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Featured Is it possible to cherry pick and follow what you like?

Discussion in 'Seekers Circle' started by Deidre, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Deidre

    Deidre اتبع القلب

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    I've identified as an atheist, explored Islam and Buddhism, and have spent the most time, following Christianity. I'm interested in the Left Hand Path right now, and what's interesting, is that in each and every path, I find something incredibly useful to my own life. I find things that are negative and not helpful, but even in Christianity, there are tenets of the faith that I think are worth carrying around with me.

    Is it possible to cherry pick what we like from different beliefs and follow them all?
     
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  2. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I think cherry-picking is the wisest way to approach any religion. All ideologies -- including all major religions -- are to one extent or another bunk. But there are jewels of wisdom mixed in with the bunk. Cherry picking is the wisest course because you get the jewels without the manure.
     
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  3. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Resident Hermit
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    Absolutely! Many do. They typically call themselves Eclectics. This is because it would be an affront to those of a belief structure to call themselves an adherent of that structure and only follow certain tenets or dogma and throw away the rest.

    IMHO, it's the wisest path.
     
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  4. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    I don't see why not. Personally, I favour a certain amount of pragmatism in these things. If particular tenets, rules, life lessons and so on from a given religion strike you as useful, while other parts don't, why not apply the useful bits?

    To give you an analogy, anybody who sets out to study psychology will invariably study Freud at some point. That's not because psychology as a field takes an all or nothing approach to his work. Instead, he set out some important foundations that psychologists have built on (and discarded bits of!) since.
     
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  5. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    Sure it's possible. I wouldn't personally be comfortable with any contradictions though.
     
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  6. PureX

    PureX Well-Known Member

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    Not only that, but you 'tailor' your beliefs to best suit your own unique nature and circumstances.
     
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  7. Deidre

    Deidre اتبع القلب

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    An Eclectic. When it comes to my ''journey,'' that is what I feel makes the most sense in terms of labeling myself.

    I don't see any one religion/belief system as being all lies, or all truth. But, there are some lies and some truths to be had in all. Even atheism from a logical/intellectual level, makes sense to me, in terms of sacrificing my whole life to a deity. But, that doesn't mean I'm not open minded to thinking that there could be a supernatural realm, with much to offer our open minds.

    The one thing I can say about most religions, is that many people who follow them must think that is what resonates the most with their core thinking of the world around them. And how they view Self. The LHP has opened my mind to the fact that we should care about Self, and not feel sinful about protecting and looking after Self. But, there is much wisdom to glean from the Bible and other holy texts. But, to worship one idea over another, is what has stopped resonating with me.

    Maybe an agnostic eclectic. I like it. Thank you for your thoughts, you have given me much to think over. :)
     
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  8. Carlita

    Carlita Blessings from Buddha Vajrasattva of purification

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    I feel you can learn from many sources at once. Nothing wrong with that. I feel if you devote and worship two sources at the same time beyond taking in knowledge, I wouldn't agree with cherry picking. It's one thing to learn why abortion is good and why it is not and take lessons from both sides. It's totally different to work in two different clinics-one for and one against-and express your opinion about the two as if they are one and the same.

    That is just me.
     
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  9. Deidre

    Deidre اتبع القلب

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    I hear you. That makes sense. I come from a largely ''worshiping'' mindset, as in Christianity, that is what's often involved. But, stepping away from Christianity to see how others live and how they follow different beliefs, worship isn't always the end goal. The destination and maybe we never reach it because we're always learning...is Enlightenment. And I've been enlightened honestly, by Islam, Hinduism, Atheism (even though it's not a faith or belief, it still offers insight), Left Hand Path, Buddhism and Christianity. Not necessarily in that order lol but, you know what I mean?
     
  10. Laika

    Laika Enemy of the People
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    Yes. you're absolutely fine to do that and you could look into Omnism as sort of starting point. Alot of what I've said below is based on my own experiences and I have found that drawing on other ideas (such as Atheistic Satanism, Ayn Rands Objectivism, etc) has enriched my own understanding. There is a kind of tension between finding out what is useful and what is self-consistent. Too much of either is a problem because it becomes too flexible or too rigid. So its worth being wary of keeping the balance right based on what helps you to thrive and fulfils you as a person.

    It will probably rest on a series of unwritten assumptions about the value of individual belief, the capacity for choice, subjective preference for one belief over another and rejecting "totalizing" worldviews that claim a monopoly on truth. All of these views are very common and are hidden in plain sight as part of prevailing traditions of free thought and liberal understanding of religion as a private and individual belief rather than a public/collective one based on a central authority, orthodoxy and doctrine. At the most abstract level, it will be harder to have a level of internal consistency without dealing with conflicting philosophical and theological assumptions.

