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Does religion help?

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Zurkhardo

Well-Known Member
#21
I don't doubt that religion helps. The question is whether it is better to be helped by faith, or by a way of thinking that is more grounded in reality. It's utilitarian argument versus a logical one, and I'm personally split on the matter, though I lean to the latter.
 

Allie123

Well-Known Member
#22
For me, religion did NOT help. I was lost and looking for something to fix my life, so I spent a few years trying really hard to find meaning through religion . I think the concept of an all-powerful god who will love and take care of me was so seductive, that i was unable to listen to the parts of my brain that knew this wasn't for me. For a little while it helped, but when I realized what I was doing, it left me off worse than when I started.

I know I'm bitter and I hope this doesn't offend anyone. But I feel like religion in my life was just another 'quick fix' to make me feel temporarily better without fixing anything. No different than substance abuse, bulimia...

I guess I just want to stress that it may help you to find meaning through religion, and if it does I am happy for you. Just please just keep an open mind and be careful... make sure you're not being pulled into it as a false sense of security, because ultimately, if you don't believe in what the religion is saying even if it feels better temporarily it WILL blow up in your face.
 

fromthatshow

Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#23
I am spiritual but not subscribed to any one religion. I take a little bit of everything.

I think it may be hard to simply "become" religious. What I would try to do is to start listening with your heart instead of your head for a while. Like you said you are rationalizing different reasons why God cannot exist. You are thinking with the ego, but try gauging how you feel about things with your heart. Check out different spiritual and/or religious belief systems. See how it feels in your heart.
 

Chargette

Well-Known Member
#24
I am spiritual but not subscribed to any one religion. I take a little bit of everything.

I think it may be hard to simply "become" religious. What I would try to do is to start listening with your heart instead of your head for a while. Like you said you are rationalizing different reasons why God cannot exist. You are thinking with the ego, but try gauging how you feel about things with your heart. Check out different spiritual and/or religious belief systems. See how it feels in your heart.
I agree!
 

Anime-Zodiac

Well-Known Member
#25
This is a good question, i've wondered the same as well. But ultimately I will follow my own path. Out of all the religions though, I think my beliefs follow closest to Taoism and Jainism.
 

johnnysays

Well-Known Member
#26
In my recent downward spiral I've been thinking~ would religion help me?
I've always been Agonistic, unsure whether I beleive or not. I've heard it can help people but I'm also kinda sceptical.
I study Philosophy and the 2 year course packs your head with arguments against God's existence and things like that but I want to beleive.
I want to be able to pray and feel like someone is listening and can answer my prayers.
I want to take refuge in the fact that when I pass away I'll go to a wonderful place, not just be thown into a hole and left to rot.

But I'm still unsure of these things. My family are all atheist and would laugh and call me a "bible basher" if I let them know I was thinking about it. I'd like to get a copy of the bible and read it.

Gahh I dont think I' making sence.

Does anyone here find religion helps? Be it Christianity, Islam, Buddhist ect ect.
Please help!
Panda x
I've written about this a little bit in my post history. I'll try to sum up how I feel here in as few words I can.

I think for some people religion centers them. It's BELIEF that makes the difference. For some people pain and knowledge bring dismay and nothing can prevent this because they cannot prevent every instance of pain and loss in this world. For some this pain hits them deeply, a mortal wound, and belief, in their case, might be the only sanctuary for them in this world.

I think that the nature of this challenge resides inside us, not outside. This ties to my recent thinking about our inner reality being potentially more important than the outer one. For many the inner reality is the enemy, the oppressor, the matrix (read: the movie made in 1999). I believe that more are harmed by what's inside than what's outside. Religion is one place you can go inside to find some answers specifically handmade for you. But the internal war is varied.

Some scale this wall in other ways. There're many ways to skin an apple.

But for all of us, the battle, in my opinion of late, is internal.

Watch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oHOv9p9dHQ

We're all Neo battling our inner matrix. Fears, conceptions, images, they all work to cripple us. We must construct an internal reality that is in harmony with the reality that's outside and also empowers us. To do this we must defeat the matrix.

I do not have any answers. The answers are different for each of us. It's a battle I think we fight inside. Our internal reality is filled with characters we have created. So we can never be alone. Some of the characters try to help us. Some try to enslave.
 
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chjones21

Well-Known Member
#27
Hello Panda I was on a website once and I saw someone's (an atheists signature) and it said "I believe in kindness".

I don't think that is a bad place to start in many ways.

I have an aunt (and she is absolutely my favourite aunt) but I think she just grows in kindness every day and with that, it seems to me, she grows immensely in wisdom too. And if I (unfairly) compare her with her brother, my uncle, the difference is clear - he is getting more confused, more angry, more self-righteous and dictating as he gets older and I think more fearful but my aunt gets kinder, she greets everyone with a huge smile, she has a great sense of humour and such a genuineness in her voice "It's so lovely to see you" --- can be said in so many ways but when it is said heartfelt and genuine, it is just perfect.

On top of that I think anything connected with truthfulness, non-violence, purity.

I wish you all the best and don't worry too much about your family poking fun at you with your 'bible-bashing'... :) it is fine. We can all tease and it is a good way of making sure that people stay grounded too --- you need to remember that there is a dark side to religion an almost psychotic side which drives young people (like that young Nigerian, the underpants bomber) to think that they HAVE TO blow up not just themselves but a plane full of completely innocent strangers to them...

