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What is and isn't a religion?

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  • What is and isn't a religion?

    I was thinking about the controversy about the Satanists in Oklahoma. It reminded me about how other people have claimed to be part of parody religions just to make snarky legal/procedural arguments (such as the Flying Spaghetti Monster people demanding equal time in the schools, or people trying to get Jedi listed as a religion on the Australian census). Where do we draw the line between what is and isn't a religion? And what about Scientology? I think one could just as accurately describe it as a business (or less charitably and more accurately, a scam).
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

  • #2
    I think of religion as an organization with members dedicated to worshiping a higher power (like a deity) - so a parody religion would not be an actual religion because they don't worship any such power or being, they just use their organization to mock those that do.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think Scientology has tax-exempt status, I don't know if CoS does but I found that an entity called The Satanic Chapel does. I don't know what bearing that has on defining what is a religion.

      I think it could be said that Satanists should at least observe tenets of mainstream Satanism in order to even be identified with it, and it seems demanding a monument may violate some of its rules like:

      #1 Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.
      #2 Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
      #8 Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.

      Some Satanists object to the monument because it does seem to violate such principles:

      “The Church of Satan requires members to be legally adult and Satanist parents teach their children comparative religion and philosophy so that our children may decide which religion or philosophy would suit their own natures. We do not indoctrinate our offspring, or anyone else’s, and that statue could be seen as symbolic of indoctrination, which is manifestly counter to our philosophy.

      “It occurs to me that the efforts by the perpetrators of this proposal may be intended as a means for making Satanism appear foolish and just as dysfunctional and irrational as we secularists view most other religions to be.” -Washington Post

      Comment


      • #4
        Some faith's like the Jehovah Witnesses claim that they are not a church or religion, but I believe they still claim Tax Exempt Status.

        go with the flow the river knows . . .

        Frank
        Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
        Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
        But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

        go with the flow the river knows . . .

        Frank

        I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
          Some faith's like the Jehovah Witnesses claim that they are not a church or religion, but I believe they still claim Tax Exempt Status.

          go with the flow the river knows . . .

          Frank
          This reminds me of people who claim that Christianity "isn't a religion, it's a relationship". No, it's a religion.
          "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
            This reminds me of people who claim that Christianity "isn't a religion, it's a relationship". No, it's a religion.
            The word 'religion' is sometimes a scape goat, used as a stone to throw at those who believe differently. It in reality is a simple word that means what people believe or not believe, as individuals, groups, organized and disorganized.

            Others at time may want to misuse it for financial gain giving them tax exempt status.
            Last edited by shunyadragon; 01-23-2014, 10:58 PM.
            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

            go with the flow the river knows . . .

            Frank

            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

            Comment


            • #7
              I remember a court case years ago (possibly Wisconsin vs. Yoder?) where a court ruled that humanism is a religion. Some of the rationale, as I recall, was that the Humanist Manifesto II clearly spelled out their "religion". I'll see if I can find my notes on that, because it seemed to have broader implications.
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

              Comment


              • #8
                I thought Wisconsin v. Yoder was about whether the Amish could pull their kids out of school. But I'm curious now about this humanism religion thing.
                "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                  I thought Wisconsin v. Yoder was about whether the Amish could pull their kids out of school. But I'm curious now about this humanism religion thing.
                  Humanist organizations such as the Unitarian Universalists have been granted Non-profit Organization status regardless of whether one considers them a religion or not, and I feel it is legitimate. The broader definition of religion fits reality better then the more restrictive one, ie Webster's.

                  Originally posted by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion
                  Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.[note 1] Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that are intended to explain the meaning of life and/or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. From their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, people derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.[1]

                  Many religions may have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, holy places, and scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration of a deity, gods or goddesses, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religions may also contain mythology.[2]

                  The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith, belief system or sometimes set of duties;[3] however, in the words of Émile Durkheim, religion differs from private belief in that it is "something eminently social".[4] A global 2012 poll reports that 59% of the world's population is religious, and 36% are not religious, including 13% who are atheists, with a 9 percent decrease in religious belief from 2005.[5] On average, women are more religious than men.[6] Some people follow multiple religions or multiple religious principles at the same time, regardless of whether or not the religious principles they follow traditionally allow for syncretism.[7][8][9]
                  Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                  Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                  But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                  go with the flow the river knows . . .

                  Frank

                  I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                    I thought Wisconsin v. Yoder was about whether the Amish could pull their kids out of school. But I'm curious now about this humanism religion thing.
                    Yes, and during the trial, I think one of their objections was secular humanism, and how it was being incorporated into the public school as a religion.... Other court cases that indicated that humanism was a religion were United States Supreme Court case Torcaso v. Watkins, Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda, Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia, and Peloza v. Capistrano School District.

                    But, yes, Wisconsin v. Yoder was primarily a home school issue, which I drew on in defense of MY arrest as a home schooler back in the 80's, arguing the difference between "compulsory education" and "compulsory attendance".
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                      Yes, and during the trial, I think one of their objections was secular humanism, and how it was being incorporated into the public school as a religion.... Other court cases that indicated that humanism was a religion were United States Supreme Court case Torcaso v. Watkins, Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda, Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia, and Peloza v. Capistrano School District.

                      But, yes, Wisconsin v. Yoder was primarily a home school issue, which I drew on in defense of MY arrest as a home schooler back in the 80's, arguing the difference between "compulsory education" and "compulsory attendance".
                      Careful, Humanism as a belief as in the Unitarian Universalists is defined as non-theist belief. Since humanism has a wide ambiguous use outside this. Our education system is secular by nature and not humanist by doctrine as non or anti theist.
                      Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                      Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                      But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                      go with the flow the river knows . . .

                      Frank

                      I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                        Careful, Humanism as a belief as in the Unitarian Universalists is defined as non-theist belief. Since humanism has a wide ambiguous use outside this. Our education system is secular by nature and not humanist by doctrine as non or anti theist.
                        Well, I'd be happy to go into a more detailed discussion, as I've done LOTS of research on this, but very basically.... when humanists want the BENEFIT of being a "religion", they claim they are, but when they don't want the RESTRICTIONS, they claim they are not. They play the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment against the "free exercise" clause.
                        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                          Well, I'd be happy to go into a more detailed discussion, as I've done LOTS of research on this, but very basically.... when humanists want the BENEFIT of being a "religion", they claim they are, but when they don't want the RESTRICTIONS, they claim they are not. They play the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment against the "free exercise" clause.
                          I won't debate this issue, because it is hypothetical and anecdotal, and it does not address the issues I presented in the differences between Humanism as belief, and secularism as defined by the present understanding of the Constitution as secularism, and separation of church and state.
                          Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                          Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                          But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                          go with the flow the river knows . . .

                          Frank

                          I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                            I won't debate this issue, because it is hypothetical and anecdotal, and it does not address the issues I presented in the differences between Humanism as belief, and secularism as defined by the present understanding of the Constitution as secularism, and separation of church and state.
                            Fair enough. And I don't care to debate it either.
                            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              is this a start of a religion?


                              Atheist 'mega-churches' take root across US, world

                              LOS ANGELES (AP) — It looked like a typical Sunday morning at any mega-church. Several hundred people, including families with small children, packed in for more than an hour of rousing music, an inspirational talk and some quiet reflection. The only thing missing was God.


                              http://news.yahoo.com/atheist-mega-c...214619648.html

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