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Old 9th July 2019, 02:48 PM   #1
Thor 2
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A Non Self Centred Religion - Anyone?

Seems to me all the religions are about getting a reward for belonging. Christianity and Islam as the biggest, have the most blatant inducement of Heaven, whereas the Buddhist and Hindu are perhaps a little more subtle.

Anyone know a religion that doesn't offer a personal prize for belonging?
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Old 9th July 2019, 02:56 PM   #2
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Old 9th July 2019, 03:25 PM   #3
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A lot (and perhaps originally all) were originally about gaining benefit for the community rather than the individual... but you might consider that the same thing if you figure the individual usually benefits from whatever benefits the community anyway.
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Old 9th July 2019, 03:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by paiute View Post
Church of the Subgenius

Thanks for that, I had not heard of them before. I don't think they will become a major challenge to The Vatican.
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Old 9th July 2019, 03:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
A lot (and perhaps originally all) were originally about gaining benefit for the community rather than the individual... but you might consider that the same thing if you figure the individual usually benefits from whatever benefits the community anyway.

Do you really think so? If by that you mean gaining control of the community in order to maintain order perhaps.

None the less the inducement is personal gain. I doubt folk would be motivated to embrace a religion, because they thought it was good for the community.
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Old 9th July 2019, 04:22 PM   #6
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The original teachings of the Buddha, as described in the Dhammapada, and as actually practiced by many Theravadins, are literally about non-self, and about non-reward.

But of course, there are plenty of rituals and, as you say, community-related stuff, that have grown around that core. On the other hand, these can be, and often are, avoided by those who don't care for them. They're not central to the teachings.

No reason for you to seek out any religion at all. But if you must have one, then the core Theravadin teachings and practices would seem to answer your requirements.

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Old 9th July 2019, 04:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
The original teachings of the Buddha, as described in the Dhammapada, and as actually practiced by many Theravadins, are literally about non-self, and about non-reward.

But of course, there are plenty of rituals and, as you say, community-related stuff, that have grown around that core. On the other hand, these can be, and often are, avoided by those who don't care for them. They're not central to the teachings.

No reason for you to seek out any religion at all. But if you must have one, then the core Theravadin teachings and practices would seem to answer your requirements.


??? That is the subject matter of this thread. Who are you to dictate to me what I should, or should not, seek?

As I mentioned in the OP Buddhism is more subtle with it's offerings of reward, but they are there. Just a little except from the Dhammapada:


Quote:
The visible order does not yield an evident solution, but the Buddha’s teaching reveals the factor needed to vindicate our cry for moral justice in an impersonal universal law which reigns over all sentient existence. This is the law of kamma (Sanskrit: karma), of action and its fruit, which ensures that morally determinate action does not dis- appear into nothingness but eventually meets its due retribution, the good with happiness, the bad with suf- fering.

See that bit about retribution?
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Old 9th July 2019, 05:07 PM   #8
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Old 9th July 2019, 05:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
??? That is the subject matter of this thread. Who are you to dictate to me what I should, or should not, seek?

As I mentioned in the OP Buddhism is more subtle with it's offerings of reward, but they are there. Just a little except from the Dhammapada:





See that bit about retribution?
Oh far be it from me to dictate who you should not should not seek. I'm not even going to make a recommendation.

Religion is self-seeking? Including Buddhism. No contest.

Incidentally, The quote you offer from the Dhammapada appears to me to be commentary rather than the text. Could you please cite your source.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
??? That is the subject matter of this thread. Who are you to dictate to me what I should, or should not, seek?
Weird reaction to someone going out of their way to respond to your request for information and/or suggestions.

That was just a voicing of one's thoughts, and far from any attempt at "dictation". As my next words clearly indicated.

Or, to put it in words you may better understand and in a tone you may better resonate with: Who the hell are you to try to dictate what I will say to you?


Quote:
As I mentioned in the OP Buddhism is more subtle with it's offerings of reward, but they are there. Just a little except from the Dhammapada:
...
See that bit about retribution?

