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Old 05-08-2014, 09:22 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Ninja Glutton View Post

but I find that majority of Christians that I meet consider the entire text of the bible to be a dogmatic layout of how they should run their lives.
Then the people you meet who you consider 'Christian' are a very small minority of the people who consider themselves 'Christian'.

The Christian Left website is a fountain of ideas and knowledge from those Christians who are not 'dogmatic' about the bible.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:30 PM   #52
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Then the people you meet who you consider 'Christian' are a very small minority of the people who consider themselves 'Christian'. The Christian Left website is a fountain of ideas and knowledge from those Christians who are not 'dogmatic' about the bible.
I was an early follower of the Christian Left on Facebook. John Shore is an amazing Christian relationship/sex columnist who is nothing like Paul and his bullshit anti-sex nonsense .
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:38 PM   #53
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Respectfully, how is this any different than what strict atheist philosophical systems encouraged throughout the 20th century? (I'm thinking of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, all determined atheists.)

Any philosophical/spiritual system can be twisted. But one that commands its followers to love others (Christianity), to respect others and all of life (Buddhism), or to live thoughtfully in balance with others (Judaism, Taoism, Confucianism) can't be all bad.
Picking out just 3 abhorrent atheists from history doesn't seem like a very good sample size. There aren't enough atheist societies in the 20th century to choose from for there to be much to compare them to, so I don't think that's a fair assessment.

Atheism as it exists today is usually more tied with secular humanism. Rejecting dogma and pseudoscience and superstition is more what draws people to abandon the confines of most organized religion. I think it's folly to assume atheists lack moral compass and I feel like you may be implying that a bit by invoking the names that you have. Personally, I never needed an ethereal father or ideology to look over my shoulder and make sure I am leading a good life. I did it on my own.

I don't really consider Buddhism, at its inception, to be a religion so much as a philosophy. Taoism can also fall under that umbrella.

You can't tell me that the Judeo-Christian religions weren't responsible for more death, war, and tragedy in their lifespan than all of the political and territorial wars combined. I never said Christianity was 100% bad, but its good deeds are always cheapened in my eyes because they're selfish in nature. Schools are built in poor countries not really to educate the populace, but to indoctrinate them. Bringing food to hungry people is immediately followed by spreading to them the word of god and boxes of free bibles.

Frankly, it makes me happy that these days the churches know that they're losing footing and they have to come and recruit people with smiley glad hands instead of threatening people with death or societal exile like in days past. I'm happy to be a part of that movement because I feel that religion, in all of its supposed communal beauty, holds human beings back more than anything else in human society. I believe it's a chain around our necks that must be broken.
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:30 AM   #54
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*puts on moderator hat*

Folks--I think the point of this thread was for people to discuss what their personal spirituality and faith was (or wasn't).

Discussions of the good or harm of organized religion, and the especially discussion of the relative merits of different approaches, would be better handled in Hyde Park. If you do want to have that discussion--and I have nothing against anyone who does--please feel free to start a thread over there.

I know people are probably mostly feeling that they are defending their point of view, but unfortunately this way lies drama, hurt feelings, and ideological arguments, which was clearly not in the spirit this thread was started.

Consider this a yellow card on the thread.

*gratefully takes off mod hat for now*
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:12 AM   #55
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*puts on moderator hat*

Folks--I think the point of this thread was for people to discuss what their personal spirituality and faith was (or wasn't).

Discussions of the good or harm of organized religion, and the especially discussion of the relative merits of different approaches, would be better handled in Hyde Park. If you do want to have that discussion--and I have nothing against anyone who does--please feel free to start a thread over there.

I know people are probably mostly feeling that they are defending their point of view, but unfortunately this way lies drama, hurt feelings, and ideological arguments, which was clearly not in the spirit this thread was started.

Consider this a yellow card on the thread.

*gratefully takes off mod hat for now*
Actually, this type of discussion is exactly what I was hoping for. Not only a statement of personal belief but also an in-depth discussion of why people believe a certain way and the merits and drawbacks of any belief system. Including no belief at all. Just so long as everyone was respectful of different beliefs or lack thereof, which it seems everyone is doing here.

Of course, as moderator it is your prerogative to shape this discussion in a different direction, but I wanted to put out there that an open, adult, and respect driven conversation is what I intended for this thread.
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:17 AM   #56
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^ Since Leo included my name on the original post, I will say that I also was wanting to be able to discuss and ask questions. Like he also said, you are the moderator but I hope we can be allowed a little lee-way.

