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Author Topic: Islam or Atheism? Do you think there's a hierarchy of 'wrong' beliefs?  (Read 2081 times) Average Rating: 0
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Liz
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« on: October 08, 2009, 08:51:34 AM »

Reading the thread about Islam, I was wondering how people relate to the different religions and affiliations out there. Would you be happier if someone were an atheist, or if they were Muslim? Would you think that Judaism is more acceptable than Hinduism? What about the different Churches that identify themselves as Christian?

I don't want to get too involved in discussion of whether or not Orthodoxy is the most true, or the only true, faith - I just wondered what people's snap decisions were when they thought of other religions. So, for example, if someone tells you they are Muslim, not atheist, do you think, 'ah, thank goodness, at least they believe in something'? Or do you believe that Atheism would be better?

I know I always react against atheists and struggle to treat them with respect, whereas I am always fascinated to learn about religions that have had a great impact on history. This shouldn't make a difference to the way I treat people, but somehow it does.

What kind of instinctive value judgments do you make about religions, and do you wish you didn't?
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2009, 09:17:21 AM »

This entire question lies on the premise that religions are monolithic and that people tend to reflect their religion.  I've met Orthodox people whom I wish not to associate with due to their dishonesty, crudeness and such.  I've met atheists who are truly wonderful, kind and loving people. 
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2009, 09:31:48 AM »

This entire question lies on the premise that religions are monolithic and that people tend to reflect their religion.  I've met Orthodox people whom I wish not to associate with due to their dishonesty, crudeness and such.  I've met atheists who are truly wonderful, kind and loving people. 

No, I don't think religions are monolithic (obviously): that's why we all have different perceptions of religions. That's why I wondered how others react (or manage to control their reactions) to certain religions. Personally, I grew up seeing women in headscarves and jilbabs, and I find that part of Islam quite attractive. However, I know plenty of people who see women covering themselves like this, who find it difficult to relate to the religion to which these women belong. I think most people, when they think about it, find certain aspects of other religions to be the 'sticking point'.
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2009, 11:09:40 AM »

I think much of the fact that the Orthodox understanding of the Gospel in that the individual in a fallen world is not totally depraved grants a wisdom to see the potential that God will be merciful to those who reflect the good He created in them (a linkage of Romans 2:11-16 & Romans 9:14-18 perhaps?). OCA priest Fr. John Garvey recently lectured about Orthodoxy and other faiths and avoiding the traps of rationalized syncretism, reckless proselytism, & negligence in being a witness to the Gospel. Personally I asked him if discerning the Beatitudes (except the final one) in others is within Orthopraxis as part of a layperson's daily life in human relations and he said yes (may seem obvious but I needed to verify).
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 11:11:35 AM by recent convert » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2009, 11:59:21 AM »

There are no wrong beliefs, only incomplete ones.
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2009, 12:33:30 PM »

There are no wrong beliefs, only incomplete ones.

Hmm. I would tend to disagree. I think this would assume that all religious beliefs have some aspect of truth in them. Perhaps all belief systems may contain some aspect of truth, but I couldn't say that for individual beliefs by themselves. Still, I would be hesitant to make any absolute claims about either.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 12:38:52 PM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2009, 01:20:36 PM »

There are no wrong beliefs, only incomplete ones.

Hmm. I would tend to disagree. I think this would assume that all religious beliefs have some aspect of truth in them.
Yep.
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2009, 10:38:59 PM »

Reading the thread about Islam, I was wondering how people relate to the different religions and affiliations out there. Would you be happier if someone were an atheist, or if they were Muslim?

Good question, and to be honest I really don't know for I personally met both good and bad muslims, I never met a militant atheist in person, so I really don't know. I would love to get along with both, but I would have to say that I would be happier if they were Muslim......just for the fact that Muslims believe in a "higher power", and alot of the non militant muslims are nice. But I really don't know for I really loved my atheistic professors too......it's a hard one.


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Would you think that Judaism is more acceptable than Hinduism?

Yes, just for the fact that we have more in common with Judaism, but there seems to be certain forms/sects of Hinduism that would share alot of common ground with Orthodox Christianity. I heard or read somewhere that some Hindu sects are "Panentheistic", so it would be interesting to see how much in common we would have with "some" Hindu groups.


Quote
What about the different Churches that identify themselves as Christian?

Some would be closer to Orthodoxy than others.....thus we would have more common ground with some more than others.


Quote
I don't want to get too involved in discussion of whether or not Orthodoxy is the most true, or the only true, faith - I just wondered what people's snap decisions were when they thought of other religions. So, for example, if someone tells you they are Muslim, not atheist, do you think, 'ah, thank goodness, at least they believe in something'? Or do you believe that Atheism would be better?

