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TEG

There is no universal human religion

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Hello.  As an ex-fundamentalist I am still fascinated by the phenomenon of religion.  And I have asked myself, is it possible that there really is something “out there,” meaning some sort of deity or spiritual world, or something “in there,” meaning a non-corporeal soul.  It seems to me that if there really were some sort of spiritual world that was accessible to man, then there would be some sort of universal human religion.  We all see the same moon; why don’t we all see the same god?  Example:  hinduism and buddhism are two of the world’s main religions.  But as I understand it, they do not agree on something as fundamental as the existence of the atman, or soul.  Hindus say there is one, buddhists say there isn’t.  This seems like a pretty important question for religion to answer.  Another example:  Jesus told his disciples that the holy spirit would guide them into all truth.  Down through the centuries, he has not been a very good guide, as evidenced by religious divisions and even warfare, with each group using the tinfoil-hat argument that the devil has deceived their opponents.  Another example:  how many gods are there?

 

I can imagine someone objecting to this by saying that when people have spiritual experiences, it is so unlike everyday experience that it cannot be put into words, or that everyone sees things from a different angle and so has a different perspective.  But I still have trouble with the fact that the amount of agreement between religions is so small, and can’t help but think it is much more likely that religious experiences are basically hallucinations.  Even near-death experiences, which have common elements, have neurobiological explanations; plus, they happen when a person is dying and their brain is starved of oxygen.  People having heart attacks often have chest pain, shortness of breath, etc.; people whose brains are shutting down sometimes have near-death experiences.

 

So what I have been searching for is some reason to believe that religion or spirituality is based on something “real” other than a feeling that you have, and I have not found it.  The ancient babylonians and greeks used the same trigonometry that we use.  Anyone on earth doing basic experiments would come up with the same value for the acceleration due to gravity.  But religions are as diverse as science fiction novels.  So I have concluded that religion is, basically, science fiction that people actually believe.  It is the product of man’s mind, and is thus as diverse as man himself.  It sometimes makes people better, and sometimes makes them worse, just like everything else.  If someone’s religion or spirituality helps them through life’s rough spots, the way that crutches help people walk, fine; but I do not believe that there is anything more real to it than that.

 

Just wondering if anyone else has wondered along these lines.

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23 minutes ago, TEG said:

Just wondering if anyone else has wondered along these lines.

 

Not no more.

 

23 minutes ago, TEG said:

So I have concluded that religion is, basically, science fiction that people actually believe. 

It's fiction all right.

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3 hours ago, MOHO said:

 

Not no more.

 

It's fiction all right.

Yayyyyy for opinion!

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OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS!

 

Did not expect this to wind up in a genuine discussion forum.

Need to think before commencing with the yuck yucks.   :blush:

 

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On 8/14/2019 at 2:33 PM, TEG said:

Hello.  As an ex-fundamentalist I am still fascinated by the phenomenon of religion.  And I have asked myself, is it possible that there really is something “out there,” meaning some sort of deity or spiritual world, or something “in there,” meaning a non-corporeal soul. 

 

I'm still fascinated by religion as well. I think there may be a spiritual world  that science has not detected, or science maybe just has not detected the 'extent' of the properties of physical matter and space. The universe is 13 billion years old. We've been studying it for 1000 years? Maybe? We probably don't know that much yet. :)

 

Quote

So what I have been searching for is some reason to believe that religion or spirituality is based on something “real” other than a feeling that you have, and I have not found it. 

 

 :) Matt Dillahunty might say "You have NO GOOD REASON to believe in God (or faeries or ESP or Ouija boards, etc). And if I were a Vulcan trying to repress half of my brain then I might agree. But in my agnostic opinion I do have a good reason. That reason is "Because I want to believe" and "Because I want to enjoy spirituality." I might say I have NO GOOD REASON to enjoy baseball. It is irrational to watch people stand around for 9 innings. It's irrational to listen to music. Why do anything irrational at all? Fiction isn't real yet there is a whole illogical multi-billion dollar industry in Hollywood devoted to it. I'm not sure why 'feeling good' is a bad thing. 

