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Old 01-13-2003, 06:23 PM   #1
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Describe your religiousness

Basically I'm just wondering about some things such as what you believe. agnostic? humanist? perhaps you worship Loki? If you are part of an 'organized' religion... how often do you go to church (or it's equivalent)? how do you feel about churches? how closely do you follow the bible/how literally do you interpret it? what caused you to be the way you are spiritually? If you could mention your age too, that would be helpful.

Now remember, go hog wild, discuss to your heart's content. but please don't smoosh the berries.
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Old 01-13-2003, 06:36 PM   #2
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Let me give it some thought and get back to you. Is this for that same class? Or did you get to thinking about this subject?
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Old 01-13-2003, 06:51 PM   #3
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Both actually. more pressingly it is for my history class, but it's also an interesting topic as far as i'm concerned
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Old 01-13-2003, 08:00 PM   #4
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Well as a new guy I suppose this'll be good for me too

I am a Christian. I adhere for the most part with interpretation of the Presbyterian Church of Canada. I go to Church weekly as often as I can. I Try to read scripture and pray everyday though I haven't been perfect on that for a while. For anyone familiar with C.s. Lewis I'm on a fairly similar wavelength as he is on a lot of things. I'm fairly morally conservative but socially left wing which is what I feel is the message more or less of the Gospel. I'm big on social justice by my own temperment but especailly since that was a good 75% the message Jesus preached. I come down strongly against being judgemental - since Christians are expressly forbidden to judge otheres (though we do a fine job of it). I Consider the Bible to be absolutely true though not always in a literal sense. Much of scripture is allegorical, especially the earliest parts. However allegory is no less true than "actual events" especially since as I see it history itself is one grand allegory. Allegory in many ways expresses truth far more perfectly than more "direct" literal methods. Jesus used allegory extensively, did that make his words anyless true? I treat the New Testament as reasonably historically accurate, by virtue of the period nature of Paul's letters and the fact that the Church included four gospels which though highly consistent do show four noticably differing interpretations of events. Were it made up it would be a lot more "ideal". Plus my gut instincts tell me that the content, the messages and the person of Jesus as presented is fundamentally true. For anyone who knows Christianity I hold to the expression of the faith presented in the Nicene Creed. I really should express myself better than this but it's short notice

I came to my faith through my parents who are both ministers. I was brough up in the Christian faith but I was allowed to come to it of my own free will. I have looked at other religions but my heart tells me that the claims of the Christian faith are true. I am 20 and an engineering student with interests in the arts and history as well. If the last part helps at all.
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Old 01-13-2003, 09:17 PM   #5
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If country singer Tim McGraw were asked to "share his Faith," would he start telling people of his religious views, or would he allow his wife, Faith Hill, to start giving pleasure to multiple partners? Inapporpriate, probably, but I felt like committing an act of "silliness."

Anyway, to answer Skeek's questions:

1. I am a Christian, specifically a member of the United Methodist Church, with which I agree mostly on theological issues and probably somewhere between 50% and 75% on social issues. As cliche as it has become to many people since we have been saying it in out congregations for hundreds of years, I must admit that the traditional English version of the Apostle's Creed sums it up quite well for me:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.


Now let me point to a few things specifically:

Despite modern theological trends, I do still believe that Jesus was THE Christ, God's Son, and I even believe in that silly old VIRGIN BIRTH! And as crazy as it sounds, I still believe in the Resurrection of His body from the tomb after 3 days and then he ascended to heaven. I also belive in God (the "Father") and in the Holy Ghost/Spirit. Though not mentioned inthis Creed, I believe that Christ experienced the transfiguration when Moses and Elijah appeared to Him, I believe that He walked on water, calmed the storm on the sea, and turned a few loaves and fishes into food for the masses.

2. I try to attend Churhc each Sunday, though sometimes I sleep in and don't make it to Church(sorry). My wife and I also attend a "Sunday School" class for young couples, and it is great. Several of them attended my birthday party at our house Saturday night.

