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Subject: Persona 3: FES
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Date: 3rd October 2014 Time: 16:00 EST
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Author Topic: Religion  (Read 2594 times)
Yoda
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« on: November 13, 2013, 12:13:34 PM »

I don't want to get into serious discussion of personal beliefs and I'm certainly hoping nobody attacks the beliefs of fellow RPGfanners here but I was just curious most of what others believe in.

I was raised as a Roman Catholic, very loosely so. We went to Mass on Sundays and religious holidays. We followed some of the odd rules like no meat on Friday. I went to a Catholic grade school until the 4th grade. We moved to the 'burbs from the city and I went to public school. At that time I did (forced) religious education classes for a time and was Confirmed. Up until that time we still went to church regularly, but not as hardcore as when we lived in the city.

In middle and high school I stopped everything but considered myself a "Christian" I guess. It wasn't until my mid 20s I started labeling myself as an agnostic.
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Dice
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 12:37:54 PM »

I was born Catholic and pretty much share the same experience as Yodes -- I got less and less interested in the way Religion works, how it's structured, and sometimes what it drives people to do (or not do on sometimes very arbitrary grounds).  I still respect it a ton and I think it's made some beautiful buildings and inspired some fantastic artwork around the world (and to no specific religion).  I do like how peaceful they can be (but extremists take the messages too far that it becomes unappealing; I'm definitely looking at "God warriors" or any sort of "honor killing" -- but I feel these cases are over-exaggerated and represent a minority).  Otherwise, for the most part, I can respect religion, and I think it can do wonderful things; at the very least it creates one of many forms of community for people to share.  But I don't really consider myself anything (except maybe Roman Orthodox but in the loosest, possible interpretation of that [read below]).

I believe in a god, but I don't think it's a Christian or any religion-specific god.  I think there's a lot out there we can't get at or really understand, but I'd like to think there's more to what we just see everyday.  Shakespeare said it for me I think... "There are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy".  That's non-specific enough and keeps my mind open.

Other than that, I'm a "C&E" type of Catholic, I join my dad at "Christmas & Easter" for mass (I like the old guy, I keep him company and it matters to him), and I pray when we do a big family get together; but I'm not devout, nor do I really care, nor do I think YOU'RE IMMORTAL SOUL WILL BE DAMNED DAMNED DAMNED TO HELL for doing too many bad things. 

However!
I do hope something happens when we die.  I don't think it's white puffy clouds and angels playing harps; but I hope on a more selfish ground:  I don't want to think my consciousness was for nothing other than to turn to oblivion in the end.  I hope there's something else after just to know "I" don't actually fade away.  That'd make me blue. :(

EDIT: I don't doubt this topic is still playing with fire; but I think/hope we can be good about it.

EDIT/PS: I won't poo-poo people's religion....unless you're a Scientologist.  That's just.....augh
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 12:59:10 PM by Dice » Logged

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Yoda
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 01:15:47 PM »

I like to think that our consciousness changes dramatically after we die. Maybe there's a greater collective consciousness we all join but we lose our individuality for something different.

I'm not afraid of death, I don't look forward to it obviously, but sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night I wonder about it. I try and imagine what happens and it seems in that road lies madness.


I've been telling people that I believe that the universe exists because a greater being, a creator? The Maker?, died and that was the big bang.

In High School my friend and I made up a religion that all the universe was a great machine and we were all cogs working in it to some fashion. Some people were little cogs and parts while others were huge. The biggest cogs in our universal machine were: Arnold Schwarzenegger (deemed His Strenght), Dean Malenko (from the WWE, deemed His Justice), and Londo from Babylon 5 (deemed His Wisdom). That was some wild shit and yes I was pretty straight edge in HS. 
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Agent D.
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2013, 02:32:54 PM »

I was in catholic grade school from kindergarten right up to 8th grade. However, since I was little I had very little desire to practice religion nor did I believe in it strongly, mostly due to the way the other students treated me. I always assumed that if this were supposed to be how people were to act....how could it be that I was treated so terribly. It wasn't until my mom died that I really decided all religion was basically a sick joke. How could someone who asked for nothing from people and made so many people happy while herself be so miserable in life be given essentially a death sentence that tortured her til the day she finally died? No righteous entity would condemn someone with that, at least not someone like her. I went to mass for her funeral as it was the last coherent thing she asked me ( I told her I didn't wanna pay some shitty church to "celebrate" her life cuz they didn't give a fuck about it til money became involved, but she asked me to be there if anything to see her off,can't say no to that). After that, I completely gave up on religion. Don't wanna do things to help people because "God" says they'll get me into a better dirt filled hole when I die, I wanna do things that help others because it's just nice to help someone out.

