Al Smith

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What do religions all have in common?

Today's internet driven, knowledge seeking person has seen the rapid evolution of religious philosophies from around the world. From a past of rare encounters with foreign thoughts, comes a whirlwind of new ideas and everyone's version of "the ultimate truth." So what do these truths all have in common?

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    Sep 11 2011: They are one of the causes of the division of peoples.
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      Sep 11 2011: May be you are right and may be not. Religion is faith.... not of purpose but of contenment and peace. Being myself a believer in science I have seen instances in me in which I completely find myself helpless and frustated enough to take any further action in my course of life. Its here that I need something that can support me morally and uplift my fallen spirit.

      Religion doesn't particularly divide us rather it creates a variety.... or various means to obtain peace.
      Different beliefs created in various religion are actually various paths. These are options given to us.

      One cannot force religion on anyone. A persons method of obtaining mental peace can unique to person itself. But when people there is a group of people commited towards following a certain route to mental peace... there lays the foundation of religion. These are those people(Philosophers, Saints, Holy people, etc) now who actually determine their method of peace either in writing or through preaching(Religious Scriptures or Preachings). Now when it comes to another person who feels that he can attain satisfaction by there method becomes the Follower and helps spread the thought (Spread of religion). Here we do see an example to unity among a certain group of people.

      Now I can put forward a question that would it be good enough to have hundreds of people with different hundreds of faith and not believing in each other since one feels his method is better or rather having a few religious groups in which atleast hundred people do stand together???
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        Sep 11 2011: But the events throughout the history of humanity have always proved that what I said is true. Faith is faith regardless of the religious affiliation which is only an excuse to justify a set of established rules.
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          Sep 12 2011: I think religions provide spiritual confusion rather than spiritual clarity.
          Also they are about what life was like 2000 years ago arn't they.
          what about life now?
      • Sep 12 2011: Udith, "Religion doesn't particularly divide us rather it creates a variety"

        Hindu religion promotes caste-ism in India. look at the state of dalits now.
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    Sep 10 2011: They are all trying to sell something that according to all probability doesn't exist (a God) and they all take advantage, in one form or another of a general human need to find a purpose in life.
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    Sep 10 2011: All religions provide a framework through which their believers see and interpret the world. They all attempt to explain the world, the universe and human existence.
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      Sep 10 2011: Well said Debra,
      "a framework through which their believers see and interpret the world".

      I believe religions provide a framework, and believers have a choice as to how they will use their prefered religion within the framework they are offered. Many people use religion as a benificial life guide (as they probably would with or without a religion), and many people use their religion as a reason and justification for violence and abuse of other's rights (as they probably would with or without a religion). People will often use a belief, concept, theory, idea, opinion, etc., to benefit themselves, or to benefit the whole of humankind. It is not the religion, scientific theory, idea or opinion that is in question, but rather, how we use and interpret the "framework" or religion.
      • Sep 10 2011: Ok so to get away from criticisms of particular religions, let's discuss the utility of a religious framework.

        Do religious people know more about right and wrong than do non-believers?
        No they do not, and this has been repeatedly proven throughout history. So one can conclude that religion is not a necessary or even reliable source of moral principles.
        So this raises the question why is it the case that people with divine inspiration do not actually exhibit
        any greater aptitude for moral decision making?
        This comes down to your point about selective consideration and subjective interpretation. People have proven themselves incapable of interpreting religious work in a consistently beneficial way. This again undermines the usefulness of religion as a moral framework. If people are often led in the opposite direction of morality when try to utilize a religious framework, then the framework isn't serving its purpose and should be discarded for one that is more consistent and more useful (humanist philosophies for instance, which I have mentioned in previous posts in this discussion.

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          Sep 10 2011: Hi Aaron,
          I do not believe "religious people know more about right and wrong than do non-believers".
          I had two "religious" people for was unconditionally loving and kind, and the other violent and abusive.

          It is not the religion that is necessarily a reliable source of moral principles, but rather how the source is used?

