some good things you learn in each class away from each of them.

It's good to know a bunch about something you talk about. Not much worse than talking to someone about something he/she knows absolutely nothing about or someone making an off the cuff derogatory remark about something he/she knows nothing or very little about.
Take some philosophy coursesJon
Dec 21, 2001 10:13 AM

Lots and lots of good comments and good advice above. It is extremely difficult for a modern and
inquiring mind to buy into the doctrines of any organized religion. However, the fundamental
and underlying intuitions and reasoning of almost all world religions are not BS, but represent
sincere, heartfelt,and virtually universal attempts of humanity to deal with perhaps unresolvable
questions: the nature of being, causation, and purpose in the universe, to name just a few. And it is this struggle
to enquire and understand which has given rise to science.

My personal views? I do not adhere to any organized religion, although I come from a long
line of clergy and churchmen. I am incurably spiritual, however. My advice to you is not to
insult your intelligence. However, throughout your life consult your heart frequently and follow
its deepest leanings. From the unity of heart and mind arises wisdom.
Dec 21, 2001 1:16 PM
"However, throughout your life consult your heart frequently and follow its deepest leanings. From the unity of heart and mind arises wisdom."

Well said, Jon.

I've always tried my best to follow my "intuition" when faced with important decisions. I have come to believe (relatively recently) that being truly intuitive is like listening to God. All the times in my life I've followed my heart I can't think of one time that I've regretted it. There have been many times, however, when I've over-analyzed something, ignored my intuition, and ended up being sorry later.
Dec 21, 2001 7:27 PM
I believe that we are hardwired for faith,and that the underlying essence of Everything That Is is love.
And that via the pathway of the heart we most accurately and truthfully apprehend reality.
In that spirit I congratulate everyone who has participated in this thread and wish you the
true joys and gifts of this season.
Dec 21, 2001 10:16 AM
There are many definitions for religion, so its hard to answer this question. I agree with previous posters about taking a couple of classes. Its really easy to make a blanket statement like __________ is BS without, but how much time have you spent investigating the subject?

That said, here are some of my thoughts on religion:

I don't like the term religion. I think that most people, when they hear that word, picture some manner of organization that believes in a higher power and is governed by rules...things you must do or not do in order to be accepted. I don't personally adhere to religion under this definition. What I think and believe has nothing to do with rules.

When I was 14 years old I began to wonder if there was a "god" out there. And in a sense, I began a quest. I started by simply asking "god." This was the weirdest thing I ever did. I just stood outside, looked up and said, "Like, is there anyone there?" (remember, I was 14) I also asked a couple follow up questions like..."If so, who are you? What do you think about this" I also began to do some research.

Heres the deal. Whether or not there is a God is a critical question. The answer to that question has far reaching implications for your life. This issue shouldn't be dismissed lightly. It also shouldn't be embraced lightly. But it should be given some thoughtful attention.
Humans vs GodMcAndrus
Dec 21, 2001 10:45 AM
Let me try to extend your thought without distorting it. You said, "The answer to that question has far reaching implications for your life." Absolutely.

It is of ultimate importance if God does or does not exist. It is of little or no importance to God if you or I believe.

The question of existence also places profound questions on our shoulders. If God exists as described by Christians, Jews, or Moslems then I am called upon to behave in a certain way or face the consequences.

If God exists and is not as described by Christians, Jews, or Moslems, then the CJMs have it wrong and may be in worse shape than if they didn't believe at all.

I would say that if you are an atheist or agnostic and have not yet decided to believe; be very careful before you make that step. It's a big step and you will be held astounded by what it means for your life.
Very good points...thank youKristin
Dec 21, 2001 10:59 AM
The only thing that I would like to comment on is your statement, "It is of little or no importance to God if you or I believe."

Christains believe that God is deeply concerned with peoples responses to him. As well do Jews and Muslims--though to a lesser extent. In eastern religions, it is believed that god is fairly apathetic towards people. The question of how much god cares, if at all, depends on who you ask.
Said it poorly, sorry.McAndrus
Dec 21, 2001 12:09 PM
I guess I hit the OK button a little too quickly. Let me try it again.

You are correct, Christian doctrine holds that God created us in order to have creatures with which to share creation. (I'm sure that's not quite right but I hope you get my drift.)

I should say it this way. God's existence or non-existence is of the utmost importance to us as individuals and to the universe as a whole. However, whether or not you and I believe will not cause God to exist or not exist.

You and I are insignificant in this arrangement and God is preeminent. The fact that the Jewish-Christian-Moslem God loves us is an expression of grace.

I would say the question of existence is a philosophical question and the question of God's love is a doctrinal statement of the JCMs.

Did I say it better this time?
Dec 21, 2001 12:53 PM
I understand what you meant now. Gods existence isn't dependant on whether or not we believe in him. If this is true, then the implications are far reaching indeed.
thats where the problem isWoof the dog
Dec 22, 2001 8:36 AM
Do you think people would worship god that loved listening to them but would NOT answer? Of course not. People believe in God because they believe he/she/it guides them and gives them answers, because they want something FROM god, like love and care. I find the fact that people want to believe God answers them pretty funny. And since the basic premise that God answers you is so unsupported, I cannot believe that god is and is humanlike as often portreyed everywhere. God is not in a human universal, it is outside of it - a western belief, but pretty right on nonetheless. In other words there is something supernatural outside of our world that doesn't affect us as much as we want to believe. GET IT?

And the conversation takes a dive!Kristin
Dec 23, 2001 7:51 AM
Up until this point, everyone has explained his or her own views in a very objective manner, without trying to sway or atack the thoughts and beliefs of others. However, you don't seem to be open to discussion, or for allowing others to hold a different view. You just want us all to believe what you've determined to be right. Which suggests that you think you know more than the other 90% of the worlds population. Personally, I never give a moments thought to anyone's beliefs if I feel that they are being pushed on me--especially if its done in an abrasive manner.