    Certain beliefs and practices may rely on a kind of "purity" based on self-consistency and dedication, such as understanding the philosophy beyond Buddhist Meditation as a practice. that could limit the depth of religious experience and the "search" becomes an end in itself rather than trying to find a spiritual destination. In practice there is nothing actually wrong with that if its what works for you, but it is something to keep in mind in case the conception of "choice" becomes a kind of prison in which we chose to have more of everything rather than focus on something that we believe is good. If you're looking for a sort of "compass" to guide you through life, its more likely you'll be drawn to one path over another as putting one foot in front of another demands a certain logic to it. there can be such a thing as too much choice and it can get to a point where you feel lost and confused and you just need to "settle" with one for a bit of stability. It may depend on the person though and how you weigh up risks (and how your beliefs change your perception of risk).

    However every major religion had to start with what was available in the social environment and draw on existing traditions even as it created something new, so there's no reason not to explore, learn and take advantage of the range of possibilities on offer. Very often considering and weighing up new, strange and unfamiliar ideas will produce much deeper insights about ourselves, who we are and where we come from and show possibilities we weren't even aware of. Have fun and be creative basically. :)
     
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  11. Deidre

    Deidre اتبع القلب

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    As always @Laika - your post is awesome. You bring up extremely good points, and I'm clearly not alone whatsoever in my thinking. It's been five years roughly since initially leaving Christianity the first time, then identifying as an atheist, then exploring other ideas/religions, then returning to Christianity, and then departing once again, to make me realize that the issue really isn't any one religion, per se. It's that no one religion holds all truth, and no one religion holds all lies. I think that's the closest to the read Truth that I can get for myself, and finding a Truth is important for me. I lean towards atheism from a deity aspect, but at the same time, I view Jesus as potentially be ''The One.'' I have never abandoned that thinking, but never thought I could find truth in Christianity and also at the same time, in other faiths. I always felt like I was betraying one faith over another. I once thought of no other faith besides Christianity, but that was because I never took my blinders off. It's scary to take them off, but also enlightening. Thanks for your insights!
     
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  12. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Active Member

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    Heck yeah. Check out supportedbythebible.wordpress.com. The site's motto is "The Bible stands behind you, no matter what."
     
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  13. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    Isn't everyone doing that already?

    You might want to research Bahai.
     
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  14. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    Of course. I prefer to only adapt ideas that work(and abandon those that don't). Looking at different viewpoints helps develop ethics, having a look at new or different views can help with that. I don't care too much what the source is, or if my understanding is the same as the source.
     
  15. Carlita

    Carlita Blessings from Buddha Vajrasattva of purification

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    Yeah. I haven't been through Islam, Hinduism, and Left hand Path and never thought atheism can give me insight, really. Probably because I was never raised in any religion to see how lack of something can give benefits if you haven't had something to begin with. If that makes sense?

    I honestly think Islam and Christianity would be your biggest challenges Hinduism and Buddhism are highly cultural; so, if going back to one or the other, I'd talk with a guru or monk. On September 3rd, I'll be taking Bodhisattva vows. Hopefully, the monk I met, will help me along the way since I'm only ten minutes away-well, by car. I can go to the Dhamma talks and learn how to meditate correctly.

    Anyway, I wouldn't know how to cherry pick all of those faiths you mentioned if you're going to worship. Islam sees Jesus as a prophet and worthy of respect; so, unless you see jesus as god, either of the two (rather than both) don't sound like an issue. Least with Islam, they respect Jesus. Christianity doesn't respect Muhammad. Hinduism and Buddhism are almost opponents of each other. If you're pulled to abrahamic religions, you can still learn from both of them but I wouldn't (in my opinion) incorporate any cultural forms of worship. Meditation can be for any religion. Bowing and offering flowers, not so much.

    I guess it's kinda tricky. It depends on your morals and how flexible you are. That, and it depends on if you're flying solo or would you rather work in a community. I was told Hinduism is solo flying religion. Islam and Christianity not so much. Buddhism varies by sect.

    Anyway, what pulled you away from each of these religions? They all have their challenging points but if you're devoted to one, you'll find ways and motivations to overcome that-unless there is something there that's not quite for you?
     
