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Topic: Q for Non-Traditional Christians or non-Christians?

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Subject: Q for Non-Traditional Christians or non-Christians?
Date Posted: 5/11/2008 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,693
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Ok, this is all ya'lls fault...and Lester it is your fault too, you got me talking again in here...and for the rest of you, you've gotten me curious.  Now this thread is not for proselytization (not sure I spelled that right)..aka: preaching by tradtional Christians AND it is not for scripture quoting...

Here's my question...and I'm asking this in genuine interest.  If you are a non-traditional Christian or a non-Christian would you tell me some about what you believe in your religion?    I've heard the comments like UU's, Tao, Satanist, etc...I'd like to know what you believe...I've recently pulled up information on Jehovah Witness, Mormons, Mennonites, and Assembly of God so, make it more personal in your beliefs and explain them to me.

I'll start off, I consider myself a non-traditional Christian (Seventh-Day Adventist)...because:

1.   I believe in and to the best of my ability keep all 10 Commandments including the Sabbath.  I attend church on       the Sabbath.

2.   I believe that when you die you are asleep in the grave until Christ returns again to take His people home. 

3.   I do not believe that you will burn indefinitely in hell..aka: ever burning hellfire.  I believe that unsaved sinners            will burn until they are consumed and nothing remains but ashes.

4.   I believe that the Bible, both old and new testaments are the inspired word of God and that the Old testament           has not been made null and void.

I'm trying to think of other ways that I believe differently from other religions.  If I think of some other points where my beliefs differ I'll edit my post.

Please educate me...thanks!!

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 8:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,716
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I am a Secular Humanist, which really just means I am a non-believer.  I've been a non-believer since I was a teen, but I did give church a try for about a year for my husband's sake and just out of curiosity about 8 years ago.  Here's a link to the Secular Humanist site that gives a simple description of what it is.  http://www.secularhumanism.org/

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/11/2008 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Just FYI incase you missed it - There is a thread where people introduced themsleves and many responded there:

http://www.paperbackswap.com/forum/topic.php?t=72885

 

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,693
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Ok thanks, my hope was to get folks to explain about their beliefs here without having to hunt all over the internet for the information...guess not!!!

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 11:03 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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Don't give up so easily, Christy!

I haven't responded to the "introduce yourself" thread, though maybe I should.  "Tao" means "way" but this is really only a rough translation.  There is no precise English equivalent.  Any way, here's the basics I believe in as Taoist:

The Tao is the source and cause of everything.  We are all a part of it and it is a part of us.  It flows through all life, and through non-living things as well.  Everything that you see, experience, or in any way are aware of is part of the Tao.

Tao is not a "god" in the sense of a being that answers prayers, takes an interest in our lives.  It is not personified.  The Tao isn't "other" it is us and it is others.  Which also means that, viewed from a certain perspective, you and I everyone else are one being and are directly interconnected.

Opposites, contrasts, are illusion.  You can't have good without bad, pretty without ugly, and certainty without doubt.

Striving for a thing tends to create the opposite.  When you strive for security, you create insecurity.  When you strive for good, you create evil.  When you strive for truth, you create lies.

In fact, striving generally is a bad thing.  The goal is to act without acting, to follow nature, act in harmony.  I think a lot of people assume that this means you can do whatever you feel like and it's okay - but that's not it at all.  You need to be sure that what you "feel" like doing is in harmony with the tao, and not against it.  If you spend time quietly listening, whether through meditation or observation of the outside, you usually find that one way just "feels" more correct than another.  I can't really explain it, it has to be experienced directly.  I think most people have experienced it at one time or another though they may call it something else.

I frequently say that "God" has spoken to me, because it is easier to say "God" than "I have heard the Tao" and then spend all day in explanations.  :)

I hope that sheds some light.  I'd be happy to answer any questions you have, to the best of my ability, though I do not in any way consider myself an expert on Taoism.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/11/2008 11:03 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Well Christy, there's no harm in asking - I just thought you might have missed the discussion. :)

The problem with asking questions like this is that no two people in any one faith will believe the same thing...and when you ask it of agnostics and atheists, we all have different reasons for believing what we do.  So as long as you don't take any one person's response as representative of that entire faith, you'll probably be ok.

UU is shorthand for Unitarian-Universalism, which is the faith I belong to.

If you go here:

http://www.uua.org/

And click the "visitors" link, you will find out the basics of what we believe.  No two UUs have the same theology, and that's sort of our core philosophy - to develop your own beliefs.

Feel free to ask questions, either her or via PM, if you'd like. :)

 

Date Posted: 5/12/2008 7:46 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Hello, Christy! That was interesting, and I enjoyed reading it. 

I'm a Methodist, although there are portions of Methodist theology I do not accept and the following should not be considered the official Methodist position, although it does represent the private thinking of most of the Methodists I know. I accept Jesus as the Christ, my Lord and Savior, and accept Christianity as my path to the truth. I believe that the Bible is a collection of the works of men who were inspired by God, but had their own agendas, and that it contains much human error and corruption, some intentional, some simple error.

