Do you have a religious alignment? Can you articulate why?

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
72,276
40,378
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#11
Judaism and Buddhism. As far as I can tell (as an outsider to both), the differences between them are slight.
Actually, they are pretty much entirely different. What they share are some ethical principles. (From a Modern Orthodox Jew who studied Buddhism in college 20+ years ago.)

So with that, I will tell you why for me Judaism just barely edges out Buddhism in the struggle for my attentions, and it comes down to three words:

Wrestles with G-d. Holy shit, what a concept. It blew my mind. So different from the teachings of the Christian clergy I was exposed to in my youth. It's something I respect a hell of a lot, and have done my entire life without realizing it. And I'll keep on doing it. I'm not going to explain it here. It's best if you read the story for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Obviously it's highly metaphorical. Probably.
Since Yaakov (Jacob) actually wrestled with a molach (angel) and won (albeit injured), and was renamed Yisrael (he actually retained both names, with one or the other being appropriate in different circumstances), it is not metaphorical to Jews. We struggle with G-d all the time.

And on a practical level, my upbringing was culturally a lot closer to (reform) Judaism than Buddhism. Buddhism is sort of that exotic alien creature to me that if I were Captain Kirk I'd definitely be sleeping with. But Judaism is a crew member, definitely a bridge officer. Probably second in command (after me obviously).
Funny you should say those things about Star Trek. William Shatner is Jewish (raised Conservative); Leonard Nimoy was also Jewish (raised Orthodox). As far as I know neither was actively religious as an adult.

Note that Reform Judaism regards the Torah as entirely optional.
 
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Jets

Former Staff
Feb 2011
22,138
11,765
New York
#12
Does the latest scandal of catholic priests having misused altar boys again do have any impact on your belief ?

The fact that "your" church seems to be still involved in such abhorrent practices.. that the pope is not speaking out against it ? That your God is allowing this to happen continuously, where kids who are getting into the catholic church are rapes and misused by those who are supposed to teach God's words, principles, and ethics ? Yet he leaves them to their own destiny, by the hundreds ?
Is that all because they're born sinners ?
I’m completely disgusted with the Catholic Church regarding the pedophile priests. With that in mind my belief is in God more so than the church itself. My faith is about my relationship with him, not so much my pastor or the Pope. I also follow the Bible as more of a guide than a strict rule book.

Other Catholics may not agree to that distinction, but I do.

I’m hoping that “Vengence is mine,sayeth the lord” is applied to those vile priests!
 
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May 2016
3,559
882
california
#14
The cold shower of reality should point you in the right direction, but it is usually considered a life long commitment to learning.
 
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Nov 2010
23,156
14,832
#15
Agnostic, always hated having to go to church. Never took to it, the more I got educated the more it became obvious what absolute nonsense religion is. I say agnostic because honestly i think its the only honest answer, basically "I do'nt know." I hope there is a higher power and something more, but have no idea.

I do celebrate Christmas still though
 
Apr 2010
19,319
21,965
Oregon
#16
I have no religious beliefs.

Growing up my grandparents were Adventist, that really turned me off from organized religion. Now I’m a scientist so prefer to believe in the tangible.

I’m not a militant atheist by any means. To each their own IMO. I don’t care what people believe, but I hate when people try to force their religious morals to be laws.
 
Dec 2006
8,658
10,688
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#17
See, that's what I mean.. you deem religious books, of whichever denomination, the words of humans, NOT the word of god. yet you still look for the "best" version of them, to align yourself with. While you would then still say " I know in my heart what's right or wrong anyways, and no such book, even not the one i choose to align with, trumps that inner knowledge.
Well, yeah. Humans wrote them based on their ideas about God. It doesn't mean they're wrong. Or that they're right. So yeah, I look for the best version.

I guess my main and first question is, do you actually believe in a God / higher being that provides intent and purpose to your existence, or not ?
My response is a definite maybe.

or are you looking for that religion to align with simply for the sense of "shared community" ?
That's definitely a lot of it. And I suspect that is a major motivation for many people, whether they recognize that or not.

