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View Poll Results: Your level of observance?
Non-practicing/secular form of religion 19 44.19%
A little observant 3 6.98%
Middle-of-the-road observance 10 23.26%
Strict adherence to religious rules 4 9.30%
Don't know 7 16.28%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-30-2011, 05:22 PM   #211 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by VEGANGELICA View Post
I think many people (but not all) who identify as Unitarian Universalist *do* think a lot about existence and meaning or lack thereof in it, as well as theological questions.

Here's a joke about Unitarian Universalists that demonstrates what I mean:



I think that would make a lot of UU people laugh because they'd relate!

I don't view being an atheist and a Unitarian Universalist as contradictory...since one can believe in *any* religion and also be a Unitarian Universalist. For example, there are Jewish people who are also Unitarian Universalist (Jewish Voices in Unitarian-Universalism, the project, the book, the on-line community).

The reason this is possible is that UU makes no statements about gods, neither whether or not they exist, nor what their nature might be. Spiritual beliefs are left up to individual members to decide (or not decide) for themselves, and are not proscribed, such as views about gods and whether or not there is any ultimate purpose in existence or for the self. UU often looks at and appreciates aspects of religious teachings from a variety of religious traditions, but does not subscribe to them.




I'm not disputing that someone could be Jewish and UU, or Muslim and UU or whatever so forth, and I agree one could probably be Sufi and UU.

I don't however believe someone could truthfully be atheist and UU.

Because what many atheists in this thread have agreed on, is that atheist is the word for the religious world's opinion of you. Well surely if you start tackling ideas which are common to you and them, whilst following UU, they would call you a Unitarian Universalist.

atheism is irrelevant. Ultimatly either you're for theism or against.

That's a good joke even I can relate to that lol.



Quote:
I can't speak for all atheists, but I don't worship any person or idea, Crukster, although I admire and appreciate many. I love the concept of democracy, for example, but I also don't want the majority to dominate the minority by treading on privileges I feel should be rights.
I don't either, not person anyway. And not the idea, only the Truth upon which it's based. I'm talking about the Universal energy of all existence. I know those terms are crude and generic. I'm hardly an expert on the idea, and tbh it's mostly self-formed. What I am getting at is there is a Universal commonality to all existence, or else we wouldnt be able to converse like this, we wouldnt even see each other, perceive, let alone understand. It'd be nothing, or at least, sole; alone.

Maybe that is our ultimate fate. Who knows.

In there here and now though, we are all here, we are all now. What I believe is God is the collective energy, will and power of us all. And capability; promise.

God is the eternal Sum of an evergrowing equation.

I definitly believe in autonamy as well. But I believe life is not about having a freefall toward nothing, shedding as many ties as possible. I believe, life is about thinking ideas and purposes that you choose to commit yourself fully, to pledge to, to live for.

Understanding through Autonomy.

Not the opposite.

Quote:
Your statement about not liking when atheists interfere with the rest of the world probably comes from the same root feeling that makes people say they don't like it when religions interfere with the rest of the world. So, I think you share a feeling in common with many people, such as Janszoon, who discuss the experience atheists sometimes have in a predominantly religious society.

I think most people want to be able to practice their religion or lack thereof in peace. When a person doesn't let you do that, feeling angry in response is only natural. I know *I* want autonomy. So, I feel it is wrong when a secular regime (such as China's) forbids the practice of certain religions. And I feel it is wrong when a religious regime forbids the practice of certain religions and non-religions.

This brings us back to the issue you mentioned earlier: sometimes the way people observe their particular belief systems involves interfering in the lives of other people who don't want interference, such as people who want to marry the adult whom they love, or teachers who want to teach science in science classrooms rather than religious beliefs attempting to mascarade as science, or people who don't want to die at the hands of terrorists.

When one person's observance of her beliefs (whether they are religious or not) interfere with another person's autonomy, then we have conflict.


I'd be troubled, too, by anyone squelching a discussion of evolution, since I feel that learning about how life procreates and has changed over time is a wonderful way to understand and appreciate life more.
To clarify I don't have a problem when people intefere in the World in general, I have a problem with atheists intefering.

For example, if the World was completely atheist, and I didn't like how it was being run, I wouldn't call myself

"aatheist"

thats not a typo the double a is intentional. I would say

"I don't like your World. I'm gonna burn it up and build my own one."


If that's what people think of this World, they should be honest. I dunno if at's at the point of burning up, but I definitly do not really like the World as it is today.


