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Lady Of The River 
Posted: 20-Oct-2003, 06:06 PM
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Hey all who read this,

I am having a little trouble figuring out "religion". This is definitely something I'm going to need help on, so all views, opinions, help etc. is/are welcome.

I was raised a Methodist Christian, but I don't really know if that is exactly my "thing". And I don't use that term sparingly, people. I'm not sure if Christianity is right. I don't think only one person could have made life as we know it, no matter how powerful or almighty they are. And if there is someone up there, there are way too many people in this world for them to look after and way too many problems for them to keep track of. If you are supposed to pray to God in a time of a crisis, what are the chances you will be the only one doing so at that exact moment? What makes you think that he/she/it/whatever is up there will honor your wishes instead of someone elses? And if there problem is worse than yours? This is way too confusing... and I'm getting ahead of myself. It's just none of this makes sense!

I want to broaden my horizons a little, figure out what religion is right for me. I need information, because if there is one thing I'm not right now, it's a know-it-all. I know NOTHING. Please, people, if it wouldn't be too hard, all I ask of you is to post something, such as background of different types of religion, like what they are about, what they do, etc. I'm open to just about anything, even all you Christians out there can post whatever you like. I'm open to suggestions from both ends of the table.

Jessica

p.s.: What I said before, about Christianity, WAS NOT MEANT TO OFFEND ANYONE!!! I know, that is my own personal take on things, and was not meant to be taken literally by anyone who believes in that. I'm just very confused right now, and I'm in a very, well, I guess you could say, crucial point in my life at the moment.
Would you guess I'm only 14?

Again, views are welcome and would be very nice. Thank you.
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maryellen 
Posted: 20-Oct-2003, 07:08 PM
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I am guessing from your problems and questions you have not talked to your minister.
These would also be discussion if you have a group at church. We do for Catholics and anyone can come with any kind of question.
Here is what I've learned from school since I was 5- God is not some person. God is incomprehensible by us mere human beings. Since God is infinite God can take care of many problems at the same time. God hears all prayers, it is just that sometimes the answer is no. When I was manic-depressive I asked many many times to die. God heard my plea, the answer was no. Everyone is equal. The New Testament makes much of this clear.
I don't think there ever will be a "right religion" that is "right" for everyone. I don't believe everything the Catholic church teaches, but they have the general idea I think. especially if you grew up going to mass. But if you're questioning the basis of God, that would cover every major religion that exists. I really don't think everything "just happened." It was all planned. Nature is beautiful and so intricately designed. Its also interesting that in ancient Hebrew, (where there are no numbers) the words Nature and God add up to the same number.


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Seize the time,. . .live now, make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again- Star Trek TNG

"The report of my death was an exaggeration."
-Mark Twain, After reading his own obituary, June 2, 1897

If you ever have a world, plan ahead, don't eat it! - Star Trek TNG
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Lady Of The River 
Posted: 20-Oct-2003, 09:06 PM
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i totally agree with the whole planned thing. i just dont think only one person/thing/whatever could have made it by themselves. Or rule it by themselves.
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McHaggis 
Posted: 20-Oct-2003, 10:08 PM
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Don't happen to have a copy of it handy, but wasn't the first stanza of Lao Tsu's "Tao" something about "...the Tao that can be named (spoken about) is not the true Tao." Implying that if the human mind can grasp it......than that's not it! It's much bigger than that. Where we fail is in trying to comprehend the uncomprehendable by bringing it (whatever "it" is) down to terms the human mind can understand....ie, anthropomorphic categorization.

But, then again, being human, what else can one do? We're stuck somewhere between Western rationalism and Eastern mysticism as I see the problem.

But don't ask me....after all those years of academe I'm as clueless as the next schmuck, the only difference being is that I'm entirely comfortable being clueless.
Ignorance CAN be so blissful.

Oh, and Jessica, best thing you can do is get yourself a copy of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Religion and just go for a browse. Houston Smith is another good source, can't remember the title of one of his texts that overview all major religions, but the library will have some of his worksl

And also, don't sweat it profusely, like you said, you're only 14 and you're not exactly "cramming for finals" like people on their deathbeds. Take your time, study all you can and the light will eventually shine on the right path.

Meantime, just be good to yourself and all things around you....you can't go wrong there!

