Religion and 'the Church'

i may believe in God.  i may believe in evolution.  i may read the Bible and watch all sorts of mind expanding science shows and believe it all but what i don't believe in is 'man.' 

religion and 'the church' is all about 'man.'  it's nothing more than politics. 

i grew up in a home where my parents believed in God but didn't promote any form of education in this regard.  they didn't send me to church, although i'd go as often as i could just to get away from them.  (now days you couldn't get me in a church to save the world!)  nonetheless, when i matured to an appropriate age to understand the 'goings on' of 'the church' and the many religions and denominations i took the time to read the Bible in it's entirety.  since then i've read it a handful of times or more from beginning to end and continue to read it from cover to cover, word for word without skipping anything.

after all the 'sins' of 'man' in 'the church', (evangelists and such going to prison and begging for more funds, etc.,) after working as an office manager in a church and then having read the Bible several times over, i began to wonder a couple things ... why are there sooooo many religions?  and if christianity is what christians proclaim it to be (the RIGHT religion) then why are there so many denominations?

the more i read the Bible, studied world religions, studied philosophy, etc. i realized a few things.  PEOPLE ARE STUPID and NEEDY!  they'll buy into anything just to be part of something (power in numbers) and condemn you for not doing the same as they have.  all the while they are not to condemn nor condone according to the main bylaws of their doctrines.

here's the thing ... 'man' is fallible.  when someone, anyone, reads the Bible, the Koran or any other religious material it is up to them to interpret the meaning.  and while i've heard so many people say, "i felt it, i was in the presence of the Holy Ghost," when i asked, "why do you think that's what it means?"  the fact of the matter is these 'men' are teaching their interpretations/misinterpretations to the gullible people who want to buy into something so they can fit into a group.  thing of it is, who's to say they're right?  do their followers go home and read up to see if what they've been taught on sunday was correct?  NOOOO!  every single time i've heard of someone doing this and then questioning their preacher, pastor, father, whatever ... eventually they were invited to "try another denomination" ... translation:  please leave our church!

it's all politics.  it's corrupt.  it is NOT perfect!  it never will be.  each world religion's 'book' calls for ONE perfect religion, yet there are how many denominations under each religion?  too many to count!  thus it is not perfect and can never be.  the only perfect religion would be ONE religion wherein all people believe in it and no one disagrees the meanings or interpretations of any portion of the ONE book - all united under one doctrine so to speak.  even in Jesus' day it wasn't this way.  how, if He couldn't make it happen, could we ever expect 'man' to perform such a feat?  and what gives any religious sect the idea that their beliefs are any more right than another's?  it's all idiotic if you ask me.

i despise these people who hound you about getting saved!  i despise their religions and their churches!  have they not read the Bible?  HELLO, people!  even Jesus tells them to, "dust off your shoes."  my humble interpretation of this is:  He's telling us to live in peace and leave people alone.  there are MANY MANY scriptures to that effect.  the bible also says, "be careful who calls himself a teacher" ... what i get from that is: do not take the words herein and try to teach them to people.  the reason?  because 'man' is fallible and ignorant.  they misinterpret the vast majority of it, take it out of context, twist it to fit the situation, and don't know the WHOLE of it, etc.  but rather they use it to their convenience in order to make people heed their direction via guilt, embarrassment, or what have you for the purpose of some kind of agenda inspired gain.  there again ... it IS politics!

i heard a famous evangelist say something one time, and though it makes me nauseous to admit how correct he was and then for me to repeat it ... *sighs*  i will share it because it's quite profound for 'one of them' to admit to anything of the like.  he said something to the affect of; "we hear all kinds of stories about friendly fire.  but did you know friendly fire isn't only in war?"  he went on to say (approx.); "when a new person shows up on sunday morning we all hug them and shake their hands, sometimes overwhelming them rather than making them feel welcome.  then if they don't conform as we see fit or as quickly as we would like, if they continue to struggle or have different ideas we begin to kill them with friendly fire.  it's us christians who are our own worst enemies!"  who hasn't gone to church and felt this?  personally i'd rather them tell me what a wretched sinner i am than for them to hug me, shake my hand and all that other hokey greeting stuff than to swarm on me like vultures swooping in on a carcus.

it's my personal conviction that i treat everyone as i wish to be treated ... the golden rule.  regardless where it came from it's a good lesson and a good law to live by.  do i believe in God?  yes.  but i seriously do NOT believe in 'religion' nor 'the church.'  they are ridiculous concepts ruled by politics of the ignorant elitists!

i've read all the stories in this group and there are a number of scriptures and commandments loosely quoted.  prior to passing judgement on what you think it means or taking someone elses definition to be the truth, i recommend you research it.  if you want to know whether what you've been told is accurate or not, read it yourself!  don't allow other people's ignorance and politics to infect your life!  by NO means am i pleading with anyone to read the Bible.  but, for me it cleared up a multitude of questions and contradictions i'd previously been endoctrinated with in my youth and as a young adult.  it's also the very platform which, in self defense, has kept me out of 'the church,' kept me from trusting 'man' (preachers and the like as well as their followers,) and helped me to form an extremely strong self identity while ridding myself of christian toxins.  i have no use whatsoever for people or their organizations (religious.)  i just read the Bible by myself and cut out the middleman - which the Bible also suggests despite it saying "forsake not the assembly."  (i have a HUGE, bullet proof argument for denying 'the church' of my attendance.)  if i don't understand something i don't ask anyone what their take on it is - that is inviting misinterpretations into your life.  i write it down in a notebook and continue to ponder on it from time to time but never make a judgement (lean not unto your own understanding.)  it never fails, when i least expect it and more times than not i've forgotten all about it, it's as if it's part of me and almost like i didn't ever NOT understand it - kinda like a tattoo on your heart.  that's the only way i know how to explain it.

