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Profile Information

Gender: Confused
Hometown: Somewhere in Texas
Home country: USA
Current location: What part of lost do you not understand?
Member since: Sat Apr 20, 2013, 03:29 AM
Number of posts: 3,421

About Me

Hi I am Lost. In fact, I am pretty sure I made a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Anyone know the way to Cucamonga?

Journal Archives

So what exactly is Religion?

We have had countless discussions/wars over the nature of religion in this forum, but I can't help but wonder have we ever discussed what actually makes a religion a religion?

Looking up the word in 5 different sources I seem to get 5 different definitions...sometimes within a single source!


What is it that makes a religion different from a cult? Is there a difference? Or are they the same thing?

Does a religion have to have gods? Or, conversely does believing in gods make a religion? Does it have to have stories/myths about how the universe came into being? What about religions that can exist without gods like Buddhism and Taoism? Are they real religions? Or something else?

Does religion have to have a set of rules or guidelines for how to live one's life or at the very least how one should experience life? Does it have to have rituals?

Personally, I think of religion as a way of living or experiencing life based upon some perceived revelation or "revealed truth" about the nature of the universe.

Maybe the revelation is that there is a supreme deity who created the world and if you please him by living life according to his/her/its wishes you will be rewarded in the afterlife. Or maybe, the truth is that said god is a gigantic jerk and knowing that allows you to experience life the way it really is. Or maybe there is no gods, but a rhythm to existence and if you follow it, you can reborn to a better life, or end the cycle of rebirth, or maybe by following the rhythm you will have a more fulfilling and enjoyable life.

I think that all organized religions are cults and vice versa, and that simply believing that gods exist or don't exist, or believing in one or two myths about how things came about, or having a ritual or two on their own is not sufficient to be called a religion. Otherwise things like football could be called religion.

What about all of you? What is religion to you?

*Note1: I try not to post too much to my own threads as I don't want to be seen as "bumping" my own threads. Just because I don't reply much does not mean I am not keeping track of the thread.

**Note2: Yes this is in response to some replies in the Scientology thread.

Fear of Death


Japanese woman celebrates 100th birthday, boggles netizens’ minds with unusual name

Turning 100 years old is indeed a great achievement. Not only can we appreciate and look up to those who seem to follow the correct path to a ripe old age, but it’s always a shining example of how far we have come as a people to extend our lives so much over the years.

And so, it’s with great honor and reverence that we here at RocketNews24 would like to wish a happy belated birthday to Ms… erm… Mxy…zptlk Sugahara!

Apparently we weren’t alone in not being able to read this woman’s name. Netizens came out in droves shrugging their shoulders and figuring a cockroach got into the printing press. A chosen few however, scolded their peers for not being cultured enough to decipher it.

The woman’s last name “Sugahara” (菅原 ) was easy enough to understand. Her given name though, caused people to ask “Is it Korean?” and “I can’t read it. How were they able to print those characters?”

More at link...

And just when I thought I had kana down pat, I learn of Hentaigana!

Oh well, this kind of variety is part of what I find fun about studying Japanese.

Anyway Happy Belated Birthday to Sugahara Tomi San!

And, if anyone else is interested in Japanese calligraphy and letters I found an even bigger list of hentaigana

The Game That Let Me Mourn My Lost Faith


Weirdly, I think Dragon Age: Origins—the first game in BioWare's fantasy RPG mega-series—represented the final, rasping coughs of my Christianity. While the sprawling RPG was certainly critical of religion (albeit by way of a fictitious religion that involved wizards and dragons, which my real world one sadly did not), it was surprisingly even-handed about the topic. I was drawn to that.10

Leliana, one of the game's many possible party members, was a devout member of the Chantry. I ended up having my character romance her. There was no contest. For me, at the time, she felt like the only "correct" option. I spoke with her every chance I got. Our voices cut through chilly midnight air as we discussed faith, the nature of it, how much good it had done for her. I was sold. I believed her. I felt like I was part of something, even if only in a video game.

The Game That Let Me Mourn My Lost Faith

Around that time I ended up dating a girl in real life who was openly Christian, who told me on multiple occasions how much she appreciated that I was too. We had long, romantic talks about saving sex for marriage and how conservative politics weren't that bad. All that time, though, tiny voices were at war in my head. "Is this really what you want? Is this really how you feel? Why are you doing this? Who are you trying to fool?" After a little less than a year, we broke up. It was messy. I haven't spoken to her since.1112

When it came time to make Dragon Age's end-of-game Ultimate Sacrifice, I couldn't do it. I'd promised Leliana we were gonna go adventuring together after we shut down the underground dragon apocalypse, and that mattered more to me than the notion of some nebulous afterlife. Regular life, here-and-now life, mattered more. Not long after, I decided I was kinda done with the whole religion thing. There were other contributing factors, certainly, but that was a turning point.


More at link

I thought this was an interesting concept. Anti-religious themes in videogames. In particular RPGs like the final fantasy series.

