collapse

* "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" Problem Logging In?

If you get an "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" error when you try to log in, you need to be sure you are accessing the board with a url that starts with "https://ecauldron.com".  If it starts with https://www.ecauldron.com" (or "http://www.ecauldron.com") you will get this error because "www.ecauldron.com" is not technically the same website as "ecauldron.com". Moving to the more secure "https" means it is more picky about such things.

Author Topic: Why do you have a religion at all?  (Read 7573 times)

PetitAlbert

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 101
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Why do you have a religion at all?
« on: March 30, 2012, 09:02:26 am »
Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)


(Full disclosure - I was told in a dream that I should ask people that question. While it felt more like brainspam dream than a genuine encounter, I've spent the morning thinking it's an interesting and important question and one I'm not sure I have an answer to.)

And trying to answer it:

I list my religion as bokonist - from Kurt Vonnegut, where it is a religion invented purely to fufil social functions. For me, that's a structure for awe and being greatful for the natural world, and a reminder to have quiet "sacred" time. I'm researching chaos magic because it seems to contain that self-referential playfulness that allows me to keep my skepticism and explore magic at the same time. But all the ideas I've had are things it brings me, not things my having religion gives to gods, community or the wider world.

Which makes me think:

Why should you have a religion? Are some reasons better than others?

*random musing of the day*
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 09:20:50 am by RandallS »
"We all have something to learn, and something to teach."
30 Days of Magic: take the challenge now!

Petit Albert: This witch\'s blog
Book of Protective Magic by Albert - free 20 page bookzine download

HeartShadow

  • Adept Member
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 2195
  • Total likes: 3
    • View Profile
    • http://www.flamekeeping.org
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2012, 09:59:20 am »
Quote from: Unmutual;48163


 
I have faith because it's either that or I'm completely batshit - and as it seems to be not-dangerous, I'm gonna go with faith.  I'm pretty sure if it was just straight batshittery it would be odder.

I have religion because I find it a useful structure for articulating how to live with other people and how to make the world better.

Aiwelin

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Feb 2012
  • Posts: 382
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2012, 10:07:20 am »
Quote from: Unmutual;48163
Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)

 
I hang out on a couple "debate an atheist" boards, so I've had time to refine my answer to this.  It's a lot like HeartShadow's - because I like it, and need it.  I'm not sure enough of my position (hardly!  I'm really more of an agnostic) to claim that I'm absolutely right, even for myself; but I feel like I'm pursuing the right path.  My religion keeps my mind occupied with interesting material, helps me maintain the intense spiritual connection I feel with the world around me, and in general helps me to be more calm, satisfied, and at at peace with my life.  Perhaps it is a placebo (then again, it might not be!).  But it's certainly not harming anyone, and it greatly improves my quality of life - so why not?
Devotee of Nerthus
Worshipper of Germanic Deities
Now blogging on Patheos Pagan!  Check out Heathen at Heart

In the Nebraska-Iowa area?  Come check out Prairie Shadow Protogrove, ADF!
Ár nDraíocht Féin
The Troth

veggiewolf

  • Adept Member
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 3105
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2012, 10:24:07 am »
Quote from: Unmutual;48163
Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)


Um...because?

I have a religion because, for me, it is unthinkable not to.  

Quote
Why should you have a religion? Are some reasons better than others


I don't think there's a "should" about it.
Fluid Morality - my spiritual blog
Eating Monsters - my mental health blog

"Religion does not define a deity- it defines the human approach and interpretation of deity." - Juni
"I hate magical thinking in my magic." - Darkhawk
"...a baseball club; a soccer unkindness; a hockey murder; a football team..." - Cecil, Welcome to Night Vale

Juni

  • Grand Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 1683
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
    • http://thelittleseawitch.net
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012, 10:39:38 am »
Quote from: Unmutual;48163
Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)

Why should you have a religion? Are some reasons better than others?


I have a religion because I believe in gods, spirits and the dead, and having structure and context with which to interact with them is useful. Certainly, it is better now, with wibbly religion bits trying to come together into a coherent whole, than it was when I didn't have anything but faith.