I would rather a person be a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist(I know that orthodox budhism is suppose to be atheistic), New Age.......etc than Atheistic. But that is my own personal view.


Infact, I would be happier if an Atheist practiced some form of religion.......many do anyway.......believe it or not.


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I know I always react against atheists and struggle to treat them with respect, whereas I am always fascinated to learn about religions that have had a great impact on history. This shouldn't make a difference to the way I treat people, but somehow it does.

I know what you mean. If you pray for me, I'll pray for you.  Wink Lord knows I need alot of prayers!


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What kind of instinctive value judgments do you make about religions, and do you wish you didn't?


Now that I''m Orthodox I tend to have a nicer view of other religions....whereas before...outside of Judaism, I almost always had a negative view of other Religions. I have alot of respect for some Hindu sects, some Budhism, Hasidic Judaism, Suffi Islam, I love the Ahmish, old school Mennonites, .....etc.

I love monks and Nuns, long beards, long robes, and that whole sort of thing......so.....hey.









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« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 10:41:05 PM by jnorm888 » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2009, 10:58:51 PM »

Reading the thread about Islam, I was wondering how people relate to the different religions and affiliations out there. Would you be happier if someone were an atheist, or if they were Muslim?

Really goes case by case.  I get along great with a lot of Atheists and the more lax Muslims, and I have great respect for many who subscribe to either one.  It tends to be when one enters the fundamentalist mind frame, for either one, where I run into problems with them.

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Would you think that Judaism is more acceptable than Hinduism?

Meh, not really.  I see both as "acceptable".

Quote
What about the different Churches that identify themselves as Christian?

All depends on their beliefs and outlooks.  Again, fundamentalists and I just never get along.  Not just fundamentalist Protestants, but Roman Catholics, Orthodox, etc., that share those more fundy outlooks.

Quote
So, for example, if someone tells you they are Muslim, not atheist, do you think, 'ah, thank goodness, at least they believe in something'? Or do you believe that Atheism would be better?

Depends on the person.  I know a lot of great Atheists and Agnostics, and it has helped to form them into the people I care about.  Same thing goes with Muslims.  If their beliefs cause them to fly off the handle about certain things, then I will find myself rolling my eyes.

Quote
I know I always react against atheists and struggle to treat them with respect, whereas I am always fascinated to learn about religions that have had a great impact on history. This shouldn't make a difference to the way I treat people, but somehow it does.

It is just our nature.  We get along better with some people with certain creeds compared to others.  Countless times my jaw has literally dropped when I hear some people justify certain beliefs.

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What kind of instinctive value judgments do you make about religions, and do you wish you didn't?

How people view science and the natural world in light of their religious beliefs is one of my major ones.
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2009, 10:58:52 PM »

^^What he said, except I do not think of any faith other than Orthodox as of "acceptable" but as of "tolerabe" and "worthy of intelligent discussion." Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2009, 08:12:30 PM »

Frankly I have a lot more common ground with someone who falls to their face and worships God five times a day, as compared to someone who thinks God is a delusion for the weak-minded.  I've had several Muslim friends who were nothing but kind to me (not that where I am you'd ever get a chance to meet fundamentalists for the most part).  I totally agree with another person's statement about not liking to interact with hardliners of any stripe, including Orthodox ones, haha-
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2009, 04:40:32 AM »

I'm basically fine with whatever anyone believes. Of course, there is that part of me that is concerned for the salvation of those I encounter in life, so I wish that everyone was open to some kind of theism. It seems to me - in my limited understanding of the cosmos  Tongue - that those who are receptive to some form of deity are at least on the path to discovering God. For the hindrance it causes to such a discovery, atheism would be at the top of my list of 'wrong' beliefs (not because I believe that Atheists are horrible nor untrustworthy people). I wouldn't care to grade Islam or any other faith, because each person responds to God in their circumstance and in different ways. I have met Christians who I consider to be awful in their attitudes to their fellow man and Muslims I would be glad to call friends. Naturally, that cuts both ways. I have a feeling that there's not so much a hierarchy of 'wrong' beliefs as there is a hierarchy of wrong attitudes of the heart. Hope that makes sense.
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2009, 01:21:04 PM »

I know this is simplistic but for me:
Catholic
Oriental Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Assyrian Church of the East
Anglican (high curch and sacramental
Low Church Anlgican
Lutheran
Protestant (gets messy here)
Jew
Muslim
Deist
All other Pagan religions
Agnostic
Atheist.
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2009, 06:09:07 PM »

I know this is simplistic but for me:
Catholic
Oriental Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Assyrian Church of the East
Anglican (high curch and sacramental
Low Church Anlgican
Lutheran
Protestant (gets messy here)
Jew
Muslim
Deist
All other Pagan religions
Agnostic
Atheist.

