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Do you believe that people are either fully one religion or they do not belong to the religion at all?

I was presented with an interesting argument from a friend today. She believes, and I can honestly see her point of view, that many people claim say they are 'christian' or 'muslim' in our area however they do not adhere to half the rules of the religion.

For example a christian who does not take seriously the sanctity of marriage or does not want to get married at all yet still claims they are christian, when the religion states this is simply not allowed. Even things as small as just a christian who has never read the bible but states they or christian. OR the people who get my backs up - people who are muslim or christian or whatever and say they disagree with some things from their holy book which they are meant to take as their guide to life.

What is your opinion on this?

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Asked by Anonymous at 7:14 PM on Dec. 21, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (20)
  • My view on this is that religion is a deeply personal thing and that a person's religion is between them and their God, and should no one else's concern.

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 7:19 PM on Dec. 21, 2010

  • I think its merely a label and unimportant in the scheme of things.

    If they claim to be XYZ then let them, only they know how they truly live and practice what they say they believe in. We, outsiders, only see so much and the rest we either guess or have to get from sources who may or may not twist the goings on.

    In the end, if we say we are XYZ then that is ok. Noone is perfect in their faith/beliefs/path so to say you can only be it if you do this or that would automatically put you into a judgement area where you are therefore not being a part of your beliefs.

    Answer by Amaranth361 at 7:22 PM on Dec. 21, 2010

  • This is why there are so many varieties of Christianity (and not just Christianity, they just have the most extreme case of it). When enough people don't like a rule, they form a group and create a new branch that uses a rule they like. So while your friend's theory would make sense if there was only one version of Christianity, the truth is there are hundreds, and that includes one that isn't as hung up on marriage as others, or as hung up on chastity, women obeying, or any other rule some people don't like.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 7:28 PM on Dec. 21, 2010

  • Well, for me, it's not about religion. It's about a relationship with my Heavenly Father, my Creator, and a relationship with my Lord and Savior. Religion really makes no difference in the grand scheme of things. As long as one is close to God, and knows what God expects of them, and also knows that God is aware they are human, make mistakes just like everyone else on the planet, and also knows He is a forgiving, loving God,that's really all that matters. JMHO.

    Answer by cbk_mom3 at 7:30 PM on Dec. 21, 2010

  • I think cheating is cheating and it sucks no matter what your beliefs. But right, I understand that it does not look good, but it really is personal.

    Answer by 2tinyhineys at 7:59 PM on Dec. 21, 2010

  • I don't believe its up to anyone to decide whether someone else is or isn't whatever faith they claim. Faith is personal, and each person has the right to define themselves however they wish. Whatever apparent contradictions exist between what they claim and what they actually do/believe is between them and God and no one else (however, when it comes to orthodoxy or "right" belief, there are many different interpretations and understandings...).

    The only thing I can't stand is to see hate (etc) being promoted or acted out through any faith, as most faiths in this world encourage love and compassion. That, though, is the only hypocrisy or contradiction that really matters, and its the only time I believe in calling anyone out on their actions in light of what their religion asks of them, since all religions require a more loving kind of behavior of their adherents. Its the only real standard, the only real condition, there is.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 8:07 PM on Dec. 21, 2010

  • I am an Eclectic Pagan. My beliefs come from all corners of the world. However, just because I don't have one specific well known path doesn't mean that I am less of a Pagan than someone who does follow word for word a Pagan Path... Now, I do believe that whatever beliefs you hold and claim you should live by them. If you aren't living by your beliefs, are they really your beliefs or are they just a title you give yourself?

    So, I guess I see it this way, if you choose to claim a religion, you should do your best to walk the path YOU BELIEVE that religion guides you down. But individuality, personal interpretation and spiritual connections are going to stop any two people from seeing things identically, even religion. So in the end it all comes down to what YOU believe that religion says and teaches and then doing your best to live by that rather than someone elses interpretation...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 8:15 PM on Dec. 21, 2010

  • There is a difference between spirituality and religion. A lot of people who claim one religion, do so because it is the closest match to their personal spirituality. However, no one really needs religion to be spiritual. As far as holy books??? Well, those are open for interpretation. Different individuals tend to see different things in the very same books. What I read one way, you may read as something else. The best we can all do is follow our heart and our own path and when we die we'll know if it was the right one. It is not up to us to decide what everyone else should be doing. That's up to them and their god.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 9:13 PM on Dec. 21, 2010

  • I think I understand the point you're trying to make, but generally I think you can be part of more than one religion or agree with parts of different religions. Each person needs to find their own path, and decide what that religion means to them. If someone claims to be one thing but they don't follow anything typical of that belief or way of life, I might wonder, so I do see your point. Most of the religions I've practiced or I've been really interested in actually encourage questioning things and not believing in something by faith only, but because of logic and reason, so these inclusive religions and philosophies don't conflict with each other and allow me to learn about many religions--and believe in and practice what makes the most sense to me. I generally accept any teachings that embrace ideas of love, compassion, forgiveness, interconnectedness, respect for nature, etc whatever religion or philosophy it is.

    Answer by pam19 at 9:17 PM on Dec. 21, 2010

  • I think it's everyone perogative to claim whatever beliefs/religion they feel best describes them. Whether or not that lives up to your standards is irrelevant.

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 9:40 PM on Dec. 21, 2010

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