"Should" is a strong word. One that I don't think is entirely applicable. If one has faith, they can choose to do something with it or not. If they choose to do something with it, they can find a religion that fits with their faith, or build their own, or not. None of these are intrinsically better than others; they all have pros and they all have cons. It's a matter of what one wants to do with their faith, not what they should or shouldn't do.
Join the Emboatening Crew over on Kiva! Emboatening the boatless since Opet 2013!

The Little Sea Witch - personal/catch-all blog
MistSeeking - religious blog

Starglade

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 404
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2012, 10:55:55 am »
Quote from: Juni;48178



I have to agree with Shad here (although I'm not an FK adherent), and Veggie too, at least to the degree that "my path gives me a framework for living in the world and dealing with others, and hopefully making a little improvement to either myself or the world along the way." It's a Buddhist thing.

No deities necessary. No faith, either.
"The Eightfold Path is sometimes called the pathless path. Each step brings a growing awareness that enlightenment is in the here and now--in the world and in our relationships as we read these words . . . now." -- Jonathan White
http://grammargeddon.com

Juni

  • Grand Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 1683
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
    • http://thelittleseawitch.net
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2012, 11:00:59 am »
Quote from: Starglade;48180
I have to agree with Shad here (although I'm not an FK adherent), and Veggie too, at least to the degree that "my path gives me a framework for living in the world and dealing with others, and hopefully making a little improvement to either myself or the world along the way." It's a Buddhist thing.

No deities necessary. No faith, either.

 
Yes- I always forget that. I define religion and philosophy as having the same function, only religion covers community + external divine, and philosophy covering only community. But those are just my lines in the sand, not everyone's.
Join the Emboatening Crew over on Kiva! Emboatening the boatless since Opet 2013!

The Little Sea Witch - personal/catch-all blog
MistSeeking - religious blog

Altair

  • Adept Member
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: New York, New York
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 2995
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 361
  • Fly high and make the world follow
    • View Profile
    • Songs of the Metamythos
  • Religion: tree-hugging pagan
  • Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2012, 12:42:32 pm »
1.
Quote from: Unmutual;48163
Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)



2.
Quote from: Unmutual;48163
Why should you have a religion?


1. It's the way I interpret the world, my "operating system" for processing the raw data, the lens through which all the random bits get pulled together to make sense. I didn't plan it (I considered myself an atheist for the longest time); it just sort of happened.

2. Because it's really rewarding for me, a great exploration.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Darkhawk

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 4904
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 794
    • View Profile
    • Suns in her Branches
  • Religion: An American Werewolf in the Akhet; Kemetic; Feri; Imaginary Baltic Heathen; Discordian; CoX; Etc.
  • Preferred Pronouns: any of he, she, they
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2012, 12:59:00 pm »
Quote from: Unmutual;48163
Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)

 
The same reason I, personally, have any other kind of relationship.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Auress

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 201
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2012, 01:03:00 pm »
Quote from: Unmutual;48163
Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)


(Full disclosure - I was told in a dream that I should ask people that question. While it felt more like brainspam dream than a genuine encounter, I've spent the morning thinking it's an interesting and important question and one I'm not sure I have an answer to.)

And trying to answer it:

I list my religion as bokonist - from Kurt Vonnegut, where it is a religion invented purely to fufil social functions. For me, that's a structure for awe and being greatful for the natural world, and a reminder to have quiet "sacred" time. I'm researching chaos magic because it seems to contain that self-referential playfulness that allows me to keep my skepticism and explore magic at the same time. But all the ideas I've had are things it brings me, not things my having religion gives to gods, community or the wider world.

Which makes me think:

Why should you have a religion? Are some reasons better than others?

*random musing of the day*

Okay, this is going to sound odd. But, a lot of what I say probably does to many, so....

I'm sort in the same boat as HeartShadow is on this one. I border on atheism, but living the total atheist life wasn't working for me. I am a total schitz if I do not have or pay some type of attention to religion. I like having it, I like what it does for me, I just can't really put my finger on deity, right now. It's been this way for 18 years, now.

