Religious discussions in other eras

A Cup Of Tea

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In a discussion on how to attract more active members to the site some questions popped up on whether people are less engaged in religious discussions now than before.
I wonder if religious discussions has always been popular until recent times, or if it has waxed and waned throughout for various reasons...I'm also forgetting we all represent a somewhat narrow part of the cultural spectrum....many thoughts

Any discussion would be very biased since everyone here obviously has the interest. But a collection of experiences are equally valuable!

I imagine most religious topics through history would be tied to various events, like religious tension would probably spark debate over over differences and similarities.

Given that society is increasingly secular fewer and fewer aspects of our lives are linked to religious doctrine, making it more a curiosity rather than a direct concern in our everyday lives.

These are the musings of a non-religious person living in one of the most secular countries there are. Experiences should vary.
 

RJM

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Any discussion would be very biased since everyone here obviously has the interest. But a collection of experiences are equally valuable!

I imagine most religious topics through history would be tied to various events, like religious tension would probably spark debate over over differences and similarities.

Given that society is increasingly secular fewer and fewer aspects of our lives are linked to religious doctrine, making it more a curiosity rather than a direct concern in our everyday lives.

These are the musings of a non-religious person living in one of the most secular countries there are. Experiences should vary.
Perhaps the disinterest is due to higher standard of living and state aid in modern 'global north' countries – of which the Scandinavian countries are the best example?

They say: There are no atheists in a foxhole, when the bombs are falling. It is probably in desperation, when there is nowhere else to turn, that a person first turns to God. It is when God responds, in a way I recognize, that God becomes a reality -- the reality -- to me, beyond philosophical reasoning. And beyond dispute. From now on the only way to get through the day is to let God take over completely.

Once I have had the direct experience of God, there’s no use telling me God isn’t there and using rational arguments to support it -- because now my whole life is centered by the knowledge that God is there.

God doesn't care what religion I am. God only knows my soul. God meets me where I am, imo. The monks end their prayer services with the words: May the divine assistance remain always with us.

But my human freewill means God’s angels have to wait for my own invitation before they can do anything to help me. They may watch and weep, but in a strange way it means that even the God who made me, needs my permission to interfere in my own petty human existence.

When I do ask, I may find the angels respond first by requiring me to chuck-off a lot of the material and emotional dead weight I carry. It may be painful, while it is happening. But the ‘narrow door’ and ‘camel through the eye of a needle’ saying means that the soul finds God through turning away from the material world.

A person cannot get on a hot air balloon carrying a grand piano. It must be left behind, for him to rise. He cannot go through the narrow gate in the wall carrying a wagonload of baggage. Perhaps on the other side of the gate, where a whole new vista opens, he may find all the stuff waiting for him there, that he had to leave behind – if he wants to pick it up and burden himself again, and start the whole process again.

So it is like the hourglass: the nexus of loss and the horus of expansion.

When a person has had direct experience of the divine, there’s no longer any question in his mind: God, not the world, becomes the true reality. He is living in spirit. In the world but not of the world.

The great house of Spirit surrounds and contains and permeates the room of Nature, whose walls are time. There may be many other rooms/dimensions, perhaps infinite other rooms. My Father's house has many mansions.

We hear vibrations and get glimpses of what’s going on beyond our dimension of Nature – through a glass darkly. It’s Plato’s cave: we see the shadows, not the full reality. The greater wheel of Spirit turns the lesser wheel of Nature, but is not turned by it, imo.

But perhaps a person has to be in a fairly desperate position before he really turns to God. Before he finds the humility to let God take over completely? And in societies which provide everything, from cradle to grave, there’s seldom enough reason anymore, for people to need God?

Just my own musings ...
 
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RJM

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I also think the fundamentalist literalist insistence that their own particular religion, or branch of religion, is the only way to Heaven, has something to do with it, in the age of science? I think often they actually turn people away from the Spirit. A person rescued from an addiction or some other thing, when God leads him to a particular church or religion -- like a drowning man saved by a ship -- may continue loyal to that ship, but there are other ships too. The nearest one will do?
 
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Namaste Jesus

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I think religion and politics are just volatile topics. Especially if you happen to hold an unpopular belief or express an unpopular opinion. So a lot of people just shy away from them both, to avoid conflict.

