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Is It Okay to Be Non-religious?

Mamono101

生きることは痛みを知ること。
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There's nothing wrong with being non-religious. Many people I know say that they observe a particular faith and then pick and choose which aspects of that faith's ideology they wish to follow, which to me indicates that they can't be as religious as they claim.

I've done the whole religious thing myself and it really was not for me. Does this make me a bad person? Of course not. If something doesn't work for you, then in no way should you have to engage in it. What determines whether or not you are a good person are your ideals and sense of morality. Not how religious you are or aren't.
 

Ventus

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People who aren't religious are not necessarily better or worse than people who are religious. But I will say that spirituality is something that all people need to a degree. We should all strive to reflect on our good and bad deeds daily in order to have ourselves grow. And I think that is impossible without being in tune with your spiritual self.
 

Ganondork

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Many people I know say that they observe a particular faith and then pick and choose which aspects of that faith's ideology they wish to follow, which to me indicates that they can't be as religious as they claim.
That's silly. You should by all means be able to pick and choose what aspects of your holy text you choose to believe and practice. I observe Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, but not Shavuot. I don't keep kosher, either. Does that make me any less of a Jew? No.

Religion is not something that is uniform, unlike what people would lead you to believe. It is a deeply personal thing, and should be treated as such. We see this in a lot of East, where Islam and Buddhism have come together to form Sikhism, where they have explicitly picked-and-chosen what they want to practice. Not all Buddhists follow the same things. Practicing both Hinduism and Buddhism is widespread. I can go on and on. This is an entirely Western view that you have to follow your holy text to the letter, and it's honestly silly.

And another thing. Many holy texts were written over a thousand years ago - and in the case of the Vedas, over 8000 years ago. Many things are outdated. Many things were affected by man. If you think that scriptures haven't changed over the years, then you're sadly mistaken. Hell did not exist in Christianity for a very long time. The Hebrew word used was Sheol, which is also "The grave." Hell as a word comes from German roots, which was not the original language the Bible was written in.

For this reason, you can't truly expect these holy texts to be perfect. They are not written by God. They have been manipulated by man, twisted to fit their doctrines, and interpreted to spread terror (ex: ISIS). The Qur'an is supposedly the closest we have to perfection, as the Word came from the angel Gabriel. And yet, the Hadiths, or Muhammad's sayings and teachings, have been corrupted by men with an agenda of their own.

So I ask you this: why should their level of faith be put into question for not believing in certain parts of a holy text that has been corrupted by the hearts of men?
 

Batman

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Yes, it is okay to be nonreligious and for two main reasons.

1.) The existence of supernatural beings, gods, realms, and forces has no grounding in reality; there has never been any empirical evidence or logical reasoning showing otherwise. Metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, value, and the pursuit of truth, freedom, peace, love, success, and happiness are not only possible without theism - but secular philosophy, logic, and science are objectively better and more trustworthy for these pursuits than anything theism has ever offered or is likely to ever offer.

2.) As an autonomous agent, you have every right to come to your own philosophical conclusions about big topics like this one, whether you are right or wrong in your conclusions.
 

Mamono101

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That's silly. You should by all means be able to pick and choose what aspects of your holy text you choose to believe and practice. I observe Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, but not Shavuot. I don't keep kosher, either. Does that make me any less of a Jew? No.
That's not what I was trying to get across. There are different degrees of religiousness. It doesn't make you less of a Jew or mean that you have less faith, it makes you less religious than say someone who observes everything.

Religion is not something that is uniform, unlike what people would lead you to believe. It is a deeply personal thing, and should be treated as such. We see this in a lot of East, where Islam and Buddhism have come together to form Sikhism, where they have explicitly picked-and-chosen what they want to practice. Not all Buddhists follow the same things. Practicing both Hinduism and Buddhism is widespread. I can go on and on. This is an entirely Western view that you have to follow your holy text to the letter, and it's honestly silly.

And another thing. Many holy texts were written over a thousand years ago - and in the case of the Vedas, over 8000 years ago. Many things are outdated. Many things were affected by man. If you think that scriptures haven't changed over the years, then you're sadly mistaken. Hell did not exist in Christianity for a very long time. The Hebrew word used was Sheol, which is also "The grave." Hell as a word comes from German roots, which was not the original language the Bible was written in.

For this reason, you can't truly expect these holy texts to be perfect. They are not written by God. They have been manipulated by man, twisted to fit their doctrines, and interpreted to spread terror (ex: ISIS). The Qur'an is supposedly the closest we have to perfection, as the Word came from the angel Gabriel. And yet, the Hadiths, or Muhammad's sayings and teachings, have been corrupted by men with an agenda of their own.
I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject of religion, but I never meant to imply that you needed to follow every little thing contained within. It was wrong to reply to this topic with a black and white view on the matter and for that, I apologise. I was trying to get across the notion of different degrees of religiousness. "Can't be as religious as they claim" was definitely poor word choice on my part.

So I ask you this: why should their level of faith be put into question for not believing in certain parts of a holy text that has been corrupted by the hearts of men?
It should not be put into question. The way people should observe their religion should be up to them and if they are happy with their level of religiousness, I'd be the last one to judge them on it. Even when I was actively practicing my faith, I did not observe everything. Does this mean I'm less religious than others who practice? I believe it does but the way I was doing it was right for my needs at the time and as I said up above, it did not mean I had any less faith.
 
