Religion of your choice
Please note that this page is done to 85% and
therefore does not yet offer full details in all points you might be interested
in. If you have suggestions on how to expand, please feel free to
send me suggestions.1
One of my classmates is Muslim, my room-mate is Hindu, but what should I
believe in? Pick the religion that suits you best (p.2).
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Disclaimer: This page is just a simple guide that provides some
information about religions. I have tried not to put too obvious
preferences on particular ones. Especially the order of choices does
not suggest any ranking in any kind of quality. It is sometimes a result of
how to pick an answer (i.e. pick a later one if the first one does not fit).
Especially you are asked to study further information about a certain
religion before you make up any kind of decision. The author is not
responsible for any kind of implications for your life following from
decisions based entirely on information on this page. The page itself is
under the GNU
Document License. Note that big parts of information are taken from the
Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
(also its German version) as well as
many external links there within. However this page is not hiding behind the
lines of absolute neutrality, but given negative critics is supported by
reliable sources (e.g. the Wikipedia links).
1 e-mail address:
How many gods do
- There is only one true god (p.3)
- I have one for good spirit, one for family fortune, another one for
success … I want Polytheism (p.17)
- No it is the Holy Trinity (p.4)
- Depending on the way you count, there might be no god in my religion, one
or an increasing number, since all followers can become enlighted when they
meditate hard enough and finally enter Nirvana
(p.8). Or it might be that every soul is a god and I follow
the 24 Tirthankaras (p.10).
- My religion was given differently, without
- I know there is no god or other supernatural
demons or evil (p.25).
- I don't care if there is any god (p.29 down).
- I don't want to decide for only one religion
What is your cultural
- I'm Westerner, descending from
European heritage with roots back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and indeed
king Constantin I
converted to Christianity after his troops won the famous Battle of
Milivian Bridge under the "Labarum" (see the linked Wikipedia article for
- I am from the Middle East, i.e. regions like Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine,
Arabic Peninsula, Northern Africa (after 700C.E.), but could also be from
regions as far as Northwestern China or Southeastern Asia, …. Therefore
my Prophet is Muhammad and I shall follow the
- I'm not from Western Europe, but don't follow Muhammad either. Instead I'm
from Eastern / South-Eastern Europe, North-Western Asia (e.g. Russia) or even
Western Asia (e.g. Armenia), but not Arabic, this
King Constantin I might have supported the whole Christianity, but the more
important fact is that he moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to
Byzantine (in some ages also called Constantinople). Therefore I am
rightenous believer (Orthodox) and follow the
Patriarch instead of the Roman pope (p.11).
- I'm from Southern Asia or (Far) East-Asia, but could also descend from
South-East Asia, and since Siddhārtha Gautama, I only
believe in the Buddha, Bodhisattva or Amidaya (p.9).
- I'm from one of the European colonies, that became independent after the 19th
century and is possibly still quite economically dependent. Nevertheless my
ancestors followed the Religion brought by the
- I'm from India or Pakistan and follow the Nanak Dev and the other 10 gurus (p.9).
- I'm also from the Middle East, but certainly not (mainly) Arabic. My
ancestors might also have lived over half of Europe, but had constantly trouble
being accepted in these societies. The Old Testament (Tanach)
tells the early history of my people (p.16, down).
- My religion requires a strong personal involvement such as
collecting my own totem bag and mastering initiation rites when maturing.
Our tribe is religiously guided by a Medicine man and tells us about Manitu and how he has arranged the world, thus I belong to the native Americans (p.20 up).
- I'm from the more ancient part of Egypt or
Eastern Africa and my (religious) heritage goes back more than 5000 years (p.21).
- I might be/ descend from one of these places, but my religion was
designed in the new world (p.12).
- I believe in the flying spaghetti monster (p.24).
If you can't find your heritage here or the claimed religion is not yours, it
does not mean it is unimportant. It could just be I categorized it into
different group, I don't know enough about it
(p.1; or I assumed your religion is polytheistic
One thing is for sure, you follow The Holy Bible and
take your morals from there or its interpretation(s). You should however also
have a look into the following
comments about it.