The original definition of "religious" was "a set of actions repeated over again, over the course of many weeks or years", for instance, "She brushes her hair religiously."
That being said, I'm rather OCD, so, having a set religious traditions that I observe "religiously" helps keep me sane.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 01:03:52 pm by Auress »

cigfran

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jan 2012
  • Posts: 421
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://cigfran.net
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2012, 01:44:55 pm »
Quote from: Vermillion;48188
I border on atheism, but living the total atheist life wasn't working for me.

This is my condition also. I have a religion because, after years of strong atheism, I had to be honest about how I felt about the world, rather than just what I was sure I knew about it.

Also... strong atheists often assert that the religious act out of fear. For me it was exactly the opposite. I was atheist in no small part out of fear of the alternative. The idea that there might be something outside my strictly empirical worldview terrified me.

Through many intervening steps of awareness, that finally changed.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 01:45:11 pm by cigfran »

GaiaDianne

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Dec 2011
  • Posts: 94
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2012, 04:11:46 pm »
Quote from: Unmutual;48163
Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)


Why should you have a religion? Are some reasons better than others?

*random musing of the day*

 

GAIA:

Hi and Merry Meet, Unmutual -

First, i think it's important to note that there are important differences between spirituality and "religion"; and (at least for me) before i could meaningfully define that difference, there's another word i  had to understand:  "Numinous".

The Numinous can be difficult to define -perhaps i can best describe it by relating an experience written by someone else -
(Please forgive the length; i think it's important to post the entire thing to really understand.)

In the book, “Contact”, author Carl Sagan has his heroine, a scientist in charge of the SETI Program (Search for Extra-Terrrestrial Intelligence) , contemplating the meaning of spirituality one day, and she says:

"...The theologians seemed to have recognized a special, nonrational aspect of the feeling of sacred or holy. They call it "Numinous". The term was first used by....Rudolph Otto in a book called, "The Idea of the Holy." He believed that humans were predisposed to detect and revere the Numinous;  He called it, "The Mysterium Tremendum"....
In the Presence of the Mysterium Tremendum, people feel utterly insignificant but not personally alienated....and the human response to it as "absolute astonishment."

Now if that's what religious people talk about when they use words like sacred or holy, i'm with them. I felt something like that in just listening for a signal [from outer space proving intelligent life] never mind in actually receiving it. I think all of science elicits that sense of awe....

"...I  think the bureaucratic religions try to institutionalize your perception of the Numinous, instead of providing the means so you can perceive the Numinous directly - like looking through a six-inch telescope.

If sensing the Numinous is at the heart of religion, who's more religious would you say -- the people who follow the bureaucratic religions, or the people who teach themselves science?"

Then her boyfriend replies:

    "Let's see if I've got this straight...it's a lazy Saturday afternoon, and there's this couple lying in bed reading the Encyclopedia Britannica to each other, arguing about whether the Andromeda Galaxy is more numinous than the Resurrection. Do they know how to have a good time or don't they?"

(Carl Sagan, “Contact”  p 159)

   
   This – a personal, first-hand experience of the Numinous -- is what most religions were originally about – contacting the Numinous directly, personally, immediately; --

   Here’s a wonderful example of an experience of the Numinous –  (What is also called in Psychology, a “Peak Experience”) --  by Jean Houston, in her wonderful book, “A Mythic Life” (which I strongly recommend!).   – The incident takes place when she is but six years old:

   “Sitting there, drowsy and unfocused, I must in my innocence have unwittingly tapped into the appropriate spiritual doorway, for suddenly the key turned the door.to the universe opened. Nothing changed in my outward perceptions.  There were no visions, no sprays of golden light, certainly no appearances by the Virgin Mary. The world remained as it had been.

