Religious survey

That said, I identify as Christian, but not as dogmatic or exclusive. I don't think we can really know very much about God, but I see God as love.

I see God as love as well.
I just think that when things get organized and grow.. they tend to lose sight of that on a grand scale. (individuals may not-I mean the institution) and the problem is that when others (not involved in the institution) look at it-they don't see the individuals, they see the institution-which spreads the wrong message...

That's what I mean when i say the modern christian church (doesn't matter which one) doesn't have it right.

I also think that there are individuals in EVERY walk of life (christian, or other religion or no religion) who have their ideals right. A lot of athiests/agnostics put love above all else-so if someone (like you or I) believes that God IS love, then we have the same ideal, just a different name for it.

(all just my thoughts. :) )
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am always interested in how others see religion in their lives. Our spiritual lives are impacted not only by what we carry with us from our youth but also by what is currently transpiring. And your are very correct when you say what is taught in my faith traditions is not necessarily what the Bible really says.

Again, I appreciate your sharing and God bless you in your continued spiritual walk.

I greatly appreciate your kind way of talking Bugs! It's so... endearing AND so heartening. ;)
It is THAT which I like to find in the world-and commune with.

I LOVE studying the Bible with people, just to talk through some of the differences. I miss going to church for the music. I listen to a lot of the music at home, but it's not the same.
I don't miss the drama though.
I think a lot of people have become disillusioned with organized religion, and I suspect that's what has caused a decline in many of the more open-minded protestant denominations. Since the statistics continue to reflect a large majority who say they believe in something beyond the tangible, it looks like more people are becoming "unaffiliated." The contemporary world has indeed declared that there's a distinction between 'religion' and 'spirituality' (though semantically there isn't really a distinction) because old ways of doing religion no longer are satisfying, or meaningful, or fulfilling. I think people have gotten tired of religious groups pretending to know all the answers, and they seem to have more respect for those groups that acknowledge that nobody has a monopoly on truth.
I also think that there are individuals in EVERY walk of life (christian, or other religion or no religion) who have their ideals right. A lot of athiests/agnostics put love above all else-so if someone (like you or I) believes that God IS love, then we have the same ideal, just a different name for it.

This is how I see it as well. Well said!
I went to Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

I've heard good things about that school; thought about doing doctoral work there when I was younger, but I couldn't embrace the move to the other side of the continent; too far away from my family. I'm also a seminary graduate, though now I work in academia.

I am a lifelong dedicated Christian but tend to lean more towards being considered "moderate" to "liberal" as opposed to conservative in my views about a lot of issues that I used to just take for granted or assume. I have not posted here before, usually just read, and I know some other Christians unfortunately did not feel very welcome here (not sure why). I have met several poly Christians, but most are quiet about it. It's not exactly a welcomed lifestyle or way of thinking among most people in mainstream churches, even those that might be "open and affirming." You hear a lot about "LGBT" issues -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered -- but "poly" isn't even included there either.
I have not posted here before, usually just read, and I know some other Christians unfortunately did not feel very welcome here (not sure why).

This is really too bad and if they are truly interested in learning about poly and sharing with other like minded people I hope they (and you potentially) can keep that in proper perspective.

One of the most important things I go back to is something FriedPie mentioned. That more & more people really are understanding a difference between religion & spirituality. This reaction to possible actions regarding the use of the term 'religion' supports the divide.

It's very much an Identity thing. The term "christian" has developed a stereotype far beyond "a believer in Christ". This is a completely natural occurrence in that any group, once it becomes highly visible, will be viewed in total by the actions of it's members. This is also a point I like to try to point out to activists of any cause.

Once the 'group' has become identified with a lot of negative traits (which christianity certainly has) you take it on yourself by continuing to associate with that label. Those labels, once established in the collective mind, are difficult if not impossible to undo. This is in fact what contributed to all the various schisms within the christian movement itself.

So you have to pick your labeled associations carefully based on this natural occurrence. Which is why so many people who value some form of 'spiritual' life are refusing to bear the burden of that association/label. They have a wise desire to disconnect from all that is negative that has been (likely permanently) associated with it's label.

Some people ( I strive for this myself) are capable of more or less ignoring a banner (label) that someone comes waving until we can see more how closely that individual associates with the negative aspects of that label. If they do - good riddance to them. If they don't - the label is meaningless.
You can label yourself an 'ass' - but until you behave like one I'm not convinced :)


Yes, anybody can call themself a Christian or think just because they attend a certain church it means they are a Christian. I totally agree with what you have said.

