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An Open Spirituality / Religion / Theology Forum

odilonvert

about 2 years ago

Ha ha — you want me to sex up a kitten? lol

Um, remember when you were really little and when that kitten came around it was time for you and I….

See? Association.

Done.

And yes, it can be as sick as you want it to be.

Santino

about 2 years ago

“Better to be an agnostic and say — there may be, there may not be, I’ll live my life just the same.”

I agree with that!

Although in my experience, the difference between an atheist and a believer is that atheists tend to be less hypocritical.

odilonvert

about 2 years ago

I find atheists to be incredibly annoying. They go on, and on, and on trying to prove something that can’t be proved.

Shut up all you proselytizers! Leave us alone!

House 0f Leaves

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

I really want him to release a boxed set of his Mind, Body, Soul(Spirit depending on who you talk to) trilogy (Pi, Requiem, The Fountain)

Those are easily his best films, though I wouldn’t call for a box set unless there was new content there—documentaries and such. And you know, I’d never considered them a thematic trilogy.

g legs

about 2 years ago

I find atheists to be incredibly annoying. They go on, and on, and on trying to prove something that can’t be proved.

That is a completely unfair comment. Atheists can easily argue the exact same thing about religious people. Also it isn’t better to be agnostic at all, people believe what they believe.

g legs

about 2 years ago

Actually, reading that comment again, I find that to be “incredibly annoying”.

House 0f Leaves

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

Yes, let’s keep this respectful.

As I stated in my thesis post (:) I respect anyone’s beliefs as long as they don’t infringe on me. Atheists and Agnostics infringe the least.

g legs

about 2 years ago

We constantly have to defend that as well.

House 0f Leaves

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

Go on?

g legs

about 2 years ago

Most people seem to view atheists as pessimists full of hate-speech constantly trying to force their views on others, people often find it hard to accept that atheists just have another way of enjoying and looking at life. This is not an exaggeration either, as on several occasions people have expressed that view on atheists to me.

I read an article in the newspaper recently about some young atheist speaker and author who pretty much spends his time trying to get people to understand this. Unfortunately I can’t remember his name or find him on google, so if any one can help me out… I remember that he was Muslim until his mother died when he was a teenager.

House 0f Leaves

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

I will admit that I’ve never heard an atheist really defend their position. Not to put you on the spot (really, this is just my curiosity), but if it’s not too personal, I think this thread could benefit from one.

g legs

about 2 years ago

Oh… I didn’t realise I was the only atheist here. This could be… interesting.

Well there was once a time when I would pretty openly express my feelings on religion, but unsurprisingly, atheism is tough to swallow if you’ve been raised with religion, so it never went down well. I guess I feel strongly about my atheist views, because for me atheism is the only logical answer to, well, everything. I quite simply could never be religious. I am sorry if I offended anyone with these comments either, I really don’t mean to, but it’s a tough topic to talk about without someone being offended even slightly.

House 0f Leaves

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

I was hoping you’d go into more depth, but I appreciate your honesty either way. I truly don’t understand the atheist viewpoint, even though my own beliefs (I’m a Taoist) make room for every belief. I want to understand, though, if you’d oblige. And I’m no fan of organized religion in any capacity—in that we most certainly agree.

g legs

about 2 years ago

What do you mean you don’t understand the atheist viewpoint? I’m not really sure how I could go into more depth about ALL of atheism, it’s a bit difficult. I did forget to mention though, the one thing I am completely open about when it comes to religion; I don’t think religion should ever restrict our lives in any way, like so many do. A short story by Peter Carey called Life and Death of the South Side of the Pavilion takes on that subject in a strange but brilliant way.

I’m don’t know enough about Taoism to really know how it works, but I studied the Bahá’í Faith a long time ago, and I thought it’s approach to spirituality and faith was wonderful.

House 0f Leaves

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

Respectfully, I don’t understand the atheist point of view because I consider agnosticism the last best refuge. Personally, I think we ultimately can’t really understand these things we philosophise about, which is why I choose Taoism (it’s much like Buddhism)—and I’ve modified it a bit according to how I see the world—but to say ‘there is nothing’ seems to be the ultimate rejection of even that, and I’m curious as to how you come to that. A friend of mine once told me that he believed there was nothing because he needed proof of something before he could believe, but I think there is at least proof enough for one to be agnostic.