Was just chuckling to my self about the following paradox: If two Catholic University football teams play each other and they don't tie....does that mean that Jesus only had money on one team?

RON


--------------------
"NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT"


"...A bonnie lass I will confess,
Is pleasant to the e'e,
But without some better qualities
She's no lass for me...."

(From "O Once I Lov'd" - Robert Burns)

"There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make." --J.M. BARRIE (1860-1937)
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Richard Bercot 
Posted: 21-Oct-2003, 01:18 AM
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Lady of the River,

Like many of us, I can not tell you or advise you on which way is better. That is something that you are going to have to learn for yourself.

I personally feel that Creator show each one of us how he/she wants us to be in order to have a fuller understanding of what he/she is. Yours may not have come to you or you have seen something that you are yet to understand. Again it takes time. I was questioning when I was 15 and did not fully understand until I was 27. That is how long it took me, everyone is different and it comes to them differently.

The only things that I will ask you to do is first, try not to harm anyone while you are on your path of seeking and second, after you believe you have found your path, try to not to harm anyone even though they may not follow the same path you are taking.

Simple isn't it.

May your days be filled with Merriment and May you walk in Balance with Creator.
Richard


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May your days be filled with Merriment and May you walk in Balance with Creator.

"For every day you fish, you live another day"
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Elspeth 
Posted: 21-Oct-2003, 08:44 AM
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QUOTE (McHaggis @ Oct 20 2003, 11:08 PM)
Don't happen to have a copy of it handy, but wasn't the first stanza of Lao Tsu's "Tao" something about "...the Tao that can be named (spoken about) is not the true Tao."  Implying that if the human mind can grasp it......than that's not it!  It's much bigger than that. Where we fail is in trying to comprehend the uncomprehendable by bringing it (whatever "it" is) down to terms the human mind can understand....ie, anthropomorphic categorization.


Hey Lady of the River,

What McHaggis wrote is so true. And again don't worry about questioning. I'm over 40 and have been striving towards enlightenment for over 20 years and I just recently was struggling with a variation of what you are talking about. Life is a process.

But I read an extreme simplification and it helped me.
It just said God is really big.

Paraphrasing what McHaggis wrote. If we could understand God then He wouldn?t be God now would He?

Take a bit of advice from an old lady - read, learn, question - but when it comes right down to it, the answers are always in the simple stuff.

Elspeth


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Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.
- Frederick Buechner



If society prospers at the expense of the intangibles,
how can it be called progress?

-LLP
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floralia 
Posted: 21-Oct-2003, 10:30 AM
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Lady of the river,
This will be a lengthy response to your post; you ask questions that I can't try to answer in just a few lines. (Although I have never been one for brevity... wink2.gif )
I probably began my spiritual exploration about your age and I didn't find my path until several years ago and I'm 44. I tell you this not to discourage you. My obstacle in my search was simply myself. I considered only those paths that fell under Christianity for many years and could not find my reflection in those teachings. Through the Internet, friends and an addiction to non-fiction I found what I was wanting and needing.

The Internet is a wonderful and far reaching tool to explore your spirituality but be forewarned that there is much out there that is rubbish. Use it to open your mind but try and limit filling your mind to that which you can verify or at least that which comes from a reliable source.

I think religion plays an important part in helping us better ourselves and understand ourselves. A path that does not aide in either of these two serves no good purpose.

Some would assume that I am a witch but I don't consider myself one and I think I'm the expert on that. I do not cast spells in the traditional sense. I pray to a deity that has no constant name but there's a definite female essence to my divine and I most associate with Brigid. Prayer soothes me and focuses me toward what is important in my life. I am drawn to certain things that feel right for me but may not to others like candles lit during prayer and using the moon's phases to utilize my energies more efficiently. I also feel that what we call God or deity is a common energy that runs through us and all living things. I believe that evil exists but I don't see a ringleader causing this evil to be acted upon. I see Satan as a Christian concept that has no place in my life. Free will reigns in my world. I am responsible for my actions and feel "the devil made me do it" is a cop-out for the irresponsible for the most part.

