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usdragonfly
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religion  
« on: Jan 19th, 2004, 9:07am »
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why are there so many religions? i mean aren't we all praying to the same person/thing? no one knows whats really going on just that there's something.(for those who do believe there is something) it's so agravating when you have both of your parents and there both pulling you two different ways and you don't how you should sit them down and explain how there both praying to the same god!!
maybe someone can help me put in tactful words, how i feel.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #1 on: Jan 19th, 2004, 10:11am »
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on Jan 19th, 2004, 9:07am, usdragonfly wrote:
why are there so many religions?
Why are there so many opinions?
 
Quote:
i mean aren't we all praying to the same person/thing?
Perhaps, perhaps not.. The god of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are the same, but there is no such obvious link between the other. And even here there are differences in how the different religions look at 'their' god
Hinduism at first sight looks very different, since there seem to be many gods and goddeses, which would mean it can't be the same as the one god from Abraham. But in some interpretations all those gods and goddesses simply represent aspects of one true god, which might be the same one after all.
It's harder to find that one god in different forms of paganism. Some have a god and a goddess, other worship nature itself or there ancestors..
There are also religious cults that worship UFO's or something (I don't really know enough about them to do them justice). I'm sure you can imagine that vastly advanced aliens might have appeared to be gods in the past, so it may be the same person(s), but frankly I think they're nuts..
There's many more types of religion, and most I don't know anything about. Either way it's hard to proof it's really about the same person/thing. You'd have to trace the roots and literature simply doesn't go back far enough. And of course even if they are the same, people still believe in it differently (just look at all the different versions of christianity, and that's definately the same god, yet they still kill each other over it in a "my god is better than yours" way..)
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Re: religion  
« Reply #2 on: Jan 19th, 2004, 11:48am »
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well i guess what i meant was catholics, baptist, pentocastols...these religions are all praying to the same god. but for some reason my dad hates that i go to church with my mom cause she's catholic and he's baptist. what he doesn't understand is that i don't care either way cause were praying to the same god!
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Re: religion  
« Reply #3 on: Jan 19th, 2004, 12:33pm »
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Well, there certainly are some differences between catholic and baptist.. But of course you're right that they're more alike than they are difference. And if they could get passed the differences long enough to get married and have kids it shouldn't become a problem now..
 
Would it solve anything if you went with your mother one week and with your father the other? Since it doesn't seem to matter much to you it might be a compromize they can be happy with.
I don't really know the situation, but it might not even really be about the religion..
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Re: religion  
« Reply #4 on: Jan 19th, 2004, 7:07pm »
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Denominations form when people decide that the issues dividing them are not ones that can be put aside. It happens all the time. It is happening again right now in the Episcopal chuch over the issue of homosexuality. On one side are those who cannot see sanctifying something so clearly called sin in the Bible, while on the other are those who see the Bible as nothing more than the opinions of a few men 2000 years ago, and hold that their own opinions are more valid, having been formed in more advanced times.
 
Most divisions in Christianity boil down to a few root causes:
1) Differing ideas about the authenticity/authority of the Bible.
2) Differing ideas about the authenticity/authority of certain people.
3) Differing interpretations of what a particular biblical or other teaching actually means.
4) (perhaps the most common) Personality clashes over ideas about where the church should go from here. (This one regularly leads to small divisions that hang on for awhile - even a few centuries - before completely dying out. Right now a lot of it is happening in Evangelical denominations over the issue of music.)
 
The higher up on this list a conflict occurs, the more intractable it will be. Those who clash over personality issues will eventually die off, leaving separated descendents who no longer care about the issues that divided them.
 
Interpretation of the Bible and other teachings is always influenced by the greater culture. As culture changes, some interpretations that were once popular eventually lose all support, and in later times people wonder how anyone could have believed that.
 
But questions about the authority of the Bible or of such persons as the Pope, tend to dive to the very bottom of peoples beliefs. If the very basis of one person's faith is a belief that the Bible is the very word of God, and another believes that it is nothing more than a collection of made up stories and opinions of men long dead, there is little hope of reconciling them. The first is being asked to remove the foundation of their faith. This cannot be done without causing that faith to collapse. The second is being asked to build their faith on something they see as being of little worth.
 
This is the issue dividing your parents - assuming that each is sincere in their own faith (many on both sides of this are not, but go along for the sake of their community - such people are actually the worst behaved, since they do not have a true belief in a loving God to restrain them). Baptists believe in the Bible as the one true authority for all question of faith. While Catholics also believe that the Bible is the word of God, they do not hold it as being the ultimate authority. That position is given to the Pope. Since the office of the Pope as it currently exists is not described in the Bible, Baptists (and all other Protestants) reject this idea to some extent - the Baptists reject it completely.
 