I'm of the type now that says if you need something to believe in, then I believe you still have a chance to be happy in life. The world's pretty bitter when you get to my level of doubt, and no amount of good deeds makes it brighter...but I refuse to simply keel over and give up. I'll fight to see something really worth making me happy or die trying. I like to think of that as pessimism with a sunny disposition.
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2013, 04:25:52 PM »

I was brought up as a christian and went to Christianity classes in primary school.
In high school I took Christianity classes for the first 3 years then I told my mom that those classes sucked so I took moral classes instead for the other 2 years.

I'm baptized and I did my first communion but never went for the confirmation.

While growing up, I found that my own religion and others are highly unlikely.
I understand the message they try to pass and I have nothing against those (peace, love, help others)

So right now, I'll just live my life being a generally good person.
I don't see that changing unless we can find some actual proof that a religion or a god does exist.

If when I die I get condemned for my lack of faith to the one true religion, well, I'll tell them to F off.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 08:03:45 PM by Annubis » Logged
MeshGearFox
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2013, 07:45:57 PM »

I'm a brony.
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GrimReality
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 09:31:01 PM »

Raised Catholic by a devout mother, and a father who never went to church except Christmas and Easter.  Both sides of my extended family we're all pretty classically religious. I have 3 brothers, and we all had to go to church every Sunday, and went through CCD classes all the way through confirmation. I was even a freakin' altar boy.
I started doubting it all maybe around 17 or 18. Might have coincided with my mothers first Ovarian cancer diagnosis. Not sure. I was pretty much one of the "nons" up until around my mid twenties. I wasn't religious, but didn't call myself an atheist yet. I got into big trouble with my family for not wanting a traditional church wedding. My wife and I basically eloped to Gatlinburg to get married, thoroughly pissing off everyone even more. It took a lot of soothing to get through that.
My mother died of her cancer while Nan and I were off getting married. Not a thing to come home to, huh?
Anyway, this type of stuff is what really hit the trigger in me and got me thinking a LOT. I started reading, researching, really thinking about what I did and didn't believe in. I finally decided I was an Atheist, and that you don't need religion to be moral or a good person. It's often the complete opposite, really. Read the whole bible and you'll see what I mean.
Most of the time I get along perfectly well with religious folk. I have to. Most of my family still is, and I work for a Christian company. They pray and do their thing, and I just stay respectfully silent, It's when they(as in the overall they) try and force their beliefs onto others when I become pissed off. Mostly in the political spectrum, but also into schools and such. Keep that non-scientific, evidence free, nonsense out of my kids school, please.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 11:29:57 PM by GrimReality » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 09:37:34 PM »

Ugh, why'd you guys have to talk about after death? Serious phobia of mine, like I get insomnia whenever I start thinking about stuff like that.

Anyway, I was juggled around to about three religions as a kid, so suffice it to say none of them stuck. I do, however, believe in a higher power. I'm also a fatalist. Maybe we're not guided to some divine destiny, but certainly our life plays out the way it is meant to play out.

I won't confuse anyone by trying to explain my thoughts on free will to any detailed extent, but basically I believe we can't escape the experiences and biology that shape our thoughts and decisions.