I love philosophy, I think there were many religious philosophers so I don't doubt you will come across them too --- my personal favourites are:
Plato/Socrates - absolutely in love with Socrates!
Shakespeare --- a playwright but a very philosophical one in my view, also somewhat in love with Shakespeare ... oh dear
and well, I am not sure there is any point of writing a long list of my faves -

I think, in the end, it is not so much a question of whether religion helps but whether it is true for you. I think religion can be very uncomfortable viz. St Francis, Jesus of Nazareth, Thomas More and any number of martyrs ... across all religions. But if it feels true for you, I think you should respect that - whilst remaining unpsychotic/grounded and keeping a sense of humour. I think a sense of humour should be a prerequisite for anyone considering religion ... otherwise the potential to go off at the deep end it quite high. Just my opinion btw!!!
 
#28
I find religion to be a delusion that people like to indulge in, sort of a form of escapism, so in that sense I can see how it can help, as people seem to be attracted to things that help them escape from reality. I prefer to be grounded in reality and truth, most of the time, and have rejected religion because I don't find it holds any truth but yeah I can see how religion can provide comfort and a sense of community for people, which would be beneficial to those who indulge in religion. Having said that I think seeking out the truth and applying logic to justify my beliefs is far more rewarding.

This is a good article that may help gain some perspective. Hope this helps.
What are reality and truth? To a certain extent you choose your own reality. For me, I could never feel grounded in reality and truth, because i just feel unsure about so many things, nothing seems concrete anymore. I guess seeing how distorted you mind can become first hand, has sort of got rid of what i now see almost as illusions. I don't find the world logical for the most part.
Neither do any of the religions i know about do that much for me, but i feel some spirituality. I definitely didn't when i was younger.
 
#29
I think I can understand why people choose a religion,maybe coz it's just too shit to think that this is all there is. That when we die that's it,I guess it gives people hope and a reason for living coz they think there's something better to come afterwards. I'm an atheist and I really don't believe in anything,when I die I think that will be that and I can cope with that thought.
 

tx915

Active Member
#30
I lived as an atheist for close to 15 years. It's only been after my divorce that I've turned to religion to fill a void I had. I wouldn't call myself a born again Christian but I do go to church every Sunday. I like the positive and encouraging nature of the specific branch of Christian church I attend. As an atheist when someone close to me would die there was no comforting. I would end up drinking for days on end until I was able to block out the emotions and uncertainty enough. Since "finding" religion I feel comforted that maybe there is something out there.

My whole basis of following this lifestyle is that as an atheist I had a definite spiritual void.. a constant emptiness inside of me. Since attending religious functions and subscribing to some religious beliefs the void seems less empty. I don't feel as spiritually dead. I also have been really supported by the community that organized religion brings.

I really support whatever gives people comfort though, every individuals search for truth and meaning is worthwhile :) My ex husband is still a happy atheist but i'm pretty glad I tried something different.
 
#31
Hi Panda,

Please be careful! I think I can understand the feeling of wanting to believe. But the important thing to realise is that religion, of all kinds, is not actually about belief as such. And 'faith' has nothing to do with it either.

Religion serves one purpose and one only, and that is to give people a sense of community with one another. And we all want to belong to something, to be a part of something, so desperately. The fact that we cannot fulfill the need to belong is the reason that most of us are here, on this forum!

Seriously, think about it. I don't think you are going to find anyone with suicidal feelings who also feels like they 'belong', to whatever it might be. Just feeling like you fit in at work or school is usually enough to give a feeling of belonging sufficient to make suicide not just an unnatractive concept, but a frightening idea. And it would be very hard to find anyone who feels the contentment of belonging who is suicidal. That is why I maintain that depression is not generally a mental illness, as it is almost always a result of feeling as if you don't 'belong'. Only in a very few cases would it be justified to treat depression as a mental illness. That is why I cannot condemn suicidal thoughts as being somehow 'wrong', as they are a natural result of the horrible feelings of loneliness and despair brought about by not 'belonging'.

So, you might think that religion is a good idea right? Something to belong to?

As I asked before, please be careful. The reason religion is such a problem, and not a general solution for those who feel as we do, is that all religions strictly define what you may and may not belong to. What I mean by this is that the religion is not interested at all in your beliefs as they are before you join the religion. Religions are also not interested in having you discover or develop your own beliefs either. There may be folks out there who want to take me to task about that last statement, they should take a closer look at Buddhism and Wicca before mentioning them, and don't start me on Universal Unitarianism!

In a religion, sure, you will have a sense of belonging. But that belonging goes only so far as your acceptance of the doctrine presented, as evidenced to other members of the religion by your behaviour. If you do not accept what they say, you will be kicked out. And no matter how bad you feel now, it will be a pleasant memory for you after you are rejected by your religion!

Sure, some people are capable of 'toeing the line' and fitting in. But the fact you are on this forum, feeling the way you do, is a good sign of your strong sense of independence, not something compatible with religion.

What is needed is to find some way to interact with others, in a group to which you feel you really belong, but without having to sign up to any particular doctrine. Might I suggest that you have already found such a group?

Yes, US!

Of course, the only drawback of 'belonging' to such a group is the nature of what ties us together. Suicide, one way or another. But this need not be the only focus here, that is why large chunks of this site are devoted to discussion of things other than suicide.

We are very interested in who you are, and we wouldn't want to make you believe anything! We care for you because you are you, it is unconditional, and continues no matter what. And you will always be a part of the US that is this site.

So, if you want something to believe in, come and believe in US (Including yourself!)

John. (One of US!)
 

Daphna

Well-Known Member
#32
Getting to know our Creator has helped me tremendously. I decided to read the Bible myself in order to form my own opinion and I am glad I did. I never believed it held truth before and I judged it by the flawed humans who claimed to know what it says. I encourage you to do the same. Your questions have answers. My recent post about why the world is here answers what I have found by doing so. Blessings...
 
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