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In America, it is said that African Americans are the fastest growing group of people to convert to traditonal Islam. Sometimes this is difficult to accept as truth. I have not yet converted, however I do claim Islam to be my faith and I believe in its principles.

WHY DO WE REJECT THIS BEAUTIFUL RELIGION?

I am deeply troubled by the thought that world conflict has rooted prejudice in Americans, particularly Black Americans. Lately I can't go anywhere without hearing jokes aimed at Muslims and Arabs. It hurts even more when these jokes come from the mouths of my own people.

IF YOU TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR ANCESTRY, KNOW THAT ISLAM IS ONE OF THE MAJOR RELIGIONS IN AFRICA, PARTICULARY NORTH AFRICA.

There is no reason for us to be as biased and prejudiced as we are becoming. It is time to stand up, and stand together.
***************************************************** "There's no original evil left in the world. Everyone's just recycling pain." -Keith Ablow, Projection *****************************************************
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Salam malakim my sister,
Alafia, Hotep, welcome and greetings in peace.

This is a difficult one for me(personally) to respond to. I used to practice Islam.

Fist off, I reject Islam as my personal spiritual choice because it was introduced to Africa and Africans in a similar manner as Christianity(outside of the Coptic and Orthodox Chrisitanity of Ethiopia and Egypt)...via the East African slave trade and Arab conquests of North East Africa and the consequential conquest and commerce(largely in slaves) with West Africa. For more info on this check out these books and links...

Destruction of Black Civilization : Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C to 2000 A.D.
by Chancellor Williams

http://www.rootswomen.com/ayanna/articles/10022004.html

http://www.raceandhistory.com/historicalviews/2252001.htm

http://afgen.com/islam3.html

Despite the knowledge of how it was spread, I still admire Islam for it's organizational benefits and strict code of personal ethics. Much like I admire Orthodox, Coptic and Gnostic mystical texts for their beauty...as well as the beauty of Sufi mysticism. Even while in Africa I was much more comfortable(and actually much safer IMO) in the Muslim countries and communitties. I also acknowledge the role of Islam in breaking the shackles of European colonialism culturally and physically on the continent and in the West.

That being said. I would NEVER reject, not associate with, disrespect, or not organize with Christians or Muslims...Especially since doing so would be rejecting the majority of my African/Black brothers and sister(and several of my close personal friends) and a large section of humanity in general.

Nor do I agree with the commen tendancy to fall for the "boogie man" syndrome the U.S. imperialist government is trying to now pin on Islam, Muslims, and Arabs in particular. It was only yesturday...and it still is "us"(Africans of any religion) who are given the same label as Amerikkka's "boogieman"...or rather more truthfully the "scapegoat". The fact that any of us do the same thing, in word and deed, to another minority or oppressed group, whether it be a religious minority or ethnic group, in this country, or anywhere, is HIGHLY disturbing. We actually know what it is like for the shoe to be on the other foot and therefore we have no excuse.

On another note...Do you practice Orthodox Islam(Sunni, Shi'ite, Wahhabi), or mystical(Sufi) or are you N.O.I.? Or do you practice an offshoot like Baha'i(although the don't like to refer to themsleves as Muslim)?

Good luck in your search for spiritual enlightenment...
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Sister Oshun

Thank you for your understanding, wisdom, and support.

I have been studying Islam for only about three years. I feel a great need to become as educated as I can about my religion before finally taking that enormous step. Throughout my studies I have become very close to God and have accepted Islam completely. When I do decide to become a member, I will be an orthodox Sunni, although I hope to avoid major conflict between sects since I don't live in an Islamic state. Although divided, Islam has no where near the number of sects as Christianity, so my experience in the community as a Muslim among Muslims should not be extremely complicated.
quote:
Originally posted by SistahSouljah:

I have been studying Islam for only about three years...


Sis S., what, if anything, did you practice prior to Islam? What made decide to seek out Islam?