So the issue is not which God, but rather which authority on earth. And this one is intractable.
 
What difference does that make? Well, believing in everything is the same thing as believing in nothing. In the end, it leaves you empty.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #5 on: Feb 13th, 2004, 11:04am »
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Every single religion is an exact copy of another one, with a few tweaks.  It all started with something similar to Paganism, whereas you lived for yourself and only you.  Helping others was only if you felt like it.  Then people knew they had to band together to get things done.  A collective effort.
 
Well, helping only yourself and working together didn't work too well in these small civilizations, as everyone was accountable for their work directly.  Collective thought also brought up intelligence.  Sharing of ideas brought us amalgamates of theories, which ultimately is how religions formed and divided, but I'll get back to that later.  
 
Anyhoo, people knew that there had to be something after this, or at least they hoped, and they knew we had to have come from something.  They couldn't properly explain it though, and they wanted to believe there was more than living so many years and then passing on.  They wanted to know there was a reward for being a good citizen, so the people who weren't contributing and were enjoying life would eventually pay for it.
 
This is a massive control device in people's minds, but the question is, is it so wrong?  It keeps people civil and in order.  They feel that if what they do is good and just, they will be rewarded.  With many people thinking this, we'll have a better society.  That is, ideally.
 
Sadly, many religions battle with each other and constantly fight and bicker, because no one wants to be wrong, but they can't all be right.  
 
So who is right?  Damned if I know.
 
All I know is, it dosen't take a cult to give me spirituality.  If anything, it will rob me of it.  It will detach me from myself, and closer to an Idol.
 
I'm not saying who's right and who's wrong, I'm saying that, as cliche as it sounds, the answer lies within.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #6 on: Feb 22nd, 2004, 10:06am »
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There are several theories as to how religions developed in the first place. Some say that religion represents an attempt to control people - to bully people into following certain patterns of behaviour with the promise of an eternal reward/punishment after death. Other theories say that early religion was an attempt to control the forces of nature - if you want rain to water your spring planting, you hope the rain god's in a good mood, and to make sure, you sacrifice something to him. With the Greek gods, for example, you didn't so much follow a prescribed code of conduct to get a better after-life as try and avoid attracting their attention in any way during this life.
 
Organised religion seems to be prone to take power over its members lives, all the way from suicide cults to the Catholic church itself (which, in its medieval incarnation, got up to all sorts of things), and as part of that, tends to be very jealous of competition (religions that aren't tend not to survive as organisations).
 
My belief is that the heart of religion isn't about control, but about understanding God and His creation - and I suspect the aim of the original proto-religions was simply to understand why the world was the way it was. As to how much of it is true, few people have ever claimed to know (most first class scientists will admit that their theories are probably not the "truth", merely a very good approximation) and the rest of us are unlikely to find out before we die.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #7 on: Mar 9th, 2004, 1:33pm »
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An interesting point in considering the initial questions of conflicts between very similar religions is to consider that some of the bloodiest conflicts have been over very similar religious beliefs.  Think Iran vs Iraq or the Spanish Inquisition.  Often people do not take beliefs that are very different from their own serious enough to get violent over it.  Odd but true.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #8 on: Mar 10th, 2004, 2:55am »
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The closer two religions are, the more competition there has to be between them if they are to keep separate identities. If there isn't a definite attempt made to keep the two separate, at least from one side, then the gap between them will tend to fill; the boundary to blur as people from one religion adopt elements of the other. The other question is how far this violent conflict between related sects is part of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions and how much conflict has arisen between and within other religions.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #9 on: Apr 1st, 2004, 10:34pm »
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I'm going to bring up another religion that hastn't been touched so far - Buddhism.
 
It seems that most western(and not so western) religions have had at least some experience with mass violence, war or what-not that directly stems from religious beliefs.  Such things as the crusades, the inquisition, the above mentioned Iraq-Iran confict and many others appear to be the result of religious beliefs.  To date I have heard nothing that parrallels this in Buddhist cultures.  I've never heard of one sect battling another because of difference in beliefs, or wars based on dogmatic interpretations.  Sure, there have been instances when Buddhists have fought, but it's been over more socio-political issues, not belief systems.  I may be wrong, if anyone has heard of such a thing I'd be curious to know what it was.  A question to raise, though, is why this is the case when the religions involved (Christianity/Catholocism, Islam, Buddhism) all tell people not to be violent?  Christ told his followers not to kill and in fact, not to resist an evil person, but these followers beliefs have lead to some of the bloodiest conflicts known, religion-wise.  I'm no expert, but I think the Quran teaches similar doctrines, but there is obvious hostility between Muslims and Christians (and Jews).
 