          You've asked a GREAT question!!! "why is it the case that people with divine inspiration do not actually exhibit any greater aptitude for moral decision making"? Well, I have to question that "divine inspiration" reference....LOL:>)
          It is a choice. Let's go back to the "framework" each individual interprets and uses the framework?

          If you look at the original "framework" of most religions, they are beneficial to the whole of humankind. However, with many different interpretations, the original intent becomes skewed along the way...yes?

          Personally, I don't care one way or another about religions...I do not practice a religion. However, I see the benefits for many people. I also see the destruction that has been caused by mis-interpreting the "framework". Some people are capable of interpreting religions in a way that benefits humankind, and some people have interpreted religions in a way that threatens the whole.

          I don't agree that the "framework isn't serving its' purpose..." It is the believers choice as to how s/he will use the information provided by the framework. One thing I see happening with religions, and various other beliefs, is that people are willing to give up his/her choice, and give the power of decision to another entity.

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    Sep 10 2011: People's need for FAITH and HOPE.
  • Sep 10 2011: All religions have in common a belief in a supreme being or force that cannot be observed or proven scientifically.
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    Sep 10 2011: When do we consider something a religion?
    I think that the answer to this question would be the same as the answer to your question.

    I think that when a sufficient amount of people come together to celebrate what they uphold to be their way of living, you can say it is a religion. (or maybe we can refer to wikipedia:
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      Sep 10 2011: But sure enough, there is an experience to be had on the individual level that doesn't necessarily require others.

      I don't think it is about what we "call" a religion; a sign pointing at the moon is irrelevant if you feel the moon is there, it's about the initial feeling of a single person that drives that motivation to come together with others and say "hey, I think there's something to this!"

      and ps, my professors would kill you for using wikipedia as a source lol
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      Sep 11 2011: Exactly a way of life.
  • Sep 10 2011: Welfare for it's followers.

    All religions came into being for avoiding wrong doings.
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      Sep 10 2011: Could very well be true.
      • Sep 11 2011: I have got nothing to do with religion's truth or false. But if it is helpful for everybody including me, surely I will follow that.
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    Sep 11 2011: they are all very probably wrong.
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      • Sep 12 2011: Kathy,

        " If you understood how to read the language they're written in, you might be surprised by the profound wisdom they contain.

        To condemn books you've neither read nor comprehended is rather futile."

        (I will be copying every post of yours that I reply to due to you most probably deleting them in the future)

        The best possible scenario is that only one of these Holy books is accurate. Koran, Bible (part one and two), Torah, Vedas, etc, etc. If one is true, the rest are all false. They can't all be accurate, but they can all be wrong.
        • Sep 12 2011: my way of finding spiritual is thru orgies as mentioned in Tantra. the book is also believed to be the word of Gods.

          so if i don't find new testament not good enough to get spiritual i rather prefer orgies. if thats is not enough of my needs then i may prefer to have orgies with virgins after my death, i would prefer any holy books which promises me virgins and boys (houris?).

          I second Kathy's statement "Just as some people have a liking for poultry over fish, or a talent for history over math, holy doctrine will resonate differently with different people"

      • Sep 12 2011: Kathy,

        "It is within my right to delete my comments as I see fit, as I prefer to delete my comments shortly before the conversation ends, while I still have the opportunity to do so.

        For you to copy a segment of my conversation for the sake of responding to it is fine; it's when people attempt to keep my comments on the page in order to 'preserve' them on said page, thereby infringing upon my right to delete them, that I find unacceptable (as does TED.) Just so we understand each other"

        I agree...It is within your right to delete all of your posts as you see fit. I personally feel it shows a lack of respect to those with whom you have engaged in conversation, but that is your right

        "Just so we understand each other"---we don't understand each other. Hopefully a better understanding will develop through a respectful exchange of ideas, however.

        "Why do you think "the best possible scenario is that only one of these books is accurate"? Each of these doctrine (save the Qu'ran) were written for an age and a race according to the progression of the zodiac.

        I fully disagree with you that " If one is true, the rest are all false. They can't all be accurate, but they can all be wrong."

