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Poll: What are you religious beliefs?

Christian 22 (27%)
Jewish 7 (9%)
Pagan 6 (7%)
Buddhist / Other Philosophy 2 (2%)
Atheist 10 (12%)
Agnostic 14 (17%)
Subgenius 2 (2%)
Other 19 (23%)
   Discussion: What are you religious beliefs?
Mollie · 18 years, 3 months ago
Jºnªthªn · 18 years, 3 months ago
Where's Islam - let's you forget, Jian's Muslim. This is why we're hated throughout the world, you insensitive clod.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Don't blame me. I included Islam, Hindu, and broke up the christians into catholics, protestants, and eastern orthodox.
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Yeah, I hacked apart the 15-ish long options list, that's my doing. :-) If there's anyone who actually falls under the "other" category, let themselves be known below.
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
heh.. I didn't even notice that. unfortunately, i haven't made an easy way to edit questions, so even if i did notice i'd have to hack it apart in the database. time to start making my todo list even longer. *grins*
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Are you saying muslim's are hated because of Jian? He might hate me but he's not that bad :-)
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I'm saying Americans are hated because they leave out Islam as a world religion.
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Not all of them do. I certainly don't, but I did leave it off this poll because there probably isn't a single Islamic person in the ranks of the 5000ish members of FHDC.

americans tend to neglect islam overall because there are so few islamic people living here. it's hard to feel strongly about something that isn't part of your daily life, save for hearing about lunatics doing things in the name of islam. there's simply no exposure in our lives of the millions of "real" islamic folks.
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Maybe in Ohio there aren't any Muslims (which I seriously doubt, actually) but out here in California, there are plenty of them - I work with a couple in fact. My dentist is a Muslim. Admittedly, they aren't as numerous as other religions, but I bet that there are a lot more out there than you think, and one reason that they keep quiet about it is for fear of being discriminated against, or associated with the lunatics in the news.
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I have a muslim friend in Cincinnatti BTW.
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I certainly agree there are plenty of Muslims in Ohio and elsewhere in the states. I only doubt that there are many on FHDC, and certainly not enough to make a dent in a poll option for them. There are hundreds of religions out there, and all of them are potentials for this poll. Part of making a poll, however, is taking the 6-8ish or so most likely options, maybe a joke answer *grins*, and an "Other" option to catch the uncommon cases. In this particular poll I should have added a "Other specific religion not mentioned above" option and a "I don't fit into any specific category above" option.
Mollie Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Last I read, there were more Muslims than Jews in the US. I think there are far more than you're estimating, Josh.
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
A large percentage of Fruheads are concentrated in Urban Centers where Muslims and Jews tend to hang out. So... well, math. I personally know *lots* of muslims.
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Out of curiosity, what led you to assume that Jian is muslim?
Talcott Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
He's labled himself as muslim in concert before. (I think at his solo-show durring Frcon IV, when talking about Cat Stevens).

I always got the impression he was talking about it in a cultural sense though, not his personal beliefs.
Not to mention the fact that that wasn't exactly one of his more serious moments.
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
He may be as muslim as most of the non-practicing Jews and Catholics I know, but he has indicated that this is his background.
Misch Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
The Canadian consulate has issued a travel advisory to Arab Canadians traveling into the US.
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Jian's muslim? Are you sure? The only thing I've ever heard him say about religion is that it is the opiate of the masses...
nate... Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Yeah, I was gonna say... I think he's pretty much atheist/agnostic.....
Starfox Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
No, he's just of Middle Eastern descent, not Muslim.

The opiate of the masses line is stolen from Karl Marx I believe. :)
emilie is CRANKY Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
(J= Julioni, P= Papa Montague, R= Romeoli)

P: Lemme ask you a questioni, Julioni.
J: Si, Papa Montague?
P: Whaddoes it feel like, when a moon hits your eye?
J: Like a big pizza pie!!
P: Yep, at's amore. You have-a my blessing.
J: I no want-a you blessing.
P: So what's-a wrong with a blessing?
J: Religion is the opiate of the masses!
P: Ah, so you're a Marxist!
J: Libertarian anarchist, actually.
P: That's it! I take-a back-a my blessing!
J: Aaaagh!
R: Oh, Papa, don't you worry your head about her opiniones political - she's-a reject-a Stalin and-a Trotsky and-a you should-a see what she can-a do with an ice-pick. Ohhh, Papa, can I marry her, prego?
P: Aaaaah, alright son, you have-a my blessing again.
R: I love-a you Papa, you so fickle.