If you don't leave room for free thinking and careful consideration, then the only followers you will find are fools. And they'll jump ship as soon as the next dictator comes along.
And the conversation takes a dive!DINOSAUR
Dec 23, 2001 11:48 AM
I still think that religion is based on life experience. Some people turn away from religion in a crisis, some turn toward God. My 31 year old son is a veteran of Desert Storm. Part of his mission was to go into Iraq and check the carnage from the missiles and bombs. He doesn't think that there is a God. My father was a veteran of WWII and was an atheist. It might be a single life turning event, it was for me. There are also two things I avoid debating about, politics and religion (strange bed fellows). I got tired of dealing with argumentive people during my career and I'm rather turn and walk away from a argument then spend the energy defending one. I prayed many time during my 27 year law enforcement career. During the end it was on the way to work just so I could just make it through the day. Perhaps in some way I am a coward and should be debating this topic, but in the end I'm not going to change anyones mind. Religion has worked for me, it's gotten me to a good place in life, without it I'd be a different person. I also respect the rights for people to speak their mind, but don't deprive me of my right to believe
This post isn't directed at anyone in particular and not the previous poster. It's just where I clicked on my message.
God Bless (can I say that?)
re: And the conversation takes a dive!Woof the dog
Dec 23, 2001 2:26 PM
You speak the truth, man! The only comment I have to add to your message is that I wished everyone was like you. Sadly, there are some individuals in this world who are certainly not as tolerant as you, at least intuitively they are not.

Then again, another thought gets stuck in my mind:
Intolerance against intolerance? You can't let some freak tell you what to believe in.

My tail hurts

Woof the dogg.
And the conversation takes a dive!Woof the dog
Dec 23, 2001 2:30 PM
Wish everyone was like you. But....

Intolerance against intolerance?

My tail hurts

oops, thought didn't post the first one (nm)Woof the dog
Dec 23, 2001 2:31 PM
Coward no! Rather wisdom...maturity...strenght of characterKristin
Dec 24, 2001 7:54 AM
Defensiveness is a struggle that trips me up often. I stand in utter awe when I observe a mature and wiser person turn away from an argument, or turn an abrassive attack into a win win conversation. So bravo. You're one of my hero's.

Thanks for you post & God Bless,
And Merry Christmas to you and yours
come on nowWoof the dog
Dec 23, 2001 2:19 PM
I am sorry if I offended you. Can we shake hands now?
No problem... I know how to do that trick!Kristin
Dec 24, 2001 7:35 AM
I think it was the "GET IT" at the bottom of your message that made the post seem aggressive to me. And my thoughts were just that...thoughts...and mine at that...take it for what its worth. :-)

Lets share a milkbone!
Said it poorly, sorry.McAndrus
Dec 21, 2001 12:16 PM
I guess I hit the OK button a little too quickly. Let me try it again.

You are correct, Christian doctrine holds that God created us in order to have creatures with which to share creation. (I'm sure that's not quite right but I hope you get my drift.)

I should say it this way. God's existence or non-existence is of the utmost importance to us as individuals and to the universe as a whole. However, whether or not you and I believe will not cause God to exist or not exist.

You and I are insignificant in this arrangement and God is preeminent. The fact that the Jewish-Christian-Moslem God loves us is an expression of grace.

I would say the question of existence is a philosophical question and the question of God's love is a doctrinal statement of the JCMs.

Did I say it better this time?
Humans = GodStarliner
Dec 21, 2001 12:12 PM
The Bible states, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all things shall be added unto thee," and adds, "The Kingdom of God is within you."

Yes, be very careful before making that step into religion. There will be many pictures created by others thrown your way, and you will be challenged to adopt them as your own, or else wicked things might come your way.

One of those pictures is the Human vs. God image. I have rejected that picture.

Having read what the Bible said about the Kingdom of God, and consulting my own information on the matter, I believe that we are of God, that God is within us. To love yourself is to love God; to love God is to love yourself. Oh man, the freedom of that thought!

Humans = God??Parratt
Dec 23, 2001 9:30 PM
What about hell? Where does God go when you get sent down to burn?
In the words of Jesse Ventura....mr_spin
Dec 21, 2001 10:18 AM
It's a crutch for weak-minded people. There are plenty of true believers out there, and that's great. But more often than not, I see organized religion used as a weapon to control thought and actions of weak-minded people. I see it becoming more integrated with politics and forced upon people who choose to believe or worship in some other way. I see it becoming a means of building wealth and duping people. And I see ultra-pious people who are so fearful of spending eternity in hell, they effectively waste their lives here on earth (talk about weak-minded). And none of this is new. It's been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years.

I want no part of it.

I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools up until college. My parents still are devoted Catholics.

I, on the other hand, rebeled against the arbitrary ideology. Why can't I eat meat on Fridays? Where in the bible does it say anything about that? (Yes, I know that the church eliminated the meat on Fridays thing except for Lent--it's just an example). A lot of this stuff was just made up by various Popes along the way. Holy days of obligation? Please.

I could go on and on here, but I won't. So no organized religion for me.

Do I believe in God? I don't know. I waver on this point. But I consider religion a separate issue.

In the meantime, I try not to kill, lie, cheat, or steal. I try to be good to my fellow man. I try to charitable, considerate, compassionate, and kind.

There is a great, great movie called "The Rapture." I highly recommend it--it is really good. I think about the ending a lot whenever someone brings up religion.
Dec 21, 2001 10:28 AM
I found out recently that one of my closest riding buds is a third generation athiest. On a recent ride, he opened up to me about a difficult time he had as a child after his father moved the family from California to a small town in Wisconsin.

His first day in his 4th grade public school class there, the teacher asked him in front of the class, what church did his family go to. My friend said that they didn't go to church. So the teacher told him that his name was therefore not legal. Shamed in front of the class and confused, he spent the next several years a walking pariah among his peers, until his family moved back to California.

I know this guy today as a gentle, brilliant, creative, kind and sharing person. His lack of belief in anything beyond his present life ironically seems to instill a heightened sense of awareness about life. His friendships are solid and deep, and he doesn't waste time with superficialities or foolishness. He can be hurt and disappointed, but he doesn't allow himself to get bogged down by life's bumps and potholes. How can he, when he has no time to waste?

He keeps his beliefs, or lack of, to himself. Never does he attempt to promote his views, or diminish those of others. He is a full-blooded Campy guy who doesn't shun me because I'm running Shimano on my steed. He is tolerant - and this is why I like to be around him.

As for me, I believe in past, present and future life, the existence of a supreme being. It's all about faith, and whether or not you find what you find is what nobody else but yourself can discover. Amen.
This guy you talk about sounds a lot like meAllen az
Dec 21, 2001 11:55 AM
"His lack of belief in anything beyond his present life ironically seems to instill a heightened sense of awareness about life. His friendships are solid and deep, and he doesn't waste time with superficialities or foolishness."

