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Do your religious inclinations isolate you?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Scarlett Wampus, May 23, 2006.

  1. Scarlett Wampus

    Scarlett Wampus psychonaut

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    If your religious inclinations, or lack of them, often confuse others or isolate you from them in some way, what form does this take? Is it ever a source of tension?

    Do you ever find that there is a gulf between yourself and people who have known you for a long time but went in a very different direction to you concerning religion?


    I've been meeting a lot of old friends recently. Its been great but my long-term interest in meditation and Taoism has meant I've changed in ways that are very difficult to relate in some sensible way to them. My lifestyle is so unusual in comparison, my political and philosophical attitudes, sense of identity, interests, habits, personal experiences, personality, my whole world seems different. I wish there wasn't a significant divide but there certainly is. :(
     
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  2. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

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    Yep, when I grew up in Washington as a child, my 'religious' life really wasn't there. I went to Church and all but I didn't show it in my everyday life.

    Now, going back and trying to talk to some of them is hard, they bascially see me as a close-minded cultist.

    My lifestyle is also different, as is yours, so yes, I've had this happen.
     
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  3. Ody

    Ody Well-Known Member

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    Yes it does, not many fellow orthodox jews in southern orange county.
     
  4. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    Yes, they isolate me a lot. I'm the only mormon in my family, and my dad especially makes fun of me for it. He does it jokingly, but I know he believes what he says (that it's a cult, and stuff), and it hurts.

    On the other hand, it has brought me closer to people than I would have been if I hadn't converted.
     
  5. Ody

    Ody Well-Known Member

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    Alot of the time it does make it hard to have a discussion on theology, many times they view my Jewish Interpretation as flawed on the old testament, usually belittleing my points as "No, Alan you can't talk you don't know what we are talking about."
     
  6. evearael

    evearael Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe it is my faith that isolates me, as much as my different priorities that are partially a result of my faith.
     
  7. Nehustan

    Nehustan Well-Known Member

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    If your religious inclinations, or lack of them, often confuse others or isolate you from them in some way, what form does this take? Is it ever a source of tension?

    My religion and politics sit side by side. As a result I no longer have any contact with my family, and little with friends. Then of course there is the fact I'm an argumentative little sod, with a very bad temper (anger issues), so...hehe...all in all its really quite hard to work out which is the predominant factor in my alienation/isolation.

    Do you ever find that there is a gulf between yourself and people who have known you for a long time but went in a very different direction to you concerning religion?

    I refer the honourable gentleman to my previous answer ;)
     
  8. Ðanisty

    Ðanisty Well-Known Member

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    As a Luciferian, I deal with this nearly everyday.
     
  9. bill

    bill Member

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    You are different. Deconditioned, alert. Try a bit of counterfactual thinking. If you hadn't done the meditation etc would the tension you experience dissapear. How long since you saw these people? In general talking about my "religious" beliefs in an inappropriate context ( eg police interview) is unproductive. If people see you as disconnected, they will shy away. You are not, but they think you are. A meditation path is not an easy one. Perhaps that is why in Buddhist countries, monks organise together for solidarity. In the West, it is more likely seen by most as a private matter, to be kept private. Plenty of people will be interested in what you have to say though. Seek them out.
     
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  10. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    It's been a source of tension for those who equated my religion with a "cult" but those have been few people, and I'm pretty thick skinned anyway. I overcame my source of tension by keeping very good notes. The Human Resources department was very interested in reading those at one point. :rolleyes:
    If anything, my religious choice forces me to meet people with all sorts of different inclinations. Baha'is don't get to choose their community based on preferences -- it's all about geography. That forces together people from very different backgrounds, and we all get to have some fun figuring out that different is a *good* thing and everyone has something to bring to the table. I've found it very liberating over the years, and approach people with much more ease than I did before, because it seems I find it easier to see their worth through the differences than I could before.

    The only gulf I have ever felt is from people who can't deal with the idea that Baha'is don't drink alcohol. They put the gulf there before figuring out if that's just my personal choice or if I have some interest in telling them what to do (I don't). It's a tough way to figure out who your real friends are, but otoh, you can at least figure out who your real friends are.

    I have a neighbor who got along well with us for a year, until the moment she found out we don't drink. For the last 11 years, she doesn't speak to us unless she thinks there's a reason to call the county on us for some supposed infraction or to complain about my plants. Go figure.

    But there are always people who are interested and curious and will want to jump the divide to understand you better and to explore new ideas. They're hard to find, no matter what your religious inclination is. I don't know if people are too busy, too distracted, or too stuck in their ways these days, but those do seem to happen.

    It's been my experience that the more I can see interesting things in others unlike myself, the more approachable I seem to be, and the more interesting people I meet.

    Just put the right karma out there, and they'll show up. :)
     
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  11. Adstar

    Adstar Active Member

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    Better to be alone with God then one of the crowd in hell.

    All Praise The Ancient Of Days
     
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  12. Mykola

    Mykola Member

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    It takes for me a beautiful form of not being involved in things I do not find enjoyable anymore. What I mean to say is I'm not bereaved of anything I really need and enjoy.

    Ironically, it could be. When my friend asks me to be a godfather for his son, and I have to tell him that I cannot participate in such an unbiblical action as infant baptism, it causes a little tension. But still, no isolation.

    Yes, I do. More than that, the wider this gulf the more I can be sure I'm growing in faith.
    Again, this gulf doesn't mean isolation. I would love to go a picnic with my non-Christian friends, but would not go with the same friends to a strip-bar.