Yeah. sorry. Just had to get that nugget of Reduced Shakespeareness in there. :D
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Indeed it is.
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
And starfox is stolen from a video game...
Mollie Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
He's Persian, and was raised Muslim, although I am pretty sure he doesn't embrace Islam at this point.
Melinda J. Beasi Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I think "stolen" is a stronger word than necessary. I highly doubt that Jian was trying to pass it off as his own. I think he would expect most Fruheads to get the reference. We tend to be an educated (read: geeky) bunch.
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I assumed that in this context "stolen" was meant as a synonym for "borrowed."

Why do people cover their asses so much around here? Why aren't things just taken lightly? What exactly is everyone so afraid of?
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
What are you hiding!!!!
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Me and my monkey ain't got nothin' to hide!
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
everybody's got something to hide, even you and your monkey.
Melinda J. Beasi Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
sorry... i was reacting to something that seemed snarky to me, but possibly was not meant that way.
sheryls Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
So, er, should the poll really be "what are Jian's religious beliefs?" :D

and for the record, Toledo has a *huge* Middle Eastern and Islamic population - we even have a Mosque.

Pardon if i butchered the spelling.

I sit next to a Jordanian Muslim at work. He's awesome. We have the best time joking around that our cubes are next to each other. The west bank jokes fly.
Agent Scully Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
So why does everything always go back to Jian? Or maybe, why is Jian on everyone's mind all the time?

Jian isn't the center of the universe.

Kevin Bacon is.

Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
mmmm.... bacon.....
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
He has said he was Muslim, it might be in the same sense that I"m Jewish, by descent not by belief.
goovie is married! · 18 years, 3 months ago
i'm betting i'll be the only one to vote "christian," but that's ok. everyone knows i'm only catholic cos it brings in the cute jewish boys. :)
ellen, formerly evil · 18 years, 3 months ago
Yeah, I grew up Unitarian Universalist. OK, you've had your jeers. Enough. I could almost put "all of the above" but couldn't because, well, I'm not agnostic. I'm not an atheist either, because that implies that you don't care to discover more about the higher power you believe in. I was raised in a faith that taught good values above all else, and then to keep questing, questioning and being curious about religeon until you finally find your own way.
Melinda J. Beasi Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I am SO not trying to start an argument, but I have to take issue with your definition of atheist. Most of the atheists I know don't believe in a higher power. It's not about apathy, it is about non-belief. I do know plenty of atheists who consider themselves spiritual, God or no God, and they have certainly put plenty of thought into discovering what that means for them.

From Merriam-Webster (there is only one definition provided): "one who denies the existence of God". Obviously, the writers of that have a small bias, since they imply that God exists, and that the atheists are simply denying that existence, but I think the point is pretty clear.
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Yeah, an atheist who believes there may be a higher power is really more agnostic than atheist.
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Well, yes the conventional and colloquial definition of atheist is one who believes that there is no God... however, if you look at the word itself, technically it refers not to a positive belief in the lack of a God, but rather to the lack of belief. Not believing in God does not necessarily mean believing in no God. An Atheist in that sense could very well be agnostic since the word agnostic means simply without knowledge, or not knowing.
Also, I find that a lot of self-proclaimed atheists actually do believe in God very strongly... enough so to be very very angry with a God that they claim to not believe in. I find it rather interesting...
But that's just some people. I'm certainly not implying anything about anyone here.
I can see the bunny Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
It's not really a lack of any belief where Atheists are concerned, as it is a redirection of belief. They prefer to put their faith in humanity above belief in any God and strive to build an ethical life here instead of planning for any supposed afterlife. That actions count for more than prayer to any higher power. Some may believe there is a God and some may not, but the idea of relying on a higher power tends to be irrelevant to most.

And incidentally - I *know* there are more than three pagans on FHDC! Stand up and be counted people! :)
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I'm an atheist and I don't mind saying that I "deny the existance of god" any more than I mind saying I deny the existance of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. On the Great Pumpkin I'm an agnostic.
I can see the bunny Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Most people around here know that I am of the Pagan variety but I am very interested in many religions. At any rate, I feel I should mention that Madalyn Murray O'Hair who was a well known American human rights advocate and also an Atheist. She defined Atheisim as this (Mind you, this is only a small quote from what she says on the subject but it's the general basis of her statement).

