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Are the details of your religion important to you? [View All]

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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-19-11 03:00 PM
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Are the details of your religion important to you?
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If you follow a particular religious faith, do the particular teachings and customs of that religion matter to you, or are they just window dressing, with the "real" religion being some difficult to define (or vaguely defined, or undefined) spirituality? Something in between?

Are details even as big as monotheism vs. polytheism vs. non-theistic animism (where the world is filled with "spirits", but none of them are gods) unimportant to you?

If you're a monotheist, do you feel more kinship with practitioners of polytheism than you do with atheists? If so, is it that the polytheists "get it" (whatever "it" is) in a way that atheists don't?

If you're a Christian, is the literal crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus something you view as an historical fact, not mere legend? If you found out that story of Jesus was only a legend, would you be upset? Would your faith be shaken?

If you're a Christian but not a Mormon, are you willing to take the Mormon's belief in Joseph Smith being presented with the Golden Plates as a historical fact?

When I ask a pointed question like this last one, do you bristle at the question itself, considering it either rude or somehow naive, something I wouldn't even ask if I really "understood" religion?

If you are yourself very flexible about the details of of your religion, how much do you think your own flexibility characterizes the majority of religious believers?


Why do I ask?


It's not that I expect a word like "religion" to have a simple and consistent meaning. It's common in human language for words to have multiple means and shades of meaning in different contexts. I can deal with that.

I do, however, expect that in an honest discussion that people either stick to one meaning, or make it clear when they are shifting meanings, and that they don't (consciously or not) shift meanings merely to duck criticism or difficult questions.

One of those things that seems to shift an awful lot, particularly when atheists criticize or question religion, is the importance of the particulars of different religions to the meaning and significance of religion.
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