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Old November 8th 01, 03:11   #51
bakana
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Re: I\'m happy, sort of

FWIW, last I heard, Judaism Discourages converts.

To the extent that, for certain liturgical questions, a person with a Jewish Father and non-Jewish Mother is Not considered a Jew.
The distinction passes through the Maternal line.


Growing up, I knew a man who was raised in Tahiti when the worst Insult you could offer anyone was to call them a Missionary.
It had to do with the abuses of the French Missionaries who forced the Tahitians into church at Gunpoint.
Become a "Baptized Christian" or get shot.

Lots of very sincere conversions, don't you think?? <Fe>



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Old November 8th 01, 04:00   #52
Jade Jaguar
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Re: I\'m happy, sort of

Hypatia, you might want to read The Way of Zen, or The It Book by Alan Watts, both very digestable intros into Zen Buddhism.
In 9th grade history, we spent one or two hours on world religions, not nearly enough. I think a semester course should be required in JHS. Even though I am an atheist, I think everyone should be exposed to various religions to foster cultural understanding, among other things.
My favorite statement about religion was made by the comedy group Fire Sign Theater:"Oh, Blinding light, oh, light that blinds, I cannot see, look out for me...

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Old November 8th 01, 08:50   #53
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Re: I\'m happy, sort of

Thanks, Jade Jaguar. I have gotten more great book and movie suggestions from this site. I'll check one of them out (or maybe both) next time I'm in a bookstore.

Thanks!

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Old November 8th 01, 11:17   #54
GKarsEye
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Re: I\'m happy, sort of

bakana,
You're right, sort of. According to Judaism, being a Jew or not has to do with the "type" of soul a person has. Either you have a Jewish soul or you don't. Neither is better than the other, but the people with different souls have different responsibilities. A Jew must follow the commandments of the Torah. This is why they are the "Chosen" people: they are Chosen to follow the word of God. Non-Jews have a responsibility to follow the seven Noahite commandments, which are basically ethical rules and bans idolatry (Jewish scholars debate whether Christianity is idolatry, but that's another story). One can identify a Jewish soul by the person's mother.

Going against this practice was one of the key ways in which Christianity turned from a small cult into a major religion: Paul preached that one is a Christian if he accepts Jesus as his Lord and saviour. Where Christianity used to be a form of Judaism, so that people had to be Jewish then accept Jesus as the Messiah, now people could just join up with the cult, by-passing Judaism altogether. This brought in lots of pagans into the cult, and Christianity was born.

So, technically, it can be said that Jews don't missionise. But, in fact, they do. Their target is other Jews. They want to get other Jews to practice. This is considered an admirable goal, thus the existence of Chabad-Lubavitch, NCSY, USY, and other Jewish "outreach" groups. It is missionising, as they want to alter your thinking and get you to live like they do. The only difference is that their target group is smaller. Don't kid yourself: Jewish "outreach" groups are just as bad, if not worse, than other brainwashing religion-pusher groups.

A non-Jew can convert, but it has to be completely out of his/her own desire and sincere.

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Old November 8th 01, 20:40   #55
Shaal Mayan
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Re: I\'m happy, sort of

Yeah I cry to it's sad epsiode but also one of my favorites

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Old November 9th 01, 05:28   #56
bakana
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Re: I\'m happy, sort of

Those who do believe in God must also accept that His gift of Free Will is at once the Greatest and Most Terrible gift a creator could give.

Which is a paradox worthy of an omnipotent being.

We are given absolute freedom.
Freedom to do to and with one another anything we like.
It is a wonderful gift because the alternative is eternal Slavery to the Creator.
It is a most terrible gift because it allows all the evil that men do to one another to flourish unhindered by anything except our own pitiful attempts to learn to stop hating one another.



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Old November 9th 01, 05:49   #57
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Re: I\'m happy, sort of

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>I would say that believing in the universe itself as some kind of intelligent, sentient, entity is the same has believing in a single omnipotent god.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I see a difference here. The universe includes you, your decisions, your beliefs, your doubts, your mistakes. The concept of a single and omnipotent God does not include you. I wrote down some more thoughts about it in a later part of my post.

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I appreciate the good that organized religion can bring and has brought. It can make people think about right and wrong, help them find a better way to live. But every coin has two sides. Religion is a potent tool for people hungry for power, money or fame. When used badly, it is a powerful means of control.

To enjoy the good sides of organized religion without taking risks with the ways in which it can be misused, a society needs to make sure that no view of the world is considered above others, more true, more native, more justified. Yet we are not very good at ensuring this. I find it distressing and try to do what I can to keep the balance.

When having a quick glance at world history, I see countless sad examples of how organized religion has been used for ill purpose. Yet I know that it has helped countless people find peace of mind, purpose and inspiration to change for the better. The same religions have been used to justify violence and oppression.

It makes me sad. Why must it be that a phenomenon which can help so many people must also be a potent weapon? I would never wish to deny anyone the chance to believe in what he or she wants. But all of us, no matter what our beliefs, must understand the absolute need of not placing one belief above others. We must also remember this duty when among a majority. We must feel uncomfortable and interfere when our belief gets put above others.

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I have held various views, but currently I think this way: I do not believe in a single and omnipotent deity. But I believe that life has a purpose. I believe that our purpose is to understand ourselves (and the world around us), that our duty is to consider who we are, what we want and why we exist. To find a way in which we can do good. To do what we can for life, peace, understanding, co-operation, friendship and love. And to face very difficult choices.

The universe often seems depressing, unjust and cruel - creating moments of peace surrounded by war, moments of love surrounded by hate. Creating wonderful things to destroy them. I do not believe that any omnipotent being would have created such a place. Thus, if the universe was created, I would consider it terribly flawed -- and would not want to know what it's creator feels like. A person responsible for such a mess would surely be *very* sad.

I find it much easier to accept that the universe formed on its own, as a mixture of chaos and order, in a way we will never truly find out (the observable universe is another story). I like to think that it is seeking balance, trying to understand itself. I believe that life is a way in which the world seeks understanding -- and that it will never be perfect, but slowly improves. If we help it. I find it sad that our essence is most probably temporary, that we will never see if we succeeded or failed. But if we should come back in new lives, we can hope to come back into a world we helped to make better.

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And this is it. I thank you for believing differently. Each of us has a unique way of seeing the world. As far as life is respected, as far as we treat others like we wish to be treated, all views are welcome. Diversity makes us stronger, equality is a means of preserving diversity. This is why I think that no belief should be placed above others.

<end rambling>

[This message has been edited by Lennier (edited November 08, 2001).]
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Old November 12th 01, 03:49   #58
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Re: I\'m happy, sort of

Jade I stuffed up the opening line of my post it should read something like "not beleiving in a god doesnt automaticly exclude one from spirtualarity"
If you re read the following few lines you should pick up want i meant,But its a fair way back in the post so I will rehash and expand on my view, I beleive there are other possible levels of conciousness I wouldnt say that one would be the classical God but I guess we would see them in that way e.g Vorlons ,I dont know if I'd call Zen or buddism Religions maybe more pholosiphys,excuss the spelling long day>

There is no Black and white only grey.

I am grey I stand between the candle and the star.

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