        That is such fundamentalist thinking and I find it patently ridiculous."

        If you want to cherry-pick from all of these books to get your bits and pieces of worthwhile information, that is your business. The fact remains that much of what each of these books is predicated on is having a "Divine, all knowing author" and therefore being perfect, yet much of what is included is unique or contradictory to other books.

        The problem with "fundamentalist thinking" are the fundamentals in which that thinking is based upon. David Hume said the following a couple hundred years ago:

        "A wise man proportions his beliefs to the evidence"

        "To hate, to love, to think, to feel, to see; all this is nothing but to perceive"

      • Sep 12 2011: Basing perceptions off of any Holy Scripture, first and worst attempts at philosophy, morality, health care, etc, appears to have its dangers. These ideas were the best humans had to work with when they still believes the Earth was flat, the sun revolved around the Earth, Diseases were caused by witches or curses or some type of devil worship, and many other ignorant thoughts.

        Sam Harris asks the question: "How hard would it be to improve any of the Holy Books?" The answer is "Not hard at all". Go to a book store and start looking through the psychology section or the philosophy section, or the medical section, and on and on. The difference between what was known then and what is known now is night and day. To deny this is "fundamentalist thinking".

        "Just as some people have a liking for poultry over fish, or a talent for history over math, holy doctrine will resonate differently with different people. If you don't care for fish, try the veal. If you don't care for the Torah, try the Vedas.

        Claiming that "They can't all be accurate, but they can all be wrong." shows me that you haven't the slightest comprehension of any of them."

        ...Sure, there are good parts to holy scripture. The men who wrote them were intelligent for the time in which they lived. I hold to the point that in the thousands of years since these scriptures were written, many thousands of intelligent humans have increased knowledge exponentially. Many of the thoughts of ancient times in which they were written are wrong, dangerous, based on fantasy, and prefer the supernatural over the natural. Those types of thought are "fundamentalist thinking".
      • Sep 12 2011: Quote: "Whenever someone claims holy doctrine to be 'based on fantasy', it not only indicates a clear disdain for said doctrine, but proves that their understanding of the doctrine is fundamental as well."

        I do have my issues with holy doctrine. These issues include disdain and the belief that much of it is based on fantasy. Answer the following questions for me if the Holy Scriptures deserve so much respect... (I will stick with Christianity, since it is seen as the most gentile by many)

        a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

        b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

        c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

        d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

        e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

        f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

        g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

      • Sep 12 2011: Part 2...

        h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

        i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

        j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

        I must admit that the questions are not originally my own. Humans have been asking these for thousands of years.
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    Sep 11 2011: The 10 commandments of religion:
    1. My religion holds the ultimate truth.
    2. My deity is Divine.
    3. My deity is the most trustworthy/true/powerful/beautiful/fearsome/lovely one.
    4. My deity will never disappoint me.
    5. My religion gives me the only solace I will ever need.
    6. My religion gives me the best answers for my questions.
    7. My religion gives me the best solutions for my problems.
    8. My religion gives me a guideline for handling the best life.
    9. My belief will always be the first thing to sustain me.
    10. My religion will finally be the ultimate truth to survive.

    I humbly think that everybody think that, muslems, jews, Christians…even atheists in their own way :)
    I have learned a lot from the al-Qur'an, new testament, veda (samhita),
    daodejing (tao te ching), the nibelungenlied, i ching, talmud and tanach (bible).

    my religion is, by my heart, is the right for me, my truth, my rock & bed.
    we don't have to agree about our Deity's name and scriptures,
    but i think it is the same for all people and I respect it.

    with love to you all...
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      Sep 12 2011: with respect; anyone who loves is good enough for me.
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    Sep 10 2011: QUOTE: "So what do these truths all have in common?"

    They are propagated by humans.
  • Sep 10 2011: Care to rephrase your post Eduard Ghiur? I'm not sure I understand what you were trying to say. Are all of the 'truths' of religion bullshit or is everything that doesn't claim 'truth' bullshit?