***edit***  june 13th

i need to clarify my evolution belief as i have previously stated that i don't believe in it, yet i write here that i do.  it is my belief that a greater power (God) created the earth, the solar system it resides in (the heavens), and all living creatures upon said earth.  i believe dinosaurs roamed the earth.  i do not believe in the big bang theory as this has recently been proven incorrect through modern science.  i'm unsure where i stand on the ape-to-human theories, although i'm not closed to the idea. 

i believe we evolve little by little each day as individuals and thus as a species over generations - day by day in our intellectual and emotional states with experiences and over time in our ability to physically adapt to our surroundings.

i hope that clears up my evolution theories.  i'd hate to sound contradictory like "religious leaders" do.

AbbyNormal AbbyNormal
31-35, F
29 Responses Jun 12, 2007

People who deny the efficacy of any rationalistic investigation into religion seem to me somewhat to be contradicting themselves. For instance, the Christian claims that his religion is the only true one, because it was revealed to so-and-so. The Mohammedan makes the same claim for his religion; his is the only true one, because it was revealed to so-and-so. But the Christian says to the Mohammedan, "Certain parts of your ethics do not seem to be right. For instance, your books say, my Mohammedan friend, that an infidel may be converted to the religion of Mohammed by force, and if he will not accept the Mohammedan religion he may be killed; and any Mohammedan who kills such an infidel will get a sure entry into heaven, whatever may have been his sins or misdeeds." The Mohammedan will retort by saying, "It is right for me to do so, because my book enjoins it. It will be wrong on my part not to do so." The Christian says, "But my book does not say so." The Mohammedan replies, "I do not know; I am not bound by the authority of your book; my book says, 'Kill all the infidels'. How do you know which is right and which is wrong? Surely what is written in my book is right and what your book says, 'Do not kill,' is wrong. You also say the same thing, my Christian friend; you say that what Jehovah declared to the Jews is right to do, and what he forbade them to do is wrong. So say I, Allah declared in my book that certain things should be done, and that certain things should not be done, and that is all the test of right and wrong." In spite of that the Christian is not satisfied; he insists on a comparison of the morality of the Sermon on the Mount with the morality of the Koran. How is this to be decided? Certainly not by the books, because the books, fighting between themselves, cannot be the judges. Decidedly then we have to admit that there is something more universal than these books, something higher than all the ethical codes that are in the world, something which can judge between the strength of inspirations of different nations. Whether we declare it boldly, clearly, or not — it is evident that here we appeal to reason.<br />
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Now, the question arises if this light of reason is able to judge between inspiration and inspiration, and if this light can uphold its standard when the quarrel is between prophet and prophet, if it has the power of understanding anything whatsoever of religion. If it has not, nothing can determine the hopeless fight of books and prophets which has been going on through ages; for it means that all religions are mere lies, hopelessly contradictory, without any constant idea of ethics. The proof of religion depends on the truth of the constitution of man, and not on any books. These books are the outgoings, the effects of man's constitution; man made these books. We are yet to see the books that made man. Reason is equally an effect of that common cause, the constitution of man, where our appeal must be. And yet, as reason alone is directly connected with this constitution, it should be resorted to, as long as it follows faithfully the same. What do I mean by reason? I mean what every educated man or woman is wanting to do at the present time, to apply the discoveries of secular knowledge to religion. The first principle of reasoning is that the particular is explained by the general, the general by the more general, until we come to the universal. For instance, we have the idea of law. If something happens and we believe that it is the effect of such and such a law, we are satisfied; that is an explanation for us. What we mean by that explanation is that it is proved that this one effect, which had dissatisfied us, is only one particular of a general mass of occurrences which we designate by the word "law". When one apple fell, Newton was disturbed; but when he found that all apples fell, it was gravitation, and he was satisfied. This is one principle of human knowledge. I see a particular being, a human being, in the street. I refer him to the bigger conception of man, and I am satisfied; I know he is a man by referring him to the more general. So the particulars are to be referred to the general, the general to the more general, and everything at last to the universal, the last concept that we have, the most universal — that of existence. Existence is the most universal concept.<br />
