Does christianity have a future?

Discussion in 'Reincarnation, Religion and Spirituality' started by Kristopher, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. Kristopher

    Kristopher Senior Registered

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    I wonder if it can 'keep up' with the social changes of the 20th century and beyond that.
     
  2. hydrolad

    hydrolad Senior Moderator Super Moderator

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    It would be nice if the teachings of Christ could be “folded” into other disciplines, say, Reincarnation, Far East Religions, respect for life, the Native American teachings, love of nature and our planet and so forth.


    However I don't see it happening, as Christianity has been rather territorial in the past (and still is) and is not willing to share with other disciplines.


    Just my opinion.
     
  3. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    If we were to compare the Christianity of the sixth to sixteenth century, I think we would see that the power and the influence that the Church had on Christian culture has greatly weakened. And, given the freedom of information we enjoy with the world wide web, I would dare say that the arbitrary influence that all religions have enjoyed up till now are due for change.


    This is not to say that they will be made obsolete, for they will somehow manage to adapt to a more flexible system of philosophy in order to survive. Those religions that are calcified with centuries old dogma will not survive if they remain inflexible, which is probably why pockets of extreme fanaticism are so evident today, not only in the middle east, but in conservative parts of western Christian culture as well. For, fanaticism has been known in social psychology as a backlash reaction to coming changes.


    Christianity will survive, as will Islam, Judaism and all the other social philosphies of history. While there will always be pockets of social resistance, I see the progress of human awareness moving like a juggernaut across the face of this earth, and I see the Christian-based culture as most likely to survive by bending with the times and folding into itself all the useful ideas of the other religions, philosophies and even science.
     
  4. Mama2HRB

    Mama2HRB Senior member

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    I do not see Christianity having a problem. I think Catholicism will continue to have issues until all of the powers that be take ownership of the problems that they allowed to occur for so long.
     
  5. Tinkerman

    Tinkerman Administrator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Great thread.


    I tend to agree with Nightrain, the whole idea of organized religion is going through an evolution. The remnants are fighting for recognition. I see the evolution as incorporating the "folding" that Hydrolad spoke of. As the spiritual essence of humanity spirals forward it learns and alters its self. Gnosis... knowledge on a very basic and individual level, is where the "mutation" of the soul takes place. And as the least common denominator goes... so will the rest. Nothing seems more clear to me than this personal and deep exploration of truth.


    I would love to jump 100 years into the future and see where this question is.


    Tinkerman
     
  6. Delonada

    Delonada Senior Registered

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    The future of religion is currently going through a certain phase where it will either evolve into a more spiritual and personal thing, or it will become an extremist religion.


    Currently you can see this war being fought in the US. You have the Republicans who, in a bad move 20-30 years ago started to associate themselves with the religious Americans, are going into an extreme fundamentalism that could put the US several decades behind older western nations. Seriously, when you have religious wingnuts talking about how women should not be allowed to vote(thanks to Ann Coulter) and that only through severe exorcism of everything non-Christian can they achieve some kind of "enlightenment".


    The fun thing is that only a very small percentage of these so called Christians have actually read the bible yet they spout it as their holiest virtue. You see this is especially in the gay bashing Christians who spout that single line(from Leviticus if I recall correctly) yet ignore all the other crap that's next to it(never wear two fibres, not to mark your skin, etc etc).


    Perhaps what is happening to the States is what happened to Islam many hundreds of years ago. Islam was originally very progressive but through subjugation with religious intolerance started a decline of a very advanced civilization.
     
  7. Mr. Mike

    Mr. Mike Active Member

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    I can't see Christianity holding on much longer, at least in its current form. I visited a very isolated rural and conservative area of Newfoundland (Canada) where my father was born recently and even there religion has almost completely disappeared from life. Very few in my generation are religious and the ones that are are usually very open minded and tolerant. It's quite a contrast from public school in the early 90's where we had mandatory prayers every morning and said grace before lunch. Still, even back then I doubt too many 'Christians' actually read the bible other than the nice parts about love and forgiveness.


    Having said all that I know my brother visited a place in Tennessee a few years back and he told me it was scary how fanatical people were about religion. Most people he talked to actually believed the world was created in 7 days 6,000 years ago :eek: and believe the bible is the perfect word of God. Even growing up going to church I never heard a minister doubt evolution or the fact the earth is billions of years old and they would be considered insane for saying the bible is 100% literally true. He honestly feared for his life by pointed out that the bible is full of BS even though he accepts the idea of a higher power as obvious as a highly skilled engineer.


