khana123
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Hi

I wanted to ask about religious identity. I believe questioning is essential to a growth mentality. I think that religion in essence is simply much like anything else in life. Its a belonging to an ideal. To community. That sense of belonging is an inherent part of human nature. This, plus as human beings, we are all creatures of habit. Routine. So it's similar in that regard to working 9-5 in a job you love as a member of a team. Its just done in a different way. In the regard of 'faith' and 'religion'. So for example...spirituality imo may not be real. Spiritual awakening, mystical healing is just a function of our innate desire to be noticed (it links in to our human emotion) and to function as part of a deeper and more meaningful, contributing process. I say this from an engineering students perspective. I believe entirely in logic.

I was born and raised a muslim. Had gone to a religious faith school from the age of 12 years old. All my life, I've been orientated in that direction through family (going to the mosque weekly, etc). They're deeply religious minded and I'm keen to learn more about other faiths (hence a growing friction in the house- they pay the bills. I'm unemployed.) I recognise it's a very bias, one sided view having the basic view that islam is the best religion in the world. Mundane in its entirety. So I'd be keen to welcome suggestions, differing viewpoints and perspectives on the topic of what is faith? What is spirituality? Is it simply logic(the human nature argument). Are we just humanity touting the ideals of a stubborn minded teenager. Looking towards something so far detached from reality (ie god), that it must be real?
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Pride
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(Original post by khana123)
Hi

I wanted to ask about religious identity. I believe questioning is essential to a growth mentality. I think that religion in essence is simply much like anything else in life. Its a belonging to an ideal. To community. That sense of belonging is an inherent part of human nature. This, plus as human beings, we are all creatures of habit. Routine. So it's similar in that regard to working 9-5 in a job you love as a member of a team. Its just done in a different way. In the regard of 'faith' and 'religion'. So for example...spirituality imo may not be real. Spiritual awakening, mystical healing is just a function of our innate desire to be noticed (it links in to our human emotion) and to function as part of a deeper and more meaningful, contributing process. I say this from an engineering students perspective. I believe entirely in logic.

I was born and raised a muslim. Had gone to a religious faith school from the age of 12 years old. All my life, I've been orientated in that direction through family (going to the mosque weekly, etc). They're deeply religious minded and I'm keen to learn more about other faiths (hence a growing friction in the house- they pay the bills. I'm unemployed.) I recognise it's a very bias, one sided view having the basic view that islam is the best religion in the world. Mundane in its entirety. So I'd be keen to welcome suggestions, differing viewpoints and perspectives on the topic of what is faith? What is spirituality? Is it simply logic(the human nature argument). Are we just humanity touting the ideals of a stubborn minded teenager. Looking towards something so far detached from reality (ie god), that it must be real?
I think the fact that you haven't given just one clear question in this thread highlights the fact that you're really looking for a discussion here. This topic of religion, the existence of God, these things resonate with people, whatever the culture. It's not just a Muslim thing. It's not just a modern issue.

Anyway, to explain where I'm coming from, I am a Christian. I have faith in God. I have faith that God has revealed himself to mankind, particularly in Jesus of Nazareth. I do think all the evidence points to this conclusion, but I also recognise that I trust in God, someone external to myself, who I cannot see.

Now to approach your questions.

I recognise what you're saying. As you grow up, there comes a point when you ask yourself, do I actually believe any of this? Do the people around me believe this? Have they really thought it through, or do they simply follow what they are expected to do? What should I live for? What should I prioritise in my life?

But one thing I think you're missing is this idea of what the big questions in our lives are. Why do I exist? What matters? Are humans just cells, simply atoms, physics and chemistry, or are they more than that? Where do my decisions come from? Can I trust my own reasoning? And I think the only logical way to explain what we see and experience is theism. I don't think atheism is logical. I don't think anybody lives as though atheism were true.

So when you talk about religion, my view is that, yes, there is plenty of culture and tradition in religion, in this day and age. But that does not mean that there is no real God behind the veil of culture. The more important questions are, what does God want? Why did he make us? What is his plan? And I think the most compelling case is the one Jesus made.

Happy to talk further.
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khana123
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What if the plan is purely to live and grow old? Does there have to be a logic behind our existence?