I guess my life's principles are guided more on my own personal philosophies than anything that could be considered religion.
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GrimReality
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2013, 11:42:45 PM »

Oh, and I'm terrified of death. Because I am 99.99% sure that there is nothing after death. The idea of simply not "being" anymore totally freaks me out. I get serious anxiety issues when I allow myself to start thinking about it all.
Sometimes I actually kind of wish all the religion stuff WAS true. If only to explain away so many things. And to have an afterlife of some sort. Would I really go to hell for questioning? What kind of just god would do that? Seems odd to me.
BTW, another problem in my religious evolution(like that?) was that right after my mom died my dad suddenly became religious. He started going to church and even ragging on my brothers and I about not going/not believing. It was really weird. He goes all those years seemingly not caring about it at all, then suddenly is all about it. I think it was partially a guilt thing, as my father never forgave himself for cheating on her. It's like he wanted to spend eternity making it up to her. Kind of creepy. In case you all don't remember, he died a couple years ago in a car accident.
Wow, I'm spilling too much here. Time to go read.
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2013, 01:28:03 AM »

Grim, when I was 18, I moved away from my Mormon family for a summer job.  There were plenty of other Mormons around, but it was the first time I had really been away from Utah culture.  One of my close friends was atheist, which I imagine was pretty mindblowing for me at the time.  He had a philosophy on life and what comes after that has stayed with me ever since.

He said that when you die, what's left of you is what people remember of you.  The impact that you've had on their lives.  The goodness you've brought into the world.  So live your life so that your legacy's a good one.  If you do, you've done all you can, and you can go on to whatever does or doesn't come after this world feeling good.

Of course, something that probably helps me like this philosophy is the fact that Mormon doctrine says that no matter where you end up after this life, it'll be better than here.  (There is a place for certain awful people that's less "lake of fire" and more "total oblivion," but the entry requirements are so restrictive that there's essentially zero chance that anyone reading this will end up there.)  Honestly, I'm not that stoked about the idea of being anywhere or doing anything for an eternity anyway, so at this point in time, I wouldn't mind if this life is all there is.  I mean... forever?  That's a long freaking time.  Longer than any of us are mentally capable of conceiving of.
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2013, 04:04:49 AM »

Both my parents identify with as Protestants, but I can't say religion was ever forced upon me. I was only ever taken to church if there was an event like a christening, which me or my sister haven't even had.

I really enjoyed learning about the bible though, I voluntarily joined the "scripture union" (bible study) in both primary and secondary school. I never thought about God much, but I liked Jesus and as a lonely kid with no friends and a shitty home life, the thought of there always being someone that loved you was comforting. So yeah, I guess I was more religious than my parents when I was younger.

When I started to realise I was gay and started coming out to friends, the illuision was somewhat shattered when the scripture union stopped considering me part of the family and then made it their mission to save me. The teacher who lead the club Mr. Ingles made a lot of my already turbulent high school life hell by singling me out a lot and taking me out of class to have impromptu pep talks. It didn't help that he was also my guidance counselor, so I pretty much had nowhere to go.

I guess the betrayal I felt of my safe zone turning against me made me think a lot harder about organized religion. I had never truly, properly thought about I was believing because everyone around you would affirm those beliefs as the truth.

Nowadays I'm not religious. I don't believe in the supernatural, or an eternally present friend. Not because I hold any bitterness towards religion, perhaps when I was younger, but not now. Religion was just a convenient belief for me as a child when I felt like I had nobody, but now I've outgrown it.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 04:09:18 AM by Starmongoose » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2013, 08:15:17 AM »

Quick run down for me. I was raised as a Lutheran and went to a religious school at my church from Pre-K to 8th grade. Sometime during high school my religious beliefs shifted to include polytheistic/animist elements. As time has gone past, my religious beliefs have sort of shifted to being a combination of "I don't know," and "Everyone is right....kinda." Basically I believe that every religion is viewing a portion of the same thing focusing on things that make the most sense to them, but there is a larger picture that no one is fully capable of understanding, but that it is still our duty to try and reach a full understanding of it by coming to understand all views of it and reaching our own conclusions. I would give the answers as I currently understand them, but I should be getting to work and I want to touch on one topic brought up here....