This topic was being tried here, because in Hyde Park, it is doomed to explode and die

I thought yesterday's discussion was awesome by the way. Just my 2 cents
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:24 AM   #57
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I liked the discourse, and I felt everyone was being really respectful, and I hope I didn't de-rail the thread.

I like hearing everyone's opinions and reasons for why they feel the way they do too.

Thank you all for being kind and not dismissive.

It's been fun
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:49 AM   #58
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Seriously? This is the place to be on Dims right now because it's a good read AND it's fun. It's a cool group of people for the most part.

I don't see the problem.

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So far, so good Although I have some concerns about how many "Lounge-type" threads we are starting on the BHM/FFA board. I can understand why people do it, but am pondering if it is a trend to encourage or not?
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:18 AM   #59
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Going back to the topic...

Whether you believe the Bible to be fact or fiction, who is your favorite Bible character and why?


While Jesus is a given, my favorite (non-deity) character is David. I love the book of Psalms. The man could really pour his heart out. I also relate to David. He was "the man after God's own heart" but he messed up, like a lot and in some horrible ways (the whole Bathsheba and Uriah thing). What I love about him, is that he would own up to his mistakes, lament over then and tried with all his might to correct his ways and/or do right. When he actually enters the scene he was basically this "little pretty boy" shepherd haha, that no one expected great things from but because of his heart, God saw the potential in him and used him for great things. Great things like, defeating Goliath and going on to be king of Israel.
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:44 AM   #60
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Here we are, having a great discussion about faith among people of various faiths, and even no faith at all, everyone contributing positive and thought provoking posts, and then you waltz in and drop this load. Given your obvious contempt, I have to wonder why you even looked in this thread to begin with.

Its amazing how self-righteous religious people who regularly denigrate non-believers are so often thin skinned.

Apparently saying I find religion boring somehow set you off. I no idea why such an innocuous statement motivated a personal attack. I really don't care -- its really your problem not mine.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:01 AM   #61
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OK, given the consensus that you all think things are still good, I'll back off.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:09 AM   #62
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I have a question for those of you who identified as Pagan and mentioned the practice of magic/k. I was wondering what sort of magic/k you practice and what that "looks like" for lack of a better word. I had a friend who is very into Tarot (she actually got me a deck) and used crystals, but that is the extent of my very limited experience with that sort of thing.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:39 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by bigmac View Post
Its amazing how self-righteous religious people who regularly denigrate non-believers are so often thin skinned.

Apparently saying I find religion boring somehow set you off. I no idea why such an innocuous statement motivated a personal attack. I really don't care -- its really your problem not mine.
If your post had more depth than "I'm too cool for this school," I wouldn't have had a problem.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:51 AM   #64
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I think bigmac's post is just as relevant as anyone else's. This is how people feel allll over the place. Faith/spirituality doesn't always have to be about religions you choose, it can be about religions you don't choose and why.

Honestly, I wish people would start believing in themselves.

I know I said I wouldn't touch this thread, but why not. This pretty much sums it up for me:


God is a Concept by which
we measure our pain
I'll say it again
God is a Concept by which
we measure our pain

I don't believe in magic
I don't believe in I-ching
I don't believe in Bible
I don't believe in Tarot
I don't believe in Hitler
I don't believe in Jesus
I don't believe in Kennedy
I don't believe in Buddha
I don't believe in Mantra
I don't believe in Gita
I don't believe in Yoga
I don't believe in Kings
I don't believe in Elvis
I don't believe in Zimmerman
I don't believe in Beatles
I just believe in me
-John Lennon


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Originally Posted by Dromond View Post
Here we are, having a great discussion about faith among people of various faiths, and even no faith at all, everyone contributing positive and thought provoking posts, and then you waltz in and drop this load. Given your obvious contempt, I have to wonder why you even looked in this thread to begin with.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:58 PM   #65
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It's so nice to see so many other witches here! If this thread hadn't been started, I never would've guessed at who really practiced what on Dims.

We definitely need to speak more about this! I'm aghast & flabbered I never found this out about you until now!
HMU

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I have a question for those of you who identified as Pagan and mentioned the practice of magic/k. I was wondering what sort of magic/k you practice and what that "looks like" for lack of a better word. I had a friend who is very into Tarot (she actually got me a deck) and used crystals, but that is the extent of my very limited experience with that sort of thing.
I feel like my experience is quite possibly just as limited, but here's a little ramble as to how I see it.