Again, this is meant respectfully—I’m asking because I want to understand, not to change anyone’s mind or to prop up my own beliefs. What I’m curious about is what was the genesis (pun intended) of your rejection of religion (easy to understand) and agnosticism (there’s my rub)?

g legs

about 2 years ago

Well there was never really a “genesis” of my rejection of religion, I just never had any acceptance. I was raised in a religiously neutral family, and I never had deep thought about where I might go religiously, as for me the only answer has been atheism. Perhaps just as you struggle to understand my lack of faith, I find it impossible to imagine being able to seriously think that there is some supreme being (for lack of a better way of putting it) or something after death etc etc. I have read books on atheism, and for me there seems to be an infinite amount of evidence and logic against religion and nothing except for personal beliefs and very old books to support it. Also, I am unlike your friend, I don’t want or need any proof, as (this comment will probably make many religious people twitch…) I feel that I know without a doubt that there is no god or literal spiritual presences in the world. Or anywhere.
The most obvious argument against religion, for me, is that the very fact of where you are born will change what god you believe in and what faith you follow. I don’t see how people can look at something as simple as this and be able to follow a religion.

I sometimes wish I had been raised in a religious family, because death would probably be a little less depressing if I had, but I like to think that I would have these beliefs no matter where I was raised.

If someone is just reading this one comment, please understand that I do not mean to be offensive and I was asked to go in detail into my beliefs.

And House of Leaves, sorry I am taking so long to respond, I have started writing usually a couple of minutes after I see your next comment, but I find it incredibly difficult to word my views on this topic. I find it a lot easier to talk about face to face with people about it.

House 0f Leaves

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

Ahh—thank you for your response—personal and insightful as I was hoping. This thread should be about trying to find understanding amongst each other, not agreement. So good on ya.

To answer your last point first, I feel you—this is exactly why it took me several pages before I made a single post, and even then it was carefully considered.

In case you haven’t read my ‘thesis post’, my own beliefs don’t include a deity as such, and certainly not an anthropomorphic judgmental one, nor do I believe in hell. I also don’t believe in organized religion, as I see it largely as a means to control people. Spiritual politics, if you will.

As to your point about regoinality, I was born in Texas to Christian parents, but ventured East to find my path (helped in great measure by my practice of South Shaolin Kung Fu, which is inseparable from those Eastern philosophies), and now I wander the Middle Way. At least in my case, where I was born has had no bearing.

I do believe in an afterlife, though this is at least half-aided by optimism—and I admit I have no idea what it might be like. It’s just that I believe consciousness survives in some form, whether by a communion of souls or reincarnation, I’m loath to let go of the idea that we vanish into nothingness after it’s all said and done (though this might well be the case—it makes me happy to believe otherwise for now).

Very happy that you shared your experiences.

House 0f Leaves

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

And for all, let me reiterate:

Understanding over agreement.

ruby stevens

about 2 years ago

btw i never said i was an atheist, i was quoting luis buñuel. i am an agnostic and espouse basically the same views as house. i don’t presume to call it taoism as i haven’t studied it formally. i was arguing against organized religion and the great harm it has done in the world. sorry if i offended anyone too. but i am offended by the idea that the bible is the only moral authority and we can’t possibly know what to do without it’s guidance. and i addressed the fundamentalist mentality because that’s what i see every single day. u guys seem to think it’s not common but there’s no way gingrinch and santorum have gotten so far without popular support. i understand that all churches aren’t like this and most everyone here disavows the fringe element. it’s just an example of how self righteousness corrupts religion and turns it to evil purposes and little different to radical islam and sharia law. i get angry cuz i see this happening in our own country! and yet people want to insist it has little to do with religion. it’s a dangerous assumption. sure, they’re pandering. because there’s a large demographic! u might not see these people every day but i do. our last president got mssgs from an invisible god to invade iraq and afghanistan. what will the next one do? i’ve been fighting this mentality since i was a kid; my whole family in involved in this movement so yeah i get a little passionate about it. sorry for ‘annoying’ anyone. i won’t be back

Drunken Father Figure of Old

about 2 years ago

:( stay, Ruby! I like reading your viewpoints! Especially since I think I’m too optimistic about these people being a small but vocal minority. But I have to say, I rarely encounter them in real life.

