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Healthy and Useful Religion- is it possible and what would it, or does it, look like?


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Showing 76-100 of 169 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2012 7:25:31 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
Michael, what was it in that section on the New World Religion that you didn't like?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2012 7:37:56 PM PDT
S. Kessler says:
Nancy, if you put quote marks around a URL it will not work. I tried open it but the quotes made the address invalid.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2012 8:46:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 27, 2012 8:47:27 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
S., when you enter it then try it without the quotes.

Or you can just look it up as The Reappearance of the Christ - Alice A. Bailey (and get the PDF, then go to page 58 (or 54, I don't remember now)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2012 9:44:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 27, 2012 9:44:49 PM PDT
"Michael, what was it in that section on the New World Religion that you didn't like?"

1. the (unfounded) belief in the existence of deities
2. the (unfounded) belief in the validity of channeling
3. the reliance on the (suposed) validity of revealed knowledge
4. the fact that most of the rest of this is built upon the foundation laid by 1-3

That's just for starters...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2012 11:08:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 27, 2012 11:18:37 PM PDT
nameinuse says:
We are building a religion
We are building it bigger
We are widening the corridors
And adding more lanes
We are building a religion
A limited edition.
We're now accepting callers for these pendant keychains.
To resist it
Is useless
It is useless
To resist it

............

Now do you believe in the one big sign?
The double wide shine on the boothills of your mind.

........

Do you believe in the one true edge?
We're fastening our safety belts and stepping towards the ledge.

There's no need to ask directions if you ever lose your mind
We're behind you. We're behind you.
And let us please remind you
We can send a car to find you
If you ever lose your way

We are building a religion. We are making a brand.
We're the only ones to turn to when your castles turn to sand.

Do you believe in the one big song?
We are now accepting callers who would like to sing along.

(highly edited lyrics to a Cake song)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 12:13:19 AM PDT
Astrocat says:
Michael, thanks for looking at it, at least.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 3:31:29 AM PDT
Harry Marks says:
Nancy -

I don't imagine it matters much to you, but I think the "success" of a religion is not primarily about its purity, but has a lot to do as well with how many follow it. If people can sense that they are appropriating part (hopefully the best and truest part) of a centuries-old, time-honored religion, most of them are more interested. We have such celebrities as Paul Simon and Billy Joel, for example, endorsing ancient faith without feeling "trapped" into doing it exactly as commanded. How much more so for the average parents who feel good about raising their children with the same sense of positive, peace-loving faith that they experienced.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 5:20:37 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 5:25:08 AM PDT
Joe Anthony says:
Harry Marks says:

"I don't imagine it matters much to you, but I think the "success" of a religion is not primarily about its purity, but has a lot to do as well with how many follow it. If people can sense that they are appropriating part (hopefully the best and truest part) of a centuries-old, time-honored religion, most of them are more interested. We have such celebrities as Paul Simon and Billy Joel, for example, endorsing ancient faith without feeling "trapped" into doing it exactly as commanded. How much more so for the average parents who feel good about raising their children with the same sense of positive, peace-loving faith that they experienced."

I say:

No doubt, there is a sociological and a cultural component to religion in America. The mega-churches, for example, seem to exemplify the capitalistic ideal that bigger is better; and it appears to me to be as pre-packaged as any other commodity that one would purchase. I attended a service at a United Methodist church in Virginia. They were running three or four services on a Sunday morning and one on Saturday night. There was a constant flow of traffic and a traffic cop on duty. The sanctuary looked more like a huge conference center as opposed to a chapel. The rest of building had offices, day-care, activity rooms, and a luminous sun-lit lobby that made me feel as though I was in a place of business as opposed to a place of God.

I also had the feeling that the people were there to be "in and out"; that you go and then you can't get out fast enough. Indeed, in those high-end suburbs, Sunday is rarely a day of rest as children and parents have all sorts of extra-curricular activities to attend.

