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iamthemob's avatar

Is it possible to believe in more than one religion at the same time?

Asked by iamthemob (17147points) September 18th, 2010

If so, why? And if not, why not? Anything more than a simple yes or no would be greatly appreciated – if anyone has specific examples, that would be fantastic…

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22 Answers

Austinlad's avatar

It’s not only possible but wise to be open to believing, or at least contemplating, as many ideas as one can discover, regardless of which religion or philosophy they come from. I think it’s sad to go through life stuck in one belief when there are so many possibilities. I believe in many ideas that both Judaism and Christianity espouse.

jerv's avatar

Many Asians do, and they manage to resolve any conflicts between whatever different faiths they have somehow. Many other people also manage to have multiple religions that they manage to combine into a unified belief system, though it seems a little less common than in areas where Taoism, Buddhism, Shinto, and such are prevalent; it seems to be more of an Eastern thing.

YARNLADY's avatar

Beliving in religion is an overall concept. The so-called difference between one religion and another is mostly based on the basic concepts, such as one god above all others, only one god, the son of god, and such. Religion is a belief in a super natural being – and there are many different interpretation of that.

Pandora's avatar

Sure why not. Life isn’t black and white, so why should our beliefs be any different. In the end I think people choose to believe what suits their lives best.

Ben_Dover's avatar

Sure. Use the best from the different religions to form the basis of tour own spiritual belief system.

Trillian's avatar

I think that no one religion has a monopoly on the “truth”. Rather, most religions seem to each hold some small kernel, or portion of an overall idea. This is why I despair when I hear of extremists of any type, religious or otherwise. That way lies closed minds and intolerance for all others.

Nullo's avatar

Nearly all of the faiths that I’ve encountered rule out the possibility of any other faith being true by simple fact that they’re all different in very important ways.
The exceptions: Baha’i (which basically asserts that all faiths lead to God, incompatibilities notwithstanding) and Judaism and Christianity with respect to one another, given that the latter is in many ways an outgrowth of the former.

Rarebear's avatar

Well, I’m an atheist Jew, but that doesn’t really count.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Religions, sure. Lots of people come up with hybrid religions that fit their beliefs and their actions better than just one.

Sarcasm's avatar

Christianity and Islam both have a “you shall not worship any gods other than me” rule. I’m sure they’re not the only ones.
Even without those rules, a lot of religions completely conflict on ideas.
Christians think the universe was made 6,000 years ago, in 6 days, and the Earth was populated in them. Scientologists believe the universe is billions of years old, and that the Earth was populated 75m years ago when the Galactic Frederation threw souls into volcanoes.
Hindus believe that everything is recycled. The universe is cyclically destroyed and created every 4b years.

And these conflicts exist for thousands of issues, not just in regards to the age of the universe.

I guess given that there are thousands of belief systems out there, that some are compatible with a mix-and-match system. But in general, I’d say no.

Ben_Dover's avatar

Well, of course, if you are going to saddle fundamentalist-type religious nuts with rules you must keep in mind that more advanced Christians don’t accept such silliness. Not many modern Christians believe the 6,000 year rule, nor the 6-day rule.

Many modern Christians recognize the bible for the piece of ancient scripture that it is, and realize that changing times obviously have changed the nature of our relationship with the almighty.

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY

Religion is a belief in a super natural being – and there are many different interpretation of that.

Isn’t this a little reductionist though? I don’t think that all religions have a supernatural being, per se. Also, what is the separation between natural and super natural (i.e., isn’t this a construct which separates one side from the other before determining how things belong on which side?)

iamthemob's avatar

@Sarcasm

So in your definition, it is necessary to accept fundamentalist construction of religious texts in order to believe in a religion?

Nullo's avatar

@Austinlad It is important to consider that a person doesn’t believe a religion like he believes that it might rain tomorrow. Faith requires more commitment than that, and if you don’t have faith, you’re very probably an agnostic and have a few things that you need to sort out with yourself.
For a Christian, at least, God is a Person that you interact with, and He is believed in much the same way that significant others and @Austinlads are.

YARNLADY's avatar

@iamthemob If you are alluding to religion as in “computers are his religion” we are talking about two different things.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Of course it’s possible, people can believe whatever they want to believe. I don’t have examples of someone actually doing this though. I don’t belong to any religion anymore, but when i read something about a particular religion that i think is worthy of implementing in my life, then i’ll take it, so i have no problem with taking bits and pieces that i like from different religions and believing in them and implementing them in my life.

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY

Not at all – but there are plenty of religions without a god figure.

Nullo's avatar

It was popular, in the 12th century (I think) to try to at once adhere to Aristotelean philosophy (as recorded by Averroes) and Christianity, incompatibilities notwithstanding. Aristotle was something of an atheist.

iamthemob's avatar

Well, we all in some way maintain inconsistent beliefs. But philosophy is generally considered on a different level than religion. I don’t think that would be as unique a conflict as the situation of holding onto to belief in two religions…

Nullo's avatar

@iamthemob I thought the same thing at first, until I studied Aristotelean philosophy. It’s as complicated and involved as any religion.
Anyway, one can make the argument that atheism is effectively a religion. It has its gods (people), its prophets, its ministers, its proselytizers, its codes, places of congregation, even atrocities committed in its name.

YARNLADY's avatar

@iamthemob Thank you, that is a fine list. I equate a divine spirit or being with a God.

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY

Sure, so would I. But there are still those without it, or belief in the being is secondary. Buddhism, for interest…

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