Let me state upfront that this question is not intended as a criticism of organized religion in any way. I'm just trying to get a bit clearer within myself about the mindset of those who do choose to follow organized religions.
I must admit that I do struggle again and again with the whole concept of religion. I have never been religious and, even as a young child, I rejected the whole concept of it even in the face of ongoing pressure to adhere to it by the adults around me...which I deliberately never did.
To me, religion has always implied restriction. It carries connotations of a self-imposed prison-like belief system in which only certain thoughts and behaviors are deemed acceptable and others are to be judged, perhaps condemned.
Also, to me, religion implies division and separateness among humans because whenever you have a rule to be followed, this must imply that there are those who do not adhere to the rules otherwise there would be no point to the rule. So, in a sense, every law creates an outlaw.
To re-quote a previous answer from The Guys:
It seems to me that religions continue to exist for two primary reasons:
But beyond that, I just can't see how someone who is already content with their life would ever gravitate towards the limited correctness of a religion.
If this is the case then perhaps the days of organized religion are numbered as more and more people discover their own power to create their own realities, don't you think?
So the question I am trying to get my head around is would an already-happy non-religious person ever willingly choose to follow a religion?
asked 06 Apr '10, 17:32
It depends really on what people go for, there are many reasons. For me I had never gone to church for many years because I knew Christ was is in me, but God has an interesting way of leading sometimes. A friend came over he is a contractor and my dad hired him to install a metal roof for my grandfather. He told my dad he is opening a church and needs a guitar player, my dad said Wade plays guitar, so before I knew it I was volunteered to play.
I went over and tried out, I knew no songs so the keyboardist thought this is not going to be easy, she handed me a paper with the cords but I couldn't follow that, finely i said just play what ever you want and I'll play my own lead. Pow! She was amazed and said no matter what she played it was like I knew every song I could play lead for any song if I could hear it I could play along with it, I was hired on the spot! The next Sunday I played with the group with no practice perfectly every song I never played or heard in my life.
Now since I was playing I was also listening to my pastors sermons, all of them on empowerment command and authority through Christ. For me this was a boost, I was already doing miracle stuff that sounds impossible but had a limit and now I was realizing I needed no limits and have far more power and authority with the word and intent than I had ever knew before.
So for me everything fell into place when my time was right, it was not a conscious choice to join any church on my part. So for me my reason for being there was empowerment in faith and the use of the word to command into or out of existence at will.
Being happy and non-religious but spiritual as I have been very many years I was lead to a church that fits me, I can not say 100% but I can say that mostly in agreement and that is probably as much as we'll ever find, we will never find anyone we agree 100% on.
There are many reasons people join churches or religions, some to save their souls, others because they want some guidance, others because they want a family that cares about them, others because they want to change their lives from drugs and drinking, others because they are afraid and have dreams of devils or their lives seemed cursed, there are very many reasons, mine was to know myself as a son of God more clearly.
answered 07 Apr '10, 05:38
If a person thought that by joining a religion they could be happier I think yes they would join a religion. That is what we are seeking whether we know it or not is more happiness
answered 07 Apr '10, 06:31
I believe that it is possible but not necessary.
I listen to Bashar a lot (www.bashar.org) and he said few times that in the whole Cosmos that they know of we are the only race that has developed religion for ourselves. Well, why is that?
I believe that we forgot so completely who we were that we had to bring a "higher power" sepearte form us, outside of us. We did it because without believing anything we just couldn't cope as a society.
On the other hand we didn't believe in ourselves to the degree to acknowledge that we could be the ones creating our reality, that we aren't just puppets but co-creaters of our experience.
That kind of thinking, that separatness, has given us a very funny nickname in the Cosmos - "The Masters of Limitations". We limited ourselves so much that we had to bounce up eventually.
And the time for bouncing up is now. I personally have informed few days ago my family that I'm denouncing religion definatly. I did it almost a year ago, but back then I still took part of some of the rituals, but still didn't feel any connection with it.
My announcement has hit a cord with my family, but it seems that they are getting used to the idea that I really don't care what other people think. I am who I am and I would rather be hated for who I am then loved for who I am not. And I guess after lots and lots telling people that they finally start listening to you.