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We are all human beings; that is to say, each one of us, as it were, a particular part of the general concept, humanity. A man, and a cat, and a dog, are all animals. These particular examples, as man, or dog, or cat, are parts of a bigger and more general concept, animal. The man, and the cat, and the dog, and the plant, and the tree, all come under the still more general concept, life. Again, all these, all beings and all materials, come under the one concept of existence, for we all are in it. This explanation merely means referring the particular to a higher concept, finding more of its kind. The mind, as it were, has stored up numerous classes of such generalisations. It is, as it were, full of pigeon-holes where all these ideas are grouped together, and whenever we find a new thing the mind immediately tries to find out its type in one of these pigeon-holes. If we find it, we put the new thing in there and are satisfied, and we are said to have known the thing. This is what is meant by knowledge, and no more. And if we do not find that there is something like it, we are dissatisfied, and have to wait until we find a further classification for it, already existing in the mind. Therefore, as I have already pointed out, knowledge is more or less classification. There is something more. A second explanation of knowledge is that the explanation of a thing must come from inside and not from outside. There had been the belief that, when a man threw up a stone and it fell, some demon dragged it down. Many occurrences which are really natural phenomena are attributed by people to unnatural beings. That a ghost dragged down the stone was an explanation that was not in the thing itself, it was an explanation from outside; but the second explanation of gravitation is something in the nature of the stone; the explanation is coming from inside. This tendency you will find throughout modern thought; in one word, what is meant by science is that the explanations of things are in their own nature, and that no external beings or existences are required to explain what is going on in the universe. The chemist never requires demons, or ghosts, or anything of that sort, to explain his phenomena. The physicist never requires any one of these to explain the things he knows, nor does any other scientist. And this is one of the features of science which I mean to apply to religion. In this religions are found wanting and that is why they are crumbling into pieces. Every science wants its explanations from inside, from the very nature of things; and the religions are not able to supply this. There is an ancient theory of a personal deity entirely separate from the universe, which has been held from the very earliest time. The arguments in favour of this have been repeated again and again, how it is necessary to have a God entirely separate from the universe, an extra-cosmic deity, who has created the universe out of his will, and is conceived by religion to be its ruler. We find, apart from all these arguments, the Almighty God painted as the All-merciful, and at the same time, inequalities remain in the world. These things do not concern the philosopher at all, but he says the heart of the thing was wrong; it was an explanation from outside, and not inside. What is the cause of the universe? Something outside of it, some being who is moving this universe! And just as it was found insufficient to explain the phenomenon of the falling stone, so this was found insufficient to explain religion. And religions are falling to pieces, because they cannot give a better explanation than that.<br />
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Another idea connected with this, the manifestation of the same principle, that the explanation of everything comes from inside it, is the modern law of evolution. The whole meaning of evolution is simply that the nature of a thing is reproduced, that the effect is nothing but the cause in another form, that all the potentialities of the effect were present in the cause, that the whole of creation is but an evolution and not a creation. That is to say, every effect is a reproduction of a preceding cause, changed only by the circumstances, and thus it is going on throughout the universe, and we need not go outside the universe to seek the causes of these changes; they are within. It is unnecessary to seek for any cause outside. This also is breaking down religion. What I mean by breaking down religion is that religions that have held on to the idea of an extra-cosmic deity, that he is a very big man and nothing else, can no more stand on their feet; they have been pulled down, as it were.<br />
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Can there be a religion satisfying these two principles? I think there can be. In the first place we have seen that we have to satisfy the principle of generalisation. The generalisation principle ought to be satisfied along with the principle of evolution. We have to come to an ultimate generalisation, which not only will be the most universal of all generalisations, but out of which everything else must come. It will be of the same nature as the lowest effect; the cause, the highest, the ultimate, the primal cause, must be the same as the lowest and most distant of its effects, a series of evolutions. The Brahman of the Vedanta fulfils that condition, because Brahman is the last generalisation to which we can come. It has no attributes but is Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss — Absolute. Existence, we have seen, is the very ultimate generalisation which the human mind can come to. Knowledge does not mean the knowledge we have, but the essence of that, that which is expressing itself in the course of evolution in human beings or in other animals as knowledge. The essence of that knowledge is meant, the ultimate fact beyond, if I may be allowed to say so, even consciousness. That is what is meant by knowledge and what we see in the universe as the essential unity of things. To my mind, if modern science is proving anything again and again, it is this, that we are one — mentally, spiritually, and physically. It is wrong to say we are even physically different. Supposing we are materialists, for argument's sake, we shall have to come to this, that the whole universe is simply an ocean of matter, of which you and I are like little whirlpools. Masses of matter are coming into each whirlpool, taking the whirlpool form, and coming out as matter again. The matter that is in my body may have been in yours a few years ago, or in the sun, or may have been the matter in a plant, and so on, in a continuous state of flux. What is meant by your body and my body? It is the oneness of the body. So with thought. It is an ocean of thought, one infinite mass, in which your mind and my mind are like whirlpools. Are you not seeing the effect now, how my thoughts are entering into yours, and yours into mine? The whole of our lives is one; we are one, even in