This is off topic again anyway, I apologise.

Last edited by crukster; 03-30-2011 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:01 AM   #212 (permalink)
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I'm not disputing that someone could be Jewish and UU, or Muslim and UU or whatever so forth, and I agree one could probably be Sufi and UU.

I don't however believe someone could truthfully be atheist and UU.

Because what many atheists in this thread have agreed on, is that atheist is the word for the religious world's opinion of you. Well surely if you start tackling ideas which are common to you and them, whilst following UU, they would call you a Unitarian Universalist.
I'm glad we both agree that someone could observe a religious faith and also be a Unitarian Universalist. I feel it is helpful to see where we have common ground in our thinking...before we figure out where our thoughts differ.

I feel your disbelief that someone could truthfully be "atheist" and "Unitarian Universalist" reflects your opinion about what these terms mean but doesn't accurately reflect reality, Crukster.

I know that some Unitarian Universalists believe in god(s) (I'd call these people "theists"), and some lack a belief in any gods or do not believe in any gods (I'd call these people "atheists," and many Unitarian Universalists self-identify as atheists), and some Unitarian Universalists believe it is unknowable whether or not gods exist (I'd call these people "agnostics"). Unitarian Universalists also include many other people, too, who hold a wide variety of other beliefs.

I do agree with you, though, that within people within a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship would probably refer to an atheist member as a "Unitarian Universalist" and wouldn't split UU people into subclasses, but this doesn't mean that a UU person can't also self-identify as an atheist.

You say you think many atheists feel the term "atheist" is applied to them by outsiders. While some atheists may not identify themselves as "atheists" and are indeed labeled as you suggest, some atheists *do* identify their beliefs as atheistic because that is the simplest statement of their viewpoint: they lack a belief in gods or do not believe in gods. This says nothing about how they *feel* about religions, which brings me to your next statement:

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Originally Posted by crukster View Post
atheism is irrelevant. Ultimatly either you're for theism or against.
I think again that you may be assuming atheism has a deeper emotional meaning than it does in reality.

It sounds to me as if you think "atheism" equals "anti-theism," and while some atheists may also be anti-theists, this is not always the case.

For example, some atheists may be anti-theism occasionally, while other atheists may have a variety of feelings about religions, including longing.

You could even have an atheist who sometimes is anti-theism, and yet sometimes feels longing for certain theist beliefs to be true. (That would best describe *my* feelings as an atheist. As for my beliefs, I believe no gods exist, but I feel the possibility that gods exist can't be disproven using the scientific method.)

In other words, more options exist besides the "either you're for theism or against" dichotomy that you have set up, just as there are all sorts of shades of gray and colors in addition to black and white.

I feel "atheism," "non-theist," and "agnosticism" are defined well, which to me means accurately, in the following quote from an essay, "If there is a God," written by a Unitarian Universalist (who identifies herself as an agnostic):

Quote:
Atheist: Someone who does not believe in God. There are many distinctions you can make among atheists—strong, weak, implicit, explicit, practical, theological—but the two major ones are strong atheism vs. weak atheism. A strong Atheist believes it is certain and clear that there is no God. A weak Atheist does not believe in God, but doesn’t assert the lack of God.

Non-theist: Someone who does not assert a belief in God. I include Agnostics, Atheists, most Buddhists, and many others in this group. I generally reserve the term “Atheist” for the group that is really strong Atheists, and use “non-theists” as the catch-all term.

Agnostic: Someone who does not know whether or not God exists. A weak Agnostic does not know if there is a God, but may feel they are still weighing evidence or will receive more evidence. A strong Agnostic believes it’s ultimately unknowable whether or not God exists.

uuworld.org : if there is a god . . .
What I hope you'll see from these definitions is that the defintion of "atheist" does not include any requirement that a "member of atheism" either wants to support or wants to dismantle religion.

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Originally Posted by crukster View Post
I don't either, not person anyway. And not the idea, only the Truth upon which it's based. I'm talking about the Universal energy of all existence. I know those terms are crude and generic. I'm hardly an expert on the idea, and tbh it's mostly self-formed. What I am getting at is there is a Universal commonality to all existence, or else we wouldnt be able to converse like this, we wouldnt even see each other, perceive, let alone understand. It'd be nothing, or at least, sole; alone.

Maybe that is our ultimate fate. Who knows.

