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Religious Systems And Us


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Well, there is the whole personal spirituality thread, the diety thread, I figured that the next logical place to cover is what (if any) religious system people use. By this I am refering to concepts and philosophies that people use in their own belief and practice.

 

Some here would seem to be pretty straight foward, but I figure that I am not the only one who has their own ad hoc religion cobbled together from various sources, and I am curious as to what people have put together.

 

As for me, I have taken elements from Wicca and other Occidental neo-pagan traditions for ritual practice, some philosophy from the Tao-Te-Ching for the most part. I've also incorporated some animist thought, particularly when it comes to machines. And yes, I have also lifted the concept of reincarnation from these sources, mostly from a conservation standpoint.

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dangers and irrationality of faith and assumption itself.

 

Faith and assumption cannot hurt me. I have crafted to the finest precision, a helmet, made of the highest grade of thin yet strong, bendable aluminum, through which no danger of faith can come through to me. Whenever I feel as though I am having a mystical experience, I put it on and bang my head against a hard surface, repeatedly, until I force upon myself the realization of the inherent irrationality and harmfulness of what I was dabbling in.

 

As for religious beliefs, I'm pretty syncretistic, myself. I have a statue of Saraswati in my room, because she's the goddess of learning, knowledge, and the arts, and a sort of prototype or character of what I would like to be, and what I treasure most. I also have a soft spot for Athena. I'm very interested in the idea of goddesses, as you can see. I don't worship them in the sense of "You are my Lord and in control of my destiny, take me under your all-powerful wing because as a human I am helpless and at your mercy".

 

I've been called pagan, Buddhist, Hindu, New Age, whatever, and I really don't care. The only thing that bothers me is when people dictate to me what I believe in, or make assumptions about it. I.e., my Christian mother says that both I and every other non-Christian out there, cannot really believe in God, nor can they truly be spiritually happy or legitimate. Or, once as a Christian I read a common Muslim argument against the Trinity: "You think you worship one God, but you actually worship three gods." I really resent the idea that other people can consider themselves greater authorities on what a person truly believes in that that very particular person.

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The problem with a "celtic believe" is, that there is no tradition, that survived from the days of the celts and that the Druids wrote nothing down.

What can you do about it?

I for myself read and read as much historical books about them and try to learn why they were different from others of there time. Also every saga and legend of the Irish does show how they where thinking.

And then there are all those Books about Druids and there practice written today. I do read them even so I do not know where the autors get there knowledge, but hey, there might be one or two true things in them.

Many things you find in celtic legends hint older or other practice taken in to what I call celtic believe. Shamanisen and totemisen (sorry for possible spelling mistakes) for example. By studying such cultures and crossrevering to the legends I have found my way of practice.

I am not afraid of practicing a wrong celtic believe because it always changed. Actualy I should be a Christian if I think about it for the Druids merged there believes with the cristian one as they thought it was the time for that. But christianity does not change much in these days and not in the old. Because of that I adept the celtic ways to my time and the society, trying to keep up the ethics I believe in. (Huh. Can't think straight at the moment. Hope this makes sense)

 

:wacko:

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Since deconverting I've been left thinking "ok, so I don't believe in gods but now what?"...I feel like I've been left with the bare basics and now need to start building on what is my foundation.

 

Over time I've come to realise that if there's one thing that I could possibly term god it's this universe...in fact I think I've probably felt that way all my life and my venture into Christianity was just part of a big search to understand just what that feeling was about and give it some kind of name. Anyway, since realising this I've started picking up where I left off with paganism but with a pantheistic belief now rather than the polytheistic belief I had in the past. For me it's all about celebrating life, the universe and everything in a way that's meaningful to me.

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I have a bas relief Thoth in my office and numerous Bastet statues I like the ambiance of... There's a lot of the mystic in my personal library, too... and Tibetan (via Nepal, not China) artefacts

 

The thing that speaks most to me is a Cthulhu statue, made to order by an old friend who spent more than his share of time in a mad house... I handed him the description, and told him I wanted it to be an object that people of taste and sensitivity wouldn't want to spend a night in the same room as. He pretty well aced it... I find the Lovecraft ideas a good sorbet to remind one of one's place in the wider cosmos... and that the Gods of men are pointers back to aspects of ourselves, not to the universe. The universe is, as far as our science is showing, a tale told by an idiot.... full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

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I like ritual, the pomp and circumstance of religious psychodrama. I've found it can be a personally productive, self-transformative activity, if approached with the right frame of mind. Good ritualizing can help strengthen one's convictions and help one improve oneself, and in group rituals, can help to form strong bonds amongst people of like spiritual and philosophical mindset. For those of us who are ritually-inclined, ritual can be a useful and enjoyable tool.

