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Are you interested in learning about other religions?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on January 26, 2008

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Photo of Nady Osmat

“Yes. One of my parents is Muslim and the other is Christian, so I’ve grown up with an appreciation for different religions.”

Photo of Meredith Morris

“Yes. I think it’s good to learn about other people’s religion and culture so as not to be ignorant of what other people base their beliefs on.”

Photo of Ray Harter

“To be honest, no. I only follow one religion: Christianity. So I just try to learn as much as I can about it.”

Photo of Jamie Reeve

“Yes. I’m actually taking a class on the religions of Japan. I think it’s really important for everyone to learn about various religions of the world and not limit themselves to what they’ve been taught or raised around.”


pusscanthropus 10 years ago

Hail to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his divine noodly appendage! To see how our religions have gotten it all wrong, go to:

satar 10 years ago

I think that when we limit our selfs to only way of thinking ie:Christianity. we forget about the other religions that have been around a lot longer. Some pepole that think that christianity is the only one are the ignorant ones.

jonas 10 years ago

I tend to be, but also must admit that I tend to view religion in and of itself as mostly a perversion of pure spirituality. A subversion of the message by the word, so to speak.

classclown 10 years ago

I already know all that I need to know about them. They're all a bunch of bs.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years ago

TRUE religions = true abominations +/- 1 exclusivity squared, carry the 3, divide by TRUE. So it is written. So shall it be carried to the fourth.

Richard Heckler 10 years ago

Would the world be a more peaceful place IF religion were only studied and not worshipped?

The church on the other hand is questionable....

H_Lecter 10 years ago

I enjoy all the different flavors.

yourworstnightmare 10 years ago

Yes, and I also read Harry Potter and watch fantasy movies and read the comics. All carry about the same weight in terms of truth and reality.

Kathy Theis-Getto 10 years ago

Mythology in all forms has some utility and all religions essentially teach the golden rule, but, as you pointed out, Merrill, the "church" is usually the source of distortion and political turmoil.

denak 10 years ago

wow, it is only 10:35 in the morning and already the religion bashers are out in force. Of the 11 posts, 9 are outright hostile towards religion.

Oh, how enlightened you are all. You put yourself up on a pedestal because you are soooooo much more intelligent than those who believe in a religion and yet, you make the same mistake they do.

You are just as condescending, ignorant and annoying as those who believe that they have the only one true religion.

Perhaps if you got off your high horse and actually studied religion and philosophy you wouldn't be so quick to judge.............. which is presumably what you disdain about Christians and other religious practictioners.

What is that saying about hating what one sees in the mirror?


sunflower_sue 10 years ago

always. (I even like to learn about what twists the minds of the Phelps clan.) I find it all interesting.

Paul R Getto 10 years ago

"Oh, how enlightened you are all. You put yourself up on a pedestal because you are soooooo much more intelligent than those who believe in a religion and yet, you make the same mistake they do." +++++ Intelligence and faith are not easily linked. No belief, properly and faithfully followed, which says we are our brother's keeper, can harm society. Religion when twisted and abused, can cause damage and needlessly divide us from confronting our larger civic duties. Religion should be an adult choice; it is partially sustained through conditioning of the young when they are more easily scared ":if I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take." All religion has potential and we evolved to be a spiritual species. Religion should not be mocked and 'god' whatever we call her is everywhere.

jonas 10 years ago

Denak: "Perhaps if you got off your high horse and actually studied religion and philosophy you wouldn't be so quick to judge:"

Perhaps I have, and have seen little that dissuades me from my opinion. I think spirituality, the belief in a higher order or purpose within things, is quite beautiful, and a potentially helpful, even necessary component of our existence. The FOUNDERS (caps only in lieu of italics) or foundational figures of these religions often seem to epitomize this concept very well. The religions themselves, founded in their name, seem to be, from my somewhat learned observation, to be concerned merely with human power.

If that is to be considered an overtly hostile opinion then too bad. We are capable of thinking dissent, even towards things which you hold to be valuable or important. This is an opinion forum, and opinions are being presented. Deal with it.

Sean Livingstone 10 years ago

Once you learn about religions, you will start to realize that it's more philosophical than actually religious. It's how to live your life using God, while philosophies are how to live your life without using God. For example, Confucius ethics and Buddhism have principles to guide to human or civilization how they should behave, and stress nothing about God. Hinduism (I could be wrong), stresses more on thinking and philosophies, and very little about God. The God-centric philosophies become what we know as religions, while non-God centric philosophies become religious practices (not religion). Laws are practicing philosophies for society, how they should behave and live their life, making a sensible society that is generally peaceful.

The "fear of God" principle is what causes some issues throughout the world today, regardless of any religions. My God is the right God is just as harmful as no God at all, but it heavily depends on how a society is formed and the basis of a society. Godless societies can be just as peaceful as those who fear God. Tibetans live, in fact, in a Godless society with religious philosophies of Buddhism. Societies using God as excuses to attack others are more dangerous than societies that are Godless. China, a Godless or at least non-God centric society, is less of a threat militarily than many God-centric countries (though we like to say they are dangerous, since when?).

That's the fundamental reason why government needs to take religion out of politics. The loss of God in a God-centric society can be extremely dangerous. A society without God in the first place can never be dangerous at all, if it lives without God for a long time.