In there here and now though, we are all here, we are all now. What I believe is God is the collective energy, will and power of us all. And capability; promise.
I understand and agree with what you are saying about a universal commonality to all existence: you are not just a solitary thinking and feeling being alone in the universe. I *do* perceive and understand you because I have a feeling of existing that I assume is similar to yours.

I also perceive we are surrounded by trillions of beings who see and perceive and understand each other to various degrees (I am including humanity and other living beings). I feel it is amazing (but not a miracle) that we are part of the life with which our planet is teeming.

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Originally Posted by crukster View Post
I definitly believe in autonamy as well. But I believe life is not about having a freefall toward nothing, shedding as many ties as possible. I believe, life is about thinking ideas and purposes that you choose to commit yourself fully, to pledge to, to live for.

Understanding through Autonomy.

Not the opposite.

To clarify I don't have a problem when people intefere in the World in general, I have a problem with atheists intefering.

For example, if the World was completely atheist, and I didn't like how it was being run, I wouldn't call myself

"aatheist"


thats not a typo the double a is intentional. I would say

"I don't like your World. I'm gonna burn it up and build my own one."


If that's what people think of this World, they should be honest. I dunno if at's at the point of burning up, but I definitly do not really like the World as it is today.

This is off topic again anyway, I apologise.
From reading the above, Crukster, I'm thinking that what really bugs you about the term "atheist" is that you feel it is not a positive statement of what an atheist *does* believe.

I think a majority of atheists would want to protect the current world and save what they like about it (rather than "burn" it), just like I think the majority of religious people wouldn't want to be "a-atheists" who hope to burn a hypothetical predominantly atheist world.

I agree with you that there is much not to like about the world as it is today. In many ways life certainly doesn't fit *my* ideal of what existence would be like. In other ways, the world is much more wonderful than anything I think I could have imagined on my own.

My main complaints about existence: I don't like all the suffering in the world and I don't like mortality.

I can't stop mortality from happening, but I can try to prevent or reduce suffering and and I can try not to contribute to suffering.

That's how my 'faith' as a strong atheist manifests itself: if there is no heaven, no god, no life after death, then I want to try to make this life that we *know* exists a little more "heaven-like." So then instead of discussing what heaven after death might be like, I can discuss and debate with people about what we feel heaven on earth *before* death would be like and how we can work together to help more beings experience "heaven on earth" in the here and now.
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If a chicken was smart enough to be able to speak English and run in a geometric pattern, then I think it should be smart enough to dial 911 (999) before getting the axe, and scream to the operator, "Something must be done! Something must be done!"

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Old 03-31-2011, 07:18 AM   #213 (permalink)
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aiyoh! what has any of this go to do with levels of observance of rituals?

mods, can we move the atheism debates into an "Atheism" thread?

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Old 03-31-2011, 07:25 AM   #214 (permalink)
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I can't stop mortality from happening, but I can try to prevent or reduce suffering and and I can try not to contribute to suffering.

That's how my 'faith' as a strong atheist manifests itself: if there is no heaven, no god, no life after death, then I want to try to make this life that we *know* exists a little more "heaven-like." So then, instead of discussing what heaven might be like after death, I can discuss and debate what I feel heaven on earth *before* death would be like, and how we can work together to help more beings experience "heaven on earth" in the here and now.
In general I agree with what you're saying tbh, I read your whole post but I'm gonna quote this bit cos I like in particular what you said, that's very admirable, I can understand and respect that. That's what I try to do, or hope to try to do in Life as well, even though I believe in Heaven, (or the "Afterlife" anyway at least.)

I believe but I don't know, I haven't died and seen it, yet. So the best bet is to make this Life as good and full as possible, I understand people have different ways of going about that. Personally it's about finding the fullest things, the most fulfilling. I assume other people do too and so it bugs me when I see people doing things which are a bit weak or lame, and it bugs me even more when they can't even back it up but don't wanna hear me out. Maybe that's fascist I dunno, hardline, I want everyone to be like me. But I believe what I know is Right, even if I am flawed in my application the methodology is right. And I think for a lot of people if they heard out the methodology, it would work for them, and hell, they'd probably have a lessed flawed application because it's a direct explanation and understanding, it comes without the sht

This is a bit of a ramble again, but basically, yeah I feel the term atheists, well firstly

1. I do believe in something so as a Man I disagree with the foundation of atheism

2. But speaking from a larger viewpoint, they're not making the most of their ideas, they're not fulfilling themselves as "atheists" and what it is they're saying by calling themselves atheists. even non-theist doesnt bother me as much. Even if it did break down into tooth and claw actual war, well what sort of an enemy are you fighting where they dont care if they win? I at least want my enemies to be a challenge.

