General Question

deaddolly's avatar

Why is religion or spiritually important to you, if it is? Why are ppl afaid of ppl who choose less acceptable religions like Satanism or Wicca?

Asked by deaddolly (3406points) September 18th, 2008

Having been raised Catholic, I am now agnostic. I don’t feel it necessary to go to a church or w/e to pray or to pray at all for that matter. I don’t miss it. Why do some ppl need that organized religion?

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32 Answers

Nimis's avatar

I think people are just afraid of what they don’t understand?
PS spirituality

Though asking why people need organized religion might warrant an entirely new thread?

tinyfaery's avatar

Religion creates an “us” vs. “them” mentality; especially the missionary religions. If you are not with “us” then you must be against “us”.

Religion serves many needs, and different people “need” it for different reasons. The best book on religion and religious experience (in my opinion) is William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience. It’s about what constitutes religion, why people need it, and the purposes religion serves. It’s academic, but worth the read if the topic is of interest to you.

marinelife's avatar

Wow. You have three different questions going here.

1. Spirituality is important to me, because I believe in the interconnectedness of life, because when I practice it, it gives me peace and contentment, because I see it working on me and in my life.

2. I think it is a gross generalization to say that “people” are afraid of “less acceptable” religions. That is not true of all people. What does less acceptable mean? Do you lean less mainstream? It would be speculation on my part to hazard a guess why someone might be afraid of a less mainstream faith, but my guess would be that human tend to fear what is different.

3. People get comfort from the community offered by organized religion, from the structure, from turning over control to someone else for their lives, for lots of reasons.

JackAdams's avatar

Some people (like me) are afraid of dying, because (like me) they don’t know what the dying process is like, and what awaits them, after their spirit (assuming they have one) leaves their physical body. So, with me, I guess I probably fear the unknown, more than death itself. But, I’ll admit here and now, that I am scared of dying, and yes, I know that it is inevitable for everyone (except for the very rich, who can probably pay someone else to go in their place).

Like many folks, I was brainwashed from birth to believe in a supreme intellect, but today, I am mature enough (I think) to willingly believe that matter could not self-create, so something or someone had to have been responsible for everything that exists, olr nothing would exist, except The Creator.

Then, I get severe headaches when I ask myself, that if Gawd currently exists (as I believe The Creator does), then who or what caused Gawd to come into existence, because everything HAD to have a “start” or a “beginning” of some kind.

I am not “afraid” of anyone who chooses not to believe as I do, but I am afraid of those who would randomly kill others, because THEY do not believe a certain way, such as some Islamic fanatics believe.

tinyfaery's avatar

Or wacko anti-abortion, Christian freaks.

shrubbery's avatar

I’m sorry Jack, but it annoys me when people use “Islamic fanatics” as their example. Why not just say “religious fanatics” or “extremists”. They are in every religion, not just Islam. (Thanks, Tiny)

I agree with all the answers above,
Fear of the Unknown
Peace and Content
Comfort
Community
Socialising
Friends

I think I have more to say on this, but I’ll have to come back later, my favourite song came on and I need to dance.

JackAdams's avatar

You are indeed correct, Shrub, when you say that extremists and fanatics exist in all religions. They certainly do.

But, the Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist “fanatics” have not (yet) flown jet aircraft into skyscrapers, have they?

So, I’m allowed to mention the ones who have.

Nimis's avatar

What about Japanese kamikaze pilots?
I’m guessing they’re Buddhist?
Not into a skyscraper per se…but still

JackAdams's avatar

Have they done anything RECENTLY?

tinyfaery's avatar

You need examples of people from other religions that randomly kill people? Why does it have to be recently? No jets flown into skyscrapers for 7 years now.

JackAdams's avatar

My point, exactly.

stratman37's avatar

“my favourite song came on and I need to dance.”
Shrubbery, your outlook on life just got you added to my Fluther – dance on!

shrubbery's avatar

no one else is home and I don’t often get the opportunity to have the whole house to myself, so I crank up the music and take advantage of it when I can :P

Ok, here’s my take on the issue, sorry if I rambled a bit and may have got off topic, but I had to type it up in between breaking it down :P

It can be an answer to one’s dissatisfaction with life, eg with superficial material things.

By being part of an organised religion’s community you have to transcend the ego, that is you have to think about others to learn about yourself.

To try to be content and at peace with who you are.

To find out who you’re supposed to be.

To resolve past problems, to learn to forgive, to become a “better person”.

Since humans have had conscious thought, they have considered that there is ‘something else’ just out of reach of the natural world. A common response to the question ‘what is thinking religiously?’ is the sense of ‘something else’, the need to satisfy the uneasiness of ‘there must be something better than this’, the quest to find meaning and guidance and other such considerations. But are these trains of thought necessarily thinking “religiously”? I think that Religion is the binding together of these questions, attempting to answer them and organising them into something that many people can commit to and follow, by way of rituals and traditions. Religion requires faith. So just considering questions such as ‘why are we here’, ‘is there a force out there bigger than us’ and ‘what happens after we die’ can be called spiritual questions and do not require any input from religion, because any individual can ponder these on their own without any commitments or faith. A religion is a community of people believing in the same answers and explanations to these questions, so to think religiously is to believe in what you are following along with other people in your religious community. To think religiously requires a community of belief all helping each other believe in the same things, through rituals and traditions, so that we do not doubt ourselves as much as we would if we were alone. Although it would not seem a very good reason to believe in something, an idea that ‘if so many people believe it, it must be true’ or ‘that many people cannot be so horribly wrong’ is one basis for religious belief and though, because you are not doubting yourself, you have the community believing and thinking the same thing to back you up.

and now I’m going for a walk in the lovely sunshine!

tinyfaery's avatar

What point? Why call out one group over another? Most religions have perpetrated some sort of violence against others.