Last but not least I need to warn of the illusion of "Intelligent
Design" (former Creationism) (middle of p.14).
To distinguish which version of Christianity you follow, pick from the following list:
- The (Roman) Pope is my highest moral and divine representative on
earth. When he tells me how to understand the bible I follow his guidance.
Thousands of years of tradition in the most powerful church have formed a
strong group of believers. The ways of My God might be hard to understand for
a mundane believer, but He (and his representatives) has always guided us the
right way when we listened to him. Especially I know that Abortion, love
between people of the same sex or marrying a second partner (as it was not
chosen by My God for me), muddling with cells from which divinely designed
human beings can emerge, or women as clerical representatives are sins against
the order of the world as it is given by Him. That's what Roman
Catholic Church stands for, even today. Some of our followers have
sinned against His moral - for example in three
Crusades against the Muslims
and other "evil" -, but once they have made their Confession and paid
their Indulgence their path to Heaven is paved for their after-life. Those who
never Confess their sins or even don't confess to the One God (the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Spirit) will end in Ethernal Purgatory. Amen.
- Well, the church is definitely the authority on earth that represents and
worships the will of god, but since
The Great Matter of the remarriage of King Henry VIII (of England) to the
obviously more able Queen Anne Boleyn (she finally gave him a son and heir of
the throne), it is obvious that the Pope of Rome can be mistaken. Therefore my
church, the Anglican Church, was lead by the King of England and
now-a-days by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Open-minded as we are, we accept
people with different sexual orientation and also women in the higher ranks of
our church. Nevertheless a life devoted to the Divine moral is what opens your
gates to the Heavenly afterlife and prevents you from the Purgatory.
Reformation I know that the Bible is the source of Divine morality.
People like Martin Luther discovered in the 16th century that the double moral
as it is practised by the (Roman) Pope does not agree with the word of God.
Especially the trade of Indulgence, which at this time you could even do
before you committed a sin, does not accord with the Divine moral. Therefore
we form the Protestantic Church(es). In our community we accept
people of different sexual orientation or women in higher ranks of the church.
Nevertheless an upright Christian devotes to the Divine moral and plain life
as it is written in the 10 commandments of the bible to ensure their
entrance to Heaven in the afterlife. Those who never pray for forgiveness of
their sins will end in Purgatory after their life.
As a rule of thumb you can say in Europe that the people above the "Weisswurst
Equator" (horizontal line through the middle of Germany; i.e. Northern Germany,
Netherlands, Denmark, Scandinavia, also Switzerland, Hungary, Check Republic,
…; but not Poland)
are Protestantic while the people southwards (Southern Germany, France (except
the Hugenots), Italy, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Romania, …, also Poland) are Catholic.
Unfortunately the Catholics often have the more beautiful churches,
but this is mostly because they pressed more
Tithe from their souls. The
true Protestant does not require pretty churches.
- The first reformation was an important step, but after my ancestors moved to
the New world, further steps were necessary (follow
the link, but ignore the first two item there about this Hubb. guy, p.12).
- This Luther guy was definitely right, but the important measure of Divine
regards is economical success. This is what brings our country (Switzerland)
forward and Calvin discovered in the 16th century, called Calvinism.
The five pillars of Islam are (formulated for Sunnies, 85% of moslems):
- Shahadah - the credo, aknowledgement of Allah as the only god and
Muhammad as his messiah.
- Salah - the ritual prayer which must be performed five times a day. Each
salah is done facing towards the Kaaba in Mecca. Salah is intended to focus
the mind on God, and is seen as a personal communication with him that
expresses gratitude and worship. Salah is compulsory but flexibility in the
specifics is allowed depending on circumstances. In many Muslim countries,
reminders called Adhan (call to prayer) are broadcast publicly from local
mosques at the appropriate times. The prayers are recited in the Arabic
language, and consist of verses from the Qur'an.
- Zakat - alms-giving is the practice of giving based on accumulated
wealth, and is obligatory for all Muslims who can afford it. A fixed portion
is spent to help the poor or needy, and also to assist the spread of Islam.
The zakat is considered a religious obligation (as opposed to voluntary
charity) that the well-off owe to the needy because their wealth is seen as a
"trust from God's bounty".