"We" reject Islam because of the common misbeliefs and stereotypes that are associated with Islam and Islamic states. If you believe what you see on the news (and many people do), most of the "trouble spots" in the world are somehow related to those who practice Islam - The middle east, the Sudan, Bosnia etc. It is also very easy to have negative feelings about someone/thing, when you don't know much about it.

The bottom line is that most people are ignorant when it comes to religion, and are not interested in broadening their horizons.
Originally posted by SistahSouljah:
"In America, it is said that African Americans are the fastest growing group of people to convert to traditonal Islam."

As Oshun Auset stated, there is nothing inheritedly 'African' about the religion Islam. Classical works written by Cheikh Diop and other authorities on African History have revealed that Arabs were among the first along with the Turks, Greeks, and Romans to raid and pillage the tombs of Egypt. In fact, Arabs are said to be largely responsible for the destruction of Egypt's high cultures, not the Greeks or Romans. Because Arabs were so incredibly persistent in infiltrating Africa, they have had the most influence on Africa, particularly North Africa. This is why, even today, North Africa has the largest population of Muslims.

What led African Americans to associate Islam with Africa and/or Afrocentricity are the teachings of Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam (N.O.I.) founded in the 60's. During this time, many blacks converted to Islam in response to the way they were being treated by the white U.S. majority. African Americans were led to believe that abandoning Christianity for Islam would serve as a repudiation of Western culture.

There is nothing about Islam however that makes it more "special" or unique than any other religion. All religions teach basic principles of being kind to your fellow man, promoting justice, fairness, love, etc. What makes a religion really useful and meaningful to someone is not the moral instruction, but people holistically and systematically demonstrating in their behavior a committment to a spiritual existence. That's what makes a religion meaningful.
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I think what Sistasouljah is really looking for, like so many others in America who are spiritually lost and spiritually bankrupt, is a culture that supports and provides spiritual fulfillment. In Western culture, spirituality is the least valued, least important aspect of of the people's lifestyles. Instead, the most important aspects are materialism, wealth, technology and science. To them, these are what mark an "advanced" and "developed" Civilization. Spirituality is often times viewed as a joke, outdated, or something that is primitive, or heathenistic.

In all parts of the world however people are are notoriously religious. Spirituality is the most important. And they don't "choose" a religion or or "convert" to a religion. In Africa for example, your religion is your birth right. The religion carries with it the tribe's history, experiences, and traditions. Religion is so important to these people that there isn't a word for "religion" in many of the languages.

The sad part about this whole ordeal is that blacks, who were brought to this country against their will, have had to make some serious accommodations. We are still very much a religious people, yet we have been forced to live among and interact with people who are not. The people here are well known for their competitive and individualistic character. And some argue that there is no genuine sense of community compared to other nations. What's worse, during the slave trade, blacks not only lost their cultural ties and identities to Africa, but their spiritual identities as well. So they look to Islam and all these other unfamiliar religions in an effort to try to reconnect with what was lost.
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Rowe,

Do I know you? I'm serious...

Your analysis of SistahSouljah, was reaally an analysis of why I was drawn to Islam at around her age. I used to be N.O.I. It was a combination of liking the organizational aspects of it(they are well organized...not surprising since Elijah Mohammed structured his org. after the U.N.I.A./Garveyite org.) and wanting somethng "African based" spiritually, socially, culturally, and politically...in other words, wanting back what I/we had taken away from us.(I also admit it was because I used to have a disdain for Christiandom...the European kind anyhow...the kind used for the promotion of White supremacy...because we are victims of it...) Once I learned of how Islam arrived or rather was imposed upon Africa and Africans...I progressed to Traditional African Spirituality. First Kemetic(when learning the African/Kemetic origins of Christianity)...then right back to the West African traditions...From whence Africans born here came.

Your post today prompted me to read some of your older ones...I can say that I agree with your perspective 100%.
AudioGuy-

When I was little my grandma would take me to church and make me sit there and try to get me to believe that Jesus was God, yeah he was person but he's really a god too, as a matter of fact he's three contained in one, and I have to believe in all three, but Christianity is a MONOTHEISTIC religion of course........