    I am honestly puzzled as to how very intelligent people with sky high IQ's can believe such absurdities as contained in the bible. Love thy neighbour is great advice but how can anyone accept: a talking snake, Moses parting the sea or a infinitely loving God who sends (or allows) most of his children to go to hell for eternity? Good thing I didn't go on that trip with him as I'm not shy about my hostile views on religion, particular the literal or fundamentalist ones.
     
  8. Cryscat

    Cryscat Senior Member

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    Christianity will survive but in what form is the question. Its going to have to change.


    We can see what way it might be going by finishing the following:


    God is ..........


    Try it and see what you come up with.
     
  9. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    God is...


    US!


    I think the fact that I haven't been burned at the stake for saying this is probably indicative of how much Christianity has changed already. However, I still wouldn't say such a thing loudly on a street corner in Murfreesboro, Tennessee!


    :freak:
     
  10. Sister Grey

    Sister Grey Senior Registered

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    Any religion is basically man’s search for something meaningful beyond of the material world and I don’t think that search going to go away but what form it’ll take, I have no idea. Christianity, for all its flaws (or perhaps I should say the flaws of its followers) has a lot going for it - high ideals, charity, forgiveness, humility. But if it becomes totally an instrument of right-wing fanatics it may end by self-destructing. I don’t know.
     
  11. watchurself

    watchurself New Member

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    Great Question / Topic


    I agree the currently "known" Bible Belt Christianity will probably not survive unless it goes much deeper in a cave


    the tight fundamentalist views are contrary to Christ's teachings IMO


    HE (JC) taught tolerance and inclusion not intolerance and exclusion - that's why he "saved" prostitutes & tax collectors


    in order for a faith system to survive our times -it needs to expand its beliefs rather than stiffle them


    I am a Christian, I also consider myself a Buddhist, and a skeptic, and a free thinker.


    I believe in things that would never have been brought up in my Roman Catholic upbringing family -nor tolerated.


    this doesnt make me a "devil" it just means I believe in God in a Broader way - i believe in possibilities not limitations
     
  12. usetawuz

    usetawuz Senior Registered

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    I think the better question would be "Does the future hold a place for organized religion as they exist now?"


    There will always be people who were raised with a particular belief, whose children will follow the same, etc. And each individual is entitled to their own beliefs, as interesting, odd or arcane as they may be. It is my sense however, that mainstream religions, as they are understood now, will soon face difficult tasks in trying to promote their brand of belief over that of other doctrines or individual beliefs as humanity begins to more freely find ways to get in touch with God, the Creator, the Universal Mind...a Supreme Being known by whatever choice of appelation is appropriate to that individual.
     
  13. Cryscat

    Cryscat Senior Member

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    Retired Bishop John Shelby Sprong has been tackling this issue head-on since the 1990's.


    I don't know if members can make book recommendations, but I am going to give us the ones that I have read or are about to read:


    Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture- published in 1992


    Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers In Exile - published in 1999


    A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How a New Faith is Being Born - published in 2002


    Jesus for the Non-Religious - published in 2008


    Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell - published in 2010 (I am about to read this one)


    Each books pushes further and further. You can see his development of these ideas.
     
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  14. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    It's an interesting question.


    In Denmark, which is generally a very secular country, we have a state church (lutheran) of which you are automatically a member unless your parents belong to another religion or are not members of the state church (once you're 18 you can opt out).


    It raises many dilemmas in an otherwise modern society to have a state church, which - by definition - is conservative. One of the hottest debates right now is whether or not gay marriage can happen in the church or not (at the moment gay people can get married at their local city hall). I'm not going into that discussion here, but it shows one of the problems of the church acting in a modern society. We also have a "Bible Belt" in Denmark and here some priests refuse to re-marry people, who have gotten a divorce. A lot of people think that the church's aversion towards gay people and formerly divorced is going to the end of it. Both groups are very common and naturally a part of society, respected and tolerated like any other human being. A while ago a priest was fired, because he said that he didn't believe there was God sitting on a cloud somewhere up above, but that he still believed in God as a guiding force. His opinion probably represents how most Danes think, but the church yet the church (stubbornly some would say) represents a very outdated image of the world. You can imagine the fuss when our new church minister was elected: a former hindu. Is that a clever move or another blow? Most people thought it was cool, the church thought it was devastating.


    I am, as most other Danes, a member of the state church, however, as most other Danes, I don't really use my membership. The churches are virtually empty here, a few old people here and there. I think most people in Denmark don't really believe in God or religion. We see it as part of our culture, but not as a part of our lives. Most of our churches were built in the middleages and we pay for their upkeep through our taxes as a part of our cultural heritage, but not because they are houses of God. Without the tax money we would have no church in Denmark.


