The Pool of Religion

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Adam101
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 05:13 pm
The Dictionary.com definition(s) of Religion: Religion Definition | Definition of Religion at Dictionary.com

It seems as though a good definition gathered from the information provided from one of my favorite sites on the net is one that states religion is a "set of beliefs held by one or more people." What these beliefs pertain to is different, I imagine, between each religion and possibly even every single person despite being related religiously to someone else--though two people are Christians, for example, they could believe in two different beliefs, or have two different individual religions though they both call those beliefs "Christian". Dictionary.com continues with definitions that cohere to an idea that each religion's belief is pertaining to morality or the creation of the world. In other words, it has to do with life and how to be happy, therefore, I have simplified the definition so that it states that Religion is the science of Happiness.

Religion, to me, is a set of beliefs that doesn't necessarily have to be held by any one person at all. It's a science to me, so it was there before we became aware of it. I don't think people invented religion, I think we discovered it, though I don't think we've discovered our truest religion. I love Jesus and his words, I read and reread the Holy Quaran, I am prone to loving the thoughts and feelings I assume the Buddha experienced, Mahatma Gandhi was a great person in my eyes, and I believe Hinduism along with virtually every religion, if not all religions, have some kind of good and valuable knowledge and/or wisdom to gain from them. To say that these people are completely wrong about their beliefs is incredibly silly to me, because not one person on this planet is stupid...we're all ignorant, none of us are stupid. Therefore, I think that these people, the ones that discovered their religion(s) and the people that followed those discoveries, realized something positive about life--something that led to happiness--and so I don't think we should deny any religion its place in life. Instead, we should review them objectively and with an open mind so that we can progress happily in the best manner that we know.

I believe that religions are the science of happiness because of a few definitions. One being the definition of morality. I think to be moral means to be producing more happiness than unhappiness with your actions, thoughts, and feelings. So, if religions are beliefs in life and morals, then I've assumed that it's how to live and be moral, or how to live and be happy. Hints, the science of happiness.

I believe that I've discovered a religion from atop the shoulders of giants, and from this height, I've seen Heaven.

This definition gives the word Religion and the thoughts produced from the word Religion way more value to the laymen, to the supposed "non-religious". I believe it's virtually impossible if not impossible to abide by some religion--by some belief on how to be happy--because everyone is trying to be happy, and I mean everyone does, and we strive so much so that I think it's our purpose in life. I believe that the only reason we have to live is to be happy. Who doesn't want to be happy? Who tries to be unhappy? Why wouldn't we unite under this roof of common want?

This leads me to other questions, though, that are more complex. What is happiness? How do we achieve it? How do we know we're truly happy and not just of good intentions? What makes us unhappy? How can one person's idea of happiness differ from another person's and them still pertain to the same religious beliefs and practices?

In order to progress happily, I think we need Allah and a lot of freedom. It's easy to be happy, in my opinion, because it seems that all you have to do is try.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 06:26 pm
@Adam101,
Allah and a lot of freedom. I like that.

I think you've already noted somewhere on this forum that life involves balance. The biggy-sized balance is that between balance and imbalance...

Like the three gunas: ragas, tamas, and sattva... The way some people think of it is this:

you see ragas in the arising.. like the spring, the morning, youth

you see tamas in descension.. like the autumn, the evening, old-age

Sattva has to do with that invisible point where one turns into the other... the point of zero slope... perfect balance.. when the rushing forth and the coming back are effortlessly joined... like the movements of a dancer, you can't see sattva, you can only know it's there from the change from out.. to in.. from there... to here. But the three gunas are ever present, shaping everything.

Some say happiness is knowing who you are... surrendering to the forces that are creating you moment by moment... In this way, loving yourself is loving the divine.
 
Adam101
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 06:34 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;95309 wrote:
Allah and a lot of freedom. I like that.


ty

Quote:
I think you've already noted somewhere on this forum that life involves balance. The biggy-sized balance is that between balance and imbalance...


I have mentioned balance, but I've yet to reflect on the balance between balance & unbalance, so thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Quote:
Like the three gunas: ragas, tamas, and sattva... The way some people think of it is this:

you see ragas in the arising.. like the spring, the morning, youth

you see tamas in descension.. like the autumn, the evening, old-age

Sattva has to do with that invisible point where one turns into the other... the point of zero slope... perfect balance.. when the rushing forth and the coming back are effortlessly joined... like the movements of a dancer, you can't see sattva, you can only know it's there from the change from out.. to in.. from there... to here. But the three gunas are ever present, shaping everything.


Wow. I thought I made up virtually every. single. philosophy I adhere by, but it appears, and not just in this case, that many people have been thinking about the things I've been thinking about. God bless discussion of knowledge and wisdom!

Quote:
Some say happiness is knowing who you are... surrendering to the forces that are creating you moment by moment... In this way, loving yourself is loving the divine.


I like that & agree with it, though I'm under the impression that happiness is the easiest & most difficult thing to pursue. I think it's more simple than that, but definitely more complex at the same time.
 