"An Atheist loves his fellow man instead of god. An Atheist believes that heaven is something for which we should work now -- here on earth for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist believes that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and enjoy it. An Atheist believes that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfilment."
ellen, formerly evil Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Sorry. It's more my fault for never knowing the actual definitions of these things. Plus I have a nasty habit of mixing up agnostic and atheist. *help!* I guess I was going on definitions others had given me, and what the words implied to them.
Julia Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Reprisent, jigga wha'. I've been raised UU, and am now, in 9th grade, finally beginning to love the culture associated with this religion of complex, can't-offend-anybody wordings and ever-questioning hippie-types. Ahh, 'tis the life.

Talcott · 18 years, 3 months ago
Let's see...

Christian from my dad's side of the family
Jewish from my mom's
(and at least part of those are in my own beliefs now)

A bit of pagan (the nature side at least)

Some pseudo-Eastern though (reincarnation and some form of Karma are the only things I have always believed in)

I'm not sure if there is a god or if it's just spiritual forces (that could go as agnostic or athiest, depending on your def.)

I think that science and religion might someday reach an agreement (if there is a religious truth, then it would be scientific too) Right now, science has all but proven that everything is made of the same energy, and I've seen a lot leaning towards cyclical time.

Mostly though, I just like to talk about religion. 'Tis fun if everyone is either respectful and/or open-minded.

Even Brother Jed is good for conversation at the end of the day, when people aren't screaming back at him. Not that I agree with a word he says, but he's a good conversationalist when he's calm. (For those outside the midwest, Brother Jed is an evangelist who goes from campus to campus telling everyone how they're going to hell. He's entertaining so long as you don't take him seriously)

sheryls Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
ha - for me it was only 2. Jewish and Agnostic - i know the two kind of cancel each other out, that whole first commandment thing, but I was raised Jewish and believe that Jews are a culture and a tradition as well as a religion. And since i question the faith, I consider myself an agnostic as well.

and brother jed. is awesome. *snork* his wife. is better. Sista' Cindy in the hizouse!
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
brother jed even has a homepage :-)
Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I believe in the power of Sheryl!
sheryls Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
SWEET. why isnt Sherylism on this poll?!?!
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
i hear it's pretty easy to get your religion a tax-exempt status these days, go for it and i'll put you on the next poll (for a cut of the booty, of course!)
A.J. Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
You wish Josh! Sheryl may occasionally shake her booty, but I don't think she's gonna be sharing it. :P
nate... Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Wow... that's pretty forward, Josh.....
sheryls Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
you wanna cut my booties? but my toeses will get cold! :(
A.J. Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Because practically everyone on FHDC is an adhearant to Sherylism. What would be the point? :D
Melinda J. Beasi · 18 years, 3 months ago
I was raised Quaker, and still hold to much of that belief, but I can't call myself Christian, because I don't believe that Jesus was divine, unless that is to say that he was divine as ALL of us are divine. Also, my idea of what God might be (if there is such a thing) has little resemblance to anything Christian. So... I'm a pacifist who believes in simplicity and kindness, and who believes that we, as humans, are responsible for each other and for our environment, and that we must take care of those things. Can I call myself a Quaker still? I think so... there is so much room there for personal belief there.

One more thing... I honestly believe that we don't need any religious figure to tell us what is right and wrong... what hurts others and what helps them. I think we have the power to make moral decisions without having them dictated to us by (supposed) God or Man. Perhaps this is really what the Quakers mean when they say that there is that of God in every person. Maybe I'm a better Quaker than I think I am.

Jan Klump Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
As Melinda's mom, I voted "other" too. My daughter's beliefs are quite like her mom's I realize as I read her words.
Andrea Krause · 18 years, 3 months ago
I often go back and forth between labels as to what I am. I am either an atheist or an agnostic. I don't believe in anything. Not a thing. (I mean in terms of god and spirituality and such.) But I don't insist that it's not possible. That's something I don't know any more than I know there's a god. I know that short of god tapping me on the head and saying "yo, wench, I exist, okay?" I'm not going to be able to believe. But the fact that he/she/it's not tapping me on the head does not mean a lack of existence in just informs my lack of belief. I don't think that makes sense as much as I'd like it to.

I sometimes wish I did have belief or faith. People seem to find a comfort in it that I envy. But the core is I honestly don't believe there is a higher power. And I can't force myself to believe.

I don't begrudge others their right to believe there is or isn't a god. (or several) Their view is no less valid than mine and I will always respect that.
Andrea Krause Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Hrm...replying to myself just to clarify that my indecision isn't rooted in my changing beliefs...I don't sometimes wonder "hey, is there someone out there?"'s an indecision of terminology. Am I an atheist because I don't believe in god or anything similar? Or am I an agnostic because I refuse to insist that my lack of belief is the correct answer? I'm in no doubt that *I* don't believe. So I usually say atheist, even though I'm never sure if I'm labeling myself correctly in terms of my specific definition.

