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"Religion is for people who don't want to go to hell....."

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by SageTree, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    "Religion is for people who don't want to go to hell, and Spirituality is for people who have been there."

    What are your thoughts on this quote from a speaker I heard talking today?

    I won't tell much about the speakers view, tradition etc....
    I don't feel it's really important to the question.

    So... there it is.


    -SageTree
     
  2. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Disagree with the first part, and partly agree with the second part. But the moral of the idea has not escaped me.
    The aspects of religion that I adopt are usually unrelated to fear of hell, but are related to peoplehood, brotherhood, respect, determination, courage, or intimacy with nature.
    As for spirituality, I can see how genuine spirituality can emerge from crisis or suffering, but I see it far from fatalistic spirituality. I see spirituality to be related to the first part of my post. Courage or brotherhood in the face of crisis for example.
    With that being said, I recognize the concept in world spirituality in which people who faced with life's suffering have decided to leave vain pursuits and return to God.
    It reminds me of a lot of what historical Sufis have said in their poetry. For example Rumi:

    Come settle with me, let us be neighbors to the stars.
    You have been hiding so long, endlessly drifting in the sea of my love.
    Even so, you have always been connected to me.
    Concealed, revealed, in the unknown, in the un-manifest.
    I am life itself. You have been a prisoner of a little pond,
    I am the ocean and its turbulent flood. Come merge with me,
    leave this world of ignorance. Be with me, I will open the gate to your love.
     
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  3. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    For those who have bought into the idea of hell, anyway. It's no secret that without the threat of hell Christianity would have a tough go of it. Got to give people a better reason to buy your product and not that of the guy in the next booth.

    Just empty rhetoric to round out the thought.
     
    #3 Skwim, Dec 7, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  4. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    I enjoyed reading what you said.... I'd say for myself I'm not as black and white as the quote would lay out... although the moral is easy to understand in the dichotomy.

    PS. Any post with a Rumi quote wins for sure.
    I have a strong bias for his Way.

    IDK if I quite agree that Christianity would be bankrupt, but I understand the sentiment you are expressing, And there is truth to what you are saying.




    What I take from this quote is that we ought to be more engaged in our life, through gratitude for each moment and day.... not because of our fear/obsession with death.
     
  5. Sir Doom

    Sir Doom Cooler than most of you

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    I think he's thought of a clever turn of phrase and nothing more. Just because it sounds pithy doesn't make it true. And in this case its completely false, in my opinion.

    The first part is a common misconception that a lot of people have about the idea of Hell. I don't really think anyone over the age of 10 or so goes to church because they are scared of Hell. Hell is a security blanket just like Heaven is. The idea is justice for the 'wicked'. Believers don't consider themselves in danger of going to Hell. How could they be scared of it? But they sure think some other people are going, don't they? It's a weapon and a shield.

    The last part is clearly just fanciful nonsense. An attempt at aggrandizing spirituality, in my opinion. If I were to guess, I'd say the speaker considers themselves spiritual as opposed to religious. I could be wrong, there isn't much to go on. But that's my guess. I'll even go so far as to say this is probably the first example of dogmatic spiritualism I've seen. Oh the irony...
     
  6. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    The man who shared this was actually sharing a quote from a Nun in the Roman Catholic tradition.
    But like I said.... about the person who shared it with me.... I'll let it rest.
     
  7. Falvlun

    Falvlun Earthbending Lemur
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    While I agree with most of your points in regards to the quote, I did want to comment on this part.

    While I don't think fear of Hell really convinces many people to adopt a particular religion, it is something used to prevent people from leaving a religion. You're right: believers have no need to fear hell. But what if your faith is wavering? What if you're thinking about leaving? Then hell becomes something to consider. Are you willing to risk it? Believe me, this is a tough one, from someone who lived through it.
     
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  8. Sir Doom

    Sir Doom Cooler than most of you

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    Definitely a valid point that I didn't consider. I suppose fear plays more of a role than I suggested. When I went through a similar experience, though I think I feared the detachment from the community that I knew was certain to happen much more than I feared Hell. I transitioned out of Christian ideology pretty quickly, though.
     