Exactly me! LOL.

I think some people believe that as long as you pray to god, or go to church, then all of your sins will be forgiven. But why not be a good person all the time? This guy in my Pre-Calculus class lies constantly, has had a lot of sex with many different girls, betrayed his best friend (now ex-best friend), and in general, a "bad person". But he's got that cross around his neck, and he thinks it makes it ok.
This guy you talk about sounds a lot like meStarliner
Dec 21, 2001 5:14 PM
Yes, but you have a website- my friend does not even have a computer. He is a sculptural artist as well as the art director for one of the many California State Prisons. Imagine that for a job.

Regarding your classmate and the hypocrites you speak of - give them permission to walk their own paths. Their lives are their own responsibility. You probably already know your destination is different from theirs. Isn't that wonderful?
Imagine there's no ... religion...Dog
Dec 21, 2001 11:32 AM
I don't think "Imagine" meant that the world would be better off without religion (just the effects of it sometimes). I believe that it meant to think about it. Thinking is good. Even a bit of skepticism is good. Entertaining thoughts that are very different from what you were brought up to believe is healthy, for it usually leads you to beliefs close to the truth, or gives you affirmation of what you already believed is right.

I'd estimate that 90% of what people take as faith, no matter what the issue, is instilled into them in their very early years by their family. Most of us likely don't even know why we believe as we do. Why do some of us tear up when when hear the national anthem and see the flag raised? Religion is largely the same.

I was a philosphy major in college, and wrote several papers on the concepts, existence and essence of God. Just having done that writing put me in better touch with my beliefs and reshaped a few of them, too.

While organized religions and the practices of some in the name of religion have been very damaging over the ages, we need not throw out the baby with the bath water. There are some very good things about religion, too. It can give people a moral compass, give them a reason to live, give them a better relationship with each other. Ultimately, one might even be or stay religious out of pragmatism - it works for them.

I've nearly concluded that the only real fear is the fear of the unknown. What happens after we die? Religion gives us an answer, but it could never be proven or disproven. That's what distinguishes religion from science. Don't confuse the two.

To some, loving God and feeling the love of God is no different than loving a person or feeling the love of a person. Love is a difficult concept to grasp if you aren't there. It's a wonderful concept if you are.

Don't confuse issues of the "existence" with the "essence" of God. "Whether" God is and "what" God is are distinct (although the latter assumes the former). There may very well be an all powerful creator of the universe. Whether the creator is a clockmaker or a puppeteer is a question for the ages. I wrestle with that all the time. A clockmaker sets things in motion, and then the clock goes and goes with minimal intervention. A puppet requires constant action and direction. I wrestle with the ancient question of, "if God is omnipotent, why would He allow evil things to happen to good people?" The only resolution available to me is that we wants us to figure it out, that while He cares, we are out of the nest and needing to learn how to take care of ourselves, much as parents do. Some may scoff at this idea. To each his own.

People don't just think about religion, they don't just choose it or not, it is either a part of their fundamental being or not. My bet is that over the years, we all come to grips with it more or less from time to time.

Don't hate religion or religious people. If anything, dislike their actions, not their beliefs.

Sorry for the rambling.

Excellently spokenKristin
Dec 21, 2001 11:57 AM
Thanks for taking the time to write this. I enjoyed reading it...though now my head hurts and I need a nap*.

*disclaimer: the term nap is an expression used to denote my need for rest from itense topics for a period of time in order to re-energize. The litteral use of the term nap does not apply to me as was stated in the "how much sleep do you get" poll.
I'm a believer...DINOSAUR
Dec 21, 2001 11:37 AM
This is a hot topic. I can only remember a couple of treads that opened up so much debate. When I scrolled over all the posts, a lot of beliefs are based on life experiences. I had no religous upbringing at all, my first encounter is when I was going through Marine Corps boot camp and everyone was required to attend some type of church service. A lot of things have happened between the time I was an 18 year old kid and a 59 year old retired guy.

To make a lot story short, yes I am "relegious", however I like to think as myself as a "believer". Our church uses the term "Christian", which I sometimes have a problem with as it categorizes people.

I've also discovered that just because a person is "religous" it doesn't necessarily mean that they are a nice person. Some of the nicest people I know are non believers, and some of the most mean spirited, critical people I know are deeply religous.

I have my beliefs and you have yours. You have the right to think what you may and I don't pass judgement on anyone.

Maybe a better post topic would be "Do you have manners and respect for your fellow man?"

This whole country was founded on individual rights and freedom of speech.

I clicked on your website and viewed your remark about religion. My first gut reaction was, "This kid is only 17 years old what does he know about anything?". I even thought about signing your guestbook with a comment but it would serve no purpose. What is your purpose about opening up this topic?

Funny this should pop up this time of year. Do you celibrate Christmas? And if so why? Is is a religous holiday or is it totally commercialized to the extent that it has lost it's meaning?

In all reality you aren't going to change anyone's mind about religion over an internet forum. I think the best path of action would be to let people believe what they want and let it go at that...

By the way, Merry Christmas!
I'm a believer...Allen az
Dec 21, 2001 1:21 PM
Great comments everyone! Thanks to the people who took their time. All these posts are so overwhelming for a 17 year old kid who must not know anything. Right?

Anyway.... here's my 17 years of life experience (not in order):
-Been to many, many countries. Experieced many different cultures.
-Born a muslim.
-Went to a Christian church for many years.
-Lived in Kuwait during the Gulf War. I would hear bombs going off in the middle of the night. The apartment building (about 20 stories high) my family lived in was almost hit by them. It would sway back & forth; so my family and I could have died there. & even though it was a long time ago, I can still remember it all.
-Watched drunk dad beat mom.
-Parents divorced.
-Iv'e lived rich, middle class, and poor.

I don't think I'm like other teens. I'm an observer and a thinker. Maybe I think too much sometimes.

My reason for posting this topic? To see if people agreed with the person who wrote that comment in my Guestbook. & just to know in general how you feel about religion. Being curious gets me in trouble :o)

I don't celebrate Christmas. I am not Christian nor Catholic. My family does though, it's all about presents for them anyway. But Isn't it for the vast majority of Americans? I don't like presents, & I never ask my parents for money. I feel like if I didn't work for it, then I don't deserve it.

I'm not trying to change anyone's mind about religion, especially over an internet forum.