 

Personally, I've engaged in Odinic ritual, as well as Satanic ritual. As I continue to study LaVeyan Satanism and the Odinic element of Asatru and find where these (and other religious paths) fit into my overall personal mosaic, I find Satanic ritual especially to be personally appealing. Especially if I color it with Odinic references, so much the better. The basic Asatru rites of Blot and Sumbel have their appeal to me, but feel more suitable for group use; aside from the get-togethers my sis-in-law has on each solstice and equinox where she conduct Wiccan rites (and my wife and I invariably assist), if I feel the need or desire to ritualize, I fly solo. LaVeyan rituals, at least to me, seem to be especially productive when used alone, though they are also intended for group use as well. The philosophies of both paths appeal strongly to me, so it's only natural their rites should, as well.

 

A sort of Satanic-Odinic system, in short :pureevil:

 

I've yet to study any form of Buddhist meditation, but I suspect that, if approached correctly, it can have the same positive self-transformative function as any other religious ritual which is centered on positive things. Since I revere basic Buddhist philosophy, I'm sure I could find something for me in some form of Buddhist meditation. Time will tell ;)

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devknull: Yes, it is a straight-out modern Prometheus of a religion. I tend to think of it more as salvage, though. Oh, and it is also a tenet of mine is that the universe is not actually rational, but that rational systems can be used to model it (this mostly has to do with paradox avoidance).

 

For everyone else: Interesting. Would you say that your own paths are still under development?

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Well, there is the whole personal spirituality thread, the diety thread, I figured that the next logical place to cover is what (if any) religious system people use. By this I am refering to concepts and philosophies that people use in their own belief and practice.

 

Some here would seem to be pretty straight foward, but I figure that I am not the only one who has their own ad hoc religion cobbled together from various sources, and I am curious as to what people have put together.

 

As for me, I have taken elements from Wicca and other Occidental neo-pagan traditions for ritual practice, some philosophy from the Tao-Te-Ching for the most part. I've also incorporated some animist thought, particularly when it comes to machines. And yes, I have also lifted the concept of reincarnation from these sources, mostly from a conservation standpoint.

 

I don't have any rituals. I just don't like the whole thing. I more spiritually inclined(meditation, self affirmation, and etc) to be honest. I love all the pomp and color of the world religions(Wiccanism just seems really cool, along with Eastern religions)...But I just don't believe I have to do all that.

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For everyone else: Interesting. Would you say that your own paths are still under development?

 

As long as I'm still breathin' :)

 

And paradoxes make it all the more fun :pureevil:

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While I can't say that I've actually adopted any religious ideas, I can say that I've been influenced by them. In one sense, Christianity has been the greatest influence, since it dominates not only my past up until four years ago, but also because it has been such an influence on Western thought and history. I have to say, though, that the pre-Christian pagans of Europe have been a huge influence on me, as well. The myths of both the Hellenistic people and the people of the North have reached me powerfully. When I was a child, I sometimes wished that I had been born in Greece just so I could participate in honoring the gods I read about.

 

I've found the Eastern religions also to be very intriguing, but while there is a mystique about them for me, I can't relate to them as well, with the possible exception of Buddhism and to a degree, Shinto.

 

I don't have any real practices besides meditation that I do--mostly because of laziness/forgetfulnesss-- but if I did, they would probably be something like those done by many Asatru. I'm not referring to the ritual drinking of symbel or the feasting of a blot, but the dealing with the local wights. There's something about the regular offering of gifts, not to gods who have no reason to care about me, but to local spirits, that I feel keeps you focused on where your priorities should be in this life--the balance of maintaining good relations with others with personal fulfillment and growth in such a way that they enhance each other.

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For everyone else: Interesting. Would you say that your own paths are still under development?

 

Sure. Its all about learning and developing. Only that way you can take responcebility for what you are doing. Doing wrong because you dont know is no excuse for me.

 

There's something about the regular offering of gifts, not to gods who have no reason to care about me, but to local spirits, that I feel keeps you focused on where your priorities should be in this life--the balance of maintaining good relations with others with personal fulfillment and growth in such a way that they enhance each other.

 

To that I totaly agree.

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I am a member of Unitarian Universalism, but that is more of a "Jesus Shield" for me, protecting me from my Christian relatives who hear I am going to church and don't dig any deeper into it.

