Organized religion: Is it all bad?

#81
As I stated previously, if you do not like my posts, feel free to ignore them. Frequently correcting someone's grammar is a sign of having nothing intelligent to contribute. As for your suggestion to not post anything at all I wil repeat, if you do not like my posts, ignore them.
Just trying to offer you some advice johny boy, so you can avoid future pain.

My Best,
Bertha
 
#83
The spelling thing is a storm in a teacup and not worth worrying about. However, the way I remember it is that the words theology and theism both begin with the letters 'the' (from the Greek theos, god). Hence atheism.
 
#86
A common truism in here, is that organized religion is bad, and an enemy of the truth. While "organized" perhaps sounds ok, "religion" rings bad ...and together, it's more of a monster. Now, this thread is not for listing bad stuff done by, say, the Catholic church or radical Islam; not very interesting.

If you've had a spiritual eureka moment, and share it with your neighbor, you might end up meeting up regularly to discuss it. Is it organized yet? No really. But a few years down the road, you might have put your teachings into a book (dogma!), and you find yourself being the leader of a small crowd (hierarchy!).

We tend to hate on the big older players, while being more accepting with the smaller, newer crowds.

About 10 years ago, when a small rural Swedish pentecostal church was all over the news; they had grown to adopt some weird teachings, and it culminated in murder++. Would it perhaps be a good idea if there was some level of leadership in the movement, overseeing each other a bit? For the movement as a whole (and the murdered and/or disillusioned people), a better organization would perhaps be helpful.

TL;DR: Most spiritual ideas get "organized" at some point, and we should judge each idea by it's own merit, not by level of organization.
I don't think all organized religion is bad. In fact I think many forms of it do a great deal of good. But there are always trade-offs: One person can be completely free, but each of us needs relationships. Few people can be more flexible and more intimate. More people can combine efforts to accomplish more things. Submitting to authority is good for a period of time, but it must eventually be questioned. Abuse of authority is always a problem. Traditions preserve values and work with the natural harmonies and rhythms of life while tradition for tradition's sake can become meaningless and stupid. Enjoying the fruits of wisdom without sharing it could be considered selfish while evangelism can become contrived, guilt-laden, and just weird. The myths of religion provide meaning to life while the need for solid truth imprisons myths in dogmas. Truth must stay fluid to maintain its purity, but this prevents one from grasping it. Truth that can be grasped can be shared, but its purity is degraded.

There is always a delicate balance to be maintained and sooner or later that balance gets lost and things fall apart. Sometimes reformers spring up and make corrections. Institutions are like evolving lifeforms in their own right. They are born full of potential but eventually become all about surviving, expanding, and/or replicating their own existence. Much thought and energy has been spent on trying to figure out how to improve and reform institutions. Perhaps the perfectly engineered institution would have its own timely death programmed into it.
 
#87
A common truism in here, is that organized religion is bad, and an enemy of the truth. While "organized" perhaps sounds ok, "religion" rings bad ...and together, it's more of a monster. Now, this thread is not for listing bad stuff done by, say, the Catholic church or radical Islam; not very interesting.

If you've had a spiritual eureka moment, and share it with your neighbor, you might end up meeting up regularly to discuss it. Is it organized yet? No really. But a few years down the road, you might have put your teachings into a book (dogma!), and you find yourself being the leader of a small crowd (hierarchy!).

We tend to hate on the big older players, while being more accepting with the smaller, newer crowds.

About 10 years ago, when a small rural Swedish pentecostal church was all over the news; they had grown to adopt some weird teachings, and it culminated in murder++. Would it perhaps be a good idea if there was some level of leadership in the movement, overseeing each other a bit? For the movement as a whole (and the murdered and/or disillusioned people), a better organization would perhaps be helpful.

TL;DR: Most spiritual ideas get "organized" at some point, and we should judge each idea by it's own merit, not by level of organization.
Jesus always said "The Kingdom Of God is within you". Literally, the church is inside of you and anyone of us has full access to it. It's hard coded; even Satan has this and all demons because they are still children of God and were created by God. The reason we all don't have access to God is because, most of us are fallen beings and some of us have lower state of consciousness that the noise drowns out the "Still Small Voice" from the heart . If you are not a fallen being, then you would not have re-incarnated on Earth. There are many planets and universes that have a much much higher vibration than on Earth, but we don't qualify because we all have a lower state of consciousness. Or else we have ascended by being un-attached and un-influenced by the Prince Of This World and henceforth do not require to re-incarnate any longer on Earth. This is the final graduation; or initiation before ascension.