I think one possibility is that, as disturbing as it is, there’s something kind of appealing about this ultra-religious right and wrong dichotomy. It implies a world where there is justice, and I think a lot of people want that, even if they might not believe the specifics themselves.

Drunken Father Figure of Old

about 2 years ago

Anyway, I’ve thought out my views, and it pretty much comes down to this:

God is everywhere and God is everything. God is the universe. He is the big bang and he is quantum mechanics and he is you and he is me.

As far as our purposes in life, Riss, I think that God’s purposes, interests, and motivations are the same as our purposes, interests, and motivations. That’s why I feel hesitant to identify right and wrong, because everything that exists is part of the universe and is part of God’s plan and IS God himself.

Our purpose is to exist and be a part of this “oneness” of the universe and be a part of God.

That’s why I see no conflict between God and science, because God is science!

So, to bring it into Christian terms (since that’s how I was raised), I believe in a God like the Holy Spirit. He’s everywhere and he’s everything and he quietly influences us and the world, because he is us and the world.

P.S. – I think I’m gonna start reading about Taoism… I enjoyed the wikipedia article, and I’d like to read more!

Rissela​da

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

I love words! In that case I meant anathema as something that is detested. It does have that other religious meanings, which I was aware of and in that sense was being playful, hoping that some would get that little joke.

I guessed as much. ;) OK, so back to the original statement. I can certainly understand how detestable the idea of a creator assigning his creations to damnation seems. I still wrestle with it. But there are ways that it seems less detestable and even the most loving and just if you wrestle with and come to an understanding of a lot of other things. I don’t expect you to understand those right away, but at least understand from my perpective that this thing can be rectified with God being perfectly good, and loving, and just.

So from a different starting perspective, maybe the idea of a total hell assigned to for eternity sounds absurd to you, but can you at least identify with the concept of certain kinds of “hell on earth”. People all the time refer to their own situations while they are still living as personal hell. Sometimes when someone makes a self destructive decision people will say that they have damned themselves to a life of misery or something like that. Can you see how people’s own choices to reject what is good for them can lead the to their own kind of brooding hells where they reject any kind of help from others? If you can, then maybe it would help to think of the hell of the Bible as an extension of this. It’s a place where people have become so insular and dillusional that they can handle their own self destructive behaviors that eventually they reject everyone else and just wallow in it. Think about drug addicts who reject intervention and help from friends until they just wither away and die, just them and their addiction devouring them.

Yes, but then came the organized religion, which I don’t think he would care for very much.

But certainly Jesus believes that community is critical. We are not called by him to have faith alone, but in a community. Anyone who believes they can be a Christian outside of church is not following Jesus. The church is meant to be Christ’s bride as it is put. And it is supposed to be his reflection and an agent of his mission in this world. Again look above at what happens to people when they are all alone and do not share their feelings, fears, or beliefs with anyone else.

Religion was organized at the time Jesus was around too. He wasn’t criticising the organization of religion. He was criticising those who worshiped the religion itself instead of God. They didn’t use the religion as a means of knowing and worshiping God, but like you said as a way for them to feel like they had a sense of control. Christ is trying to release us from those burdens.

None of my comments were directly pointed at you, Riss. I think you’re a great person. In fact, I am in severe like with you. I especially like this thread and the conversation we’re having, and I’m always up for a more detailed exploration of these ideas, or anything else.

Batch atcha! :)

And yes, we should have a beer sometime ;)

BEER IS THE DEVIL!!! Just kidding. I’d love that. I hope we can visit each other some time either in Dallas or Chicago or elsewhere and imbibe whatever the city has to offer.

odilonvert

about 2 years ago

Apologies about my annoyance remark. What I was trying to say is, if you don’t believe in anything, don’t go around telling people that it’s “logical” that what they believe is false. It doesn’t matter! Except in cases, as Ruby stated, where belief in one thing or another has you with your back up against the wall and someone’s gun at your head. THEN it matters. But THEN it’s not really about religion, it’s about power, and the desire for power using religion as a vehicle to gain access without question.