- Sawm - the fasting during the month of Ramadan. Muslims must not eat or
drink (among other things) from dawn to dusk during this month, and must be
mindful of other sins. The fast is to encourage a feeling of proximity to God,
and during it Muslims should express their gratitude for and dependence on him,
atone for their past sins, and think of the needy. Sawm is not obligatory for
several groups for whom it would constitute an undue burden. Don't forget to break fasting after sunset when the preacher announces that god went to sleep.
- Hajj - the pilgrimage during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah
to the city of Mecca. Every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it must make the
pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his or her lifetime.
- Jihad means "to strive or struggle" (in the way of God) and is considered
the "sixth pillar of Islam" by a minority. Jihad also refers to one's
striving to attain religious and moral perfection. Within Islamic
jurisprudence, however, jihad is usually taken to mean military exertion
against non-Muslim combatants in the defense or expansion of the Islamic
state, the ultimate purpose of which is to universalize Islam.
The most important law for muslims beside the Qur'an is the Shariah (lit.
path to the watering place), a thousand years old book that is supposed to
express the Divine will, but needs to be interpreted. A particular problem
with Islamic law is that it does not distinguish between church and state and
thus gives monarchic-like "guarding power" to the Ayatollah Uzma
(Great Sign of God, e.g. in Iran). However some Islamic countries, like Turkey,
have already done reformation towards a laicistic state (separation of state
Apostasy (Arabic: ارتداد, irtidād or ridda) - commonly
defined as the rejection of Islam in word or deed by a person who has been a
Muslim - is prohibited and punishable by death.
The basic unit of Islamic society is the family, and Islam defines the
obligations and legal rights of family members. Muslim-majority countries give
women varying degrees of rights with regards to marriage, divorce, civil
affairs, legal status, dress code, and education. A man may have up to four
wives if he believes he can treat them equally, while a woman may have only
one husband. Starting in the 20th century, Muslim social reformers argued against
this and other practices, with varying success. A woman's share of inheritance
is generally half of that of a man with the same rights of succession.
Scholars agree that a woman should act and dress in a way that does not
draw sexual attention to her when she is in the presence of someone of the
opposite sex. Some scholars specify which areas of the body must be covered;
most of these require that everything besides the face and hands be covered,
and some require all but the eyes to be covered, using garments such as
chadors or burqas. Most mainstream scholars say that men, in contrast, should
cover themselves from the navel to the knees.
According to a Sunni hadith, the punishment for committing rape
is death, there is no sin on the victim, nor is there any worldly punishment
ascribed to her. However, the stringent requirements for proof of rape
under some interpretations of Islamic law, combined with cultural attitudes
regarding rape in some parts of the Muslim world, result in few rape cases
being reported; even the cases brought forward typically result in minimal
punishment for offenders or severe punishment for victims.
Honor killings (murders, nearly exclusively of women, of persons who are
perceived as having brought dishonor to their families, e.g. by pre-marriage
adultery or liaision outside the family's aknowledgement) are sanctioned in
Iran's and Afghanistan's penal codes in which it is legal or lightly punished.
Many Muslim scholars and commentators say that honor killings are a cultural
practice. No age limits have been fixed by Islam for marriage. Though it is
said that women should not be married under the age of nine. Islamic jurists
have traditionally held that Muslim women may only enter into marriage with
Muslim men, although some contemporary jurists question the basis of this
restriction. Husbands are asked to be kind to their wives and wives are asked
to be obedient to their husbands. A woman needs her husband's permission to
leave home, though general permission is sufficient for routine trips.
The rules for talaq (divorce) vary among the
major Islamic schools. For both Sunni and Shi'a Muslims, the right to demand a
divorce is primarily for men.
rem: Female genital cutting has been associated with
Islam, but in fact is practiced almost exclusvely in Africa and in certain
areas has acquired a religious dimension.
If you don't believe me, read for yourself in the Wikipedia pages or ask
International Council of Women,
Human Right's Watch.
Beside these Islam is a modern and warm religion and there is hope for a further
modernization from movements like the
Some fundamentals can be stated right away:
- The Four (Noble) Turths:
- All life leads to suffering in one or another way.