    The main point is that: if you follow some teaching just because you like it, you'll face a lot of problems that cannot be solved - blivets.
    If, however, you follow some teaching because you find it conceivable, comprehensible, reasonable, beneficial and this teaching encourages you to search and explore something new, always basing your conclusions on sound propositions - you'll have no such problems.

    If you haven't guessed by then, - I don't see Taoism as a sound teaching worth of being considered seriously. As I can see now, it doesn't seem to solve your problems, creating new ones instead.
    Am I though a bit right?
     
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  13. MysticSang'ha

    MysticSang'ha Big Squishy Hugger
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    Ouch. :(


    Not exactly fair, considering there are likely to be others within your own faith who are experiencing the same social/emotional dilemmas. If SW is down right now, why would you wish to kick him in the meantime? :(



    Anyhoo, to answer your question, Scarlett...........I've seen my fair share of social isolation simply because of the demographic. I can't expect to be in like-minded company for any good chunk of time for the reason that Buddhists make up such a small portion of our local population. Following an Eastern path in the middle of a Western society has it's problems from the get-go.



    I don't know as much as I should of Taoism and it's practitioners, I'm afraid. We have the encouragement in the dharma to seek others who practice meditation and who take refuge in the rest of the dharma in order to have the sense of community, but I don't know at all what you are encouraged to do as far as seeking others go.



    And remember, just because you may be the only one who thinks the way you do doesn't mean that you are wrong. :flower:




    Peace,
    Mystic
     
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  14. Mykola

    Mykola Member

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    I didn't intend to hurt you, sorry.

    Fair exactly.
    And that's because the Christians experiencing such problems know perfectly that the world hates them, but also they know that He That is in them is the Sovereign of the Universe, so they shouldn't be downright, but rather pray and rejoice.
    That's what they are expected to do, and if they act according to the Bible, they will have no such problems at all.

    I don't wish to kick him. I only wish to give him a stimulus to take a critical look at where is he now and how has he gotten there.
     
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  15. ΩRôghênΩ

    ΩRôghênΩ Disciple of Light

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    my religion isolates me because for one thing, i dont find other 14 yr olds who can understand the inner light of god, quantum physics, mysticism, philosophy, or religion in general. also, even adults dont understand it.

    its a hard battle being different and misunderstood, and at the same time having to deal with depression, low self esteem, and fighting to keep your faith alive within yourself
     
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  16. d.

    d. _______

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    no. :) not concerning religion anyway.

    this applies perfectly to my relation to taoism. it is in fact the only religious belief i feel holds up to any kind of serious philosophical critique. granted, peoples standards differ in this department. but please don't assume that taoism is about being 'spiritually comfortable'.

    i'm sure you have a lot of reasonable arguments to back this up with. no?

    i think it's a really ugly thing of you to exploit somebody venting a problem and putting themselves in a potentially vulnerable or insecure position (whether this applies to wampus or not - it could most definitely) to push your baseless, ignorant little ideas.

    shame
    .
     
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  17. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Well-Known Member

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    >Do your religious inclinations isolate you?

    From the Baha'i scriptures:

    "Consort with all ..., O people of Bahá, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship."

    Peace,

    Bruce
     
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  18. Revasser

    Revasser Terrible Dancer

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    Not often. The only time this is ever really a problem for me is with some of the more conservative Christians I know (some of whom I'm related to.) However, considering that I am not and never really have been very close to any of these people, all it really amounts to is another step back in an already distant relationship.



    Most of my long time friends are utterly apathetic toward religion as a whole. As far as they're concerned, my choice of religion is just another odd thing about someone who was a bit of an oddball to begin with. :p Those who are deliberate atheists probably think it's a bit silly, I'm sure, but it's never been a problem, really. My interest in studying religion (of many kinds) at all is probably more of a "gulf" than the religion I follow.

    A notable exception is my friend who became a Mormon a couple of years back. We're still friendly, but the relationship has grown more distant since. I find that he's generally more interested in being involved with "church stuff" than hanging out with his old friends, which is inevitable I suppose. In this case, I would say that, yes, there is a gulf now that we have veered off in radically different religious directions.
    I would say there is probably nothing unusual about this, SW, especially if these are friends you've not had much contact with for a length of time. I've often found this to be the case with people I've not really been in touch with for a while and it has very little to do with religion in most cases. People just go off in different directions, and if you aren't there "along for the ride" with them (and they with you), the changes can seem huge and difficult to understand when you meet them again.
     
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  19. Ormiston

    Ormiston Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes. Very few people I know enjoy discussing their own beliefs. Those who do are almost always older than me and rarely do my views coincide with theirs. It takes a long time and a lot of misunderstandings just to get a conversation going. That's the main reason I enjoy RF...a lot less yelling involved.

    This has actually never occured to me if we are speaking strictly about differences in our religions. I can't speak for the friends that dissappeared without an explanation. How long have you noticed this divide? Eventually you will have more compatible friends who see your religious tendencies as normal (for you ;)).
     
  20. Nehustan

    Nehustan Well-Known Member

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    My advice Roghen...leave such trivia behind...buy a crate of beer, and get ready for the world cup. Surely a bit of boisterous drunken behaviour will boost your self esteem....if not it will decrease your IQ in increments, which I have observed is a key to happiness.:sarcastic
     
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