Interesting discussion about religions

X said…:
Religion followers do tend to be more narrow-minded than atheists, but we can only speak for this tiny period of time we witness, and the small range of people we encounter.

But then again, followers / fans of anything tend to be more narrow-minded than the rest. Take sports.

As for me, to believe in God isn’t enough. Some people believe in God and hate him, some think He and Satan are friends– one is the God of good and the other the God of evil… Some don’t care whether or not He exists. Some think He’s human, some think He’s a she. People believe all sorts of things, and all these things can’t be true at the same time… I agree some things are subjective / relative or should be left to one’s own preference but some things aren’t.

And, I’ll add, are of direct consequence to your relationship with God.

Y said…
Well as you say, people have known God for many years in different ways, but religions are not just a path to God.

Right and wrong, good and bad are all matters of perspective, you do actually have these moments when you don’t know the difference. Imagine if everything in life became just a matter of perspective, how would you tell that stealing is bad, as it was always in the past (and now actually) stealing is a crime that only the poor are convicted with.

I guess that is where religions actually fit in, and I am talking generally here. Religions are there to help you set things right, help choose, help you tell the right from wrong. You do sometimes have to accept things as they are without knowing why (probably that’s where the “narrow-mindness” come from), but you do it because you believe it is right, you believe that someone out there knows far more than you and choose this for you to be right.

My guess, if there were no religions, it would really become a machiavellian world (more than it is now), a world no one would actually want to live in (again, more than it is the case now).

Z said…
Y, I do agree with some things, but not with others. Accepting things blindly is hands down plain wrong. God gave us brains and instincts to follow. Also, you didn’t notice it was already a Machiavellian because of religions? More precisely, because of differences in beliefs? That those beliefs have gotten so deep into people to then become a fundamental element of life to them? Getting to the point where they would anything, just _anything_ – good or evil, to defend those beliefs?

My take is, if religions didn’t exist, people would have defended their ketchup and killed each other over the different package colors.

10:28 PM

Y said…
You are saying people would do anything “good or evil” to defend their beliefs. Who said it’s right do do evil even if you are defending your belief? Religions do not ask their believers to do evil, Islam did not ask Muslims to be terrorists and kill civilians (in fact, its a capital crime in Islam), Christianity did not ask the crusaders to attack the holly lands and kill it’s people. Those people are either using religion as a false cover for their acts or misunderstand their own beliefs.

Z said…
No, religions didn’t ask people to do so, but people just do it. See, that’s why I really like the ketchup example: it didn’t ask people to fight and kill each other, didn’t it? They also can still live without it. The sets of (silly) rules that religions put are those that brought people to kill each other because some think rule X is right and others think it is wrong.

Religions don’t bring harmony to the world (they might be useful on a little tiny scale – let’s say a little village).

Today, the world is all getting mixed up and interacting and we have to learn how to accept our differences – religions are not going to help us do that.

As an example: nothing personal, but when Muslims go to Europe or the US they expect to still have their prayers during their working hours, they expect to normally exercise the “Athan”, etc… like they used to do in their country, which in the western society is something intolerable. Then Muslims get offended because they are told not to do such and such.

Instead of adapting to the western lifestyle (because they are in a western country! doh!), they start fighting, they start forcefully exercising the things that they were asked not to do, etc… and this creates small scale differences (fights). Later, they call for their rights. Logical?! NO.

If maybe they had learned to accept the differences (which I think is impossible in – say – Egypt because of the amazing narrow-mindedness that we live FOR) such things wouldn’t have happened.

Same goes for all other religions.

12:07 PM

X said…
Same thing happens here.. Some people actually leave class to pray (which is OK only if prayer time is almost up). Why they show up for classes 40 minutes late when Islam teaches us punctuality, beats me. And when the (woman) TA tells them they’re late they don’t reply because it’s “haram” to look at her.

In a Muslim country, something could be arranged with classes and prayer times. But in a European country just pray in breaks.