Not really, not if your reading on this goes somewhat deeper than Wikipedia. But no doubt you can check that out for yourself if you please.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
If by that you mean gaining control of the community in order to maintain order perhaps.
You're looking at religion through your rage-colored atheist glasses. (I'm atheist too, but that doesn't necessitate accusing theists of one evil or another at all times in all things.)

Most rituals invoking supernatural powers are about getting more rain, getting more sunshine, getting a big successful crop, getting victory/survival against enemy populations, or getting the latest flood or wildfire or locust swarm to go away. Those things benefit the community without being about how wicked & sinister & evil those wicked sinister evil theists are.

Even when the concepts of sin and atonement and such are introduced, it's still communal without being about control; one scapegoat, for example, carries the whole village's sins away into the landscape, not just a person's or even a family's. (And Jesus's sacrifice is a bit like that too: one sacrifice to purify everybody, or at least all Jews... it just got individualized when later people introduced the idea of individual responsibility to "accept" that gift.)

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
None the less the inducement is personal gain. I doubt folk would be motivated to embrace a religion, because they thought it was good for the community.
If my community gets more rain on its wheat, then I get more rain on my wheat.

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Old 9th July 2019, 09:08 PM   #12
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How are Christianity and Islam "self-centered" ??

Sounds like some New Atheist talking point from 2006.

Believers believe there is some human condition we're all inherently afflicted with. Believers want to save their own asses and, if they're generous, anyone else's that they can along the way. This is how things are; I want to do whatever I can to make it out at the end.
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Old 9th July 2019, 09:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
How are Christianity and Islam "self-centered" ??

Sounds like some New Atheist talking point from 2006.

Believers believe there is some human condition we're all inherently afflicted with. Believers want to save their own asses and, if they're generous, anyone else's that they can along the way. This is how things are; I want to do whatever I can to make it out at the end.
The idea is that Christians (as an example) do good things for their God because of the promise of eternal reward and the threat of individual punishment if they do not. Basically it is the argument that true altruism doesn't exist because people do altruistic things only because it makes them feel good about having done them.

By this argument all of existence is self-centred. The promise of personal reward is the only possible motivation for doing anything. See Mark Twain's essay What is Man?
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Old 9th July 2019, 10:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Oh far be it from me to dictate who you should not should not seek. I'm not even going to make a recommendation.

Religion is self-seeking? Including Buddhism. No contest.

Incidentally, The quote you offer from the Dhammapada appears to me to be commentary rather than the text. Could you please cite your source.

Here tis:

https://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/scrndhamma.pdf


From the Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc. no less.
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Old 9th July 2019, 10:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Weird reaction to someone going out of their way to respond to your request for information and/or suggestions.

That was just a voicing of one's thoughts, and far from any attempt at "dictation". As my next words clearly indicated.

Or, to put it in words you may better understand and in a tone you may better resonate with: Who the hell are you to try to dictate what I will say to you?





Not really, not if your reading on this goes somewhat deeper than Wikipedia. But no doubt you can check that out for yourself if you please.

Not Wiki ..... se above.
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Old 9th July 2019, 10:16 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
You're looking at religion through your rage-colored atheist glasses. (I'm atheist too, but that doesn't necessitate accusing theists of one evil or another at all times in all things.)
"Rage-colored atheist glasses." Oh my! Must trade them in for some rose coloured ones.

Quote:
Most rituals invoking supernatural powers are about getting more rain, getting more sunshine, getting a big successful crop, getting victory/survival against enemy populations, or getting the latest flood or wildfire or locust swarm to go away. Those things benefit the community without being about how wicked & sinister & evil those wicked sinister evil theists are.
So we agree. But more than good things in this life it's good things after that the main preoccupation is.

Quote:
Even when the concepts of sin and atonement and such are introduced, it's still communal without being about control; one scapegoat, for example, carries the whole village's sins away into the landscape, not just a person's or even a family's. (And Jesus's sacrifice is a bit like that too: one sacrifice to purify everybody, or at least all Jews... it just got individualized when later people introduced the idea of individual responsibility to "accept" that gift.)

If my community gets more rain on its wheat, then I get more rain on my wheat.
All a bit too fuzzy for me I'm afraid.
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Old 9th July 2019, 10:47 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Anyone know a religion that doesn't offer a personal prize for belonging?
Church of England.
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Old 9th July 2019, 11:23 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Here tis:

https://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/scrndhamma.pdf


From the Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc. no less.