Eudaimon
 
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 05:14 am
@Adam101,
I also enjoy to read some texts from time to time. But I always stay rather cool to them, in my life the period when I was seeking a guru in books has passed away. The problem is that when we read those books we always think that those who wrote them were somewhat superior to us, just mortals. We should be always aware that they were by no means better than us.

The other thing is that those books were written surely not by those teachers. Did the Buddha write a single letter? No, Tripitaka was composed by the people who made an idol from him and whose desire was just to imitate him. Who understood him? Some sources say that was a single man who understood his smile when he looked at a flower -- at the beauty of the world.

I think there are people, heroes, who come and realise the life as it is, they don't need practice, because practice is always a desire to be someone, they don't need books because they are reading the most beautiful and instructive book -- their own life, they are just aware of things and don't need methods of being aware. And the crowd always gathers around those heroes and simplifies their teachings so as to adjust them with their vices, beliefs, fears. Just look at thine own life, not because I have said this but because thou hast no ability not to do this, and thou wilt need no books whatsoever.
 
Adam101
 
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 05:25 am
@Eudaimon,
Are we on the same page, or are you denying that these books and teachings hold any value. Forgive me, but I can't tell, and the thou stuff didn't work with my brain very well. I know American English way better.
 
Eudaimon
 
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 05:37 am
@Adam101,
My position is that we may read something but shouldn't credit it that much importance remembering that we are holding in our hands not the "divine revelation". Reality itself is the best teacher.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 06:54 am
@Eudaimon,
Yes, with anything, we may start out reading as if someone else knows some amazing truth that we would like to know.

It may reach the point that we no longer hold other people's thoughts as the standard, but realize our own lives are poetry... events and things are our own language.

I live through cycles, though. I may look around and find that I've become the student again. Other times I'm the natural fool.

I believe that wisdom doesn't necessarily accumulate, but may come and go.
 
Adam101
 
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 07:00 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;95749 wrote:
My position is that we may read something but shouldn't credit it that much importance remembering that we are holding in our hands not the "divine revelation". Reality itself is the best teacher.


Ok. I'm a little on the fence here. My post doesn't talk about any book, nor do I quote any one person, but I've found knowledge among those book and through those quotes of ppl.
 
MaxBardus
 
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 12:12 pm
@Adam101,
I must disagree completely with how religion is being defined here. Each one of these definitions seem to suggest that religion is a personal thing--when, historically this has never been the case. Religion has always been a community of people with a common vision; but not always a unity of thought. To admit this is to reduce religion to a philosophy. What seperates philosophy from religion? I would think you can list a couple of reasons, but for now, lets just highlight communal worship.

Today religion is seen as a personal interpretation of the data (nature, bible, tradition etc.); but historically it has always been about ritual. Man peered into the heavens and interpreted the stars to be gods, whom they worshiped in a pattern which we still retain as a calender (sun-day; moon-day). Every culture celebrated these celestial events by sacrificing when the sun appeared to go away and rejoicing when it came back agian (solstices). Never once were these events about having a correct belief.

(Now I realize that within any group, there is after the storming and forming portions, the inevitable conforming; by which the beliefs of the community are clearly articulated, but this doesn't disprove my point that religion is first about action, then about reflection.)

In our modern times, we tend to think of everything in religion as being not only personal, but intellectual. Faith is more about orthodoxy, than about living poetically. But, happiness does not come from having correct religious views, but rather from being filled with love.

Everyone desires to be happy (basis for Aristoleian ethics); but the happiness which we desire doesn't seem to be satisfied in anything other than authentic love. Which is not defined as a feeling or something which "we fall into," but rather we find it in the image of the crucifed christ or the pregnant mother; one where we give compeltely of ourselves to (and for) another.

I know I posed this in another forum on here, but this quote by Pope Benedict is still as true here: "Love is indeed "ecstasy", not in the sense of a moment of intoxication, but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God..."
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 06:06 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;95309 wrote:
Allah and a lot of freedom. I like that.

I think you've already noted somewhere on this forum that life involves balance. The biggy-sized balance is that between balance and imbalance...

Like the three gunas: ragas, tamas, and sattva... The way some people think of it is this:

you see ragas in the arising.. like the spring, the morning, youth

you see tamas in descension.. like the autumn, the evening, old-age

Sattva has to do with that invisible point where one turns into the other... the point of zero slope... perfect balance.. when the rushing forth and the coming back are effortlessly joined... like the movements of a dancer, you can't see sattva, you can only know it's there from the change from out.. to in.. from there... to here. But the three gunas are ever present, shaping everything.

Some say happiness is knowing who you are... surrendering to the forces that are creating you moment by moment... In this way, loving yourself is loving the divine.


But Allah does not give a lot of freedom, you have to go to your prayer mat five times a day and pray towards Mecca, fast for a lunar month once a year, learn the Quaran by heart, subjugate woman, wear special clothing, not pray with people of other religions and so on and so on, even die for him in a Jihad is that freedom I think not?

