God Talk - Now with (hopefully) 100% less spam and flaming!
So. There seems to be one topic we can never bring up in the Smart Talk section without it devolving into a back-and-forth spam/flamefest: Religion.
I've just started back up in my last semester of school and I'm in a Philosophy of Religion class that promises to be rather interesting. And like most web citizens, I like to take things from my real life onto the Internet.
So I propose this: We start a thread on religion and (gasp!) don't flame each other for ours beliefs, but just try to discuss our philosophies as (gasp again!) Smart People (TM).
Anyone with me? Good. I sincerely hope so.
The major problem I see with discussing religions is that people will almost always get caught up in the acts committed by a religion's devotees, rather than the actual faith and morals/values/behaviors the religion proposes. So I'd like to set up some ground rules:
1. No making fun of someone's beliefs just because they're different! Yours are sure to be different from almost everyone else's, too, so there's no reason to do this.
2. No posts talking about how religion should be banned, or how it should be eliminated, or how it causes all of the world's problems. Religious faith doesn't cause problems; religious devotees, fanatics, and charlatans do.
3. NO spam. Please. I really don't care how funny this one photo your buddy's brother's roommate sent you was. Post it somewhere else. Leave this place open for serious, intellectual religious discussion.
4. Feel free to question someone's beliefs, but try to keep it to clarification or for contrasting them against your own. Don't question their beliefs repeatedly to try to make them look silly. If their beliefs actually are silly, they'll probably look that way without much help.
5. If you're going to get into a dialogue about religion, please... avoid abortion, suicide, evolution/creation, etc. Those are all great topics, but there's a lot of raw emotion tied to them and such discussions usually degrade pretty quickly.
So... Whether you're a Bible-thumping Christian who puts the "fun" in Fundamentalist or a godless heathen (;)), please talk about your beliefs here!
I'll start off.
I've always been labelled "Christian," though my personal definition of what that means has changed many many times.
I was raised in a very liberal household that held that so long as you loved God and tried to do your best to help others, you'll be rewarded for it. I was raised in a church-every-Sunday setting, was active in my youth group and on mission trips, that sort of thing.
During high school, I joined a group called Young Life, which turned out to be a much more conservative version of Christianity than I had come to know. I was intrigued by the level of depth they went into in their study of the Bible, something I really hadn't done yet. I sort of got sucked into more conservative beliefs myself through this.
My first college was in a very religiously-conservative town. My best friends were a good mix of atheists, agnostics, wiccans, and a few fundamentalist Christians. I attended Campus Crusade for Christ and a Bible study and all sorts of stuff, and became much more fundamentalist myself. Yes, I admit, there was even a time when I stopped believing in evolution, and almost accepted the Bible as literal truth.
But what I found odd was that I was only really that way while I was at school. I realized that those weren't my beliefs, but those of the people I spent a lot of my time with. The last few years I've spent trying to figure out just what it is that I do believe.
So this is sort of a cop-out, because I'm not really sure. But I'm still looking.
Anyways... I pass the torch on now to whoever is brave enough to post next :)