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Post Reply Religious Friends
Posted 7/21/08
Most of my friends are at least nonreligious, if not atheistic. I only have one truly Christian friend (Mormon, specifically), but she's so damn funny and nice that I don't hold it against her (too much). Other than that, none of my friends have very many religious inclinations.
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Posted 9/3/08

Donegal wrote:

Most of my friends are at least nonreligious, if not atheistic. I only have one truly Christian friend (Mormon, specifically), but she's so damn funny and nice that I don't hold it against her (too much). Other than that, none of my friends have very many religious inclinations.


You’d be surprised. Religion doesn’t necessarily have to be built upon concepts of the super natural or the divine. A lot of religious beliefs are simply statements we accept because they feel right. For example: “People are precious,” or “Life is important,” or “You have to be true to yourself.” These are all religious statements.

The only statements that are 100% unreligious are statements of fact/observation.
Posted 9/3/08

SeraphAlford wrote:


Donegal wrote:

Most of my friends are at least nonreligious, if not atheistic. I only have one truly Christian friend (Mormon, specifically), but she's so damn funny and nice that I don't hold it against her (too much). Other than that, none of my friends have very many religious inclinations.


You’d be surprised. Religion doesn’t necessarily have to be built upon concepts of the super natural or the divine. A lot of religious beliefs are simply statements we accept because they feel right. For example: “People are precious,” or “Life is important,” or “You have to be true to yourself.” These are all religious statements.

The only statements that are 100% unreligious are statements of fact/observation.


Ideas such as those are not not necessarily religious. A lot of ideas like those come from philosophical observation and contemplation, not from religious principles. Having values/ideas/etc. beyond what is purely scientific does not make said values/etc. religious in nature.

As you'll see here { http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion }in Merriam-Webster's definition of the word religion, religion is "the service and worship of God or the supernatural." Therefore, I think you have been operating under a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word religion.

Such values as "life is important" or "people are precious" may be derived from a religious affiliation, or they may not.
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Posted 9/3/08 , edited 9/4/08

Donegal wrote:


SeraphAlford wrote:


Donegal wrote:

Most of my friends are at least nonreligious, if not atheistic. I only have one truly Christian friend (Mormon, specifically), but she's so damn funny and nice that I don't hold it against her (too much). Other than that, none of my friends have very many religious inclinations.


You’d be surprised. Religion doesn’t necessarily have to be built upon concepts of the super natural or the divine. A lot of religious beliefs are simply statements we accept because they feel right. For example: “People are precious,” or “Life is important,” or “You have to be true to yourself.” These are all religious statements.

The only statements that are 100% unreligious are statements of fact/observation.


Ideas such as those are not not necessarily religious. A lot of ideas like those come from philosophical observation and contemplation, not from religious principles. Having values/ideas/etc. beyond what is purely scientific does not make said values/etc. religious in nature.

As you'll see here { http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion }in Merriam-Webster's definition of the word religion, religion is "the service and worship of God or the supernatural." Therefore, I think you have been operating under a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word religion.

Such values as "life is important" or "people are precious" may be derived from a religious affiliation, or they may not.


the service and worship of God or the supernatural
But then the definition of Buddhism is:
Eastern religion: a world religion…
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

And Hinduism:
main Indian religion: a major religion and religious tradition of South Asia, the oldest worldwide religion, characterized by a belief in reincarnation and a large pantheon of gods and goddesses
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Yet, if you study Hindu belief you discover that-according to that theology-everything, including the pantheon of deities, is an illusion. Nothing is real except the ultimate reality of Brahma. Brahma isn’t an entity, its truth, real existence. So, according to the Hindu religion any service to the divine would be useless-it’s not real, just an illusion.

Buddha wasn’t divine or connected to the divine. There’s divine cannon or text, only the teachings of man who was considered so wise that he overcame sorrow. Buddhism isn’t a service to anyone or anything except perhaps yourself. It’s a path to enlightenment.

I think you’re confused about what exactly the dictionary is supposed to do. It’s just trying to give you a basic idea of what people are talking about when they use a word, not what the concept personified by the word really is. When you get into collage you’ll find that people are rarely using the dictionary to understand what exactly something is.

The dictionary is contradicting itself. The definition you provided of religion doesn’t include Buddhism, but the dictionary still classifies Buddhism as a religion.


Values such as "life is important," are religious. They're not necessarily specific to an organized religion, but rather as a personal religion. People develop their personal religions all the time. We live by these religious values without attaching a name to our religion.

They may arise in a man who doesn’t belong to a specific denomination of religion, but Richard Dawkins has already shown that without religion people are merely robot vehicles, survival machines.
Posted 9/5/08 , edited 9/5/08

SeraphAlford wrote:


Donegal wrote:

Ideas such as those are not not necessarily religious. A lot of ideas like those come from philosophical observation and contemplation, not from religious principles. Having values/ideas/etc. beyond what is purely scientific does not make said values/etc. religious in nature.

As you'll see here { http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion }in Merriam-Webster's definition of the word religion, religion is "the service and worship of God or the supernatural." Therefore, I think you have been operating under a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word religion.