3.(a). I read the Bible quite extensively at present. We are taking the Disciple Bible Study and are currently about halfway through the 34 week course. I took a youth version when I was 17. In college, I took a New Testament course which was an in-depth lecture course taught by an ordained Episcopal clergy at a Methodist college. I also took several religious courses which dealt more with society.

3.(b). As for how literally I interpret the Bible, please refer to #1 for the fundamental issues that I place great literal emphasis on, although there are many, many more things in the Bible that I take literally. Jesus was pretty clear on when He was speaking in parables, and God was a bit too stern with His peoples of the Old Testament for me to doubt any of the things He allegedly did, thgouh how He did them is up for friendly discussion.

4. Yes, my upbringing was the foundation for what I believe today; my Mom was a 1st & 2nd grade Sunday School teacher, my childhood babysitter was a Pentacostal believer, and I spent my pre-teen and teenage summers going to a Methodist camp. Deeper study throughout life has brought me to where I am now, and I think it is with purpose.

I hope this helps.

~U2Alabama

P.S. I drink beer, eat meat, listen to rock music, and when somebody cuts me off in traffic, I utter naughty words. I felt the need to be honest here as well.
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Old 01-13-2003, 09:22 PM   #6
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Originally posted by U2Bama

P.S. I drink beer, eat meat, listen to rock music, and when somebody cuts me off in traffic, I utter naughty words. I felt the need to be honest here as well.
Hey, nobody's perfect....

But I don't drink beer- I prefer amaretto sours
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Old 01-14-2003, 09:47 AM   #7
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I am agnostic.
I have a strong interest in Wicca and perhaps one day will come will I will devote myself to it, but as of now, I just can't commit to any one religion.
Churches scare me for the most part, except black churches because I've only had good experiences with those. The white churches I spent time in as a kid were mean and scary.
I like the bible as a book, it's full of interesting stories, and I appreciate it as one of the finest pieces of literature around.
I think my spirituality was born out of spending a lot of time in the forest as a child. It made me feel like that was the real deal. Not listening to some pastor tell me I'm going to hell, but just soaking up the energy of what is found in nature.
That is when I feel the most spiritual and close to something bigger than myself.
Animals and grass and trees and a flowing stream, and I am in heaven

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Old 01-14-2003, 10:33 AM   #8
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I am Roman Catholic or Irish Catholic which ever way you look at it. I try to attend mass ever Sunday or every Saturday, if i cant make it to sunday morning mass. I dont really read the bible on my own but I do talk to family and friends to be able to better understand it. I basically worship in my own way and dont go by everything that the church says you must do. All of the "rules" of the church werent made by God but in fact made by men or the people in charge saying what should be done.

My Motto: "Do unto others what you would have done to you".
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Old 01-14-2003, 10:39 AM   #9
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I am a Christian attending a Presbyterian church. I would not call myself a Presbyterian, however; we attend this church because we feel called to be here, there is sufficient “meat” in the sermons, and we can be involved in children’s ministries.

We attend church most every Sunday. This year we have decided as a family to attend two services each Sunday. The first service is our time of worship and our second service is our time of serving in children’s ministries. I also spend time every day reading the Bible and in prayer.

I feel believers must meet regularly for worship, prayer and learning. There is an ongoing dynamic with organized religion. On one hand, there is the need for corporate worship that, unless you can meet with spiritually blessed people, can only be done through organized religion. On the other hand, organized religion can become saturated with human agendas, turning them into a place of contention for many believers.

I consider the Bible as the inherent Word of God. I find the best way to interpret the Bible is to compare Scripture with Scripture. God’s Word is something that I do not take likely. The worst thing I can do in this world (aside from apostasy) is to misspeak God’s Word. As teachers of the Word, my wife and I take seriously the higher level of accountability that God will hold us to.