To me, "Christian" means "a follower of Christ" in the commonly understood meaning of the term Christ, Jesus who came to earth as both God and man and died for the sins of mankind in order that we can have a restored relationship with God.

To me being a Christian also means I view the rest of my life through that "lens." I believe that Jesus was the Son of God and that He spoke the truth and that if I call myself his follower, that I should strive to live by His teachings.

I go to a Methodist church... most people there would not necessarily agree with my views on polyamory, but they would not kick me out of the church either. This is the type of church that I feel most comfortable in.

I do agree that there is a big difference between true Christianity and "religion."

When I hear someone say, "I'm spiritual but not religious" I understand what that means but in my mind it means pretty much that you could be absolutely anything. God... maybe there is a God... but who is He? What is He? Is He a personal God? Are WE God? Jesus... was He a good man? God in the flesh? A prophet? All of the above... just the above, or more?

Calling myself a Christian best describes my beliefs.... there is a God, He is a personal God, He speaks to us through the Bible... He sent His Son to earth as a man named Jesus to show us to the way to Him.

I believe A WHOLE LOT OF THE REST, for example, views about monogamy, are much more cultural than Biblical, and even though there are a lot of negative connotations about "Christianity," I think for me it still describes best what I consider myself to be.

But not all Christians are the same. Some do actually think for themselves. I'm glad there are other open-minded followers of Christ who understand that it's the intent of our hearts and putting love into practice that really matters, and not following the letter of the Law with no love in it at all towards God nor our fellow men/women.

A deep subject that could be discussed forever.... :) but those are just a few of my thoughts about what you just wrote. Blessings to you.
I hope you will feel welcomed. I also hope others will consider GroundedSpirits response to your post.

I identified as Christian for 33 years. But when I realized that people took that to mean I was a judgmental hypocrit-I stopped.
I believe in God, I have a VERY strong faith in fact.
But identifying with the term "Christian" tells people that I am whatever it is that THEY believe the word "Christian" means.
It doesn't tell them who/what I am or what I believe in, because they have a preconcieved idea of what the word means (actually we discuss this concept a LOT in the communication topics on the board because it's true of ANY word).

In order to communicate clearly with a person-both people need to have the same understanding of what the words they are using MEAN. I've found that "Christian" doesn't mean "believer in Christ" to the large majority of society. It has all sorts of other additional technical meanings-which in turn means that using it causes more confusion than clarity-so I don't use it.

I hope that makes sense.

On a side note-I don't judge people by their religion. Because I do believe in the dictates of Jesus about Love. :)

SO WELCOME to the board!! ;)
I was raised in an LDS family and was really into it until I turned 15 or so. Psychedelics along with studying taoism, buddhism, western occult, gnostic christianity, sufiism, and other random "new age" type stuff got my mind into a different place where the stifling restrictions and inherent flaws in people's interpretations of things seemed arbitrary and I came to see the messages of Christ, Buddha, Krishna and others to be the same. I believe that they were enlightened beings and am open to the possibility that they worked wonders and found ways of creating some type of coherency of consciousness beyond physical death (it's a big crazy, mysterious universe, anything is possible and pretty much everything probible to some degree). However literalist interpretations and worries about what exactly I will encounter at death do not overly concern me. I believe that once can find not only wonderfully practical advice for dealing with life in the teachings of people like Jesus and the Buddha, as well as offering an opportunity to hear another speak from that state of Being, and if I am present to the moment the words can "resonate" me into a lighter, happier, and more loving and accepting state of being.

So basically I guess "gnostic" would be the term since my basic belief is in direct experience of divine principle rather than thinking a church heirarchy can bring me any closer to Life.

I really didn't like Christianity for a while because it just seemed sooo judgmental and... well, evil, lol. But after contemplating Christ's words further I came to a deep respect for him (or whomevers words are attributed to him) and agree with Gandhi when he said something along the lines of "I would gladly be a christian if I had not met so many of them" :p

I was talking to a friend lately about religious belief. She was curious as to how I saw religious belief that agrees with my worldview. For example, I support gay marriage, so how would I see someone's belief who arrived through it by belief that God wants it.