No one on earth can prove that there is God, nor anyone can prove that there is none. So, keep your religion to yourself.

Gareth Skarka 10 years ago

The bus driver's comment is Kansas in a nutshell:

"I only FOLLOW one religion, so I don't want to LEARN about any others." Nobody's asking you to follow the others, dumbass, only to educate yourself.

Remember kids, in America, "Book-Larnin' is of De Debbil!"

hottruckinmama 10 years ago

I think it would be interesting. It might give you an idea of what makes people of a particular faith act or do the things they do. What makes them "tick" so to speak. I can't imagine what the harm would be. Unless of course you have so little faith in your own God that you are afraid to learn about someone else's. Kind of like ducking your head in the sand.

bearded_gnome 10 years ago

thanks dirty-linen for a thoughtful post. the antichristian bigotry is piled high and running deep on this thread. as a fundamentalist Christian, I sincerely appreciate the American value of freedom of faith, apparently some of the above posters do not and engage in catagorical bigoted statements to prove it. I have been appreciating howmany things we have in common with the nonterrorist islamic beliefs.

Merrill, put a sock in it, you give the tiredest most pathetic antireligion rant of all. try this little fact on: in the 20th century far more people died and were tyranized for unbelief and godlessness, than any for faith. think of this short list as a starter: Saddam, Po Pot, edie amin (sp?), stalin, hitler, mao and vietnam after we pulled out. try totalling those. and, I could add most of a dozen more names. these killed and oppressed in the name of atheism, godlessness, and unbelief. does it disprove atheism, no.

now, just to return to my premerrill topic, note that I respect atheists, and was one until I actually read what is in the Bible. overwhelmingly, the bigots above have no familiarity with what is actually written in the Bible. they should start with learning about the judeochristian heritage of this country.

lawrence was founded by *abolitionists, the christian fundamentalists of their time. remember, a rifle and a bible to go with settlers to Kansas!

bearded_gnome 10 years ago

and, appreciating that American right, freedom of faith, it is incumbant upon me to respect it for others here too.

Stephen Prue 10 years ago

Myth helps cultures to deal with that which can not be understood or explained. I would suggest all christians read God is Red by Vine Deloria

Sean Livingstone 10 years ago

"right_thinker (Anonymous) says:

Can anyone forward some links to The Church of Albert Gore, Jr. please."

You mean this one?

or this one?

If you think Nobel Prize and Green Buildings are religions, go ahead.

Sean Livingstone 10 years ago

What are the major religions, apparently, atheism is considered a religion:

Nearly a third of the world are Christians. Why? You all know the answer.

compmd 10 years ago

"Hinduism (I could be wrong), stresses more on thinking and philosophies, and very little about God"

There are actually millions of gods (not exaggerating) in Hinduism, and some followers of the faith can even be living gods. You are applying the general monotheistic Christian identity to Hinduism, as evidenced by your use of "God" with a capital G, but this concept is entirely incompatible and is clearly outlined in the Bible why the concept is incompatible. See? We have learning about religion taking place right here!

The more we choose to explore things we do not know, the more we will understand. Why people choose to not do that thus choose to limit themselves is beyond my comprehension.

camper 10 years ago

Amazing. Tolstoy was aware of, and wrote about many of these topics in his later writings. Great stuff if anyone is interested.

Flap Doodle 10 years ago

snap writes:








preebo 10 years ago

Absolutely, while I am a Christian, I have studied other religions. I took a few Religious Studies courses at the University of Colorado as well as some Religion and First Amendment Rights courses at Harvard Law. I am still willing to learn more. For instance, just last year I read some scholarly commentary on The Koran and its interpretations. I felt that it was time that I learned more about what a full one-third of the planet based its belief structure on.

Sean Livingstone 10 years ago

"compmd (Anonymous) says:

There are actually millions of gods (not exaggerating) in Hinduism, and some followers of the faith can even be living gods............. "

Partially why I'm saying that I could be wrong. But in generally speaking, that's the reason why I use the word "God". There are millions of gods, but each is not actually the God we know or represent. Each god is supposed to represent one philosophy or one aspect of life, and has the potential to become the bigger god.

"each person is an emanation of God, is God." Quoting from the website.

"The different gods and goddesses of Hinduism represent various functions or aspects or attributes of this One Supreme Divinity, they are not separate gods but they are valid to worship, according to Hinduism."

So, if you interpret correctly, they also believe in one God, but worship God through many gods, and it's ok to worship one god and not the God. Thus, it can easily be interpreted as more philosophical than actually fearing God.

Chrissy Neibarger 10 years ago

Are any of the atheists on this forum a member of the Rational Response squad? I am a proud member and have no shame in admitting that I don't believe in a higher power. I do know a lot about other religions, and I've seemed to notice that more atheists tend to know more about all the other religions out there than one who is following their own religion. As Ray pointed out: "To be honest, no. I only follow one religion:"

If you haven't checked them out, you should at:

Sean Livingstone 10 years ago


"more atheists tend to know more about all the other religions"

Probably I dispute this statement. I tend to think that people who know a lot about other religions tend to be agnostic... I could be wrong. It's never possible to prove that there is God, just as it's never possible to prove there isn't. Anyone can be right and wrong. It all depends how you define God, how different religions look at God... at the end, you may find one religion that define God the way atheist can never dispute.

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