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An Unanticipated Invasion... of Religion!


Vanion

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Now, as many of you are aware, I just returned from an LoA in which I was overseas.

 

I won't get into the details.

 

Anyways, I was quite looking forward to returning and spending some time with my family. My father, my brother and his wife, and my niece! I love that little girl to death. She says the most hilarious things and has no filter whatsoever.

 

So, in order to fully understand and appreciate this story, let me give you a bit of background information. My family is Native. We are very in-touch with our roots and history, as well as spiritual practices. It has pretty much always been this way.

 

Now then, imagine my shock when I return home, and my brother starts trying to convert me to Christianity! WTF?!

 

This is the same guy who hated all religions with a passions before I left. So what the hell happened inside of 3 weeks to convert him? And why to the extent that he is basically a fanatic now? I'm not even kidding. He went so far as to tell me all other religions are sacrilegious lies, created by blasphemers, and that they are all going to Hell for not having accepted Jesus and God into their lives.

 

*Facepalms*

 

Understand one thing here... I have no problem with ANY religion (except the Mormonism and Scientology, because lets face it, those guys are freaking bat-shit crazy) and I don't tell anyone how to live their lives, or how or who to worship. What I DO have a problem with, are religious fanatics and nut jobs who try and brow beat you into their way of thinking. There is a word for what that is... oh ya... CULT!

 

Well, guess what? I ain't drinking the koolaid, so back the hell off, shut the hell up, and go preach to someone who's equally unintelligent.

 

Much to my horror, both my brother and his wife are now Christian fanatics. For the record, my brother was baptized as a Catholic at my mother's insistence when he was little. I escaped that fate thankfully. When I pointed this little fact out to him, he informed me it didn't count, because Catholicism "isn't a real religion". His exact words. It was at this point I actually slapped him upside the head. And continued to physically beat him. He told me to stop, so I told him to pray to his Christian God, who is supposedly so almighty, to make me stop, and that the second he showed up, I'd stop whooping his ass.

 

God never showed up.

 

Unfortunately for him. He's pretty bruised now.

 

So, part of what sparked this whole thing, was him telling me that he is going to enroll my niece in a Christian Private School as soon as possible. This pissed me off. He and I have had numerous conversations about why religious schools are a bad idea. They brainwash children into a single belief. We always said that when we had kids, we'd let them make their own choices when it came to religion. If they want to be Muslim, fine. Their call. I'll support them regardless. If they want to be a damn Jedai for all I care, I'll still support them 100%! But don't, for the love of all things good, FORCE your beliefs on your children.

 

This is the biggest contradiction in religion, ever. Free Will. Where is the free will when kids are forced to take up their parents beliefs? That's not free will. It's coercion.

 

Its this kind of thing that makes me furious. I was even called a HEATHEN by my own brother. A man who, until 4 weeks ago, had the same spiritual beliefs as myself. F%*king hypocrite... If he knew ANYTHING about his own new religion, he'd know better than to try and force it on other people.

 

Besides, me and God have an agreement. I don't bother him, and he doesn't bother me. It's held solid for the past 26 years and I see no reason to change it now.

 

Anyways, thats my rant for today.

 

The moral of the story folks, don't be a fanatic. If you've found God, or been saved, or any other name for it, than good for you. Leave it at that. Don't try and convert everyone else to your way of thinking. Religion isn't supposed to be about conformity and tyrannical dictation of your life. It's supposed to be about making you a better person, more kind of heart and generous towards your fellow man.

 

I got that without religion. It was called having an awesome father who raised me with good values, and I'll be damned long before I let ANY God or deity take the credit for that.

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There's a reason they say "there are none as zealous as the reformed". Ex-smokers, ex-drinkers, ex-anything who now "preach the new religion" - they all drive me to seriously consider slapping the snot out of them.

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I understand you're pissed off right now - but don't presume to speak with authority on a subject that you have admitted to be actively avoiding your entire life. Also, physically abusing someone because they vocalise something that offends you is a felony.

 

Cheers though.

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Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19 (NIV). As followers of Christ it is our duty to convert others. That said it should usually be done with tact and not name calling. Also Catholicism is Not a religion, it is a denomination or sect of a religion, that religion being Christianity. Sorry for any misspellings, I hope that they did not interfere with the message.