Do I encourage to denounce religion? I have no preference. If you feel that you need some outside force to guide your life and help you, be my guest. I often ask for help of angels, God, intergalctic brothers and sisters, Earth creatures and so on to guide me and help me overcome obstacles.
I'm not ashamed of it and I tell it freely and I really don't mind people praying, because I do it too. I just don't personify God as a guy sitting in a cloud telling us how to live our lives. The ten commandmens are just guidelines and not definite rules; at least that what I believe in.
On your question Stingray "Would an already-happy non-religious person ever willingly choose to follow a religion?" my answer is - Why not? But I feel that religion would have to evolve into something more then what it is now.
On this website their are people talking about revolutinizing Christian traditions. Check it out for yourself what they are saying about religion and the changes that need to happen. http://integrallife.com/search/node/religion
answered 06 Apr '10, 17:57
I think it depends on how you define the word happy. If a person is truly happy within and knows who they are beyond their physical appearance, I don't think they would go looking to follow an organized religion to fill a void that doesn't exist.
Often people are born into an organized religion and lead a happy life within the confines of that religion. They derive enough from the teachings to satisfy their growth and enjoy being part of a community - remember a lot of the core teachings of the different religions are similar to what we discover ourselves when we begin to journey within. The problems only arise from all the rules and regulations that have been added later.
"2.Someone who is unhappy and unfocused in their life can find relief and meaning in the structure and ritual of an organized religion." - If it serves the individual to grow or find meaning in their life I think that's great.
However, in answer to your question, if an individual is genuinely happy I don't think they would choose to go looking,within the confines of a religion, for what they have already discovered within.
answered 06 Apr '10, 22:10
Hey stingray, what definition of religion are you going by? This premise will affect the conclusion.
Will this person be following biblical precepts or is this person going to trust the 'religious leader' up there. This is all the difference in the world. One frees a person (Jesus came to set man free) and the other imprisons the mind.
My definition of religion is, " Man made rules and regulations and if you don't abide by them you are in trouble." And so it is with all denominational groups. There are minor exceptions to this. (I say this based on the law of averages)
Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees (religious leaders) because of there man made law in Matthew 15. He called them blind leaders of the blind. Wow, what a nice thing to say about the 'religious' leaders.
In Matthew 23 Jesus calls the religious leaders hypocrites, fools, whited sepulchres (beautiful graves), serpents, generation of vipers. Jesus surely thought highly of them. There is nothing new under the sun. These kinds of leaders are here today. I can attest to a few.
What the person needs to do is to separate the bible from religion. These are two completely different things. Religion uses and needs the bible for its ends but the bible doesn't need religion.
What man needs to learn about life and everything in it, he will find in the bible. Ask questions and you will be taught. In John 16:13 it says that when the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. If you can find an honest man to teach you the bible without ulterior motives, you have a good start. They are few and wide apart.
Many years ago (when I was 16) I stopped going to 'church' for obvious reasons. A few years later I had met a witch and began getting familiar with astral projection, spirit guides, tarot card readings, spiritism, etc.
It was at that time that I had moved to the Fiji islands. The time I was there, I had heard other things about witchcraft and satanism. Among these was a woman I had met that was married to satan. She told me many things that just blew me away. At another point some witches had cast there spells on me and it was accomplished. Spirit activity was all around.
These encounters and conversations had me wondering about many things. I would have to say, it must have been around this time that I began addressing the creator of all that is. The one who set everything in motion. Creator of the sun, moon and stars.
I had no name for him, I just called him God, whoever he was.
It was there in Fiji that (without realizing it) I began asking for things, and their manifestation would come. After a few of these episodes I believed more and more that there was more to it then I knew.
I kept talking to this creator regularly. Asked for things which I got. Then I wanted to know more. I wanted to walk with this God on a continual basis. Then I asked him two questions
My two main questions were, "Where are you? What church if any?" Which bible? Over the years, these two questions got answered. What a ride, to say the least.
I wanted information that would teach me, about me, this life, the one to come and everything else in between. In time I learned to trust the book but it took fantastic answers to the questions I had.
In my study of religions I observed that the bible (the contents in it) condemns many upon many of them. The bible states something and the religion stated something else. The bible explains certain aspects of life and religions made it say something else. There was a contradiction between religion and the bible. What a mess.