I don't like religion , but this does not prevent my approaching and believing in god in my own unique and separate way. Surely there are many paths to God and no final word and no final prophet
 
josh0335
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 11:56 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;97139 wrote:
But Allah does not give a lot of freedom, you have to go to your prayer mat five times a day and pray towards Mecca, fast for a lunar month once a year, learn the Quaran by heart, subjugate woman, wear special clothing, not pray with people of other religions and so on and so on, even die for him in a Jihad is that freedom I think not?

I don't like religion , but this does not prevent my approaching and believing in god in my own unique and separate way. Surely there are many paths to God and no final word and no final prophet


Allah does not require you to subjugate your women.

How you find God depends on how you define God. If there are many paths to God it would also mean there are many different standards of morality and thus leaving humans in a constant state of conflict when these morals clash. If you believe in God, what do you believe His relationship with you is? Does He interact with His creation in any way? Does He require or demand anything from you? What do you achieve by finding God i.e. paradise?

I think these questions and many more naturally follow when one believes in God (or it did with me at least). It is the fact that religions can answer these questions with differing degrees of coherence which makes them so important.
 
Ruggedtouch
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 04:24 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;97139 wrote:
But Allah does not give a lot of freedom, you have to go to your prayer mat five times a day and pray towards Mecca, fast for a lunar month once a year, learn the Quaran by heart, subjugate woman, wear special clothing, not pray with people of other religions and so on and so on, even die for him in a Jihad is that freedom I think not?

I don't like religion , but this does not prevent my approaching and believing in god in my own unique and separate way. Surely there are many paths to God and no final word and no final prophet

There were many religions that existed prior to Islam; Judaism and Christianity the two most obvious examples. As we know, Mohammed stole ruthlessly from both those earlier faiths. That's evident in his formulation of Islam. We also have the Greek or Roman pantheons as examples of religions that existed prior to Islam. We see in those entities the morphing of characteristics. Zeus was descended from earlier ancient entities, the Titans. Zeus was the son of Kronos and Rhea. Kronos was himself the child of Ouranos and Gaia.

This is not at all uncommon with religions. There actually are recognizable patterns where various religions tend to define their gods as simply grander and more powerful versions of their own political or social constructs. Zeus was little more than just another Greek tyrant. Allah is little more than the divine projection of a 7th century Arab warlord with whom we are familiar; Mohammad.

Religions come and go. There is no reason to believe that Mohammed was the last "prophet". Afterall, we have only his say-so for that.
 
josh0335
 
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 02:15 pm
@Ruggedtouch,
Ruggedtouch;97301 wrote:
There were many religions that existed prior to Islam; Judaism and Christianity the two most obvious examples. As we know, Mohammed stole ruthlessly from both those earlier faiths. That's evident in his formulation of Islam. We also have the Greek or Roman pantheons as examples of religions that existed prior to Islam. We see in those entities the morphing of characteristics. Zeus was descended from earlier ancient entities, the Titans. Zeus was the son of Kronos and Rhea. Kronos was himself the child of Ouranos and Gaia.

This is not at all uncommon with religions. There actually are recognizable patterns where various religions tend to define their gods as simply grander and more powerful versions of their own political or social constructs. Zeus was little more than just another Greek tyrant. Allah is little more than the divine projection of a 7th century Arab warlord with whom we are familiar; Mohammad.

Religions come and go. There is no reason to believe that Mohammed was the last "prophet". Afterall, we have only his say-so for that.


Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) did not steal from any religion. Similarities between Islam, Christianity and Judaism are expected considering all three religions came from the same God. Nor was he simply a warlord, he was a statesman, a religious and spiritual leader, a husband and a father.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 12:43 am
@josh0335,
josh0335;98560 wrote:
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) did not steal from any religion. Similarities between Islam, Christianity and Judaism are expected considering all three religions came from the same God. Nor was he simply a warlord, he was a statesman, a religious and spiritual leader, a husband and a father.


Oh yes he did, the Quran is full of Christian and Hebrew related verses, he was very much a war lord living by the sword of his faith
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2009 11:23 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;95760 wrote:

I live through cycles, though. I may look around and find that I've become the student again. Other times I'm the natural fool.

I believe that wisdom doesn't necessarily accumulate, but may come and go.


well said......... 'Other times I'm the natural fool' is profound, acc.2.me.

I always believed that wisdom comes in small parcels/packets/packages.
 
Eudaimon
 
Reply Sat 31 Oct, 2009 07:17 am
@Ruggedtouch,
Ruggedtouch;97301 wrote:

This is not at all uncommon with religions. There actually are recognizable patterns where various religions tend to define their gods as simply grander and more powerful versions of their own political or social constructs. Zeus was little more than just another Greek tyrant. Allah is little more than the divine projection of a 7th century Arab warlord with whom we are familiar; Mohammad.



Yeah, Rug:
"And Man said, Let us make god in our image, after our likeness"
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 20 Dec, 2009 06:05 am
@Adam101,
God is the biggest swimming pool in the world. When I slip into the cool blue water of God I like for the bottom and just can't find it and yet the salty water is easy to float in and somehow sweet to the smell. I look to the sides of the pull and they are knot to be frowned.
 
 

 
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