Surely A Large Human
Date registered: Jun 2006
Vehicle: '08 C219
Location: Between Earth and Mars
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Quoted: 577 Post(s)
Okay, I'll bite.
It's easier to list the things I don't believe in, by rule. Any passage of the Bible that isn't a first-hand account of what Jesus did or said is probably made up. This includes virtually all of the Old Testament. I think, at their cores, Christianity and Islam for example, are based on tenets of actual fact that became irreversibly corrupted as they were handed down for hundreds of generations.
Religions are problematic when they adopt biblical texts - or any religious text - as being the single source of irrefutable facts and indisputable laws for living. They are no more so than Aesop's Fables. The tight adherence to the letter of these texts, as opposed to their spirit if you will, runs contrary to the overall theme of these works.
In short, be nice to other people, and make the most of life while you're living it. This is all the more any religion needs to be urging people to do. The Bible shouldn't have much to do with it, since it's long on fluff and short on substance. Same with the Qu'ran and Islam, which appears to be more about what Mohammed thinks than what God has to say.
I seriously doubt that people 2000 years ago were very sophisticated. If you could pull a quarter from behind someone's ear, it would be a miracle. Right now today, you could hold two pieces of copper wire together and make a crackling noise with your mouth, and have an Afghani or Iraqi believing they were about to be electrocuted. All that to say, people who were following a person they believed to be God incarnate were probably predisposed to attribute anything beyond their perception to a miraculous work. It's this precept that makes "Life of Brian" so funny.
Is it so hard to believe that Jesus Christ had his own diary or written works, by his own hand, that had contents which obviated the need for church attendance? After all, being a Church was (and still is) a very lucrative business - you've got a monopoly on the afterlife to offer, and your closing tactic is the picture of eternal damnation. Lots of people think 10% - 40% of their earnings is a fair trade for salvation...what if admittance to Heaven is just as simple as maintaining a personal spiritual relationship with God or Christ? What do you need the church for?
I've tried to make religions fit into some definition that involves God's master plan (if he even has one), but I can't do it. It's too hard to explain the various world cultures, languages and ages, and the dispersal of mankind across the globe.
A friend gave me a book once titled "More Than A Carpenter". It takes the case of Christ's divinity from the standpoint of an attorney presenting it for your consideration. It posits that there are three possible explanations for Christ's claim of divinity (he refused to say "No" when asked by the Jews if he was the son of God): 1) He was lying. 2) He was crazy. 3) He was in fact the son of God. Obviously, there's some good evidence that he was neither a liar nor was he insane. So, Watson, he must be the son of God, right?
Seeing how Bill Cinton squirmed around questions of definitions for words like "is", two other scenarios seem plausible. Remember, he was raised a Jew. 4) Perhaps his answer wasn't entirely inaccurate, but not completely truthful. I'm a son of God - we all are, I believe. If you think that makes me the messiah, that's your deal...Kind of a fringe belief, I'll admit. Which is why my favorite is this - 5) He was wrong.
He acted and believed he was God's son, the chosen one, the messiah - perhaps because others believed it of him...we have no idea when he went from "carpentry is pretty cool" to "I think I'm going to be the one to free the Jews". What if there was so much desperation, that he decided to step up and give it a shot - maybe it looked like this messiah was never going to come, and he'd simply had enough? What if he started believing he was the messiah, but in actuality, wasn't...
The impact to religions could be profound, but at the end of the day, who cares whether or not he was or wasn't? You should still be a decent person, and the Church should still be a pillar of moral integrity and benevolence in the community.
Unfortunately this still leaves Islam with a text that they can't rationally question for fear of having a sword taken to them. Dunno what the answer to that is.
Michael Savage hypothesized that all of the major religions of the world are spokes on a wheel. We're all on the rim, and follow the path down one of the spokes to the hub - the afterlife.
If you asked how many people believed in the concept of an afterlife (not necessarily heaven or hell), you'll have a pretty good picture of how many people are spiritual at their core, and how many are really "Stupid".