  9. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    I am not sure I agree on any account, but maybe I completely agree on both :D

    What I mean is that none of us want to go to hell, but all of us have been there already.

    I consider myself spiritual, but I havent been inhell by anything to major. None of my parents have died nor anything similar. I do have lived stressful situations in my life like a lot of people but I doubt I have lived a lot of uggliness. Still, hitting your big thumb is a wibble glimpse of hell, or simply feeling sad, or angry or similar. In that sense, I have experienced hell but would also not like to return.

    So yeah religion is for those who dont want to go to hell, because religion is for anyone who grabbs it and we all dont want to go to hell. (with some enlightened exceptions :D)
     
  10. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    I think one can look at this literally....
    Or it can also been seen in essence.

    I feel there is a meaning hiding behind the words.
     
  11. ChristineES

    ChristineES Tiggerism
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    Just because some people believe that religious people follow their choice of faith because of fear (of hell, etc) doesn't mean it is true. But this is a part of free speech- people can believe whatever they want, even if, to me, it is totally false for most people. Besides, I am sure there are those who force themselves to believe in a faith just because of fear- I just believe that most do not.
     
  12. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    You probably mean that it says religion is for people who are too afriad of making mistakes and spirituality for those who realise that they will make mistakes and have done it already, so now they can only aim to learn from them to become better.

    I assume:D

    Although with that interpretation I would say being both religious and spiritual would still be an option
     
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  13. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    This is among the poorest distinctions between religion and spirituality that I have seen. Granted I disagree with making a distinction between them in the first place, but at least some of the distinctions have their logic to them. This one has none.
     
  14. FunctionalAtheist

    FunctionalAtheist Hammer of Reason

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    Religion is for people who like to imagine other people in hell. Is that statement to broad?
     
  15. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Yes.

    For pretty much the same reasons why the quote in the OP has problems.
     
  16. SageTree

    SageTree Spiritual Friend
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    This is more what I took from it myself.
     
  17. Ingledsva

    Ingledsva HEATHEN ALASKAN

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    I think Spirituality is the natural flow available to all - and religions are man made dams impeding it.
     
  18. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    I don't generally support distinctions between religion and spirituality; I don't think such distinctions are overall useful or constructive. To the extent that I may sometimes agree with them, I would rather have the relevant points presented in less ambiguous language.

    That said, to the best of my understanding the actual meaning here (I am not implying sarcasm or falsehood from the speaker's part; I only wish he used better wording) is somewhere in the vicinity of "fear can and does often motivate people into participating of religious activities, but that is not really a valid motivation. There is such a thing as valid religious practice, but it is not defined by strict obedience to some dogmatic institution, particularly when that obedience comes from fear of punishment."

    If I understood the meaning correctly, then I fully agree with it, even as I lament that the wording was so unfortunate.
     
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  19. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    No, it doesn't. But plenty of people who had no reason to lie about it (and significant reason to refuse from admitting so) told me personally that fear of hell played a significantly role in their religious life, so it comes down to whether or not I believe their own words on the matter.

    True, at least one such case ended up with the fortunate person leaving his religion for another one (one that lacks such a concept of Hell), but I don't think that invalidates the point.

    There is other evidence too - the Chick tracts, for one, and the Left Behind books as well. It is IMO telling that not much in the way of clear rejection of those caricatures came about. I know for a fact that many, many Christians refuse to support such fearmongering (as well they should). I am far less certain that the fearmongering is actually unwanted.

    Come to think of it, there are to this day people wanting to present variations of Pascal's Wager as a reason to believe in God. I believe there are even some priests of some faith or another among them. That is a shame, since ultimately Pascal's Wager is basically a mixture of the fear-of-hell argument with an invitation to try and play con man to God.



    Oh, I see that you realize that they do exist then.

    Sometimes I wonder when/if/how people will organize to no longer accept fear-based coercion in their own Churches. It will be a heartwarming day.
     
  20. chinu

    chinu Passenger

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    I don't know what the speaker wan't to say, but according to me..

    "Religion is for people who don't want to go to hell.. because they are already living in hell, and Spirituality is for people who have been there (means hell)." :)
     
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