thought. Coming to a still further generalisation, the essence of matter and thought is their potentiality of spirit; this is the unity from which all have come, and that must essentially be one. We are absolutely one; we are physically one, we are mentally one, and as spirit, it goes without saying, that we are one, if we believe in spirit at all. This oneness is the one fact that is being proved every day by modern science. To proud man it is told: You are the same as that little worm there; think not that you are something enormously different from it; you are the same. You have been that in a previous incarnation, and the worm has crawled up to this man state, of which you are so proud. This grand preaching, the oneness of things, making us one with everything that exists, is the great lesson to learn, for most of us are very glad to be made one with higher beings, but nobody wants to be made one with lower beings. Such is human ignorance, that if anyone's ancestors were men whom society honoured, even if they were brutish, if they were robbers, even robber barons, everyone of us would try to trace our ancestry to them; but if among our ancestors we had poor, honest gentlemen, none of us wants to trace our ancestry to them. But the scales are falling from our eyes, truth is beginning to manifest itself more and more, and that is a great gain to religion. That is exactly the teaching of the Advaita, about which I am lecturing to you. The Self is the essence of this universe, the essence of all souls; He is the essence of your own life, nay, "Thou art That". You are one with this universe. He who says he is different from others, even by a hair's breadth, immediately becomes miserable. Happiness belongs to him who knows this oneness, who knows he is one with this universe.<br />
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Thus we see that the religion of the Vedanta can satisfy the demands of the scientific world, by referring it to the highest generalisation and to the law of evolution. That the explanation of a thing comes from within itself is still more completely satisfied by Vedanta. The Brahman, the God of the Vedanta, has nothing outside of Himself; nothing at all. All this indeed is He: He is in the universe: He is the universe Himself. "Thou art the man, Thou art the woman, Thou art the young man walking in the pride of youth, Thou art the old man tottering in his step." He is here. Him we see and feel: in Him we live, and move, and have our being. You have that conception in the New Testament. It is that idea, God immanent in the universe, the very essence, the heart, the soul of things. He manifests Himself, as it were, in this universe. You and I are little bits, little points, little channels, little ex<x>pressions, all living inside of that infinite ocean of Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss. The difference between man and man, between angels and man, between man and animals, between animals and plants, between plants and stones is not in kind, because everyone from the highest angel to the lowest particle of matter is but an ex<x>pression of that one infinite ocean, and the difference is only in degree. I am a low manifestation, you may be a higher, but in both the materials are the same. You and I are both outlets of the same channel, and that is God; as such, your nature is God, and so is mine. You are of the nature of God by your birthright; so am I. You may be an angel of purity, and I may be the blackest of demons. Nevertheless, my birthright is that infinite ocean of Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss. So is yours. You have manifested yourself more today. Wait; I will manifest myself more yet, for I have it all within me. No extraneous explanation is sought; none is asked for. The sum total of this whole universe is God Himself. Is God then matter? No, certainly not, for matter is that God perceived by the five senses; that God as perceived through the intellect is mind; and when the spirit sees, He is seen as spirit. He is not matter, but whatever is real in matter is He. Whatever is real in this chair is He, for the chair requires two things to make it. Something was outside which my senses brought to me, and to which my mind contributed something else, and the combination of these two is the chair. That which existed eternally, independent of the senses and of the intellect, was the Lord Himself. Upon Him the senses are painting chairs, and tables, and rooms, houses, and worlds, and moons, and suns, and stars, and everything else. How is it, then, that we all see this same chair, that we are all alike painting these various things on the Lord, on this Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss? It need not be that all paint the same way, but those who paint the same way are on the same plane of existence and therefore they see one another's paintings as well as one another. There may be millions of beings between you and me who do not paint the Lord in the same way, and them and their paintings we do not see.<br />
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On the other hand, as you all know, the modern physical researches are tending more and more to demonstrate that what is real is but the finer; the gross is simply appearance. However that may be, we have seen that if any theory of religion can stand the test of modern reasoning, it is the Advaita, because it fulfils its two requirements. It is the highest generalisation, beyond even personality, generalisation which is common to every being. A generalisation ending in the Personal God can never be universal, for, first of all, to conceive of a Personal God we must say, He is all-merciful, all-good. But this world is a mixed thing, some good and some bad. We cut off what we like, and generalise that into a Personal God! Just as you say a Personal God is this and that, so you have also to say that He is not this and not that. And you will always find that the idea of a Personal God has to carry with it a personal devil. That is how we clearly see that the idea of a Personal God is not a true generalisation, we have to go beyond, to the Impersonal. In that the universe exists, with all its