12:18 PM

Y said…
Actually no, I believe religions do teach acceptance, not because people have other beliefs and practices then we should fight. And by the way, that’s not about religions, its about human nature, people will always find differences to fight for. (If you take away the ketchup, they will fight over mustard).

As for the example you have just mentioned, we are back to the same point. You are judging upon people who misunderstood their belief. As Muslims we are to pray on time yes, but we also must respect the laws of the land we stay in, even if it was a non-muslim land. Just as Noran mentioned, pray in breaks, I even witnessed such acceptance when I went to Germany. Our Friday (Gomaa) prayer is to be at noon, and in the mosque, in Germany, they pray just before Asr prayer, that would be usually one hour after the morning working hours are over. They do Athan, but only inside the mosque. They accepted the laws of the country they live in and still can practice Islam correctly.

The main problem is (as you said) people are narrow-minded. They want to apply their belief without change. I told you before we have to accept things as they are sometimes, but that does not mean we shouldn’t think. For example, we as male Muslims accept that we must do the Friday prayer in a mosque and on time. In a western world, that would not be possible. So we have to think of solution (as already done in Germany), not just fight or complain.

Religion followers should start to modernize how they think, but never to let go of their beliefs just to blend in the modern world.

1:54 PM

W said…
nice discussion..
I tell you what, after I read your comments, I guess you have one thing in common after all. You all at least believe in the existence of God. Even Z who seems to be opposing religions as such, said: “God gave us brains and instincts to follow”, so he also believes in God.

The point of discussion here is the need for “religions” and if they have done evil or good to humanity.

So let us start out from the fact that we all believe in God. Now what? “God” means: an entity worthy of worship. So if we believe in God, we should “worship” Him in one way or another or else He wouldn’t be God, right? O.K. so now we need to worship God, but how? Each one in his own way? So God just created us and then waited to see how we will react without giving us any clue how to worship him or what?

And let’s say it’s like that, then say someone sees he wants to worship God by killing his brother to sacrifice something for God?? Is this what God wants us to do for Him? Did He create us to do so? I mean God’s Wisdom should be even beyond our imagination, because He created us, so all our wisdom combined together wouldn’t match His wisdom, for sure there is a certain way (or certain ways) to worship Him and it is not left to our limited brain to find out, or well it is kind of left to us to find out but not everything we find out will be correct. There must be a certain definition for “worshiping” God. That’s the need for prophets or books or whatever, to guide us using messages we can understand with our limited brain.

And if the message is so complicated that you can’t understand it (like the complicated many dogmas) then there is no point to send the message at all, so the messages should be clear and simple.

Now the problem that makes some people hate religions is the difference. The difference between the ways people think they worship God. But does this mean that God sent different messages? Or it does actually mean that people interpreted the messages in different ways? Each one thinking he is correct.. And do you think God didn’t know that this will happen? No, He knows everything, but if He had made all people believe in the same thing then there would be no need for our brains at all, then maybe it would have be better if he had “programmed” our brains from the very beginning. So it’s just a test to see who will come closer to the truth, who is “smarter” and arrives at a conclusion very close to the correct conclusion using his brain and not following his parents.

Back to the ketchup example: the problem is not with the ketchup, the problem is that people like different flavors by nature.

Good people will try to convince everybody that their flavor is the best, because they sincerely want all the people they love to feel the same great feeling they feel when they eat their ketchup and at the same time they want to warn them from eating their own ketchup as they believe it’s poisoned.

But bad people will want everybody to like their own flavor because they like to feel superior to all the others.

Terrorists would even kill the others thinking that if the others don’t like their flavors then they have to die. So it differs by human nature, but did the ketchup have anything to do with all this?

No the ketchup is innocent, it only wanted the food to taste better.. But people fighted having other things in mind, not just because they like the ketchup but because they like themselves(which is the actual problem).

Compare with religions..And in fact,because there is one God, there has to be one true “religion” that is connecting all the different religions, only one message that has been misinterpreted several times, and this message should be saying: there is only one God, so worship Him alone!

Originally Posted By Laila Hussein to Thoughts & Tips at 2/07/2008 06:46:00 AM


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