Yet everything around me, including myself, moved into meaning. Everything became part of a single Unity, a glorious symphonic resonance in which every part of the universe was a part of and illuminated every other part, and I knew that in some way it all worked together and was very good. (

My mind dropped its shutters. I was no longer just a little local ''I;' Jean Houston age six, sitting on a windowsill in Brooklyn in the 1940S. I had awakened to a consciousness that spanned centuries and was on intimate terms with the universe.

Everything mattered. Nothing was alien or irrelevant or distant. The farthest star was right next door, and the deepest mystery was mystically seen. It seemed as if I knew everything, as if  I was everything. Everything-the fig tree, the plane in the 1sky, the pups in the closet, the planets, Joey Mangiabella's ribs, Linda Darnell, the Atcheson, Topeka, and the Santa Fe Railroad, Uncle Henry (the black porter who took care of me on the train across the country), the little boy fishing in the lake who waved to me 'on the train when I was crossing Kansas, the chipped paint on the ceiling, the mind of God, the Virgin Mary, my Nana's special stuffed artichokes, my Mary Jane shoes, galaxies, pencil stubs, my father's typewriter, the silky ears of corn in a Texas cornfield, my Dick and Jane reader, and all the music that ever was—

-- Was in a state of resonance and of the most immense and ecstatic kinship. I was in a universe of friendship and fellow feeling, a companionable universe filled with interwoven presence and the dance of life. This went on forever, but it was actually only about two seconds, for the plane had moved only slightly across the sky.

Somewhere downstairs a door slammed, and my father entered the house laughing. Instantly, the whole universe joined in. Great roars of hilarity sounded
from sun to sun. Field mice tittered, and so did angels and rainbows. Laughter
enlivened every atom and every star until I saw a universe of  inspirited and spiraled . joy, not unlike the one I read of years later when Dante describes his great vision in paradise, "D'el riso d'el universo" (the joy that spins the universe). This was a knowledge of the way everything worked.   It worked through love and joy and the utter interpenetration and union of everything with the All That Is…..”
(Jean Houston, “A Mythic Life”, pp 64-65)



   Well, (imo) that is what Spirituality and Religion are supposed to offer us – a personal, immediate, prfound experience of the Numinous.

Psychologists have even discovered that human beings seem to be "set up" (ie, psychologically and physiologically designed) to experience the Numinous.

But unfortunately, (many)  religions became burdened by and with leaders who thought the way to ensure that everyone experienced the Numinous, was to instill rules and dogma around it; which of course are actually antithetical and inimical to   the experience!   In fact, they only serve to remove people further and further from the actual experience of the Numinous.

IMO, spirituality is the ( Culurally determined) way(s) that people seek to experience the Numinous - from dancing around a fire under the stars, to sitting reverently and meditatively in a Cathedral listening to hymns, to (ostensibly) "goin' fishin'" -- just getting out in Nature and experiencing its beauty.  There are of courrse many other ways of evoking the Numinous - great sex, beautiful music, poetry, etc - Sometimes, it's whatever makes us gasp or sigh, sob or weep or laugh out loud....

And Religion (which often involves such things as):
- creeds and statements of belief,
- rules and expectations of behavior,
- sanctions to encourage such approved behavior and punish UNapproved ones,
- formal and informal systems of acquiring, exercising and passing on authority and power,
- provides spiritual communities,
- etc.

Religion Is (again, imo) yet another step removed from the personal, direct experience of the Numinous --

But that doesn't mean it has (or can have) no value in our lives.

Just some more random thoughts -- ;)

Blessed Be ~ Gaia

Shine

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Nov 2011
  • Posts: 912
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://houseofthelion.wordpress.com/
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2012, 09:33:05 pm »
Quote from: Unmutual;48163
Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)

Why should you have a religion? Are some reasons better than others?

 
Hopefully no one thinks I'm a dope for posting this . . .

I actually wonder about your question all the time, Unmutual, mostly because I'm so untrusting and nervous about the divine. (Bad experience when I was a Baptist Christian. . . ) I stress out because I don't come to shrine often enough, I feel like I don't do enough, etc.