The afterlife. Wow this is a touchy subject for me because there is no "good" answer. Heaven/eternal life? Most bring concept ever. Hell? At least it should in theory be less boring than eternal unchanging perfectness. Joining a collective consciousness? This to me is hell, I like my sense of self. Reincarnation? See liking my sense of self. Nothingness? See liking sense of self. What I would hope for is a changing afterlife where I still maintain who I am. Closest thing I can think of is Valhalla with its constant battles (which could be really fun if the Astral Plane is real and is where the afterlife is) and dying/rebirth. Doesn't feel right to me unfortunatly. Needless to say I'm not in any rush to find out the truth of the afterlife.
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GrimReality
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 10:02:43 AM »

Grim, when I was 18, I moved away from my Mormon family for a summer job.  There were plenty of other Mormons around, but it was the first time I had really been away from Utah culture.  One of my close friends was atheist, which I imagine was pretty mindblowing for me at the time.  He had a philosophy on life and what comes after that has stayed with me ever since.

He said that when you die, what's left of you is what people remember of you.  The impact that you've had on their lives.  The goodness you've brought into the world.  So live your life so that your legacy's a good one.  If you do, you've done all you can, and you can go on to whatever does or doesn't come after this world feeling good.


I actually have a very similar view. Basically, the only way to be "immortal" or live on after death, is to kick ass in this life. To make a difference somehow. Whether that's for other people, or for the earth itself. It's part of the reason I'm so vocal about nature-related issues. I have a lifetime of experience and knowledge in the horticultural field, and enjoy sharing it with others. I just wish more people paid attention. It's part of the reason I got into the Master Gardener program, because it allows me to get out there in front of people and talk about these things.
Of course, I will live on in a way through my son, which makes me want to be the best Dad I can be. I honestly think I've done a pretty good job so far.

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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2013, 10:23:56 AM »

I don't really have a religion story. I am an atheist brought up by atheists brought up by atheists. I have a couple of relatives who became religious later in life or who married in, but religion has never been much of a factor in my family.

My parents did want their children to have a choice, so they asked religious friends to take my sister and I to some congregations so we could make up our own minds. However, when you're young, deaf and bored sitting for several hours on hard uncomfortable pews while some person droned on unintelligibly, one is not going to have a positive impression of a religion :p My sister could hear and wasn't interested either.

After death? It would be nice if there was something more, but I have a hard time believing that there would be. It doesn't really fit in my "scientific" worldview... I have a hard time believing something without some proof. And I have not seen anything that makes me believe otherwise.

Sometimes you see people condemn atheists for not being moral since we don't have a religion to teach one from right and wrong. I disagree. One can be raised to be moralistic without the benefit of the threat of punishment in the hereafter. One can desire to enhance the world, community and be a positive influence on others just because it feels like the right thing to do. This world is what we have, and we need to leave it just a little bit better when we turn out our lights.
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2013, 08:28:57 PM »

New song on the new Arcade Fire album starts out with the lyric "Afterlife ... Oh my god, what an awful word."

I was raised in protestant evangelical non-denominational Christian stuff. I loved my youth group, summer camp, and college experiences. Adult life re-colored a lot of my thoughts about the world and the universe and God.

But I still believe. But I think I'm not very good at the whole "faith" thing. Much better at "hope," which may be considered a lil weaker than faith.

But I'm a liberal-ish, universalist-ish kind of Christian who adores the work of Brian McLaren and Rob Bell. The kind of people who question things like *belief in eternal damnation for the unsaved* -- the sort of unsavory stuff that makes a lot of people run far away from anything Jesus-ish.

I'm also a fan of a writer named David Dark who wrote a book called "The Sacredness of Questioning Everything." He points out, quite rightly, that "agnostic" is the opposite of "gnostic" -- having secret knowledge. For every question that does not (yet, anyway) have an answer, the intellectually honest thing to do is declare oneself agnostic on the matter. So am I a Christian? Yes. Am I agnostic? About lots and lots of things? Yeeeees!

But I hope and try to believe in various things that I grew up with and still deem as generally good. For all the mental health issues I have, I don't really have "hang-ups" over my religious upbringing. At least, not as far as I (or the cavalcade of therapists and psychs I've seen, both religious and non-religious) can tell.
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