It's late in the evening. My eyes are tired. So I'm not able to locate your quote as yet. But it's obviously something from the intro by Bhikkhu Bodhi and not from the text of the Dhammapada itself. There is no single interpretation of the concept of Karma in Buddhism, and the interpretation expressed in that quote is not necessarily from the Historical Buddha.

Overall and as mostly taught, karma is not about sin and punishment but consequences: the consequences being the psychological sufferings resulting from attachment to ego or the peace of mind resulting from Awareness and letting attachments go. It's a much more nuanced teaching than bad guys will get it in the end and good guys will get the good life. Of course in popular Buddhist religion, people take it as Heaven or Hell. But this is shallow and not the depth of the teaching.
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Old 9th July 2019, 11:34 PM   #19
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Though I'm far from an expert, I believe that the practice of Zen Buddhism involves the separation of one's awareness from one's sense of self, but I'm not sure whether that's what Thor 2 is asking for.
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Old 10th July 2019, 12:17 AM   #20
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Two obvious examples of religions that don't offer any reward for belonging come to mind to mind immediately. One is Unitarian Universalism; the other is Quakerism.

Quakerism does not offer any reward for belonging, other than whatever spiritual or other satisfaction a person gets out of attending meeting.

I should qualify that. There have been a number of splits over the 370 or so years that Quakerism has existed, and some branches of Quakerism (such as evangelical Quakerism) could be seen as offering a reward for belonging. But unprogrammed Quakerism offers no reward for membership. Belonging to a Quaker meeting does not win one admittance to heaven or any other blessing, and not belonging does not threaten any spiritual punishment or lack of reward.

(Many Quakers believe in heaven, and there are undoubtedly some who believe in a hell, but there are no official Quaker teachings or beliefs on either of these subjects. And if there were, membership in a Quaker meeting as a requirement for going to heaven or not going to hell would certainly not be one of them.)

Actually, there are two types of membership in a Quaker meeting -- attenders and formal members -- so I should clarify a little. Anyone who attends meeting regularly (even if infrequently) is considered an attender, and for most purposes attender is synonymous with member.

But in the 1700s, the idea of formal membership was introduced: a person could ask to be recognized as a member of a meeting, a committee would examine whether they held basic Quaker beliefs and behaved in Quakerly fashion, and if so they were formally made members of that meeting.

Basically there are two differences between formal members and attenders. The key one is that formal members are expected to contribute financially to the upkeep of the meeting. (There is no collection taken up in Quaker meetings; but periodically the finance committee for the meeting will give a report during business meeting of how much is in the meeting's treasury and what the current expenses are. The decision of how much or little to contribute is entirely up to the member, but there is an expectation that a person who is a formal member of the meeting will want to help the meeting meet its expenses.)

The other difference is that the clerk of the meeting and the clerks of key committees must be members, and traditionally this has meant formal members rather than simply attenders. But in recent decades a number of meetings have stopped drawing this distinction (because fewer people bother applying for formal membership so often the people most qualified to serve in these positions aren't formal members.

So basically that's it. Formal membership carries with it the privilege of being eligible to serve in the role of clerk and of being expected to contribute to the meeting's upkeep.
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Old 10th July 2019, 04:27 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
How are Christianity and Islam "self-centered" ??

...Believers believe there is some human condition we're all inherently afflicted with. Believers want to save their own asses...
You answered your own question.

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
The idea is that Christians (as an example) do good things for their God because of the promise of eternal reward and the threat of individual punishment if they do not.
It doesn't even just apply to only "doing good things". It's also a major reason for all the worshiping and praying and singing and going to church and preaching to their co-workers. They say so themselves every time they trot out some version of Pascal's Wager.

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
But more than good things in this life it's good things after that the main preoccupation is.
Not usually. That's still saying all religion is the way you want to say it is.
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Old 10th July 2019, 04:35 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Anyone know a religion that doesn't offer a personal prize for belonging?
Communism?