But how do we get from nothing to the final graduation in order for us to complete basic training. One avenue is through religion. The basic form of religion is basically a set of outer teachings of the "One God" to help guide a lost lifestream who had been through many lifetimes enduring lessons through the "School Of Hardknocks" to reconnect back to God. Do not mistaken this guidance to mediumship or psychic abilities. Mediumship only communicate with lower level life forms and discarnate souls and very very rarely with Ascended masters and God as this form of communication is very personal and very private reserved only for the intended individual lifestream embodied on Earth who have attained a high enough level of consciousness to initiate this process. I called it, at least in my experience the "Matrix Moment" like Nero. The knowledge is downloaded complete and you then will know like I now know Kung Fu for example.

The original founding principles of religion were founded by their founders due to their deep connection to God. They have such a high vibrational frequency that talking to God is like talking to your parents, sisters and siblings. It's that easy. It requires a very strict and disciplined mindset devoid of all "EGO" and influences from the dark side or the Prince Of This World. Therefore, these chosen messengers formed the leaders of the organized religion you see today. As times go by, more people joined these organized religion, some people are helped by it by "Internalizing" the teachings that the Kingdom Of God is truly within you. In Christianity world, one of its original disciples of Jesus Christ who truly internalized Jesus Christ's teachings was NOT Peter, but Mary Magdalene. If you look at modern Christianity; everything relates to Peter. In fact, modern Christiniaty is still steeped in deep Paternalistic views. Almost all organized religions are steeped in male dominance. And they made Mary look like she's some kind of whore unworthy of leadership. God is all Alpha and Omega (man and woman equal). Why are women sidelined and belittled in organized religion? How come we don't have a female pope?

As the lineage lengthened, the original founders who had a solid connection to God were succeeded by their followers who simply lust for power and control. Why be a servant to the people when you can be their masters? Knowing that everyone HAS ACCESS to this spiritual knowledge if one only has to look inside him or herself, organizers of these religions started to take control and brain wash their later followers that the only way to talk to their God is through them. Mediumship is also another way to control information flow through a bridge and some spiritualist churchs use this form of control on their fellowship. Religion today has now been made to act as a bridge between the people who claimed to know the truth and their followers who some doubt those are not the truth. Why the doubt? Because we can all talk to God; it's basic form is steeped in what we call "Intuition", which is the basic form of communication with God.

So then, some of us will eventually and naturally leave or separate from the established group that actually brought us initially closer to God and either form our own or go solo. In order to be even closer to God, you have to form your personal relationship with him through an internal teacher. The Guru/Chela relationship is now formed whereby you will learn the spiritual truth from this internal teacher. Most people have a lot of problems conceptualizing this because they are anti-authority based. Well, it is not. You are basically learning secrets to life that are otherwise untaught from the other outer teachers. These teachers are there for your personal spiritual growth. From there on, you live by the principles, heal your own personal psychology and transcend all and then teach other human beings how they too can walk the path you had walked and help them grow and transcend their own lower state of consciousness. This is a life of self-less service. Eventually we all have to walk this path.

So in a way, the original purpose of religion is to get people back into the right path. Unfortunately, today's modern religions are dogged by duality between one extreme on one end and the other extreme on the other; each claiming they are the best and the truest.
Religion is the means to a start on your spiritual path, but is not always the means to an end and truth. So if you take a balanced approach in the view of modern religion; it's neither good or bad because it's the person who decides how to interpret it. It's not the religion itself that's bad as this in itself is duality thinking.
 
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#89
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/o...s-kristof-a-little-respect-for-dr-foster.html
Today, among urban Americans and Europeans, “evangelical Christian” is sometimes a synonym for “rube.” In liberal circles, evangelicals constitute one of the few groups that it’s safe to mock openly.

