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Rebound Faith?


LosingMyReligion
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Since I've deconverted from Christianity I keep trying to decide on different faiths and religions to be apart of. Then, oneday, it struck me, "Am I doing this because this is a TRUE faith or am I doing this just to say I worship something?" I am finding that I don't believe in Wicca, Buddhism, or any of the religions for that matter. I am very much interested in them(I love studying about Greek/Roman/Norse/Egyptian dieties), but I don't think they're real.

 

Giving up Christianity, for me, was like losing my faith in Santa Claus. I just can't replace him with the Easter Bunny or the Tooth fairy because I know they are fake too. But it is hard to go cold turkey with faith. Sometimes I wonder am I turning into an athiest...But, the mere possibility scares me. Don't get me wrong, athiests are great...I just don't want to be one. To me that takes faith too.

 

If I were raised non religious would I even care? If I were not raised in this cult I probably wouldn't lose any sleep over which faith I should get into to.

 

So, is choosing a new religion, post Christianity, just preparation for making the jump to atheism/agnosticism?

 

I think I maybe turning agnostic. But I am starting not to care.

 

I'm asking because these dorky christian kids on campus kept telling me, "Oh you are so positive and sweet. I can tell you are a strong brother in Christ. Why don't you join our Baptist student union!"

 

***vomit***

 

Then I told them, "Uhm...I don't believe in that."

 

"You don't believe in what?"

 

"I don't believe in Christianity..."

 

You could have heard a pin drop as the blood left their faces....

 

They just said, "Oh...well, I'll pray for you. You are a great person and I want your soul to be saved..."

 

About a year ago that would have scared the hell out of me....I just shrugged and said whatever...

 

Then one asked, "What do you believe in?"

 

To which I replied, "I'm still thinking about it..."

 

Which ultimately prompted this question.

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LMR,

 

You are doing what you need to do TODAY to feel better. There is no time limit on how long it will take you to make a definite decision on what your lifetime position regarding spirituality is.

 

It is quite alright to believe something today and to change your mind tomorrow. Every belief you undertake will teach you something. Once you outgrow the current one you will move onto something new until one day, you will realize that you don't believe this or that, but that you have your VERY OWN BELIEF SYSTEM.

 

I think you need to relax about it. Do not pressure yourself to wear LABEL. If you need a label, I suggest SEEKER. You are a seeker of your own truth and you will chase that truth until you die. If anything, the search will make your life interesting.

 

Christians think they already know everything and that they have arrived at the ultimate truth. Don't be like them. Life is a journey full of surprises. Take it one day at a time.

 

Best!

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Since I've deconverted from Christianity I keep trying to decide on different faiths and religions to be apart of. Then, oneday, it struck me, "Am I doing this because this is a TRUE faith or am I doing this just to say I worship something?" I am finding that I don't believe in Wicca, Buddhism, or any of the religions for that matter. I am very much interested in them(I love studying about Greek/Roman/Norse/Egyptian dieties), but I don't think they're real.

 

Giving up Christianity, for me, was like losing my faith in Santa Claus. I just can't replace him with the Easter Bunny or the Tooth fairy because I know they are fake too. But it is hard to go cold turkey with faith. Sometimes I wonder am I turning into an athiest...But, the mere possibility scares me. Don't get me wrong, athiests are great...I just don't want to be one. To me that takes faith too.

 

If I were raised non religious would I even care? If I were not raised in this cult I probably wouldn't lose any sleep over which faith I should get into to.

 

So, is choosing a new religion, post Christianity, just preparation for making the jump to atheism/agnosticism?

 

I think I maybe turning agnostic. But I am starting not to care.

 

I'm asking because these dorky christian kids on campus kept telling me, "Oh you are so positive and sweet. I can tell you are a strong brother in Christ. Why don't you join our Baptist student union!"

 

***vomit***

 

Well, that depends. From what you say above, I have to say it certainly sounds like the answer for you is yes. However, if you keep looking because you simply cannot reconcile what you see in the world around you with the natural, then perhaps not.