In contrast, when I've visited these little African American Baptist churches and Latino Pentecostal churches, with few amenities; I've felt a more profound sense faithfulness in the music, the prayers, the testifying, the sermon and what-have-you. At a lot of these inner city African American and Latino churches, food and fellowship is often offered to anyone after the service. Not as many people at these services seem to be in that much of hurry to get somewhere else. The services seem to me to be more lively and heart-felt and as opposed to the sleek and polished mega churches where people seem to be chomping at the bit for the minister to give the benediction so they can get in their cars move on to the next big thing.

One contrast I find fascinating when comparing churches, is transportation and clothing.

At the mega churches and at some of the suburban liberal-Protestant or even Catholic churches, people are arriving in nice new cars; classy models and so forth. At the inner-city African American or Latino churches, many of those people are arriving in cars that were obviously bought as used, and it's obvious that many are car-pooling. Some even get to church by walking or taking public transportation.

Conversely, at just about any African American or Latino inner-city church, you almost never see people in short pants or jeans; usually they are dressed quite formally; mean and even boys in suites and ties and women in dresses. At the suburban high-end churches you see people dressed in jeans, tee shirts, polo shirts, short pants, etc.

Indeed, I went to a tiny Pentecostal church among people who were living in a poverty stricken town high in the Central American mountains, and they were better dressed to church than people in America. I was actually embarrassed to be a "rich American" visiting with these poverty-stricken people in Central America; and I was the worst-dressed person in the room.

Here again, I think that there is something to be said about discipline. Apart from the religion itself and rituals and the differences in theology; I think that there may be something in the way church is attended that measures what people get out of the experience.

If a person from the inner city is attending a Wednesday night church meeting. He or she must be ready way ahead of time, not only to dress appropriately with nice, clean and pressed clothes; but he or she must also manage time accordingly to catch the bus on time or be ready for whoever might be picking them up. Also, there will be WAITING time. WAITING TIME in front of the house; WAITING TIME at the bus stop; WAITING TIME if the person has to walk several blocks. There's a great deal of contemplation that may go into the experience. Indeed, most Latino and African (i.e Ghanaian, Kenyan) churches typically begin a service fifteen to twenty minutes after the scheduled time in order to give people TIME to get there. This would be unheard of in a mega-church which is run according to the industrial culture of being on time for work and maximizing profit.

Indeed, Americans don't know how to wait. Along the lines of the capitalistic society, they want what they want and they want it NOW; and then like a child who quickly gets bored with every new toy, they want to move on to the next thing.

What I think I'm trying to say here, is that much of religion in America is more of a commodity to be USED as opposed to something that is more CONTEMPLATIVE. One is being mindful, as they are pressing the clothes, waiting for the bus or walking down the street.

Indeed, there are also some Orthodox Jews in my area and on Saturday I see them WALKING to temple. I'm largely ignorant of Orthodox Judaism, so I don't know whether or not they are allowed to drive the cars on the Sabbath; but I imagine that the idea of slowing down and feeling one's body in motion and absorbing the world around you travelling back and forth gives a person a feeling of mindfulness as to what they are doing...

...but this is not how most Americans seem to want to practice religion. They go to places that look more like recreation centers than houses of worship...a far cry from Jesus preaching at the Mount of Olives. They want to go to place with "standard" one-hour multiple services so that they can squeeze church in when it's convenient.

I think that Christians should attend a few African-American or Latino services, not to necessarily to join, but just to gain a sense as to what it means to just approach God with the idea of being in the moment; that it's not going to be one hour of church and then I'm moving on to something else.

To begin with, many African-American or Latino services are of indeterminate length, and can go on for two or even three hours; and very likely, a meal will be served afterwards. If you take into consideration people who are walking, car-pooling or taking public transportation; and taking time to dress up; your looking at about five hours of being spend in and around church. Add to that, a lot of those people also attend prayer meetings and Bible studies during the week.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 6:41:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 6:59:27 AM PDT
Aardwizz says:
I've found that Bokononism to be a healthy religion, because it is KNOWINGLY based on "foma" -- the happy lies that we tell ourselves to allow us to feel braver, stronger, and more important to the Universe than we might actually be.