But I think the reason I have a religion is because Bast and Anpu have, for the most part, been there for me. Even when I barely visit the shrine, or when I dissolve in pathetic tears before it because I've screwed up my life yet again, they seem pretty patient. I don't know how long that patience will last, but I'll keep trying to be the best Kemetic I can be until I'm shown the door.

And even though I don't have much faith, I've let Bast and Anpu--and Netjer ["god"] in general--know they have all of what faith I do have. And that seems to be enough right now. They put up with me and all my neuroses. To me, that's a wonderful thing. I've watched all my so-called "friends" abandon me as I was falling apart, but I've always been able to come to shrine. Even if I can't "sense" my gods, I know that they're there. Maybe it's not the god/dess I think it is, but there's still someone listening patiently to me. I imagine I get a lot of divine smirks, though! (I can just hear it: "She screwed up again? Are you kidding me? I mean, really?" Lol.)

I also have a religion because I like how I can experience nature not just as nature itself, but as deity. For example, in my backyard I have a willow tree. I call it the Ausir/Osiris Tree. A cat is a representative, if you will, of Bast. Same thing with a dog, except for Anpu. And this will sound strange to some people, but I also see deity in processes. For example, I see Djehuty/Thoth in the process of solving a math problem. That doesn't mean he's a calculus problem, it just means. . . well, I don't know how to put it into words. You're all smart enough to get the idea on your own.

I'm not sure if anyone "should" have a religion. I think the term to use is "need". If you need religion in your life for any reason, then have it. If you don't need it, then don't have it.
Leave your darkness with me, and I will make you shine.

MadZealot

  • Adept Member
  • ********
  • Join Date: Nov 2011
  • Location: So Cal
  • Posts: 2457
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 161
  • Eye yam tu papi.
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Bitter Clinger. Sith Lord.
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2012, 09:50:45 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;48170
I have faith because it's either that or I'm completely batshit - and as it seems to be not-dangerous, I'm gonna go with faith.  I'm pretty sure if it was just straight batshittery it would be odder.

I have religion because I find it a useful structure for articulating how to live with other people and how to make the world better.


Damn.  Second post in the thread and HS nails it.  

To add: I was an avowed atheist for several years, and after a while that worldview just stopped adding up for me.  Many get by on being straightforward, logical, and atheistic, and it works for them, I guess I'm wired differently.  To me, observation of the natural world seemed to suggest a creator presence, a first cause, whatever.  As if the universe were a giant clock, that would suggest there was a clock Maker.  
I've bounced around traditions since coming to a 'belief', and am still bouncin', to a degree.
Spider Man 3 never happened. And Epstein didn't kill himself.

earth_dragon

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Aug 2011
  • Posts: 161
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Why do you have a religion at all?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2012, 10:44:24 pm »
Quote from: Unmutual;48163
Why do you, personally, have a religion? (or faith, or a path...)

Why should you have a religion? Are some reasons better than others?

*random musing of the day*

 
I personally have a religion because I just feel that it's the right thing for *me*. I feel that my path, tho sometime divergent from where I originally started, is the correct one for me. But I know it wouldn't be right for everyone. Religion isn't right for everyone, and those who are religious couldn't possibly all follow the same path because we're not all carbon copies of each other. We would learn nothing if we were all that way.

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
15 Replies
2346 Views
Last post November 18, 2012, 01:16:34 pm
by Jezebel
2 Replies
931 Views
Last post January 10, 2013, 08:28:53 pm
by FollowerofOdin
35 Replies
3470 Views
Last post February 01, 2013, 04:32:01 pm
by Vale
34 Replies
3067 Views
Last post August 10, 2014, 09:41:16 pm
by victoreia
2 Replies
2113 Views
Last post October 18, 2015, 08:14:38 am
by RandallS

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 49
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 0

There aren't any users online.

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* Shop & Support TC

The links below are affiliate links. When you click on one of these links you will go to the listed shopping site with The Cauldron's affiliate code. Any purchases you make during your visit will earn TC a tiny percentage of your purchase price at no extra cost to you.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall