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Do you consider yourself a religious person?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on January 3, 2010

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Photo of Aron Claassen

“I would consider myself more spiritual. All sorts of connotations come with the word ‘religious.’”

Photo of Ben Johnson

“No, I do not. I am not too taken by the organized aspect of it — the regulations, the rules, the ritual — but it doesn’t mean I don’t respect people with religious views.”

Photo of Kristi Tatebe

“Not religious, no. I would consider myself spiritual, but religion to me connotes a lot of organization and I don’t attend church or anything organized.”

Photo of Whitney Rothwell

“Yes, because we go to church every Christmas Eve.”

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RoeDapple 8 years, 5 months ago

At 3:49 AM on Jan 3,2010 the sun is shining on Massachusetts Street...

It's a miracle!!!

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 5 months ago

I am religious. I like organized religion, rules and rituals. Spiritual is too guazy and undefined, They should just take off when the question was asked. It never makes sense, unless, the sun is always shining on Mass Street.

kansaskate 8 years, 5 months ago

Good grief. As if 'spiritual' has any more real definition than 'religion.'

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 5 months ago

Spiritualnotreligious. That's what I put on any form that asks my religious preference.

phoggyjay 8 years, 5 months ago

God never seems to need money from you unless you go to church. Why does an all-powerful being need your money? Mostly from those that are poor? Always the story.

Kat Christian 8 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately, our society has turned "religion" into a 'Country Club' atmosphere, and if you fit in you get to feel more blessed than those who don't. To me that is not what God is about. I notice most comment they are spiritual and that's good, however God speaks of becoming strong in our spiritual lives by congregrating with those of the same spiritual values. How do we do this and avoid being caught up in the 'clique' of religious country club life? I think if we don't connect with others who have a spiritual passion our society will eventually lose that passion for God which will result in chaos.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 5 months ago

The church needs money to pay their employees, to pay the utilities, to keep the school running, supplies for the offices and bathrooms. They help working people who need help with rent so they won't be evicted, to pay their utilities, gas money to get to work. There are expenses connected with Birthright and running the rummage house. It is very complicated to keep a church running efficiently.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 8 years, 5 months ago

A religious "person?"

I am Legion.

( ... I realize I am speaking for others. )

JustNoticed 8 years, 5 months ago

tangential_reasoners_anonymous: Are you Gerasene?

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

Yes. I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last. Follow me and find heaven.

Dateable_Shelter_Dude 8 years, 5 months ago

If churches had not served pie and coffee from the basement kitchens would religion have failed?

Escapee 8 years, 5 months ago

Dateable Dude.... Yes, in a matter of speaking, they would have failed. The 'assemblage' of persons to worship together can grow to a 'religion' of its own -- most gathering to serve others...whether it be pie and coffee, fishes and loaves, safety and shelter, hugs and kisses, whatever is needed at the moment my friend....

dajudge 8 years, 5 months ago

Religions are based on beliefs, not facts. So, I guess I am religious in that vein, since I believe those hot buttery biscuits and gravy I made this morning were probably the best ever anywhere. Just a belief, though. IMHO. Oh, and I went to midnight mass once about 20 yrs. ago.

Thinking_Out_Loud 8 years, 5 months ago

TRA takes the daily prize for wittiness! Well-done, indeed!!

Now, may I recommend you consult with an exorcist toute de suite?

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 5 months ago

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. The Bible's definition of religion.

Dateable_Shelter_Dude 8 years, 5 months ago

esc exactly. But things with ose endings are a big draw. Now I've made myself hungry I need some bluberry pie and ice cream.Where's the church lady? Checkers isn't the same.

George_Braziller 8 years, 5 months ago

I never was religious. Even when I attended Sunday school as a child I didn't buy into it. When I was in high school I did sing in the choir but it didn't have anything to do with religion. I had a good voice and enjoyed singing with a group.

The other part is that in tiny rural communities, other than church activities, there often isn't much else going on. It creates a social function.

dajudge 8 years, 5 months ago

A church is a congregation of like minded people who come together to help one another and have social functions. Religion is a set of beliefs taken on faith and not based on facts. You can believe anything you want and it's not right or wrong, it's just what you believe. People who believe the same things come together to form a church. So, I am religious in that I have a set of beliefs, but I don't go to church because other people don't believe as I do.

brewmaster 8 years, 5 months ago

Kristi Tatebe says: "religion to me connotes a lot of organization and I don’t attend...anything organized."

Profound. Random chaos rules.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 5 months ago

The first churches were in peoples homes, just a few converts to Christianity meeting together to worship. I imagine they did share a meal. The rules and traditions of the Catholic Church evolved over a very long time.
For example, the rosary is not required, but some, myself included, like to say it. Prayer beads are common to a few faiths.

pace 8 years, 5 months ago

No but I do believe in Santa Claus. I find most structure, rules and traditions of most religions are designed to oppress women. I find most people who do believe strongly in religion are out to suck the life out of others.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 5 months ago

(voice of Bela Lugosi) Beware, I will suck the life out of your veins! I don't hate the Protestants and I bear them no ill will. I just happened to have chosen the church that I go to now. The churches in Lawrence, be they Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Zen have all worked together to solve the social problems of our city. They have shared resources as well as ideas to help others. It is being done.

dajudge 8 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, George_Braziller, at least someone is paying attention.

dajudge 8 years, 5 months ago

Abstract ideas are beyond most fundamentalists. (Of any faith).

Escapee 8 years, 5 months ago

Jacob...'history' is yesterday as well as millions of years ago. We can't be held accountable for all of time, can we? Does YOUR religion do that? Since we've all figured out that 'religion' has much to do with what one 'believes' -- and not everything to do with 'rules'...we probably all have individualized 'religions' to some degree anyway (since we don't all 'believe' exactly the same things)...right?

I'm going with an 'assemblage' of persons gathered together to worship and provide service to those in need. How can that be a bad thing? Coffee and pie? Cookies and milk? A bed and a blanket? Boots and a coat? A listening ear and a warm fire?

'Religion' doesn't have to be a bad thing, really.

Ian Brown 8 years, 5 months ago

I believe in George Carlin. I believe he lives up in the sky and is staring down at me.. watching everything I do, every minute of every day.

Escapee 8 years, 5 months ago

If...he's up there...he'd probably enjoy the sight of you rummaging for a blanket you could give up tonight. Then watching you actually get in the damn car and take it to someone who could really use it tonight....

pace 8 years, 5 months ago

if people in my tribe professed they did not believe in Santa, Santa would not leave them gifts. Santa left wonderful gifts under the Christmas string for believers.

igby 8 years, 5 months ago

Solomon said that people would some day have other idols rather than believe in one God. If he's right this will be the end of the world as we know it.

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 5 months ago

I will not take this time to argue for the existence of God, although I would relish that opportunity in some later post. Instead, I feel compelled to write specifically on the question at hand: Am I religious?

The answer, simplified, is yes. I attend a church that has a loving church family; is open and accepting to all people; teaches the truth of the Bible mixed masterfully with the love of God; is wise with their contributions and good stewards of their members' tithes; has an active youth program; has an awesome children's program; puts the needs of others as a priority; and, in general, loves people.

These are important traits and ones that make it easy for me to be a "religious" person. I believe a common question asked is, "Can you be a Christian and not go to church?" The obvious answer, in my mind, is yes. A personal relationship with Christ is what makes one a Christian or not. However, I believe that a Church home (i.e. "being religious") aides in the ability for Christians to grow in their faith and be held accountable to walking the walk and not just talking the talk. Whereas I don't believe "being religious" is necessary for faith, I believe it is beneficial.

Having made my pitch for religion, I do concede, however, that the modern church in many ways has failed her mission. Her mission being, primarily, to spread the gospel and the method being by Christ's love (and not His judgment.) Even Christ didn't come to judge... He came to give humanity life more abundantly... Which, in fact, can only be done by His love. So often we, as Christians (the Church) focus on the "don't do's" of Christianity instead of the incredible freedom that it brings. So often we hold non-Christians to the same standards that we, as Christians, SHOULD cling to, but rarely do. "It's full of hypocrites," one of my good friends tells me as an excuse not to go. And, all in all, they are right. The church is the embodiment of hypocricy.