I do not believe in hell as such - my belief is more one of a condition of distancing from God and all God represents, which is hope and love. I believe in everlasting life, but not hanging around Heaven in a robe and wings, singing for eternity. I believe one enters the everlasting at the time of death, and I'm inclined to think that one is eventually born again into life for the further development of the soul, but I haven't made up my mind about that. At my age, I'll be pretty sure to find out for certain relatively soon now.

I do not believe that homosexuality is a sin or a mental health condition or anything else that needs to be reformed or corrected.

I do not think that a person has to be a Christian to have a relationship with the divine. ETA: This is why I consider myself non-traditional. Most Christians believe that Christianity is the exclusive path to the truth.

I do not think we are saved by works but I do believe that our faith compels us to show God's love by doing what we can to help others without expecting anything - even grace - in return.

Our friends include agnostics, atheists, Catholics (my wife is Catholic, sort of ...), protestants of every denomination, some people who go to Unity Church, a couple of UUs, Jews, a couple of Muslims, a lot of Wiccans and other earth-based religions, several LDS, one Hindu, some Buddhists, and my wife's best friend is born-again as are several of my grandkids. We get to celebrate lots and lots of holidays!

I celebrate the joy and peace my faith gives me, and I love it if someone else joins me in that faith, but I have never once asked someone whether they were a Christian or whether they were saved - to me, that's between them and God.

Guess I went on some, didn't I? Never give an old man an excuse to talk. :-)

I'm really looking forward to reading other answers here, and I've enjoyed reading the answers above. We all have so much to learn from one another. There is so much more that unites us than divides us.

Lester



Last Edited on: 5/12/08 5:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2008 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 1,278
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I tend not to believe in the supernatural because I haven't seen any credible evidence to support the existence of supernatural beings. I'm a bit more passionate in my disdain for the usual conception of the Christian God because any scrutiny of mainstream Christian beliefs illuminates inconsistencies and a lack of logic which, to me, makes the whole thing untenable.

What I do believe is that we should all be as kind and good to one another as possible, and that we should strive to be more kind and more good all the time. I also believe, as the author of Ecclesiastes put it,  "A man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and be merry." (Ecclesiastes 8: 15)

Date Posted: 5/12/2008 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2007
Posts: 6,358
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I'm a Christian, and I believe that what the Bible says is still true today.



Last Edited on: 5/12/08 11:06 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2008 4:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,716
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So Patricia, do you consider yourself a non-traditional Christian then?

Date Posted: 5/12/2008 4:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2007
Posts: 6,358
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Perhaps.



Last Edited on: 5/12/08 4:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2008 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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I don't follow any religion.  Brief personal history: born into a family that worshipped Catholic to please the grandparents (1 set Irist, 1 set Sicilian), parents left Catholic church for the Congregational church (kind of old school Protestant, like the Pilgrims), confirmed in the Congregational church to make the parents happy, explored a variety of religious beliefs/philosophies in my church-run meditation group in high school, finally admitted I never really believed most of the Christian church's teachings senior year of high school, still go to church with mom on special occasions.

I am a sort of undefined agnostic/secular humanist/deist hybrid with bouts of atheism.  I haven't made up my mind about whether there is a god or not, or whether there's an after life or not.  Personally I've never encountered any evidence that would indicate the existence of god. My mom has told me about experiences she's had where she's felt god's love/presence, but until I have such an experience myself, I can't take that as proof and I wouldn't expect anyone else to take such an experience as proof if I was the one telling them about it.  That's not to say I've ruled out the existence of a god, I don't think there's enough evidence to decide either way. 

I believe in the human spirit, following the dictates of one's conscience and respecting other people, animals & the natural world in general.  Mostly I follow the golden rule.  I accept scientific explanations for most of my questions about the world, always keeping in mind that the nature of science is that it is constantly changing and being added to.  I believe that the things we cannot explain through science now will eventually be understood.

Date Posted: 5/13/2008 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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I consider myself atheist. I was raised Catholic, but looking back, realize I never truly believed. 
Admitting to myself that I did not believe in god was a very freeing experience.

 

Date Posted: 5/13/2008 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,716
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Janelle, I feel the same way.  I spent a year in church with my husband, even going on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, several years ago.  I wanted to fit in so badly with the rest of society, that I thought I could make myself believe in God if I just tried hard enough.  I finally said "Enough is enough" and just quit attending when I found myself literally rolling my eyes during the church sermons.  I knew I was doing no one a favor, especially not myself.  When I finally embraced the fact that I wasn't a whacko for not believing, it felt so good!  I've grown a lot since then, and I've realized that you don't have to be in the majority to feel good about yourself.

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 1:32 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 161
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Vanessa, have you ever seen any thing about pantheism. It one of my favorites! ; )  www.pantheism.net

 

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 6:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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I dont get to talk about my beliefs (or lack of them actually) very often so they come out sounding very abstract and sometimes confusing. They make perfect sense to me but  not to others. I'll give it a try though. Im agnostic meaning I doubt the "truth" of any and all religions. They all have the same basic ethical codes so they all make some sense but none of them can be proven and I dont believe any of them.