I was raised in an Episcopalian/Russian Orthodox household with two parents who couldn’t decide how I should be instructed in the faith. I attended a few classes with some of my Catholic friends and spent four years in a Jesuit high school. This left me with an understanding of the Bible as literature, but with no knowledge of a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

I put my faith in Christ when I was in law school. At that time I was flying high, able to accomplish pretty much everything I wanted to do. God then took something away from me. Instead of feeling the anger I expected for losing what “should rightfully be mine”, I felt love instead. Everything I had read in the Bible came to life and I realized my need of a Savior. It was amazing to realize that no matter how great I thought I was, I am a sinner who could not stand in the presence of a Holy God without Jesus Christ.

Sorry this is so long winded. Oh – last question. I am 38.

God Bless
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Old 01-14-2003, 12:58 PM   #10
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I am Roman Catholic in origin, but I take on religion in a very scholarly sense, as it was done similarly in the Middle Ages. I find the current state of Christianity in general to be riddled with romanticist ideas of what is "past," and, historically, it is generally inaccurate. I started my scholarly approach to Christianity after I found that much of the Catholic Church's stances on sexuality and gender roles to be factually inaccurate, while, at the same time, proclaiming their beliefs to be the "truth." Since something didn't add up, I started on my own path, and, at best, I am perhaps best described as a Christian with a Catholic bias.

As a student of media culture and criticism, I apply much of my studies to religion, and, actually, I find *that* to be fairly accurate. My view on the Bible is that it is what it was God intended it to be, but that it is generally factually incorrect. The Old Testament is the result of Jewish leaders attempting to reorganize their Jewish state after hundreds of years in exile. With this being the days before mass communication, it might as well have been an eternity, so the Old Testament, while likely having been based on existing sources and oral tradition, is written as a text to reassert authority over the Jewish people. In that regard, it works, but I consider it to be more of a legal text than a moral text, albeit the idea of separation of church and state is not even applicable. However, it is precisely *that*--the legal purpose, in addition to the moral purpose--that makes me skeptical.

Overall, to me, the Old Testament is an attempt to create a history for a demoralized people, to show that there is a God that is willing to fight for his "chosen people," to show that the Jewish people were able to survive and overcome exile before (the myth of the Jewish enslavement in Egypt), and, most importantly, that they were a valuable people with a long history, and, implicitly, a long future, as a result. However, at the same time, the Old Testament regurgitates the values of the ruling class, threatening an angry God to smote anyone who does not follow certain laws--laws likely created by the ruling class, but to attribute these laws to God, rather than the ruling class, is to instill unquestioning compliance.

To me, Jesus recognized this and attempted to draw the first line between moral and legal laws. The main difference being that moral laws are worth upholding and that legal laws are mutable--e.g., they can be changed. However, the New Testament, having been written thirty to seventy years after Jesus' death, becomes entrapped under the mysticism of the Old Testament, and, as such, the writers of the New Testament spend most of their time trying to fulfill Old Testament prophesy regarding the Messiah, even if they are fabricating details in the process. The end--mass faith in Jesus Christ and his teachings--justified the means--literary hyperbole. Separate from this is the sermons of St. Paul, the theological father of Roman Catholicism, who is less concerned with strict adherence to Biblical text than his own faith experiences. As such, with his precedent, Christianity sees no problem in creating their own moral and legal tradition, similar to the moral and legal tradition that Judaism crafted over centuries. Unfortunately, I think they missed the point about Jesus Christ--perhaps His message was too revolutionary for this time--and fell back into the same trap as Judaism--scaring people into unquestioning faith and unwavering compliance with the religious and imperial leaders.

But, back to the idea that the Bible is what God intended it to be, even if it is factually incorrect, this falls under the realm of postmodernist thought: the image and the myth of the Bible is more important than the reality. It has always intrigued me that, in apparitions of Mary and, occasionally, Jesus, they represent exactly as they are culturally perceived in art--knowing full well that, likely, Jesus and Mary looked nothing like their artistic depictions. This, as a result, could be one of two things: that these apparitions are fictitious or that God instills his message and presence through our cultural perceptions; that, in actuality, "presentation" is more important than "fact."