That's all.
See you later,
A. az
I'm a believer...DINOSAUR
Dec 21, 2001 3:08 PM
You are a bright young man. You are right, you won't change anyones mind. The important thing I've found is to keep an open mind.

I don't want to grandstand but I spent 27 years as a ground pounding Calif Highway Patrol grunt. I could write about the stuff I saw and did but I don't have the time or inclination or the energy for that matter.

The important thing is that we listen and when we respond to other peoples input is that we do it carefully with some thought. And you have done that. With that thought in mind you are wise beyond your years in some respect.

"The heart of a wise man lies quite like limpid water".
Cameroon saying
I wasn't going to post.........Len J
Dec 23, 2001 3:08 PM
until I read your description of your life experiences. They mirrored some of mine:

Born & raised Roman Catholic
Raised dirt poor in a Ghetto in Philadelphia where survival was the game of the day.
Raised by two abusive drunks, that when they weren't beating each other were beating us (the war was both outside on the streets & inside the house).

I,like you, also was an observer & a thinker, for me it was one way of escaping & attempting to control a world gone mad.

All of that being said, if I look at my life, there is no way that I should be alive today, or if alive, no way that I should be functioning. Yet, I am a loving husband, an involved parent who is gentle with his children, and a contributing member of this world. My number one question has always been Why? Why was I able to survive & thrive when so many didn't?

The only thing I am sure of is that as I look back on my life, every time I hit a key decision point, a nexus point where I could go one way or the other, someone or some event occured at the exact point that would make a difference. And the funny thing is they were all "Positive" nudges. I have always been given exactly what I needed to survive, exactly when I needed it. Maybe it's serendipity, or pure coincidence, but it doesn't feel that way. Every key nexus point has been crystal clear to me.

Do I consider myself religious, No.
Do I feel deeply spiritual, connected to something greater than myself, Absolutly yes.
Is this something that can be attained by anything other than personal experience, I don't think so.

One other lesson I've learned in my life is that Loving is a choice. Believing in any higher power is also a choice. You have obviously chosen the difficult journey of questioning your own belief system, I admire your courage. There is loss in this, loss of what you have clung to, but you also seem intuitivly aware that there is gain. There is!

Keep up the journey.

Thanks for sharing your struggle, it helps remind me of who I am and the choices that I have made.

To Len:Jon
Dec 23, 2001 5:27 PM
You are an observant and wise man. Coincidentally, wise men are historically connected
to this Christmas thing. Merry Christmas. You have touched on a critical and universally
applicable life lesson for all those who care to listen and learn.
your a calm and thoughtful inspiration.....harlett
Dec 23, 2001 6:48 PM
your words are always those of someone who is understanding and making choices towards that delicate balance in favor of life's positive energies---

"it's the action, not the fruit of the action,
that's important-- you have to do the right thing--
it may not be in your power, may not be in your time,
that there'll be any fruit--
but that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing--
you may never know what results come from your action--
but if you do nothing, there will be no result."


life is a verb
To Jon & harlett...Len J
Dec 24, 2001 6:00 AM
Thank you for your kind words, they are quite the gift.

I feel very grateful for all of the gifts that I have received in my life, even the bad times (no, ESPECIALLY the bad times) have resulted in some of the best lessons.

harlett, your "life is a verb" has always reminded me that action is important, for me, that action is choice. I always have a choice, to react or not, to be positive or negative, to care or not. Ultimatly, the only control I have in the world, is my own choices, my own actions. Thank you for reinforcing some of the positive choices I have made.

Jon, you are also one of the thoughtful people on the board. I look for your posts and have learned much from you. I wish I had the energy you do to try to stem the troll tide, I choose mostly not to participate in those.

I realized while reading this entire post on religion, that I am very grateful for the wonderful group of people that frequent this board. For the most part, you all are genuinely caring people in an environment that (because it is anonymous) doesn't require caring. I have seen it whenever someone is honestly in pain, all the other BS gets put to the side. It always reminds me why I come back.

May all of you be treated in the New Year exactly as you want to be.


life is a choice
Wow, you hit the proverbial nail on the head.Spinchick
Dec 24, 2001 9:49 AM
I have often wondered what it is that allows some people to succeed (very broad term, I know) in life and others not. Surely something more than sheer willpower. I too, grew up in an extremely dysfuntional family with a mother who was, and still is mentally ill. And it has been a long generational chain of dysfuntion, drug/alcohol addiction, mental illness and emotional abuse. I have made the decision that the BUCK STOPS HERE. No more abuse, no more untreated mental illness, no more passing on dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors to the next generation because of fear, selfishness, laziness and general unwillingness to change behavior. Things are and will continue to be different for my daughter.

Somehow since I've been a child, I have KNOWN that I would cause the end of this vicious cycle. THAT I call intuition. THAT I call a gift from God. How else could I do what generations before me have been unable and unwilling to do?
Gifts.Len J
Dec 24, 2001 10:20 AM
Congratulations, it is a courageous thing that you undertake.

A wiser person than me once told me that:
"The best thing you can do for your children is become the healtiest you that you can be". They told me this while I was struggling with coming to terms with and trying to overcome the affects of my chilhood on me & my children. I too was motivated to "break the chain". The greatest reward I have gotten is when I see my children able to honestly share & deal with thier own feelings, the deepest cut is when I see a coping behaavior in them that I know I passed on.

It starts with an act of have done that. It continues with consious sounds like you live that. Congratulations, your actions will ripple through generations.

Free WillJon
Dec 24, 2001 11:33 AM
The great physicist, Edward Teller, notes that quantum mechanics shows that the future is
indeterminate. Thus, free will exists, and what each of us does does change future realities.
So what the philosopher,Descartes, could not establish through rational justification, science
has through observation and deduction. Choices! That's the central gift of the human experience.

On a less profound note, MY choice is to go faster next year!!!!
Breaking the chainStarliner
Dec 24, 2001 4:17 PM
Congrats on your awareness, and especially for taking responsibility for your stuff, rather than denying its existence. I am amazed at your perception to identify the ancestral chain that exists with you. You really seem on the right track. In fact, I'll bet you can also see things before they happen sometimes.

At risk of becoming totally irrelevant to both believers and questioners here, I going to come clean with an important part of my life. Aside from what else I do, I also happen to be a clairvoyant psychic reader. Quite simply, people will bring issues to me, and I will give them a reading to try and illuminate what would be behind their concerns. It is followed with a healing.