Blahdey blah blah.
zil Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
right now I'm struggling with too many mundane everyday issuses that I haven't really thought about what I'd qualify as... until this poll. when when everyday things become a little easier maybe then I'll tackle this issue...
danced with Lazlo · 18 years, 3 months ago
Okay... first of all, as everyone knows, I'm Jewish.


But, I have trouble plopping down the answer "Jewish" when asked specifically about religious *beliefs*. This is not to say that while I accept the cultural and/or ethnic identity of Judaism I reject the religion... on the contrary, I consider myself to be a religious observant Jew, as anyone who has eaten with me may have found out.

The problem arises when the word belief comes into play. I don't hold beliefs. I also dislike labels, but I might as well throw in that my favorite philosophy professor has determined that I am a "cynical pragmatist, or a pragmatic cynic" and that does go a long way toward explaining the way I operate day-to-day. I don't hold any convictions about the nature or even existence of anything in the universe, yet I operate based on what information is made available to me... for example, I don't *believe* per se that the floor exists, yet I can feel it under my feet and I see that I have not fallen through, so I act as though it does exist because that is what is required in order to function. I always remain alert, however, to the possibility that the floor may not exist the next minute, and indeed may never have existed. (The ultimate boyscout... prepared for metaphysical meltdown)

So how does God and religion fit into this? Well, since I don't hold beliefs, It stands to reason that I do not believe in God, nor do I believe in the lack of a God, though I refuse to label myself agnostic because to me agnosticism applies to everything and is not worthy of a label as applied to God. As it is, my own religious observance has very little to do with God, as I tend to see religion as a construct created by and for people, and I find in the core Judaism, once you cut away the silly stuff (silly by my own definition based on my own tentative worldview because it is my observance being discussed at the moment) a great deal of value.

These sets of ideas tend to fall along the lines of the reconstructionist denomination of Judaism, yet I tend to associate more closely with the Conservative movement. This is where it comes back to God. Reconstructionism comes very close to removing God from Judaism altogether. While I do not and cannot philosophically subscribe to belief in God per se, I also have no desire to remove God from my religious construct, as I have no definition of what God is or is supposed to be. God could be the infinite swirling web of universal influences of things on other things... gravity, energy, light... or not. Or something else. I experience the same feelings that religious people describe as experiencing God. So I try to keep God in my consciousness without falling into the pit of what others think that should or should not mean.

So, in short Gordon, I object to the question. I don't like the word beliefs, because it makes me feel like I have to go through this whole explanation thing again and again and again. :P
nate... Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
So, in short Gordon, I object to the question. I don't like the word beliefs, because it makes me feel like I have to go through this whole explanation thing again and again and again. :P

Umm... just a thought, but noone said you HAD to reply.
*puzzled look*

If you don't want to go through the explanation, then why on earth did you?

I realllly don't think gordon suggested this poll to specifically direct it at you... if he had, he might have worded it, "So, Gella, what are you religious beliefs?"
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Nate, it was a joke.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I actually was thinking of you afterI made the poll, I was wondering what you'd say. I knew it wouldn't be a short answer.
Talcott Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I'd just like to point out that "The ultimate boyscout... prepared for metaphysical meltdown" is one of the coolest phrases I've ever heard...

...Can I borrow it sometime? :D

danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
As long as you give credit where credit is due. Its so seldom that I come up with useable lines... :)
nate... Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Yeah, I agree.. that was an excellent wording. :)
A girl named Becca · 18 years, 3 months ago
I was raised Catholic. That is, I was raised to follow the main Catholic traditions, not necessarily to have any idea what they meant. We went to Mass relatively consistently when I was younger, I was baptized and first communion-ed and first penance-d and confirmed, thanks to my Catholic father (my mother is an unaffiliated agnostic), but no one ever stopped to ask me if I believed. Around 8th grade/freshman year of high school, I finally found a community (a Catholic one, even) where my questions developed into faith, and it was possibly the best period of my life. But 2 years later when I lost the community, I lost most of my faith. I still believe in God...but I have a lot of serious issues with the Catholic Church - ethically, but also in that most of the time it feels dead. (As the Muse says in Dogma, we don't celebrate our faith. We mourn it.) But never having known anything else, I feel sort of stuck. So, I have religious beliefs that must have come at some point from my Catholic experiences. But I don't really know what they are or where to take them.
FrBill Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I've never responded to these polls before, but here I go.
I have this amazing trait, that when my faith is challenged or questioned, it grows and I become a better person for it.