joys and miseries, for whatever exists in it has all come from the Impersonal. What sort of a God can He be to whom we attribute evil and other things? The idea is that both good and evil are different aspects, or manifestations of the same thing. The idea that they were two was a very wrong idea from the first, and it has been the cause of a good deal of the misery in this world of ours — the idea that right and wrong are two separate things, cut and dried, independent of each other, that good and evil are two eternally separable and separate things. I should be very glad to see a man who could show me something which is good all the time, and something which is bad all the time. As if one could stand and gravely define some occurrences in this life of ours as good and good alone, and some which are bad and bad alone. That which is good today may be evil tomorrow. That which is bad today may be good tomorrow. What is good for me may be bad for you. The conclusion is, that like every other thing, there is an evolution in good and evil too. There is something which in its evolution, we call, in one degree, good, and in another, evil. The storm that kills my friend I call evil, but that may have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people by killing the bacilli in the air. They call it good, but I call it evil. So both good and evil belong to the relative world, to phenomena. The Impersonal God we propose is not a relative God; therefore it cannot be said that It is either good or bad, but that It is something beyond, because It is neither good nor evil. Good, however, is a nearer manifestation of It than evil.<br />
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What is the effect of accepting such an Impersonal Being, an Impersonal Deity? What shall we gain? Will religion stand as a factor in human life, our consoler, our helper? What becomes of the desire of the human heart to pray for help to some being? That will all remain. The Personal God will remain, but on a better basis. He has been strengthened by the Impersonal. We have seen that without the Impersonal, the Personal cannot remain. If you mean to say there is a Being entirely separate from this universe, who has created this universe just by His will, out of nothing, that cannot be proved. Such a state of things cannot be. But if we understand the idea of the Impersonal, then the idea of the Personal can remain there also. This universe, in its various forms, is but the various readings of the same Impersonal. When we read it with the five senses, we call it the material world. If there be a being with more senses than five, he will read it as something else. If one of us gets the electrical sense, he will see the universe as something else again. There are various forms of that same Oneness, of which all these various ideas of worlds are but various readings, and the Personal God is the highest reading that can be attained to, of that Impersonal, by the human intellect. So that the Personal God is true as much as this chair is true, as much as this world is true, but no more. It is not absolute truth. That is to say, the Personal God is that very Impersonal God and, therefore, it is true, just as I, as a human being, am true and not true at the same time. It is not true that I am what you see I am; you can satisfy yourself on that point. I am not the being that you take me to be. You can satisfy your reason as to that, because light, and various vibrations, or conditions of the atmosphere, and all sorts of motions inside me have contributed to my being looked upon as what I am, by you. If any one of these conditions change, I am different again. You may satisfy yourself by taking a photograph of the same man under different conditions of light. So I am what I appear in relation to your senses, and yet, in spite of all these facts, there is an unchangeable something of which all these are different states of existence, the impersonal me, of which thousands of me's are different persons. I was a child, I was young, I am getting older. Every day of my life, my body and thoughts are changing, but in spite of all these changes, the sum-total of them constitutes a mass which is a constant quantity. That is the impersonal me, of which all these manifestations form, as it were, parts.<br />
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Similarly, the sum-total of this universe is immovable, we know, but everything pertaining to this universe consists of motion, everything is in a constant state of flux, everything changing and moving. At the same time, we see that the universe as a whole is immovable, because motion is a relative term. I move with regard to the chair, which does not move. There must be at least two to make motion. If this whole universe is taken as a unit there is no motion; with regard to what should it move? Thus the Absolute is unchangeable and immovable, and all the movements and changes are only in the phenomenal world, the limited. That whole is Impersonal, and within this Impersonal are all these various persons beginning with the lowest atom, up to God, the Personal God, the Creator, the Ruler of the Universe, to whom we pray, before whom we kneel, and so on. Such a Personal God can be established with a great deal of reason. Such a Personal God is explicable as the highest manifestation of the Impersonal. You and I are very low manifestations, and the Personal God is the highest of which we can conceive. Nor can you or I become that Personal God. When the Vedanta says you and I are God, it does not mean the Personal God. To take an example. Out of a mass of clay a huge elephant of clay is manufactured, and out of the same clay, a little clay mouse is made. Would the clay mouse ever be able to become the clay elephant? But put them both in water and they are both clay; as clay they are both one, but as mouse and elephant there will be an eternal difference between them. The Infinite, the Impersonal, is like the clay in the example. We and the Ruler of the Universe are one, but as manifested beings, men, we are His eternal slaves, His worshippers. Thus we see that the Personal God remains. Everything else in this relative world remains, and religion is made to stand on a better foundation. Therefore it is necessary, that we first know the Impersonal in order to know the Personal.<br />