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As an Agnostic I've always been fascinated by the study of religions and their origins; from the Sumerians to the Romans, from the Celts to the Vikings, from the Israelites to the Mormons. One thing I've noted which is usually fairly obvious but not well understood is that many religions emerge as a form of propaganda explaining and justifying military action. I try to be cautious with my views and findings, as I generally dislike offending people.

This is not to take away frm the good religion beings into many people's lives, and teachings of charity, humility and tolerance are much needed in our troubled world.

 

In any event, I wish all the best to you and your family, and I hope your differences can one day be resolved.

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Ah, nothing sparks debate like a good slap to the face of religion.

 

Now, I've not been avoiding religion my entire life. I have read 3 versions of the Bible, I've read the Qur'an, the four Vedas of Hinduism, as well as studied Shintoism, Taoism, Buddhism and other "religions" and spiritual beliefs.

 

I am quite well versed in them. Even Satanism, actually.

 

And for the record, Matthew 28:19 is written in multiple ways, depending on which version of the Bible you're reading. For example, another version of it is as follows:

 

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"

 

Notice how it says "teach". It's not your duty to convert others. Its your duty to teach. Not force. In essence, it means to spread the word of God. Not brow beat people until they accept your religion. I'm pretty sure the Bible talks about salvation through acceptance of Jesus and WANTING to be saved. You have to want it. Not relent and just go with the flow. That'd be like a cold hard slap in the face o' the Lord.

 

And me whoopin' my brothers ass isn't a felony. You really need to understand the way we work before making claims like that. Elgee knows.

 

Its just how me and my brother do things.

 

And I am entitled to my fury. He knows how I feel about being preached at, and he did it anyways. If he came into it expecting anything less than an ass kicking, then he was obviously replaced by some kind of God faring robot. Or alien.... Damn body snatchers!

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if there is one thing that annoys me it is.... EVANGELISTS!

 

damn i hate their self-righteous, hypocritical, condescending preaching. so annoying.

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Hey, Van:

 

Religious education isn't about brainwashing or force any more than secular education is. It's about exactly what its name indicates: Education. I know plenty of people who were given religious educations as kids who grew up and discarded religion entirely. As for me, I'm quite grateful for my religious education; I would have nowhere near the background that I need to engage in the higher level religious learning that I do now without it. And not only is that learning necessary for me to accomplish my job in life of being the best person I can be, but it is immensely pleasurable in its own right (seriously - working out a new insight into a particular section of Talmud or of the Tanakh is a wonderful intellectual feeling).

 

The idea of "don't educate them when they're children, just let them pick when they're an adult" only makes sense to people who aren't religious, because they don't appreciate just how hard it is for someone to not just live a religious life but to engage in higher level religious learning without that background foundation in place. I know plenty of people who came to Judaism later in life, and they struggle to learn hebrew, to learn talmud, to do things I take for granted thanks to the education my parents ensured that I got. I am in awe of their strength of will and their effort - but thankful that I don't have to overcome those obstacles in order to live my life in the manner I truly believe is the correct way.

 

Anyway, not going to comment on your relationship with your brother, or the idea of missionizing (as a Jew, that's not something I'm particularly fond of, to begin with). Just wanted to provide you a bit of a different perspective on the subject of religious education.

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it is possible to expose kids to religion and educate them on all religions (or at least the main ones) including agnocsticism and atheism without brainwashing them or deciding which religion they follow.

 

most parents would only teach ONE religion to their children, or maybe two if the parentshave different ones, determining the religion of their child before the child knows what religion is. the more religious the parents are, the more they will drum religion into their childrens heads, ensuring that they CANT think differently.

 

but that is the desired effect.

 

kivam, you have kids, do you teach them about the beliefs of christians? what about muslims or atheists? do you at least let them know that your belief in god is something you think, you dont know. when they ask about god, do you say "god may or may not exist, i think he does. i dont mind what you think." or do you say "god exists, end of story."

 

if it is the latter, i would hold you guilty of indoctrinating your children.

 

just saying.