I'd be willing to listen to your argument about Jesus. Please do caryr on.
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Kendrik Lamar
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(Original post by khana123)
Hi

I wanted to ask about religious identity. I believe questioning is essential to a growth mentality. I think that religion in essence is simply much like anything else in life.
Not really. Just by it being the most powerful force on earth right now, and the number one reason for all the greatest conflicts in human history should be indication enough that it isn't simply much like anything else in life
(Original post by khana123)
Its a belonging to an ideal. To community. That sense of belonging is an inherent part of human nature.
Very, very true. It is because of this inherent human nature that even the most primitive civilizations pursued a spiritual connection with some supreme being and needed to feel in touch with the unseen.
(Original post by khana123)
This, plus as human beings, we are all creatures of habit. Routine. So it's similar in that regard to working 9-5 in a job you love as a member of a team. Its just done in a different way. In the regard of 'faith' and 'religion'.
I hope I understand you right. If so, then what you suggests can only hold for so long, often as a continuation of childhood-instilled religious practices. But in early adulthood, virtually all humans come to question their beliefs. Straying from the routine even feels liberating, perhaps because with it comes the knowledge and feeling of independent active participation in search for truth.

(Original post by khana123)
I was born and raised a muslim. Had gone to a religious faith school from the age of 12 years old. All my life, I've been orientated in that direction through family (going to the mosque weekly, etc). They're deeply religious minded and I'm keen to learn more about other faiths (hence a growing friction in the house- they pay the bills. I'm unemployed.) I recognise it's a very bias, one sided view having the basic view that islam is the best religion in the world. Mundane in its entirety.
I was also raised in a strict Adventist home. Honestly, I think Adventists have the most holier-than-though we-are-the-true-religion belief in themselves. If you can convert an Adventist then there are very few things you can't accomplish in this life. But trust me, a point comes when you won't be able to resist the desire to find out the truth on your own without all the white noise and in spite of all prior childhood brainwashing.What you do with that truth (revelation) is a different matter all together.
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Pride
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(Original post by khana123)
What if the plan is purely to live and grow old? Does there have to be a logic behind our existence?

I'd be willing to listen to your argument about Jesus. Please do caryr on.
Why would God make people solely so that they would live, grow old and then die? Why would there not be logic behind our existence? Do you not think God would have reasons for deciding to make us?

Let's think about it further. As you know, humans suffer, some more than others. Do you not think God would have reasons for making a world where people could suffer, often at the hands of other people? Why would he make us so emotional and complex, so prone to torment and pain? Do you think he would just watch from somewhere in the sky, like Big Brother, without feeling anything?

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khana123
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If there is a god. Where's the logic in making people suffer? Its a test...?

I think maybe the emotional and complexities of ourselves is down to our own interactions and lifestyles. A person in africa cannot help being born to a poor family. Circumstance has a profound impact on who we become.

How is the process of life so easily connected to that of a supreme being? I think in a way it ties into our own concepts of ego and being dominant. A dominant mindset in society may be our perceived direction towards success. Dominant male. Alpha male. All of this is preached through fashion billboards and media. We apply our own thinking to the world and hope it expresses some meaning. Why can't there simply be a meaning purely based on interacting with other people. Sharing their life stories, helping them develop. Not with dominance in mind at all. Just based on connectivity.
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khana123
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(Original post by Kendrik Lamar)
Not really. Just by it being the most powerful force on earth right now, and the number one reason for all the greatest conflicts in human history should be indication enough that it isn't simply much like anything else in life

Very, very true. It is because of this inherent human nature that even the most primitive civilizations pursued a spiritual connection with some supreme being and needed to feel in touch with the unseen.

I hope I understand you right. If so, then what you suggests can only hold for so long, often as a continuation of childhood-instilled religious practices. But in early adulthood, virtually all humans come to question their beliefs. Straying from the routine even feels liberating, perhaps because with it comes the knowledge and feeling of independent active participation in search for truth.