My wife is very uncomfortable discussing those things with strangers. Of course her method of dealing with it, is to throw me under the bus. "Oh, well my husband can explain it better than me." :eek:
 

Nasruddin

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I've known quite a few young people who are averse to things like the idea of hierarchy, power differential, rules without theory and what they perceive to be magical thinking. Here in the US religion is often used as a weapon or control measure, and the consensus seems to be we would be better without it. Even though the virtues of the worlds contemplative traditions are still very much alive, for many, who have been abused in their name, religion is evil.
That being said, there does seem to be a deep interest in the inner workings of the universe. Today because of social platforms that update their content 24/7 people are exposed to many diverse ideas from new age stuff to lectures from Alan Watts, yoga, mindfulness meditation and many other subjects.
There is still a spirit of curiosity out there, but many see religion as something that can no longer speak to them directly. HH Dalai Lama has even taken note of this and has suggested that a secular ethics might take the place of organized religion.

This seems problematic to me because there is still value in being part of a system, a sangha, or congregation. There is still value in belonging and still value in the wisdom collected in the last few millennia.

I believe that if young people are ever to return to the appreciation of religion and interfaith itself, we are going to have to listen deeply to their needs and how best to care for them spiritually. That might mean that we need to change how we think about community and interpersonal relationships.

Most of us here now are at the stage of generativity, we want to pass on the things we've learned and the things we had to work for to comprehend. I think this can be done, but we need to look at what skillful means we might cultivate to do that.
 

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

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Most of the people that I have regular contact with are older Russian/Slavic-language speakers with the occasional Japanese- or Gaelic- speakers thrown in. Other than that, I have regular contact with people who have reduced cognitive and communication skills (all of these are neighbors.)

Few, if any, have their own computers.

Oh, and there are my friends that I met on campus (Tyler, America and Angie.) America is a full professor in Chicago (she's rather busy,) Angie has her own business, so she's running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and Tyler's "keeping the home fires burning" while America's working. We don't bring religion up much, if at all.

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
 
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muhammad_isa

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I also think the fundamentalist literalist insistence that their own particular religion, or branch of religion, is the only way to Heaven, has something to do with it, in the age of science? I think often they actually turn people away from the Spirit..

It's the work of the devil .. 'divide & rule'.
Those that are God-haters, and I don't mean atheists in general, have an agenda
of wanting to confuse and hide the truth about God.
Things never change. Those in privilged positions in society want to keep their privileges,
as did Pharoah in the time of Moses, and the Jewish elders in the time of Jesus.
..or The Quraish in the time of Muhammad etc.

This modern era is particularly special as it is global, and the lead up to the return of the Messiah.
Almighty God chooses His times for intervention [ such as Noahs flood ], with wisdom and precision.
The final era before "project mankind" is eventually over. i.e. planet earth is no more

It doesn't look very long before cash/money will no longer be legal tender.
This means that those with no status will be forced to beg.
Climate-change along with its calamities, increasing disease, famines, wars etc.

..all leading up to the depiction of Revelation. It's getting worse before it gets better.
i.e. the 1000 year "reign of Christ", where all nations will be on the same page .. the evils as we are experiencing today will no longer be
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - -- - -- -- -- - -

Yes, the devil causes us to be arrogant and believe "we are the only ones favoured by God" etc.
"We are the only ones on the right track."
"We are the only ones to be saved.
"We are the only ones to go to heaven"

The devil is truly more knowledgable than the lot of us. We mostly can't see throgh his scheming to destroy mankind by any devious means he can think of.

When the Messiah returns, the devil's power will begin to falter.
Either a person will believe he is truly the Messiah, or a person will believe that "the Beast" is God.

May God save us from believing in the tricks of the devil .. Amen
 
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Ahanu

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Given that society is increasingly secular fewer and fewer aspects of our lives are linked to religious doctrine, making it more a curiosity rather than a direct concern in our everyday lives.

These are the musings of a non-religious person living in one of the most secular countries there are. Experiences should vary.

While I do think there is less interest in religious doctrine overall (with the exception of places like the Bible Belt), I do not think this means religion is less of a concern. People are more concerned with religious practice.

Consider China. Many people there would say they are not religious, but a growing number of people there are tired of materialism. Many young people have become interested in going on religious retreats in monasteries or living a life of simplicity.
 

Thomas

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Many young people have become interested in going on religious retreats in monasteries or living a life of simplicity.
I would not be surprised to find the demand is there if monastic retreats (for example) were available, tailored to the atheist/agnostic/uncommitted.

They might well be, I don't know.

I've done Catholic ones, and I've done a Buddhist meditation retreat. Found them enriching.
 
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