The ancestral chain you have realized is something that does come up. So you are not alone if it's any solace. What I find remarkable is your self-awareness and ability to see, which you have referred to as intuition. And your remarkable willingness to change - rather than being a victim to your 'karma' - demonstrates your strength. I hope you find people around you who understand and nurture you.

Without trying to sway anybody's beliefs or paint any pictures of the spiritual world for you all to see, I can just report from my experiences that I've seen enough to erase any doubts I had early in life whether or not a higher being, power, source, or whatever you want to call it, exists. To see things about people you do not know, and having these things confirmed back to you as true, is pretty powerful stuff to experience.

It's heartening to read the feelings and experiences of people in this forum to see where they are at in their respective journeys in their present lives. Spingchick and Len J are two people who have reached the gate so to speak. If what is beyond still remains a mystery doesn't mean they won't find the answer - it's there if they want to see it. May they and all open their hand and find the key.

In the spirit of the moment, I shall like to pass on to everyone a blessing:

"Go, eat your bread in gladness
and drink your wine in joy,
for your action was long ago
approved by God...
Whatever it is in your power to do,
do it with all your might...."

All we can really do is give personal testamentzzz
Dec 21, 2001 1:15 PM
My best advice Allen would be to keep your mind open to all the ideas you will be exposed to. Take from those ideas what fits with what you feel is important to live a fulfilling and caring life. Becoming a slave to absolutes leaves us slaves.
I've had two lives spiritually. As a young Jesuit priest working in Central America I was able to touch people in a way that enriched my life forever. As an attorney working with those that fight for peace and justice in this world I am one of those philosophers that are almost always surrounded with uncertainties. The coming together of these two leaves me against the restraint of the free movement of the human mind and intellect and thankful for the insight and caring to see there is something beyond and better than the exclusive enjoyment of the present and material pleasures.
Whoa..a JesuitPaulCL
Dec 21, 2001 2:56 PM
ZZZ...My hats off to you. I was educated by the Jesuits for four years of high school. Other than fatherhood, probably the most influential four years of my life. I have a lot of repect for the Jesuits - and a cyclist too!
Whoa..a Jesuitzzz
Dec 21, 2001 3:15 PM
I left the priesthood at age 30 not because I was no longer of that mind but rather because I felt the need to explore ways I could become broader in my commitments. I agree whole-heartedly on your views of fatherhood. It has given me more comfort and pleasure than I could ever have imagined. And a few nervous, frustrating, anxious and painful moments too. Like life itself.
Question for zzzmickey-mac
Dec 23, 2001 2:52 PM
Although I studied Latin American history in college in the mid-80s, I have not kept myself very well-apprised of recent developments in Latin America. With somewhat less authoritarian governments in power in many Latin American countries, what is the current status of liberation theology in Latin America? I understand that proponents of liberation theology have been involved to some extent with the Zapatista uprisings in southern Mexico but have heard little else of it in recent years.
We're all going to someone elses hellErik W
Dec 21, 2001 4:20 PM
Years ago when I was Allen az's age I had a thought. If the only way you can get into the Christian heaven is to believe in there religion and if you don't you're going to hell and the only way you can get into the Muslim heaven is to believe in there religion and if you don't you're going to hell and the only way you can get in to the Hindu... you get my point. Everyone is going to wind up going to someone elses hell. You may have been a good Muslim but you'll wind up in Christian hell and vise versa. On a more serious note it didn't make sence to me that if you were in an area of the world that didn't know modern religion you were condemend to hell just because you hadn't been brought the word even if you lived a rightous life of love and caring. I don't believe "god" works that way.
it was me (long)Woof the dog
Dec 22, 2001 9:48 AM
Howdy. I wrote this to Allen cause that phrase (or is it frase?) struck me as very ignorant sounding for a person with a good IQ. I also thought it was so typical to hear that from a teenagers. That's why I said that Allen'd have lots of fun just literally taking a term religion apart in a comparative religions class. When I took the course I've learned a great deal and that gave me knowledge and furthered me as an agnostic.

A religion is a social system, just like any other one, with the sole exception that it makes claims to superhuman (or maybe it was supernatural). Any religion, and there are thousands of them, is very important for social order. You have to realize that in most countries, religion is the ONLY institution that governs people's lives, even a huge Muslim world is governed by the principles of Islam. Religion and politics are not differentiated, and for ALL the people God simply is - there isn't a notion that God may not exist. There was never a Renneisance (sp?) that made God personal and caused advances in science/politics that basically resulted in the formation of the USA and all these systems of western thought.

Your saying that religion is BS would have disasterous implications in these pre-modern places because take that away and you have no codified morals governing people's lives. You've got to understand that every religion is not a rigid christian dogma but that it means everything to an African tribe where people live in their own world of Gods, myths and places. There is no notion of extreme individualism and that is why a belief in God works very well for a society AND individuals.

I would agree with you in the end because any belief in something has important implications on others outside a particular religious world. Thats how Jeehads and Crusades come around, but it still very much depends on how a particular religion views the outsiders. Universalists would say that any god in any paricular society is simply a version of ONE god, thats probably why you don't see 'em marching through the streets wearing crosses and robes and carrying icons.

In any case, it all comes down to a question which religious world you want to join and why? Religion was great giving answers to the unknown, but science these days simply left us wondering whether there is a creator. Science explains evolution but it doesn't explain the beginning very well. Religion does neither but claims the fact that science can't explain is proof there is a Creator - a bit silly don't you think? You and I probably don't want to join any religion because we can't overcome this modern individualism+science stuff, and that is great because I can observe any religion for what it really is in its own right. It is bad because when you take away religion, you are left without morals but pure rationalism - and from here it is easy to rationalize Nazism. A lot of our constitution is still based on religious morals, and its better than not having any. Where and how do we draw a line?

One thing you have to realize is: everyone, including you, have a moral compass. You have an innate respect for life, beauty, etc. etc. etc. and that moral sense is what a part of Ten Commandments derives from. You don't go around killing creatures for fun, and if you do, you are sick. All in all, you need morals for the survival of you and your kin, religion is something that you do, even if you are an atheist. Belief in a natural law, survival of the fittest i.e. pure chaos is on one end of the stick, religious fundamnetalism or some Islamic sects are on the other, and you need to decide where you draw the line/balance to base your own rules on. For me it is certainly somewhere before an organized religion just because its dangerous to outsiders. So, drop the use of the words 'primitive' and 'pagan'! It is so Christian!