Yet the liberal caricature of evangelicals is incomplete and unfair. I have little in common, politically or theologically, with evangelicals or, while I’m at it, conservative Roman Catholics. But I’ve been truly awed by those I’ve seen in so many remote places, combating illiteracy and warlords, famine and disease, humbly struggling to do the Lord’s work as they see it, and it is offensive to see good people derided.​
 
#90
I think of religion as a cocktail of history, mythology, philosophy, and ceremony, with a twist of personal experience. Like all cocktails, it's not for everyone and proves dangerous when overused, but in the right doses, it's great to share with family and loved ones and can get you through a lousy week.
 
#91
I never heard of atheism helping anyone to turn their life around the way religion has done for many people.

Neither of professional musician Dan Conway's parents were religious and he was an atheist until he felt his life was going in the wrong direction...

The relevant part of the video starts at 9:38


"In some way's I guess things were going well. As you said I got to perform on Australia's Got Talent. ... I'm no stranger to the music business so ... I had a record deal when I was 16 with Sony and another one sometime later I think with EMI. So I was no stranger to all that. But, I was actually really unhappy. And I was only growing more unhappy. And I wasn't living well. The more time went on the more I was hurting myself and others. It wasn't pretty. I came to a place where I just want to think ... maybe there's something to this God thing and maybe I missed it. So I thought, I want to know. I want to know I don't really want to be into what feels good or what suits me I actaully want to know what's the truth."
This was an from an atheist from birth, born to atheist parents being skeptical about atheism: "I don't really want to be into what feels good or what suits me. I actually want to know what's the truth".

"And so I committed I'm going to figure it out. I'm going to commit to following the evidence wherever it leads. I became a regular debate viewer on line and read books on God and his existence. When I got real radical I'd listen to a sermon or two. All as an atheist. But the most crucial part of that was really when I examined my own heart and did that the very last. But when I saw what was in there and when I considered who Jesus might be that led me to believe in God. Everything changed at that point. I guess I had a really a change of being. Somewhere deep I don't even know where. And that changed my thinking my desires, my outlook, so I guess it was natural that my music changed with it."
 
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#92
Neither of professional musician Dan Conway's parents were religious and he was an atheist until he felt his life was going in the wrong direction...
I've heard and read a lot of stories like this and it is one of the reasons I have a generally favorable opinion of religion. This type of evidence shows that there is something good in religion and rather than rejecting all religion because some of it is bad, we should try to understand what is good in it and figure out how to use that in a practical way to improve people's well being.
 
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#93
"Organized religion: Is it all bad?"

It seems to have helped Lee Strobel.

Strobel is a journalist and his research into the authenticity of the Gospels transformed his life. He started out as an atheist skeptic but when he used his credentials as a reporter to get access to the worlds leading historians, the results of his research made a believer out of him.


"... [believing] began a transformational process for me where over time my philosophy and my attitudes, relationships, parenting, world-view, all of that began to change over time for good. Really for good."

"When Lee became a Christian his whole life started to change to the extent that our five year old daughter who also saw those changes went to her Sunday school teacher and told her that she wanted Jesus to do in her life what He had done in her Daddy's life."​
 
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#94
Do we die alone?

Some do, some don't. But reports from hospice workers often tell that a dying person may be surrounded by one or more living relatives saying goodbye, and one or more of the deceased giving a welcome. It can be quite a crowd, all told!
For those who think it is possible, I accept that this account is true as I have spoken to witnesses who were there. It was reported in Psychic News at the time.

"Two days before her father passed, at about 1am in the morning, Jo was called to her father’s bedside. Her younger sister and two of her brothers, along with her mother, were there. Her father had suffered a stroke, and after a while her mother retired to bed, with a promise that she would be awakened if there was any change with Dad.
They had been quietly sitting along the length of the bed for about 30 minutes, none of them saying a word to each other, when to Jo’s left, a lady’s voice called out, “'Ray”. Jo’s sister looked at Jo in total surprise, and said, “ I have just heard a woman”. Jo said, “ Yes, I did too”.

A brother, who was sat between them, acknowledged her also, then the voice came again, this time from Jo’s right. She called his name again. The youngest brother, who was sitting near Dad’s feet, went a horrid colour of grey. He was muttering under his breath, that although he had some belief in an afterlife, he really didn’t want to experience anything and would they please stop!