    Mr. Savage I do not agree with your view of religion and its place in the world, but I would love to be convinced. Religion does not offer a useful moral framework; it is presented in a convoluted, contradictory set of metaphors from many different authors and editors (all human I might add) that are subjectively interpreted and selectively used to extrapolate values from (for an example of the contradictory nature most religions contain passages in their respective holy texts about loving everyone as well as killing and/or ostracizing non-believers...). Humanist principles are much more straightforward, and even better, they come naturally to all non-dysfunctional human beings (and are not subject to misinterpretation....people are instilled by societal values with a natural sense of right and wrong and this process often goes awry when religous idealogies are brought into the picture). There is no need for religious moral guidance; in fact religious ideology is a major source of well-intentioned yet completely atrocious behavior (mistreatment of gays, Jewish people, and women, mass murder, and the list goes on). Read a book by Peter Singer or any of the major moral philosophers and you'll be exposed to a much clearer picture of how to behave morally in the real world.

    Also, we have plenty of systems to maintain order without religion. Religion has always been a major source of social and political instability and remains that way even in the current day. Governments maintain social control; religion need not be involved. Faith without question is what causes people to commit wrongdoings, so it is not something to be glorified and touted as a benefit provided by religion.
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    Sep 10 2011: In my eyes is at the deepest core of every religion the realization that what you do to another, good or bad, you did in fact unto yourself. It is the revelation that being is one and all you do affects all.
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      Sep 10 2011: Franz........You must read Rumi. He says that iver and over in his poetry.
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      Sep 11 2011: Franz, I think that you might enjoy a movie (in French with subtitles) called 'Incendies" (translation of the title would mean something like Raging fire). It illustrates exactly what you have said above in a middle eastern settling. It is profoundly disturbing in the best possible way.
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        Sep 11 2011: I ask myself if enjoying is the proper word, Debra.
        I saw the first half of the movie and was to moved to go on.
        Maybe another time. I'll let you know.
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          Sep 12 2011: I understand what you mean Frans. Yes, the movie depicts a brutal message but the message was profound. The way the brutality comes full circle and demonstrates that what we do to any other human being we actually do to our own selves and our own families will stay with me forever. It also shows how we can chase what we think we love while neglecting the love we have closer to home. I found it an example of great art making sense of life.
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    Sep 10 2011: Thinking / hating all other religions to be wrong except own one.
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    Sep 10 2011: Parents. Parents raise their children to become part of a certain religion. By the time the child is an adult they'll believe it no matter what. Unless the child is a scientist.

    If someone told you something was true every day for your entire life, would you believe it?
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      Sep 10 2011: That is only if the child never thinks for himself.
  • Sep 10 2011: Haha Kareem. Thank you for that completely useless comment. Save your proselytizing for when it is requested. This discussion is about the relationship between religious philosophies, not the arrogation of the truth of our existence and the existence/function of a particular god. There is no god; I can say that with as much certainty as you can say that Allah Hitchens would say, you have not been privy to any source of information of which I am ignorant, so based on the evidence that exists you have no right to assert that.

    Anyway back to the point. I love the Huxley quotation that you provided on perrenial philosophy. I think that is a great summary of certain religious philosophies, certainly the more prominent ones. There are some religious philosophies that may not fall so neatly into that model of religious ideology, such as buddhism, but overall I think it is a very useful way to think of religion.

    One thing I will add is that most religions make unfounded assertions that require logical leaps (what some people call faith) to have validity. In this sense, religious philosophies undermine themselves by being unable to sufficiently support their claims. Empirical evidence, as it has been understood by us (and yes I admit that our ability to understand the universe is hampered by our limited perceptual abilities, and that we could observe something that seemed truly miraculous and inexplicable...but that wouldn't mean that it was supernatural or evidence of the divine), leads us to different conclusions, and I am more inclined to trust constantly updated modern theories and scientific philosophies that consider new scales of existence that we are now able to perceive (objects that are very, very small and very, very large), than a few outdated philosophies based on limited information that are resistant to change.
  • Sep 12 2011: Thank you Benny, I will be here all week!
  • Sep 12 2011: Seneca the Younger, a Roman philosopher who was born before Jesus, has always had one of my favorite quotes:

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful"

    Some things never change...
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    Sep 11 2011: Religions in common have human beings, every religion is neither good nor bad. They guide us to lead a life, in order to do so they had put up beliefs. There is nothing wrong in religion it all depends upon the person who reads of expresses the view over it. Every religion offers pick and choose which was recently talked in TED or perhaps I found it recently you have to search for them a person who led biblical life i.e. according to the rules framed in bible pardon me for not providing the link here please search for it, in that he says he lived it for totally 6 months i think so and it was an experience. At last he said its hard to live according to all the rules framed in bible but it offers pick and choose which could be bent according to our present world. He is a journalist u might find his profile in my favorite speakers, he read all the versions of bible and then lived in that style which he felt was good and brought a new way of thinking towards things in his life. It was written in age old days primitive age of kings and queens so the rules are also very rigid according to that time. Its beautiful when you accept views and beliefs, else if u try to gain upper hand over the other of course it ends up very badly. Commenting over ones religion is like asking about things within their under pants is that person is your friends its ok else turns out bloody - Its very personel..
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    Sep 10 2011: If all these are truths , all what they have in common is that they are truths , everything else is bullshit .
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    Sep 10 2011: The things all religions have in common are. What happens to our consciousness after we die? What is the purpose of Existence? What is life? What is God? Its main purpose is to give an answer to questions that can never be answered. Faith. Its other purpose is to create order, give values based on current and pressing needs. Its a way to understand what we can never understand. Religion isn't that different from science and government. Its a way to manage and understand. Its simply another way of doing so. The difference is Religion focuses on morals, and faith without question. Government is based on organization and control and the distribution of resources. And science is based on evidence and understanding of the universe itself and the purpose of evolution and understanding. All three play its own important role in our society.
    • Sep 10 2011: Given religion does not require proof or observation while science does, do science and religion actually differ in a major way?

      "give an answer to questions that can never be answered"
      I think we can never say for sure that certain questions can never be answered. So far we continue to increase our scientific knowledge and I don't see any reason why we should ever be not able to answer all questions at some point in distance future? =)

      Interestingly philosophy (using rational argument) also includes the study of morals and ethics. It has achieve a great understanding of what ethics is about.
  • Sep 10 2011: they all make fun of God.
  • Sep 10 2011: Sorry I didn't mean to post that last comment in its incomplete form.

    I included that quote in my last post to point out that inquiry into the nature of the world is the source of science, not religion. Religion requires a stance of certainty about the nature of things that science is never arrogant enough to assert. Religions have come and gone based on whatever the current generations view of what the true nature of the world and existence is in a particular area. Science has continually updated its view on the world to reflect the current best estimation of the nature of the world. This is must different from saying, as most religions do, that the nature of the world is due to a divine creator and is too complex for humans to understand. These types of ideologies simplify the existence question because simplicity is appealing to most people. It is more comfortable to 'know' through religious faith than it is to admit ignorance and attempt to come up with the right answer.

    Another thing that I object to is forgiving religion when religious figures, who are supposed to be in contact with and under the influence of the divine, have committed serious crimes. From catholic priest molestation of children to islamic suicide bomers, religions can be very dangerous and detrimental to society. I won't list all of the atrocities caused by religion here but a divine figure, if he is truly divine, should act like one and not violated basic humanistic, moral principles (such as do no harm to others). If religion is to be taken seriously, religious people should be moral leaders(since they would clearly have better moral guidance from their one true god....) and this is not always, or even often, the case. When a religious ideology leads to the death and harm of innocents, it needs to be seriously reconsidered as a viable mode of thought.
  • Sep 10 2011: @Al Smith
    "If there were no people looking towards the heavens and imagining what could possibly be, there would be no scientists, or theologians, or philosophers in general. You can't have one without the other, because it's all just the quest for knowledge in the metaphysical sense."
  • Sep 10 2011: Yes, I will agree with you on that one! Gandhi, Mr. King and Jesus. They are all men. Gandhi, practically starved himself to death, for religion. Mr. King, (saw a PBS documentary once, he had mistresses) Jesus (still a questionable theory) He did exist, however, seems no human, can get his story straight. I will go on to point out, these humans died because of religion. There is your common ground. That is what religion has in common. Religion kills humans. Listen to the news lately? With respect to you sir! I know you must believe this? OR, you just a want a good debate?
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      Sep 10 2011: First off, I don't think it matters what I personally believe, or what you personally believe, since my arguments are simply the flip side to your arguments in the interest of discussion. And comments like "Listen to the news lately?" and "you must believe this?..." come on now