So is it the extreme bent of picifism Buddhism teaches the reason for the vast difference?  Or is it more geographical, since traditionally Buddhist cultures are relatively isolated from western religion (or have been until relatively recently)?  Is it perhaps the extreme difference between these religions that prohibit some of the bloodier moments - ("The Jews follow the wrong patriarch, the Christians added a bunch of nonsense about a saviour, let get 'em!  What, him?  He's just a crazy Buddhist, don't worry about him.")
 
Just some food for thought, hoping to get some decent discussion, It's all rather interesting to me.  Smiley
 
P.S. No offense intended to anyone.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #10 on: Apr 2nd, 2004, 4:48am »
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I don't know about Buddhism, but Islam, Christianity and Judaism all have a hierarchical structure - meaning that a lot of power gets focused in the hands of a few people. It may be unduly cynical of me, but it seems to me that putting that much power in one place encourages the unscrupulous and power-hungry to grab for it. Once they have that sort of power, their next priority is going to be keeping it and preventing anyone else from threatening their position whether internally (by competing for the same post) or externally (by building up a similar position in a (subtly) different religion).
 
As I said, I don't know much about Buddhism, but what I've heard suggests that buddhist teachers don't have the kind of authority that your average cardinal or bishop has - still less the pope or whatever Muslim top hierarchs are called.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #11 on: Apr 3rd, 2004, 4:10pm »
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I have yet to hear of one single conflict that was really about religion. Religion is the window dressing we put on our wars that are really fought for other reasons. Iran-Iraq? It wasn't religion that drove them against each other! Rather it was a political war. Israeli-Arab? The ancient conflict was caused by control of trade routes. The modern conflict by control of land. Neither were of religious origin. The crusades? Trade was again the driver. The closest religion got to being the reason for the crusades was the fact that pilgrimages to Jerusalem was a big money maker for the church. The Muslim drive into Europe? A matter of finances. Like the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire went on a campaign of expansion in order to keep itself afloat.
 
There are many conflicts laid at the feet of religion, but the truth is, religion is not enough to drive a conflict. Indeed, for most religions, those involved in the fighting have to ignore their religious teachings in order to keep in the fight. The Irish Catholics and Protestants are an excellent example of this. Their conflict has been soundly denounced by religious leaders on both sides. If that fight had been about religion, it would have been over ages ago.
 
This is not to say that religion is innocent in these matters. It is not the primary cause of these conflicts, but has been used to deepen and prolong them. In order to sustain a conflict, those on both sides must see the other as separate, different from themselves. Cultural differences therefore get emphasized, and no cultural matter is of more importance in people's minds than religion. Joe Blow is not going to give up his good life and go to war with the people in the next valley just because they are too stupid to worship his god. But tell him that they are going to come and take over his life, and he is far more likely to believe it, to become angry and willing to "fight back" if they do worship differently than him. After all, if they don't worship his god, who knows what else they might be up to?
 
When it comes to this, to portraying those who believe other than they do as being of inferior intellect, of crazed demeanor, of illicit behavior, there is one modern religious belief today that is king. Unsurprisingly, this belief also has the bloodiest history of all, surpassing the death tolls of all other religions put together. Does anyone want to guess what it is? It may well surprise you. But even for this religion, its pograms were driven by other reasons, economics & power & class warfare. But the religious distrust has been used very effectively to push the conflicts far deeper than they would have gone otherwise, and to justify the massive death toll.
 
Is Buddhism different? I'm sure Buddhists will tell you so, but no. The reason you haven't heard of Buddhist conflicts is not because they do not exist, but because you, like most westerners, are woefully ignorant of the history of the far east. While I also am woefully ignorant of it, I do know enough to know that the story is essentially the same there as it is in the west. Power and greed and control and endless other conflicts occured in Buddhist lands just as in the east. The Khmer Rouge (the originals who built Ankhor Wat, not the more recent group who borrowed the name) had a reputation for visciousness (the modern group does too, but are not Buddhists). And just as in the west, religion figured heavily in these conflicts. Japan, whose majority religion is Shinto, has one of the most militaristic histories of any nation on Earth. Part of this was due to their continual fight with the Buddhist Chinese. A fight in which the Japanese were usually the ones being attacked ("Kamikaze", which means "divine wind", was taken from the name given a storm which destroyed a Chinese invasion fleet that likely would of overrun Japan).
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Re: religion  
« Reply #12 on: Apr 4th, 2004, 7:32am »
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Just a note, I don't think the original Khmer were 'rouge' (communist)
Also, I think they were Hindoe at the time, as soon as they became Buddhist their civilisation dwindled and soon went belly up.. (People weren't putting in the effort for their 'normal' king, like they once had done for their earlier god-kings. At least that's one explanation)
 