- Cause of all suffering is desire.
- The end of all suffering is to end the desire.
- The way out of suffering is shown by the Buddha in the (noble) Eightfold Path.
- The way to Enlightment (i.e. becoming Buddha) and the end of all suffering is
* Śīla is the ethics or morality, or abstention from unwholesome deeds. It includes:
- dṛṣṭi (ditthi): viewing reality as it is, not just as it appears to be.
- saṃkalpa (sankappa): intention of renunciation, freedom and harmlessness.
* Samādhi is the mental discipline required to develop mastery over one’s own mind. This is done through the practice of various contemplative and meditative practices, and includes:
- vāc (vāca): speaking in a truthful and non hurtful way
- karman (kammanta): acting in a non harmful way
- ājīvana (ājīva): a non harmful livelihood
- vyāyāma (vāyāma): making an effort to improve
- smṛti (sati): awareness to see things for what they are with clear consciousness, being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion
- samādhi (samādhi): correct meditation or concentration, explained in the first 4 dhyānas
- As a rule of thumb follow the Middle Way:
- The practice of non-extremism: a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification.
- The middle ground between certain metaphysical views (e.g., that things ultimately either exist or do not exist).
- An explanation of nirvana (perfect enlightenment), a state wherein it becomes clear that all dualities apparent in the world are delusory (see Seongcheol).
- Another term for emptiness, the ultimate nature of all phenomena, lack of inherent existence, which avoids the extremes of permanence and nihilism or inherent existence and nothingness.
Q3: So now let us ask which kind of Buddhism you want to follow.
- The presently biggest branch is Mahayana - literally "large vehicle" -
as it was pointed out by the Bodhisattva. It is spread over Korea, parts of
China and Vietnam and also known as Dharmaguptaka.
- A bit more ascetic version is
Japanese Zen, where meditation
is the most dominant rite, but not only in an upright sitting position with
your head slightly bent forward, also when arranging a garden, …
- The oldest form of Buddhism is called
Hinayana, based on early
Buddhist schools after Buddha who was born in -700. It is spread over South
and Southeast Asia, in countries like
Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia as well as
parts of India, Vietnam and China
- The most esoteric form of Budhism is
Vajrayana, also called
Mantrayana, as it is practised in northern Asia: Tibet, Mongolia, Bhutan,
parts of India, other parts of China and parts of Russia. Here the highest
living representative on earth is the Dalai Lama (therefore sometimes also
called Lamaism) and is accompanied by the Panchen Lama.
As long as
you consider it as a religion/ philosophy and do not include political
ambitions you don't get into conflict with the Chinese government. So please
keep the laicistic attitude religion is religion and state is state, both
should not be mixed up.
Well, if after all that meditation you feel a bit empty and ask yourself what
you meditate for or why it is you that has to follow this way, you should either
continue meditation (and hope for enlightenment) or watch out for the
flying spaghetti monster (p.24).
Sikhism was founded in the 15th century on the Idian subcontinent in the province Punjab. Sikhs are expected to embody the qualities of a saint-soldier (Sant-Sipāhī). This includes to love God, meditate on God, keep God in the heart, feel God's nearness and also be strong, courageous and ready to fight to protect weak people from the cruel and unjust. Some of the things forbidden are:
- Cutting hair: Cutting hair is strictly forbidden in Sikhism. Sikhs are required to keep unshorn hair.
- Intoxication: Consumption of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and other intoxicants is not allowed. Intoxicants are strictly forbidden for a Sikh. However the Nihangs of Punjab take an infusion of cannabis to assist meditation.
- Blind spirituality: Superstitions and rituals should not be observed or followed, including pilgrimages, fasting and ritual purification; circumcision; idols & grave worship; compulsory wearing of the veil for women; etc.
- Material obsession: Obsession with material wealth is not encouraged in Sikhism.
- Sacrifice of creatures: The practice of sati (widows throwing themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands), ritual animal sacrifice to celebrate holy occasions, etc. are forbidden.
- Non-family-oriented living: A Sikh is encouraged not to live as a recluse, beggar, yogi, monastic (monk/nun) or celibate. Sikhs are to live as saint-soldiers.
