This is a discussion on What is your religious affiliation? within the Polls forums, part of the Announcements category; Originally Posted by i s t p Atheist The mere thought of spending every sunday in church or obeying others ...
I'm Christian...not some sort of denomination...just christian. I don't think I need to write some long tangent to this.
You amaze me...Learn some 9th grade world history for once...
I just realized that I hadn't actually posted my religion, just that I thought I had. Whoops.
Since none of the other Eastern religious practitioners have stepped up to the plate, I'll do so.
I'm a practicing Buddhist (usually, when I'm not being very pessimistic) of the Nichiren Daishonin type. I was raised non-denominational and non-practicing Christian but started exploring many of the other world religions by the time I reached middle school. I spent a bit of time researching Wiccan, Celtic, Christian, Hindu, Native American, and Mother-Goddess/general New Age religions before I found this form of Buddhism in basic training of all places.
The thing I love the most about it is that the general principles are that everyone has a spiritual path that is right for them, it's just a matter of finding it and following it. Beliefs and practices outside what is written in the Sutras and the Gosho are allowed and in some places even encouraged because it leads to more interesting insights and dialogue.
I lean toward a less rule-bound Christian outlook -- a somewhat unconventional approach to spirituality. I wish there could be more tolerance of differences rather than bashing...
Basically, I'm a Neo-Jungian Panentheist who attends a Unitarian Universalist church. And, yes, that *is* the simplest descriptor I can give you.
I am no fan of labels, but I think "atheist" best describes me. There are many writings that influenced my choice of label, but among the more notable is Paul Tobin's "Atheism and Agnosticism." I would say some of the best essays I have read in defense of agnosticism come from Col. Robert Ingersoll and Prof. Steve Dutch. I have also read plenty of Christian apology, including all of C.S. Lewis' major works, and two of Lee Strobel's "case" books. What I am getting at is that I feel that a theological position, no matter how confident, should not insulate itself. Indeed, a theological position should be able to stand criticism, and being able to do so makes for earned and informed confidence, which is what I want.
More about my atheism. I do not believe in the afterlife, unsurprisingly, but not necessarily out of dislike of the concept; rather, I do not believe there is evidence for it. As to how I would break such a belief to my child (if I ever have one), I think an acquaintance who describes himself as an "agnostic atheist" put it best in a hypothetical conversation with his possible future son: "No one knows. I doubt anything happens. But if you live this life right, then once should be good enough."
Now my thoughts on Pascal's Wager. My concern about whether there are actually two choices possible in the wager aside, I do not think it is the right way to decide a belief. Instead, I think a belief [in God] — to borrow from Thomas Jefferson — should be chosen because reason lead you to it, not because of blindfolded fear. Belief, or non-belief, is chosen because you think it is real, not because you fear the possibility that not believing in it might deprive you of the chance to have a super-special-awesome prize in this life or the next, or because it is your "safest bet." As Paul Atreides asked in Frank Herbert's novel, Children of Dune, "Is your religion real when it costs you nothing and carries no risk?"
When all is said and done, I think there is nothing wrong with being sure (or not!) about your religious beliefs so long as you live well and ethically. What we should always watch out for is falling into beliefs that are so inflexible that they allow us to overlook what we would usually cringe at doing (e.g., causing harm to others, or going along with petty schemes against others because we have gone so long painting them as literal Others not even resembling a human with feelings).