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As we have seen, the law of reason says, the particular is only known through the general. So all these particulars, from man to God, are only known through the Impersonal, the highest generalisation. Prayers will remain, only they will get a better meaning. All those senseless ideas of prayer, the low stages of prayer, which are simply giving words to all sorts of silly desire in our minds, perhaps, will have to go. In all sensible religions, they never allow prayers to God; they allow prayers to gods. That is quite natural. The Roman Catholics pray to the saints; that is quite good. But to pray to God is senseless. To ask God to give you a breath of air, to send down a shower of rain, to make fruits grow in your garden, and so on, is quite unnatural. The saints, however, who were little beings like ourselves, may help us. But to pray to the Ruler of the Universe, prating every little need of ours, and from our childhood saying, "O Lord, I have a headache; let it go," is ridiculous. There have been millions of souls that have died in this world, and they are all here; they have become gods and angels; let them come to your help. But God! It cannot be. Unto Him we must go for higher things. A fool indeed is he who, resting on the banks of the Gangâ, digs a little well for water; a fool indeed is he who, living near a mine of diamonds, digs for bits of crystal.<br />
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And indeed we shall be fools if we go to the Father of all mercy, Father of all love, for trivial earthly things. Unto Him, therefore, we shall go for light, for strength, for love. But so long as there is weakness and a craving for servile dependence in us, there will be these little prayers and ideas of the worship of the Personal God. But those who are highly advanced do not care for such little helps, they have wellnigh forgotten all about this seeking things for themselves, wanting things for themselves. The predominant idea in them is — not I, but thou, my brother. Those are the fit persons to worship the Impersonal God. And what is the worship of the Impersonal God? No slavery there — "O Lord, I am nothing, have mercy on me." You know the old Persian poem, translated into English: "I came to see my beloved. The doors were closed. I knocked and a voice came from inside. 'Who art thou?' 'I am so-and-so' The door was not opened. A second time I came and knocked; I was asked the same question, and gave the same answer. The door opened not. I came a third time, and the same question came. I answered, 'I am thee, my love,' and the door opened." Worship of the Impersonal God is through truth. And what is truth? That I am He. When I say that I am not Thou, it is untrue. When I say I am separate from you it is a lie, a terrible lie. I am one with this universe, born one. It is self evident to my senses that I am one with the universe. I am one with the air that surrounds me, one with heat, one with light, eternally one with the whole Universal Being, who is called this universe, who is mistaken for the universe, for it is He and nothing else, the eternal subject in the heart who says, "I am," in every heart — the deathless one, the sleepless one, ever awake, the immortal, whose glory never dies, whose powers never fail. I am one with That.<br />
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This is all the worship of the Impersonal, and what is the result? The whole life of man will be changed. Strength, strength it is that we want so much in this life, for what we call sin and sorrow have all one cause, and that is our weakness. With weakness comes ignorance, and with ignorance comes misery. It will make us strong. Then miseries will be laughed at, then the violence of the vile will be smiled at, and the ferocious tiger will reveal, behind its tiger's nature, my own Self. That will be the result. That soul is strong that has become one with the Lord; none else is strong. In your own Bible, what do you think was the cause of that strength of Jesus of Nazareth, that immense, infinite strength which laughed at traitors, and blessed those that were willing to murder him? It was that, "I and my Father are one"; it was that prayer, "Father, just as I am one with you, so make them all one with me." That is the worship of the Impersonal God. Be one with the universe, be one with Him. And this Impersonal God requires no demonstrations, no proofs. He is nearer to us than even our senses, nearer to us than our own thoughts; it is in and through Him that we see and think. To see anything, I must first see Him. To see this wall I first see Him, and then the wall, for He is the eternal subject. Who is seeing whom? He is here in the heart of our hearts. Bodies and minds change; misery, happiness, good and evil come and go; days and years roll on; life comes and goes; but He dies not. The same voice, "I am, I am," is eternal, unchangeable. In Him and through Him we know everything. In Him and through Him we see everything. In Him and through Him we sense, we think, we live, and we are. And that "I," which we mistake to be a little "I," limited, is not only my "I," but yours, the "I" of everyone, of the animals, of the angels, of the lowest of the low. That "I am" is the same in the murderer as in the saint, the same in the rich as in the poor, the same in man as in woman, the same in man as in animals. From the lowest amoeba to the highest angel, He resides in every soul, and eternally declares, "I am He, I am He." When we have understood that voice eternally present there, when we have learnt this lesson, the whole universe will have expressed its secret. Nature will have given up her secret to us. Nothing more remains to be known. Thus we find the truth for which all religions search, that all this knowledge of material sciences is but secondary. That is the only true knowledge which makes us one with this Universal God of the Universe.<br />
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~ Swami Vivekananda

