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Leslie Backkart

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Is wishing and hoping a religious concept?

Is the random act of kindness considered a religious act? Probably not. Caring and loving is not limited to religion, but rather a way to treat one another. Isn't it? Why must we form religions in order to learn to be kind to each other? Was it to put fear into people so they would get along with one another? If so why are there more wars in the name of God than any other name? Serenity is not just a prayer, but a way which we extend kindness onto one another and onto one's self to live in harmony. Share with me your thoughts.

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    Jul 20 2013: Many acts of wishing and hoping have no connection to the person's view of god. Atheists wish and hope as much, maybe more, than followers of the god-based religions.
  • Jul 20 2013: An interesting question because even if you say that it is an act between two people then is this in itself a religious act? I'm not talking about organised religion but rather the source of the religions themselves. This source is the place where the religious passion of Jesus, Buddha, St Francis etc come from in the first place. I think that if you live your life from this source then acts of kindness, compassion, love etc come naturally to you.
  • Jul 20 2013: No, Wishing and hoping are not religious concepts, although some religions may use them to deliver a message.

    I need to preface this by saying I an not religious, but I am reverent.

    I do not believe that religions were formed for us to be kind to one another. I think they may exist to provide practitioners a faith based explanation to unexplainable life events. One benefit from a faith based philosophy is a means to explain the hardships in life and offer hope that you have the strength to get through them inside of you. They also offer a means to cope with the emotional pain and grief associated with the tragedy of certain life events. These two things offer comfort to a lot of people, whatever the form the religion takes. These religious philosophies also tend to have a logically sound historic doctrine that rationalizes and explains the tenets and beliefs of the philosophy. Typically, these tenets and beliefs are also interwoven with rules of good social order and behavior guidance that leads to inner peace, including kindness, caring, and loving other people. Religions also fill a lot of community based social gaps, such as day care, caring for the elderly, teaching children, and providing opportunities for adults with troubles a group environment to help survive. These attributes make them politically acceptable, to the extent that they are not used to manipulate political opinion of the public.

    To the extent that religions provide comfort to practitioners and promote social order, I believe them to be a positive influence. The comfort they provide is a power that can be used to try an leverage political agendas, even justify wars, so it can also be used for evil by corrupted men.

    It is possible to have a successful personal philosophy that extracts some of the good things from many of the religions with out accepting the faith based doctrine, you just need to be willing to go your own way.
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    Jul 20 2013: i don't think religion is designed to teach or bully people into being nice to each other, it's to aid people in finding inner peace.

    as with pretty much everything, religion breaks down when people get involved. war in god's name is nothing to do with god and everything to do with the weak people that invoke their god's name in order to justify their actions.

    it's not something that interest me but it can be a form of community and provide people with a sense of belonging.

    I'll leave you with a couple of quotes by a guy I consider a genius - George Santayana.

    "Prayer, among sane people, has never superseded practical efforts to secure the desired end."

    "My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests."

    "Each religion, by the help of more or less myth, which it takes more or less seriously, proposes some method of fortifying the human soul and enabling it to make its peace with its destiny."
  • Jul 20 2013: I find the concept that you need a higher power threatening you with damnation to act like a decent human being deeply disturbing. It hinges on humanity on being fundamentally nasty unless coerced to act properly.
    Its gets worse when as an atheist, I don't believe that a higher power is really there to get people to make nice.

    Thankfully the presumption seems false, because otherwise all human beings who don't believe or don't care for a higher power wouldn't be acting like the religious folk. The thing is, except for the religious ritual, it seems that both groups act more or less the same--you wouldn't know your average atheist is an atheist unless it comes up in conversation.
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    Jul 20 2013: No. It is the consequence of an innate morality based on greatest common good or lowest common suffering. I think these are mistaken as religious for the same reason we mistake mothers to be only biological progenitors. Religions present historical accounts of kindness and compassion of times we have no or least access to information about pagan people.