Sorry, its kinda long, but I like thinking about stuff like this. I am sure there are things I didn't get to mention, but I hope I gave you more respect for religions.


Woof the dog.
religious fundamnetalismParratt
Dec 22, 2001 1:01 PM
now that's a term to remember
oh pleaseWoof the dog
Dec 22, 2001 11:32 PM
you knew what I was talking about.
mere ChristianityMcAndrus
Dec 24, 2001 6:33 AM
Woof, that was very well said. Let me extend upon your voice of reason, if I may.

I am sometimes puzzled by people who lump Christians, Moslems, and Jews into convenient categories. For some, to say Christian is to say Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson (with apologies to those who are fans of the two, I just choose them as an example). To say Moslem is to say Osama bin Laden or the Ayatollah Khomeni. I'm also ashamed to say I can't find similar references in my mind for Judaism.

I think it's obvious that those who use Christian, Moslem, or Jew as an epithet have simply closed their minds to the pursuit of the spiritual and the purposes served by that pursuit.

Since time began humans have sought the spiritual. I find it amusing that modern humans will look back through history and see pagan religions as the result of pure ignorance and fear in pursuit of the unknown.

This is where your mention of the political and social purposes of religion points me: to an examination of pagan religions and I'll return to this later.

To those who read this and use the word Christian as a cuss word, please remember this. The individuals who call themselves Christians are not a singular point, they are a spectrum. It is almost certainly also true of Moslems and Jews.

As I ponder this, I can reduce Christianity and Islam to two expressions.
- Christian: Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior
- Moslem: There is but one God and Mohammed is his prophet

I am disappointed in myself that I cannot remember a defining statement for Judaism. Can anyone suggest something similar?

Also, many of us who are unschooled in religion may not know that Moslems consider Jesus to be a great prophet on par with Moses (and I hope I didn't overstate that).

Now, these two statements are the starting points and not the ends. Within Christianity there is a wide spectrum of beliefs - that's why there are divisions of the Catholic Church and why there are dozens of Protestant denominations.

Anyone who uses Christian, or Moslem, or Jew as an epithet is showing his or her own intellectual shortcomings. Aside from the nastiness of the invective, this person demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of why religion exists in the first place.

Mankind is wired to search for the supernatural. If you don't believe this then you're not looking at us as we truly are.

It is also true, as you said Woof, that there is an inherent political order within the institutions of religion. North Americans seem to miss this one but all they need do is start in Europe two hundred years ago and work backwards in time. It seems to me that the Moslems still exist in this state.

I wish I were a great student of American history but I believe the reason the United States has a codified separation of church and state is a result of the founders' own understanding of what religion had done to the political order in Europe.

The political nature of religion is best expressed in the Roman empire. The Romans always let their conquered subjects practice their own religions and even adopted some of the gods into Roman systems, so long as this belief did not usurp Roman superiority. Why? Because the Romans needed to politically govern peoples thousands of miles away when it took weeks to get from Carthage to Greece. Religious institutions were intertwined with the political and coopting the local religions made political control easier.

(Man, talk about your digressions. Sorry.)

Ancient humans were just as clever as modern humans. An Egyptian from the time of Pharoahs proved mathematically that the world is round. The ancient Greeks developed the geometry that we still use today. Yet the Greeks had what we call pagan gods. So, were the ancient Greeks brilliant thinkers or were they ignorant, fearful primitives?

I attend a Christian church every week. I am surrounded in this church by people who are social Christians. By this I mean that if the same person were raised in China he or she would be a Buddhist. If the same person were raised in Saudi Arabia, he or should would be a Moslem. These people are following their inner wiring which leads them to seek religion for both its personal and cultural rewards.

Woof, you raise an interesting question regarding religion and science. Being educated as an engineer and student of mathematics I have an extremely thin appreciation of how science works. I find it amusing how the unscientific among us take on faith that science works but they will not take on faith that religion works.

Why does the unscientist believe in science? Because he has a VCR in his living room and the VCR works. The VCR was created by engineers who worked with the tools of science. Therefore he takes it on faith that all of science works.

Why does the devoutly religious person believe in religion? Because she has seen prayers come true and she has felt that immense joy of a truly spiritual moment. Because she has examined the history of her religion and found it compelling in its evidence. Now she takes it on faith that her religion works.

In other words, all humans collect evidence and form conclusions. People do not accept religion out of fear and ignorance, they accept it because it works as both a social institution and as a personal quest. This was true of followers of corn gods four thousands years ago and it's true of Christians, Moslems, and Jews today.

Beyond this we are left with a search for God. If you truly believe God does not exist, then the search is over. If you believe God may exist then you have to decide if God does exist. If you believe God does exist then you are into the stickiest question of all. What is the nature of God?
Dec 24, 2001 7:19 AM
And here I thought you were just a dumb, hammerhead cyclist! Well, well said.
BTW, Merry Christmas. If you see him, say hi to that Rock, Mark Merrill!
not that it really matters since it so far down here...dustin73
Dec 23, 2001 12:09 AM
but no, i'm not. i'm 20, got confirmed when i was 13, then at 16 or 17 realized that Christianity was something that people used to make themselves feel better. hell, for some it was the only thing they had to live for. either way, i don't really care. there's stronger, evidence supporting evolution. as for other religions, i don't know. there are some funky ones...LDS, Baptist...both rather odd. though, LDS is converting into more of something that's not so far-fetched. i had a relationship with a Mormon girl. well, she wasn't like the hardcore Mormon, but her 4 siblings and parents were. it was really really interesting some of the things they did and preached.

as for college courses, i was considering it, but figured why waste time and money on something that will never benefit me. if i want to learn about a particular religion, i'll do research (which i have, on Mormon-ism). my art history class tought us about Buddhism, which is rather interesting and something i'll do more research on in the future. philo, however, i will take. very interesting, and hard reading. sounds like fun.
someone is always at the end...thanks for sharing your thoughtsnm
Dec 23, 2001 1:27 PM
not that it really matters since it so far down here...Woof the dog
Dec 23, 2001 2:15 PM
You can believe in evolution all you want, but how do you think it all got started. Neither a typical religion nor science can explain the origin of life very well! So, if you believe in evolution and disbelief in an organized religion, its only half the story....and the sad thing is that none of us will ever find out the rest. Ponder on that one for a while.


not that it really matters since it so far down here...dustin73
Dec 23, 2001 4:35 PM
have pondered, actually. and it's true, none of us will ever know the truth. yet, a lot of people don't see it like that. they are so damn positive that God, in 7 days, created the earth that they'll think the non-believers are absolutely, totally, without a doubt wrong and will suffer an eternity in Hell. blah doesn't really matter. i believe one thing, others believe something else, we're all gonna die anyway. the only people that know the truth are lying 6ft under.
re: Are you guys religious?guido
Dec 23, 2001 10:57 PM
Enjoyed reading the above postings by many of the same people familiar from the other forums. All the great religious prophets would surely applaud forums such as this one, where people from all walks of life can discuss issues without regard to territorial borders or religious differences.