In spite of all this, I am deeply spiritual through my own personal experiences with God, and I believe fully in Jesus Christ. I believe that the deity out there that actually created this world and universe is working within these parameters, as we have defined out historically. The Jewish people wanted a Messiah, so God fulfilled our sincerest of desires--even if people were unwilling to accept it fully. I also look forward to the Second Coming of Christ for the same exact reason; that God will fulfill our sincere desire for reunion with Christ. Similarly with the First Coming, however, which expected a warrior Messiah to vanquish the "evil" in the world and to "exult" his "chosen people," I feel we will be equally disappointed and another religious schism is inevitable in that future scenario, as I believe Jesus is likely to return much as He originally came--peacefully. Essentially, if Christianity doesn't get its doomsday scenario--just as Judaism didn't get its warrior Messiah--we are going to repeat history.

However, as many here and elsewhere will likely point out, such a proposition is complicated and incredulous to them, so, unlike most religious "sermons," I do not expect everyone to believe like me. But this is what I believe for now; it will likely evolve, but, despite all of this, I feel that my faith is stronger than ever.

BTW, I'm 22.

Melon
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Old 01-14-2003, 06:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by adamswildhoney
I am Roman Catholic or Irish Catholic which ever way you look at it. I try to attend mass ever Sunday or every Saturday, if i cant make it to sunday morning mass. I dont really read the bible on my own but I do talk to family and friends to be able to better understand it. I basically worship in my own way and dont go by everything that the church says you must do. All of the "rules" of the church werent made by God but in fact made by men or the people in charge saying what should be done.

My Motto: "Do unto others what you would have done to you".
I am the same Religion except we never go to mass b/c our church was burnt down and my mum has a thing about sitting in a church in if they start to riot outside

I studied RE for 5 years and go to a Catholic school so its drilled into us one class a week that im in my last year

I dont go by all the rules either
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Old 01-16-2003, 09:21 PM   #12
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Here's my religious views:

I do believe in God.
I'm not really sure if I believe in the whole thing with heaven and hell. I do believe in an afterlife, but more in the sense of ghosts and things like that.

I have not been to church since, like, middle school-when my grandma was alive my mom, sister and I would go with her every Sunday (which I hated...sorry to any of you religious people out there, but as an 8, 9 year old kid...church sermons bored me to death), and then after she died we stopped doing that, but I still went to confirmation classes in middle school (and again, Sunday mornings didn't go to church, but I'd have to listen to church sermons on the radio for confirmation classes the following week, which I also didn't like). Then once I hit high school, I didn't go anymore.

As far as what I think about religion and church and all that in general: I have no problem with people being religious. I have no problem with people having their faiths and being strong in them and all that. That's cool. And if you're a regular church-goer, that's fine.

I just hate how some religious people out there shove their beliefs down other people's throats, and they condemn people to hell because they don't follow their religion, and they think their religion is the only one, the right one (how can they be so sure of that-what if they're wrong?), it's like they don't even try to understand the beliefs of others. And I hate how people have fought wars over religious differences...grow up, accept each other's beliefs and move on.

And then there's those hypocrites as well-they speak out against things like Clinton's affair because that was so immoral, but then you find out they've had some big scandals, like they've had affairs of their own or they're big with looking at child pornography and things like that (kinda like those freaky televangelists on that "I Love The 80's" thing...yeowza...).

I also don't like how close-minded those types of people can be about various issues.

Like I said, though, this is only how some religious people act. I know this is not the case with everyone who is religious. Which is good.

Angela
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Old 01-20-2003, 09:44 AM   #13
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I'm a Shia muslim... I try to study more about it every day, becuase there is so much to learn... I attend gatherings at the center almost every week... Learning, and praying gives me more patience with life... It is a beautiful religion and every rule and story in the quran makes sense...
Amna, 21
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Old 01-20-2003, 05:34 PM   #14
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Forgot to mention my age: I'm 18.

