Why is it so difficult to leave religion?

What needs do mythology and religion serve in today's world and in ancient times? Here we discuss the relationship between mythology, religion and science from mythological, religious and philosophical viewpoints.

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drichards
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Why is it so difficult to leave religion?

Post by drichards » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:42 pm

Why is it so difficult to leave religion? For instance, why do "liberal" Christians still claim the Bible to be the Word of God, and yet ignore scriptures that are "problematic"? (The same would apply to followers of other religions).

Any suggestions as to how to approach the subject an order to minimize the "I can't hear you" response?

Thanks
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:30 pm

Why is it so difficult to leave religion? For instance, why do "liberal" Christians still claim the Bible to be the Word of God, and yet ignore scriptures that are "problematic"? (The same would apply to followers of other religions).
Hi drichards. From my experience, a person has to want to “renounce” what they have learned over the years. “Seek and ye shall find”, however, if there is no desire to “seek” then a person will remain content. Logic doesn’t seem to work at some point.

“How do you know it to be true?”

“Because it’s written in the Bible and that’s what I believe.”

Here’s what Mark Twain has to say on the issue (From "What is Man").

O.M. That list of sects is not a record of STUDIES, searchings, seekings after light; it mainly (and sarcastically) indicates what ASSOCIATION can do. If you know a man's nationality you can come within a split hair of guessing the complexion of his religion: English--Protestant; American --ditto; Spaniard, Frenchman, Irishman, Italian, South American--Roman Catholic; Russian--Greek Catholic; Turk--Mohammedan; and so on. And when you know the man's religious complexion, you know what sort of religious books he reads when he wants some more light, and what sort of books he avoids, lest by accident he get more light than he wants. In America if you know which party-collar a voter wears, you know what his associations are, and how he came by his politics, and which breed of newspaper he reads to get light, and which breed he diligently avoids, and which breed of mass-meetings he attends in order to broaden his political knowledge, and which breed of mass-meetings he doesn't attend, except to refute its doctrines with brickbats. We are always hearing of people who are around SEEKING AFTER TRUTH. I have never seen a (permanent) specimen. I think he had never lived. But I have seen several entirely sincere people who THOUGHT they were (permanent) Seekers after Truth. They sought diligently, persistently, carefully, cautiously, profoundly, with perfect honesty and nicely adjusted judgment--until they believed that without doubt or question they had found the Truth. THAT WAS THE END OF THE SEARCH. The man spent the rest of his life hunting up shingles wherewith to protect his Truth from the weather. If he was seeking after political Truth he found it in one or another of the hundred political gospels which govern men in the earth; if he was seeking after the Only True Religion he found it in one or another of the three thousand that are on the market. In any case, when he found the Truth HE SOUGHT NO FURTHER; but from that day forth, with his soldering-iron in one hand and his bludgeon in the other he tinkered its leaks and reasoned with objectors. There have been innumerable Temporary Seekers of Truth--have you ever heard of a permanent one? In the very nature of man such a person is impossible. However, to drop back to the text--training: all training is one from or another of OUTSIDE INFLUENCE, and ASSOCIATION is the largest part of it. A man is never anything but what his outside influences have made him. They train him downward or they train him upward--but they TRAIN him; they are at work upon him all the time.
Any thoughts?
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Post by jonsjourney » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:01 pm

I am sure it is also far more difficult to walk across a high wire without a net below to catch one if they fall. So while the net makes no physical difference as to whether or not the person on the wire is able to refrain from falling, the psychological effect is significant.

Does that sum it up? :wink:
"He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot." -Douglas Adams
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Re: Any thought?

Post by drichards » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:11 pm

Hello Neoplato,

I like Mr Twain's Quote. I can identify with the quote in regards to my own life.

I was raised a Catholic, but rejected Catholicism. In my late teens I became a "born again" Christian and attended fundamentalist churches until my early 30's. The more I read, the more liberal I became. I attended liberal leaning churches for the next 20 years. I finally left the faith a couple of years ago after some really nasty christians ran off the UCC pastor and the majority of the congregation over the issue of homosexuality. For me, it was time to stop rationalizing the Bible. It was then that I "discovered" the religious philosophy of Deism, which seemed to be a much more rational approach. I still consider myself as somewhat of a Deist, as I have a belief in God, though I acknowledge I do not know exactly what "God" is. Last year I "discovered" Joseph Campbell (and so I am now open to a more eastern understanding of God). Yes, the truth keeps changing, the more I learn.

Still, I wonder why some people (who are otherwise seemingly intelligent) take the myths as literal, and when people do not take the myth (such as the Bible) as literal, why do they still cling to the book as Holy? Perhaps I need to become bolder and ask my friends...
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:16 pm

Yep JJ, the old psychological safety net. At least until a neurosis sets in. But then again, when your "beliefs" inhibit the "logical" thought process, hasn't a neurosis already set in? :wink:
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:35 pm

drichards wrote:
It was then that I "discovered" the religious philosophy of Deism, which seemed to be a much more rational approach. I still consider myself as somewhat of a Deist, as I have a belief in God, though I acknowledge I do not know exactly what "God" is. Last year I "discovered" Joseph Campbell (and so I am now open to a more eastern understanding of God). Yes, the truth keeps changing, the more I learn.
Sounds like we've been down similar paths. I think that deism believes in a separate and distinct entity known as "God" but throws out the "dogma". I often joke that there's a "Roman Catholic" thing here in the forum. So many of us are ex-RC.
Perhaps I need to become bolder and ask my friends...
If you do, be careful of the backlash. I've lost more than a few friends journeying down "the path". :wink:
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Post by drichards » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:49 pm

Neoplato,

Yes, discussing religion (& politics) can ruin many a friendship, and so I tread lightly.