I didn't accept it form the beginning. Most of my family is Christian, so my interest and acceptance of Islam is not a rebellion against my family or their religion or anything like that.

I'm only 17, and I used to be LOST. About as lost as a teenager can get. I don't hide behind the past-yes, I used to do drugs and be promiscuous. I have recurring depression and back then, I thought the only way to feel better was to get high and have sex. I know it sounds dumb, because it was. Nothing was working for me though. Not the anti-depressants, not the rehab, not the psych ward in the hospital. It got worse. I began cutting, and I knew I was close to the end.

I lost interest in almost everything. But I didn't lose interest in God. When it dawn on me that He was the only one who could help, my attitude began to improve immediately. I couldn't embrace Christianity, although I was most familiar with it. During this time September 11 had already happened, and Muslims were being unfairly treated everywhere. I'm a person who flocks to the meek-I began reading about Islam and Truth hit me like a ton of bricks.

I don't mind criticism. If I am at peace with my faith, and I have a strong connection with and faith in the MOST HIGH, I can handle the comments directed at me personally. My advocacy to enlightening people about Islam is parallel to my fighting to support the Black cause. I am a member of both families. Families who have been and still are oppressed...that's why I am saddened when my Black and Muslim 'relatives' are at war with one another.
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
Your post today prompted me to read some of your older ones...I can say that I agree with your perspective 100%.


That's great. At the moment, I do not claim a religion because, again, religion is intimately tied to a culture; you are born into it. When you "claim" a religion, you also claim the cultures of the people to whom it belongs and from where the religion is derived. I am opposed to "converting" to a religion, which is a Western practice, because it gives the false impression that a religion can be "selected" as if you are selecting a piece of clothing at a store or something. Belonging to a culture is much more serious than that.

However, I do, when I have the time, study traditional African religions along with other religions (American Native religions for example). I love the classic work, God is Red, which gives an indepth account of American Native belief systems which are very similar to traditional African belief systems. This book, along with Marimba Ani's Yurugu, is what initially interested me in Cultural Science (formerly known as Anthropology) and International Comparative Studies.
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
At the moment, I do not claim a religion because, again, religion is intimately tied to a culture; you are born into it. When you "claim" a religion, you also claim the cultures of the people to whom it belongs and from where the religion is derived. I am opposed to "converting" to a religion, which is a Western practice, because it gives the false impression that a religion can be "selected" as if you are selecting a piece of clothing at a store or something. Belonging to a culture is much more serious than that.


That's deep and true. And I think on some subconscious level that explains a lot about my own behavior/beliefs "spiritually"...I'm just not as good at expressing such things in an eloquent and coherant manner, even to myself.(another thing I am working on). I hate to keep analyzing myself, but what you are saying is forcing me to, it's enlightening. I "studied" a lot of religions...and actually "practiced" a few. But I can honestly say until I found out what "people" I was from in Africa. I wasn't comfortable "claiming" one. That all makes sense now.

quote:
However, I do, when I have the time, study traditional African religions along with other religions (American Native religions for example). I love the classic work, God is Red, which gives an indepth account of American Native belief systems which are very similar to traditional African belief systems. This book, along with Marimba Ani's Yurugu, is what initially interested me in Cultural Science (formerly known as Anthropology) and International Comparative Studies.


I'm going to have to check that book out.
I have a philosophy that I tend to live by, which I refer to as "natural morality." I basically maintain that 1) There are objectively correct principles and objectively correct standards of value judgment; and 2) they are self-evident, and everyone is aware of them, whether we choose to adhere to them or not. The religious component of it REQUIRES me to totally reject a religion like Islam.

All religions, when you think about it, have 3 components of belief. 1) What or whom to worship; 2) what type of person you're supposed to be; and 3) what things you're either supposed to do or supposed to NOT do, to be an adherent.