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 9:08 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 2,087
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I consider myself atheist. I was raised Catholic, but looking back, realize I never truly believed.  Admitting to myself that I did not believe in god was a very freeing experience.

Janelle - me too!  I was raised strict Southern Baptist.  If the church doors were open, my mother saw to it that my backside was in a seat.  But as I look back, I don't think I ever really believed, but was too afraid to admit it.  It was a great sense of freedom when I finally admitted to myself that I don't believe.  And I get a lot more sleep on Sundays!

 

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 10:11 AM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2006
Posts: 4,840
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I am a spiritual mutt.

I don't believe in any one philosophy/theology completely, but my beliefs are more of a conglomeration of parts of many.

Here are some things I believe, in no particular order.

- I believe Jesus was a prophet but not the Christ.

- I believe the Bible has been perverted to support the causes of man.

- I believe you can't find the answers in the pages of any one book.

- I don't believe in a diety, per se.

- I believe we are all connected....humans, animals, etc.

- I believe the strongest force in the Universe is energy.

- I believe that the "soul" is our energy force and that it never "dies".   It changes shape and loses cognition, but it still exists.

- I don't believe in "good works" as a way to salvation, but I believe we create our own "heaven" or "hell" by our actions while on Earth.

- I believe in multiple incarnations.

- I believe Earth is merely a colony planet, and that many of the events described in the Bible (i.e. Elijah being taken into Heaven on a wheel of fire; Jacob wrestling with "angels" in the desert, etc.) are primitive man's attempt to describe encounters with extraterrestrials by means that made sense to them.

- I believe that no matter how long I search, I will always have more questions than answers.

- I believe it's more important to be "kind" than "moral".

 

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 10:13 AM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2006
Posts: 4,840
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And, I believe that anybody who reads my thoughts about extraterrestrials above will probably think that I would benefit greatly from some medication. :)

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,716
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I believe in some of your beliefs, Beth. 

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
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Apparently the Vatican has just approved belief in extraterrestrials. Maybe Beth is on to something...

www.yahoo.com/s/880313

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2006
Posts: 4,840
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LOL

Seriously, it actually makes sense when you think about it.

Explanations for natural/unknown phenomenon have always stemmed from man's spiritual and/or superstitious beliefs.

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2007
Posts: 493
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 that many of the events described in the Bible (i.e. Elijah being taken into Heaven on a wheel of fire; Jacob wrestling with "angels" in the desert, etc.) are primitive man's attempt to describe encounters with extraterrestrials by means that made sense to them.

 That never occured to me before.

I like that.

I'm going to ponder on that.  

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 1:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2006
Posts: 4,840
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Well let me know what thoughts you come up with Lisa, I love discussing this stuff!

:)



Last Edited on: 5/14/08 1:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/1/2008 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
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I'm pagan, and I am polytheistic. 

Oh boy, I have some out there thoughts, but most of mine have come from revelation - things I've seen or heard.  I'm perfectly functioning, normal looking, middle class mom, but I have my moments I guess.

I believe that we cannot know the divine.  The closest we can get is to RELATE to the divine, and we tend to do that by projecting our OWN identity upon the divine.  IE We are human, we tend to think that the divine is human, and probably looks like us.  A tree thinks the same sort of thing though and I think that we are NOT special when it comes to the divine - we are WITHIN it, not without.  IE "The kingdom of God IS within, and without, and all around us.."

I think that we all live in our own universes, and just don't KNOW it.  I know I don't seem to live in the same one as other folks - REAL, tangible magick happens in mine ALL THE TIME.    The divine is at work and active here. 

I don't believe the Bible is the word of God.  I don't think it is any law for me to live by.  I'm ok with the 10 commandments except the ones about God.  That's about half of them.

I think the myths of ancient Egypt are just as valid and meaningful to me than any Bible story, and in fact, I think the Bible stole a lot of its stories from them.  I do believe in Angels, and I believe that the man Enoch became one of them through spiritual attainment, and I believe that Enoch is also the archangel Metatron, and the model for Mithra, who Christ reflects.
I believe in the sacred cycles of nature, and I celebrate the witch's sabbats.  I don't call myself wiccan, I live by the golden rule but I won't be bound by it.  My practice is closer to that of a shaman.  I believe in different levels of reality that can be reached by spiritual traveling,  by the way of death, the way of insanity, and for me, by the way of the artist.

I don't believe in Satan, or any perfect good or perfect evil.  I've seen trees talk to each other.  There's a veil that separates MY particular consciousness/universe from a much greater reality.  I've seen it a time or two, and I believe that certain characters in the Bible did too.  When the Bible talks about 'writing on the wall''  I know exactly what is meant by that.  I've seen it too.

I could probably write a book, but it would only have insight into my own particular universe. 

As for Christ, I revere him.  I think that the divine worked to him to such an extent that he became divine. I do not think he is the only one capable of that.

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