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Valid religion/belief systems....


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  #1  
November 14th, 2009, 06:37 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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What to you constitutes a valid religion or belief system? Can a person have one all their own, or a small group that is unto themselves & have that be valid? Does it have to have some history (like several thousand years? Does it have to have a minimum sized following? What about things like believing in the healing (and other) properties of say crystals...is THAT a religion in your mind?
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  #2  
November 14th, 2009, 07:02 PM
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It just depends on the situation. In day-to-day life, I couldn't care less what people believe. I get much more critical when we have some inevitable meshing of church and state. For example, I don't think gay marriage or abortion should be on a ballot because people tend to make that a religious issue and vote as such. When people say they can't vote for gay marriage because homosexuality is a sin, I insist on proof that their religious documents actually say that, and also state they should not offer support to gays and should feel free to cast judgment and label gays as "sinners."

I also grow very wary of people who claim religious persecution in regard to laws. If someone is claiming in court that their right to freedom of religion is being violated, I do want to see some historical and sociological evidence of the religion and I want to clearly see how the law is in direct violation of the belief system. Otherwise, it's too easy to break a law and claim you did it for religious purposes.
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  #3  
November 14th, 2009, 07:11 PM
IAmMomMomIAm
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I think anyone who believes in a higher power of some sort, or a spiritual or supernatural figure would be practicing a religion. If you believe a given object has the power to change your life in a spiritual sense, that's a religion. I think religion is a really personal thing, and if YOU (general you) think it's your religion, then it's a religion.
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  #4  
November 14th, 2009, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keskes View Post
I think anyone who believes in a higher power of some sort, or a spiritual or supernatural figure would be practicing a religion. If you believe a given object has the power to change your life in a spiritual sense, that's a religion. I think religion is a really personal thing, and if YOU (general you) think it's your religion, then it's a religion.
This is a good example of why we have to be so careful about how we define religion in court cases. Under this definition, someone facing Murder One could admit they knowingly and willingly killed another person, but did so because he believed that person was being possessed by a demon, and he was ordered by god to slay that demon. If we stray from established institutions and entertain any belief, then that murderer could make the argument that to prosecute him would be religious persecution because he is being punished for following his beliefs. It's just best if the slope isn't allowed to become slippery.
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  #5  
November 14th, 2009, 08:15 PM
IAmMomMomIAm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
This is a good example of why we have to be so careful about how we define religion in court cases. Under this definition, someone facing Murder One could admit they knowingly and willingly killed another person, but did so because he believed that person was being possessed by a demon, and he was ordered by god to slay that demon. If we stray from established institutions and entertain any belief, then that murderer could make the argument that to prosecute him would be religious persecution because he is being punished for following his beliefs. It's just best if the slope isn't allowed to become slippery.
I don't think that's the same thing at all. I can prove that I'm LDS (which is an established religion), and I'm still not allowed to say God told me to kill someone so it's okay. Having a religion doesn't make hurting other people okay. It makes hurting YOURSELF okay, in my opinion, if you want to go that route, but hurting others is off-limits.

You're allowed to believe that abortion is against your religion, and is a sin, but you're not allowed to kill women who've had abortions, or the doctors that perform them. But if you'd rather die than get a blood transfusion - go for it.
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  #6  
November 14th, 2009, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keskes View Post
I don't think that's the same thing at all. I can prove that I'm LDS (which is an established religion), and I'm still not allowed to say God told me to kill someone so it's okay. Having a religion doesn't make hurting other people okay. It makes hurting YOURSELF okay, in my opinion, if you want to go that route, but hurting others is off-limits.

You're allowed to believe that abortion is against your religion, and is a sin, but you're not allowed to kill women who've had abortions, or the doctors that perform them. But if you'd rather die than get a blood transfusion - go for it.
You don't think what's the same thing? I read your post a couple of times, and I'm not sure what you're comparing. Hurting others is "off limits" because we have been meticulous about what people can claim as a religious persecution in regard to the interpretation of laws. For example, modern law does not allow human sacrifices--a ritual that was once crucial to many pagan religions--even if the sacrifice is willing.