 

One of my college professors had a phrase called Multiple Religious Identity. I have always seen my beliefs as fitting that term. I do not see it as a mish-mash of belief, I am an elitist, and only take the best in human thought, wherever it may come. I do not accept a religionist, or a non-religionist, because of who they are, but what they have to teach me.

 

Millman's "Socrates" has the catchphrase: Paradox, Humor, Change. Those 3 things are as close to universal as I have seen to date. And since religion, as Marx said, is the opiate of the masses, I find solice and happiness in this deceptively simple three word idea.

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I have a bas relief Thoth in my office and numerous Bastet statues I like the ambiance of... There's a lot of the mystic in my personal library, too... and Tibetan (via Nepal, not China) artefacts

 

The thing that speaks most to me is a Cthulhu statue, made to order by an old friend who spent more than his share of time in a mad house... I handed him the description, and told him I wanted it to be an object that people of taste and sensitivity wouldn't want to spend a night in the same room as. He pretty well aced it... I find the Lovecraft ideas a good sorbet to remind one of one's place in the wider cosmos... and that the Gods of men are pointers back to aspects of ourselves, not to the universe. The universe is, as far as our science is showing, a tale told by an idiot.... full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

 

Grandpa Harley: Ah! A fellow Lovecraft admirer! I love his cosmic vision. His stories are great and his correspondence is fantastic. I still have a statue of Cthulhu myself in a bottom drawer, which was a model I glued together and painted years ago. He was a helpful influence in my deconversion from fundamentalist Christianity, although I suspect this would not work for many.

 

I also have an Egyptian goddess (Selket) statue, statues of Kali, Maitreya, and Buddha. That does not mean I worship idols. I don't believe in them as actual entities, but I have a devotional nature, which I will not abandon or deny. I do not attend church anymore, but I admire beauty. I still find it in Eastern Orthodox icons, the Anglican mass and stained glass windows. I love Russian Orthodox church music. Just because I am no longer a Christian does not mean that I do not think there was absolutely nothing to it. There is beauty there. Just throw out the doctrine. It is horrible, and I absolutely deny it.

 

I feel free to pick and choose and cobble together what is most appealing to me from the world's religions and philosophies. I see no problem with that. I am most drawn to Buddhism and some forms of Hinduism, and have read several sutras and Hindu scriptures and derived a lot from them to help me in life.

 

I am happy we have this section to post in.

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Yup, I have a library bust of him too... and virtually everything fictive that is extant and known to be by his hand... in several editions...

 

I have a personal fondness for Gregorian Chant, and the latin mass... I can recommend the 'Gregorian' project too... Nothing Else Matters by Metallica in Gregorian chant style is very atmospheric...

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Yup, I have a library bust of him too... and virtually everything fictive that is extant and known to be by his hand... in several editions...

 

I have a personal fondness for Gregorian Chant, and the latin mass... I can recommend the 'Gregorian' project too... Nothing Else Matters by Metallica in Gregorian chant style is very atmospheric...

 

I am impressed by your Lovecraft library. I have a few books and things that were expensive and hard to get. I have all his fiction, his major biographies, a couple "Weird Tales" and several "Astounding Stories" magazines from the 20's and 30s and I have all 5 volumes of the "Selected Letters."

 

Thanks for the link. I will check out Metallica. I did not know they did anything like Gregorian chant. Love chants, incense and the whole mass thing.

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For my wedding I had the organist at our church play "Nothing Else Matters" from a piano version I had found online.

 

It sounded awesome on the organ, and got many people in the audience to smile as the bridesmaids and ushers walked down the aisle to it.

 

I'd love to hear a Gregorian chant version of the song.

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Yup, I have a library bust of him too... and virtually everything fictive that is extant and known to be by his hand... in several editions...

 

I have a personal fondness for Gregorian Chant, and the latin mass... I can recommend the 'Gregorian' project too... Nothing Else Matters by Metallica in Gregorian chant style is very atmospheric...

 

I am impressed by your Lovecraft library. I have a few books and things that were expensive and hard to get. I have all his fiction, his major biographies, a couple "Weird Tales" and several "Astounding Stories" magazines from the 20's and 30s and I have all 5 volumes of the "Selected Letters."

 

Thanks for the link. I will check out Metallica. I did not know they did anything like Gregorian chant. Love chants, incense and the whole mass thing.

 

Not Metallica... Gregorian... they do covers :)

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