      The point of naming those few wasn't because they were men or the fact they died, but simply to show that a multitude of different cultural backgrounds and experiences still result in a universal commitment to nonviolence. Too often, we are bewildered by the fact we give people power, and they abuse that power. Power is a natural thing to seek in the animal world, from which we are not entirely separated, and yet we act surprised when politicians are corrupt or religious leaders are going against their own words. Religion is not the cause, but merely one of the latest avenues mankind has made for themselves in order to control. When a person wants to feel safe, they will gather in tribes of people who think like they do, or have the same viewpoints as they do, it's natural. And as we encounter different ideas, we panic as if those ideas are an immediate danger to our own selves.

      When religion gets to a point where an ideology needs to fight another ideology over who is more "righteous,"; that's not religion, that's mob mentality. Even those strongly against religion should see the benefit in how it makes us all connected, even though primal tendencies still arise here and there.

      If one is really into science over religion, if there is such a distinction really, I would ask what does science look like without religion? If there were no people looking towards the heavens and imagining what could possibly be, there would be no scientists, or theologians, or philosophers in general. You can't have one without the other, because it's all just the quest for knowledge in the metaphysical sense.
      • Sep 10 2011: Many people including myself have a great deal of imagination without religion. Actually I feel like my imagination is being severely limited by stipulations, rules and ideas that religion is trying to convey.

        The same applies to ethics and morality. People commit crimes whether they are part of a religion or not. I think it is more important to educate people about why they should behave ethically regardless of their religion or culture?
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          Sep 10 2011: I agree with you, Zdenek, on your last paragraph. But for me personally religion opens just yet another door to another world whether earthly or not. My imagination can't be limited regardless of religion after all it's my choice what to believe in.
      • Sep 10 2011: Silvia, I agree that religious people can have lots of imaginations thou I see limits to it. For example, they cannot imagine a Universe without a God? They cannot imagine a world without heaven and a world without actual purpose for human beings or even life? =)
        • Sep 10 2011: If you truly believe in religion, and take everything it tells you to be true including the etiology of the Earth and human beings, you are severely limiting your imagination. Just by believing religious facts and not doubting them, you are hampering your ability to consider other alternative explanations of existence. Imagination is only unlimited when one dares to consider all things that could possibly be true, not just a single interpretation of reality.

          You may be imaginative in other ways, in non-religious matters(even to the point of limitless creative capacity) regardless of your religious beliefs, but your imagination on existence is severely limited by belief in religion.
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          Sep 11 2011: Well, in that last mentioned respect you may be right but then again one can choose not to believe in religion but to be guided by it. For example, my only firm belief throughout my life in a religious form would be that I should never do to others what I don't want done to myself. Otherwise I just don't see any point in believing in something that we can't accept.
      • Sep 11 2011: With respect, I have never known religion to bring humans together. (maybe in a church) It seems to me that religion has divided humans a lot more than bringing them together. Of course it matters what I believe and what you believe. If you do not think it matters, why did you ask the question? With respect to you.
      • Sep 11 2011: Silvia, I see your point now. Thank you for clarifying it for me.
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      Sep 11 2011: Gandhiji died due to religion? your history is very much wrong buddy.. and if religion doesn't kill does that mean you will live longer? what sort of reasoning is this?
      • Sep 12 2011: I apologize, sometimes I insert foot into mouth. This Great Man died because another human killed him. I do apologize. So,, there you go bud. I will, in the future, try to curb my passion. With respect to you.
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          Sep 12 2011: love ur response lol; made me laugh ;p
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          Sep 12 2011: hehe i found something to oppose... was my reply harsh? If it was in anyway I am sorry but...
  • Sep 10 2011: Hi! Opinion here, that is what it is. "So what do these truths all have in common?" The only thing these so called "truths",, have in common, is helping the down fall of the human species. So,, "What do religions all have in common?" Humans are killed over it. All of them. No I am not an atheist, I am a fence sitter!! Excellent question, tho!!! I had to answer. Thank You!!
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      Sep 10 2011: Well at the same time, many people of strong religious convictions are the best examples of nonviolence, i.e Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus classic (before the fundamentalist extremists,) It seems that religion produces yet another example of the duality of everything, in that it produces people of hate and bigotry looking for power in the most "animalistic" of tendencies, and that religion results in philosophers of compassion and truth, and through knowing this kind of absolute example of everything righteous with the world, one can become a symbol of divine grace.