I concede this... But, I encourage those who do not claim to be "religious" to give ample grace as the Church and all organized religion is, in fact, made up of humans as well. And, humans make mistakes. At times, big mistakes.

But, if we see one another through God's eyes we see a messed up human race who, all in all, wants to be better. We find that even the most vile sinner and paradoxical hypocrite, indeed, has a trait that God loves. In fact, if we look, we find that we are all sinners... No better... No worse... Than our brothers and sisters. We find that we are all suffering from this carnal condition and all in need of a Savior to become the very best "us" that we can be.

When we start looking at one another with His eyes... We are not only able to understand why the church is so messed up; we also find ourselves driven to help make it what it ought to be.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 5 months ago

I am proud to be free from the clutches of ignorance via religion. These groups have held people down for centuries with the fear of "god" and the presumed morality that they receive. Morality isn't derived from religion or god, it is an evolved trait has helped us form societies. When was the last time you saw a monkey, dog, cow or beetle being moral?

"We are all atheists about most of the gods societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further."
-Richard Dawkins

Stuart Evans 8 years, 5 months ago

some light viewing and reading to help some of you along your path to reality. These will be particularly useful for agnostics, who are unsure what they believe.

-Religulous (rent it) -Zeitgeist ( -The God Delusion (read it) -The Greatest Show on Earth (read it)

by the time you are done with these books and videos, you will have a greater understanding of how religion has become what it is today, how governments have used it to brainwash you, and exactly how/why we are here today from a scientific point of view.

Haiku_Cuckoo 8 years, 5 months ago

"At some earlier time, somewhere in this universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded perhaps onto this planet." - Richard Dawkins

Dawkins doesn't believe in God, but he does believe that aliens seeded the planet.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 5 months ago

There are an estimated 100 Billion galaxies in the known universe. There are roughly 100 Billion stars in our galaxy, each possibly having a series of planets orbiting. Even if 1/10 of 1% of those planets contained life, there are possibly billions of life giving planets out there. Considering the one planet that we know has life on it contains over 10 Million species; I think it's a pretty safe assumption that there is something out there that is as intelligent if not more so than humans. I look forward to the day that we can isolate any other living object from another planet and extract it's DNA to see when, where, and how we are related.

ebyrdstarr 8 years, 5 months ago

“At some earlier time, somewhere in this universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded perhaps onto this planet.” - Richard Dawkins

This is how Haiku reports on the Dawkins quote so as to discredit Dawkins by showing that he believes aliens seeded the earth.

Haiku is the one who should be discredited, though, as he left out a few key words to the quote. Dawkins began this line with the significant words, "It could be that..."

You can see how that fundamentally alters the sentence. Dawkins was responding to Ben Stein's question, "What do you think is the possibility that Intelligent Design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics, or evolution?” He wasn't saying the earth was in fact populated by aliens. He was pointing out that as a scientist, he can't dismiss entirely the possibility of some form of intelligent design, but he really, really doubts it was some divine being.

See the documentary "Expelled" to see the actual exchange between Stein and Dawkins.

Abbefaria 8 years, 5 months ago

Please, if you are atheist (or agnostic; get off the fence), be proud and display it. Wear atheist t-shirts, get a bumper sticker, etc. Atheists are the least trusted (and probably the most loathed) minority in the U.S. We need to stand up and be counted.

KansasPerson 8 years, 5 months ago

In this country, you should be able to profess whatever religion you wish, or profess (if that is the right word) a lack of religion or religious faith.

You should be able to do this without government interference.

Ideally, you should also be able to do so without having to endure a lot of incivility from other people. Of course, if someone disagrees with you and you both feel like having a discussion about it, that's always nice. I don't often see that happening, but I'm sure that's just because it's quieter than arguing and calling names.

Courtesy and civil discourse and a lack of name-calling: Let's do this in 2010!

Stuart Evans 8 years, 5 months ago

I agree Abbefaria. While there are presumably 16% of the population who are atheists, less than half of individuals polled would feel comfortable having an atheist president. That's behind race, sexual preference, age, gender, everything. Atheism is the societal scourge. This has everything to do with a misunderstanding of what an atheist is, and a bigotry against those who have no belief.

We need to get the agnostics sorted out and educated, and get the rest of the scared atheists out of the closet.

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