So Catholicism is at the top of your list of 'wrong' beliefs? I find that surprising.  Tongue
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2009, 06:09:40 PM »

I know this is simplistic but for me:
Catholic
Oriental Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Assyrian Church of the East
Anglican (high curch and sacramental
Low Church Anlgican
Lutheran
Protestant (gets messy here)
Jew
Muslim
Deist
All other Pagan religions
Agnostic
Atheist.

So Catholicism is at the top of your list of 'wrong' beliefs? I find that surprising.  Tongue
LOL. I guess mine is backwards. See, I told, you... simplistic.
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2009, 06:24:20 PM »

Quote
What kind of instinctive value judgments do you make about religions, and do you wish you didn't?

I do sometimes judge other religions or belief systems, but I usually wish I didn't, because I probably lack enough knowledge about them to really offer a fair critique of them. And IMO if I can't fairly critique a religion or belief system, then I probably shouldn't be judging where they reside on a hierarchy of wrong beliefs. For example, I once flirted with Taoism. I read a few books, such as the Tao Te Ching. I chewed over the concepts and ideas for a while. And eventually I decided that it was not the spiritual path for me. I just couldn't accept certain of the teachings/philosophy involved. Nonetheless, I wouldn't now feel qualified to say that Taoism is below or above this or that other religion or belief system, based on my admittedly limited research on it. About the only religion I'd feel comfortable ranking would be the major branches of Christianity, and even then I'd certainly admit that it would be nothing more than my own opinion.
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2009, 06:27:15 PM »

Papist

Quote
Catholic
Oriental Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox

Out of curiosity, if you don't mind sharing, do you feel that the Oriental Orthodox are more correct than the Eastern Orthodox because the OO are stricter in their practices, or for some other (perhaps theological) reason?
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2009, 06:53:37 PM »

Papist

Quote
Catholic
Oriental Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox

Out of curiosity, if you don't mind sharing, do you feel that the Oriental Orthodox are more correct than the Eastern Orthodox because the OO are stricter in their practices, or for some other (perhaps theological) reason?
Personally, there are three major reasons for me but I don't want anyone to think that I am proclaiming an objective judgement on anyone here.
1. I'm still really struggling with the essence/energies distinction as is currently defined in the EO church. I'm not 100% convinced that its orthodox.
2. I think that the OO Church has a more juridical model of Ecclesiology and appears to be more consistent with the scriptures and the Fathers.
3. In my view, and again I don't want anyone to think I believe myslef to 100% accureate, but in my view much modern EO dogma seems to be defined soley for the purpose of being "not Latin" and it seems to throw out western patrimony fo rhte sake fo polemics.That all being said, I could be totally wrong and its just my take on the matter.
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2009, 07:23:00 PM »

Recently, I greeted a Hindu friend and wished him a happy Dipavali (Festival of Lights). He sent me a youtube video of the "Aarti" (light offering) hymn "Om Jai Jagaseesha Hare" ("O Lord of the Whole Universe") with english translation. I was thinking that its a prayer even a Christian could offer to God. Here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0IyjgVtDr8
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2009, 02:18:03 PM »

Papist

Thanks, that wasn't at all what I was expecting, but I understand what you are saying.
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« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2009, 02:59:19 PM »

Papist

Thanks, that wasn't at all what I was expecting, but I understand what you are saying.
OOps. What where you expecting? I do want to answer the right question, and I may have misunderstood you. I apologize if I did.
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« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2009, 03:03:34 PM »

No, you definitely answered my question. I thought your answer would be more along the lines of "The Oriental Orthodox don't allow contraception or divorce" or something like that. I thought that because I believe the Oriental Orthodox are more strict when it comes to such issues, and I've seen converts to Catholicism bring up contraception and divorce as reasons they became Catholic rather than Orthodox.
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« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2009, 03:05:21 PM »

No, you definitely answered my question. I thought your answer would be more along the lines of "The Oriental Orthodox don't allow contraception or divorce" or something like that. I thought that because I believe the Oriental Orthodox are more strict when it comes to such issues, and I've seen converts to Catholicism bring up contraception and divorce as reasons they became Catholic rather than Orthodox.
While it may be true that the OO Church is more in line with my faith on these particular matters, I wanted to hit the more broad and philosophical/theological differences that I see. You are righ though... many Catholics would answer as you have stated.
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