- Worthless talk: Bragging, lying, slander, "back-stabbing", etc. are not permitted. The Guru Granth Sahib tells the Sikh, "Your mouth has not stopped slandering and gossiping about others. Your service is useless and fruitless."
- Priestly class: Sikhism does not have priests; they were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh (the 10th Guru of Sikhism). The only position he left was a Granthi to look after the Guru Granth Sahib, any Sikh is free to become Granthi or read from the Guru Granth Sahib.
- Eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (Kutha meat): Sikhs are strictly prohibited from eating meat from animals slaughtered in a religiously prescribed manner (such as dhabihah or shechita, known as Kutha meat, when the animal is killed by exsanguination via throat-cutting), or any meat where langar is served. The meat eaten by Sikhs is known as Jhatka meat.
- Having extramarital sexual relations.
Some important facts are:
- Jainism arose as a counter direction against the sacrifices and strict rituals in India around -500. Its main philosophy is ahimsa – non-violence, which includes all beings to a degree depending on their number of senses (from 1 to 5). So being a strict follower, you have to be vegan (not eating animals and not causing pain to them by winning milk or eggs). Also you should kill plants only to the amount that you can eat them.
- Satya – truth; you are required to always speak the truth, except in order to avoid violence.
- Asteya – don't take any things that are not willingly offered. Attempting to exort material wealth from others or to exploit the weak is considered theft.
- Brahmacharya – control over the senses, up to refraining from sexual activity
- Aparigraha – non-possessiveness, including non-detachment to people, places and material things. Thus ascetics should completely renounce property and social relations.
- The Jaina universal history is a story of the illustrious people. They comprise the 24 tīrthaṅkaraa, 12 cakravartī, 9 baladeva, 9 vāsudeva and 9 prativāsudeva.
- Jains encourage their monks to do research and obtain higher education. Monks and nuns, particularly in Rajasthan, have done research. So maybe you could call them the Jews of India.
- Jainism also has its own metaphysics and philosophy of truth, containing the 7 levels:
- syād-asti — in some ways, it is;
- syād-nāsti — in some ways, it is not;
- syād-asti-nāsti — in some ways, it is, and it is not;
- syād-asti-avaktavyaḥ — in some ways, it is, and it is indescribable;
- syād-nāsti-avaktavyaḥ — in some ways, it is not, and it is indescribable;
- syād-asti-nāsti-avaktavyaḥ — in some ways, it is, it is not, and it is indescribable;
- syād-avaktavyaḥ — in some ways, it is indescribable.
Well, if you understand that, you can go straight to quantum theory and dive into the particle-wave duality.
If after a whole day of ascetic life you are looking forward to a delicious spaghetti a la carbonara, I have to disappoint you. Vegan life forbids meat, also noodles are only allowed without eggs. Maybe you should rather look for the flying spaghetti monster (p.24).
Similar to the Western Christian
Church (p.4) you also believe in the Holy Bible and analogous to the Catholic church in the true belief being handed down the generations since St. Paul. You should thus also have a look into the following
comments about the bible. As a difference you assume that the true church, founded by Christus and his Apostels is your church of true believers (orthodox). Unlike the Catholic church in Germany, however, your church has adapted to the local customs and traditions. And so the bible was taught in the local language already since early times. The schism from the Western Catholic church appeared in the 11th century. Since then the head of your church is no longer the pope, but the patriarch of the country you were born in. In total you are somewhere between the Catholic and Anglican churches. Concerning fasting however, you can plan to spend about half of the year with fasting to different degrees.
Q3: In order to decide to which Orthodox church you belong, you need to ask for your place of birth:
- If you are born in Russia, then you most likely belong to the Russian orthodox church;
- if you are born in the Ukraine, you most likely belong to one of the Ukrainian orthodox churches;
- Further churches are Orthodox church of Constantinople, Estonian Apostolic Orth. Church,
- Greek Orthodox Churches;
- Orth. Church of Georgia;
- Orth. Church of Serbia; of Romania; of Bulgaria; of Albania;
- Orth. Church of Poland; of Czech lands and Slovakia;
- Orth. Church in America; in Australia.
