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Featured Identifying with Multiple Religions

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Quintessence, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    It is common in the United States to think of one's religion as a single box one is allowed to check on a survey. I'm not one of the people who agrees with this perspective, but a recent Pew study confirms that this is still the overwhelmingly pervasive model in America with only about 6% of those surveyed identifying with more than one religion. This is in spite of a relatively high number of Americans who grew up in inter-religious households (around one in five). The full report goes into more detail about those who identify with multiple religions if you want to give it a read.

    What do you think about identifying with multiple religions? Do you believe this is possible?
    Are you someone who identifies with multiple religions, and if so, why do you do so?
     
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  2. Quetzal

    Quetzal A little to the left and slightly out of focus.
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    It is tougher to do depending on the religion. Some religions conflict (or a common belief is that they conflict) or are mutually exclusive. For example, it might be tougher to be a Christian and Muslim because their texts might not agree. I think this is easier to do with Eastern philosophies though.

    Sure! Religion is too complex to try to limit into a single box.

    I don't know, but i'm working on it. :D
     
  3. Mindmaster

    Mindmaster Well-Known Member
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    I think it's all about what you consider the term religion to mean... Many things are like philosophy or ways, and thus infinitely combinable with other paths. I can think of examples such as Palo, Santeria, or Voodoo where a native belief system has completely converged with a mainline Christian faith. They have kept their indigenous beliefs and simply added another set of expressions to their framework.

    I find the same with Druidry where it sort of exists as a philosophy and faith, and you can take it as some sort of initiatory system like the Freemasons or you can combine it with something like Traditional Witchcraft or Wicca and have the two systems be completely compatible. Mostly what influences that is how deeply you consider the myths, and whether they are the basis for a spiritual understanding or they are simply something akin to the Iliad or Aesop's Fables. If they inspire you greatly you tend to lean to the religious side of things...

    Personally, I find that OBOD Druidry isn't "religious enough" on its own and I fill that in with animistic or theistic leanings even though I am completely happy with it. My link to the divine is certainly in my perception, so I don't fret I just go with it. But, if you want to map things out -- I sort of combine OBOD with a mish-mash of everything else I've seen. Some of that includes: Neo-shamanism, Witchcraft, Chaos Magic, LHP, and more. About as eclectic as you can be.. :D
     
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  4. Aiviu

    Aiviu Active Member

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    I see myself as human in prior. I do not identify with any religions. Merely with the things i can read in the scripts of their religion. Religion to me is a "path". A path which i have to understand correctly before i open my mouth and talk aboutit. I deny that the wisdom and knowledge i have about it is useful to the others. Its restricted to me.

    Their rules, laws, and wisdoms are already in me as a perfect soul, they merely have to be found, understood, and lived in the correct way.

    Their laws can not be forced from another. It quiet doesnt work. There is force in us which isnt violent. Not in a mental nor in physical way. The force is towards and not against us .

    - Nothing to be exactly. I can not be identified before i am not dead.
    - Of couse its possible but i dont want to meet people telling me directly about their identification if they see my flaws. Thats not how it works with me i guess :)
    - No i am not.
     
    #4 Aiviu, Oct 26, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
  5. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    I've written about this before, but it's relevant.

    A number of years ago my wife and I were fortunate enough to have dinner with Lutheran Archbishop Antje and Heinz Jackelén just prior to their return to Sweden. As Associate Professor and Director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science Jackelén proved herself to be more than science savvy and a very insightful dinner companion. After dinner she would speak at our synagogue on (to paraphrase) tohu va-bohu (Gen. 1:3) and the creative force of chaos.

    In any event, at some point I raised the issue of scientific illiteracy and the extent to which it plagues our society. She graciously agreed, and then noted that, in her opinion, religious illiteracy was a far greater problem. Our oft times stunning lack of knowledge of our neighbor's religion, its nuances and variations, its rituals and principles, robs us of sources of inspiration while creating a fertile environment for xenophobia and prejudice.

    She also suggested that an understanding of and empathy for other religions can have the side effect of enhancing an appreciation for humanism and science.

    I left the dinner an atheist who was nevertheless convinced that much could be accomplished if we would work to develop religious literacy in our schools.
     
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  6. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Sure, it's possible. I've personally met plenty of UUs who also identify with Paganism, for instance.