 

I used to think like you, that atheism was as much a leap of faith as theism. I’ve since come to realize that it isn’t. Of course there are many different interpretations of what atheism truly means. Some might say that atheism means disbelief in any god or gods including those who say we can’t know that any god or gods exist (agnosticism). Still others say that atheism is the absolute denial that there is even the slightest possibility that any god or gods exist (militant atheism). Personally I accept the simplest and most straightforward definition: a lack of belief in the existence of a god or gods. Can you show me any deity? No, you can’t.

 

The typical religionist response to this is something to the effect of “Well show me the air! You can’t!” No, I can’t show them the actual air because it is a colorless, odorless gas and is for the most part invisible. But I can wave my hand in front of their face and they can feel that air wash against them. I can puff smoke and they can watch it float in and intermingle with the air until it is dispersed to such a degree that it too is not visible. I can light a candle and they can watch it burn. I can place that candle under a glass and they can watch it sputter and die as the air it needs to continue burning is spent. I can continue providing solid scientific evidence that the air does indeed exist. They can’t provide one single solitary scientific proof that any deity exists.

 

Why then am I to believe that any do exist? Just because we are here? Aren’t there other explanations for the existence of life on this earth that are just as plausible if not more so than the belief that the god of the Judeo-Christian bible or any other religions’ deity created it? Hell, the explanation that aliens planted us here as an experiment is just as plausible as that. Either way you’re stuck with the question “Who created the creator?” It’s a vicious circle.

 

I’ve come to the realization that to deny the existence of a god due to lack of evidence takes absolutely no faith whatsoever. As a matter of fact, it takes an absolute lack of faith. Is this to say that a god cannot exist? Of course not. But all the evidence that has been presented thus far does not support the case for the existence of any such entity. All it supports is the fact that there are still vast amounts of information about this universe that we humans do not yet comprehend. Will we ever? Maybe. Probably not though. Definitely not in our lifetimes, but hopefully before we destroy ourselves as a species.

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So, is choosing a new religion, post Christianity, just preparation for making the jump to atheism/agnosticism?

 

I think I maybe turning agnostic. But I am starting not to care.

 

A few thoughts - picking a new religion after you've realized one is false is problematic. You certainly can't jump into another monotheist religion like Islam or Judaism, because in a sense you've already rejected monotheism. It would be like saying, "I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I do believe in the Tooth Fairy". :shrug:

 

But at the same time, being raised in the cult, you're having a hard time throwing out a well-used crutch - the notion that Someone is up there and is concerned about your every move. :pyth:

 

I'm not saying if you're an Ex-C you must be atheist, but I think you'll have a hard time with any religion that demands obedience to a higher, supernatural entity of some sort. And that precludes a lot (if not all) of organized religion, as well as cults.

 

Gnosticism may be a good one to look into, as would Buddhism, Philosophical Taoism, Unitarian Universalists, maybe even Baha'i (I don't know a lot about Baha'i, but it seems fairly agnostic and not prone to ritualism and such).

 

Or you could give Secular Humanism a shot - you don't have to deny god(s), but you can put them aside as being relatively unimportant or unknown.

 

Anyway, just be patient and give it time - I think you'll be surprised how much of this kind of thing works itself out. The main thing is to just stay alive and happy, and try not to worry too much about the unknowable :phew:

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Since I've deconverted from Christianity I keep trying to decide on different faiths and religions to be apart of. Then, oneday, it struck me, "Am I doing this because this is a TRUE faith or am I doing this just to say I worship something?" I am finding that I don't believe in Wicca, Buddhism, or any of the religions for that matter. I am very much interested in them(I love studying about Greek/Roman/Norse/Egyptian dieties), but I don't think they're real.

When I left xianity I still felt there must be a god and so I looked to Judaism. It was "wierd" so I went to Diesm and on and on. That desire for another "god" basically landed me at agnostic. I took on the mindset of "Agnostic by choice/Atheist by evidence" although in reality, deep down, I'm just atheist at this point. I feel if there is a god it will make itself (themselves) apparent to me and if not, then it doesn't matter. If, after I die, it does matter, then I guess I'll have to deal with it then but at least I was honest with myself in the here and now.

