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Old 03-25-2006, 08:52 PM   #16
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Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic


People need other people and are better off with other people. I think non-Christian organized groups can serve the same purpose as Christian churches
But that completely ignores the notion of reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism, where detachment and solitude play an extremely important part in the escape from samsara, the cycles of rebirth.

We have an extremely ethnocentric, Western, Christian idea of what religion is like and what is the best method of worship.

I feel much more comfortable in the Eastern religious contexts.
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Old 03-25-2006, 08:56 PM   #17
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Originally posted by anitram


But that completely ignores the notion of reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism, where detachment and solitude play an extremely important part in the escape from samsara, the cycles of rebirth.

We have an extremely ethnocentric, Western, Christian idea of what religion is like and what is the best method of worship.
Agreed - although there are also examples of monastic hermits within the Chrstan framework.
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Old 03-25-2006, 08:59 PM   #18
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That's true, and even today there are a number of Catholic monasteries in which the monks live lifestyles very similar to the Buddhist monks of Tibet and so on.
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Old 03-25-2006, 09:23 PM   #19
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But that completely ignores the notion of reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism, where detachment and solitude play an extremely important part in the escape from samsara, the cycles of rebirth.

I guess the Christian equivalent of solitude would be meditation, prayer, and reflection of scripture. Like I said before, you don't need to go to church or be a member to be a Christian. I don't think I've been to church in six months! Maybe I'm not making sense? I'm in agreement with Justin than worship can take pretty much any form that's meaningful to you. All I'm saying is that I don't think there's anything harmful with belonging to a community that encourages growth and accountability (I don't think I ever even said "worship"), whether it's a church group, a school group, a sports club, etc. Like I said before, you're not saved/reincarnated/whatever because you do or don't go to church.
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Old 03-25-2006, 09:26 PM   #20
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Originally posted by financeguy

You reckon?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermit#Hermits_in_religion
But hermits eventually make a choice to become a hermit. Ever met a child that was severely neglected by parents, kept in a cage with no socialization? I met a 17 year old girl who can't talk and has the brain function of a 4 year old because she was completely isolated from human interaction.

I actually admire hermits a lot and often wish I could abandon everything...
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Old 03-25-2006, 09:46 PM   #21
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I do believe that church is very important to the Christian faith. For one thing, much of the new testament emphasises community. I've gone through times of feeling frustrated with organized religion, but I've come to realize that I am a part of the Body of Christ. The New Testament says that as a "christian" I am a member of the body of Christ. If I am a foot...I can't do much without the leg connecting to it......
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Old 03-26-2006, 10:18 AM   #22
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The Church was hugely important during the rise of Christianity, it was important for all Christians to come together and donate $$ to raise funds for bigger, better and more awe inspiring churches. During the days of Paganism, the government had to fund all the Temples! So with the community funding their own places of worship, this idea was much more favourable to the government and now look where christianity is now. I went on a tangent there, i know.
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Old 03-26-2006, 11:53 AM   #23
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I agree, community is important to the Christian experience. Christianity isn't something I feel like I can just do on my own. I need the Church. I need more learned members, like priests and nuns, to teach me. I don't always know where to find the information.
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Old 03-26-2006, 08:25 PM   #24
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I like the idea of skipping the man-made religious stuff. Besides, no mere man (or woman) on this planet can get you closer to god. Like buying straight from the wholesaler, cutting out the middle man.
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Old 03-26-2006, 09:20 PM   #25
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Like buying straight from the wholesaler, cutting out the middle man.
I like that.

But I would take it one step further and buy straight from the manufacturer and even cut out the wholesaler.
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Old 03-26-2006, 10:22 PM   #26
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Originally posted by Angela Harlem
I like the idea of skipping the man-made religious stuff. Besides, no mere man (or woman) on this planet can get you closer to god. Like buying straight from the wholesaler, cutting out the middle man.

I agree with you in many respects on this, such as the concept of a required intercessor. Does this, however, extend to how you define God? Is God a only a matter of personal revelation?
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Old 03-26-2006, 11:04 PM   #27
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I agree with you in many respects on this, such as the concept of a required intercessor. Does this, however, extend to how you define God? Is God a only a matter of personal revelation?
How we define God currently is merely someone else's personal revelation. It would explain why God/Allah might as well be two different gods, despite technically being one in the same.