Another reason for the crusades was that there were too many noble sons. Since only one could inherit the land of his father, the others had to find another way to make a living, and one popular way was to join a band and pillage the countryside or wage war on the neighbours (if you can't inherit a castle, you can always try to take one from someone else).  
Getting them to fight somewhere far away abroad seemed like a good idea at the time..
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Re: religion  
« Reply #13 on: Apr 4th, 2004, 12:02pm »
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Yeah, I blew when I added in the "rouge". And, yes, primogeniture was a big contributing factor to the Crusades. I had thought that the Khmer were Buddhist all along, but upon your post did some searching and saw that you are right. They were Hindu until the 12th & 13th century, when they became Buddhist, leading to the decline of their monarchy and eventual overrun by the Thai.
 
Still, I believe a familiarity with Eastern history would reveal conflicts that could be attributed to Buddhism just as much as western conflicts are attributable to Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #14 on: Apr 5th, 2004, 6:47am »
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on Jan 19th, 2004, 9:07am, usdragonfly wrote:
why are there so many religions? i mean aren't we all praying to the same person/thing? no one knows whats really going on just that there's something.(for those who do believe there is something) it's so agravating when you have both of your parents and there both pulling you two different ways and you don't how you should sit them down and explain how there both praying to the same god!!
maybe someone can help me put in tactful words, how i feel.

I am halfway through a class in World Religions right now, and this is one question that came up in discussion.
 
We have so many religions for several reasons. The world is a very large place and for most of its history there was little interaction between various continents and groups of people. They grew separately and developed religion separately. Over time people and their religions split (e.g. Catholics and Protestants), as people disagreed (it is human nature to bitch and argue). Then we have things like the Christian missionaries, pilgramages, etc. that spread religion.
 
We have had organized religion for the last four or five thousand years. When you think about it, that is a long time. Fragmentation and divisions are bound to happen.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #15 on: Apr 25th, 2004, 7:10am »
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on Jan 19th, 2004, 9:07am, usdragonfly wrote:
why are there so many religions? i mean aren't we all praying to the same person/thing? no one knows whats really going on just that there's something.(for those who do believe there is something)

 
Part of the problem may stem precisely from the fact that we don't actually know precisely what we're praying to, assuming there is indeed just the one thing. The arguments would presumably spring up around what we are praying to, and how they would want us to act. Indeed, Monotheism is something of a strange development from the early beliefs in God, where it was generally accepted that each tribe/village had it's own god, and the god that was stronger was the god of the tribe which won any battles against the other tribe/village (assuming that the given god was not angry with the villagers/tribe at the time - the usual excuse for losing Wink ). So, given that there is no conclusive and widely known proof for what God is out there, or even that there is just one God, it isn't particularly surprising that there are lots of different suggestions about what there is.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #16 on: May 1st, 2004, 12:25pm »
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I think the main reason for religion is to explain what we don't understand about the world. Like the theory of evolution. It has caused many conflicts over religions that believe someone created them. Why then does finding answers to problems cause even more conflict?
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Re: religion  
« Reply #17 on: May 3rd, 2004, 9:11pm »
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on May 1st, 2004, 12:25pm, Kazn wrote:
I think the main reason for religion is to explain what we don't understand about the world. Like the theory of evolution. It has caused many conflicts over religions that believe someone created them. Why then does finding answers to problems cause even more conflict?