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Old 01-20-2003, 05:38 PM   #15
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btw i am 20 yrs old.
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Old 01-21-2003, 12:59 PM   #16
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I would describe myself as a spiritual person with an open mind, but I have no religious affiliation of any kind. I strongly believe we have souls, that there is a creator, that there are ghosts and there is an afterlife. I have a strong suspicion there are past lives and reincarnation (but not as animals, as people, like we graduate from life to life to learn lessons), but I am not certain of it.

What does this categorize me as, an agnostic, or something else?

Since I was raised with absolutely NO religion at all I find myself in the difficult position of trying to figure out if I want to "become religious" or not. The hard part is it's easier to be religious when you are brought up that way. Then again, maybe it means a lot to discover these things in adulthood.

The benefit to suddenly becoming a Christian is that you have this sense of relief, that everything will be taken care of. It's probably the same feeling of love and contentment that I feel when at a U2 show.

You can even sin all you want in this life it seems, because once you give yourself to Christ, all is forgiven! (please someone correct me if I'm wrong on this-I'm a newbie! This part really bothers me btw...as well as all these threats of hell.)

The problem is how do you just "become a Christian" when you can't quote the Bible to save your life, your relatives tell you what nonsense it is, and the rest of the world has many interesting and valid religions?

This is something I am struggling with these days. I am 31 (soon to be 32 unfortunately), and my father is a materialist, my mother an atheist, my sister a Wiccan and my brother I think is a Unitarian. My husband is kind of a casual United Church guy, but never goes to church. I married him in his family's United Church to make everyone happy, and because I wanted the traditonal wedding. It was more for their benefit though.

No wonder I have no idea what path to follow! Maybe one day, if I ever get the time, I will go and study religion in college and figure things out. If anyone has any suggestions for my eternal soul, please feel free to post them or PM me!



P.S. Sparky'sgrrl, I know exactly what you mean about nature. The only place where I feel entirely whole and at peace is at the family cottage in the woods in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 01-21-2003, 02:47 PM   #17
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okay, i'll answer each question individually:

Basically I'm just wondering about some things such as what you believe. agnostic? humanist? perhaps you worship Loki? i consider myself a christian.

If you are part of an 'organized' religion... how often do you go to church (or it's equivalent)? hehe...hardly. i haven't found the right church for me yet. i had been going to the same church for like six years, but i just started to find myself disagreeing with things more and more. essentially, i tend to gravitate towards smaller congregations, and this church started off as a small, new church, and escalated into what is now quite large. also, unfortunately, i started to notice they seemed to care more about my money (or lack of) than how i was doing (i used to be very close with several people in the church), etc.

how do you feel about churches? i don't have a problem with them. i don't think you have to be at church to feel something or experience god's power or wisdom though. the things that happen at church can happen in any meeting. but personally, i would prefer to go to church once a week and also meet outside of church with a small group once a week as well, for a pick-me-up. it's like looking at the week in one big day, where the day you go to church is your huge triple shot espresso. it rejuvenates you, wakes you right up. then, you have that slump towards the middle of the day, and you need to have a cup of coffee. that's the meeting with the small group, just a slight pick-me-up.

how closely do you follow the bible/how literally do you interpret it? i'm not sure. i think i follow it pretty closely, although there are some things i don't agree with. it's not even so much as to what's been said in the bible. i look at the bible kind of like a constitution. makes sense, right? a constitution, for the most part, lays down the rules and says how you are supposed to govern your life. well, even right off the bat, people noticed the constitution (in america, anyway) was missing things, or needed to clarify things. so we added the bill of rights. also, now that it's been 200+ years since it was written, things have to be clarified further, and also modernized. in 1776, they weren't thinking "what if the president dies?" or if alcohol should be legal. things were added as we went along. that's how i look at the bible. things in it aren't necessarily wrong, but unclear or archaic in thinking.

what caused you to be the way you are spiritually? i'd say it was a bit of how i was raised, but mainly because of my parents. i went to a presbyterian church all my life. in fact, the last church i attended (i started going in 96) was the first and only non-presbyterian church i regularly attended. i'm excluding the few times i've been to catholic mass with my grandparents, of course. my parents are more modern thinkers. for example, they think both sexes are equal, they're not racist or homophobic. i was raised to think everyone is equal. that can obviously cause me to disagree with several churches, when they start preaching homosexuality is wrong or a woman can't be the head of a church.