Well, let me start it off this way.... Here are some words I associate with the practice of magick -- intention, change, visualisation, ritual, symbolism, attraction, energy, psychology, mental focus and maybe, uh.... environmental/atmospheric manipulation?

I guess what I'm getting at is that magick is the practice of bringing about intentional change, using all sorts of different tools - with a good deal of emphasis being placed on the five elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit) for most Wiccans, at least. My personal belief is that it's a highly psychologically focused exercise, with a mystical/transcendental component to it. So the greatest change you're effecting is within yourself, and since 'everything is energy,' you're compelling your environment/the universe to go along with this change.

I've only performed one spell, but what that mostly looks like in verrrry general terms, is..... you take an object (an apple, a coin, something you've written down on a piece of paper.......), associate it with something / imbue it with a certain energy using visualisation; then you do something with that object. Carving something into it, burning it, burying it in the ground, throwing it into a body of water, letting it blow in the wind, etc etc etc. The crux of it, though, lies in the intentionality/mental focus you put into this ritualistic exercise. Making it feel auspicious, special and mystical helps to lend a kind of gravitas to it in your mind, and in the universe.

Hope that's not too vague and marginally helpful, and that others will weigh in. Feel free to ask more questions
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:31 PM   #66
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Without a doubt, one of my favorite threads here at DIMS in a VERY long time. Bravo to everyone who has contributed in such a positive and respectful manner.

A question for the group....It appears that a significant number of us fall outside organized religion. Does anyone want to put forward any theories as to why ?
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:35 PM   #67
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Respectfully, how is this any different than what strict atheist philosophical systems encouraged throughout the 20th century? (I'm thinking of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, all determined atheists.)

...

.
Religious folks roll out this argument all the time. It fails because the battles fought by Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were not motivated by atheism. Rather they were motivated by economic and political doctrine. These communists viewed religion as tool used by the capitalist class. Opposition to religion by communists was thus only a means to an end -- not a motivating factor.

Religion has traditionally been used by rulers to control and motivate subjects and armies. Communists sought to undermine this. They were strategic atheists not philosophical atheists.
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Old 05-09-2014, 02:29 PM   #68
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Without a doubt, one of my favorite threads here at DIMS in a VERY long time. Bravo to everyone who has contributed in such a positive and respectful manner.

A question for the group....It appears that a significant number of us fall outside organized religion. Does anyone want to put forward any theories as to why ?

Traditionally belonging to a religious group was the default position. Many people who were objectively not very religious would identify with a convenient mainstream church or religion because it was the easiest least controversial thing to do. The pressure to conform regarding religion is for many segments of society not as strong as it once was. Result, non-believers are the fastest growing "religious" category.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:08 PM   #69
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I have no idea whether or not there is a god (with or without a capital G). Come to that, I have no idea what might constitute a god ('God' is, mathematically speaking, a variable: different people plug different values into it). Nevertheless, it is not impossible that some sort of intelligence may be responsible for at least some of the things that happen to me. And so I pray. I pray several times a day, not to ask for anything, but just to say 'thank you' for anything that surprises and delights me (it doesn't take much: I'm easily amused). I figure that, if there is no god, it doesn't hurt anything; and if there is a god, he (she, it) must get really tired of all the prayers of 'God gimme this; God gimme that.' I would anyway. So if there is a god, maybe having somebody say, e.g., "That was a really great sunset; I just want you to know I enjoyed it," might make him (her, it) feel better. Plus, for me it underscores the wonder of everyday things and makes me less likely to take them for granted.
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:01 PM   #70
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I kinda just felt like saying how delighted I am to have atheists join the discussion of faith/spirituality.

I know there are maaaany different things atheists believe about life etc, in addition to their belief that a theistic god most likely doesn't exist. So, by no means are the religiously or spiritually inclined folks the only ones who have faith per se.

And as an aside to that, has anyone seen any of the 'Atheist Experience' episodes on youtube? I really enjoy them, for the most part. Sure, there's a fair bit of snark, but I've found the show to be pretty enlightening personally.
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:52 PM   #71
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I don't know if this is unrelated to the discussion, but I just recently heard that there's going to be a 24 hour atheist television channel, streamable through Roku.

It really makes me happy that nowadays there are actual venues and public spotlights for not only atheists, but every sect of human philosophical thought.

There's going to be a Satanic Black Mass at Harvard U in a few weeks, and the school is taking a "we're not associated with it, but we're all for the freedom" approach and that makes me happy.