I was also raised in a strict Adventist home. Honestly, I think Adventists have the most holier-than-though we-are-the-true-religion belief in themselves. If you can convert an Adventist then there are very few things you can't accomplish in this life. But trust me, a point comes when you won't be able to resist the desire to find out the truth on your own without all the white noise and in spite of all prior childhood brainwashing.What you do with that truth (revelation) is a different matter all together.
So. Who are you now? Still an adventist? Or non belieber?
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Pride
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(Original post by khana123)
If there is a god. Where's the logic in making people suffer? Its a test...?
The simple answer to the question is I don't know. I'm reluctant to say 'it's a test', because it doesn't really answer the question 'why?' It's also very simplistic. It seems to suggest life is some sort of game, where if you endure suffering, do the right things etc. you level up, you get rewarded in some way etc. Again, that doesn't actually answer the question 'why?' Why do I exist? Why does any of this matter? Why am I suffering?

Christians believe that suffering came into the world because of sin - we can all think of examples of times when doing something morally wrong has led to us or others suffering. Another thing worth saying is that God cared so much about man that he came to the world in Jesus. Jesus was fully God, yet he humbled himself to be with the humans he created, suffering with them, even allowing them to crucify him unjustly. I recognise the Qur'an says Jesus wasn't crucified, but I do think the evidence outside of the bible and the Qur'an points to Jesus being crucified. My point though is that God is not a distant unfeeling being. He knows we suffer, and demonstrated that by allowing himself to go through worse pain than we go through. Not only that, but his creation did it to him, unaware that he was who they had been waiting for. That is love. That is humility.

I think maybe the emotional and complexities of ourselves is down to our own interactions and lifestyles. A person in africa cannot help being born to a poor family. Circumstance has a profound impact on who we become.
You see my family is Nigerian, so statements like 'a person in africa cannot help being born to a poor family' do grate on me. Africa is a continent. Yes its countries were colonised by different empires in history. Yes there are lots of poor people in its countries. But like any other continent, it is full of the rich and poor, educated and uneducated, different races. It's not just a homogenised single entity like the racist Western media often portray it to be. I was born and raised in England so I have some insight into both British and Nigerian cultures. But yes, saying 'people in Africa' to describe poor people, is like saying 'the Europeans' to mean the rich/middle-class. You would never say Europe though, because they aren't a homogeneous group of countries, nor are they a homogeneous group of people - they are distinct.

Anyway rant over. Yes, I do agree that our circumstances do massively influence us. I look at my parents work-ethic for example, and I know that must have had a massive impact on my outlook on work and money. At the same time, I would make this point. If a Christian believes in their religion because of their upbringing, and a Muslim believes in their religion because of their upbringing, and a Sikh believes in their religion because of their upbringing, and an atheist believes in atheism because of their upbringing, then how can you use the issue of upbringing as a reason to believe there is no God? It's not an indicator of which belief system is actually true.

In reality, I don't believe we are solely the result of our genes and the environment we find ourselves in. I think we have an ability to make decisions. I think we will all be held accountable for what we do. Yes you have had a Muslim upbringing. But as with anyone, there comes a time, where you ask yourself, is this actually true? How can I know? What does the evidence say? Then you make decisions for yourself.

How is the process of life so easily connected to that of a supreme being? I think in a way it ties into our own concepts of ego and being dominant. A dominant mindset in society may be our perceived direction towards success. Dominant male. Alpha male. All of this is preached through fashion billboards and media. We apply our own thinking to the world and hope it expresses some meaning. Why can't there simply be a meaning purely based on interacting with other people. Sharing their life stories, helping them develop. Not with dominance in mind at all. Just based on connectivity.
I think you are attempting to explain human behaviour within a naturalistic, evolutionary framework. I can understand that. I said those things because I thought you were asking about a hypothetical god.

But the idea that life can have any meaning outside of an objective God is simply untrue. You say, 'Why can't there simply be a meaning purely based on interacting with other people.' That doesn't give people actual meaning. That is someone inventing a meaning for themselves. That is someone celebrating what they see to be good and worth celebrating in humanity. It doesn't mean there is any actual meaning or value in their life. In fact, man giving himself a meaning only emphasises the fact that human life has no meaning or value. That's the reason why the human is inventing a meaning for itself. It wouldn't need to if it had meaning. There is no meaning, so he is inserting meaning there.