  16. Laika

    Laika Enemy of the People
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    well, I am awesome. lol. :D

    If it was me, the thing that would stick out is the possibility that I'm making some kind of "moral" judgement about being "right" and "wrong". I have found that, even with my very limited exposure to Christianity, I did have a really authoritarian conception of "truth" as being "right" that goes back to "god says so". It really shocked me as it would date back to when I was at primary school and had never challenged it for all this time. the influence was there though.

    reality doesn't fit into black and white, so you can have something that is true in part and wrong in part. its not an absolute distinction. I didn't realise it was even an issue until a couple of months ago but I just hit a limit on what I could do. It was like banging my head against a wall because I had never realised it was even there. it was just something I'd always taken for granted and not questioned. It could be your having exactly the same issue in that I got caught up in black and white thinking without even realising it. these may be things that eastern religions like Buddhism don't have such issues with because they are better at spotting the illusion of knowledge.

    e.g. the world is round but the idea of the earth being flat makes sense to a person within a given level of knowledge about the world. you can see the horizon is clearly "flat"(ish) and if you couldn't travel very far, its easy to see why you'd think the world is flat which is why hunter gatherer societies would think that way. it takes quite a hefy bit of abstract reasoning to imagine beyond our own immediate experiences and this can make everything complicated. "bad" ideas usually aren't that bad if you look into them and it makes everything very complicated and confusing when you have so many "things" competing for you attention.

    A lot of what we accept is depended on how we reason rather than just a question of evidence. So the issues you're facing about reconciling atheism and Christianity, and the idea of a "one true faith" could be connect with that. its not so easy to say an idea is stupid, crazy or insane and there is a certain cruelty in it. When we do it to ourselves and say "that's a stupid idea" or "that can't be right" it can get in the way of the creative and imaginative process. there is a certain brutality in thinking in absolutes that can be very harmful.

    Maybe try Jesusism or Christian Atheism? It could be that you are evolving between beliefs and are trying to take what was good out of being a Christian and run it. I'm not saying you would *have* to chose because I don't think its that simple. It could for example be an idea to look into some secular or atheist histories of Christianity or biographies of Jesus and see what carries over from one to the other. There is nothing wrong with that as the "truth" stays true, no matter who says it or where it comes from. It would be wrong to try to get rid of "everything" and start over when you can have something that works maybe half the time. Its better to stay true to you as a belief is only a means to guide us and not an end in itself. So its not betraying your faith to want to find something that helps you live a better life. God is love, right? :)
     
  17. Sha'irullah

    Sha'irullah No longer here

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    So is it possible to do what I do all day?

    Sure it is, just look at me and see how much a normal human being I am :D.

    ^
    |
    |
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    "Deep down he knows he is sick, but he can never admit it as his very soul screams in pain for him to be free of his cherry picking ways."

    :neutral:
     
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  18. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Well-Known Member
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    The problem with cherry picking is that it can be an egocentric search like trying on shoes until one finds the shoes that fit.

    I find the ancient religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam interesting and important in understanding the the view of God and Revelation at the time they were written, and can see all the religions revealing of the progressive nature of human spiritual evolution. In this consideration I found Judaism, Christianity, and Islam most problematic because of their egocentric view of considering their religions complete as the fathers of their religion believed and no further revelation is allowed, negating the spiritual value of the rest of the world, and future revelations. Found Buddhism and Vedic traditions more open but still ground in their culture, and ancient views of God that do not acknowledge other religions other than tolerance. For many years I was attracted to non-temple Buddhism through a life of studying the Arts of the Way (Martial Arts), but insufficient. I still remain a student of the Oriental Arts.

    My conclusion was the religions of the world could possibly reflect the natural evolution human spirituality without God nor Revelation as in the humanist view of the Unitarian Universalist, the religion of humanist cherry-picking.

    At present, even though everything remains in pencil, I am a Theist and believe in the Baha'i Faith, because the Baha'i Faith does believe in the universal spiritual evolution of humanity through the progressive Revelation from God in all religions. The differences in the religions reflect the time they were Revealed, the culture and fact the beliefs and doctrines reflect a human view of the time of the Revelation.
     
    #18 shunyadragon, Aug 13, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
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  19. The Holy Bottom Burp

    The Holy Bottom Burp Active Member
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    How dare you stray from the strict atheist path! You disgrace Our Lord Richard Dawkins, and the blessed Lawrence Krauss (who sits at his right hand, none of this "left handed" nonsense please). Eternal punishment awaits you...well hold on I'm an atheist, so you'll have to stand on the naughty step for a while...maybe Richard and Lawrence will throw some science books at you that you'll have to dodge. How do you like that apostate?

    Seriously, the bigger question your post asks is the direction of religion in the First World in the future. Does it become an amalgam of beliefs taken from many faiths to act as a lifestyle accessory? Something to help us through this "veil of tears"? If so, good I say, as long as people understand this stuff isn't worth dying for, and certainly not worth killing for. I'd like to think that is the way things are going, but I suspect that would be overly optimistic. To answer your question, of course it is okay to cherry pick, I'd say there isn't an organised religion in the world that doesn't do so. If I could replace every fundamentalist with someone who thinks like you, I'd do so in the blink of an eye.;)
     
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  20. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    More than possible, it may well be unavoidable.

    IMO, that is a core part of the very idea of Dharma.
     
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