Again the voice came, from in front of them. Jo’s sister asked if she could see the woman. At first she couldn’t, but then the woman appeared to her floating above her Dad, her face very close to his. Jo knew who it was instantly, although she appeared a lot younger than she had previously seen her on the earth plane. It was his mother. A moment later she called to her son again, this time using his full name, “'Raymond'”, but also asked him to go with her. They were all transfixed. The feeling of love in the room was intoxicating. Their Dad, who had been unconscious for over 24 hours at this point, slowly opened his eyes, and after a few seconds his eyes widened almost in astonishment, before he slowly closed them again.
His mother was not going to be defeated. She moved to his side, and started calling him again, speaking into his right ear. Six times in all she spoke, clearly audible to all in the room. Jo’s older brother encouraged her father to go with her, reassuring him it was OK to leave. "
 
#98
http://theweek.com/articles/551027/how-christianity-invented-children
How Christianity invented children

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought. In fact, we forget about it precisely because of how deep it was: There are many ideas that we simply take for granted as natural and obvious, when in fact they didn't exist until the arrival of Christianity changed things completely. Take, for instance, the idea of children.

Today, it is simply taken for granted that the innocence and vulnerability of children makes them beings of particular value, and entitled to particular care. We also romanticize children — their beauty, their joy, their liveliness. Our culture encourages us to let ourselves fall prey to our gooey feelings whenever we look at baby pictures. What could be more natural?

In fact, this view of children is a historical oddity. If you disagree, just go back to the view of children that prevailed in Europe's ancient pagan world.

...
High infant mortality rates created a cultural pressure to not develop emotional attachments to children. This cultural pressure was exacerbated by the fact that women were more likely to develop emotional attachments to children — which, according to the worldview of the day, meant it had to be a sign of weakness and vulgarity.

Various pagan authors describe children as being more like plants than human beings. And this had concrete consequences.

Well-to-do parents typically did not interact with their children, leaving them up to the care of slaves. Children were rudely brought up, and very strong beatings were a normal part of education. In Rome, a child's father had the right to kill him for whatever reason until he came of age.

...
One of the most notorious ancient practices that Christianity rebelled against was the frequent practice of expositio, basically the abandonment of unwanted infants. (Of course, girls were abandoned much more often than boys, which meant, as the historical sociologist Rodney Stark has pointed out, that Roman society had an extremely lopsided gender ratio, contributing to its violence and permanent tension.)

Another notorious practice in the ancient world was the sexual exploitation of children.
...
Think back on expositio. According to our sources, most abandoned children died — but some were "rescued," almost inevitably into slavery. And the most profitable way for a small child slave to earn money was as a sex slave. Brothels specializing in child sex slaves, particularly boys, were established, legal, and thriving businesses in ancient Rome.
...
Of course, the rich didn't have to bother with brothels — they had all the rights to abuse their slaves (and even their children) as they pleased. And, again, this was perfectly licit.
...
This is the world into which Christianity came, calling attention to children and ascribing special worth to them. Church leaders meditated on Jesus' instruction to imitate children and proposed ways that Christians should look up to and become more like them.
...
But really, Christianity's invention of children — that is, its invention of the cultural idea of children as treasured human beings — was really an outgrowth of its most stupendous and revolutionary idea: the radical equality, and the infinite value, of every single human being as a beloved child of God. If the God who made heaven and Earth chose to reveal himself, not as an emperor, but as a slave punished on the cross, then no one could claim higher dignity than anyone else on the basis of earthly status.

That was indeed a revolutionary idea, and it changed our culture so much that we no longer even recognize it.
 
http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/why-atheists-change-their-mind-8-common-factors/4729/

Why Atheists Change Their Mind: 8 Common Factors
by Matt Nelson April 17, 2015
...
1. Good Literature and Reasonable Writing.
...
2. “Experimentation” with Prayer and the Word of God.
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3. Historical Study of the Gospels.
...
4. Honest Philosophical Reasoning.
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5. Reasonable Believers.
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6. Modern Advances and Limitations in Science.
...
7. Evidence For The Resurrection.
...
8. Beauty.
 
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