The 1st component may differ in some regards (Jesus, Orisha, etc.), but they all believe that there is one supreme creator, and that there is some means to connect with him. In that regard, all religions are the same. Now, the 2nd one is also universal: you are to be a respectful, good person who strives for life, excellence, human dignity, purpose, honesty, integrity, humility, and other principles; both for yourself and others. No religion professes other ways of being.

For various reasons, I've come to conclude that objectively correct morality is 100% in agreement with the 2nd component of religion that I've outlined. This is God's law. This is natural morality. However, religion confuses and muddies up this entire situation, because it injects that 3rd element: what we "must do" or "must not do." In this way, religion intermingles MAN'S law into natural morality, in the process making natural morality look less like the self-evident common sense that it is. Cheating, stealing, and lying, which are patently wrong under natural morality, become equal in stature as something like eating pork, or having sex before manmade marriage. Masturbation, owning a dog (in Islam), and failing to go to church on Sunday (in Christianity) are considered just as bad as beating your spouse. Lying about cheating with your intern is a horror under these misguided belief systems, to the point where lying about the phony need to wage a war doesn't seem like the horror that natural morality dictates it really is.

Islam is what it is BECAUSE of its intense reliance on dogmatic rules and regulations that have nothing to do with natural morality. I do not believe God cares which direction you pray in, or whether a woman covers her head up. If it is not self-evidently morally correct -- without the need for a scripture to tell me so -- then it is not naturally correct, and I reject it as one of man's arbitrary moral codes.

The danger of these type of manmade belief systems is manifest, and Jesus warned of this: 1. when manmade rules are intertwined with God's law, people become comfortable. As long as they adhere to the manmade stuff, they're okay and can sin all they want to. Manmade strictures create weak moral fiber, because it's not about #2 above (what type of PERSON YOU ARE), it's all about the THINGS you DO or DON'T DO. The most dispicable person on earth can book a flight to Mecca, or pray 5 times a day, or say "al-Hamdu lil-laah" at the end of a sentence. Or go to church on Sunday, or quote from the Bible, or say grace at dinner.

2. Another major risk is that people who reject the manmade stuff will reject the natural morality along with it, when they reject a religion. If people were taught the natural morality without the religion, it would be a lot easier for them to conform to God's will without all the nonsense. They wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

All this long-windedness is to say that Islam's overabundance of rules that are not self-evidently the universal natural morality of God are the reason I could never be a Muslim. My personal philosophy makes Islam anathema.

...
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
...All this long-windedness is to say that Islam's overabundance of rules that are not self-evidently the universal natural morality of God are the reason I could never be a Muslim. My personal philosophy makes Islam anathema.


Vox, I know the question focused on Islam, but do you consider yourself to be a Christian?
quote:
Originally posted by AudioGuy:

Vox, I know the question focused on Islam, but do you consider yourself to be a Christian?


Yeah, but I don't believe in going to church. I might have said no a few years ago, but I've noticed that I have yet to read anywhere in scripture where Jesus put forth a command that didn't seem rooted in natural morality. He was quite critical of the religious establishment of his day for these same reasons. One day in my evolution, as I learn more about Jesus' teachings, I may end up rejecting the "Christian" label entirely, in favor of calling myself a "follower of Jesus." But for now, I'm a nominal Christian who rejects a high percentage of Christian church teachings.
That's an interesting question. I guess, if you follow my model of the three prongs of religious teaching, I would say I reject one-third of it. But remember, if Islam puts more emphasis on the 3rd prong than Christianity, then the proportions are different, so the 1/3 is probably wrong.

I'd have to think about that for a minute before I can answer reasonably.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

I basically maintain that 1) There are objectively correct principles and objectively correct standards of value judgment; and 2) they are self-evident, and everyone is aware of them, whether we choose to adhere to them or not.