That is one of the classic arguments used to explain religion -- it explains the unknown, like a cloak that covers ignorance. In some cases this may be true but I think it is not always true. It is human nature to form a societal structure, a pecking order as it were. Religion fits in by establishing a framework that facilitates this. Anything from Catholicism to Hindu to Judaism et al. fits this description. I disagree with it, but I think it is at least partly true.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #18 on: Dec 1st, 2005, 11:57am »
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ISLAM IS THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE RELIGION
ALL THE REST DONT MAKE SENSE FIRSTLY JESUS IS NOT THE SON OF GOD AND HOW CAN GOD BE 3 THINGS AT ONCE THE FATHER THE SON AND THE HOLY SPRIT GOD  IS ALMIGHTY "ALLAH" MOST PEOPLE DONT UNDERSTAND THAT JESUS DID NOT SAY IAM GOD HE DID NOT SAY IAM THE SON OF GO ETHEIR HE SAID THERE IS A GOD AND WE ALL ARE HIS CHILDREN
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Re: religion  
« Reply #19 on: Dec 2nd, 2005, 4:43pm »
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Firstly I know this thread is well over a year old.
Secondly I really hate it when people type with there caps lock on. (possibly could be an actualy problem but I doubt it with this post.)
Thirdly, ''ISLAM IS THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE RELIGION.'' and ''JESUS IS NOT THE SON OF GOD''
How can you make these statements. Do you know for a fact or are you just believing what you heard.
Anybody may believe what they wish as nobody can control that.
But......(always a but) It does not mean that what other people believe is not true. Nobody knows if there is a god and who or what that god it. You should not come and say that other people are wrong because of their believes, this is how all the trouble has started between the different religions.
Fourthly (sounds weird nobody ever says that) I myself do not believe there is any one god or maybe any god at all, I am in no way religious and I really do not like it when people try and convince you that there religion is correct and is the ''True Religion''. If that was the true religion I would believe it for myself and would not need people coming round my house or preaching on the streets about it. What you believe you may but you dont need to force it upon other people.
Fifthly, sorry if I have offended anybody.
And lastly (and probably leastly) I didnt really understand most of that post it didnt make sense towards the 2nd sentence.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #20 on: Feb 22nd, 2007, 6:20pm »
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on Jan 19th, 2004, 10:11am, towr wrote:

Perhaps, perhaps not.. The god of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are the same, but there is no such obvious link between the other.

 
 
Sorry to bring back a really old thread, but towr, I was struck by your comment. Any proof to back that claim ?
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Re: religion  
« Reply #21 on: Feb 22nd, 2007, 7:52pm »
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You weren't familiar with that fact? Basically, Christianity and Islam can be considered off-shoots of Judaism. All three acknowledge the some of the same writings as scripture.
 
Christianity differs from Judaism in believing that God established the Jewish religion to pave the way for the coming of his Christ, who would make the ultimate sacrifice for sins.
 
Islam differs from both in believing that God works by sending new prophets as the messages of the previous ones are corrupted. Mohammad was the last and greatest of these prophets. But Moslems accept that Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus were also prophets.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #22 on: Feb 22nd, 2007, 8:47pm »
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on Feb 22nd, 2007, 7:52pm, Icarus wrote:
You weren't familiar with that fact? Basically, Christianity and Islam can be considered off-shoots of Judaism. All three acknowledge the some of the same writings as scripture.
 
Christianity differs from Judaism in believing that God established the Jewish religion to pave the way for the coming of his Christ, who would make the ultimate sacrifice for sins.
 
Islam differs from both in believing that God works by sending new prophets as the messages of the previous ones are corrupted. Mohammad was the last and greatest of these prophets. But Moslems accept that Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus were also prophets.

 
I was just struck by what towr said, if its true that the god of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are the same, what is His name ? Moslem refer to Him as Allah, Christians as the Lord, Jewish as Eli ? Are these entity one and the same ?
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Re: religion  
« Reply #23 on: Feb 22nd, 2007, 11:59pm »
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on Feb 22nd, 2007, 8:47pm, JiNbOtAk wrote:
I was just struck by what towr said, if its true that the god of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are the same, what is His name ?
I think that has be diligently forgotten. The Hebrew people took the commandment of not taking his name in vain rather seriously, and so pretty much stopped using it altogether, referring to him not by name but descriptions and titles etc.
 
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Moslem refer to Him as Allah, Christians as the Lord, Jewish as Eli ? Are these entity one and the same ?
Yes. And most likely the words Eli and Allah are even etymologically related, I think they just mean God. "The Lord" is of course just a title, like "the Creator".
 
But what it really comes down to is that in all three cases, it's the god of Abraham we're speaking about. Although, of course, people's view of him may still differ among the three religions, even in the religions (e.g. not all christians believe in the trinity).
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Re: religion  
« Reply #24 on: Feb 23rd, 2007, 5:31am »
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All three "Lord", "Eli", and "Allah", are titles, not His name, which is given in scripture as "I am" (translated). This is something that pretty much all adherents of all three religions will agree on (at least those that are well enough educated to have any clue at all what their own religion says - but that is another issue! Tongue).
 
I would not say the common heritage is being diligently forgotten. It is actually core to all three beliefs. Rather, the animosity comes because each sees the other religions as having abused and corrupted the true worship of God. When outsiders attack, it's a minor threat - but when your own compatriots let you down, it's major.
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