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Locke

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Yeah Mamono "religious" is an awkward word that really masks what's truly important. It usually refers to religious practices based on tradition or teaching. The faith itself is often separated from these practices. There are many who follow traditions because that's how they were taught, while there are others with true faith but aren't as concerned with some of the details that faith teaches. My previous post dealt with underlying faith rather than religious acts. If I don't make that leap, then I'd say it's okay to be non-religious, as long as your soul is right with God. It's dangerous to say that though, since many aspects of religion are designed to strengthen that relationship, and failing in that could be a sign of a wavering relationship.
 

Ganondork

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That's not what I was trying to get across. There are different degrees of religiousness. It doesn't make you less of a Jew or mean that you have less faith, it makes you less religious than say someone who observes everything.
I think you have your terms mixed up. What you're describing is your level of being conservative. A very conservative Jew keeps kosher, has been bar mitzvah'd, wears a kipot, observes every holiday, and so forth. However, I can be much more religious than the most conservative Jew - and the fact is, there have been times in which this has been the case. I'm a very liberal Jew, to the point where I don't really even go to Temple, but I am still very religious. I read the Tanakh. I pray. I plan to repent a lot on Rosh Hashanah. While I believe in a different god than other Jews, I am still heavily religious to my own god.

Going to wrap the next bit in spoiler tags because it's heavily anecdotal and personal. I don't care if you read it or not, though I feel it will help you understand the distinction.

I'd be lying if I said that God wasn't a huge part of my life. But that does not mean that I have to do everything that a, "Good Jew," needs to do. See, I didn't grown up as a Jew. While I am ethnically Jewish, I grew up in a Protestant household, and it wasn't until about six months ago that I felt myself falling into a Jewish ideology. I personally think that I may have been more conservative had I grown up in a practicing Jewish family. But this doesn't affect how religious I am. I've really fluctuated over the course of my life in my level of piousness. My faiths have also really changed over the years. I'd say it roughly goes like this:

Methodist -> Atheist -> Methodist -> Agnostic -> Atheist -> Pantheist -> Jewish-Pantheist

I began as relatively religious, to not religious at all. I went back to being a Methodist because I was afraid of being wrong and going to Hell, but quickly went back to my old ways. I then found Pantheism, which I'd say made me more spiritual than anything. In the past six months, I have become very religious, as I have began identifying as a Jew, while retaining Pantheist beliefs entwined with my Jewish practices. Yet, I am very liberal about it, and preach a non-literal reading of the Tanakh. I see much of it as allegorical, and forge morals from them. For instance, I view the Great Flood as spiritual rebirth, which is something that I identify with.

For this reason, you can definitely see a huge difference between how religious I am, and how conservative I am.

I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject of religion, but I never meant to imply that you needed to follow every little thing contained within. It was wrong to reply to this topic with a "black and white" view on the matter and for that, I apologise. I was trying to get across the notion of different degrees of religiousness. "Can't be as religious as they claim" was definitely poor word choice on my part.
No worries. I must always stress this in topics of religion and politics: there is very seldom a black and white answer. There is always a gray area that you need to consider, because each person and situation is very different. Buddha always stressed taking the middle path, and it's something that I personally agree with.
 

Hanyou

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Here is the most important bit of information needed to answer your question: Why are you nonreligious?

I'll add that I see people talking an awful lot about choosing to believe things, but does everyone here think it's a foregone conclusion that you choose to believe? I disagree; I can be persuaded into a certain mode of belief, but I can't choose to believe, for example, that two plus two equals five.

Can you choose to believe statements made with respect to any religion?
 

Terminus

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Side note: If a thread asking the opposite, we'd have nothing but accusations of "baiting" and someone would probably get pretty heavily infracted.

On topic: Is it OK not to believe in the Tooth Fairy or something else without empirical evidence?
 

Snow Queen

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I guess it's okay to be non-religious. I mean, it's your choice, you know? There's no rights or wrongs or absolutes. Just your beliefs.
 

misskitten

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Here is the most important bit of information needed to answer your question: Why are you nonreligious?

I'll add that I see people talking an awful lot about choosing to believe things, but does everyone here think it's a foregone conclusion that you choose to believe? I disagree; I can be persuaded into a certain mode of belief, but I can't choose to believe, for example, that two plus two equals five.

Can you choose to believe statements made with respect to any religion?
Well put, speaking as a non-believer myself, I do not see my lack of religious belief as a choice, because as a child I actually tried to believe, I just didn't manage to convince myself. I have no way of knowing what it must be like to be on the other side of the spectrum, but I can imagine that as natural it is for me not to believe, it must be natural to them to believe.
 

Musicfan

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It's okay not to believe but there are people on both sides who take their opinion and shove it down your throat. You will never avoid it so it's best not to bring up your beliefs with a stranger unless if it is to help the over come something you see them struggling with.

People are cruel when you don't see things there way.
 

Ventus

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not everyone needs a religion religion is for people who are weak and need something to boost them up. because beliefs ail help a lot of people. but not everyone ends them. also its important to remember that just because you belief in a religion you are not stupid because of that. too many people think that because people belief is something that is not probable that they are idiots. thats not right
 

Kylo Ken

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Jesus taught that religion could be self-impeding. Christianity at it's core is not a religion, it's a relationship with God. It's personal. Between you and Him.

So, the truth is, we're not SUPPOSED to be religious, we're supposed to believe in Jesus Christ, and we don't NEED religion for that, though it can help us stay on the narrow path.
 

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