PupnTaco's avatar

Sm ppl jst dn nd rlig.

Nimis's avatar

Thy r jst nswrng wtht th vwls.
Ddnt y vr d tht n grd schl?

marinelife's avatar

What has been done in the name of Christianity meets or exceeds the acts of extremist Muslims easily.

This is a lowest common denominator of humanity.

We need to deplore the actions not the people or the faith.

tinyfaery's avatar

Grade school or grad school? Phones were still rotary when I was in grade school. I can make many words from just vowels. Pig Latin is much more precise.

Nimis's avatar

Adegray!

Onesphay ereway illstay otaryray enwhay iway asway inway adegray oolschay ootay. =)

SuperMouse's avatar

I believe most people have an innate need to believe in something bigger than themselves. Many of us are disposed to wondering what this life is really all about, what we’re doing here, and if this is all there is. Religions are our best attempt to believe we are part of something bigger and to answer some of those nagging questions.

As for many folk’s avoidance of some of the lesser known belief systems, it seems to me that a lot of people follow the dogma they grew up with, it is because of this that the so called mainstream religious beliefs are the most widely held.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I have to say it irks me, too, when people go on about “Muslim extremists” when we have “Christian extremists” in this country. These are people who would participate in a holy war if they felt God/Jesus called them to it. I recommend two films to make my case here: Jesus Camp and The God Who Wasn’t There. You say Christian extremists haven’t done anything radical in recent memory, but I disagree. Off the top of my head, what about clinic bombings?

Historically, Christianity has done a lot more damage than Islam. Let’s see.. The Crusades/Holy Wars, the Inquisition, burning witches… I think there’s more, but I’m not yet totally awake.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think everyone else has done a good job of explaining what religion does for people. I would say people are afraid of Wicca and Satanism because they have misinformed views about what these religions really are. I’m not a fan of Satanism, but I’m not afraid of Satanists.. I just don’t feel it’s a good thing to celebrate selfishness and doing whatever the hell pleases you.

As a Wiccan, we fight hundreds of years of bias, now it’s mostly the ideas people are fed about what a witch is. There’s been a bit of misinformation and fear-mongering around witches. People imagine ugly crones with green skin, a wart on their nose, a pointed black hat, and a broom to ride. They think of witches like the one in Snow White, ready to cast black spells for our own personal gain.

There probably are people who misuse magick, but the majority of Wiccans are kind, socially-aware people who revere nature and want to make the world a better place. One of the tenets of the religion, by the way, is to not do harm to anyone.. which includes the use of magick to manipulate or hurt someone. Many Wiccans won’t even cast spells on other people for this reason, in that only God is aware of the big picture and we could be totally messing things up for that person or ourselves, even if the intentions are good.

My last relationship was 2 years long, which you would think would be enough time for her to get a hold on who I am and what I stand for. Even so, she still has misgivings and misconceptions about my being a witch. It freaks her out a little bit. She was raised very conservative Catholic and I keep trying to get her to do a bit of reading to see that she’s way off.

deaddolly's avatar

Thanks to everyone for your comments. Having been raised Catholic, I just wondered if i was even stranger than I thought, because religion/spirituality has never meant anything to me and I don’t consider it important to lead a happy, well-adjusted life.
I find the occult interesting and if I were ever to ‘join’ anything again, it would probably be the practice of Wicca.

JackAdams's avatar

Sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, because you have managed to escape the brainwashing (“Indoctrination”) of your Catholic roots.

I like Wiccans. They are good people, I believe.

I once bought a Wicca chair they had made.

deaddolly's avatar

lol…yes, escape i did. took awhile tho. i never really did fit in tho. never liked anyone telling me what movies to see etc. Rubbish.

SuckaFreeCitizen's avatar

It’s important to me in that it has some insightful ideas worth exploring, but I don’t try to identify myself with or participate actively in any religion for devotional purposes. Then there is the problem of me not adhering to dogma well, especially when it’s contradictory or misinterpreted. I can’t speak for others, but I’m not afraid of any religion. However, I am weary of the people who abuse it.

A number of elements in Catholicism are borrowed from European paganism pre-dating Christianity. For example, the alter, the challace, incense, etc. Not to mention there are strikingly similar holidays and saints that became endowed with the powers of local gods; a tool used to covert polytheistic pagans to Catholicsm. Wicca is a more modern extrapolation of pre-christian paganism and should be a nice transition for you if you decide to go into that direction.

The_Anonymous_Witch's avatar

gotta agree with what has already said. (without stating how much placing satanism and wicca in the same sentence erks me .! ) . ..social programing . cola war tactics , smear campaigns misinformation etc ... the same stuff that made you put satan (a christian deitie ) . and wicca together . and it all started here after the christians stole the ideas and rituals from the pagans to invent their faith… then try to kill them off to get rid of the eveidence , and biggest enemy…truth. link

MissAnthrope's avatar

@The_Anonymous_Witch – Take a deep breath and reread my post. Nowhere do I say the two are the same, the only similarity I talked about is that the two religions are misunderstood. I am a Witch and I know very well the differences in the two. However, you have to admit that a lot of people don’t really understand what Satanism is, even a lot of the people who practice it.

The_Anonymous_Witch's avatar

@MissAnthrope , hi , sorry , in no way was i referring to your post , i meant the question poster, and the info therin . sorry for the misunderstanding .

MissAnthrope's avatar

@The_Anonymous_Witch – Ah, okay.. I was reading through the posts to see what you were referring to and mine was the only one.. should have looked closer at the question. :P

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