It saddens me when one doesn't realize all that is taken for granted. Air, trees, solar system, gravity, life, conciousness. I'm not trying to evangelize, but rather sharing my view of why I'm not an atheist or agnostic.

Science. When you think about it, science is really just naming stuff. what is gravity? No one knows. We know what it does, it's magnitude, we know physical formulae for it. But why do we have it? Why do plants and trees grow? You may say photosynthesis, well, is that not giving names to chemicals that we can't explain but simply name? We fool our selves in this manner all the time. There is so much that we, as a society, claim to understand, but truly do not. Ask a physicist what light is, it is a "electro-magnetic phenomenon". Light is a mystery. By this point, you might feel angered, or offended, this is not my goal. In fact, I doubt I have a goal, I am simply sharing why I choose to accept the existence of a higher power, a God.
I have more to say, but I fear I have said too much (we're on the FruHead site, after all) but let me know if you want to discuss further.
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
"By this point, you might feel angered, or offended"

Why did you say this?

"I fear I have said too much (we're on the FruHead site, after all)"

and why did you say this?

Bill, I'm not attacking you for your beliefs in any way shape or form... I'm curious as to why your whole post is worded as though everyone were about to throw things at you?

As for you implication that people are replacing religion with science... that is not science, that is scientism. Science and real scientists don't even pretend to have the answers to the big questions... not yet, anyway. (there's nothing wrong with looking, though) And some of them are even deeply religious *because* of their scientific explorations of the nature of the universe. *shrug* just a thought.
Melinda J. Beasi Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Actually, I would say that one of the things I've liked about this poll, is that it hasn't been full of people getting offended and attacking each other's beliefs, but rather just people sharing their beliefs and ideas. I, for one, am enjoying reading what other people have to say, and I don't think it's just me.

In short, I don't think there's anything to worry about.
nate... Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I agree completely.
I've found this poll really interesting!!!!
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Was that a personal attack on me? Are you saying this poll is divisive? I'm offended and attack all your beliefs in retaliation. :-)
Agent Scully Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I too was baptized, went to penance, made my communion in first grade, 12 years of catholic school, bible school from the age of 3 until I was 11...but I stopped at confirmation. I refused to make it.

When I was 16 I had a few "issues" with the church and my catholic high school (when one of my classmates killed herself, we were told by the nuns that she went straight to hell because suicide is a sin). I told my mother I didn't want to make my confirmation and no longer wanted to go to church. Some other things happened around that time when we were attending a 'progressive' catholic church and that turned my family off to the catholic religion. (along with 4 boys in my old parish be molested by one of the priests)

so yeah, I have issues that maybe will be resolved one day. But let's face it. Going to church doesn't get you a one way ticket to heaven and God doesn't take attendence. Some of the older men and women think that. I worked with a woman that thought it was okay to break into my desk, steal my manuals, take files off my desk and she still made it to church every holy day. I guess going to church cancels out all the bad things she did. ::shrugs::
nate... · 18 years, 3 months ago
Well, it's been more than 24 hours now... and I have yet to even select a radio button for this poll.......
Reading other people's responses has been fascinating to me!

I guess if I were to get right to the core of my beliefs..... I feel that there is a more spiritual nature to the world... to the universe... but I cannot place it.
I think that's probably what people refer to as "god".... but I can't subscribe to any religion's concept of "god" as I haven't heard one yet that makes a lick of sense to me.

I feel that organized religion is a crock.... a way for people to milk money out of "sheep".... and I'm really not saying that to be inflammatory, though it may come out that way.
I think that belief in the structures of a religion does work for some people... it gives them comfort when they have no other source for comfort... it gives them an explanation when there is no other explanation.
It just doesn't work for me.... I just cannot accept some guy/girl sitting on another plane of existance that's running our lives like we're a copy of The Sims.

I think that we create our own path through life, and that we, as humans, create our own existance. Perhaps even to the extent that the force of all of us working together (or against) each other creates this power.... a life force... that some people see as "god".

But, back to why I haven't selected an option....... "other" feels like a cop-out...... and athiest/agnostic don't really fit either.
I guess the best one WOULD be "other"..... but please, someone let me know if what I've stated fits into a neat little category.