Now all this is true if there is no God. But nobody acts as though that were true. I believe it makes more sense that God exists, and he is the basis for humans being objectively valuable. It's not just his opinion, nor is it a moral standard that exists outside of him. It's part of his eternal and moral nature.
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Peroxidation
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(Original post by khana123)
Hi

I wanted to ask about religious identity. I believe questioning is essential to a growth mentality. I think that religion in essence is simply much like anything else in life. Its a belonging to an ideal. To community. That sense of belonging is an inherent part of human nature. This, plus as human beings, we are all creatures of habit. Routine. So it's similar in that regard to working 9-5 in a job you love as a member of a team. Its just done in a different way. In the regard of 'faith' and 'religion'. So for example...spirituality imo may not be real. Spiritual awakening, mystical healing is just a function of our innate desire to be noticed (it links in to our human emotion) and to function as part of a deeper and more meaningful, contributing process. I say this from an engineering students perspective. I believe entirely in logic.

I was born and raised a muslim. Had gone to a religious faith school from the age of 12 years old. All my life, I've been orientated in that direction through family (going to the mosque weekly, etc). They're deeply religious minded and I'm keen to learn more about other faiths (hence a growing friction in the house- they pay the bills. I'm unemployed.) I recognise it's a very bias, one sided view having the basic view that islam is the best religion in the world. Mundane in its entirety. So I'd be keen to welcome suggestions, differing viewpoints and perspectives on the topic of what is faith? What is spirituality? Is it simply logic(the human nature argument). Are we just humanity touting the ideals of a stubborn minded teenager. Looking towards something so far detached from reality (ie god), that it must be real?
I'm a chemical physicist so I totally agree with your believing entirely in logic. Just to be pedantic, I should specify that said logic contains only valid logic not logical fallacies, since flawed logic is technically still logic. As for belief in a god I'm an agnostic atheist. To be honest, since the whole concept was designed to be in-falsifiable there's really no point in even contemplating it. Whether a god exists or not just doesn't make any difference to the universe.

I also happen to be a Theravada Buddhist, so I can tell you about that. Don't worry (if you are), despite popular belief being both an atheist and a Buddhist and/or both someone who rejects everything illogical and a Buddhist isn't contradictory. You see, in Buddhism blind faith (or any faith at all) is rejected and gods aren't important to it at all. On the contrary, the philosophy of the scientific method is actually contained within it's doctrine. There's even a Sutta in which the Buddha is asked, "since you know so much about the workings of the mind and are so wise, do you also know which gods are real and how the universe came to be?" In response to this the Buddha simply asks, "how is that going to help you achieve your goals?"

The Buddha often emphasised the importance of investigating things for yourself instead of just accepting them to be true and instructed his followers not to believe what he said but to try it out for themselves and see if it worked for them. One of the goals of it's practitioners is right mind, which is basically a mind which works based entirely on logic and objectivism and doesn't allow emotion to influence thinking, since emotions can skew your judgement. The whole point of this is to enable you to see the world for what it is instead of just what's contained within the human bubble.

Buddhism also happens to be one of the only religions which holds everyone in equal regard as well as being one of only a handful of religions which contain no violent teachings at all. What's more surprising is that the Buddha was a member of the highest class in Hindu society. He was actually a prince. Considering that at the time the class system was reinforced by Hindu doctrine, a prince abandoning everything he had to go and live a life of homelessness (despite doing so instantly lowering him to the lowest caste in Hindu society) is pretty bizarre. Personally I think that's a major part of what makes the Buddha such an amazing religious teacher, few would ever give up the luxurious life he had in order to find inner peace.

Anyway, the Hindu caste system was built from the belief that if you were born poor you must've done something terrible in a past life, you know, the well known version of Kamma/Karma. Instead the Buddha taught that Kamma isn't physical things happening to you, it's the feelings you get as a result of your actions. So if you were to do something wrong you'd feel guilt and shame whereas if you did something good you'd feel happy about it. So he broke down the traditional classes and taught his followers to respect people for who they are not how much wealth they have. He also taught that both sexes are equal and that not a single living being is more important than another since all organisms rely on each other for survival. It's summed up in the Karaniya Metta Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...1.08.amar.html Coincidently, this is also the Sutta which got me to convert. I read it and decided that I wanted to be like the Buddha. Don't worry though, this isn't an attempt to convert you!