It reminds me of a quote from Secondhand Lions:

"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; ... that love... true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in. "

õ¿õ¬

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 7:47:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 7:54:04 AM PDT
Astrocat says:
Harry, no, you're right, I'm not really concerned about the "success" of a religion. Christianity has been a "successful" religion, and so has Islam, but neither of them, as far as I can see, have accomplished much more than creating an intolerant version of us-against-them, and the concept of the "one, true faith", and the "only way to salvation". I personally don't think of those "accomplishments" as being along the lines of spiritual success.

I see the coming religion as embracing the wide varieties of understanding, the rituals and methods used to connect the human and the divine, and not at all dogmatic or insular. I see it as being inclusive and not exclusive, so that those who choose to keep their traditions (providing they do no harm) will be fully accepted and even cherished. The old ways will be given room beside the new ways, and all will be appreciated. There will be prayer and meditation, song and dance, worship, according to the understandings of the wide variety of groups within the greater group, and on and on. All the details are not, of course, as yet clearly seen, but we are working on it, and have been for the past half century and more.

So the "successful" religion I see will not depend on the demise of the earlier religions, though some of them will fade away, just as many have done in the past. This will be a "big tent" religion, with no imposed beliefs, no specific "scripture", but rather a deep understanding of the fact of the soul and its connection with the greater whole.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 7:48:24 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
"The Reappearance
of the Christ
Channeled from Djwhal Khul
In 1948"

I almost stopped right here, but went to Page 58. My eyes glazed over by the third paragraph due the the piling on of baseless assertions so, I'll pass on the rest. New World Religion is just religion and there is still no evidence for the existence of gods.

Posted on Jul 28, 2012 11:17:24 AM PDT
Bubba says:
Why is there a need for any religions, no matter how "Healthy and Useful" some people might consider them to be?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 11:35:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 11:36:20 AM PDT
Amy Hall says:
People have great imaginations. We are very creative. Some people are afraid of death, discouraged by tragedy and want justice. So they make heaven (vacation), hell (where the bad guys go who shot someone and got off in court).

Instead of changing and making right the here-and-now, they put it off, because we are also great procrastinators and selfish, WIIFM (what's in it for me).

Posted on Jul 28, 2012 11:56:59 AM PDT
Bubba,
"Why is there a need for any religions"
Basically, it is about meaning. The meanings of things we consume, use, think, or do are established by the contexts in which we encounter them. But the context we are missing is the ultimate context that tells us what our existence is about and where it comes from. As long as we are totally engaged in daily survival activities, we probably don't think about it. But it tends to become an issue when we can do some reflecting.

Michael Altarriba,
I, too, reject Nancy's new world religion for many of the same reasons that you do. However, I recently came across a fascinating paper regarding our ultimate context or reality. You may already be familiar with it. It is by a physicist (Brian Whitworth) and considers whether or not we exist in a virtual reality. Here's the link:

http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1011/1011.3436.pdf

Nancy, I think you may also find Brian Whitworth's paper of interest to you. It may suggest some more modern ways of expressing some ancient views that you hold.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 12:09:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 12:10:16 PM PDT
Amy Hall says:
from Whitworth's paper: (bottom of 226; top of 227) I used parense around the key part.

"That any containing reality must use "hardware" like ours, or that everything real must
be understandable to us, are just assumptions. There is no reason per se why our reality has
to be the only reality, or why all reality must be knowable to us. This conjecture is not
nullified because it doesn't meet the convenient and habitual assumptions of the objective
reality theory it denies.

(((((((((((Yet the virtual reality conjecture is still a theory about this world, not another
unknowable one. It states that this world is a virtual reality created by processing, not an
objective reality that exists inherently by itself alone.))))))))))) Unprovable speculations about other
virtual universes (Tegmark, 1997), or that the universe could be "saved" and "restored"
(Schmidhuber, 1997), or that one virtual reality could create another (Bostrom, 2002) fall
outside its scope. It certainly uses non-physical concepts, but only as other physics theories
do, e.g. the quantum wave function has no counterpart in physical reality."

excellent paper, Nancy; even I can understand it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 12:58:39 PM PDT
Aardwizz says:
In other words, when people become scared or embarrassed or angry, they tell themselves harmless lies (foma) to make themselves feel better.