If you could mention your age too, that would be helpful. i'm 19.
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Old 01-21-2003, 07:19 PM   #18
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I don't really look at it as "becoming a Christian". Its more like, for me, taking into account personal experiences, percieved encounters with God and belief that out of all the world religions, christianity (creator coming down to experience life as his creation)...makes the most sense; that I want to have a relationship with this God/Jesus I have sensed this presence of.
I look at church as a chance to meet with others who have this same hunger and desire to encounter and understand their maker. as well as being a place where I can meet those who are also in a struggle to become what they believe God wants them to be. I have been active in a Methodist church in Oklahoma for the past four years, and I am very excited about what we are trying to as a body to meet our cities many needs.
Regarding my belief in the bible....to be honest, I have no difficulty with the New Testament, but I do struggle with much of the Old Testament. I find it difficult to put the sometimes almost military God of much of OT together with a God who would go to the cross in the NT. I tend to view the Old Testament as more of a document of the relationship between God and the tribes of Israel than as a rule book of Do's and Don'ts...in other words, I do currently interpret part of the OT in a cultural context.
Regarding what caused me to be this way spiritually......its a mix of a lot of different things. First of all, neither of my parents went to church, but they still allowed me to go to Sunday School with my friends. I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church, I stopped going to church between graduating HS and the 3rd month of my freshman semester....during this time I did quite a bit of exploration regarding my beliefs..or lack there-of...when I finally did go back to church, I joined a friend at an assembly of God church for the rest of that school year. In addition to this, in all honesty, my new interest in u2, MLK and CS Lewis caused me to see Christianity in a much freer way......which introduced me to Bishop Desmond Tutu's autobiography...as well as the lyrics of a few christian rock bands....add Amnesty International, Free Trade Movement, Jubilee 2000, Philip Yancey and Tony Campolo into that mix..and you have a pretty heady spiritual/political philosophy I suppose....
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Old 01-22-2003, 12:40 AM   #19
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What Melon Said...

I'm 26, male, and my belief system is much like melon's, except that I throw into the mix a bunch of "new age", buddhist, hindu, eastern, and atheist thinking in there as well. I know that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I have a lot of respect for the true athiest mindset (which is often misunderstood). I also think Rand's objectivism has a lot of merits, and try to live up to that as well. Maybe I'm a Spiritual Athiest? To be that, you have to have a pretty different view of "God" than most orthodox views however. I really look up to what I think is the true teachings of Christ. I think it is possible he was the embodiment of the Holy Spirit. I'm also a nature lover, although not to be confused with a nature worshiper. I'll never worship the creation, only the creator. I feel Spirit's presence very truely when in nature. Additionally, I am fascinated by science, and think the scientific method is a great tool for understanding ourselves and our universe. I also believe it to be a fundamental human right to explore our own consciousness through relationship to sacred entheogens. I meditate. I have had serious health issues that have changed my outlook on life. 2002 i had 5 heart surgeries, a heart disease that the best cardiologists and electrophysiologists in the WORLD were unable to fully treat, uncountable er visits, a 6 month death sentence, and a near death experience due to a complication that required immediate emergency heart surgery. I have had out-of-body experiences. I believe in a bohm's model of a holographic universe. I believe in a universe so grand that it is greater than we can even conceive. And sometimes, just sometimes I can believe in nothing AND everything and then I am truly free.

Melon, can you recommend any good books on scholarly research of the bible?
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Old 01-23-2003, 12:36 AM   #20
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Castro Valley, CA
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I have already said here what I am. but for those new

I am a Messianic Jew, baptized several times in various versions by different churches. they like to keep the holy water standing...
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