    My personal opinion is that in order to keep existing in a modern world with modern problems christianity will need to change. This need for change is explicit in Denmark where new age religions are growing by the day using parts of the Christian dogma, but in a different context.


    Because we know so much about science and the ways of the world today, the need of a religion to explain is diminishing. So in my opinion, unless the church modifies itself, perhaps even redefines itself, becomes relevant to modern society, then my answer is no, I don't think that christianity has a future. At least not in Denmark.
     
  15. hydrolad

    hydrolad Senior Moderator Super Moderator

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    In the beginning of this lifetime, I didn’t have much choice as to a Religion or a Denomination, it was thrust upon me by my family members.


    I was born into a Methodist family with a Grand-Mother who was a charter member of her church that started out as a mission to another church further away, complete with a visiting Pastor on Sunday who gave the sermon.


    IMHO we Methodists haven’t figured out whether we are Catholic or Baptists, one year we had a Pastor who thought he was a Catholic priest, complete with every thing except the Roman collar. :)


    However as I got older, I began questioning ALL things, which greatly endeared me to my poor Grand-Mother, who would answer all my questions until she got tired!


    And as a teenager, after many dreams/memories and much reading, I finally accepted Reincarnation as fact and have never looked back!
     
  16. Tinkerman

    Tinkerman Administrator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Jim,


    I would be interested in hearing more about your opinion. Are you saying that the theology is false because there is no God. Or are you saying that the book transmitting the teachings of Christianity is false based on the human factor?


    Tman
     
  17. Reisender

    Reisender New Member

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    In my opinion theology and Mithology are the same thing.
     
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  18. Tinkerman

    Tinkerman Administrator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    As a participant: I will say that theology is the study and analysis of things... often God and diety (this is a simplistic definition, but...) Good or bad, right or wrong, loved or sneered... it is theology.


    Mythology is the story, study, and theory (to some it is theology) of myth, something based in the unknown, the supposed, and often the invented story, idea or concept.


    Yes you can lump them together, but really, there is so much more to this. Offer some thoughts.


    As an ADMINISTRATOR:


    I will ask all participants to remember we are a forum of many people and beliefs. Do not make definitive statements asserted as fact. When you want to make a statement based on your personal beliefs say so "In my opinion".


    If you find a post of yours that these words have been edited into please remember to use them in the future.


    This is a very valid discussion of a subject that many people are struggling with. Especially regarding reincarnation and their long held religious practice. Please offer your thoughts and opinions as part of a helpful discourse.


    Please review the Guidelines for this section.


    Tinkerman
     
  19. Chevalier

    Chevalier New Member

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    I think we must firstly be careful with terminologies. Christianism is the belief in Yeshua of Nazareth as the "Christ", the predicted Messiah of the ancient Jewish religion founded by Moses. Then there are its ramifications: the Catholic and Protestant religions, based upon the Old but also the New Testament founded upon the teachings of Jesus.


    What I have found is that in fact most major lines of "religion" or "mythology", throughout the history of humankind, have been based upon the experiences and intuitions of the different ramifications of civilization of the same fundamental truths, which are the existence of a Creator God and of the Spiritual Masters that rule upon the Spiritual realm.


    In Africa, for example, in particular the Congo and Angola regions, there is the legend of Oshallah (Osalá), the first male being created by Olorun, the ruler of the Orun (the Spiritual Realm) and Creator of all existing things.


    According to this ancient African mythology, the Great God Olorun, whom is also known under the name Allahballasheh, which means "He who detains the power of creation", delegated to His first created son, Oshallah, whose name means "The Son of Allah", the Son of God, the power over all creation. Kind of rings a bell, doesn't it?
     
  20. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    I think that one primary difference between Theology and Mythology is that in Western society one must be much more careful in defending their position as it pertains to Theology. While both are among many sincere cultural attempts at determining Truth in matters that are outside our normal senses, Western culture has largely determined that truth is determined either by Science or by Theology (the Bible), and that most other theories belong in the realm of Mythology. At the risk of invoking harsh retaliation from hard-line believers, I happen to believe that Christianity and its attendant Theology belong in the realm of Mythology, and that morality is determined not necessarily by the Bible, but rather by one's own "soul" connection to a universal consciousness. It is, therefore, my own humble opinion that Christianity—the belief in Jesus as the only savior—is no longer relevant, and does not have any future among truly enlightened people.