    I'm also not sure if you're including cultural identification under whatever you're calling "indentifying" with a religion. It's entirely possible to, say, adhere to the tenets of Buddhism while feeling a cultural affinity for Catholicism or Judaism.

    It's even possible to intellectually assent to the tenets of mutually contradictory religions. Irrational, but possible.
     
  7. Cassandra

    Cassandra Active Member

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    Of course it is possible. People do it

    But rather than accept people as being in more than one box I regard them as a new box. Do not forget that religions as Christianity are themselves syncretic religions taking from many other traditions.

    I see it like this. When someone says I like to have sex with men and women, I do not see such a person as heterosexual or/and homosexual, but rather a different kind: bisexual.

    I have a problem when a bisexual goes to heterosexuals and says, part of the heterosexuals is also a homosexual, just look at me. You should accept homosexuality as part of heterosexuality. And vice versa.

    Where does this thinking lead to? That there is no distinction, just sexuality.

    In the same way, I understand some people here identify as Pagan, Satanist and Catholic at the same time. But I dislike it when they come to the Pagan forum and try to sell their Satanist or Catholic ideology as Pagan or they try to sell Catholics movements as pagan.

    Some people think that we need to strive for unity to overcome differences. They think differences and distinction are the root of discrimination and conflict. This is a serious misconception. The root of conflict is the unwillingness to accept that others are different and give them the same respect. This leads to some great but unrealistic universal ideal that is imposed on people by great force and creates endless conflicts. The universal religions all want to be the only one and can not accept others.

    People who combine religions are simply inventors of new syncretic religions. Just like there are cooks who use spices from the Chinese kitchen and combine it with the Western food, creating new dishes. Fine with me, but do not sell it as either Chinese or traditional western food. That is a lie.

    Sure the Chinese and Western traditions can slowly naturally absorb influences from other cultures, and thus evolve. But then it stops being combinations of different traditions. When Italians eat spaghetti they are no longer eating Chinese food, even if it came originally from China. They made it into their own food.

    I also reject the idea that real cultural traditions can be easily adopted by outsiders, like it is some coat one puts on. This is true for proselytizing religions like Christianity and Islam. Read the book, accept the teachings, accept it as your beliefs and you are part of the new family. Those ideology religions were made as a replacement for cultural religious traditions to be spread all over the empire to create a common imperial identity and belonging. This gives people of Christian and Muslim background the idea that religions can be adopted by superficial things like accepting ideas and adopting customs. And when they mix ideas and customs from different religions they feel they are all of them, while in reality they are none of them.

    Sure you can say you are a Catholic and a Pagan, but do not expect me to accept Catholicism as a belonging to Paganism because of that. Without clear distinctions their is no identity. Without identity there is no belonging. Without belonging there is no commitment. That is the difference between a temporary employee and a regular worker with a steady job.

    Rather than saying I am Buddhist and a Muslim, people should say, I created my own religion, or I have not found yet what I am looking for. For neither Islam nor Buddhism was enough for them. Sure for some men one wife is not enough either. but most people do not want more than one partner, but rather deepen the relationship with one partner. People that spread out do not create commitment and belonging, they want to be free of that. People who seek deep involvement seek belonging and find gratification in that.

    You can combine all the wisdom of all the religions and stay superficial yourself. You become Donald Trump with an estate, expensive furniture, a butler and a pinup wife and still have no culture. I do not like these cherry pickers who read all the books and flaunter with a wisdom lent. Or like a famous person once said: They are the beggars that hand out the jewels of the world.
     
    #7 Cassandra, Oct 26, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
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  8. Neo Deist

    Neo Deist Th.D. & D.Div. h.c.

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    I grew up in a Southern Baptist household and continued until my late teens. Twenty years later and while at seminary, I broke away from my upbringing and embraced deism, as it reflected how I thought.

    In studying theology and history, I came to the conclusion that no single religion can claim God as their own. God is not unique to any one group of people or geographic location. I can easily identify with parts of other religions to include Judaism, Paganism, Buddhism, and Shintoism.

    Then there is the cosmic scale. Earth is but a mere spec in the vastness of the universe. Billions of planets per galaxy, and hundreds of billions of galaxies in the known universe. God is MUCH bigger than our little mud ball.
     
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  9. Labourwave

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    The major faiths all claim to be the one and only true faith which is what I imagine would be the cause of the belief of monofaith-ism.