If I were to align myself fully with one written passage or idea, and strive to live out those ideals exactly as written, it would be the one in my signature. Close behind that is

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?"
 
Dec 2006
8,658
10,688
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#18
Actually, they are pretty much entirely different. What they share are some ethical principles. (From a Modern Orthodox Jew who studied Buddhism in college 20+ years ago.)
Yeah well I did get my information from someone who was not exactly a traditionalist lol

Thank you for the clarifications :)
 
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HCProf

Moderator
Sep 2014
26,306
15,112
USA
#19
For myself, I wouldn't call it an alignment, exactly. Nor can I articulate it very well, but I'll try. I don't know what to call it. I've never felt particularly drawn to organized religion of any flavor. But philosophically speaking, there are only two traditions that appeal to me at all, and they're in a dead heat with each other. Judaism and Buddhism. As far as I can tell (as an outsider to both), the differences between them are slight.

I practically fell in love with my World Religions teacher in college, a Reform Rabbi. OK, I think I did fall in love with him a little bit, lol. I tried to take every class he offered, including Hebrew over the summer. It's the only A+ I have ever gotten in college. I'm a language nerd, and Hebrew is chock full o' quirks from a native English speaker's perspective. But I haven't used it in a long time, so I've forgotten most of it. I got the highest scores in his other classes, because I just enjoyed the hell out of them. He was a really interesting guy, and it's really hard to explain how he was. I mean he was kind of a wildman, but gentle. Like one of the prophets of old, but completely adapted to the modern age. But he was far from perfect, and never really tried to pretend to be. Anyway, almost all of what I learned about Judaism I got from him, which is no doubt colored by his own biases and experience.

So with that, I will tell you why for me Judaism just barely edges out Buddhism in the struggle for my attentions, and it comes down to three words:

Wrestles with God. Holy shit, what a concept. It blew my mind. So different from the teachings of the Christian clergy I was exposed to in my youth. It's something I respect a hell of a lot, and have done my entire life without realizing it. And I'll keep on doing it. I'm not going to explain it here. It's best if you read the story for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Obviously it's highly metaphorical. Probably.

And on a practical level, my upbringing was culturally a lot closer to (reform) Judaism than Buddhism. Buddhism is sort of that exotic alien creature to me that if I were Captain Kirk I'd definitely be sleeping with. But Judaism is a crew member, definitely a bridge officer. Probably second in command (after me obviously).

Another thing to look up when you feel like it: The Silver Rule. That's where my comfort level lies. The Golden Rule just seems meddlesome somehow. I don't know why, but I guess 46+ years of Christians practicing their version of it has turned me off on it completely.
You don't have to have an "alliance"...you can just be spiritual without aligning with any religion. I am all over the spectrum. If someone invites me to a service, regardless of what religion, I will go and enjoy myself and take the parts that I need from it. I was raised Baptist but I never had bad experiences. My parents shielded me from the ugly parts of it and would not expose me to it as a kid. Spirituality is about how you feel and what is in your heart, not picking out the ickiest parts of the holy books and dwell on it. Spirituality should be based on love not hate because love makes you feel better than hate. I attend a lot of yoga practice, so the humanity part of Buddhism makes me feel good as a human, so I incorporate it in my other beliefs. If religion fosters love in your heart, it is a good fit for you. If religion fosters hate, then it probably is not for you. IMO.
 
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Nov 2013
10,317
9,755
NY
#20
Well, yeah. Humans wrote them based on their ideas about God. It doesn't mean they're wrong. Or that they're right. So yeah, I look for the best version.



My response is a definite maybe.



That's definitely a lot of it. And I suspect that is a major motivation for many people, whether they recognize that or not.

If I were to align myself fully with one written passage or idea, and strive to live out those ideals exactly as written, it would be the one in my signature. Close behind that is

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?"
Well, yeah... no. :)
 
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