But A-theist...its a total disregard for theism. I dont believe space crocodiles exist, btu I dont totally disregard it, cos it wont matter when its standing in front of me, all that'll matter is getting out of its jaws.

If it's a total disregard you have to stand by that.

Maybe you're right and it means more to me than the atheists. But what would that tell you?

Why declare an outright splitting of the cosmos and then act like theres no meaning to it?
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:53 AM   #215 (permalink)
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If they are a part of religion, then they're not atheist. Atheist = a self-proclaimed aversion to religion.
I consider myself an atheist Jew. There's a whole history and culture that goes along with being Jewish and religion is only a part of that. I don't reject religion at all, but I personally don't believe in a deity so why get involved in religious matters? I haven't really been involved in religion since my Bat Mitzvah when I was 12, but that doesn't mean that I've completely rejected religion as a whole. I respect people who have faith in God, or who go to church every week, etc., just like I respect others who don't.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:07 AM   #216 (permalink)
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I can't stop mortality from happening, but I can try to prevent or reduce suffering and and I can try not to contribute to suffering.

That's how my 'faith' as a strong atheist manifests itself: if there is no heaven, no god, no life after death, then I want to try to make this life that we *know* exists a little more "heaven-like." So then instead of discussing what heaven after death might be like, I can discuss and debate with people about what we feel heaven on earth *before* death would be like and how we can work together to help more beings experience "heaven on earth" in the here and now.
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aiyoh! what has any of this go to do with levels of observance of rituals?

mods, can we move the atheism debates into an "Atheism" thread?

As an atheist and Unitarian Universalist supporter, I 'observe' my beliefs and feelings about secular principles of Unitarian Universalism by trying to help create a "heaven on earth." Therefore I feel Crukster's and my discussion about what atheism means and how it influences people's behavior in the world falls under the general description made by the Original Poster:

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What is your level of observance? For the purposes of this thread, this includes the following:

- following halal/kosher/vegetarian diets, or any other special food requirements.
- attending services at a place of worship.
- practicing religion within the home (praying, scripture/study of holy books, grace/blessings at meals, bedtime prayers etc.)
- giving to religiously-based charities/causes (time, money, resources)

The list is not exhaustive though.

Read more: http://www.musicbanter.com/current-e...#ixzz1IBKasjsn
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Originally Posted by Neapolitan:
If a chicken was smart enough to be able to speak English and run in a geometric pattern, then I think it should be smart enough to dial 911 (999) before getting the axe, and scream to the operator, "Something must be done! Something must be done!"
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:28 AM   #217 (permalink)
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I consider myself an atheist Jew. There's a whole history and culture that goes along with being Jewish and religion is only a part of that. I don't reject religion at all, but I personally don't believe in a deity so why get involved in religious matters? I haven't really been involved in religion since my Bat Mitzvah when I was 12, but that doesn't mean that I've completely rejected religion as a whole. I respect people who have faith in God, or who go to church every week, etc., just like I respect others who don't.
Of course you've probably got your own idea of identity and I'm not begrudging anyone that but going off what you said, imo, you're a Jew who has a dispute over certain aspects of Judaism, then. I think the atheism part is unneccessary.

God is a lot than just Heavenly Father, in my belief, that's all I'm saying.

Moot point anyway I suppose. I'm shouting to myself. In the end, it is how it is, we'll all see that one day *shrug* Maybe there's diddly squat at the end, maybe we all siphon off down the drain and its done. Or maybe we move on somewhere to some other state I dunno.

But what is not moot and what is relevant is us, now, thinking, doing. I do more thinking than doing, but eh what I mean is reality. Thus, Religion is always valid so long as any particular Religion teaches a way of maintaining and making the best of your Existence. Maybe that's all God is in the end - a burning fireball that we're sitting in the middle of. How long we keep throwing fuel on the fire is how long we keep burning, and burning is all we've got. Maybe. Or maybe we gotta...light some rockets...

I need to smoke on this hmmm.


On topic, seeing as I've managed to write a lot without writing anything to the original post - I would call myself very religiously and spiritually observant, but I take everything with a grain of salt. What makes sense makes sense, what works works, what doesn't doesn't. I am Muslim, but I am also laid back. I haven't been to a Mosque in years. I consider it a big part of what shaped me as a person though, and I consider it my base, my grounds.