 

On the upside, I found the study of all these gods and religions very interesting and it actually sparked an interest in ancient history. I'm now 37 and considering going to college to earn a degree in a related field (it would be my first since I dropped out of college to start a business my first go around). None of this would have ever happened had I stayed xian so call it divine intervention. ;)

 

Giving up Christianity, for me, was like losing my faith in Santa Claus. I just can't replace him with the Easter Bunny or the Tooth fairy because I know they are fake too. But it is hard to go cold turkey with faith. Sometimes I wonder am I turning into an athiest...But, the mere possibility scares me. Don't get me wrong, athiests are great...I just don't want to be one. To me that takes faith too.

I used to think that being atheist took faith too but after basically ending up here I can tell you that it really doesn't. Like all the misconceptions one has a xian about life "on the outside" this is just another one of them. Just like it doesn't take faith to not believe in Santa (to use your example) it doesn't take faith to not believe in god (any of them). You simply don't care anymore...it just "fades" away. I think this is why I hang onto the agnostic label. I just feel like there should be "something," you know? But I just think this is just leftover "programming" because the only "something" I can find is something that simply doesn't care or interact and if that's the case then why should I care about it? My life is too precious to waste worrying about a being like that. No, if this is truly the situation then that being should want to comfort me. I don't hide from things around me (like my pets) and I expect the same. If that's selfish of me then too bad. So I guess I'll slide into athiesm unless some better evidence presents itself. Wanting evidence is not a crime.

 

So, is choosing a new religion, post Christianity, just preparation for making the jump to atheism/agnosticism?

It doesn't have to be. In my case it was.

 

They just said, "Oh...well, I'll pray for you. You are a great person and I want your soul to be saved..."

That is just soooo condescending. I have told every single person I know to never pray for me. Ever. It's an insult.

 

Then one asked, "What do you believe in?"

 

To which I replied, "I'm still thinking about it..."

 

Which ultimately prompted this question.

And that's the hook. Now you doubt yourself. You feel you have to believe in something "out there." Something "beyond yourself." Well, believe in *yourself*. Believe in humanity. Believe in things that are good. Believe in what is right. I know these sound like platitudes or whatnot but can't the same be said of what comes out of the bible or other books? They'll ask you how you know what is right or wrong without god. Tell them you decide what is right or wrong. You make those calls. Society makes those calls. And so on. Not some book. Stand firm and they'll be the ones to back down. You'll find out that if you believe in yourself that you will always win against their book...every single time. I guarantee it.

 

I know it's a hell of a lot easier said than done. Being raised xian I find myself doubting myself more often than I'd like but the more I learn the less I do it. Not having that "safety net" of god really makes you feel "naked" against those who have it but you realize it's like the Emporers new clothes. It's not really there anyway.

 

mwc

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Thanks all...

 

I think it is a big deal for me, right now, because I come from such a religious background. My family are dyed in the wool Baptist fundies who believe that Jesus is the only way...And if you don't believe then you are destined to rot in hell...

 

Thankfully, I no longer believe in any of it.

I think the only thing that matters the most is having that common ground with my family. However, intellectually, I can't say emphatically that there is a god. And blind faith is for children.

 

I believe in being kind to others, and living your life as a good person...Yes, some of life is bad, but it isn't so horrible that I sit around and call death, "A better place."

And why should I sit around waiting to goto heaven all the time? I want to love and enjoy my life for what it is in the present.

 

All of these religions are just speculation...

 

Well, just my random ramblings.

 

I appreciate all the replies! They have been food for thought! :)

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I think religion is like drugs. You take them for solace, and after a while you becmoe addicted. Because of this, withdrawl symptoms appear, like fear of death and hell after deconversion. So, you latch on to other faiths like paganism and New Age stuff like a heroin addict latches on to morphine to curb his cravings. You will completely deconvert after you realize that the supernatural is all bunk.

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Don't know. I know that it isn't the case for me, and that I am finding my own truth, or at least the one I need to find at this point, but we're all in different places.

 

Do what you need to do, and don't fret too much about it. I know, easier said than done, it helps, though, if you don't take religion so...well...religiously (i.e. seriously).

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Atheist, agnostic, secular humanist...

 

Semantics. It's been my experience that, in regards to beliefs, the folks who identify with these "different" labels almost always have more in common with each other than individuals belonging to different sects of a single religion--regardless of how wildly disparate they may be in all other things.