my experience with religion has not been about a loving kind and forgiving God at all .The people involved in religion are usually backstabbers and hypocrites and the worse type of nosy meddlers which always causes more damage and harm than good .I do believe in a creator of the heavens and earth being God . I also believe in the constitution especially the 18th amendment so i choose apocracy do to the hate that religion promotes and just choose my own relationship with God but i will say i have never made a good follower.

I really enjoy what you've written about there being so many religions and not to mention so many different versions of the Bible. It's been passed down through so many languages and so much time that who knows how close we are to the original version anymore? I agree with your opinions, and thanks for posting them so boldly.

i feel as tho all this religion stuff never ended war and famine and poverty. does nothing for no one. doesnot teach you how to think for your self. man made all this crap up. and it divides us all. and the guys that made all this stuff up actually lived their lives as gods among men. and i think people are missing the point thank you for posting this....feels great to see that people like me are out there

I've noticed it's been four years since you've made any new posts, so I can assume you may never read this. Nonetheless, I write for the sake of any who has ears to hear. I can only hope all is (and has been) well with you. And keep in mind as I write this, I only mean well.<br />
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You wrote, "PEOPLE ARE STUPID and NEEDY! they'll buy into anything just to be part of something" The Bible agrees, as I'm sure you have read, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way" Isaiah 53:6. Proverbs 16:2,25, "All a man's ways are innocent in his own sight, but the Lord ways the motives of the heart/ There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Jeremiah 17:9,“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?" It is for these reasons we do not lean on our own understanding. Prov 3:5-6<br />
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Matt. 7:22-23,Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ <br />
John 5:39-40, You study the sc<x>riptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very sc<x>riptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. <br />
Luke 18:9-14,To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” <br />
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The reason for so many religions/denominations is because everyone is looking to prove themselves right by the Word of God. The TRUE BELIEVERS are the ones who look into the Word and recognize their helpless state before a holy God and are desperately seeking His mercy. God commanded the rich young ruler to give up all that he had and then come and follow Me. The young man walked away saddened because he had great wealth. When I read this story, I see myself as this man. I have obeyed elsewhere in my life, but not here, nor do I desire to. I'm helpless. As the apostle Paul wrote, "I desire to do what is good, but cannot carry it out." Rom 7:18. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. Rom 8:7-8. <br />
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I AM IN NEED OF A SAVIOR! What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Rom 7:24-25.<br />
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If God declares I am worthy of hell on the day of judgement in spite of "my belief" in Jesus, simply because that belief did not equate to action to obey Him by giving up all that I have, is God unjust? What would you have me do? Hire a lawyer? Throw a stick at God and run away? Isn't by definition, God, One Who can do as He pleases? If He's issued a command, then just obey it. I cannot. I'm helpless. I'm not at the mercy of my own theology or reasoning or belief. I'm at His mercy. I'm trusting that God, alone, has provided a way of escape from my pending doom. Isn't that all that He asks of me anyway? Micah 6:8.<br />
True Christians are the most humble of all. They are those who have seen their worthiness of hell and cry out for mercy and try to share with those of the coming judgement. <br />
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And you would know this if you weren't busy sifting through sc<x>ripture for verses that declare you right and everyone else wrong.

Don't get hung up on Jesus, he was just a charismatic man. In those days they didn't have pop groups so a budding religious leader could be a popular role model. His legend will have been grately built up over the years as with the prophets from other religions.<br />
Think about the bible, it was written by man, men are liars, cheats and frauds, and clever at it. How else could they have made a way to control the populace and their leaders and take over countries.<br />
The history of most religions especially Christianity and Islam, is written in blood, they have done horrendous things. They have all distorted the idea of the real God to make you think there is someone watching over you and who will answer your prayers. Come on, live in the real world.<br />
My stories will tell you where to see the real God, the Great Power, the power that keeps you alive, the God we cannot do without. Not the fairy story god that you have to imagine.

why waste our lives thinking about this kinda stuff,,,i mean there is a strong possibility religon is bullshit,,,,,,,,,,,,i mean come on think about it,,,there are thousands of religons in the world,,,,,,,,and realistically only one can be right,,,,,,,,,,so if the other thousands are wrong,,,,it would lead one to presume theres a strong possibility there all wrong,,,its human nature to deny death,,were all gonna die,,,,people like to believe that death isnt the end,,,,,,even as much as i hate religon and its bullshit theories,,,i too find myself thinking sometimes what happen when we die,,,its in our nature,,,we dont need faith in any god we need faith in ourselves,,,love one another and enjoy whatever time we have on earth

why waste our lives thinking about this kinda stuff,,,i mean there is a strong possibility religon is bullshit,,,,,,,,,,,,i mean come on think about it,,,there are thousands of religons in the world,,,,,,,,and realistically only one can be right,,,,,,,,,,so if the other thousands are wrong,,,,it would lead one to presume theres a strong possibility there all wrong,,,its human nature to deny death,,were all gonna die,,,,people like to believe that death isnt the end,,,,,,even as much as i hate religon and its bullshit theories,,,i too find myself thinking sometimes what happen when we die,,,its in our nature,,,we dont need faith in any god we need faith in ourselves,,,love one another and enjoy whatever time we have on earth


Please read my story, 'So Simple' it puts things in a logical perspective.

i hate religeon too. but JESUS is a different story for me. :)

Well put Abby, the comment to pepsi. When you have GOD the religious 'rat race' seems a bit of a circus with all that showmanship and all those phony people pretending to be perfect (and no one is). I agree with everything you said completely & am in the same boat. <br />
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Although I found parts of the Bible really disturbing, I do continue to read it from time to time hoping to understand the context it was written in, afterall I can respect that it's the greatest selling book of all time lol!

The problem with the Bible is that it is ambiguous. This is why there are countless interpretations. If God were the omnipotent, omniscient, loving God Christians claim, he would have been able to avert this problem with a few words.<br />
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I would like to say to weareallhuman that atheism is another religion. No one can know whether there is a god or not because no one can see him/her/it. Atheism says that there is no god. Agnosticism is the balance...we cannot know.

wanna be best friends? hah! you are sooooooooo close! i dont agree with your golden rule and i see your freedom to actual true living underway and omg i wanna hug ya till your back cracks! i am soo proud of you and your free thinking. i was agnostic for about 8 years and finally this month i decided i am an athiest and science and the universe is a great thing to study -not live by. and same goes for everything. if animals can enjoy the sunshine and dust in the dirt flowers grow and frost suddenly kills them- i can sey this-stuff happens- theres not always things we can do to make things better and well, sometimes the perfect oppertunity comes along. ya never know... and i so hate the church. i think i hate christians more because i am surrounded by them but if i wer in china i would probably hate their religion or if i lived near muslems theirs ect... you own you. nobody else. unless of course you get kidnapped and become sombodys sex slave - but hey you can always kill them! oppertunities do happen- okay now im just being a smartass-but i am putting you in my circle of friends-hope you become a friend of mine!