    Bart gives a compelling reason about how such automatic connections came to exit.

    I have no religious affiliation but I pray. I pray to the common wisdom and natural good sense of humanity to prevail. It's a strong and sincere wish in a way. But I am firm believer of action. I believe it is not enough to be kind, we need to ACT kind. It is not enough to be honest, we need to ACT honest. Actualization and a getting a real change appeal to me me in a far more fundamental way than wishing and hoping.

    Very good question. Welcome to TED family. :)
  • Jul 20 2013: I would paraphrase what Frank was saying that the major part of religion was DERIVED FROM THE HUMAN COMPASSION LEADING TO WISHING AND HOPING THAT THE DIFFICULTY OR MISFORTUNE OF ANOTHER HUMAN WILL BE RELIEVED OR IMPROVED NATURALLY.
    If we look at the history of religion, even in their own accord, they usually started when there were already civilized human communities around, And it isn't logical that human compassion only happened after the religious concept was introduced/popularized. Just as you said; "Caring and loving is not limited to religion, but rather a way to treat one another". And wishing and hoping are the natural consequence of such compassion. Religion just promotes that the wishing and hoping, if put in a religious form of a "prayer", then the result would be more reliable or believable by the asserted power of "God". The prayer will help our inner peace regardless of the outcome.
    As to the wars among people, that is merely attributed to the human nature. Wars were usually fought between two sides, each claiming their own god, (thus they were more justifiable) either to the same one, but sometimes different ones. And in the latter case, the reason of waging the war was primarily due to the difference in religious beliefs. In some cases, the chief commanders, before marching to the war, would pray to their respective "almighty god" to win the war for their side!
  • Jul 22 2013: Leslie,
    No more replies available so I have to write anew.
    Quick comment on your comment to me:
    "The "Beast" of society is what you referenced. The sociopaths and psychopaths. The fear of leadership or fear of facing a "God."
    No. The beast is what leaders/politicians call and consider the people, because they desire to totally control them.
    I did not mean any fear of "facing a God". Not sure what you think I meant.
    The sociopaths and psychopaths are the leaders.

    Words and usage change over time, though original definitions so to speak, still remain connected to the word.
    I think people mirrored what they saw and experienced, what they were taught and how they were raised, and they saw first-hand the harshness of life.

    It took much time to develop a faith in life itself and in themselves in order to begin acting and behaving with kindness toward one another.
    Jerzi Kozinski experienced this when as a young, abandoned boy in Europe, he was turned in to the Nazi's by the townspeople, as a gypsy or possible Jew, in order to save themselves from punishment or death.
    A German soldier was directed to take him into the woods and kill him.
    The soldier did, but he sat down with his back to Jerzi instead. After a very short time, he turned around, saw Jerzi and turned away. Then moments later turned around. This time Jerzi got the message and ran into the woods. The soldier then fired some shots and returned to his troops and commander. Think about it. If the commandant had asked to see the body, the soldier would have been tortured to death.
    Or the first time a Native American and a scout caught a glimpse of each across a stream. They came together because each trusted themselves that they wouldn't hurt the other. The whites who came later destroyed that trust for good.

    Peace can come from giving up care.
    The main definition of the word care, that has been around for ages is, "a troubled state of mind."
    Most wouldn't think of giving it up yet don't know that meaning.
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    Jul 21 2013: To happen by a "miraculous" chance! More direct, to have faith and belief that an outcome or event could change to one's advantage via prayers, hopes and wishes! A.K.A. "In Your Dreams", apparently is based on a religious foundation. Can a person simply want the best outcome without channeling a prayer, wish or hope to another person without the use of "godspeed" and "bless you" jargon?

    Let's do a little "Latin" dance. Prayer = beg, Hope = will, Wish = desire. Would you not be able to say the following; I beg all is/goes well for you. I will this to end on a positive note for you. I desire you to have more dessert.

