Flamethrowers work better. :laugh:
If however you are the kind of person who will emulate anything a celebrity does and one of your favorites has come out publicly about their beliefs... well I am just going to say that that is a lousy reason to choose a life style but it's not like people haven't done that for years. Drink "pop" soda, it's bubbly and fizzy just like them. 'It tastes heavenly'. :laugh:
Christian influence reached it's peak around 600AD (MAP) Pretty much everything in color on the map was considered Christian; Byzantium, Roman, etc, there were 5 distinct "Bishops" at the time.
Within 150 years the landscape changed to this however (MAP). Islam had started, like Christianity, as something spread by word of mouth and a matter of personal faith but it did not take long before it was being spread by political entities conquering wherever they went. The current batch of terrorists want to bring back this particular type of rule and talk about a new Caliphate rule.
The Ottoman Empire was the last Muslim Empire and it's growth looked like this (MAP). They conquered the once great Byzantium Empire and much much more. At the same time the previous invaders were successfully pushed out of Spain. By the time they were finished however there was only one "Bishop" left (though there is again the Eastern Orthodox and that is another long story...) hence the pope in Rome. The Ottoman Empire lasted in some form or another until the mid 1900's. That is awfully recent.
If you look through the history of the entire world and not just a thousand or so in Europe (a few hundred if you are speaking of the crusades) you will find the same thing everywhere you go. Most religions begin as personal beliefs practiced at home and then become a matter of contention in larger conflicts between opposing nations. Religion is not the cause merely a piece in the larger picture of what makes us human.
I didn't forfeit my religion, it just has no boundries and overlaps with many.
I'm quite surprised this thread survived this long. :D: I don't really see a point in trying to pawn religion off on others. Especially since there are battles of biblical proportions goin' on overseas. But it does happen. It's not really "forcing" others, but saying that others "need Jesus" or "are going to hell" for their lifestyle.
I've stated earlier in my "Church and Work" thread that there are people who chose to condemn others in order to make themselves seem on a higher spiritual plane or to feel better about themselves for choosing that religion/lifestyle. That's what makes it feel like forcing someone in to religion. Pleads to "let a god in your heart" turn in to demands on occasion, which turns in to battles over which religion is "right" or which religion is "better".
There may as well be a "surprise baptism" when certain types of people are around (mainly the over-zealous folk).
Religion gives some people the hope they need to progress from day to day. No one can force you to believe anything. If you don't think that you need religion that fine but don't blame society. The debase world we live in is almost anti-religious (unless you live in the Bible belt).
... I might be going to open up a can of worms by saying this.
I wanted to say religion isn't only on the outer reaches of society. You'll find that where it is profitable to have a general gathering-place, then ergo, there will be a general gathering place. But heres my arguement for that in any case - a religion shouldn't need money, as long as the message is delivered. Belief costs nothing.
So here's what I'm going to say next.
Infrastructures that you must pay to belong in, are cults. And not religion.
You'll find many cults exist within the major areas of society, and not on the fringe or belts of it. However, its best not to confuse one with the other. I don't personally think people are anti-religious in todays modern world, I think they just don't have the time to go to church or whatever. It won't necessarily mean they aren't still religious in some way, but.. yeah. Now, to sum up what I just said..
Religion and cults are two different things.
Ergo, taking cults for example, society doesn't want you to join cults.
Cults want you to join cults.
Just thought I'd pop that up there. <3
I may not be religious in current times, but I am by no means against it. I feel like I can be spiritual without religion. Not because I don't have time to go to church. Because, believe me, I don't do jack-sh*t on Sundays with my free time. It's because I found a different way to be happy withouth the church. I found hope without a bible or prayer. But that's just me. I can't speak for everybody. To sum it up, I feel like there are the religious, the anti-religious, the in-betweens and the spiritual. It's up to each person to decide which one of those groups they are. No matter what the belief, the morals will always remain the same. (I hope I made sense, I tend to babble, LOL)
Well~ like I said, you don't have to GO to church to be a christian. You also don't have to follow whatever BOOK your religion has to a T, because people interpret differently, to some VERY negative ends sometimes. But some GOOD ends too, and its those people that should be commended. I wouldn't ever go against the subject that there AREN'T people in the world that are just so far up in their own backsides that they dont care about anything more than themselves. This is the ant mentality. This is the kind of person who never grows to be anything more spiritual. Insight is stemmed, and they simply become a cog in the societal wheel. Sadly, a lot of people go down that line.
But I'll agree with you, there ARE those that are religious, and those that are anti-religious, those that are unsure or inbetween, or simply spiritual, or 'open'. There are those that just watch. Or decipher. Or interpret the world in their own way. But there are ALSO those that just dont go to church too, and are still christian. Same with Muslims, or Buddhists. Not all of them go to Mecca or sit infront of Buddha every day.
I can understand atheism as a way of;
"Not believing in [enter religion/god here] and I will either die and that will be the end of it, or **I** will choose a belief when I'm ready, whether or not its yours or my own is MY decision."
What I can't understand atheism as, is people who use it in terms of;
"Your religion is wrong, and THIS reason and THIS reason and THIS reason is WHY."
Actual solid anti-religiousness, arguementative against ALL other beliefs, can sometimes be as bad as pure, total "I-am-the-right-one" religiousness. Because in retrospect to BOTH area's there - pride gets a person too up in themselves in both instances. It causes arguements, and fights. If one ruled the world, he would crush ALL religion and religious artifacts and history and burn every man, woman and child that had believed in something. The other, would crush ALL decent atheists or those still "unsure" or disbelieving, bend minds to think the way their intended to, and burn every man, woman and child that didn't believe in their philosophy. Seeing the pattern here? xD
So yes. Let's meet in the middle there.
I wouldnt say there AREN'T people who are anti-religious, religious, in-betweens, whatever, and really, by your own words, you don't need to find hope by reading the bible or praying or going to church - and yet, they'll still be christians or muslims or ANY kind of religious member in their own right.
As for "loop holes" in religions, this is where different peoples interpretations usually come from. People forget that a book is a book. Its about the message and the morals within and what you relate to within it, even if its a story from centuries long, long past, it's amazing how common morals still stay clear. Some people try to be too literal or read too much into things sometimes, I guess. Sometimes people only see what they want to see. Some simply refuse to see, and in some ways, this is as good - OR as bad, as interpreting the scriptures negatively themselves. Criticising, for example. I know someone might say to me soon that you should be able to criticise religion if you want. I'll go further into this if anyone wants.
Me, I kneel down and grasp the soil in my hands. I look up at the stars and how far into the distance they are from us all, where we can't touch them.
I think whatevers going on, it's so astronomically bigger than people will ever comprehend. And whatevers going on, as much as its well-meaning, all of the books in all of human history won't ever contain the full truth of the universe.
Whether its just a self-made explosion, some creator being, or something else entirely. <3