When religion enters the mind God escapes to freedom.

Hi, I agree with you. Maybe you can benefit from what I wrote on my Blog under the Title How Many Religins of Peace? I certainly benefit from what you have written here. I am a budding journalist, in college for two more years before I take on an internship as journalist. <br />
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If I pass all of this I'll at least have the appropriate paperwork for the job, as well as more understanding. <br />
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One of the things that I like to study and write about is religion. My goal, is to find common ground or threads among the religions and therein discover some truths that are OUTSIDE OF MAN MADE PARAMETERS AND LAWS. <br />
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Keep searching, you have an active, curious mind that will bring you through some prescious turmoil as you <br />
learn. <br />
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I have come accross hundreds of people like you and me in about the last ten years. I think we are growing in numbers. <br />
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Was not going anywhere :) made the point I needed to. You are really quite right. You do have all you need if all you really need is Him. You are in a good place in spite of your current state of affairs. My sense about you is that you will astound your doctors one way.

First I'd like to thank you for your compliments, GG. <br />
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You're right! I am the body, the church, the bride. Therefore, I need NO building nor their politics and misinterpretations. <br />
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And ... before you go there ... I do NOT forsake assembly. I gather with those who are like minded. But I do now and will always refuse the church/religion as it is imperfect and I believe all representation should be as perfect as possible. Minus the language interpretational errors (a given) I take out the middle man (the fallible preacher) and read the words directly from their source. How much better could it get? How much more accurate? NONE, I say, none.<br />
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I thank you for your encouragement. God is my strength, my comfort, my guide and most definitely my healer ... He always has been and always will be.

Abby, in reading a little about you, I would like to say here that I agree with you in some ways and not in others. Not going to go into much detail on the topic right now. What I would like to comment on is that, I am glad that you still have not lost your belief in God, although you have in the church. But, you are the church yourself. Its not brick buildings etc that make the church (the bride of Christ) its you and me, believers who are the Bride and therefore the church. God has been with you or you would not be here today, (that just from the stats you provide) and that is a fact. This I have observed in a short time about you.<br />
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I am so sorry for all that you have and are going through, your strength is amazing, your attitute in the situation you are in, commendable. I am pleased that you have pressed through to where you are now. Keep fighting til this God of yours, & mine (our God) becomes not only your comfortor, substainer, but your healer.

I shall not be led to slaughter blindly as a sheep ...

pepsi - i don't need a church nor a religion ... i have GOD and that's all i need. what about you?

Just so you know I didn't read your whole's really long and I'm running out of time here I just wanted to make a quick comment. I've NEVER heard of anyone being asked to leave the church I belong to. I read so many of these posts...people saying these things about their church and from what I've read my religion doesn't fall under these topics. To be honest it makes me feel that much stronger about the religion I belong to, but that's not my point. My point is I wonder if you need to look into another church. The reason there are so many is because there is a devil that will do anything to confuse you and make you give up. Did he win that battle with you? Or are you willing to keep fighting him and find that religion that's as true as it can get on this planet?

i utilize the Bible as a philisophical life guide - a vessel of wisdom. i can't explain why i believe there's a 'greater' being of sorts but i just do. there's got to be something beyond us. and science has proven, depending on your perception, that there is indeed something 'MORE' ... anyhow ... church isn't for me unless, like you, i have to attend a funeral or maybe a wedding - both of which i avoid at all cost. lol

oh and Thank you, El...

EXACTLY! well put, ElLagarto!

I saw a bumper sticker I really liked. It said, "I Love God, It's His Authorized Distributors I Have Problems With." You wisely do not confuse organized religion with spirituality. People, as a rule, are fear-based, and organized religions control by manipulating fears.

i do believe science and biblical teachings coexist but not with the common, christian, socially accepted interpretations of the text.

i don't remember where i read it. it was on the internet for sure! but i recently (within the last month) saw a documentary on "The Science Channel" wherein these researchers, previous darwin supporters and scientists (paleoentologists, archeologists, etc.) all got together and basically compared notes, did some experiments, compared more notes and came to the conclusion that a 'big bang' wasn't possible. i bet darwin is turning in his grave since his own proponents were in on it... :-o

I agree with much of what you said...very insightful...but where did you read that the big band has been recently invalidated? I know that it is not an absolute truth and that new things are constantly being learned but I don't think the big bang has been disproven...maybe some evidence that seems to dislodge the theory, or ideas that promote an alternative, but completely disproved?