For lack of a better label you may say I am a Celtic Pagan but I think that I am more than that and that it limits the scope of my spiritual development if someone tries to confine me to that label. That's their problem though and not mine. My most cherished gift of my path is the freedom to think and feel and decide for myself not because a representative of a certain path says so. That was one of the leading reasons I left organized religion to begin with was that annoying habit of church leaders telling me what I SHOULD think or feel. I am intelligent and analytical by nature and can think for myself thank you.

Listen to your heart, sweetie and take your time. The Methodist faith may end up being the one for you but then a few years from now you may find your heart answering a call from another path. If you seek, it will find you. Keep your heart free from judging other paths if they are not for you. Stay sincere in your spiritual quest lest the lure of ceremony or the power of trends lead you to a place where you don't belong. Your spiritual choice should not be based on what is cool with your friends or because you like the jewelry, but I sense you know that already or you wouldn't be to the point you are now and asking the questions you are now. You are bright and you'll get there. Good for you for embarking on this important spiritual and intellectual journey. You are in my prayers.
Flora


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Is buaine port ná glór na n-éan,
Is buaine focal ná toice an tsaoil.
Floralia
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McHaggis 
Posted: 21-Oct-2003, 12:04 PM
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Got to hand it to Floralia for real good advice. There is a wealth of info on this top on the Net, but a fair amount is not real productive to your search. Keep an open mind and don't be afraid to disagree with something that doesn't ring true to you. But also don't dismiss something too quickly, but keep your "B.S. Detector" on as well. When it comes to the study of religion(s), you must do so without fear. Some things are going to challenge the very fiber of your belief system and make you confront yourself. But if you fearlessly proceed your quest will be rewarded.

Sounds pretty metaphysical coming from a guy like me, but I think you know what I'm saying. I've always held to the notion that we were given these higher reasoning powers to use. Some would say not to intellectualize so much and just "give in" to the higher powers.....maybe so. That "may" be the ultimate end to the search but I prefer taking the long route......at least that way you will know WHY you made the religious decisions you did.

But...take your time and do try to enjoy the life you were given along the path. Next post I will give you some 4000 year old advice that Siduri, the divine barmaid, gave to Gilgamesh. (The oldest recorded story in human history...) Just have to get the quote right.

RON
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McHaggis 
Posted: 21-Oct-2003, 04:40 PM
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Jessica: Here's the passage I was looking for. It's from the Old Babylonian Version of "The Epic Of Gilgamesh." It would take too long to get you up to speed on the background of the Epic, but suffice it to say for now that it is one of the most ancient stories ever written down.

Gilgamesh is looking for a the only man who has ever survived death, the boatman Utnapishtim (think Noah, it looks like the Biblical account of Noah came from this story, though Utnapishtim is very much more ancient), so he can find the secret of how to return his friend and alter-ego Enkidu to the land of the living.

Anyway, in his journey he comes to the door of the Divine Barmaid (or tavern keeper Siduri--incidently MY favorite wise woman in all of literature).....so he spills his story to Siduri and here's Siduri's speech to him:

"Gilgamesh, whither rovest thou?
The life thou pursuest thou shalt not find.
When the gods created mankind,
Death for mankind they set aside,
Life in their own hands retaining.
Thou, Gilgamesh, let full be thy belly,
Make thou merry by day and by night.
Of each day make thou a feast of rejoicing,
Day and night dance thou and play!
Let thy garments be sparkling fresh,
Thy head be washed; bathe thou in water.
Pay heed to the little one that holds on to thy hand,
Let thy spouse delight in thy bosom!
For this is the task of mankind!"


When I was on my own search for the meaning of it all, I came across this and it just spoke volumes to me. Over 4000 years ago and I think the Sumerians nailed it down! Very simple instructions and all this time later people are still searching for whatever it is they need to answer at least one of the big questions: Why are we here."

Between this and the first stanza of The Tao of Lao-Tsu, I found a lot of comfort: (1) It's bigger than we can ever imagine and (2) We're all gonna die so our job is to enjoy the ride and take care of ourselves and the ones we cherish.

Way over-simplified.......but it works for me. No need for a Kierkegarrdian Leap of Faith (unless you REALLY are so spiritually depressed and at the edge of that cliff that you need to make one, then by all means, leap away!)

But what do I know? I'm just another over-educated idiot who found that ignorance is bliss....it's your life and your mileage may vary!