Religions from the New World
There is a bunch of religions
or sects that emerged in the new world, where freedom of religion is so much
important, that you can even follow evil spirits and donate them your efforts,
money, or afterlife. So learn more about your options and choose wisely.
- If you believe in L Ron Hubbard or hate
Xenu, you definitely belong to Scientology. But also if you
know that Aliens are likely evil, the human mind is unlimited and just needs
to be cleared from its limited vessel or the negative imprints in
subconsciousness, and an (Operating) Thetan is the state to aim for,
you should follow this link. Still not yours, what about Dianetics? (p.14 up)
- You may not believe in L Ron Hubbard, but another modern guru that managed the fusion of ancient knowledge with modern quantum mechanics. If you know that “We exist as supercharged electrons”, then you should follow this link (p.14 middle). But also if you prefer other quotations by Deepak Chopra, you should choose the link.
- If you are more Western traditional, your (re)founder of religion might be
from Utah. Or you may call yourself follower of The
Church of Jesus Christ of (Latter-day Saints; LDS Church; p.15).
- If your ancestors took further steps in reformation of their religion
(after the European one, e.g. by Luther), then you might be one of these
Assembly of God,
… You will certainly still follow
the word of The Holy Bible, possibly in an even more literal sense than
the Europeans, and should therefore definitely have a look into the following
comments about it.
- If you put medieval traditions in bold and
wish to abandon all the bad things in recent (150 years) development of
industrial civilization, you should follow people from one of these groups (top of p.16).
Intelligent Design (former Creationism)
There are people who believe that the complexity of life on earth or even the
"Crown of all" (homo sapiens sapiens) cannot develop from simple
organic molecules and thus must have been designed by an intelligent designer.
In simple words all the world, all species, including mankind have been created.
Fortunately a US court ruled that Creationism, as a purely religious belief,
must not be taught at schools, which have entirely scientific and cultural, but
not religious duties in teaching.
The story could have ended here if all the followers had invested their time
in studying Darwin's clever ideas
On the Origin of Species instead of writing lengthy pamphlets about the
Divine origin of species. In one sentence the moderator for evolution is
selection among mutated species, by the mechanism of the survival of the fittest.
If you wish more details about this theory on an easy understandable level watch
out for material from Richard Dawkins,
such as the video "The Genius of Charles Darwin".
Not only comes this theory without any kind of intelligent designer - a
homunculus argument, because you then need another theory, of much more difficult
background, where the designer
comes from - moreover it explains why so many species are so similar and have so
many mostly useless things (32 teeth, tail bone, mini evolution in uterus, …)
in common. Moreover if you follow the history of species and wonder why so
many of them are extinct (dinosaur, graptolites, …), you should rather
talk of an idiotic design.
Unfortunately the story goes on and the former Creationists regathered
under the umbrella of "Intelligent Design". Knowing that religion
cannot be taught at US schools, they are trying their theory as a scientific
theory and enforce its teaching in biology and lectures about local history.
To make it brief, due to the already mentioned problems this ID is not even
useful as a scientific theory. Even if it were true, its knowledge would be
almost useless, because it does not explain how the designer creates the
species, what purpose or goals. The answer to these questions for evolution is
simply to live, survive and multiply better.
The Church of Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten about their true nature. The method of spiritual rehabilitation is a kind of counselling known as auditing and the goal is to become an operating thetan where you then can use all the incredible powers people once possessed. This process of cleaning is also supposed to be successful in freeing you from diseases such as drug addiction, criminal intents, homosexuality, or resistance to education.
The religion/ enterprise was founded by the science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard and the top story (part of the Space Opera) is that of the galaxy evil-doer Xenu who used millions of H-bombs (not homosexuals, but hydrogene fusion bombs) to destroy a planet. Many people who left Scientology report of an expensive training program you have to pay for and of different levels of observation/ control and punishment as you either rise in the hirarchy or try to do apostasy. As a follower of Scientology you are forbidden to talk to such Suppressive Persons.
Please note that the difference between Scientology and science is even bigger than the difference between science and (good) science fiction. As a much better science fiction author I recommend Gene Roddenberry.