Are you bringing medical procedures into this? Because I'm not sure I'm ready to have that debate again so soon.
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  #7  
November 14th, 2009, 09:09 PM
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I can tell you more about what makes something invalid, or more "cult" instead. To me, any system that forces you to pay quantities of money to belong, or to complete levels of spiritual training is completely invalid and a money making endeavor instead of a true belief system (I have a few big ones in mind)
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  #8  
November 14th, 2009, 09:34 PM
Tofu Bacon
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I think a religious belief is entirely personal, but whether or not it is a genuine belief depends on how it meshes with how you live your life. Like, I happen to attend a Baptist church, but I have some convictions that I believe to be valid personal religious beliefs; even though they aren't part of our church's doctrine, those convictions are Biblically-based and do reflect in my everyday life.
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  #9  
November 15th, 2009, 06:14 AM
IAmMomMomIAm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
You don't think what's the same thing? I read your post a couple of times, and I'm not sure what you're comparing. Hurting others is "off limits" because we have been meticulous about what people can claim as a religious persecution in regard to the interpretation of laws. For example, modern law does not allow human sacrifices--a ritual that was once crucial to many pagan religions--even if the sacrifice is willing.

Are you bringing medical procedures into this? Because I'm not sure I'm ready to have that debate again so soon.
I have no desire to continue that debate. I just meant that someone claiming to worship XX doesn't give them free reign to hurt people or break the law, but it's still a valid religious belief.
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  #10  
November 15th, 2009, 10:25 AM
(.Y.)mom2dd(.Y.)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
It just depends on the situation. In day-to-day life, I couldn't care less what people believe. I get much more critical when we have some inevitable meshing of church and state. For example, I don't think gay marriage or abortion should be on a ballot because people tend to make that a religious issue and vote as such. When people say they can't vote for gay marriage because homosexuality is a sin, I insist on proof that their religious documents actually say that, and also state they should not offer support to gays and should feel free to cast judgment and label gays as "sinners."
Prior to the white man, Native Americans believes that gays were Two-Spirited. They were high regarded in the community. When the white man came and reprogrammed NA, that part of the culture was lost. Amazingly Two-Spirited were so highly regarded, their vote mattered more! Amazing how a perspective can change solely on someone else's religious doctrine (and now intrenched in our legal system, eh?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
You don't think what's the same thing? I read your post a couple of times, and I'm not sure what you're comparing. Hurting others is "off limits" because we have been meticulous about what people can claim as a religious persecution in regard to the interpretation of laws. For example, modern law does not allow human sacrifices--a ritual that was once crucial to many pagan religions--even if the sacrifice is willing.

Are you bringing medical procedures into this? Because I'm not sure I'm ready to have that debate again so soon.
Jess, I think your strong point is talking about legal side but with medical procedures there is a spiritual side. I was trying hard not to bring that in the other debate because it really needs it's own thread for that alone! LOL! (I would like to understand the perspective of the staunchly supportive to the judge's side at a religious/spiritual side because it does also change why some of us staunchly oppose the ruling. However, I understand if we're all not ready to go there yet.)
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  #11  
December 8th, 2009, 03:25 PM
Mom2DavidandAaron's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I tend to agree with Keskes on that debate. No belief is justification to actually break the law- unrelated to that belief's "acceptability" or "validity". I cannot defend myself for murder by claiming G-d told me to do it anymore than another person can defend himself by claiming that the pink centaur in his dishwasher told him to do it. We would both be convicted of murder because religion isn't an excuse to hurt others or take a life.

Now, as to the original debate of a religion's validity, well... I guess ALL beliefs in principle are valid. If you want to believe in G-d, or Jesus, or a goddess, or evil emperor Xenu or that we're all just worm food, that's for each of us to decide. We will all choose the path that gives significane and meaning to our lives and we all deserve respect regardless of what we believe in. But when a "religion" displays clear signs of being a cult and it's harming its members with cultists tactics, then it's validity should be reviewed.

Sharon
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  #12  
January 2nd, 2010, 04:26 PM
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I don't understand how religious 'beliefs' can be considered differently than any other beliefs. If I believed that 2 + 2 = 5, I would be wrong; what makes religion special that you are allowed to believe something that makes no sense, with certain stipulation?
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  #13  
January 3rd, 2010, 06:06 AM
Tofu Bacon
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^^Numbers are arbitrary symbols, concocted by man (1984, anyone?) Depending on how epistemological you want to get, if a different value is assigned to the symbol "2", then 2+2 can equal something other than 4; that "2" could be the decimal number 2.49 rounded to a whole number. Or if one uses numbers to symbolize something unrelated to mathematics, 2+2 can rationally equal just about anything. Either way, the only reason 2+2=4 is because of the generally accepted values assigned to those numbers.
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  #14  
January 3rd, 2010, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
I also grow very wary of people who claim religious persecution in regard to laws. If someone is claiming in court that their right to freedom of religion is being violated, I do want to see some historical and sociological evidence of the religion and I want to clearly see how the law is in direct violation of the belief system. Otherwise, it's too easy to break a law and claim you did it for religious purposes.
I agree with this 100%.
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