Not to recast old arguments or to veer the topic off-course, but IMHO the only universal and "objective" principle is the Golden Rule. Beyond that, everything else is uniquely subjective. There may be some principles which are more popularly held than others, and therefore appear to be universal, but two people can both, with the utmost honesty and sincerity, look at the same phenomenon and come up with 180 degree difference in opinion and perception. Who determines in that instance whose position is the "right" one?
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
Yeah, but I don't believe in going to church. I might have said no a few years ago, but I've noticed that I have yet to read anywhere in scripture where Jesus put forth a command that didn't seem rooted in natural morality. He was quite critical of the religious establishment of his day for these same reasons. One day in my evolution, as I learn more about Jesus' teachings, I may end up rejecting the "Christian" label entirely, in favor of calling myself a "follower of Jesus." But for now, I'm a nominal Christian who rejects a high percentage of Christian church teachings.


I had a World Religion professor, who was also a minister, that told me once I was a Christian in this sense of the word. I believe what Jesus is claimed to have taught...in large is "natural moral law" also...It's not the mythical "Jesus" I have a problem with...It's his fan club. Christianity as an organized religion sucks...It's been coopted and warped by Euro-centric white supremacists...Intellectually I could probably consider myself a "mystic" of all religions. It's the way they are applied in organized form by man that ticks me off. And the fan club usually defends that application...Or has the "I'm not like them even though I go by the same religion" mentality.

Take religion back to "we livin'"- dead prez

I have a question...since you are comfortable calling yourself a Christian and/or follower of Jesus...and Christianity as an organized is full of the same BS that Islam is that has little to do with their prophets teachings...Is it Islam as an organized religion that you reject...or do you also reject Mohammed's teachings? And if so why or why not? If you seperate the prophet Jesus from the church...Why not do the same with Islam and seperate the prophet's teaching from the mosk?
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:

It's not the mythical "Jesus" I have a problem with...It's his fan club. Christianity as an organized religion sucks...It's been coopted and warped by Euro-centric white supremacists.


Are there any religions that have not been corrupted by people, and that still maitain the spirit of their principles?

We had a debate about "truths" here awhile ago. I said that on earth there are no truths because whenever a universal truth (of which there are some) intersects with a human being, that truth becomes distorted by our biases and perceptions. In other words, we bring so much "junk" to our perception of a truth, that we warp it so that it ceases to be a truth anymore. I believe religion, unfortunately, falls into that category as well.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:

It's not the mythical "Jesus" I have a problem with...It's his fan club. Christianity as an organized religion sucks...It's been coopted and warped by Euro-centric white supremacists.


Are there any religions that have not been corrupted by people, and that still maitain the spirit of their principles?

We had a debate about "truths" here awhile ago. I said that on earth there are no truths because whenever a universal truth (of which there are some) intersects with a human being, that truth becomes distorted by our biases and perceptions. In other words, we bring so much "junk" to our perception of a truth, that we warp it so that it ceases to be a truth anymore. I believe religion, unfortunately, falls into that category as well.


You are correct. There aren't any...but there are degrees of corruption. Why go with the religion which has maximized global corruption? And when I see a religion being used to further the goals of and justify White supremacy, conquest, colonialism, imperialism, genocide, ect...on a GLOBAL scale...I have major issues with it as an African, and a human, period.

Similar to my view of capitalism...Why settle for a economic institution that maximizes exploitation when you can switch to an already existing one, or create a new one that attempts to minimize it?

On a human level, I have to look at reality, what religion has been used to colonize, subjugate, and oppress the entire planet?...Any guesses? I know I'm hard on Christianity...but damn...hasn't it been hard on us?
Oshun, my understanding of Islam is that it consists entirely of Muhammad's teachings. In my view, Muhammad is guilty of the same thing that most "men of God" are: he intertwines natural morality with man's law. Most of the things that make Islam what it is are dogmatic man-made rules and notions. Since they came directly out of Muhammad's mouth, I don't see much difference between Islam itself and Muhammad's teachings. Where his teachings are not on self-evident points of morality, I don't agree with the teachings. Where they are, I do.