 

I dont think you will find a religion or spirituality that critical thinking will approve of. But being spiritual is not the job of your rational mind. It is the job of the emotional mind which still has that fascination for religion. Why do you have to be "positive" that a spirituality is "real" ? What would happen if you just let your self go and started doing something spiritual that made your rational mind have a hissy fit. (haha)

 

I ask these questions for self reflection , not saying you're wrong. Spirituality is a needed/welcome thing for some. For others it isnt. 

 

 

 

Quote

 

Just wondering if anyone else has wondered along these lines.

 

I've gone past wondering. I enjoy my own personal spirituality even if others think it's baloney. Even if my rational mind tells me it's baloney. Once "I" decide to do something spiritual my left brain will roll its eyes and say, "Ok we're doing that again, eh? Well alright, but let me show you to do  it the 'right'  way." And it will come up with some 'reasonable' method...my left brain hates to be left out. :) 

 

edited...added more drivel

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I think you nailed what I am getting at.  People invented baseball because they like it, it is good exercise, it is quality time with the kids, etc.  And people invent spirituality and religion for all kinds of reasons, some good, and some bad.  If it helps you cope, if it promotes your better qualities like altruism and perseverance, if it bonds you with your family, far be it from me to stand in your way.  But that doesn’t make it real, in the sense that there isn’t really a god who will reward or punish us, there isn’t really a heaven that we go to when we die, and so forth.  But if it feels good, do it . . . .

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2 hours ago, TEG said:

I think you nailed what I am getting at.  People invented baseball because they like it, it is good exercise, it is quality time with the kids, etc.  And people invent spirituality and religion for all kinds of reasons, some good, and some bad.  If it helps you cope, if it promotes your better qualities like altruism and perseverance, if it bonds you with your family, far be it from me to stand in your way.  But that doesn’t make it real, in the sense that there isn’t really a god who will reward or punish us, there isn’t really a heaven that we go to when we die, and so forth.  But if it feels good, do it . . . .

 

If there isn't really a god to punish us, I'm completely on board with that. :)  Let the fantasy begin! lol The more something doesn't really exist, the safer it is. (Well, if it's my creation, anyway. Cant say the same for the mindfuck of mainstream religions)

 

And since I invented my own religious practice I'm still at a good 85-90% sane. :)  Dont take rationality or emotion too awful seriously. Enjoy life whatever way best suits you.

 

My 2 cents anyway.

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I practice my own form of "spirituality" as well, loosely centered on the 5 precepts and 8-fold path of Buddhism.  Mine is based solely in practice, without any attendant beliefs.  I do it because it makes me happy.  It reminds me to strive toward compassion, patience, wisdom, and peace: all of which are irrational to me.  But I've gotten enough battle scars in my life to consider that maybe striving toward the irrational is the most rational thing I can do sometimes.  I don't believe Buddhism to be the Truth; nor do I expect, insist, or even desire, for anyone else to practice what I practice.  That, too, would be irrational.

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@TEG,

Good topic. Sorry for my juvenile previous response. Did not mean to marginalize your post.

 

I used to ponder this a lot but all but gave up doing so after deciding that there very likely is nothing in existence along the realm of spirituality and the like. That's just a label we've placed on our conscious thoughts. That may sound arrogant but, so far, science has explained so many of the forces acting on our universe that it is justifiable to disregard any thoughts of spirituality or beings in other dimensions etc. I may find out otherwise after expiring but there is no reason to believe that we would be a part of anything esoteric at that point anyway so no need to ponder beyond entertainment purposes.

 

 

 

 

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The most universal religion/truth/purpose I have come up with, is to promote the wellbeing of mankind by studying what contributes to the wellbeing of mankind.

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