Just my $.02
I can see the bunny Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Well Nate, let me say that you sound like you have a pagan view of the world. Paganism is more than a faith really, for many it is a way of viewing the world. We tend not to refer to it as a religion because there is no real dogma or holy book to any of the faiths that fall into paganism (wicca, witchcraft, shamanism, etc) and it tends to be a personal belief system with shared values in common.

It is a nature based faith. I've never quite understood the whole congregating in a church thing myself. Our view of deity is both male and female - not residing in some heavenly plane above us but existing all around us as well as within us. God and Goddess are more like loving parents that teach us what we need, send us in to the world and set us on our path - but whether we reach where we are going is entirely up to us. They listen, occasionally help us out but otherwise let us live our lives.

That's kind of a nutshell interpretation, but there ya go. :)
A girl named Becca Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
That doesn't actually sound all that different from the interpretation of the Christian God that I and most of my Christian acquaintances go by... I've even heard priests express similar beliefs in a God that is both male and female (or, perhaps "neither male nor female" would be slightly more accurate in their/my case...), even if a lot of official wordings persistently refer to God as male. The Christian perception of God's presence differs from the Pagan one, at least as I understand it, but we still definitely believe that God is not just in Heaven, but all around us. And we have free will; our choices may be divinely guided if we ask for/accept guidance...but they are never divinely determined. Fundamentally, I think most religions are pretty similar...names and attitudes may be different, but the same basic principles can be found in a lot of faiths... oO Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able... Oo

As for the "congregating in a church thing," I'd like to say that, again, at least for me and my religious(-ish) acquaintances, community is a huge part of faith. Most Catholic churches I've been to don't have a huge sense of community, and that's one of my issues with the Church, because ideally they are supposed to. A congregation should be (and in some instances I've seen, actually is) like a family or a group of close friends; people that support each other through crises, doubts, and successes. You can obviously form a community like that without requiring attendance at church, I'm just trying to explain the reasons behind "the whole congregating in a church thing."

(Wow...I didn't intend for this to be so long. For those of you who got all the way to the end, thanks. I guess this is just a long-winded kind of subject for me.)

(Also, this is not a defensive "'re a cool religion, too!" thing... I just thought, as I was reading your post, that it was interesting how similar it was to my own beliefs.)
I can see the bunny Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Should I point out here that a lot of Christianity is similar to Paganism partially due to the fact that a lot of it was based on Paganism? The church folded Pagan ritual into itself as a way of converting people to it. So yeah, we aren't that different. :)
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
heh, yeah, that's always fun to point out especially to Catholics, even to lapsed Catholics. I had this interesting conversation with my mother one Passover about the controversial and now widely omitted (in more "progressive" denominations, anyway) phrase during the Seder about God pouring out his wrath on the Pagans... it's widely acknowledged now as a defensive societal reaction to real dangers of the past rather than any actual inherent danger in or hatred of paganism, also that the word 'Pagan' had different meanings and implications then... my mom, in a moment of suprising.... I dunno... stupidity? started making rediculous assertions about paganism being a source of evil in the world (I dunno where she gets this stuff... she never tried to teach this to me growing up...) I just laughed at her and pointed out that her family was Catholic.... and *Irish* Catholic at that... that they still (albeit unknowingly) worship the water goddess Mari... and that, furthermore, Jewish practice not only contains remnants of moon worship, but we shake tree branches and fruit at the sky and pray for rain for chrissakes! Well, that pretty much shut her up.
I can see the bunny Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
*g* I always have a great deal of fun whenever a person asks something like, "I wonder where this custom of decorating trees came from..." Can't help but choke back hysterical laughter when I see a bunch of people who consider themselves very religious Catholics, smiling as their children dance around the Maypole either. It's *so* tempting to make a comment about that. :)

I can honestly say I've never heard about this shaking tree branches and fruit at the sky, Gella.
I can see the bunny Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
(I posted to this earlier but the entry dissappeared into the vastness of space it seems...)