As far as truth is concerned, there can be no conflict between religion and science. Albert Camus said that science ends on faith, anyway. Physicists can measure behavior of atoms, quarks, anti-matter, but they know it only by what it does. They can't see it, touch it, only surmise that it exists by calculations and formulae. As they discover new phenomena, they add names and theories in a futile effort to explain it, to render it "knowable," to make it "truth," which provides them a map to guide them in what to make of future observations, that get them closer to the truth, but never complete certainty. That is left up to religions. A scientific theory is, after all has been said and done, an article of faith.

Religions have everything to do with how people relate to each other, and how the individual relates to uncertainty, conflict, and the only certainty in life--death. The more you live, the more important all these things will become.

If you read up on the world's religions, you'll find they all basically agree that man should live with compassion and love for his fellow man, in harmony with natural forces, and accept himself as a small part of an infinitely larger whole, which he will never master, but must endure in a state of forgiveness, amazing grace. Animals know this instinctively. Humans must learn it.
Very well saidErik W
Dec 26, 2001 5:06 PM
Your last paragraph hit the nail on the head. I would tweak it a bit by restating the last sentence, "Human's must RE-learn it". I believe as man is himself (herself) part of this infinitely larger whole that WE instinctively already know this but have lost touch with that aspect of ourselves.
re: Are you guys religious?MikeC
Dec 24, 2001 7:00 AM
Yes, I'm religious, in that I'm a Christian. But I try to act it more than talk it.
Of course, that also obligates me to state that I frequently don't succeed! ;-)
Also (and I probably shouldn't get into this) you don't have to be dumb to believe. I'm an ex-Mensa member (yes, I know what a map pin in the lapel indicates), who quit because of all the posturing. I have no problem accepting God's (biblical) statement that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and "the wisdom of man is foolishness to God."
YOU HAVE BEEN CURSED 666 enoch DEvil boo ya!!!!!!!!! (nm)Frodohata
Dec 26, 2001 10:05 AM
regarding toleranceDuane Gran
Dec 28, 2001 12:25 PM
As I read through many of the replies, which are very thoughtful and polite, I see a resonating theme with many people. Tolerance is often regarded as the highest virtue by those who don't ascribe to organized religion. We can certainly agree that intolerance, in an aggressive sense, is not only wrong but counter productive, but why is tolerance so valued? I think it is valued because people don't like to have their beliefs challenged.

Why not? I personally think it is great when someone brings up something thought provoking. The sad thing is that even casually discussing a religious matter or sharing one's views from a spritual perspective gets casted into "shoving religion down one's throat." I think our society is a bit too sensitive about this and people use "tolerance" as a shield to keep people from mentally engaging them about their spiritual nature.

Here is another way to think about it. As cyclists we are into pushing ourselves. Many of us are competitive, but even the recreational ride enjoys a good hill challenge or a riding partner that pushes him or her. We could sit on the couch and relax, but we know it is good for us and we do it.

If someone "pushes" a little on religious matters, is that so bad? Surely there are some instances where it goes over the line, but in most cases I've seen genuinely concerned people who try to challenge people as gently as possible. I think it is okay for someone to push a little as long as he or she respects when I am no longer interested.

As for the BS issue, no one really knows the answers, but we have texts (Torah, Coran, New Testament, etc) which are awesome tomes of history and culture. Even if they are wrong about the existence and nature of God, there must be some collective wisdom from the ages. I encourage you to study the religious texts even if you don't feel pursuaded by the existence of God or the relevance of the organized religions.
read thisWoof the dog
Dec 28, 2001 9:19 PM
I'd agree with you, but its just plain dangerous to push anything into people these days. You end up hurting yourself in the end, as you push these people out of your "circle" of friends and acquaintances (sp?). Or you may get shot at, sued, etc. etc. etc. hehehe. It is a touchy thing to talk about.

Do you think there is such a question that would make a deeply religious person think and somehow change their view? I am still looking for one. Ever met one of them old guys givin' out little Bibles on the streets? I tried to question them on why are they so sure that God exists, why a christian god? I only got blank looks or maybe an answer that its what is said in the Bible, a word of God. In any case, its useless as any organized religion is a clever system that is intended to recruit and self-preserve by making everything a sort of a circular argument. You can agree or disagree on that one, I don't give two sh!ts.

True, the basis for any of them texts you mentioned is a deep appreciation for life and other morals that we hold so dear, but I am disgusted at what some organized religions (or smaller movements of) have turned to. Did I hear it on this forum that a Catholic Church still refuses to give up their documents from the Nazi regime time? The truth would be too damaging!

Bible and other texts are probably the last books I'd read on history and culture. I much rather read the "already digested" material based on these texts, as it would not contain as much of that religious push you are talking about. As a matter of fact, I think it is just plain dangerous to read these texts. If you haven't read anything else, you may end up believing it!!!

How's that for a reply?

Woof the god.
Dec 29, 2001 9:01 PM
You must be young and somewhat afraid of religious ideas, anything labeled "spiritual," and for good reason: get enough people behind a belief and they'll invariably turn it on its head. That's what the Popes did in the Inquisitions, Stalin did in Communist Russia, and Al Quaida is trying to do now.

To a lesser extent, Christian fundamentalists were really the ones trying to impeach Clinton for doing what any of them would have done, lied about illicit sex--by dragging him before a court of law and forcing him to either perjure himself, or be the first US president humiliated in public for his sexual activities. Most foreigners laugh at the moral prissiness of those Americans who demand that their political leaders live up to moral standards most of them as it turned out, weren't living up to themselves. And that's what makes one believe in a higher being: after all the sound and fury, it was Newt Gingrich whose career was ruined, while Clinton's approval ratings actually increased.