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Blackhoof . . . the thing is, I do know God exists; logically, he must (via the cosmological argument, the only counter to which is Hawking-Hartle which, based on my review of it, is inherently flawed because it uses evidence only available given one of the supposed "possibilities" to determine that the universe's existence is probabilistic), and based on the strength of the mesora and the actual descriptions of the events in the Torah (the logic behind that particular argument is far too involved to discuss in a comment to a blog post).

 

As for teaching them other religions - they know other religions exist, and when they are old enough to understand them they will learn about their philosophies - and, in particular for christianity/islam (which claim to be based on Judaism) why they clearly cannot be true (numerous contradictions between the "OT" and the "new material").

 

Part of the problem here, IMO, is that atheists and agnostics have this strange expectation that religious people should educate their children the way atheists or agnostics would. An atheist or agnostic would teach their children that they "think" God doesn't exist, etc. not because that is somehow the only right way to teach children, but because that is what they *actually* believe to be true. Lets be clear - nobody suggests that we not teach evolution or gravity because we lack Cartesian proof of their correctness and, therefore, children should be left as blank slates until they are old enough to examine the evidence for themselves and come to their own conclusions (well, ok, certain religious fundamentalists do argue against teaching evolution, which we correctly reject). On all subjects, we teach our children the information we believe, based on the evidence and reason, to be true and necessary for them to know. We also teach our children critical thinking and reasoning skills, so that when they get old enough that they move past "this is true because daddy/my teacher said so" - and that, btw, is something all children do, Blackhoof - they can use those skills to assess the information they were taught when they were younger, before they were critical thinkers.

 

Again, the argument that teaching children anything before they can think critically is "indoctrinating" them is an argument that children should not, in fact, be taught anything at all. Of course, you don't apply that argument to other subjects because, as far as you are concerned, "indoctrinating" children in things that are true and necessary to their later life is not only ok, but is actually necessary. The only dispute you have with the religious is whether their religion is actually true and necessary to their children's later life; if the "religious" person agreed with your positions on those subjects, then they wouldn't actually be religious to begin with.

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you cannot "know" that god exists. you can only think. i only think that god doesn't exist, i CAT know, although i am fairly certain. unless god came to you personally, with witneses, in person (not in your mind or dreams) and said, "i am god, everything you think is true is true. good on you." then you only KNOW.

 

by your wording, you expect your kids to become jews. you expect them to grow up, lok at other religion and lifetyles and 'see how wrong they are'. how do you know they will? because you haven't allowed them to find their own path, you have forced them onto yours.

 

there is a difference between teaching a child established facts and teaching them things like religion. religion and the existence of god isn't an established fact; if it was, everyone would believe it. established facts are things that are simply true as defined by our society and evidence given or are theories that have so much evidence and are almost fully uncontested (like gravity).

 

i have a problem with parents forcing their children to follow their religion. sayign that "they will learn and choose later on in life" is untrue if ALL THEY KNOW through out their childhood is that "god is real" as opposed to "god might be real, there is no solid proof either way.

 

the ideal way to teach a child religion is to expose them to it- not as a fact- but as a possibility that the parents either believe or disbelieve. it isn't fair to say "son/daughter, i KNOW god is real, because of X, so you should believe it too" to a child. if god was real, he would guide people to his faith without their parents forcing them and drilling it into their brains.

 

lets see an example; the Phelps. the phelps are a fanatical, extremist family of peopel who run the Westminster Baptist Church, renowned for their picketing of soldiers funerals and anti-gay protests. they wield signs like "thank god for dead soldiers" and "god hates (anti gay obscenity)" and abuse their rights to bring misery upon innocent funeralgoers. they incite violence against them and reap the compensation to keep their church going. they are despicable people.

 

and they have kids. i have seen them in pictures, a 5-6 year old holding a horrible, homophobic sign. what belief will they grow up with? with their parents clearly obsessed with christian extremism and taking them to pickets and protests, they will likely share their parents beliefs, carrying on the Phelps legacy. is this right? the children brainwashed into following a horrid subset of christianity?

 

this is my beef; when children have no say in the matter.

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Blackhoof - again, you are arguing that the only thing that can be known is that which has been personally experienced. In that case, you cannot know that Columbus existed, or that Rome was once a great empire, or that the Battle of Britain took place.