New Age Spirituality
It started with a group of dropouts in the 1960ies who were frustrated by the more complicated world in the middle of the Cold War, with Hard Core Communism in the one half (like Eastern Europe and Asia except for Japan, South Korea and India) and young Capitalism on the other half (like in Western Europe and Northern America). Quite some countries got grounded up in the surrogate wars, such as in Southern/Middle America, Central Asia and Africa. What seemed progressive on one side (Communism, freer economy, …), was condemned as infernal on the other side (dictatorship, revanchist imperialism, fascism, propaganda, …). Rightfully many people protested against the militarization of the world where they could (mostly in the Western world where free speech was more tolerated, but also secretly in the eastern world where on its borders censorship was never complete). The freedom movement had very concrete and humane goals in the beginning. On the other hand while looking for alternative morals they were also spreading out to discover alternative living styles such as transpersonal psychology, holistic health movement with some of the most commont technics acupuncture (originated in traditional Chinese medicine), biofeedback (a funny game of matching numbers), chiropractic (the right massage can stimulate everything), yoga (Indian origin), kinesiology (not to be mistaken for kinematics as described by Galilei), homeopathy (from an age where germs as the origins of classical diseases were completely unknown), iridology (reading of the spirit in the patterns of the iris) and others. Closely related are also crystal healing (with the aura of stones), chromotherapy (the healthy influence of colors) and reincarnation therapy (this is indirect suicide as the name suggests). While it is easy to produce “wisdoms” such as Ionizing electrons with a simple computer program it may take a handful of scientists a couple of years to completely debunk a 5 minute speech of a “New Age Scientist”. The reason is that these gurus reject rationalism and the scientific method and instead generate medical therapies from fantastic inspirations. As I wrote on the top of the page, better science fiction can be found in good TV series, also better fantasy can be found in recent and contemporary literature, such as Terry Pratchett. The advantage of science is not that it pays scientists, but that the scientific method (together with peer review) eliminates most mistakes in hypotheses over the time. So you better think hard whether you really want to base the cure of a potentially fatal disease on “Alternative Medicines” or on evidence based therapies.
… to be continued. In the mean time you can have a look at Wikipedia's
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
. A few aspects are:
- Copying of the savior's story to Northern America;
- Samuel … as the thirteenth apostle of Jesus and the Book of Mormon written by him after divine dictation by an Angel.
- Your duty to travel through the world and spread the word of Samuel ….
- Don't forget your magic underwear. It is expensive, because it is made following strict traditions of the Mormons in Utah and it will protect you from any kind of evil, including premarital adultery or the devil.
… to be continued. In the mean time you can have a look into Wikipedia's
article about Amish people
Some facts are
- Life in harmony with nature as it was lived already in the middle of 19th century. Your life will be focused on argriculture or the things around it, but you will see modern towns once a week when you sell some products on Amish markets in the towns.
- No electricity, TV, or internet, because these are influences of the devil. The interesting thing is that many young Amish know quite well how to use computers in internet cafes in modern towns.
- No liberated sexuality. Love and romance take place in the community and not with outsiders. Also same-sex life is a sin which you can be cured of by abstinence.
You worthvalue intellectuals a lot, philosophical arguments and conclusions have
a long tradition in your (people's) culture. Due to a large tolerance of many
followers of your religion you don't see an immediate sacrileg in people
questioning religion and traditions.
Even though the Europeans often considered you(r people) as odd, because
your religion is different from theirs, you had (and have) important
contributions to the progress of their culture, society and economy. The
really bad things happened when something in Europe went wrong (or looked
unfair), because then your hosts decided to turn hostile against everything
different from themselves. That
costed lives of million
One point to think self-critically about. Don't make the same / similar
mistakes as the Europeans, when
dealing with your neighbors (in South-western Asia).
Compared to European, South-Asian or South-American history these might be the
older and more natural versions of religion.
Depending on your cultural heritage you might look for one of the
- I'm from Southern Asia, possibly polyreligious
(p.31) and one of the most awesome books is the
Kama Sutra (or it will be
once I am older than 12 and somebody tells me what this s-thing is all about).