Re: Deism
At least for me, Deism seems to be a catch all, as Deist seem to come in many flavors.

Other than that, I don't know how I would describe my beliefs... I guess you could say that I am a bit eclectic. I really enjoy reading Mr. Campbell's works.
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:13 pm

drichards Wrote:
At least for me, Deism seems to be a catch all, as Deist seem to come in many flavors.
I don't know if you've read many of my posts, but I claim to be a monist. What that means is that I came to the conclusion, that there is an unmanifested consciousness and a manifested consciousness. The latter being an extension of the former. This concept has been labeled "mysticism".

I'm not too fond of the label myself, but I've gotten used to it. :wink:
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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Post by Ruiz » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:34 pm

Hi All!

Why is it so difficult to leave a religion?

In my opinion our view of reality determines how we adapt to it.

I grew up a devout Catholic surrounded by loving Catholics. Seven years of parochial school at "Our Lady of the Valley" taught me the nature of reality. I lived in a world where the spirit world and the physical world were continually interacting with each other. My adults whom I loved and respected couldn't be wrong. The reality of the Bible was all around me. Everybody believed the same way.

One of the four functions of Mythology was working!

When we mess with someones mythology or religion we are messing with their view of reality.
Last edited by Ruiz on Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by jonsjourney » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:50 pm

If you do, be careful of the backlash. I've lost more than a few friends journeying down "the path". -Neo
Me too. It is unfortunate. But I suppose that I would rather lose a friend than my mind. It amazes me how easy it is for some to accept others for what they are and not judge; yet for others, if you are not in step with their system, you are dangerous.

Since you and I are fans of Rush...how about some lyrics? I especially like the last two sections of this song.
"Witch Hunt"

The night is black
Without a moon
The air is thick and still
The vigilantes gather on
The lonely torch lit hill

Features distorted in the flickering light
The faces are twisted and grotesque
Silent and stern in the sweltering night
The mob moves like demons possessed
Quiet in conscience, calm in their right
Confident their ways are best

The righteous rise
With burning eyes
Of hatred and ill-will
Madmen fed on fear and lies
To beat and burn and kill

They say there are strangers who threaten us
In our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves
That those who know what's best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves

Quick to judge
Quick to anger
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand...
"He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot." -Douglas Adams
drichards
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Post by drichards » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:26 am

Neoplato,
Re: I claim to be a monist. What that means is that I came to the conclusion, that there is an unmanifested consciousness and a manifested consciousness. The latter being an extension of the former. This concept has been labeled "mysticism".


Can you elaborate a bit more?
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Post by gentle71 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:12 pm

Ruiz wrote:

When we mess with someones mythology we are messing with their view of reality.
That´s exactly why it´s so difficult.
When "leaving" a religion - you are not just leaving the beliefsystem - you are leaving a large part of what has previously constituted your life.

Not that that has ever been an issue for me - I came from the other side, so to speak.
Well - that has actually been a problem. Trying to embrace the idea of divinities, transcendence and what not, was not exactly easy. Now in my late thirties - it is just 2 years ago I stumbled over an episode of power of myth. And that experience what no less than a mental earthquake - which in a period of a few months virtually shattered my former life.

----------------------
what the hell Hutch - it´s all Rush - how about some variety?
Rush is variety bitch.
The Maestro says it's Mozart
but it sounds like bubble gum
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Post by Neoplato » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:56 pm

drichards wrote:
Can you elaborate a bit more?
As many people in the forum already know, you bet I can. :D

Many of us grow up in an environment where we are taught that God is a separate and distinct entity from our “reality” that “He” created. This entity is often symbolized as a “supreme being” typically meaning “supreme human” since we were “created in God’s image”. Here’s my analogy of “The Great Leaf”.

All the leafs on a particular tree worshiped “The Great Leaf”. They believed that he was the only son of “The Tree” (not realizing what a “Tree” was) and that “The Tree” spoke through him for he and the tree were one. The meaning of what the Great Leaf thought had been obscured over the years, but the leaves have grouped themselves on “branches” according to a particular belief.

Then one day a leaf realized, “Wait a minute! A Tree is the “thing” we grow from. It gives us life and that’s why we turn colors and fall to the ground every year. The life is not in my “leaf form”, the life is in the tree! And I am growing from it! I am an extension of the Tree!”


For me, this is what monism is like. Unfortunately the story typically ends like this:

And when he tried to tell the other leaves, they promptly plucked him from his branch and tossed him to the ground.

But not always. :wink:
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Post by drichards » Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:04 pm

Neoplato,

Am I correct that what you are saying is that we are all part of "God?
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Post by Neoplato » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:51 pm

drichards wrote:
Am I correct that what you are saying is that we are all part of "God?
More like "God" is a part of everything. Just like a leaf manifests from the tree, we humans (and everything else) manifest from God.

This concept has been around for thousands of years, its just been....surpressed.
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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