1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Things people say about religion that don't apply to yours

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Quintessence, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Messages:
    21,261
    Ratings:
    +15,406
    Religion:
    Druidry
    Religion is one of those odd words that is written in the singular even though in most contexts it refers to something plural. Talking about religion without an "s" on the end conveys the illusion of it being a homogenous or singular entity, even though it isn't. As a result, people say all sorts of things about religion that don't apply to yours. Perhaps these embarrassing generalizations could be avoided if we switched our grammatical convention to speaking of religions (plural) to emphasize in our brains that we're referencing something heterogenous, but I won't hold my breath on that one.

    What are some things that you've heard people say about religion that simply do not apply to yours? I'll start with an example.

    Religion requires belief in the supernatural.

    Setting aside the problematic nature of that phrase "believe in" for the time being, it is often said that a critical element of religion is belief in the supernatural (which for our purposes we will take as meaning some sort of otherworldly force or power). Such is typically proposed by those who know next to nothing about religions (in a comparative sense). Any sufficient study in comparative religion will demonstrate that this is not the case, though in fairness, it is widely acknowledged in academic circles that this is frequently a distinguishing characteristic of religions.

    Within contemporary Paganism (or Neopaganism, to some), the term "supernatural" is typically rejected as an accurate way of describing various elements within our religions. I won't get into articulating the specifics of that here, but it's basically misleading to think about supernaturalism (as commonly understood) being a key component, and much less a requirement of, Neopagan religions. While some of us might disagree with their inclusion under the Neopagan umbrella, there are also contemporary Pagans who hold a naturalist or materialist perspective on our traditions. They might view the gods as allegorical constructs rather than otherworldly entities. They tend to not practice things like spellcraft, or if they do, they understand it as manipulating the human psyche through perfectly explainable methods.

    In conclusion, we want to be careful about saying religion requires belief in the supernatural. It's an element of some, but hardly all, religions. We may also want to better articulate what we mean when we say things like "believe in" and "supernatural."
     
    #1 Quintessence, Sep 30, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
    • Like Like x 6
  2. Sees

    Sees Dragonslayer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2013
    Messages:
    4,730
    Ratings:
    +2,833
    Religion:
    Ásatrú - Path of Heroes™
    The priority of belief or a mandated unity in belief touches on several. Popular view is that to belong to a religion or to be religious means acceptance of a list of solidified, stagnant truth-claims - deemed universally and eternally...The Truth.

    I would also say people associate dictation of dietary restrictions, sexual preference, and grooming/clothing habits among others which pagan folks in general tend to view as personal and cultural nature/preference/choice.

    A big one is viewing mankind and/or our world as having a sinful, fallen, illusory, or insufferable state or nature...and on that note that we would like you to join us so you too can escape or have access to a blissful afterlife.

    These are basically hitting on the various exclusivity, negativity, deprivation, and submission to uniformity stereotypes a great many generally think of as inherent to religion.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    20,540
    Ratings:
    +6,893
    Religion:
    Modern Animist
    One of the things that many followers of the Judeo-Christian traditions assume is that, as an animist, the spirits I "believe in" and interact with are demons misleading me from the truth. Or sometimes, well, rarely, they are assumed to be angels. They impose their map of the territory onto my map of the territory.
     
  4. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    26,350
    Ratings:
    +3,285
    Religion:
    Anglo-Saxon(esque) Heathenry
    Religions all have holy books, i.e., "Bibles", that are to be followed without question!

    Except the hundreds that don't, including my own. lol
     
    • Like Like x 4
  5. popsthebuilder

    popsthebuilder Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    293
    Ratings:
    +26
    Most non religious people view religious people as hypocrites. This is not the sole case though very few are not hypocrites those same few are the truly faithful.
     
  6. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Messages:
    21,261
    Ratings:
    +15,406
    Religion:
    Druidry
    I don't know one human who isn't a hypocrite. Hypocrisy is part of the growth process. You're holding to an ideal, but in the process of adjusting your behavior to be in keeping with it. It's also always a work in progress; not a single one of us perfectly lives up to our own ideals. Calling a human a "hypocrite" is tantamount to saying "how dare you not be perfect all the time!" :D
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,561
    Ratings:
    +546
    Religion:
    Buddhism
    Hm...

    1. Religion requires belief in a god
    2. Religion requires belief in an afterlife of reward for actions
    3. Religion requires strict adherence to a scripture or code of conduct
    4. Religion requires formal meetings/ceremonies/prayers/rituals
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    20,731
    Ratings:
    +8,805
    Religion:
    śrī kṛṣṇasya sevāyām - “In Lord Krishna’s service”
    Not so much saying, but assuming that ours is world-rejecting, rather than world-accepting or world-affirming. We're not focused on any kind of soteriology. We live in the here and now and accept being part of the world, and not trying to get out of it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Akivah

    Akivah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2013
    Messages:
    3,666
    Ratings:
    +1,795
    Religion:
    Judaism
    Whenever people look at ink splots, road markings, clouds, or anything else and see a picture of their god in them. That isn't done in Judaism.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Kodanshi

    Kodanshi StygnosticA

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Messages:
    393
    Ratings:
    +63
    Religion:
    None
    What's your religion? Majora?
     
  11. dust1n

    dust1n Zindīq

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Messages:
    20,433
    Ratings:
    +4,740
    Religion:
    Post-Anarchism Austin, TX
    Heh, first thing in my mind:

     
  12. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Messages:
    21,261
    Ratings:
    +15,406
    Religion:
    Druidry
    Let's write another one...

