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  #1  
Old 08-29-2011, 09:12 AM
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Religious certainty and breadth of religious experience

In my experience, there is strong anecdotal evidence for an inverse correlation between the strength of a person's religious conviction and the variety of their religious experience. Most of the people I have known with deeply held religious convictions of truth and certainty have a very small range of religious experience. Be they Christian or Muslim, they typically have not explored or practiced any religious ritual outside of the one to which they have a strong commitment. It's analogous to someone who thinks a Chevy is the best car in the world but has never driven any other brand. It's not just an individual issue, as very few of the top seminaries in the countries require their students to study religions other than the one to which they are committed.
The Christians or Muslims I know who have personally experienced other religions, hold the doctrines and rituals of their own religion quite loosely.
These facts appear to confirm the hypothesis that religion is largely a group bonding phenomenon.

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  #2  
Old 08-30-2011, 12:50 AM
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I think you're on to something. I knew a lot of very committed (to a very narrow interpretation) Southern Baptists when I was growing up in Georgia who had never encountered a non-Christian until they met me. Catholics I knew, who were also surrounded by the overwhelming SB majority seemed to take a more broad view. Then in college we all encountered many others of many faiths, from many countries, and there did seem to be considerable reduction in the degree to which dogma was taken very seriously. During this period I personally went from devout atheist to apathetic agnostic.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:21 AM
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Limiting ones Exposure to any stimuli

has a deleterious effect on the Little Grey Cells.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:51 AM
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We go from anecdotal correlation to causation in two short paragraphs. That is wonderful.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
We go from anecdotal correlation to causation in two short paragraphs. That is wonderful.
I was thinking the same thing.
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  #6  
Old 08-30-2011, 10:48 AM
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Counterexamples from the critics would be useful.
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2011, 02:14 PM
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You're doing fine all by yourself.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:03 PM
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Pesky words again. I guess we have to define "religious conviction". I can't speak other than personally. Since escaping the confines of dogmatic religion and listening to my intuition instead of some priest or book, I consider myself more religious than ever. By "religious", I mean personally convinced that there is a life force in the universe, that it's not all by accident (although not necessarily all by design, either) and that that force can be in some way gotten in touch with on a personal level.
If we mean to define religious conviction as devotion to a particular set of dogma, then yeah, I'd say the broader one's exposure is to different spiritual and non-spiritual philosophies the less likely one is to hold onto one particular set. One of my spiritual mentors is a retired archbishop. He is an anthropologist by education and has lived and studied the religious and spiritual practices of cultures all over the world. A deeply devout man, he is probably one of the least Catholic catholics I know. More of a Gnostic than anything else.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:41 PM
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Does taking two World Religions courses at Emory/Candler count?
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:08 PM
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You're doing fine all by yourself.
actually, you are living proof of the theory. thanks for being yourself.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:29 PM
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actually, you are living proof of the theory. thanks for being yourself.
Could you explain that comment, please? Use small words so I can understand.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:30 PM
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Does taking two World Religions courses at Emory/Candler count?
It depends. I took a World Religions class in bible college. It consisted of a repeated theme: Why X is wrong and how to convert them, where X was Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism etc.

I doubt either Emory or Candler would have a course like that.
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  #13  
Old 08-30-2011, 10:31 PM
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Your experience has provided you with an decidedly interesting perspective.
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  #14  
Old 08-31-2011, 01:06 AM
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Could you explain that comment, please? Use small words so I can understand.
well, from your posts, one can tell that you haven't been exposed to very much of anything since you were a highschooler, and read ayn rand and finished those sunday bible classes. (well, you were probably a little bit older when you saw "young frankenstein" - and thought you were "sophisticated" - but basically jesus and plato formed you at an early age, and you closed down any independent, curious thinking soon after.)

got it?
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  #15  
Old 08-31-2011, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
In my experience, there is strong anecdotal evidence for an inverse correlation between the strength of a person's religious conviction and the variety of their religious experience. Most of the people I have known with deeply held religious convictions of truth and certainty have a very small range of religious experience. Be they Christian or Muslim, they typically have not explored or practiced any religious ritual outside of the one to which they have a strong commitment. It's analogous to someone who thinks a Chevy is the best car in the world but has never driven any other brand. It's not just an individual issue, as very few of the top seminaries in the countries require their students to study religions other than the one to which they are committed.
The Christians or Muslims I know who have personally experienced other religions, hold the doctrines and rituals of their own religion quite loosely.
These facts appear to confirm the hypothesis that religion is largely a group bonding phenomenon.
I will have to agree with you here.

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