    I should make it clear that my opinions do not represent the beliefs or policies of this Forum.
     
  21. Chevalier

    Chevalier New Member

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    I believe the "path towards greater enlightenment" lies in the respect for others and the knowledge that we are all "one", regardless of what line of religion or belief one may have chosen. The "commandments" are clear instructions for the preventing of accumulating negative karma, and Jesus's messages of "love thy brother as thyself" still hold true, now and always...


    In mediumnic spiritual communications, it still transpires that he is, indeed, the Great Master of Masters of the spiritual realm. Personally I see no discrepancy in Christian beliefs with the understanding of reincarnation. We are born into a physical body, live life's experiences, return to the spiritual realm and then incarnate again. This, IMO, is the process we all undergo, until we have reached a degree of understanding and enlightenment by which we no longer have the need of returning to the physical realm to accumulate the experiences and lessons we are here to learn.


    To me, the "Soul-Consciousness" is eternal and indivisible, and, given the infinite possibilities just in the physical dimension, never mind the spiritual ones, the advancement and learning is likewise infinite... : angel
     
  22. Kristopher

    Kristopher Senior Registered

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  23. smith07

    smith07 truth seeker

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    I retired about 7 years ago and am in my garage most every day. Have a wide screen TV with an HD box, so I can get a lot of channels. Mostly I watch channels like History, Science, Learning, Discovery, etc. There are so many discoveries that have been made in the last 50 or so years by learned people, that have proven the bible wrong in a lot of ways. My parents converted to Catholicism when I was 9, started going to a Catholic school in the 5th grade till graduation. Started each day at Mass through the 8th grade. Of course religion was a required subject in high school, very interesting, loved it.


    I've gone to a number of different protestant churches to see what they were like. I've found out that there is only a 'hairbreaths' difference between them, Catholicism being the more strict with dogma and tradition, confession and the like. Most of the 'truths' that I held so close to my heart when I was young have been dissproved.


    Why...because people starting thinking for themselves and have been evolving more rapidly since Martin Luther had the 'gonads' to stand up to the 'authority' of the crooked church. Popes were selling dispensations and were controlling the masses with fear of a 'wrathful god'. How can a God who is supposed to be all knowing, all merciful, all loving have any wrath...NO WAY.


    Religion has become a scare tactic with "if you don't accept Jesus as you Lord and Savior and worship him, you'll go to Hell for all eternity"


    ALL ETERNITY :eek: :eek: :confused: I think Nighttrain hit the nail on the head.
     
  24. kenikeli

    kenikeli New Member

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    The bible was put together at the Council of Nicea around 490 AD. Almost 500 years after the "fact". Interestingly, it did contain references to reincarnation, I'll paraphrase Jesus who stated that "xxxx must be John the Baptist, reborn" (can't remember who xxxx was, it's not a biblical name in case you were wondering! :p ). Later at the Council of Constantinople, reincarnation became anathema as the bible was re-written again, by a bunch of men. Now, if these men who wrote the bible could claim to be guided by God when they first wrote down his literal word, how then do we account for his infallibility in guiding a different bunch of men to changing it a century later? Incidentally a lot of the misogyny in the bible can be laid at the door of these people, the only woman in the bible who's not a harlot seems to be the Virgin Mary! Poetic license there, obviously... :p
     
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  25. Rifleman

    Rifleman Lucas McCain

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    Christianity will always be here, but with some changes. I think more will embrace Old Earth Creationism, because the 6,000 year old theory is no longer viable even now. Using Bishop Ussher's calculation, we are aleady sixteen years passed the 6,000 year limit supposedly given by God, which the Bible doesn't even teach.
     
  26. Crazy Train

    Crazy Train New Member

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    I think they will modify their doctrines since that is what most christians are fixated on.


    Modifying their scriptures is a little more problematical, but that's OK since most don't bother reading them.


    I think they are on their way out. It's not like it was back in the good ol' days when they could wipe out entire towns, or go on crusades or inquisitions (yes there was more than one), or burn people at the stake etc, in order to use force to get people converted to their way of "thinking".


    What I find interesting is when people try and make their beliefs (like reincarnation) acceptable to christians. For some reason getting christians approval seems to be a big concern with some.
     
  27. Tinkerman

    Tinkerman Administrator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I would respectfully disagree Crazy Train. I don't think they are on "their way out." As a Christian, and one who understands the doctrinal mistakes and is deeply offended by the ruthless and evil past, I, and many like me, are seeking the path that the Great Teacher meant for us.