It used to be stories that we would tell each other, around the camp fire, when the wolves (and other things) were making noises in the darkness. But Man forgot that they were lies. THAT and no other event, was the true Fall of Mankind.

The lies serve a purpose. And anyone who tells himself that he doesn't need lies to feel better is, of course, a liar. Our "religion" is bigger than anything we find in churches or in books or in quiet reflection. We tell lies all the time, and believe them even more often.

AND THAT'S OK. A "healthy and useful" religion will simply be based upon the fact that all people are not "sinners' but "liars". "Storytellers" if it makes you feel better (but of course, that'd be a lie....)

Bokononism. The only sensible religion.

õ¿õ¬

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:06:53 PM PDT
Harry Marks says:
Joe Anthony -

I think you make a lot of sensible and important observations. In some sense there is probably more at stake in the Christianity of African-American and Latino churches. As much stress as a person is under who lacks the means of the average person around them, who faces discrimination when trying to move up materially, and who doesn't regularly experience the rewards of having invested in high education on "faith" that it would pay off later, has greater need of someone to take their hand and lead them through the valley.

When I play "The Pursuit of Happyness" for my students, I have to sort of look away and hum something else to myself and plan my next weekend, when he is at Glide Memorial and they sing, "Lord don't move that mountain, just give me the strength to climb it," or I will be covered with tears. It never fails to move me.

My church is an amazing combination of highly educated, "heady" theology with heartfelt spirituality. Our music minister spent years gathering some great music from Latin America and Africa, and when he plays "Siyahamba" or "Tua Palavra Na Vida" or any of twenty others, the spirit moves. And I mean it moves. We feel very blessed.

Yet we also have plenty of people in a hurry to move on. In our case, many of them are trying to squeeze in important family time around jobs bringing relief to refugees or fighting the good fight in other international organizations. I try not to be judgmental - material things are not a curse, though they do become another form of "possession" for some. Being in a hurry can happen because there is a lot to love in life, as well as because people cannot stand to be alone with themselves for long.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:07:46 PM PDT
Harry Marks says:
Amen! Preach it, brother!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:09:04 PM PDT
Harry Marks says:
Nancy -

Sounds like the Unitarian Universalists, to me. Which is a good thing, of course.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:11:30 PM PDT
nameinuse says:
That's why people get married isn't it? Because they need to feel important...... and it's hard to do that without other people and nearly impossible to do it by celebrity.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:18:54 PM PDT
Harry Marks says:
"A man should believe in those things, because those are things worth believing in."

Applies just as much to marriage as to religion. Needing to be important to someone else is what life is about.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:19:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 2:20:16 PM PDT
nameinuse says:
What if you lived life being mindfully unimportant? What does that make you? Humble or Buddhist?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 3:13:21 PM PDT
I have neither evidence for nor good reason to believe that there is such a thing as "ultimate context", or that meaning is other than a subjective creation of humans.

Could we be living in some sort of virtual reality? Yes, I suppose... but I have no good reason to believe that we actually are, and, until there is a testable hypothesis which is tested and not falsified, I have no good reason to give this possibility consideration other than for the pure entertainment value of doing so.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 3:31:06 PM PDT
Aardwizz says:
Michael Altarriba: "I have no good reason to give this possibility consideration other than for the pure entertainment value of doing so. "

Isn't that true of ALL discussions of philosophy, religion, and art? In the thousands of years that it's been discussed, has there been ANY "big question" that has been settled? Isn't that why we're here on these fora -- to have fun? To entertain and be entertained?

So let's discuss "virtual reality". Even if it were tested and not falsified, what could you do about it anyway? Just because we can conclude that we were "created" doesn't mean that we do or can understand anything about the Creator - Its nature or its purpose. Or could it? Would signs of "code reuse" be meaningful? What about the size of the "pixel" ?

If you're not entertained by examining weird ideas, what are you doing on a Religion forum?

õ¿õ¬

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 3:49:01 PM PDT
B. Josephson says:
Nice quote Aard.

Best Wishes,
Shaamba Kaamwaat
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  27
Total posts:  169
Initial post:  Jul 6, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 5, 2012

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