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Does organized religion have value?

Personally I've been struggling to find my own path to spritualtiy. I'm not sure what my views on god are, or heaven for that matter. But i think going to church still has a lot of impact on me, and it can be a very good idea for a lot of people. I go to my church not just to fulfill a spiritual need, but for the community, support, and in many cases blind optimism. I know a lot of people think of religion as just a way to ignore science, but i try to let those two live in harmony.

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    Mar 29 2011: Religion to me is like a light bulb. It can light your way or burn you. I can see the value to those who turn a negative life around because of a belief and I can see the harm to those who just want to manipulate others and use religion to seek only selfish means.

    Our religious beliefs usually come from where we are born (in the west you would be born into Christianity; born in the Eastern world you would believe in Ala, etc). And from what our families hand down to us. I was raised in a Christian family, but asked way too many questions so began to study all religions – Joseph Campbell is a good place to start. And I don’t know that religion could be used as a way to ignore science. Since science requires that you constantly ask questions while Religion requires that you don’t.

    If you find out what your motive is in seeking your spiritual path you may find the answer within yourself. To me it would seem dishonest to your soul to join a religion just to enjoy community support and service (kinda like the people who go to church to show off their new cloths)

    If the Gnostic books had survived King Constantine’s construction of the Bible we would see a much different type of worship and understanding of heaven and god. More would believe, as they did. that the truth comes from within rather than from the outside of us.

    Good luck in your quest! :-Dahl
    • Mar 29 2011: i agree on most parts. but i feel like you can use a church for community without feeling guilty. the point of community is that you join together to help one another, whether its you helping someone out, or you yourself looking for support. i cant feel guilty taking part in that
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    Mar 30 2011: before we jump on the social needs part:

    the last church i attended did a mission to a rather poor part of afica that was several watter issues. the mission was to bulid several wells closer to the community. which looks great and all until you find out the trade off, which was a very nice new church built in town. my question, would they have bulit the wells if the church was denied? im sure many of these people were devote muslims.
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    Mar 29 2011: I think you're right about church being great for social needs. And it's also great for idea-sharing! The God in church ends when idea-sharing becomes good ole' bashin' n rantin'. As far as science, in the Bible, it says God made the rainbow to signify his promise that he will not destroy the Earth with a flood. We now know rainbows are reflections of light off of water. I think the "one true God" is formed from lack of knowledge and responsibility for our mistakes (we can blame it on the devil!). But I do think love and peace exist when people try to understand each other.

    My quest for spirituality has been awesome and free and I know yours will too!
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    Mar 29 2011: It can be valuable to provide another perspective to consider, but do not lose your integrity and individual responsibility. If you feel stifled after asking questions, you need to step away and reevaluate.
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      Mar 29 2011: I concur.
    • Mar 29 2011: im definitely not losing my integrity. to be truthful, i consider myself a universalist. i think all religions have truth to them. but a church can be a great place to receive support from. and its also true that people who know they are being prayed for can deal with a large assortment of diseases much better.