    I have to say that I am a little dismayed at the perception of non Christians... but then again we brought it upon ourselves. The greatest lesson that I have learned is that, in my opinion, all people who are on a spiritual path, and are earnestly seeking the Truth, are on the same road! Weather it is Buddha, Mohammed, Abraham etc. etc. etc. we are all, as they were, looking for the same thing. And our greatest failure is the condemnation and hatred of those on a different path. Each of the great Spiritual Masters taught peace... taught compassion, and the beginning of that is an acceptance of all faiths. Agree or not, look upon their beliefs with an inquisitive, respectful, and compassionate eye.


    Me? I'm very much proud to call myself a Christian. I also study and follow the teachings of the Buddha. Do they mix... I say they all do, if your eye if filled with wonder, you too can see it. The deeper I delve into the seed of spirituality, which I call faith, the wider my eyes open. AND YES I do believe doctrine and teaching will change with the times, there is after all something Greater than us at work (IMO ;) )


    Peace!!


    Tman
     
  28. Sister Grey

    Sister Grey Senior Registered

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    I absolutely agree, Tinkerman, couldn't have said it better myself. (Or nearly as well. :D .) The ideology is still sound whether one is a Christian, Buddist, Muslim, or who or whatever. I happen to like Christianity, because that's my background, and the ideals of it - charity, forgiveness, compassion - still appeal to me. Some have used their beliefs to commit terrible acts, but they as easily use a political agenda or any other non-religious platform. That's us being humans, and sometimes humans are monsters. But sometimes we also search for something greater than ourselves, and sometimes we even see a bit of light in the dark, and we shouldn't be mocked when we do.
     
  29. BriarRose

    BriarRose Senior Registered

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    The current brand of Christian fundamentalism really frightens me. I think there's a chance we'll return to the type of society portrayed in Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." I grew up in a strongly fundamentalist family where everyone was eithor a "saint or a sinner". My grand father was a "hell fire and brim stone" proponent. This philosophy never resonated with me, but now I'm thinking people have distorted what Jesus taught to such a degree that the good things have been obscured and we can't see them anymore. I'm trying to take a more open-minded look at things I long ago discarded out of hand. If you read both the Old Testament and the New, God himself has evolved over the course of human history. If Christianity is to survive, it needs to evolve, too. We in the U.S. are in such a period of stratification i.e., a book called "The Great Sort", and Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth", that I don't think our society can survive this way. Sorry if I stepped on any "toes".
     
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  30. Shiftkitty

    Shiftkitty Registered User

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    Why stop at Christianity? Does any religion stand a chance against enlightenment? Even the Smoki tribe in Yavapai County, AZ knows that their sacred "Snake Dance" doesn't actually accomplish anything except draw tourists. You can do all the rain dances you want, but if the clouds aren't there, they just aren't there. New Age paganism is probably even less based in reality than the original pagans who were working with less scientific knowledge (and can therefore be excused for believing that jumping over a fire and drowning people in peat bogs could affect their crops).


    That is, of course, a purely rhetorical question. Religion is an important part of our psyche and is as natural as breathing. Even an atheist like me can seek answers to the unanswerable and can even have religious elements resonate on some level we have yet to identify (Thor and Archangel Michael).


    Religion, as has already been said, is ever-evolving (which I've always felt gives Darwin the last laugh). An original Christian would probably be appalled at the idolatry that many so-called faithful do without thinking. Jesus himself, I once speculated back whe you could openly discuss religion at a public school, would have his head explode if he could see how many people worship him, but pay only lip service to his teachings. But even the most dedicated, devout Christian today (I'll bet a dime to a hole in a doughnut*) would look like a gold calf-worshipping sinner to the first round of Christians. Spin-offs such as Islam have well-documented evolution. You only need read the Koran to see it. Once-aescetic Buddhist monks now trot around with their own personal luxuries, such as cameras. (It didn't belong to the monastery, he said it was his personal property.)


    Yes, religion will survive. It brings comfort and provides direction to many and fills in voids in our pool of knowledge, often just until we can learn the truth of our questions. It is our one link to the "spirit world", a glimpse of the other side of the veil whether through our own eyes or based on what someone else may have seen. Has religion, as an organizational force, been corrupted? Yes. Many times by every culture, and not always for selfish or evil reasons. But I don't think we should be blaming the spirit world for what man has done. What we should be doing is finding our truths, the ones we know in our hearts, and standing by them, leading by example, not by force.


    *Many thanks to my Spanish teacher at Prescott High School in Arizona, Mr. Castaneda for that phrase. It just wasn't Spanish class until he would use that phrase!
     

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