Whatever your views, I delight in the fact that people of all backgrounds have a podium to stand on and shout. It may not be popular opinion, but it's opinion nonetheless.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:37 AM   #72
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Going back to the topic...

Whether you believe the Bible to be fact or fiction, who is your favorite Bible character and why?

For me it has to be Job, with a close nod to Peter.

In Job's case, here was a man from whom the devil destroyed everything in his life to test his faith. Even when he lost it all, and when his close friends and even his wife told him to just, "Curse God and die," he refused. He held firm to his faith.

Peter as a close second, or 1a if you will because he really represents the struggle of man against the sinful nature we are born with. He loved Jesus with all his heart and yet when they came for him, all that went out the window for a brief instance and he went for the sword. That showed me that no matter who you are you can still falter from time to time because we are human. He felt great shame when he denied Christ those 3 times, but there was also forgiveness and redemption and that really drives home for me, the point of Jesus' purpose here on earth.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:44 AM   #73
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HMU



I feel like my experience is quite possibly just as limited, but here's a little ramble as to how I see it.

Well, let me start it off this way.... Here are some words I associate with the practice of magick -- intention, change, visualisation, ritual, symbolism, attraction, energy, psychology, mental focus and maybe, uh.... environmental/atmospheric manipulation?

I guess what I'm getting at is that magick is the practice of bringing about intentional change, using all sorts of different tools - with a good deal of emphasis being placed on the five elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit) for most Wiccans, at least. My personal belief is that it's a highly psychologically focused exercise, with a mystical/transcendental component to it. So the greatest change you're effecting is within yourself, and since 'everything is energy,' you're compelling your environment/the universe to go along with this change.

I've only performed one spell, but what that mostly looks like in verrrry general terms, is..... you take an object (an apple, a coin, something you've written down on a piece of paper.......), associate it with something / imbue it with a certain energy using visualisation; then you do something with that object. Carving something into it, burning it, burying it in the ground, throwing it into a body of water, letting it blow in the wind, etc etc etc. The crux of it, though, lies in the intentionality/mental focus you put into this ritualistic exercise. Making it feel auspicious, special and mystical helps to lend a kind of gravitas to it in your mind, and in the universe.

Hope that's not too vague and marginally helpful, and that others will weigh in. Feel free to ask more questions
That was definitely helpful.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:34 AM   #74
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The magick I practice is mostly simple sympathetic spells and divination. I use an old, dark blue ceramic bowl my grandmother had, which I suspect she used for water scrying, instead of a cast iron cauldron. In a pinch, I have used a mirror to scry as well. (I say I suspect she used it for scrying because she never shared with me that she could do it. While learning about Paganism I read that a lot of the old Scots that settled in the Appalachian Mountain area of the U.S. still practice magick even though they consider themselves Christian, so more than likely my Grammy was what they call a "water witch.")

I like candle spells, probably because they are the easiest form of spell I know and they were the first I ever learned. If someone is sick, I will dress and burn an orange candle and say a prayer for healing and vitality. If someone is love sick, a red candle. Money problems? A green candle. Peace and cooperation needed? Light blue. Too much negativity and/or stress? White candle with sage to clear the negative energy. Dressing a candle simply means imbuing it with energy, which is released into the universe when you burn the candle, by anointing it with herbs and oils specific to the spell at hand.

I've tried tarot and it's beautiful, but I never developed an affinity for it. I tried several decks and nothing ever really clicked. Same with Runes; they never really clicked for me.
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:01 AM   #75
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I don't know if this is unrelated to the discussion, but I just recently heard that there's going to be a 24 hour atheist television channel, streamable through Roku.

It really makes me happy that nowadays there are actual venues and public spotlights for not only atheists, but every sect of human philosophical thought.

There's going to be a Satanic Black Mass at Harvard U in a few weeks, and the school is taking a "we're not associated with it, but we're all for the freedom" approach and that makes me happy.

Whatever your views, I delight in the fact that people of all backgrounds have a podium to stand on and shout. It may not be popular opinion, but it's opinion nonetheless.
I just read recently that Oklahoma is allowing Satanists to place a statue of Lucifer in the capital building, where it will sit near other religious statues. Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible sits next to all other religious texts in libraries and book stores. LaVey himself seemed more atheist to me; he didn't really believe in either God nor the Devil. To LaVey and his followers the Devil represents the darker/negative side of ourselves and they choose to embrace that side, rather than deny or turn away from it like the Christians do.
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