What is my religion?

I’ve always had my own personal beliefs regarding the historical value of the bible.

Even though I was raised Catholic and have since married and (for the past 5 years) been INfrequently attending a Nazarene church, my own beliefs fall in with neither.

I truly beleive that the bible, for the most part, is just a collection of symbolic stories meant to build spirituality and instill good morals.

There are very few stories I think are written first hand AS THEY HAPPENED.
Anyway, I DO believe that there was a person named Jesus. I think he was probably a great leader who did great things for people. I think he had quite a few followers (as the bible shows) who put all their trust into him. I believe the world is probably a much better place thanks to Jesus, the bible and Christianity all together. I just find alot of the stories hard to swallow as being true and exact - I think they were written to as stories and are meant to inspire teach us.

So,…is there a church out there that feels this way or I am just a confused atheist?

You believe there is a historical Jesus, but do you believe he is truly the Son of God?

For that matter, do you believe in the existance of a Supreme Being?

This is probably more a topic for Great Debates, but if you believe in a God, but not necessarily Jesus-as-Lord, you may want to investigate the Unitarian-Universalist faith.

You might be a Humanist.

The whole issue of whether it is significant or meaningful to speak of “religious Humanism” is a discussion in itself.

Actually you sound more like a Unitarian. I know there are a few out here on the boards who would be better equiped to provide information than I.

Nah. He can’t be a UU, cause he seems to have some things figured out. Most important to the UU is the quest. As soon as you reach a destination, they are required to stamp you on the forehead and boot you out.

Disclaimer - I currently belong to 2 UU churches.

this sounds like who is a jew!!
you will have to eliminate the things you are not first by the sound of it
and if you REALLY have to be bound up in religion pick one with logical precepts and steer clear of christianity…it requires faith not knowledge. i am not being offensive because what you said is what christianity is. just a lot of stories. the person is the faith not the storyline.
the bible does not prove God…
but given an opening God will ‘prove’ the bible
apart from Jesus i think we should all be jewish.

mister_me - your views sound like mine. And I frankly think that people with views like me don’t need a religious place of worship.

Maybe you worship Brian?

andy i whole heartedly take my hat off to you
what a lot of song and dance about being religious when you can be yourself…which could be religious.?:slight_smile:

I just had a Jeff Foxworthy moment there…

Just for entertainment, you might want to try the Religion selector.

You seem to be confused in a rather interesting way. You assume the belief in Jesus, that he was a great leader, and that he had followers (as the bible shows). Yet, those beliefs are based on nothing because you believe that the episodes in the bible are symbolic stories, (virtually) none of which were written first hand.

There seems to be a clash between what you desire to believe–perhaps because of cultural prejudices or maybe because of the feeling that a god is needed to make it all worthwhile–and what you can believe, based on actual evidence presented. Let’s be honest, there is a very strong pro-religion, and specifically pro-christianity, prejudice in our society. If you’re raised to believe that god is good and that Jesus was just super, then you’re going to be affected by those prejudices for the rest of your life in the same way that someone who is raised in a Klan family will always harbor doubts about blacks in the back of her mind even after moving to the city and gaining some black friends. I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine who now has some gay friends and is wrestling with those sorts of prejudices. What he knows and what he feels don’t match up.

Personally, I think it is premature to ask what religion (perhaps more correctly, what sect of christianity) you are. Instead, maybe you should meditate on the apparent disconnect between what you know and what you feel.

A first step may be to meditate on the nature of proof and knowledge. The burden of proof lies with the one making the claim. So to the question, what is the meaning of life?, the first and always default answer is, I don’t know. Suppose someone says, well the bible answers that question. It is now incumbent upon that person to make the case that the bible is in fact the answer. What can they show? Can they show that the books were actually written by first hand participants, and faithfully reproduced? Can they show that the Gospels were written as Jesus spoke, thus capturing his words? Can they show that the miracles reported in the bible are any more credible than, let’s say, the myriad miracles that Tibetan buddists regularly report, even to this day, with the choosing of every “reincarnated” lama? Can they show that god, and let’s face it the god of the Old Testament is a meddlesome fellow, actually influences the affairs here on earth? They have to make the case.

Now remember, theists often resort to feelings as proof, e.g. “I know Jesus in my heart,” or “God speaks to me.” That’s not evidence. If what people know in their hearts were true, then every religion & sect would be the holders of Truth, as would most psychics, astrologers, faithhealers, mediums, palm readers, witch burner, etc. Not to mention those who just “know” that O.J. didn’t do it.

You also have to watch out for bogus probabilistic arguments like Pascal’s Wager.

I’ve yet to hear a theistic argument that wasn’t completely empty.

In that light, you may profit from considering the source of your belief. Why is it that you believe that the bible teaches good morals? Because Firstborn children should be sacrificed to god(EX 22:29)? Because a field must not be sown with more than one kind of seed (LE 19:19), or a cloth garment made of two kinds of material must not be worn (LE 19:19), or because young virgins are considered a spoil of war and can be taken for the use of the victors (NU 31:18, 35), (JG 21:12)?

I think next you may want to consider your prejudices. Was Jesus, as the bible reports him, such a good guy? Would a good guy tell his disciples to bring before him any man who didn’t believe in him and to violently slaughter that man while he watched (Luke 19:27)? Or kill a man by having his body eaten by a swarm of worms because the man failed to give him his due (Acts 12:23)? Or strike a man dead for failing to listen well (Luke 1:20)? Or kill a fig tree for failing to bear fruit even though figs weren’t in season (Mark 11:12-14)?

For that matter, would a good man say that the only unforivable sin is to blaspheme the Holy Ghost, thus allowing every sin imaginable to be forgiven but that? I guess Hitler ain’t in hell afterall? Or would a good man say to submit to every earthly authority no matter who, because the authorities that exist have been established by god? Do I see Jesus as a defense witness at the Nuremberg trial? Would a good person mete out infinite punishement for finite sins?

Is the world really better because christianity is in it? Hmm…skepticism is in order. Remember, the default answer is: I don’t know. The case must be made by weighing the goods and the bads.

Instead of me prattling on, here is a reference that is very good. It is called The Internet Infidels. In the library section are a large number of articles worth pursuing. Take the time to explore them. I would recommend starting with Bertrand Russell’s piece Why I Am Not a Christian. Also, Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason.

Anyway, my goal is not to convert you to atheism. For all I know a close look at the evidence and arguments will only strengthen your faith. Rather I wanted to point out what I perceive to be a disconnect between what you think and what you feel and to suggest that meditating on that is the first step. I also want to give some strength to the “other side of the coin”. Overcoming our pro-religion prejudice makes honest meditation on faith a difficult task.