    Go for it if they don't contradict.
    I take the position that if you don't believe in every single rule or tenant attached to a religion you shouldn't consider yourself a follower of it. This is why many will hear me attack Islam or Christianity but defend self proclaimed Christians and Muslims.
    The vast majority of faith's are incompatible this way to me.

    I suppose.
     
  10. Goddess_Ashtara

    Goddess_Ashtara NIN MOJAVE AK IMEN

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    I happen to possess a vivid imagination, formidable willpower, and many talents involving the power of Creation. Of course I would absorb strength, power, wisdom and beauty from any religion I will. Of course I would create a spiritual-religious system that reflects my own Weltanschauung and exponentially amplifies my own ability to fulfill my own goals in life and forge a destiny born of my own deepest desires and aspirations.



     
    #10 Goddess_Ashtara, Oct 26, 2016
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  11. Mindmaster

    Mindmaster Well-Known Member
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    Well by that definition, no one follows any faith/belief/philosophy. :D I mean, I don't know anyone who follows the dogma of anything to such a high standard outside of someone who lives like a monk. Anyway, some belief systems have gold in them, but are otherwise covered in turds. I think you have the right, and the freedom, to jettison the extraneous garbage and partake in the enjoyable bits. I know many people who follow the teachings of Jesus, but ignore all of the dictates of the churches.
     
  12. GoodbyeDave

    GoodbyeDave Well-Known Member

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    "Major faiths"? If you count Hindus as pagans, then Paganism is the second largest religion! If you don't, then we still outnumber everyone except Christians and Muslims!

    But Rowan has still hit the nail on the head. If you invent a religion, you have to define it with a creed so all invented religions have a statement of faith that you have to believe in. If you're a Christian you can't recite the Muslim profession of faith, any more than a Muslim can recite the Christian creed.

    As a pagan, I could worship in a Chinese or Japanese temple because these are not "multiple religions"; just people worshiping different yet compatible gods.
     
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  13. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    I think they need a box for 'Do It Yourself' spiritual beliefs. And I believe that percentage would be on the rise.
    I think multiple religions is possible and if that is what works best for an individual, then that's fine. I believe all major religions have the truth at their core with some fortunate and unfortunate trappings attached. Hence I respect them all.
    Well, I believe Advaita (non-dualism=God and creation are not-two) is the highest of man's philosophical school. I believe the good core teachings of each religion are subsets of my school but I only identify with my school.
     
  14. Labourwave

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    I regard paganism as a series of different religious groups because of the variance between sects.

    Well they can, it's just hypocritical.

    Not "multiple religions" per say, however you are still combining different religious ideas that were not intended to be practiced alongside with each other. This is not to say they are exclusive or in anyway incompatible. However I would consider this "multiple religions".
     
  15. Labourwave

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    If a christian thinks the bible is the word of god but chooses to ignore certain parts of the bible I have trouble evaluating the consistency of their belief.
    If a follower has a reason to disregard certain parts for a specificspiritual reason that is an entire other conversation.

    It doesn't matter so much as following, however I think that if one don't believe everything in the bible is true one shouldn't be a christian. Unless one can provide a viable rationalization for excluding the passages you don't enjoy.

    It is in the same sort of way how I do a lot of reading on Jainism. However I won't identify as one because I would merely misrepresent Jains and be providing a label which was inconsistent with my beliefs.

    Agreed.

    Me too. But I think then claiming to be a part of the religion "covered in turds" while enjoying the ounce of gold within them is inconsistent and just escapes my way of thinking.

    I respect these people much more than I respect a fundamentalist, however I see the fundamentalists views as making much more spiritual sense. Unless the follower can provide reason why certain books in the bible are not the word of god.
     
  16. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Definitely. And done with the proper discernment, it is a very good thing too.


    In a manner of speaking.

    My take on religion is that no one is truly religious until and unless he or she accepts the duty to decide when, where and how the precepts apply.

    We should all strive to be our own religious authorities and to be at peace with that responsibility.

    So I take most of my Dharma from Buddhist sources, mainly because I am very much a believer in Interdependent Origination.

    But I also take some bits from (what I believe to roughly correspond to) Shinto and I use a lot of Hindu concepts and symbolism as well, despite hardly qualifying as a believer.

    Quite simply, religion is a tool for human development. Much as a physician must be responsible for the tools he uses, so must a religious person. It may be proper to limit oneself to just one source, and it can be dangerous to use more than one. But it really depends on the situation and the people involved.
     