Base must be proven to be solid ground. Solid ground must be built on. Continual progression from an understanding of Nothing. Like dropping a seed in a barren land and watching a garden grow. Inter-function. System, order. Harmony. Cause and effect. Creation, heartbeats boom BOOM boom BOOM living things, LIFE, existence existing, Almighty Creation staring at where the void would be without it.

**** like this I dunno I should write it all down more clearly these are cliffnotes

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Old 03-31-2011, 11:39 AM   #218 (permalink)
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i believe God is a kind of gravititional anchor in the centre of the Universe (or even a Multiverse) or even something bigger than the Universe whose fringes we can't perceive, sort of an amorphous mass of matter/energy/particles, but my Gnostic views doesn't portray him as having any human characteristics - It's just something that's holding the fabric of reality together, and remains chaotic, neutral, non-judgmental, cos we can't even begin to comprehend Its mind and if It's intentions were benign, there wouldn't have been Laws of Entropy (everything decays) or The Evil That Men Do or Chaos Theory (more chaos than order in the Universe)

perhaps that's UU in some ways
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:51 AM   #219 (permalink)
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That's solid man that's something like what I believe as well.

I don't think of God as a personified man in the sky. That's egotism of the Race, surely. As if we'rre the epitome of all intelligence and creation, as if we have no more room to grow or anything. Those things are definitly not true imo. The idea of God as a man/woman/mortal limits the understanding of the bigger picture.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:54 AM   #220 (permalink)
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No, not all, I mean I don't like the way atheism clicked.

You're right Geddy I apologise. If you wanna debate it another time I'm cool with that Janszoon.
Not trying to be a jackass but I don't want to have to read pages and pages of arguments when it's not really what the thread is for.


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Agreed. One reason I am interested in seeing what sorts of religious rules or laws or philosophies people follow, and why, is that sometimes beliefs encourage followers to hurt others. I wish no belief system encouraged this.
Unfortunately the fluid nature of many religious texts (including my own!) allow people to claim that whatever violence you care to name, from suicide bombings to wars and murders, are license to kill, injure and destroy 'in the name of God'. You've also got the major issue that different denominations and different groups accept some texts to be more important to others, or reject completely some books/chapters/readings, such as Christian denominations and the debate about the Apocrypha, or the Muslim groups who reject the Hadith (there are a growing number of groups who do this).

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I think most people want to be able to practice their religion or lack thereof in peace. When a person doesn't let you do that, feeling angry in response is only natural. I know *I* want autonomy. So, I feel it is wrong when a secular regime (such as China's) forbids the practice of certain religions. And I feel it is wrong when a religious regime forbids the practice of certain religions and non-religions.
The grand majority of attempts to ban religions and ideologies is largely doomed to fail. It didn't work in ancient Rome with the Christians, it didn't work in Stalin's Russia and it isn't working in China either. You can knock down a building (such as a church) but you can't police what is in people's heads.

Quote:
This brings us back to the issue you mentioned earlier: sometimes the way people observe their particular belief systems involves interfering in the lives of other people who don't want interference, such as people who want to marry the adult whom they love, or teachers who want to teach science in science classrooms rather than religious beliefs attempting to mascarade as science, or people who don't want to die at the hands of terrorists.

When one person's observance of her beliefs (whether they are religious or not) interferes with another person's autonomy, then we have conflict.

Again, the fluid nature of many religious systems means that whilst some periods in history and some cultural groups see people of different religions live happily together whilst others do not. The Roman empire is a prime example: there were some 5000 different recognized religions, belief systems and cults, both from within the Roman empire and outside it. You could pretty much believe in any gods you so chose, one or many, Roman and foreign, local, national or from the pantheon, and there was so sense of conflict in doing so.

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I'd be troubled, too, by anyone squelching a discussion of evolution, since I feel that learning about how life procreates and has changed over time is a wonderful way to understand and appreciate life more.
It wasn't just the evolution thing which struck me but the constant keeping happy of this group by our ministers and lay preachers. They constantly wanted the worship band to stick to 'traditional' songs rather than what they termed 'throw-away' modern songs (I was in the worship band so this annoyed me because no-one else had an issue with the songs we did), they didn't like things like the youth groups' annual service (where all the children of the church did the entire service), complaining that it was 'out of character for the church' (it consisted of things like song/dance acts, plays, shorter sermons than the normal service and only a small worship music section). I personally thought it good to encourage the kids to do it.
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