      In many ways, being a "fence sitter" puts you in the harmonious center of it all, which is juuuuuuuust fine
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    Sep 10 2011: One of the major connections I have found is that all religions, major or minor, use music in their worship of a greater divine idea. Music, regardless of religious intent, makes us feel "something" and that is translated so clearly through theories we can understand. Like a major scale is related to us feeling happy or the opposite of minor scales making us feel sad; music connecting us to memories and inspiring movements based on peace.

    In a religious studies class, I learned that there are 4 qualities to religious establishment:

    The Divine Unknowable

    These combine to make a person aware of some kind of greater self (and even that description is misleading because it is only a basic understanding.) And if we look at the way music has been adapted into our lives, we have the ritual of listening to our favorite songs to feed our desire for art, the text of lyrics that act as a sign pointing at the moon; something that tells the story of the way to the real ideal, prophets in our favorite artists that elevate their understanding of music to the next level, be they famous or not, and of course the great philosophy of the universal "you just can't put it into words, man."

    One of my favorite stories is of Buddha and the sitar player. The Buddha came across a man stringing his sitar one string at a time, and this triggered a realization of the middle way, in which the harmonious balance of not too tight and not too loose made the string vibrate beautifully. And maybe that is why we love music so much, because it is harmonic and vibrational perfection.

    Phew, long-winded, but I love music, and it's awesome to talk about!
  • Sep 9 2011: Aldous Huxley saw all the major religions of the world as conveying the following four fundamental doctrines of truth. He called it the 'perennial philosophy.' I have always found it a useful touchstone to return to when contemplating such matters.

    At the core of the Perennial Philosophy we find four fundamental doctrines.

    • First: the phenomenal world of matter and of individualized consciousness--the world of things and animals and men and even gods--is the manifestation of a Divine Ground within which all partial realities have their being, and apart from which they would be non-existent.

    • Second: human beings are capable not merely of knowing about the Divine Ground by inference; they can also realize its existence by a direct intuition, superior to discursive reasoning. This immediate knowledge unites the knower with that which is known.

    • Third: man possesses a double nature, a phenomenal ego and an eternal Self, which is the inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within the soul. It is possible for a man, if he so desires, to identify himself with the spirit and therefore with the Divine Ground, which is of the same or like nature with the spirit.

    • Fourth: man’s life on earth has only one end and purpose: to identify himself with his eternal Self and so to come to unitive knowledge of the Divine Ground.
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    Sep 9 2011: There is ONE God/Allah, the true Deity, the Creator of everything
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      Sep 11 2011: "What do religions all have in common?" They all claim to be the one and only true religion. Evidence? You'll find it in the book they claim to be the one and only true book.
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        • Sep 12 2011: I know many religious individuals that are not fundamentalists and they consider their religion to be the true one while other religions seem to have it in some way wrong. For example most Christians look at Jehovah Witnesses as a false belief?
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          Sep 12 2011: All things are One Thing. There is only One Thing, and all things are part of the One Thing That Is..true for me. cept i call it life.