 

That said, there's nothing unusual about a deconvert developing a greater interest in unfamiliar (historical) religions. I've yet to meet one who hasn't. All of a sudden a whole new world of knowledge has opened up to you, with no bishop/pastor/priest standing over your shoulder reminding you that it's EBIL! It's only natural that you should be excited to jump in and start learning.

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I think it is a big deal for me, right now, because I come from such a religious background. My family are dyed in the wool Baptist fundies who believe that Jesus is the only way...And if you don't believe then you are destined to rot in hell...

The worst thing was when my mom cried over the phone when I told her. :( I really didn't want it to go down like that but my wife and I were fighting and (I hate to say it) "one thing led to another" and it came out almost on a dare. I'm glad my grandparents had died already because this would have killed them for sure (even though, as it turns out, my uncle is apparently an unbeliever of some sort...we don't discuss it but I guess my grandmother tried to convert him on her death bed according to my sister who was there).

 

I believe in being kind to others, and living your life as a good person...Yes, some of life is bad, but it isn't so horrible that I sit around and call death, "A better place."

And why should I sit around waiting to goto heaven all the time? I want to love and enjoy my life for what it is in the present.

Once I quit the cult I saw life as "better" too. I used to see the world as "bad" but now I don't. It's strange. Life was something to just "get through" and not actually *live*. It's kind of sad but I don't really regret it, you know? I just wish I had figured it out sooner.

 

I've discovered that my family doesn't all see religion so cut and dry anymore either. They've tried to hold the party line but since I've "shaken" things up some have went a little more conservative (but claim they haven't) and others have went more liberal (and also claim they haven't). Only a couple are willing to really talk to me about religious things beyond what you might call preaching (like discussions of other religions or ancient gods in a more academic sense...and I've almost managed to get one of them to read a gnostic text) so I have hopes that I might soften them up and "spread" some ideas over time. :)

 

mwc

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i converted to a very liberal form of Judaism called "Reform Judaism" 8 years or so after I left Christianity and I don't feel like I exchanged one bad idea for another or one religion for another.

 

As a "Reform Jew" I'm totally free to be an agnostic or atheist and I'm free to believe anything I want. Theological opinions are private and Reform Jews don't necessarily go for God, afterlife, or divine forgiveness. Being "good" to fellow humans and to the world is stressed. I'm encouraged to study history and religion professionally and my opinions are taken seriously. There really is no "party line" to toe. I don't attend a synagogue and no one expects me to do so. My religious practice is my business, and nobody is even checking. To tell the truth, I'm more conservative politically than the Reform Jews I know (alot of them are far-leftist). No one makes you or expects you to support the Israeli state, and many Reform Jews don't. Reform Judaism teaches the autonomy of the individual and has no centralized religious authority.

 

Most importantly for me, being a Reform Jew provides a specifically non-Christian social context that you could not have with say, Freemasons, Rotarians, Lyons Club or any other non-religious society. Humanists and atheists aren't too big on fellowship and spend most of their time hiding out or whining. the "Ethical Society" is pretty much dead.

 

that's the thing, religion doesn't have to be a set of beliefs or even a set of prescribed practices... it's more like social identification to me. So I am an atheist, a humanist, I do whatever I want but I identify myself as a Jew. for me, I identify personally with the Jewish myth of "exile" and with the "outsider" and "nomadic" status Jews have had historically ("wandering Jew"). so I chose a religion that is symetrical with my temperment and style

 

 

but all this is really not for most anybody. I'm a rare exception.

 

(hope this thread doesn't go bad from here... as most threads "Jewish" go around here....)

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CB,

 

Thats really interesting. How did you become Jewish?

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to be honest, i've always had a strange relationship with Judaism even since childhood.

 

i grew up in South Carolina and I come from a long line of independent baptists. Of course, they support Israel and love Jews because they've got the idea that Jews are "God's Chosen," (Reform Jews have rejected the idea of "chosen people"). my grandpa was Jew-obsessed... he tried to teach himself hebrew, he wore a mogen david, his license plate said "shalom," and he was a regular attender/annoyer down at the local temple... his angle was to try to convert Jews because they had "tragically rejected their messiah." he even started a "missionary organization" he called "the Christian Friends of Israel." of his sons, the oldest is a fundy baptist, the middle child has become a "messianic Jew" and my dad left church when I did about ten years ago and is now probably a pantheist, but he's still interested in Judaism for its history and because of me.

