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Todd

This is an easy one. A Taoist. The Taoist pantheon is as cluttered as the Hindu pantheon, but the gods are really just manifestations of the Tao. Heck, I'm practically a Taoist already, as my personal philosophy is very close to Chuang Tzu.

Mr Dorfl

No doubt: Zoroastrianism.

It basically believes that in the world it's a big battel between goodness/energy/order/creation at one side (usually antropomopomoporphized as Ahura Mazda) and evil/chaos/disorder on the other side, and that our purpose in life is to help the good side win.

They have simple ceremonies involving fire (always great) and seem to have very little politics at all. I've googled around and the only evil and condemning thing I can find is that the don't like gays, which isn't exactly a big surprise, but a bit dissappointing.

Otherwise it seems quite cool, not preachy and generally say "hey, if you're a good guy, that's enough".

Oh, and they have just the best symbol ever. Forget that wimpy cross or six pointed stars or moons. Eath THIS Abrahamites!
http://oznet.net/iran/Frvhar.jpg

Funnily enough it's probably the King Darius I in front of the old Egyptian symbol of a winged sun. So it makes no sense, but hey, I guess Zoroastrians know a good symbol when they see one. :)

C. L. Hanson

I would go with neo-Paganism. Definitely.

First of all, any of "The Book" religions are right out because I find "The Book" morally and ethically repugnant:

http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com/2007/10/my-biggest-problem-with-biblical.html

Then, I'd be sure to pick a polytheistic religion because I think they make more sense:

http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com/2007/01/polytheism-vs-monotheism-omnipotence.html

Then, I disagree with you that it's a problem that they just make up new beliefs and rituals and claim they're ancient. You can't insist we pick an organized religion and then disqualify one on the basis of "believing things which are obviously false" -- that disqualifies every single one of them.

Making stuff up that's relevant to our modern world is far better than being locked into a moral and ethical code that was invented for society as it was thousands of years ago.

stone1343

For your question, I guess Buddhism is excluded because it's non-theistic, but that's my answer anyway. So fail me.

If I was going to follow an organized "religion", Buddhism would be it. I like the Noble Eightfold Path, and the five precepts (but I'll pass on the eight precepts!) and the meditation. It's more philosophy than religion, and that works for me.

clc

If it counts (it's not a theistic religion), then Buddhism:

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

...partly because that's my hands-down favourite quote ever attributed to any founder of any religion.

c4bl3fl4m3

You know, from the things that you stated you're looking for, it sounds like you're looking for Unitarian Universalism or a Secular Ethical Society. Most of the things you stated, actually, are basically paraphrases of the Principles and Purposes.

"We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote

* The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
* Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
* Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
* A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
* The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
* The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;
* Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part."

And according to a survey (http://archive.uua.org/news/011205.html) in which participants could choose more than one answer, 18% of UUs identify as Atheist, so you certainly wouldn't be alone in that. 54% identify as Humanist, and 33% identify as Agnostic, so there's more like-minded and semi-like minded people.

The only thing it doesn't match up with is your need for a religion that goes back centuries and centuries (the current incarnation is only about 50 years old, the 2 liberal Christian churches they were from went back a couple hundred years each). Also, they originally started from Christian roots, but really aren't Christian now.

However, I'm sure I'm not the first person to tell you about UUism. I'm curious as to why you've decided it wouldn't fulfill the needs you stated above or why it wouldn't work for you.

I'm surprised you're not part of an Ethical Society in your area. They've got all of the fellowship and none of the God. :-)

c4bl3fl4m3

I thought about what happens if this country turns so bad that we're all forced to choose a religion. If we could choose any organized religion, I'd probably go Unitarian Universalist. (Hell, I've seriously considered joining a UU church formally, but I'm not sure if that would nullify my being a Catholic and being allowed to receive communion, and it would also require me to become an active part of a UU church, and I haven't found one in the area yet that I'm ready to commit to attending and being involved in. [If services were late Sunday afternoons instead of early Sunday mornings, I'd SO be there.])

If it was REALLY bad and I had to choose one of the bigger religions, the more well known ones, I'd probably choose Judaism. I was introduced by a former boyfriend who was Jewish. I was interested in learning more about his faith, because I didn't really know anything about it. Well, the more I learned, the more I loved.

In the Catholicism I grew up with, I always felt bad for questioning my faith and not being able to blindly follow. In Judaism, not only is it allowed, it's a commandment, a mitzvah, to question your faith, to read and learn, to fight and struggle with it, to argue with God. And the Jews believe they are called to tikkun olam, the renewal and repair of the world, and many Jews have a strong sense of social justice because of it. (I believe that as human beings, we're all called to tikkun olam.) Jews are called to do acts of tzedakah, translated by most as "charity", but more accurately translates as "acts towards the establishment of justice". And the Jews seem to have figured out how to craft the words and music of their services to invoke a trance, if you want it to. Oh, my God, some of the music is SO beautiful, SO haunting, and it puts you in SUCH amazing headspace.

I'm not so much on the whole worshipping God thing, I'm not so much on the strict and stringent affirmations of a single God, and of the Jews putting down polytheists in their prayers. (I have good Pagan friends as well as good Jewish friends.) And Orthodox Judaism feels like it misses the mark, it misses the point, what with all of the following the law to the letter but the forgetting of the spirit of the law. (Finding loopholes in Halachic law that follow the law to the letter but not the spirit drive me bonkers.)

I don't see what's wrong with becoming a secular Jew. Secular Judaism welcomes everyone with open arms, and it doesn't speak of The Chosen People(TM), but rather speaks of humanity in their "prayers". These beautiful cultural traditions may not be the ones of your immediate ancestors, but perhaps may be the ones of ancestors long ago, or perhaps some of your ancestors were forced to convert to Christianity, or did it to culturally assimilate. And even if not, the Jewish culture is part of human culture, and we're all linked by our common ancestry of being human. And, as you mentioned, you grew up in a Jewish community with a mainly Jewish school. They are the traditions of your youth. You were raised in the Jewish culture, if not in your home, than in school and in the homes of your neighbors and friends. To me, that makes you at least partially culturally Jewish.

Just my $0.02.

Paul le Fou

I actually tried Taoism a little bit in high school. Not today-Taoism, the old one, before there were any gods or anything. I picked up the Tao Te Ching and started reading. But even then, the Tao itself was too much for me, the idea of a supernatural non-entity force.

But, I do like the calmness, the laid-back feel, the emphasis on philosophy and thinking and introspection. On that old "religions of the world" poster, Taoism was just "Shit happens." No qualifiers, no questions, no guilt, just bam, there it is. And that comes closer to the way I as an atheist see the world than any other religion I know of.

David Miles

This sounds flippant, and to some degree it is, but it illustrates a major aspect of most religions that annoys me. Church of Dagon. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn The idea of this immensly powerful, ancient God who is essentially indifferent to humanity (other than that he might eat them) appeals to me