    Religion involves accepting a scripture.

    In dialogues about religion, your typical Westerner considers scripture to be a defining element. This is because the most well-known religions in the West have scriptures. What's important to remember is that the manner in which religious writing is regarded varies from religion to religion, even within the Abrahamic religions. With respect to contemporary Paganisms, it is probably inaccurate to refer to our religious writings as "scripture" because we simply don't regard written works as they sometimes are within Abrahamic religions. We Pagans love our books, but it's not a scenario where we accept some singular book as a main authority for building our religious traditions, much less accept such a thing uncritically. What we tend to do is draw inspiration form a wide variety of written sources, whether they are regarded as "sacred texts" or not.

    Closest thing I have to a "scripture" is the printed portion of my Book of Shadows. It's essentially a manual of practice, that contains various elements of the philosophy, theology, and rituals of my tradition. But it's "scripture" in a very loose sense of the term. Most files in there I've re-written at least once, some four or five times, and they'll keep getting revised as my tradition evolves through my lifetime. I'm too much a devotee of the Spirit of Learning and the Spirit of Imagination to let something stay stagnant and fossilized. There are always new things to learn, new ways to creatively express how the meaning of life plays out before your eyes. :D
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    26,350
    Ratings:
    +3,285
    Religion:
    Anglo-Saxon(esque) Heathenry
    LOL No. It's just one of my favorites. Certain themes of the game do inform my spirituality, however, because I don't limit myself in terms of what can or can't inspire me.

    Like it says on the side of my posts, I'm a Heathen. That is, I follow a modern rendition of Germanic (in my particular case, Anglo-Saxon) pre-Christian tradition. The term "Frowanman" is kind of an estimated "Anglic" rendition of what might be more familiarly termed "Freyaman", referring to the fact that I am drawn to Freya most of all the Gods. ("Frowe" is the Old English word for Old Norse "Freyja", both of which mean "Lady").
     
  14. David1967

    David1967 Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Messages:
    8,844
    Ratings:
    +6,933
    Religion:
    Christian
    What, You never found an Image of the virgin Mary on your burnt toast?
     
  15. Tomorrows_Child

    Tomorrows_Child Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2015
    Messages:
    740
    Ratings:
    +197
    Religion:
    Islam
    Well, as a Muslim, I've heard many atheists, in particular popular names like Dawkin, Krauss or even Gervais, who claim religion (all religion) is not compatible with science and has held back medicine and discovery and physics and chemistry and so on and so forth. That's just not true of Islam, as a religion, it's Holy Book, it's Prophet (PBUH) and leading figures as well as the history of it's civilisation.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    26,350
    Ratings:
    +3,285
    Religion:
    Anglo-Saxon(esque) Heathenry
    Those people seem totally unaware, I´d bet even willingly so, that the Islamic world during its golden age basically invented half of modern mathematics, contributed immensely to astronomy, saved many old texts that might otherwise have been lost, and... basically lay the groundwork for what would develop into many of the modern sciences.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Tomorrows_Child

    Tomorrows_Child Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2015
    Messages:
    740
    Ratings:
    +197
    Religion:
    Islam
    Well, you're obviously well informed but you would be surprised how many people, sadly a majority, are not. Maybe a lot of it had to do with the fact that it's not fashionable to say something positive about Islam. I'll give you an example, in my first year in medicine, we had a lecturer (not a Muslim) and at one stage in his lecture, he spoke about the age of Muslim medicine and how the great physicians of the time advanced and enhanced the pretty barbaric medical techniques of pre-Islamic times. He then went on to say that he wished the golden age of Islam would return. You would not believe the gasp that ran through the lecture theater when he said it. A few people even scoffed.

    I go to the Queen Mary University of London, at the Barts and the London schoold of medicine and dentistry. On my course, there's probably 40% of the total number of students who are muslim and this university is slap bang in the middle of London, supposedly one of the world's most multicultural and tolerant cities and even here, it was damn controversial to say something positive about Islam. So that's a major issue. No one wants to say good things about Islam because it's scary lol
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. rocala

    rocala Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    Messages:
    721
    Ratings:
    +575
    Religion:
    Buddhism / Druidry
    It is not so much as anything said, but when I meet people of different opinions and listen patiently and politely to their point of view and then dignify it with a reasoned reply. They just give each other that smug 'I have nothing else to learn' smile. That makes me itch for the tear gas.
     
  19. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    26,350
    Ratings:
    +3,285
    Religion:
    Anglo-Saxon(esque) Heathenry
    Well, I happen to agree with him. :)

    I´ll say something else nice. While we were busy trying to pick up the pieces after West Rome´s fall while simultaneously killing each other over petty disputes, Muslims in West Asia (I´ve been training myself to call the Middle East by that name since it´s more geographically accurate), were establishing a relatively unified and egalitarian peace that, while certainly not perfect, seemed to mirror a lot of modern Western civilization. I admit that I don´t know to what extent this applied to North African Muslims, but I won´t turn that lack of knowledge into demonization.

    It´s almost as if our situations swapped, though I do admit I know almost nothing about the history of West Asia.

    Indeed. As a Heathen (Germanic polytheist), I sympathize. The media has a powerful effect on how we view the world, so when the only times they mention Islam at all are when it involves terrorists, or when polytheists are only ever brought up in Satanic contexts... kinda hard to blame people for not understanding.
     
Loading...