Such values as "life is important" or "people are precious" may be derived from a religious affiliation, or they may not.


the service and worship of God or the supernatural
But then the definition of Buddhism is:
Eastern religion: a world religion…
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

And Hinduism:
main Indian religion: a major religion and religious tradition of South Asia, the oldest worldwide religion, characterized by a belief in reincarnation and a large pantheon of gods and goddesses
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Yet, if you study Hindu belief you discover that-according to that theology-everything, including the pantheon of deities, is an illusion. Nothing is real except the ultimate reality of Brahma. Brahma isn’t an entity, its truth, real existence. So, according to the Hindu religion any service to the divine would be useless-it’s not real, just an illusion.

Buddha wasn’t divine or connected to the divine. There’s divine cannon or text, only the teachings of man who was considered so wise that he overcame sorrow. Buddhism isn’t a service to anyone or anything except perhaps yourself. It’s a path to enlightenment.

I think you’re confused about what exactly the dictionary is supposed to do. It’s just trying to give you a basic idea of what people are talking about when they use a word, not what the concept personified by the word really is. When you get into collage you’ll find that people are rarely using the dictionary to understand what exactly something is.

The dictionary is contradicting itself. The definition you provided of religion doesn’t include Buddhism, but the dictionary still classifies Buddhism as a religion.

Values such as "life is important," are religious. They're not necessarily specific to an organized religion, but rather as a personal religion. People develop their personal religions all the time. We live by these religious values without attaching a name to our religion.

They may arise in a man who doesn’t belong to a specific denomination of religion, but Richard Dawkins has already shown that without religion people are merely robot vehicles, survival machines.


First of all, I don't appreciate the condescension.

And yet, Hinduism includes many rituals, sacrifices, festivals, etc.

While Buddha himself is not considered a god, he is considered holy (the holiest man, actually), and it is considered a religion because it includes faith and beliefs in divinity and supernatural aspects. Therefore, the definition DOES fit Buddhism as well as any other religion.

While a dictionary definition does not get into specifics, it does give a basic understanding of what someone means when they use the word (that being the very purpose the word). Taking a definition like "the service and worship of God or the supernatural" and taking that to mean lifestyle is, simply put, ridiculous.

Again I say, values are not necessarily religious. They have derived from necessity at the beginning of our humanoid evolution. They have developed almost identically around the world despite the many different religions in different parts of the world, which suggests that something other than religion gives humans their values.

Religion, lifestyle, and belief are not synonyms. Believing that a person's life has value is not a religion, nor necessarily even an aspect of a religion. Nor does having a lifestyle (as everyone does, no matter what dictates it) necessitate having a religion.

I very much resent your last statement. I am an atheist and I know many others, and none of us are upset about our lack of religion (most of us feel rather liberated by it, really). None of are mindless "survival machines" (most are above average intelligence for our age group, in my opinion). Your definition of atheism seems to be that humans without religion are mere animals. However, the very fact that I am sitting here typing coherent sentences disproves this.

I think what you're doing is taking religion to mean as something that is within a person, when the word is meant to indicate a doctrine independent of the individual.
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Posted 9/6/08

Donegal wrote:

First of all, I don't appreciate the condescension.

And yet, Hinduism includes many rituals, sacrifices, festivals, etc.

While Buddha himself is not considered a god, he is considered holy (the holiest man, actually), and it is considered a religion because it includes faith and beliefs in divinity and supernatural aspects. Therefore, the definition DOES fit Buddhism as well as any other religion.

While a dictionary definition does not get into specifics, it does give a basic understanding of what someone means when they use the word (that being the very purpose the word). Taking a definition like "the service and worship of God or the supernatural" and taking that to mean lifestyle is, simply put, ridiculous.

Again I say, values are not necessarily religious. They have derived from necessity at the beginning of our humanoid evolution. They have developed almost identically around the world despite the many different religions in different parts of the world, which suggests that something other than religion gives humans their values.

Religion, lifestyle, and belief are not synonyms. Believing that a person's life has value is not a religion, nor necessarily even an aspect of a religion. Nor does having a lifestyle (as everyone does, no matter what dictates it) necessitate having a religion.

I very much resent your last statement. I am an atheist and I know many others, and none of us are upset about our lack of religion (most of us feel rather liberated by it, really). None of are mindless "survival machines" (most are above average intelligence for our age group, in my opinion). Your definition of atheism seems to be that humans without religion are mere animals. However, the very fact that I am sitting here typing coherent sentences disproves this.

I think what you're doing is taking religion to mean as something that is within a person, when the word is meant to indicate a doctrine independent of the individual.


I’m sorry if I was being condescending. It’s a terrible habit of mine. I would also like to profess that I don’t think people who are atheists are animals. You misunderstand me.

I’m a Christian, so obviously I believe that every human being is precious-a child of God. I’m simply saying that if you’re an honest secular person then there’s no value.

As I pointed out in my other post to you, Richard Dawkins himself brings this up In his book, “The Selfish Gene,” he explains that without the delusions of religion we are “…Survival machines-robot vehicle blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known to us as genes.”

Again, most nominal atheists are actually very religious. Some of the most religious people in the world are nihilists. Bowker shows us that human beings are predisposed not to values but to religion that provides sense of purpose. In other-words, the reason that values arise all across the world is because religion develops too.

I’m not saying that atheists have no values-I’m saying those values themselves reign from religious traditions.

And again, the definition of religion I provided is the only one that consumes all forms of religion. Even if we cast aside Buddhism there are still hundreds if not thousands of native religions that don’t fit into your definition.

In my other post I used Shinto as a specific example. It developed without a specific founder. It doesn’t focus on any individual person or his/her teachings and it doesn’t have any form of divine literature.





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