    Give it some thought...
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    Jul 20 2013: Hi Leslie.
    My take is that religions all stem from actual encounters with a creator god. For the most part these actualities have been distorted by the telling over thousands of years. Wishing & hoping are common to all humans. We all know millionaires, we can all wish or hope to be millionaires. If not, we wouldn't buy lottery tickets.
    As a Christian, I aspire to be more like Christ; others may care about that lottery win. Religion may alter the focus of our wishing & hoping, but not the acts themselves.

    :-)
  • Jul 20 2013: I will share my thoughts or belief on hope.
    Hope is a false concept and another false belief that humans worship,
    similar in nature to the majority of lies or false representations religions have used to control
    humans with. "Hey, there's always hope." Right. And nothing ever gets done by hope.

    Religion has a natural propensity to descend into Fascism. The main purpose of religion
    is the complete annihilation of the human spirit. Killing the human spirit is the goal of Fascism
    and the best and strongest method for controlling the "beast".
    "The beast" is a term long used by religion and politicians to describe the populace, the very
    people they believe need to be totally controlled in thought, word and deed and certainly in numbers.

    This is based completely in my personal experience with people of religion, religious leaders, followers
    and believers, and their spokespeople.

    Just who in the world does not want peace? Leaders. Those who benefit from war, death, terror, drugs
    and all the other money-making evils such as poverty, politics, morality, slavery, they allow, create and keep alive.
    They are the only ones with the means to do so and the people have voted them in to office because they believe their lies. They have put or allowed into positions of power true sociopaths and psychopaths.
    Kindness will not come from them.
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      Jul 20 2013: This was certainly an explanation and criteria of the fear basis!!!
      • Jul 21 2013: Hi Leslie.
        What do you mean?
        In what way?
        and what is the "fear basis"?
        thanX

        By the way, serenity is not a prayer.
        It is a word, an idea or state or condition, but may I assume you were referring to what is
        known as "the serenity prayer"?

        For me, I created a word called "surrendity", a combination of surrender and serenity.
        One seems to lead into the other or perhaps each is connected to the other.
        Serenity is peace and peace can come from surrender but I think in today's world,
        people should be careful what they surrender to.
        For instance, the spiritual axiom that one cannot find peace until they surrender and accept
        that all is exactly as it should be in "God's" world, could be dangerous especially if there is
        no God!

        In speaking of the past, I think people behaved the way they did because life was very hard, harsh and even ferocious, but mainly because the human being is fueled by deep, primal fear they do not wish to feel, experience or allow to be alive and present in their conscious minds.
        Humans are a deeply, deeply frightened animal and thus react and are even taught to never admit or express their fear, to push it back down and go on, walk through it and so on. Some of that is good and necessary but the remnants, the residue, much like the gunky residue of say, Catholicism, is still stuck to their insides and dilutes the truth of other ways to live, behave, emote so that when the truth has to run through their baffle system just to reach their inner most core, it has been diluted of the truth and they remain a baffled lot.

        It is very hard to share the essence, that "all the way to heaven, is heaven"

        But I still don't understand your comments to me. I am not very bright, so please elucidate
        and no, that wasn't a date request. :)
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          Jul 21 2013: The "Beast" of society is what you referenced. The sociopaths and psychopaths. The fear of leadership or fear of facing a "God".

          My point is can a person simply want the best outcome without channeling a prayer, wish or hope to another person without the use of "godspeed" and "bless you" jargon?
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          Jul 21 2013: I have usufruct of the word Serenity for the purpose of prayer with explanation and I have referenced it due to the use of words like Wishing and Hoping. I am not dingy!

          I am trying to make a point in the use of words, the etymology, meaning, derivative and to how they have come down thorough passage of time. Could these words be derived from the works of the holy ones in reference to a God and a type of prayer?

          Perhaps I misinterpreted your prior statement regarding leaders and you.