 

All of those things, you "know" not based on direct, personal experience, but based on an analysis of the evidence for their occurrence and the conclusion that, based on the evidence, what you were taught about them is, in fact, true.

 

As for "how I know that my kids will be Jewish" (which I'll take to mean "practicing, religious Jews", since their status as "Jewish" isn't really changeable) . . . I don't. I certainly hope they will, and it's my job as a parent to educate them sufficiently in the basics of Judaism and its beauty that, when they exercise their own independent faculties of reason and critical thinking, they will come to the same conclusions I have. Not because I "forced them to" - but because those conclusions are, in fact, amply supported by the evidence.

 

As for the rest, it is, again (with the exception of the Phelps crap) merely you asserting that you are right and religious people are wrong, and, therefore, religious people ought to educate their children as though they share (rather than reject) your opinions. You then layer that with "societal acceptance" as an arbiter of what ought or ought not be taught to children, which is, quite frankly, as poor an argument as I've seen in a long time. By that rationale, children in the 1700s ought to have been taught that dark-skinned people were inferior; children in 1930s Germany ought to have been taught that jews were subhuman and needed to be exterminated. After all, those were "societally accepted facts."

 

No, Blackhoof. It doesn't work that way. The number of people who agree or disagree with an idea or ideology has literally nothing to do with its truth - which is the only thing really relevant to the question of whether it should be taught.

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It sucks that I'm "freaking bat-shit crazy." That aside, if you have found something that makes you happy and at peace with life, wouldn't you want to share that with others. As a former missionary, I went door to door, asking if we could share a message. Many people said no and that was the end of it.

 

It's also ironic that Sanderson is Mormon too.

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Vanion, this entry was very well written. Not only do I agree with what you have to say, but I found it to be well argued (those two things do not always go hand-in-hand in my world). Many democracies include some form of freedom of religion in their governmental principles, and while most of the citizens of these nations claim to consider freedom of religion a good thing, surprisingly few of them are good at observing it.

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Smitty, the bat-shit crazy thing was aimed more at the Scientology end of the statement.

 

Seriously. Those guys are truly bat-shit crazy. And I don't like to crap on anyone's religion, but I mean, cmon... Really? Scientology? WTF...

 

As for Mormonism, well, its not the ideals I take issue with, more the fact that I personally believe the Book of Mormon to be a well written piece of Fiction. Again, just my personally belief.

 

I don't take a negative stance on people finding religion, or religion in general for that matter. If it makes them happy, and they are better people for it, than I'm stoked for them. I do take exception to being preached at and people trying to force their beliefs on me. I also have issues with people who turn to religion for all the wrong reasons. "God" isn't going to solve all your problems for you.

 

And why do people only pray when they want something? Who's putting their head on God's shoulder at the end of the day? Who's praying just to say, "You know what God, how was YOUR day man? Anything I can take off your plate to make tomorrow easier for you?"

 

No one. No one prays like that! I mean, sure... Thank God for stuff and what not, if your religious beliefs lean towards God and all. If the man created everything in the universe, you'd damn well better be thankful. Because peanut butter is awesome, and if you don't thank God for that shit every day of your life... I will fight you. Thats no lie. Me, I thank George Washington Carver, because he invented it.

 

Anyways, my rant has gotten off topic and made me hungry... I am going to look for peanut butter.

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Random thoughts:No real order:::::::::

Vanion=Sweet like religeous freedom!

This blog enty was so right that it was painful :baalzamon:

Bruising siblings=alright with me!

Interpretations of man made scripts, not to mention the changing through time and language is obvious.

I agree about sending you brothers kids to god school. I teach my kids to think rationally and logically about what their being told by everyone, even though by son is an alter boy and my daughter went to Catholic pre-school! So you can be that annoying uncle that teaches the children reasoning :biggrin:

Vanion=accepted relious hot topic like a true horse thief. Meaning, jumped on and rode the hell out of it into the sunset.

:flamingsword: =Vanion=Sword of Reason

Anyway........................

Didgya shout out!

Disclaimer: It is true that Didgya is from Missouri but is not using Meth or any other illicit stimulant.

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