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Old 10th July 2019, 10:39 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Though I'm far from an expert, I believe that the practice of Zen Buddhism involves the separation of one's awareness from one's sense of self, but I'm not sure whether that's what Thor 2 is asking for.
Yes and no. The complete cycle of Satori is transcendence then reintegration of the self. The Middle Way in Zen has never been about the annihilation of the self and being a person but the artificial ego we live in the place of being genuinely present.

It doesn't seem to me that Thor 2 is seeking some faith tradition wisdom but carrying on a polemic against religion. And as far as religious devotion goes, I agree with him that most often it is as self-centered and self-seeking as any other Human endeavor we enter with a lack of awareness.

Though in Soto Zen's "Just Sitting" one dismisses the self for just what is present, one doesn't sit down to begin with without a certain motivation of betterment of one's being. In practice it becomes an activity for the betterment of all beings where the individual self is not anything that can be bettered apart from others. Of course to want to achieve that vision entails a bit of self-interest, but not the toxic bit of self-aggrandizement and self-righteousness.
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Old 10th July 2019, 11:48 AM   #24
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I wonder how those Aztecs felt as they were bullied up to the altar to have their chests cut open and their hearts pulled out. They and the numerous non-Aztecs who were sacrificed were, it's thought, believers in the sun cult and in the sun god they were feeding.

And the Aztec parents who donated small children to be garotted to please the Chacs and bring rain?

But I'm biased toward the official cults of the Valley of Mexico. They've always been my super-fave religions.
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Old 10th July 2019, 12:25 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
You answered your own question.
No I didn't.

Believers believe this is just the way things are and they want to do everything they can to survive. I don't think that is self-centered in the sense the OP wants to convey. It's a struggle out of the human condition they believe everyone is in, not merely a race to some grand prize in heaven.
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Old 10th July 2019, 02:11 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
It's late in the evening. My eyes are tired. So I'm not able to locate your quote as yet. But it's obviously something from the intro by Bhikkhu Bodhi and not from the text of the Dhammapada itself. There is no single interpretation of the concept of Karma in Buddhism, and the interpretation expressed in that quote is not necessarily from the Historical Buddha.

Overall and as mostly taught, karma is not about sin and punishment but consequences: the consequences being the psychological sufferings resulting from attachment to ego or the peace of mind resulting from Awareness and letting attachments go. It's a much more nuanced teaching than bad guys will get it in the end and good guys will get the good life. Of course in popular Buddhist religion, people take it as Heaven or Hell. But this is shallow and not the depth of the teaching.
Yes, what I quoted was from the intro. I thought it relevant because the writer was an "expert". Here are the first two verses from the interpretation:

Quote:
1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an im- pure mind a person speaks or acts suffering fol- lows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow

Not too good having an impure mind it seems. You get mangled by the wheel.


Having lived in Thailand for 6 -7 years, my observation was as obsessive preoccupation with gaining merit, among the Buddhists I lived with. Gaining merit and not provoking bad luck was the goal.
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Old 10th July 2019, 02:35 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
But more than good things in this life it's good things after that the main preoccupation is.
Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Not usually. That's still saying all religion is the way you want to say it is.

What is this crap! What do you know about what I "want to say" religion is.

The main preoccupation of the Abrahamic religions, (that's a big lump), is pleasing God. And in Christianity and Islam, the ultimate reward is getting into Heaven or Paradise. Heaven hadn't opened up yet, when the older sacred scripts were written, so the Jews are a bit vague on the Heaven issue, as I understand it. Getting on the wrong side of God was no fun however, as clearly shown in the texts.
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Old 10th July 2019, 03:27 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
The main preoccupation of the Abrahamic religions...
That is a substantial narrowing of scope compared to our starting point.
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Old 10th July 2019, 03:44 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
That is a substantial narrowing of scope compared to our starting point.

Is it? .......... It's just an illustration.

Oh, I get it....... It's a narrowing of scope in the "way I want to say" stuff, as you can perceive with your special powers of mind reading.
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Old 10th July 2019, 06:34 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
It doesn't seem to me that Thor 2 is seeking some faith tradition wisdom but carrying on a polemic against religion.
Well... yeah. That's what Thor 2 does.
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Old 10th July 2019, 07:35 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Having lived in Thailand for 6 -7 years, my observation was as obsessive preoccupation with gaining merit, among the Buddhists I lived with. Gaining merit and not provoking bad luck was the goal.
Any spiritual tradition comes out as swill on the folk level.