Think I'll go surf now and then take a bath and find out what my loved ones need to make their one-way trip a happy one.

Might NOT be one-way, I don't know for sure.......but I know how to take care of the here and now and I sure know that right thing to do is to make the trip easier for those I come in contact with.

Assuming, for the minute, re-incarnation is a possibility, I can here quote good old Mr. Natural, who said "....He who shits in the road will meet flies on his return...."

biggrin.gif

But, oh dear me, I see I have strayed way off the topic of religion and entered the realm of philosophy, which is categorically a different breed of cat...

...or something! wink.gif

RON
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RavenWing 
Posted: 22-Oct-2003, 12:19 PM
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Try the Belief-O-Matic. Just be totally honest with your answers, you may surprise yourself!


It sounds hokey, but it just might help you pick out a direction for you to explore.


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May all your up's and down's be under the sheets!

Religion is for those who are afraid of going to Hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there.
- Anonymous
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floralia 
Posted: 22-Oct-2003, 03:46 PM
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A lot of my co-workers tried the Belief-o-matic and it's amazingly accurate (although it did scare the hell out of one of the folks...) but I thought it was kind of fun.
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McHaggis 
Posted: 22-Oct-2003, 06:45 PM
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A fun game but techincally flawed as agnosticism and athiesm are too closely linked in the opening answers....they are NOT the same. Don't know what you'd call athiesm (anti-religion or a philosophy) but agnosticism is definately a philosophy and NOT anti-religious.....have also heard Buddhism referred to as a philosophy and not a religion....but this is too all-inclusive as there are many differing branches of Buddhism.

RO
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maryellen 
Posted: 24-Oct-2003, 05:10 PM
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wow. it told me I am 100% catholic. and I am.... good thing I took the Test! actually, most catholics I know see at church would probably flunk the basics. Maybe we should just do away with religious names- call everyone good or bad. Call it "cleaning up the earth" on Earth Day.
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Lady Of The River 
Posted: 24-Oct-2003, 06:03 PM
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hmmmm. it said i'm 100% neo-pagan.... maybe i should check it out... tongue.gif

you guys have been great, answers are wonderful as usual...i've read a lot of your responses on the other boards...anyways, i love actually being heard. whats great about this whole thing is that no one has every really tried to help before yet i have a ton of advice here from people i've never met before. which also means you don't have a complete and total bias opinion about me. gooooood.

anyways, thanks again! all of this info has been great, and the advice has been a "god-send".(i guess). keep posting if you like, i'll still read it all. haven't exactly figured this little puzzle out yet so keep it coming! or going. i don't know, im lost now.

~Jessica =^P



oh and RON my river is the Rappahannock. (did i spell that right?)
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Shadows 
Posted: 24-Oct-2003, 11:02 PM
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These are my Belief-o-matic results:

1. New Thought (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (96%)
3. Hinduism (96%)
4. New Age (93%)
5. Unitarian Universalism (88%)
6. Jainism (86%)
7. Scientology (83%)
8. Mahayana Buddhism (82%)
9. Sikhism (80%)
10. Liberal Quakers (78%)
11. Bahá'í Faith (73%)
12. Reform Judaism (73%)
13. Orthodox Judaism (68%)
14. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (67%)
15. Theravada Buddhism (58%)
16. Islam (57%)
17. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (55%)
18. Orthodox Quaker (55%)
19. Taoism (47%)
20. Secular Humanism (47%)
21. Nontheist (34%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (29%)
23. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (25%)
24. Jehovah's Witness (25%)
25. Seventh Day Adventist (23%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (19%)
27. Roman Catholic (19%)


--------------------
I support the separation of church and hate!

IMAGINATION - the freest and largest nation in the world!


One can not profess to be of "GOD" and show intolerence and prejudice towards the beliefs of others.

Am fear nach gleidh na h–airm san t–sith, cha bhi iad aige ’n am a’ chogaidh.
He that keeps not his arms in time of peace will have none in time of war.

"We're all in this together , in the parking lot between faith and fear" ... O.C.M.S.

“Beasts feed; man eats; only the man of intellect knows how to eat well.”

"Without food we are nothing, without history we are lost." - SHADOWS


Is iomadh duine laghach a mhill an Creideamh.
Religion has spoiled many a good man.

The clan MacEwen
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