MBM: Sorry if I caused the thread to stray off-topic. To me, there's still an element of subjectivity in the Golden Rule. If I don't mind hearing profanity, the Golden Rule says it's okay to curse around somebody's great-grandmother. However, I'm sure that you -- the one who says the Golden Rule is the only objectively correct rule -- have an internal understanding that you should not curse around an elderly woman, even if you don't mind hearing it yourself. This internal understanding is an understanding of natural morality. It's not so much a statement as it is a collection of principles. Respect, self-respect, honor, doing your best... it's all right there, and it's clear enough. The two people in your 180 degree example may both come up with naturally correct decisions. Or, they may both be wrong. But if cold-blooded murder is one of those choices, then you KNOW whether you're doing the right thing or not.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
Are there any religions that have not been corrupted by people, and that still maitain the spirit of their principles?


I am not a religious scholar, so maybe I am not qualified to answer...

It seems to me, that by virtue of the fact that there is such a thing as religion, that corruption has occured. Religion, as I understand it, is an interpretation of the message/teachings of God. Since all religions have been passed on from generation to generation, some misinterpretation is bound to have occured. No two people are going to see things in exactly the same way, which will inevitably lead to distortion of the facts. IMHO.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
Oshun, my understanding of Islam is that it consists entirely of Muhammad's teachings. In my view, Muhammad is guilty of the same thing that most "men of God" are: he intertwines natural morality with man's law. Most of the things that make Islam what it is are dogmatic man-made rules and notions. Since they came directly out of Muhammad's mouth, I don't see much difference between Islam itself and Muhammad's teachings. Where his teachings are not on self-evident points of morality, I don't agree with the teachings. Where they are, I do.



Now that's being fair! And my respect for you grows...
Now why oh why do I feel outta place? Hmmm....

It's all good everybody-I respect everyone's opinions....I disagree with some things, agree with some things...but no one has really went off the deep end about it and for that, much respect. upfro

Can I get y'all's religious preferences, if any? I'm curious to know who all has reverted to traditional African practices and beliefs, since I seem to see a multitude of rejection of the more common "religions".
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

I basically maintain that 1) There are objectively correct principles and objectively correct standards of value judgment; and 2) they are self-evident, and everyone is aware of them, whether we choose to adhere to them or not.


There may be some principles which are more popularly held than others, and therefore appear to be universal, but two people can both, with the utmost honesty and sincerity, look at the same phenomenon and come up with 180 degree difference in opinion and perception.


In addition, there is no way that one can reduce the purpose religion to three "components." Furthermore, the components that you have provided implies that religion is mainly a system that is established for the purposes of "control" and "manipulation" and/or impose values onto people that do not want them. This is only the case when persons try to import their religion to outside groups. Arguably, this may be the case in Western socieities, where religion is superifical and the dominate members are spiritually bankrupt and controlling anyway, but its not the case for everyone.

In all other cases, your components reveal a limited understanding of religion, especially when you consider non-European peoples across the globe who have very authentic and intimate relationships with their religion. Their whole life, from sun up to sunset, is a religion and spirituality is genunine. Their belief systems reflects the cultural norms of the group and adds structure to the culture while also maintaining a spiritual relationship to the universe. So to say the religion is irrelevant and is nothing more than a manipulative tool is define religion according to what is taking place in your country, not what is going on around the world. And that's the problem with Western people, or those under the influence of Western culture, they tend to measure everything in life against Western standards and norms. They are very sheltered from what is taking place globally. That is why I became interested in International Studies. I realized just how ignorant I was about people, cultures, and places OUTSIDE of America. We have got to educate ourselves about global affairs; whites will not aid you in that process because of their fear of being a minority in the world's black, brown, and yellow majority and what that means for their existence. Truthfully, much of white people's prosperity and power is derived from isolating themselves (and their wealth) from the world's majority. This is why discrimination is necessary here in America and its what keeps the majority of blacks in economic stagnation. Therefore, it is critical that we discover what we have in common with global persons of color around the world. I guarantee that you will be amazed by the commonalities we share, beside being oppressed.
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Rowe, what I don't understand about you is why you have this incessant tendency to put words in my mouth that are unrelated to anything I actually said. Then you tell me why "my" point was wrong, when I never said it to begin with. Why do you do that?