I basically had to run from there. The answers to prayer/manifestation became very limited as I continued there. This was one area that I wanted answers to. They were very limited.
In most cases the 'church' became a three ring circus. As one preacher put it, "There's a lot of money in the God business." My last figures I heard on preachers that don't believe in God was approximately 60-70%. Early 1990's
My heart truly goes out to every church-goer. The bible tells you how to handle yourself to what goes on and what is taught in churches.
With the information I have come across over the years and the opportunity to know this knowledge has molded my beliefs for what it is today. I did learn many things in the 'church' yet I find there is a wealth of information in the book to answer our questions.
You asked, "Would an already-happy non-religious person ever choose to follow a religion?"
According to my definition of religion, I would have to say no.
If they decide to follow scripture, I would have to say yes.
answered 07 Apr '10, 00:10
I had a neighbor and friend years ago, who was a marriage counselor and a "happy non-religious" person. I knew her very well, and we used to talk a lot about all sorts of things. She had a good job, a master's degree, was dating, going out to the clubs at night, playing softball recreationally and always claimed to have a happy, fulfilled life. As time passed, she began dating an Orthodox Jewish man, who was just getting back into being observant after a lapse. We would talk about that and she said she envied him in some ways because he had rules to live by, and as Vesuvius mentioned, a framework to guide him. Soon, they married and she was wearing wigs, long skirts and taking conversion classes. This was the type of life she wanted now, she told me, even if she didn't believe everything 100% that was being taught to her. She wanted the "belonging" to something, she wanted that framework to guide her, and wanted some of life's decisions already thought-out and made for her. To witness this change in her was sort of astonishing, but she seemed again fulfilled with her new life and pleased with her decisions. She and her husband moved to New York, so they could live in a predominantly Orthodox neighborhood and have that sense of community. Whenever I hear from her she is happy with her choices and doing well. She is the only person I know of, who took their spirituality in that direction, but I think her attraction to Orthodox Judaism was the sense of belonging and guidance more than it was the actual religious teachings.
answered 07 Apr '10, 00:51
If you chose to come here to this life, you also chose an existence in a body with certain requirements. Among these are food and water, sleep, exercise and mental stimulation. Without these, the body dies.
If you want to create something like a painting, something tangible that can be experienced by others, you must deal with physical objects such as canvas, paint and brushes; things that follow physical laws.
Essentially, you already chose a life of restriction, even before humans began imposing their belief systems on you.
I would expect that you stop at red lights. You do this, in spite of the fact that it restricts your freedom, because it makes life safer for you and those around you.
In the same way, the church contains rules and moral principles that lubricate the gears of life. Many people need this kind of structure. It is freedom within a framework; by establishing a set of moral principles and guidelines, the participants can spend more time focusing on the things they want to do, in an atmosphere of relative safety.
Many people who come to church for the first time bring with them a host of life problems, including drug addiction, divorce and depression. Many of those people say that the church has lifted them out of those things and made their life better. This is due, in no small part, to the social support that a church provides, and to the moral principles that bring order to chaos.
In time, some of those participants graduate from church, and begin to live life by their own compass, which is fine. But many of them still adhere to much of the moral structure of the church, because it has served them well in the past.
There are many roads to enlightenment or consciousness. And I would also add that spiritual consciousness is also an evolutionary process. Where I am going with this is to say that everyone is moving towards the same place but how we choose to get there is different and the difference is where we are in terms of our own personal development. People are at varying degrees of consciousness and will align themselves with what is comofortable and makes sense to them.
I am not sure what you mean when you say "a happy non-religious person". However, what I can say for sure is that once you start to grow into consciousness you cannot go backward. So if the individual has that consciousness he/she would only be able to choose a way that would help him to grow. Whether its religion or any other form sprituality. So the answer to your question is that it does not matter because you cannot go backwards in your spiritual growth.
answered 06 Apr '10, 19:39
The only thing I can think of as a reason is Love. Love for another. Man meets woman they fall in love, have a great honest giving spiritual and caring relationship and the girl want to share he faith with him so he chooses to follow her religion.
Love seems to be a reason why we do a lot of things :)
answered 02 May '11, 07:12
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