Let’s try to see where that goes.

If there is a religion which explicitly states to go out and kill everyone who isn’t of your religion, then yeah, that is a horrible belief system and under no circumstances should it be tolerated.

Otherwise, allow people to believe what they believe and don’t try to convince them of your beliefs. Leave them alone.

What I don’t like is people trying to tell me what to believe, whether I’m religious, agnostic, or atheist. It’s nobody’s business because I’m a peaceful person and I don’t impose my beliefs on anyone. Therefore I expect the same from others. Again, proselytizers stay away!

I hope I explained myself. I am not looking to offend anyone, just to say that one set of beliefs is NOT more valuable or important than another, unless there is active harm being done because of those beliefs, in which case it’s most always more complicated than just the beliefs themselves.

Rissela​da

-moderator-
about 2 years ago

Similarly if you follow a religious code, it can make you feel better, it can give you a confessor which gives you relief from guilt, it can take you from the edge of the terror of nothingness void, it can help you feel less alone and comforted.

But does that mean Abraham really appeared to Esther or….do human beings just talk themselves into whatever they take a shine to because it helps them get through “the night” of this really quite outrageous situation we find ourselves in

This certainly is one of the big questions. Not an easy one to answer. Especially a difficult one to face if like me you feel you have regularly experienced and even have a relationship with a spiritual entity. Is it all just us talking to ourselves somehow? Assigning our own thoughts to an external source?

But if one identifies that people can so easily deceive themselves that doesn’t just post a problem if they believe in something spiritual, but no matter what they believe. Even if you don’t believe there is a God or anything that you can communicate with spiritually, but you identify that people can deceive themselves with what makes themselves feel good or make them feel like they have purpose, then anything you think is true could be just you deceiving yourself. If it’s something you lean on as a defense it breaks itself down. Because then you can’t even trust that you are right about that, because maybe that very fact that people can deceive themselves so easily is you deceiving yourself. It sounds silly, but that’s where it has to go if you dismiss things just because of that fact.

Santino

about 2 years ago

“I find atheists to be incredibly annoying. They go on, and on, and on trying to prove something that can’t be proved.”

Interesting. My experience is the complete opposite. Most people who do shut up happen to atheists.

Brad S.

about 2 years ago

Every religion has its zealots. Even non-religions.

odilonvert

about 2 years ago

Santino — in Santa Monica, do you remember this?, an atheist organization took over an area (which I have no idea why this practice was allowed anyway) where nativity scenes were exhibited. Rather than just put up nothing, they put up signs about how people were being fooled if they believed in religion.

Here is an article about it from the LA Times.

I don’t call that shutting up.

Do you see how this is more about politics and territory than anything?

At any rate, such displays belong in private places, such as churches, and not on public property. That doesn’t mean that another group of believers in something else should come in and make their statements either.

odilonvert

about 2 years ago

And by the way, it’s always the organizations that screw everything up.

Which is why I’m very leery of any organization of people professing any belief, whether that’s a religion that’s thousands of years old, or an atheist organization (yes to say you don’t believe is actually a belief) founded in the mid 60s in a country that believes in the separation of church and state, beliefs about this and that and a government that promotes ethics only, without any interest in “what” exists out there.

Santino

about 2 years ago

Yeah, that nativity thing was pretty ridiculous. I don’t know what they were trying to achieve by doing that.

I guess what I mean is that on a personal, one-on-one level that I’ve met in my life, the atheists are the least offensive and usually keep to themselves. It’s usually the believers that are telling me I’m going to hell, living in sin, doing all these immoral things, and trying to control my life. Most atheists that I’ve known are more the “live and let live” type.

Drunken Father Figure of Old

about 2 years ago

How many people have you guys really met that “are telling me I’m going to hell, living in sin, doing all these immoral things?” Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever met any – I just see them on TV and hear people refer to them as if they’re all over.

Maybe I’m just lucky, though.