(Also, MBM's point that you quoted is out of context; that statement of his wasn't a response to the statement of mine you quoted, although you quote them together to create the false impression that they are related.)

I never said anything about the "purpose" of religion, and I never said anything about religion existing to impose, control, or manipulate.

I said that all religious belief systems have the three components. The existence of these three components in no way implies a purpose of imposing or controlling. The relationship between a people and their religion may be exactly as you describe, but that doesn't mean that the belief system can't be broken down into those three components.

The only way you can argue that my position is wrong is simple: name me one religious teaching or belief, from any religion on earth that you've ever heard of, that CANNOT fall into one of those three basic components. Obviously, atheism (a non-religion) and Satanism (the anti-religion) don't count. It's as simple as that. If you can't do that, then you have no argument that my statement is misguided.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
All religions, when you think about it, have 3 components of belief. 1) What or whom "to worship;" 2) what type of person you're "supposed" to be; and 3) what things you're either "supposed to do" or "supposed to NOT do," to be an adherent.



What I am saying is that the components that you have provided implies that religion is mainly a system of directives and regulations. It is as if the people themselves (who are members of the culture to whom the religion belongs) have had no say in how the religion will serve their needs, that some omniscient person is somewhere handing out orders and that's all a religion is basically about. Put another way, you speak about religion as if it is something separate and external from the group themselves. When in fact, this is a Western view of religion because this is how Western people relate to religion, relate to God, not the rest of the world. Westerners view God (or a supreme being) as a entity that imposes order, is dominating, and restricting. This is why Western people are constantly at odds with spirituality and are never able to be consistent in their behavior. (E.g. go to church on Sunday, smoke after church is over.)

But when you have a relationship with someone, both of you are serving each other's needs, both of you are interrelated, both of you agree to behave in certain ways in order for the relationship to progress and be maintained. Comparatively, this is how it is when someone lives a spiritual existence. They are not being controlled, they are not given "directions" on how they are "supposed" to do anything. Their lives are structured according to the cultural norms of the group and their sacred "religion" is a reflection of that. Religion and culture are intricately related. Your view of religion however suggest that there is a dominatior vs. dominated relationship between people and their religion. It implies that the relationship between people and their religion is confrontational. And I am saying that this is not the case for everyone.
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That's fine, and I don't diagree with what you say about the relationships between people and their religion. But you keep saying that my "components" imply other things. I'm saying that the term "religious belief" has a meaning. My theory on the components answers the question of "what is religious belief" or what does it entail? On its most basic level, it seems to me that religious belief sets forth who the object of worship/reverence is, what type of person you should strive to be, and what things are done and not done by adherents. That, to me, is the very definition of religious belief. And you're right, the relationship between a people and their religious belief is dynamic and can be rewarding. But that doesn't change what I'm saying. Like I said, the only way you can challenge the definition is to provide an example of a religious belief that doesn't meet the definition. If you're sure it's incorrect, that shouldn't be hard to do. There is no control or manipulation necessarily involved, and I don't see why you have such a hard time understanding that.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
My theory on the components answers the question of "what is religious belief" or what does it entail? On its most basic level, it seems to me that religious belief sets forth who the object of worship/reverence is, what type of person you should strive to be, and what things are done and not done by adherents.


Okay, if you put it that way, that's certainly true. I can agree with that. But to answer your question about exactly who has intimate relationships to spirituality, religion, God, universe, the environment, etc. Virutally all other groups, save Europeans, have demonstrated having this type of relationship with religion/spirituality. There are countless anthropological studies on the profound relationships indigenous people have with their religion. My interests however are in African and American Native groups.

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