Organized Religion versus Personal Beliefs
I finally cleaned up this article and added many more thoughts to it. I also went back and found the Question this article answered. Click the question for the link.*
My Response to the Question
This post was originally in response to the question "What do all religions have in common?” asked by Indigenous. I decided it's a good starting point for a hub, so I am keeping this response in tact and adding to it.
The quoted response follows:
All religion offers answers to important spiritual questions. They offer some way to define that which we cannot explained. Along that vein, they offer a view of what happens after death.
If you mean an organized group practicing a religion; That tends to mean that one person, or group of people tells the rest what a "scripture" means and expect the remaining people in the group to follow along and usually pay a tithe. While the demands of "following the flock" differ, the basis is the same. Follow what we tell you to do because we say it is right. Now, they say that there is room to interpret but most of the time interpretation that does not directly follow the views of the rest of the congregation (rather, the heads of the congregation) is 'frowned upon' or considered fallacy. This then means the 'offending party' is 'taught what is right' depending on religion this may mean that the person is told to repent, it may mean they are chastised, whatever the "lesson" it usually comes with great feelings of guilt. This causes the person questioning their views to want to just 'follow the flock.'
If you are talking merely a religious belief structure; This basically means what they have in common is as stated previously about answering questions. Plus it usually means exploring what best fits your personal views and practicing accordingly.
Personal experience and opinion prefers the latter."
Poll - Are you part of an organized religion
Are you part of an organized religion? (this includes a small organization like a coven)
Subjectivity and Belief
Our view of religion is incredibly subjective and most people don't realize it. Truthfully, everything we do in our daily lives is looked at in a very subjective manner. Ever watched Mythbusters? The reason there are so many urban myths for them to bust is because our subjective experience leads us to many conclusions, true or not. That doesn't make us flawed, on the contrary, it's one of the things that makes us persevere. That does however mean we tend to get stuck on a single idea, true or not, until and unless it is proven incorrect. Even then, we have to be open to that proof before accepting the new truth.
We are also biologically keyed to believe in order to function. We believe certain truths we've learned to depend on. We typically think of belief as it relates to religion, but the truth is; belief is a core part of every day. From the concrete ideas that make up our physical world: gravity, pain, death, food, sleep, to the abstract ideas, money, love, religion, politics, and social connections.
Without these beliefs, we wouldn't be able to function.We believe certain truths to be unshakable because we need them to be in order to make it through the day.
A hypnotist taught me a valuable lesson about belief.
Imagine you wake up in the morning. As you look off your bed, you see the floor beneath you and you get out of bed.
Now, imagine waking up and looking off the bed, but the floor is lava.
Now, imagine waking up but the floor is hundreds of feet below you.
If we didn't believe our eyes, when we woke up in the morning and we saw the floor, we would never be able to get out of bed. We believe our eyes are telling us the truth about the floor, and we get out of bed. The same simple process happens thousands of times throughout the day, and we take those little beliefs for granted. The food we're eating is safe. The water is clean. It doesn't change that these things are facts, if we didn't believe them, or believed something else, we would make different decisions. If you believed your water was contaminated, would you drink it? If you believed your car was going to inexplicably explode, would you drive it? If you believed your plane was going to crash, would you get on it?
My point here is; the simple little beliefs help us to move forward and go unnoticed every day. Because without belief, we couldn't function.
Thanks for Reading
All of this having been stated, I'd like to see responses. Any and all opinions are welcome. Please remember to be respectful as this is a sensitive topic. Thank you in advance.