For those not familar with the series, almost every final fantasy game have a pantheon of gods, aeons, and mythological beings you interact, ally with, or even fight. Yet, many of their games have very vibrant anti-religious themes.

In final fantasy VI, the final boss has pretty much made himself into a god and you have to kill him. Final fantasy VII makes allusions to Jehova via one of the main antagonist Jenova. In final fantasy X one of the major themes is whether to obey religious authority or to embrace technology and rebel against the church of Yevon.

I noticed similar themes in other RPG's that I have played. The games are placed in worlds that are unquestionably polytheistic but show a strong distrust of religion itself. The Church is nothing more than a tool for the main antagonist in the game Tale of Symphonia, and the game Ogre battle 64 features many religions outright fighting each other and trampling on the lives of the average person in the process. Fire Emblem: Path of Raidance and it's sequel Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn feature a church that is behind multiple wars and trying to bring about the end of the world.

In many of these games, the gods are deconstructed to the point where mortals are able to "kill" these gods. They are not as almighty as one would think, and often have weakness and flaws. Meanwhile, mere mortals at times achieve so much power and strength it as if they become gods themselves.

Are there any good games that any of you have enjoyed that featured similar anti-religious themes or at least a strong distrust of religion? Or ones that influenced you in your disbelief?

What is your opinion of Rational wiki

Was having an offsite discussion about this site and I was wondering what all the skeptics of DU think of Rationalwiki.


It has some rather dubious history and connections to Conservapedia, but it seems that the two site have nothing but an undying hatred of each other now. In their new incarnation they have even removed all editors that ever contributed to conservapeon. Further, I have never seen any articles there that seem to have an right wing libertarian or conservative bent to them...or if they do it is a bias that is parallel to our own as liberal skeptics.

In fact, I would say the only bias there is a pro-science and pro-skeptic one.

What do all of you think? Is this a RW Libertarian site that we as liberals should avoid linking to on DU?

Or is it simply pro-skeptic and a good place to use as a source as we combat the forces of Woo here on DU?
Posted by LostOne4Ever | Tue Feb 3, 2015, 06:40 PM (2 replies)

Illinois Pastafarian Wants to Wear a Colander on his Head for His Driver’s License Picture

Old article but a relevant one.

June 22, 2013 by Hemant Mehta

A few years ago, Austrian Niko Alm won the right to wear a colander, the official headgear for Pastafarians, in his driver’s license picture:


In February of this year, 25-year-old Aaron Williams of New Jersey tried to do something similar but got rejected.

And now it’s happening again.

On May 9th, Donald Hoover went to renew his license in Pekin, Illinois. He figured wearing a colander wouldn’t be a problem since state law allows for “religious head dressings not covering any areas of the open face.” The person assisting him, after speaking with his superiors, eventually told Hoover he couldn’t wear it because Illinois didn’t recognize Pastafarianism as an official religion.


More at link!

Pastafarianism, even if it is a joke religion, deserves the same rights and privileges as any other belief. Who is to say what a "legitimate religion" is or is not? States, governments, groups and organizations that try and deny them the same rights are illiberal and discriminatory and should be called out on it.

From the Pastafarian website:

Whatever you decide, remember this

FSM is a real, legitimate religion, as much as any other. The fact that many see this is as a satirical religion doesn’t change the fact that by any standard one can come up with, our religion is as legitimate as any other. And *that* is the point.


How to Troll a bank like a Pro...

After 65 years of saving, an 81-year-old Slaton man has deposited $816 worth of pennies at Prosperity Bank.

Ira Keys hasn't spent a penny since he was 17 years old, because of advice his father gave him.

"He says, 'Whatever you do son, save your money,'" Keys said. "Back when I started in '52, I didn't have a lot of money, so I saved pennies and I just kept saving them."

The collection weighed in at about 500 pounds.

More at link

Now this is how a pro trolls a bank

Anyone else sick that...

our state will be celebrating "Confederate Heroes Day" on FREAKING Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?

I think it is disgusting that we even have a CHD at all. The confederacy was created and run by traitors who betrayed their country because they didn't get their way in an election and because they wanted to defend and promote the EVIL of slavery.

Not only is this day, imho, a slap in the face to every single African American living in our state; but to every decent Texan of conscience. To add insult to injury, to have it coincide with MLK day is a disgrace.

CHD should be abolished, or at the very least renamed Texas Civil War Memorial Day, and honor the loss of life back then...rather than the racists who betrayed our country. But knowing the politics of our state, I won't hold my breath on that happening anytime soon.

Sorry for the rant, but I had to complain about this somewhere.

It is the Battle of the Gods!


In this corner, Greek God of thunder! Master of the pantheon and King of the gods! Putting the Old back into Old School!
The All powerful Zeus!!!

His opponent, the supreme warrior of the Norse Gods, star of comic and movies, THE ONE THE ONLY:
The Mighty THOR!!!!

Lay down your bets religion groupers its about to get MYTHOLOGICAL in here!

Oh, And be aware before clicking that link or watching the video, it does contain some foul language. Its a rap battle by the gods of thunder and lighting, what do you expect?
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