And just as Christ has all kinds of "experts" to speak for him every Sunday Morning, you can get plenty of Buddhist priests who stir the swill of ego preoccupation with "merit." and after-life reward.

Thus the Zen saying, "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him before he attacks you!"
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Old 11th July 2019, 01:48 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Well... yeah. That's what Thor 2 does.

Again with the personal attack! When will it ever end?
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Old 11th July 2019, 02:24 PM   #33
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Just to elaborate a little, one thing I find somewhat irksome is the reverence assumed by, and given to clergy. If said clergy were involved in some purely altruistic activity, there would be no question about their right to be revered. As it is however, the driving motivation is the salvation of self. The salvation of others could possibly deserve a tick of approval, but if that is just fulfilling an obligation demanded by their faith, it becomes tarnished also.
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Old 11th July 2019, 02:44 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Just to elaborate a little, one thing I find somewhat irksome is the reverence assumed by, and given to clergy.
I'd go along with that, but I think you missed my post earlier about non self-centred religions.

I think the Anglican/Episcopalian churches fit what you're looking for, as do the Unitarians.
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Old 11th July 2019, 03:31 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
I'd go along with that, but I think you missed my post earlier about non self-centred religions.

I think the Anglican/Episcopalian churches fit what you're looking for, as do the Unitarians.

Sorry, I thought that a joke.

Are you saying the Anglican Church is not preaching about salvation and damnation. I think I recall, from my distant past, a sermon where Hell and damnation was preached with much fervour. Pretty sure it was C of E but I have been wrong before.
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Old 11th July 2019, 03:51 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post

........

I think the Anglican/Episcopalian churches fit what you're looking for, as do the Unitarians.

After some reading about the Unitarians I'm inclined to agree. They used to believe in salvation and damnation as I read but turfed that stuff out. I'm impressed they don't go for that Trinity crap also.
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Old 11th July 2019, 05:59 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Sorry, I thought that a joke.
You could only think it was a joke if you know nothing about the CoE in the late 20th century and beyond.

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Are you saying the Anglican Church is not preaching about salvation and damnation.
Yes.

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I think I recall, from my distant past, a sermon where Hell and damnation was preached with much fervour. Pretty sure it was C of E but I have been wrong before.
It probably was CoE, but unlike other religions, the church is not just capable of doctrinal change, but actually goes through with it.

They've struck a bit of a problem trying to balance the conservative (anti-gay) sector, but they are a different beast to what they were in the 1960s.

Their belief is not requisite on good works or devoutness. I'm assured by no lesser person than former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, that anyone can and will go to heaven, regardless of their religiosity. Only the irredeemable miss out and they don't go to hell, just vanish, while all the nice people go to an infinite existence of light & beauty.

Outside of a few ultimate "truths" - Jesus' divinity, Mary's virginity, etc - Anglican beliefs in 2019 are pretty liberal.
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Old 12th July 2019, 02:30 PM   #38
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Recently, when looking at some statistics, I was surprised to see the C of E plummeting in numbers, at a significantly greater rate than other denominations, including the Catholic Church, in Australia. I wonder if the not so clear message and inducements, are partly to blame for this.
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Old 12th July 2019, 04:22 PM   #39
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but

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Thanks for that, I had not heard of them before. I don't think they will become a major challenge to The Vatican.
Yes, but for $35 you can become an ordained minister of the Church. Then you can pull rank in any theological argument:

Other dude: Well, I think that the Bible means-
You: Excuse me? Are YOU an ordained minister?
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Old 12th July 2019, 04:26 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Recently, when looking at some statistics, I was surprised to see the C of E plummeting in numbers, at a significantly greater rate than other denominations, including the Catholic Church, in Australia. I wonder if the not so clear message and inducements, are partly to blame for this.
Yep, I agree that's the case.

They felt that liberalisation would draw new members, and the opposite happened.

Theists like an omnipotent god with the threat of hell for all the disgusting atheists. (and muslims)
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