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Old 03-26-2006, 11:18 PM   #28
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I agree with you in many respects on this, such as the concept of a required intercessor. Does this, however, extend to how you define God? Is God a only a matter of personal revelation?
I guess it's the same question we apply to religions, in a way? Is god, as defined by religion X, a matter of someone else's definition, albeit perhaps one which is thousands of years old? Is a personal revelation not what people of assigned faiths feel, anyway? But these are rhetorical. I suspect you mean by doing this are we then in danger of missing things or more specifically then creating what we think this god should be, based on human comfort and ideals. I've never understood, though, why simply saying 'I reckon there's a god/spirit/creator identity/deity. Beyond that I am not sure, but I reckon god[/insert other here] is there. He created us, all of this, for whatever purpose. I'm here to just do my best. Maybe I'll find out the truth, maybe I wont.' can't wash? It's belief, isn't it? Isn't simple belief enough?
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:16 AM   #29
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What about non-christian faiths? How do they compare when it comes to group worship?
In Hinduism and, especially, Buddhism, group worship is of relatively little importance. Hindus do worship as a group during festivals, and some Hindu temples offer regularly scheduled worship services that are specifically meant for group worship. And of course many Hindu and Buddhist practitioners do voluntarily form or join scripture study groups, yoga or meditation classes, and religiously motivated charity associations. But overall, neither religion places much emphasis on the idea of learning from other (lay) members of the faith, nor on group worship as a good in its own right.

This is just my personal view, but I am inclined to see this difference as related to broader differences between Hinduism, Buddhism and the Abrahamic religions when it comes to the relationship between faith and the individual's role in society. A characteristic feature of the Abrahamic religions is a strong emphasis on social justice, civic responsibility, and the obligation of every believer to apply their faith in a very concrete, clearly-spelled-out way to their dealings with other human beings. Certainly this quality has varied through time, place and sect--Dark Ages Christianity was quite limited on the social responsibility front, for example--and of course, it goes without saying that clashing views of what the "just society" looks like have often created as many problems as they've solved. And true, in contemporary Buddhism there are some very influential voices promoting a "socially engaged" vision of Buddhist practice (Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi etc.). Still, from a comparative standpoint it is noteworthy how the Abrahamic faiths put social obligations front and center, while Hinduism and Buddhism have traditionally focused more strongly on individual liberation.
Quote:
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I've never understood, though, why simply saying 'I reckon there's a god/spirit/creator identity/deity. Beyond that I am not sure, but I reckon god[/insert other here] is there. He created us, all of this, for whatever purpose. I'm here to just do my best. Maybe I'll find out the truth, maybe I wont.' can't wash? It's belief, isn't it? Isn't simple belief enough?
In many sects of Christianity, at least, this view would be unacceptable because of the doctrine of original sin and its implications for the need of personal faith in Christ to achieve salvation. The Koran states that followers of other faiths will be judged "according to their own book" (though there is much debate about which "books" are included in that decree, with some sects maintaining that monotheism at least is necessary, and that furthermore Muslims who convert will go to hell, etc.). Judaism has never maintained that one must be Jewish in order to be "saved," on the other hand, Jewish notions of the afterlife are sketchy at best, and personal liberation/salvation has never been a predominant concern.
Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
People need other people and are better off with other people.
This would more or less be the reason why I personally find religious community indispensible. The idea of faith as a hermetically sealed, purely personal relationship between God and the individual leaves me cold, frankly, and all of my most powerful religious experiences have come about through finding God in others, so to speak. Not that those experiences have all happened in a synagogue or with other Jews; they haven't. But the sharing of a legacy, and a common language for describing religious experience, is a very powerful thing, and an invaluable aid to staying spiritually alert and aware, IMO.

I do also believe, very strongly, that there is a time and place for solitude, and for learning from other religions' perspectives and practices (it was at an ashram where I truly learned to meditate, a gift for which I'll be forever grateful). But I think that too often, people fall into these modes of practice not because "it's just the right time for it" or because it satisfies them profoundly and completely, but rather because for various reasons they feel alienated from, and unwelcome in, the kinds of religious communities they've known in the past. As AliEnvy said in the "heaven is hell" thread,
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I think you draw the line between acceptance and submission at the point where you feel no nagging doubt (as in complete peace with the decision of acceptance). That way it's not defeat. If you submit to something larger than yourself and feel defeated, keep fighting.
I think this applies nicely both to deciding whether you're getting what you need from your religious community, and to deciding whether you're getting what you need from belonging to no community at all.
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Old 03-27-2006, 09:04 AM   #30
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i believe that work is worship

work as in anything constructive, creative, artistic or innovative!!
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