 

when i first "deconverted" when I was 19, i started attending services and adult ed courses at the synagogue (the same one my granddad went to) and actually spoke with the rabbi after a time about conversion to Judaism. he sorta brushed me off, which I later learned is a rabbi trick to see if you are serious.

 

so i stopped going, but still kept studying. 4 years later I found myself teaching an introductory course in Judaism, Christianity and Islam as a teaching assistant while I was doing my Master's (i had studied mainly Christianity in undergrad), and I had to expand my knowledge to see the big picture of the religions, but more importantly for this discussion... i was able to see how Jewish religion has changed over just the last 200 years or so to accomodate the Philosophical Enlightenment. i taught that class for 4 years and kept expanding my perspective.

 

shortly after all that, I fell in love with a Jewish girl and I converted before I married her because I feel like religious cohesion and non-Christianity is good for the future kids, and I was already convinced of the merits of Reform Judaism. Some people have told me that I converted "just to get married" (or have made even cruder remarks) but they don't know my history or my heart.

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And why should I sit around waiting to goto heaven all the time? I want to love and enjoy my life for what it is in the present.

 

You got it - that's the secret to happiness and humankind's purpose.

 

From here on out, I think that's what we all want to do, whether atheist/agnostic, Buddhist, pagan or "Reform Jew". :grin:

 

And follow the ancient code of humanity: treat others the way you would want to be treated by them.

 

Simple! :phew:

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And why should I sit around waiting to goto heaven all the time? I want to love and enjoy my life for what it is in the present.

 

You got it - that's the secret to happiness and humankind's purpose.

 

From here on out, I think that's what we all want to do, whether atheist/agnostic, Buddhist, pagan or "Reform Jew". :grin:

 

And follow the ancient code of humanity: treat others the way you would want to be treated by them.

 

Simple! :phew:

 

 

i totally agree, it's the very best we can do!

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There's a lot of pressure to fit into certain labels, people like 'em for some reason, which I hate. I hate identifying with any group simply because I find it limiting. Whatever you believe, it doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you and its only your business, not anyone else's. I don't believe xians when they say that they are worried about our souls or about going to hell, if they really were then they'd be more distraught about such things.

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with being an atheist because I realized I've always "done" life alone even as a xian, I just believed in a god back then. I used to have the same perspective that you do, it worried me but it doesn't anymore. I don't see life as hopeless without a deity, I'm not worrying myself about an afterlife, even xians have to die and face death, after that no one really knows what happens.

 

Would it be so bad to actually cease existing? Not to me. After all its not as if you care in death. I don't know what else might be out there, but I do know that I get to only live once so I better make the best of my time here and live life. Don't worry so much about the mysteries of life, don't drive yourself crazy with endless questions that you can't answer. Sure their fun to ponder but they can drive you crazy. But there's something that you can do and that is live your life, don't merely exist.

 

If there are any deities out there, then I'm sure it/they are much bigger and more understanding than any god mankind can come up with. I also don't think that a deity would expect something as ridiculous as picking one "right" religion out of many in the world, then daming you for eternity if you choose the wrong one. That just doesn't make much sense, when religion is cultural, societal and regional. I wish you the best man.

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"Oh...well, I'll pray for you. You are a great person and I want your soul to be saved..."
I hate it when they say that. But there's hardly anything you can say back without sounding terribly mean.
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"Oh...well, I'll pray for you. You are a great person and I want your soul to be saved..."
I hate it when they say that. But there's hardly anything you can say back without sounding terribly mean.

Well you can say this

 

Christian : "Oh...well, I'll pray for you. You are a great person and I want your soul to be saved..."

 

You: "yeah I'm hoping the one true god Allah will save my soul. Praise Allah!"

 

or

 

Christian : "Oh...well, I'll pray for you. You are a great person and I want your soul to be saved..."

 

You: "From Jesus or by Jesus?"

 

Christian: ".........."

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"Oh...well, I'll pray for you. You are a great person and I want your soul to be saved..."
I hate it when they say that. But there's hardly anything you can say back without sounding terribly mean.

Well you can say this

 

Christian : "Oh...well, I'll pray for you. You are a great person and I want your soul to be saved..."

 

You: "yeah I'm hoping the one true god Allah will save my soul. Praise Allah!"

 

or

 

Christian : "Oh...well, I'll pray for you. You are a great person and I want your soul to be saved..."

 

You: "From Jesus or by Jesus?"

 

Christian: ".........."

lol thanks. I like the first one. Though I doubt I could say it with a straight face.
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Atheism is just the default position you take while you wait for someone to present you with a valid argument for why you should believe their religion, or in their god, or in their supposed phenomenon.

 

If you are like most, you did not have that choice when you were a child as religion was forced on you. You are now grown up and you don't have to believe in anything unless an extraordinary case can be made from those who come to you with extraordinary claims.

 

Atheism doesn't take a leap of faith. For me, this default is just the prudent position to take when considering the fact that you've already been burned once and everyone is out their hawking something new and fantastic for you to swallow. Don't like the label? Don't use it.

 

In other words, snake oil salesman beware, you are now going to demand valid evidence for those crazy claims.

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I think the only thing that matters the most is having that common ground with my family. However, intellectually, I can't say emphatically that there is a god. And blind faith is for children.

 

Unfortunately you are not going to find any common ground with your family if they are "died in the wool Baptists" since nothing short of believing their version of the gospel will give you that ground.

 

You should believe whatever makes you most comfortable and happy. Don't think that you have to take the intellectual position on the matter. This may be intimidating for you. Instead, just demand proof from those who bring you claims. You are now finally in the position where you are not making claims. This puts the burdon of proof on those who are. You are now free to believe or not believe at will. Jesus doesn't set anyone free, not having to have all the answers makes one free.

 

 

Once I quit the cult I saw life as "better" too. I used to see the world as "bad" but now I don't. It's strange.

 

Yeah, that was one of the most eye-opening events that occured after my deconversion. I

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I am finding that I don't believe in Wicca, Buddhism, or any of the religions for that matter.

 

Firstly, if I may add, Buddhism is NOT a religion. There is NOTHING to believe in Buddhism. You are either able to be put the teachings into practice and put it to the test in your own life, or you aren't. Put simply, Buddhism is a way to overcome the problems of human life - here and now - so that peace and happiness can be maintained. There is NO belief in ANYTHING.

 

Buddhism teaches one to think for oneself, to reason out and test for oneself, and NOT to be bound by traditions, dogmas, scriptures, or beliefs. There is NO place for "prayer" or "worship" in Buddhism.

 

In the words of the Buddha: "Don't accept a thing merely because it is handed down by tradition, don't accept a thing merely because many people repeat it, don't accept a thing merely on the authority of the teacher, Don't accept a thing merely because it is found in "holy books," don't accept a thing merely because probability is in its favour, don't accept a thing merely because you have imagined it to be true. Only after extreme and deep examination, after testing it for yourself, if you find it is reasonable and it is in conformity with your well being and the well being of others as well, then accept it and follow it well. Above all, be sincere."

 

With compassion

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Buddhism can be a religion or merely a philosophy, depending on what exact form you follow.

 

The way I like to put it is, Buddhism is whatever its followers want it to be.

 

One thing that it most definitely isn't, is authoritarian. You can't say, "Nobody who believes in God could be a Buddhist," or, "Nobody who doesn't believe in karma could be a Buddhist," or "You think you're a Buddhist, but you're really not." Because the Buddha said, "Believe nothing.....not even if I have said it.....unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

 

That's one of the best things about the Buddha, and Buddhism. Unlike certain religious figures, such as Muhammad, whose dictum was pretty much "Believe what I say, no matter how little sense it makes or how wrong it seems, because I said so, and if you don't you can and will go to hell," the Buddha saw that nobody really knows what's best for ourselves, but ourselves.

 

As for religion, I think as people develop and evolve they begin to see a higher reality which transcends religion, at least in its sectarian attributes. I think this reality has a lot more in common with syncretism than sectarianism. In that, you begin to see all the clear truths and goodness within the world's religions, amid all the befuddlements.

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