I always have fun with this stuff too. I love comments like, "wonder where this tradition of tree decorating came from?" But the funniest things to me *have* to be Easter celebrations. The whole concept of the 'Easter bunny' and maypoles is fabulous to me! Seeing very religious people taking part in watered down versions of an ancient fertility rite just makes my year! Do people realize the whole bunny thing is a pagan symbol due to reproduction rates?
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Leanne, I hope you find this enjoyable and informative-
Judaism is *way* more than just a "faith." It is philosophy, it is cultural and ethnic identity, it is a societal framework, hygienic practice, at points it even tried to be medicine, but we'll ignore that for the moment cause that part gets kinda silly. The origins of Judaism go back to a time when religion and the rest of society were not separate things... if you suggested separating out the religion from the rest of the societal worldview and practices in ancient Israel, it simply would not have made sense. Judaism (Israelite/judahite society) was always a *peoplehood,* not just a religion.
The general Jewish view of God holds that God is a being that transcends gender. The gendered references to God as male in Jewish literature and liturgy is the result of a patriarchal society and the inherent sexism of the Hebrew language. The Jewish religion is also built on the idea of God as existing in the heavens and the earth, in every part of existence. Most sects of Judaism will agree that the anthropomorphizing of God as a guy on a throne or a mighty hand etc. is in the end purely metaphorical, as metaphor is the only way that one can describe a God which in every sense defies description.
Judaism is also very much based in nature. Jews build houses of worship for the purpose of communal gathering for prayer and study, for keeping ritual objects and books etc. and often protection, but (with the exception of the Temple in Jerusalem) the house itself is not very important beyond those functions. One is not supposed to pray in a place without windows where one cannot see God's creation (except of course in matters of life and death where praying in a basement may be necessary, for example.) Jews praise God when they see a rainbow, when they see the first buds of spring, in the winter for making the winds blow and the rains fall, in the spring for the dew and in the fall for the harvest, every time they eat for the bread and fruits of the earth, fruits of the trees and vines, and all varieties of grains, and we have very elaborate rituals and where the preparation and consumption of meat is concerned as well as strict guidelines for the treatment of domestic animals.
finally, one of the most common descriptions you find of God in Jewish liturgy is that of a loving and concerned parent, and one of the central tenets of the religion is the principle of free will. The extent to which God intervenes in day to day life or listens to the prayers of man differs from one denomination to the next, but all believe that we ourselves choose the path we take in our lives.
So you see... when you get down to the fundamentals, we're not all that different at all.
I can see the bunny Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Wow - those are the longest responses I've had to just about anything I've ever said. :) I always love to hear people discuss their faiths though, it's a fascinating topic.

I can get that some people like the community of the church, I've just never gotten the whole man-made structure thing (Pagans tend to gather in the woods, ya know :-D) I've never felt comfortable in churches personally, even when I was a practicing (sort of) Baptist. Maybe it's a past-life thing. Perhaps if several hundred years ago, Pagans and Witches hadn't been driven underground and unable to practice the craft in the open we might be more comfortable with that....
Josh Woodward Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
For me, the concept of organized religion (at least the ones I'm familiar with in the US) seems like a crock too. That's not to say that the ideas and beliefs behind them are wrong, but anyone who tells me that they need 10% of my salary for anything but rent is a crook.

On the same token, I support people who choose to believe in them. I see it as a personal decision that is none of my business. What I do object to is the brainwashing of kids. They believe whatever is told to them, and they form deep-rooting neural networks around this information. They truly believe that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy exist until they're told that they don't. Kids should be told "this is what I believe in, and here's what it's about. Some people think it's right, and others think it's wrong, it's your choice what you think. Here are the other options". I know it presents a challenge of, say, what to do with them when you go to church. And to that I say, forget about church, it's just a way to fuel the money machine.

</rant> (sorry *grins*)
nate... Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I agree completely.

There is a LOT of brainwashing that goes on with kids.... and a lot of things that are forced on them in their formative years.
It's hard to get beyond that!

To go off on a tangent, this is the exact reason why I would never raise a child as a vegan/vegetarian. As far as I'm concerned, the job of a parent is to give the child all the options, let them choose their own belief and path, and then support them in whatever they choose.

Unfortunately, all too many parents try to assure that their children follow the exact same beliefs that they themselves hold.
Melinda J. Beasi Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I think that probably the biggest reason that this doesn't happen all that often (parents presenting their religion as one option of many for their children) is that one of the very deep beliefs of so many religions is that their religion is the only correct choice, and that those who do not believe are doomed to eternal torment in the afterlife. these parents don't give their children options, because they don't believe there ARE options. They would consider any choice other than raising their children staunchly in the fold of the church as dooming them to hell.