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  17. bobhikes

    bobhikes AntiRepublican
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    I identify with Catholicism, Christianity, Agnosticism and Taoism but its not just the US. I know of nowhere I can list multiple religions even here on the RF because I put Agnosticism first I get slapped on the wrist if I go to the catholic dir or christian dir.
     
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  18. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    It depends (as usual). If one defines identify as carrying multiple values, then I agree. If one means practice and take up values in practice, I disagree. The former I take up values in Catholicism, Buddhism, and hard to define, but some forms of paganisms (rather than Paganism). However, in practice, I couldn't say which I am because I am free spirited in belief and find disciplinary practice limiting me.

    On that note, I agree in a sense that Americans see religious having one religion instead of multiple. For example, if you have Christianity and some forms of paganisms, they completely conflict with each other. While values in Catholicism are basic but if I were to practice it and practice what I do now, they both would conflict with each other. So, I don't agree with it if taken in that perspective.

    As for identification, we can identify with however many religions we feel is appropriate to our spiritual outlook. I don't find that wrong. I just don't care for practice and cultural appropriation of multiple religions in one pot. The former is human nature. No religion is alien to the other. The latter is pretty strict. Some religions do not allow practices other religions would. For example, if I were a practicing Catholic, I could not go into a protestant church not even Othorodox to take communion. So, it depends on the person, what they value, and what they see as appropriate.

    Yes, only in values not in practice. For example, Catholicism focuses on sacrificing one's wrong doings to live a more spiritual life with the assistance and focus on the divine's. Buddhism focuses on changing the nature of one's thoughts to where we are free to express our true nature (Mayahana) in full understanding of life. Whatever practices (not religion) my family practice is basically what outsiders would call superstition. While reverence to ancestors is almost a universal practice and value that is the foundation for the other values.

    However, I don't take the Eucharist, I don't chant Diamoku, and I don't practice paganisms that focus on initiation among other things. I relate this to cultural appropriation, which I completely disagree with.

    So, in the values sense, yes. In practice, no.
     
  19. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    What do you think about identifying with multiple religions?

    I worry that it will boil down to a "shopping list" mentality of "pick and mix". Whilst that on the one hand is a celebration of individuals religious freedom, it is also a way which undermines the intellectual rigour and discipline required in holding a set of beliefs. In that sense- it's just liberal individualism appropriating symbols without their cultural and historical context and "meaning". Most of the old religions are old enough to be quite self-contained with traditions and history which inform the scope of what a religion can be interpreted as. There are often core beliefs that limit interpretation which define it whilst others are less essential. I tend to think that is a process of discovery by re-engineering old ideas and controversies and seeing how different ideas for together and learning how people think and connect the dots.

    Do you believe this is possible?

    Yes, but I'd hesitate to actually do it as I think it is the beginning of new religions rather than as purely an individual exercise. It depends how deep the diversity actually goes. I think one intellectual system will come out top in the end due to the need for logical self-consistency. Theories of knowledge generally determine what we can and cannot claim to know and therefore the scope of what we believe. I don't typically think people are actually radical enough to question "why" they know something. There is a difference between syncretic belief systems and a sort of intellectual "anarchy".

    Are you someone who identifies with multiple religions, and if so, why do you do so?

    No, but strictly speaking I have never had a "pure" belief system in terms of orthodoxy. I've always allowed myself enough freedom to find out what ideas I could hold sincerely or are true and then figure out why and if they can fit into a larger worldview. It's more organic and spontaneous. So I have borrowed freely ideas from a variety of sources but always with a larger blueprint in mind. It's like finding missing pieces of the puzzle and filling gaps where my predominant beliefs and knowledge of them are inadequate. That said, I still habitually have ideas that may well be Christian in origin even though I am not one simply due to its cultural dominance and early background influence as a child.
     
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  20. Kirran

    Kirran
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    I don't know what the Christian creed is, but even I can honestly recite the shahadah - I testify that there is no god but God, and that Muhammad is a messenger of God. Ashadu an la illaha il-Allah, wa ashadu an muhammadur-rasulullah. And I'm Hindu!

    In practice, most Muslims for some reason imagine that a bunch of other stuff, like the infallibility and perfection of the Uthmanic compilation of the Qur'an, is also included.
     
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