Do you now have a customized religion?

by losthobbit 25 Replies latest jw experiences

  • mindseye

    Good post, losthobbit. 'Customized religion' describes my journey quite well. After leaving the Witnesses in my teens I rejected religion altogether, and called myself an agnostic. But religion remained an academic interest, and the more I read, I found that there was a whole world beyond theistic debates. Reading about the religions of the east was a real eye opener. Taoism and Buddhism remain the two traditions I most identify with. I have attended a Buddhist temple, and found the experience to be positive. Debate was allowed and even encouraged, and one did not have to self identify as a 'Buddhist' to be involved. Quite a departure from the religion of my youth.

    I have also read some books by the mythologist Joseph Campbell, which caused me to think of religion and spirituality in a different way. Instead of getting bogged down in literalism and what 'really happened', I began to look at religious stories as poetic metaphors for deep existential 'truths'.

    Most recently, I've began to read the Bible in this poetic way, and now find it a pretty enriching book. Stories that I thought were strange when taken literally now take on a new dimension. For instance, Jacob wrestling God is a metaphor for how we all grapple with difficult existential questions. I don't feel the need to identify as a 'Christian' or believe in concepts such as original sin to take value from some of the stories in the Bible.

    So yeah, I have a belief system that's probably a hybrid of eastern thought, poetic reading of mythology, and insights into evolutionary psychology. I don't feel the 'need' for this religion, it's just a natural byproduct of exploration.

  • losthobbit

    BlindNoMore, you asked "Can you share more about Church of Christ?"

    The thing about the COC is that there are three different ones that I know of... There's the International Church of Christ, the Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints, and the Church of Christ that I belonged to.

    The International COC, is also known as the Boston movement and is considered to be a cult. I don't know much about them, but I think they have some kind of structure where people have to report to someone else. I once met two of them in a lonely part of a shopping mall... dodgy looking people that wanted to preach to me.

    The COC of the Latter Day Saints are the Mormons. They're the ones that pop around to your house, just like the JW's, but are all called Elders, no matter how young they are.

    Then there's the COC. They're the least cultish of the lot, but still believe they're the one and only true church of Christ, hence the name, which they consider to be more of a description than a name. They believe that the bible is 100% accurate. They differ from traditional Christianity in that they disagree with infant baptism, and insist that people only be baptised out of their own free will... something which makes a lot of sense. They believe that baptism is a requirement for salvation, which they get from Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16. They also believe that musical instruments should not be used in worship (Well, there are some churches of Christ that allow musical instruments, but I think most don't). They don't have any kind of headquarters, because, as far as they believe that Jesus is their head. They avoid traditional things... so for example, Christmas and Easter are not part of the religion, but they don't frown upon anyone that celebrates them; in fact most members do celebrate them.

    Writing about them now, I kind of realize that compared to other Christian churches, the church of Christ is pretty good at sticking to what the bible teaches. Of course Mark 16:16 was probably never in the original manuscripts, and if you believe it then you also believe that Christians will survive if they drink poison and can handle snakes (also in Mark 16)... not that they would ever admit to believing that. ... And then there's Acts 2:38, which does say that one should be baptised in order to be saved, but this disagrees with other verses in the bible that say you just have to believe in order to be saved... so the right answer that no Christian admits to is simply that the bible contradicts itself.

    Anyway, this is not really what this thread's about, but I thought I'd just answer the question.

  • losthobbit

    MrBunyRabit, James Brown and MindsEye,

    Thank you for your comments. I want to share some advice and a comment with you:

    You don't have to have a label... You don't need to be a Christian, or an Agnostic or an Athiest. A label restricts you, and forces you to be something. Personally, I call myself a truth seeker. That is a label that I think I will always want to be identified as... not as someone who knows that he is right and doesn't listen to anyone else, but someone who always wants to learn, find a better way and do what is right.

    "A great nation is like a great man:
    When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
    Having realized it, he admits it.
    Having admitted it, he corrects it.
    He considers those who point out his faults
    as his most benevolent teachers."

    - Lao-tzu

  • losthobbit

    NewChapter, I agree.

  • Joey Jo-Jo
    Joey Jo-Jo

    Due to realising that the bible contradicts itself, did anyone here realise that the view of the bible being gods holy word is a protestant invention, for example the easter orthodox church(considered older and once prosecuted by the roman catholic church) believes that the bible is simply accounts written by imperfect men, and re-written and re-compiled, they see reading the bible to the point of being more than the church forefathers as idle worshipping.

    Now I can still think of many problems but it is an interesting way of thinking. Whatever you do dont stop asking question.

  • blindnomore

    losthobbit, thank you for your kind answering to my question. I know it wasn't what this thread about but I couldn't pass the opportunity. I have never run into a current or ex-COC before. It's interesting to know Church of Christ doesn't have any kind of headquater but believe Jesus is their head. That's more close to Bible teaching IMO.

    I was athiest before converted to JW. I don't know what I believe anymore. I am open minded at this point but tend to be toward agnostic or even toward athiesm. I appreciate the posters different but soul searching thoughts.

  • mindseye

    losthobbit, I agree that labels can be restricting. Though there are certain "-isms" I identify with, I always try to rigourously examine different paths. Good quote by Lao Tzu.

    Joey Jo Jo, I also remember learning that the sort of 'Bible worship' that permeates modern fundamentalism was a product of the reformation. The ritual and mystical elements of the earlier churches hold more appeal to me, something is lost with the over-literalization, book-deification of some post-reformation theology (though I do agree that everyone should be able to read and interpret the Bible for themselves).

  • losthobbit

    Joey Jo-Jo, interesting point. My mom still believes the bible is entirely true... when I ask her which translation, or which manuscript is true (the manuscripts do differ) she still sticks to her belief. Of course, besides not knowing much about the copiers, translators and the people who chose which books to put in the bible, we don't even know the people who originally wrote them. But somehow it's entirely true, and you better believe it or we'll burn you at the stake, heretics... :)

  • Fernando

    I have come to reject all religion, as an irreformable enemy of God and man.

    Instead I have pursued religion's nemesis and exact opposite, namely the "unabridged gospel" or the "good news".

    There is nothing religionists hate more than the "unabridged gospel". For fear of exposing themselves they never directly attack it though.

    One of their strategies is depleting it, by removing as many of its key ingredients as they can. The Watchtower has been one of the most successful, managing to remove all but one ingredient and still sell it to the "dumb sheeple" as the best koolaid ever.

  • Sulla

    Not the slightest interest in a customized religion; seems like an oxymoron to me, to be honest. I find it too easy to worship myself as it is, without starting my own religion. Hell, why not grow a long white beard and start writing a magazine?

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