It is difficult to understand this sometimes, especially for those of us who naturally question and search through our lives (which perhaps was taught to us as well) but when you listen to the teachings of most religions, that is a very strong and unrelenting theme. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station. No wait, that's something else... but you get my point. It's all about real, paralyzing fear.
Rachel Beck Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I _do_ admit to some fear at the basis of my religion. As a human being, I'm capable of doing things I'm not proud of. One of the things I find via practicing religion is a community that is willing to support me in my attempts to become more of the person I would like to be. It's comforting for me to know when I have a really awful week that there are people who are thinking of me in some sort of time-set-aside-for-it way. They don't go in for doom so much. They're too busy digging in the garden and protesting the threat of war in Iraq. So, yes, I have fear. But I feel like, for me, religion is part of the cure rather than part of the problem.
(Eh, but I'm a preacher's kid. I've probably been brainwashed from day one.) :)
ellen, formerly evil Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Hm. This is the way I -was- raised. I remember being young, sitting with a group of friends, and each of them were going around saying, "well, I'm Jewish, and so I believe blank, yadda, and splotch", "well, I'm Presbytarian, so belive blah, yadda and splink." When it got to me, all I could say was "I'm a Unitarian Universalist, so I can believe whatever I want to believe." At which point they'd ask me what I belived... I didn't know at the time. It was somewhat traumatic, but I'm so glad I had the chance to formulate my own worldviews.

Another important aspect of my upbringing in a church was defiently the community. When I have kids, I want them to be a part of a community like that, something outside of school, where people of different generations gathered to learn and support one another. To me, there's no point in giving money to a -religeon-, but to give it to an institution to support programs for children, building repairs, whatever.... you're just giving to your community.
Talcott Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Yeah, that's actually one of the big reasons why if I have kids at some point, I want them to goto some sort of church. The specifics aren't overly important to me (just so long as it's an open-minded group), but I do think it's important for kids to both have the community, and I also think some first-hand concept of spirituality can be a good thing.
Of course, outside of church I'd make sure the kids had exposure to other ideas, and I'd encourage them to weigh them however they liked.

Unless they wanted to follow the Force. No child of mine is going to run around the universe with a 600 year-old muppet! least not until I get to :D
I can see the bunny Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
He, I have to laugh everytime I hear people mention the Easter Bunny. A watered down version of a Beltane symbol. Do people realize this comes from an ancient fertility ritual? (Hence the rabbit and it's...umm...high rate of reproduction *g*)
Agent Scully · 18 years, 3 months ago
Would that include "recovering Catholic?"
Agent Scully Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Whew! And I thought I was the only one. :)

after 12 years of Catholic school I've H-E = Had Enough! ;)
Somepeople · 18 years, 3 months ago
We should take a cue from Kent Brockman and ask instead, "What is the one True Faith?"

sheryls Back · 18 years, 3 months ago

Jºnªthªn Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
watch out - someone might take you up on that.
sheryls Back · 18 years, 3 months ago's a murray thing. like, Murray's people..touch me, my people! :D
Brigit - Portugal Sucks · 18 years, 3 months ago
I am one of 5 people to vote "Pagan." I finally stopped pretending to be Christian and actually became Wiccan. *does a little dance*
I can see the bunny Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Welcome to the dark side. ;-)
no one Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
uhm, what does all this mean to us atheists? Credo in uno deo non existo?
Agent Scully Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
So we've included "The Force" as a religion, right?
would that be under "other?"
erica is so cold Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
actually mr star wars got the idea from the eastern belief structure of Taoism..which is a very go with the flow everything is connected to everything eles sorta deal its really intresting...presonaly its what makes the most sence to me but i don't practice or anything...i do however practice the religion of erica..what i say goes!
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Taoism isn't actually a religion, rather it is closer to a philosophy. It's sort of an oxymoron to "practice Taiosm" or even to call it Taoism for that matter.
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
Taoism isn't actually a religion, rather it is closer to a philosophy. It's sort of an oxymoron to "practice taoism" or even to call it taoism for that matter.
danced with Lazlo Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I just replied twice but it's not showing up, so if what I said repeats, sorry.
sheryls · 18 years, 3 months ago
come take the poll at!!

(click on "Polls" on the side there) :D
Agent Scully Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I voted:

Southern Babtist Sherylism - Oh, happy day! When Sheryl washed my sins away!

yee haa! :D
Agent Scully Back · 18 years, 3 months ago
I don't think my other post, posted before. Sorry if this comes up twice.

I voted for:

Southern Babtist Sherylism - Oh, happy day! When Sheryl washed my sins away!
theri quite contrary · 18 years, 3 months ago
Hail Eris!
Mistress Rabean · 18 years, 3 months ago
Darn...I missed this poll. That's what I get for not coming on FHDC very often. :)

I'm a Witch, leaning more towards being called a Pagan rather than a Wiccan these days. :)

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