I had to think about this because I love it when people agree with me. :) However, I realized that I am not happy with how the belief is obtained. For example, I have heard people say the following were thintgs God wants:
A) God wants gay people killed.
B) God wants us to love our neighbor.
C) God rewards people with wealth and the poor are destined to be poor by God.
D) God wants us to give to the poor.
E) God wants female gential multilation.
F) God doesn't want women to wear make-up.
G) God wants us to be pro-choice.
H) God wants us to be pro-life (except for capital punishment)

And so on. Some of these I agree with and some I do not. However, they are all based on the same principle: that this is what God wants. It doesn't matter if it makes sense or seems bad by secular concerns. It doesn't matter what other people say God wants. It is all based on culture, personal relevation, or some holy book. If I speak against honor killings, I must also speak against those that say that God supports polygamy. if i don't then I am being inconsistent.

However, I don't want to speak against it. All it does is piss people off and makes me out to be the "angry atheist."

I thought it was an interesting question. I guess I still haven't thought it all out. So I am just rambling about it here.
I'm not really a believer, nor am I a fan of labels. I was raised Episcopalian, went to Catholic elementary schools, and realized somewhere along the way that the miracles that form the basis of the story of Jesus and creation and much of the rest of the bible were, well, logically impossible. I can and do appreciate them now as metaphors and stories that help people to understand greater lessons. But I really have very little capacity for belief.

My morals/value systems are mainly based off of the Girl Scout Law. Girl Scouting was a huge influence on my life as a kid (and still is), far more so than the stories told in Sunday School. And I've decided it's as good a place to start as any when trying to figure out whether my actions are right.

I'm a UU, because I love to find wisdom in whatever form it takes and not be tied to dogma that requires one way of thinking.

I do believe in individual search for greater truths, and that there is no one right answer. I will respect your path if you will respect mine. And I believe that if there is divinity in anything, there must be divinity in everything.

Oh, and that all dogs go to heaven. ;)
I have heard people say the following were thintgs God wants:

Yea - poor ol god.
When humans invented him thousands of years ago - little did he realize the whipping boy position he was conscripted for. If he had he would undoubtedly have vaporized himself.
Everything humans don't understand get credited to him and if something totally vile happens (like children suffering with brain cancer) it HAS to be his fault - his 'plan'.
He's tried to commit suicide several times but the damn humans keep finding ways to revive him so he can never rest in his own peace :(

I'm not a Christian, but I do think Jesus was a pretty cool dude and we could all learn a lot from the way he treated his fellow man.

Diddo for Buddha.

I wear a pentacle, a remnant from when I identified as a Wiccan, before realizing that I didn't practice any rituals and I started feeling like a wannabe. I was always drawn to the worship of nature, and I carry that with me to this day. Besides the usual cliches like sunrises and first snow falls, I love watching little pieces of nature, like a crow picking at roadkill on the highway, or a weed poking its way through concrete.

I would call myself "spiritual but not religious." All the world's religions, when taken in their pure, unpolluted form, preach basically the same practices: be nice to people, don't lie steal or cheat, and don't be a jerk. It's all the interpretations that mess everything up...
I am a Christian. Not a Baptist, Methodist, Calvinist, Catholicist, or any other -ist. I am a follower of Christ.

Christ said that the whole of the law is that we should love God and love one another. I'm good with that.

Thanke you Fidelia... VERY refreshing after reading the posts previous to yours!
People often think of buddha dharma ("Buddhism") as a religion, but I'm not so sure. But I'm a weird sort of practitioner of the dharma. I'm the sort of dharma practitioner who thinks doctrinal beliefs like rebirth and "metaphysical" karma -- and, thus, a certain kind of "salvation" (one that let's you get off the 'cycle of rebirth') is missing the whole point.

Buddhism, for me, isn't about belief/s. Yeah, I know, it's not that way for a lot of Buddhists. But for me buddha dharma is about a way of living, a set of practices which lead to more and more insight, wisdom, freedom, greater compassion and loving-kindness, more joy, less suffering, more here-and-now experience, peace....

I don't need robes, or caves, or a begging bowl. Nor do I want these. I don't want or need celibacy, or rank (rank is rank).

I don't need or want doctrines or theology.

I like my "buddhism" stripped down, almost naked. Naked even. Straight up.

If religion is about belief, I'll do without. Thanks.
I'm a lot like Fidelia too. Sometimes I think maybe it's better to just say a follower of Christ if "Christian" has a negative connotation. Actually for me most people don't really ask... they just know that I believe in God, believe in Jesus, go to church, and that this is an important part of my life.

And River, as far as what you "believe..." you already said you don't go for theology or doctrines... that is mostly somebody else trying to make THEIR beliefs your own. You obviously do believe in *something* just by what you have stated. Everyone believes in something.

Peace and blessings to all of you.