To be honest it's really quite hard to sum up Buddhism, the Dhammapada does a pretty good job of it though, far better than I can. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...ntro.budd.html
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Pride
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(Original post by Peroxidation)
I'm a chemical physicist so I totally agree with your believing entirely in logic. Just to be pedantic, I should specify that said logic contains only valid logic not logical fallacies, since flawed logic is technically still logic. As for belief in a god I'm an agnostic atheist. To be honest, since the whole concept was designed to be in-falsifiable there's really no point in even contemplating it. Whether a god exists or not just doesn't make any difference to the universe.
I don't follow. How did you come to this conclusion?

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nucdev
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(Original post by Peroxidation)
Buddhism also happens to be one of the only religions which holds everyone in equal regard as well as being one of only a handful of religions which contain no violent teachings at all. What's more surprising is that the Buddha was a member of the highest class in Hindu society. He was actually a prince. Considering that at the time the class system was reinforced by Hindu doctrine, a prince abandoning everything he had to go and live a life of homelessness (despite doing so instantly lowering him to the lowest caste in Hindu society) is pretty bizarre. Personally I think that's a major part of what makes the Buddha such an amazing religious teacher, few would ever give up the luxurious life he had in order to find inner peace.

Anyway, the Hindu caste system was built from the belief that if you were born poor you must've done something terrible in a past life, you know, the well known version of Kamma/Karma.
Actually the class/caste system by the time Buddha comes around has been severely degraded since no Shruti (scripture of authority in Hinduism) says that your class/caste depends on birth and nor does it say that it depends on actions based on your previous life. The highest scriptures of Hinduism determine class/caste as being according to Guna (nature/ability/character) and karma in your present life. At the same time, they are not thought to be hierarchical or hereditary. It was simply supposed to be a way of organising labour in society so the best person for the job is streamed into that field according to their ability.

Also, a huge number of princes/kings renounced material pleasures and their kingdoms to go into the forest and become wandering sages/hermits and are accorded the status of being prophets in Hinduism. An example is King Bharata. There's also Rishi (Sage) Vishvamitra who is considered to be the author of an entire part of the Rig Veda as well as the Gayatri Mantra (an extremely central prayer in Hinduism).
In fact, several Dharmashastras (books of codes and conduct) determine that in order for one to be a true Brahmin, they have to give up luxuries, live extremely simple lives and live off donations.

Which is why according to Hindu thought, Buddha goes from being a Kshatriya (member of the warrior class) to being a Brahmin (priestly class) within one lifetime.
There are also loads of examples within Hinduism of prophets and sages being born to families who had nothing to do with religion, but then go on to become the most celebrated prophets (e.g.: Satyakama Jabala (a boy in the Chandogya Upanishad and later a Vedic sage) is born to a prostitute and yet his Guru considers him a Brahmin because he is truthful about his parentage)
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Peroxidation
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(Original post by nucdev)
Actually the class/caste system by the time Buddha comes around has been severely degraded since no Shruti (scripture of authority in Hinduism) says that your class/caste depends on birth and nor does it say that it depends on actions based on your previous life. The highest scriptures of Hinduism determine class/caste as being according to Guna (nature/ability/character) and karma in your present life. At the same time, they are not thought to be hierarchical or hereditary. It was simply supposed to be a way of organising labour in society so the best person for the job is streamed into that field according to their ability.

Also, a huge number of princes/kings renounced material pleasures and their kingdoms to go into the forest and become wandering sages/hermits and are accorded the status of being prophets in Hinduism. An example is King Bharata. There's also Rishi (Sage) Vishvamitra who is considered to be the author of an entire part of the Rig Veda as well as the Gayatri Mantra (an extremely central prayer in Hinduism).
In fact, several Dharmashastras (books of codes and conduct) determine that in order for one to be a true Brahmin, they have to give up luxuries, live extremely simple lives and live off donations.