Next time you pass one of those guys selling Bibles on the street, just look him in the eye, give him a cordial smile, and say, "Praise the Lord!" as you walk on. That'll pretty much blow his cover, always has for me.

One can read ideas in books to justify anything, but experience is the final arbiter of truth. If a religion professes love for mankind and then shuts itself off from mankind, it's turned on itself and is evil. Good people are everywhere, whether they ardently profess a religion or not.
wait, they were giving them out for freeWoof the dog
Dec 29, 2001 11:35 PM
those guys were giving the tiny bibles out for free, not selling, and they were probably priests I am guessing. Its pretty weird, maybe I should print out a religious text of some Tumba Umba tribe and give these out to strangers on the street. LOL.

Chasin my tail

woof the dog.
Clinton's lying is not excuseableDog
Dec 31, 2001 8:18 AM
Regardless of your other points, I get really tired of people stating that Clinton was expected to lie about the affair. What, then, would not be excused? What if he had embezzled, shot someone, burglarized the GOP headquarters? -- would you not expect him to lie about that, too? Of course you would, and it would be a crime to lie there as much as it would be about an affair. Clinton committed perjury. He interfered with the legal process. He should be in jail for it.

This has little to do with morality or the "religious right" attacking Clinton. Didn't this begin in a civil lawsuit about sexual harrassment (with a Clinton appointee federal judge, if I recall correctly)? Is sexual harrassment now ok if committed by liberals (or just the important ones)? Even an atheist should be opposed to anyone committing perjury, especially a public official. The counter-attacks on those who condemn Clinton for lying are transparent attempts to save Clinton. Can't defend what someone does? -- attack the accusers, then. It's disgusting.

sex, sin, and perjuryguido
Dec 31, 2001 11:13 PM
When I was coming up, "sexual harrassment" wasn't invented yet. If a man made a pass at a woman, she was expected to encourage or resist it, and the man, if he was a gentleman, accepted her response. If the guy exposed himself, as our Sweet Willie apparently did with Paula Jones, she should have slapped him and walked out of the room. The old assumption was that guys were programmed by nature to go after women. The studs were the men women fell for, and the jerks were the men women rejected, made fun of, laughed at. There wasn't this sense of criminality associated with sexual behavior like there increasingly seems to be now. The law forbade rape, but left flirtation to the negotiating skills of the two sexes.

Now talking dirty to a woman might not only get you slapped, but dragged into court. Clinton was a philanderer, sure, but a country bumpkin compared to JFK.

There was nothing civil in the lawsuit a group of lawyers fighting for the religious right made against Clinton on behalf of Paula Jones. We'll never know what happened that night in the hotel, but Jones had posed for pictures that ended up in a skin magazine before this affair, so she was no paragon of virtue. The evil is that these lawyers, already gunning for Clinton, sucked Jones into their "sexual harrassment" civil case in an effort to ruin the guy's political career.

I agree that he shouldn't have lied in front of a grand jury, but owing to the original crime, about 80% of the American public forgave him. In hindsight, they probably would have forgiven him even if he'd told the truth, which eventually he did.

Clinton's "sins" sure don't compare to Watergate. The legal process has always been compassionate, not only judging the crime, but also the circumstances surrounding the crime, and the person who committed the crime. That's why Nixon got impeached, then later pardoned by Gerald Ford, and Clinton skated. In both cases, the punishment fitted the crime. That's good and moral, in the spiritual sense.
well reasoned, cogent argumentsDog
Jan 1, 2002 1:14 PM
Much of what you say makes sense.

The one thing I'd like to point out is that sexual harrassment laws aren't there just to "criminalize" or even "moralize" unwanted sexual advances. They are designed to keep people from getting fired or demoted, suffering continuous adverse conditions in employment, which may cause someone to quit because of it, or demanding sex as a condition of employment (quid pro quo). They are not there, actually, to prevent the one time exposure or advance.

To me, in this context Clinton's sin was not the Paula Jones matter or even the Monica matter -- it was lying under oath.
read thisDuane Gran
Dec 31, 2001 8:52 AM
I would agree that it is dangerous to be pushy, in the sense of aggitating someone, but I still maintain that our society is too sensitive about religion. As an example, I can freely quote very controversial/revolutionary persons (Malcom X, George Washington, Emmerson, Locke, Ayn Rand, Mohhamad, Sidartha, Moses, etc) and generally carry on a discussion about what these people said. If I quote Jesus then people act weird about it and in hushed tones act like we aren't supposed to talk about that stuff. I swear, people are afraid to be overheard even mentioning Jesus' name.

As for a question that would make someone seriously contemplate their spirituality, I don't have a one size fits all answer here. There are some good thought provoking mental excercises out there, but this all hinges on an act of faith. If that is dissapointing, I would recall that we act in faith more often than we like to admit. Carl Sagan, who happened to be agnostic, brought up a very good point in the movie "Contact" in which he wrote the novel. A spritual leaning fellow (played by Matthew McConeghey) asked an agnostic woman (played by Bridgette Fonda) if she believed that she loved her father. He then asked her to prove it. There are some things that we just "know".

The counter argument to the faith issue is that there are things that we want to know, and our desire to know them surpasses our desire to accept a cold reality of a godless world. It is a pretty good argument. I don't have an answer for it, but I can say personally that I sense an eternal nature to myself that I believe others have too.

Just for fun, if you want to confound a religious person, like the one's handing out bibles, do this... Ask them if they know there is a God in their heart. They will most definitely say they do. Tell them you definitely know in your heart there is no God. Now ask them how you can both be right. It probably won't detere them, but it can be fun to see the answer.

Here is another one... Ask the person if God is all-powerful. They will naturally say yes. Then ask them if God can create a rock so heavy that God cannot lift it. Yeah, there is a logical error in this, but again it is fun to watch most people stammer on this one.

Unfortunately religion gets muddy when it is too organized. The papacy was for all purposes a kingdom in the dark ages and all sorts of bad things happened. I too would like to see the Vatican come clean on some things, but even though church leaders pervert the faith, it doesn't invalidate God. It certainly is discouraging though.

I would still consider the primary religious texts great for study. Many lives have been changed from reading them. Whether it comes by divinity or a collection of just plain "horse sense" in a book, by and large people claim to be better for knowing some religion. I guess there is a chance of believing what you read.

I hope this isn't too pushy. ;)