Before I go on I want to make sure you don't misinterpret my intentions here. If you wake up in the morning and feel like you have a best friend to watch over you and it makes you a better person then I'm all for it and have no desire to try and convince you that you are wrong. My reason for chiming in here is simply that Aaron obviously has his own, similar feelings yet because his opinions about his best friend are different to yours you are now telling him that he is wrong and I feel he is being ganged up on because he is in the minority.
People have believed in gods of some type or other as far back as recorded history and it's a pretty safe bet to assume that each group has always thought that their god was the only REAL one. Even now, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Christians all have a book that is claimed as being "The Book" and each group is sure that theirs is the right one? The one thing you all have in common is that you only have human interpretation to go by when following whichever book you use and it's quite arrogant to tell people that your interpretation is 100% correct and someone else's is wrong.
Let's take the Bible as an example. Imagine that every member of your church was to read it in isolation (of each other), and each person was then interviewed in detail about what each story in the bible meant, what were the nuances of the original authors, what was on their minds, etc. I am positive that no two people would read the same thing into every word and story in the entire book. This is made even more difficult by the fact that you are not even reading it in language it was originally written in!
I speak English, Indonesian and Japanese quite well and I can tell you there are words in all three of those languages that simply don't translate properly from one language into another. You can get close, but not exact and depending on the complexity of the language and also the way people of a particular race think, it can be almost impossible to try and translate some things. Try translating a sarcastic comment into either Japanese or Indonesian. A Japanese friend of mine rang me up last week to ask me what I was wearing to a party and I told him a ballerina's tutu. The phone was silent for about 15 seconds and then he asked, in all seriousness, what colour? It doesn't work; neither of those races appreciates that type of humour.
Now, you have a 2,000 year old book that was written by a couple of different races of people that are quite alien to you, in a time that is quite alien to you, and that has been translated from several different languages, and you are trying to tell someone that their interpretation of some of the words is incorrect? Think about it...
Exactly!Originally Posted by [b
It does just show that you are a religion, and that is what it was meant to do. It does not say that is ALL that you do as a religion but those points are what qualifies something as a religion.
Do you believe in a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe (ie God)?
Yes? Then your belief is called a religion.
Do you follow a set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader (ie Jesus)?
Yes? Then your belief is called a religion.
Christianity is a religion.
You can try to deny it all you want however if you said yes to either or both of the above two points then you would be wrong. Religion is simply a term to describe something and not at all derogatory and I think that denial that your belief is a religion is just an attempt at trying to make your religion appear more legitimate.
Thanks for your input too
Pure speculation and interpretation as per my post above to Peter.Originally Posted by [b
I have read a lot of the Bible (I admit to finding it difficult to wade through some parts of the OT) and read Genesis most recently just a few weeks ago and I didn't notice any side notes saying which parts of the Bible were not meant to be taken literally?
How can you read a book that is claimed to be the word of God and "know" which parts are to be taken literally and which are not if it is not specified? Again, unless you were there and directly involved in the original writing of the book then your understanding will be rudimentary at best.
I too have read Hawking, his references to God were pretty vague and his leaving them out wouldn't have made any difference to the book.
Can I ask, does God actually speak with you?
If this is personal then that's fine but I am intrigued.
If you don't mind then I'd like to know what kind of voice God has, male or female? Old, young? What kinds of things does God say?
I would LOVE to find that there is a God, why would I not?
If God really speaks to you then I will be the first to admit that I am wrong.
If he doesn't then it isn't a relationship any more than you can have a relationship with a chair or your TV.