Which is why according to Hindu thought, Buddha goes from being a Kshatriya (member of the warrior class) to being a Brahmin (priestly class) within one lifetime.
There are also loads of examples within Hinduism of prophets and sages being born to families who had nothing to do with religion, but then go on to become the most celebrated prophets (e.g.: Satyakama Jabala (a boy in the Chandogya Upanishad and later a Vedic sage) is born to a prostitute and yet his Guru considers him a Brahmin because he is truthful about his parentage)
Ah ok. I don't really know much about Hinduism tbh, but even so I know I'd find it virtually impossible to give up everything like that. Those priests/prophets must've been some really amazing people.

(Original post by Pride)
I don't follow. How did you come to this conclusion?

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Well whether a god exists or not doesn't change the fact that we exist. You don't need to know why something happens to know that it happens.
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Kendrik Lamar
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(Original post by khana123)
So. Who are you now? Still an adventist? Or non belieber?
I'm not a big fan of labels. Let's just say I know better now. My eyes are more open. The teachings of Myles Monroe helped a lot.
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khana123
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One other aspect of religious belief that confuses me. With regards to friendships, can religious minded people have gay, lesbian friends? I mean, I have a lesbian friend. But that's where I'm confused. Lines, boundaries. Rights. Religious. Human. Blurred lines.

I need a leg up. Somebody help me. :P
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username1066741
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(Original post by khana123)
One other aspect of religious belief that confuses me. With regards to friendships, can religious minded people have gay, lesbian friends? I mean, I have a lesbian friend. But that's where I'm confused. Lines, boundaries. Rights. Religious. Human. Blurred lines.

I need a leg up. Somebody help me. :P
I think you'd have to take a pretty extreme version of any religion to believe that you couldn't even be friends with LGBT people.

As for anything beyond friendship it all depends on how you interpret scriptures; but all religions (as far as I'm aware) do have liberal interpretations that are still part of a religion but also don't repress people because of their sexual orientation.
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Pride
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(Original post by Peroxidation)
Well whether a god exists or not doesn't change the fact that we exist. You don't need to know why something happens to know that it happens.
You said: ' Whether a god exists or not just doesn't make any difference to the universe.'

I asked you how do you know that? You made a number of points leading up to that statement, but they weren't relevant to the statement. How did you come to that conclusion? The reason why I ask is because you make it sound as though whether God exists or not is unknowable, and that it is inconsequential. It doesn't matter either way. So I ask how you know that. You seem not to realise it but that is a massive statement to make, and would have massive impacts on all of our lives if it were true.
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(Original post by Toughtee)
I think you'd have to take a pretty extreme version of any religion to believe that you couldn't even be friends with LGBT people.

As for anything beyond friendship it all depends on how you interpret scriptures; but all religions (as far as I'm aware) do have liberal interpretations that are still part of a religion but also don't repress people because of their sexual orientation.
From my understanding, it doesn't have to be "extreme" - just consistent. If you decide that the axioms "God is real" and "God will punish associations with certain kinds of evil, such as homosexuality" are ones to be accepted, then it would logically follow that having gay or lesbian friends will lead to eternal hellfire.

It just happens to be highly twisted and not acceptable in modern society, so religious leaders may choose to interpret less aggressive verses and lead more towards the wishes/desires of the individual not being homosexual being "enough" to appease God.
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fatima1998
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loads of people are going to get reps in this thread for their explanation :toofunny:
tbh, i am not that religious, but to live a normal lifestyle, i believe in equality and in humanity which is enough :cute:
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TheHistoryKid
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(Original post by Kendrik Lamar)
Not really. Just by it being the most powerful force on earth right now, and the number one reason for all the greatest conflicts in human history should be indication enough that it isn't simply much like anything else in life
Stopped reading after this, what utter nonsense, WW1 and WW2 were the greatest conflicts in Human history and neither had anything to do with religion. Educate yourself.
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99_Problems
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My issue has always only been that it creates a barrier between people. It's also scary when people put religion over human beings that we can see are real and breathing. When religious people want to hurt other humans or themselves who we know to be real and tangible because of something we don't know to be real it's not great.

If I had my way it would be a very personal and private affair. Definitely no faith schools, children need to have the opportunity to meet and learn about different walks of life. People talk about religious freedom but how is that religious freedom for the child. Adult faith schools, fully happy with. Child ones? Nope.
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