My highest goddess is Shiva, but he is reign of a
huge realm of gods and goddesses, some of them human-looking others half-human
half animal-looking (p.18).
- I am from one of the few remaining native peoples on this world. I know
about the gods as our Shamans tell us (p.20 up).
- I'm from Japan, so my Tenno (=emperor) descends in a
direct divine line, but there are many small gods that determine the fortune
of my everyday life (p.22).
- I am from Middle or Southern America and my culture and religion suffered severe destruction since the arrival of Pizarro and other Spanish and Portugese conquerors (p.20 down).
- I follow the traditions of the Ancient Rome
as it was founded by Romulus and Remus. I do speak Latin fluently, but
don't want to follow the Christianization as it gained power since king
Constantin I (p.23).
- I'm also from Ancient Southern Europe, but my religion is slightly older,
since I still follow the traditions of the Ancient
Some of the fundamentals under the rule of Shiva are:
- to be reborn (samsara) in a new body after
death. A person desires to be born, because [s]he wants to enjoy worldly
pleasures. Worldly pleasures are not sinful, but can never bring deep,
ever-lasting happiness or peace. After many rebirths every person eventually
becomes dissatisfied with this limited happiness that worldly pleasures can
- means "deed" or "act" and more broadly names the universal
principle of cause and effect, action and reaction that governs all life. It
is also considered to be a spiritually originated law. Karma is not punishment
or retribution but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts.
- is the salvation from samsara, the cycle of rebirth and
death. It can be attained only through spiritual experience.
- means method to reach moksha. There are several:
- Bhakti Yoga (the path of love and devotion)
- Karma Yoga (the path of right action)
- Rāja Yoga (the path of meditation)
- Jñāna Yoga (the path of wisdom)
- is not mandatory in Hinduism, though many adherents
undertake them. Hindus recognise several Indian holy cities.
- are holy. This means you can buy, feed and milk a cow. But
you may not slaughter it. As a result most old cows that do not
give milk any longer are driven away/ outcast and wander through the countryside
seeking for food.
- the caste system. Under the Jati system, a person is born
into a Jati with ascribed social roles and endogamy, i.e. marriages take place
only within that Jati. There are seven Jatis:
People of different Jatis across the spectrum, from the upper castes to the
lowest of castes, tended to avoid intermarriage, sharing of food and drinks,
or even close social interaction with other Jatis. Moreover it is almost
impossible to change the caste, it is determined by birth.
- collective body of the Philosophers, which in point of number is
inferior to the other classes, but in point of dignity preeminent over
- Farmers are the most numerous class of Indians; they have no use
for warlike arms or warlike deeds, but they till the land; and they pay the
taxes to the kings and to the cities, such as are self-governing; and if there
is internal war among the Indians, they may not touch these workers, and not
even devastate the land itself; but some are making war and slaying all comers,
and others close by are peacefully ploughing or gathering the fruits or
shaking down apples or harvesting.
- Herdsmen, pasturers of sheep and cattle, dwell neither by cities nor in
the villages. They are nomads and get their living on the hillsides, and they
pay taxes from their animals; they hunt also birds and wild game in the
- Artisans and shopkeepers; these are workers, and pay tribute from their
works, save such as make weapons of war; these are paid by the community. In
this class are the shipwrights and sailors, who navigate the rivers.
- Soldiers' class, next after the farmers in number, have the greatest
freedom and the most spirit. They practise military pursuits only. Their
weapons others forge for them, and again others provide horses; others too
serve in the camps, those who groom their horses and polish their weapons,
guide the elephants, and keep in order and drive the chariots. They
themselves, when there is need of war, go to war, but in time of peace they
make merry; and they receive so much pay from the community that they can
easily support others from their pay.
- Overlookers oversee everything that goes on in the country or in the
cities; and this they report to the King, where the Indians are governed by
kings, or to the authorities, where they are independent. To these it is
illegal to make any false report; nor was any Indian ever accused of such
- deliberate abbut the community together with the King, or, in such cities
as are self-governing, with the authorities. In number this class is small,
but in wisdom and uprightness it bears the palm from all others; from this
class are selected their governors, district governors, and deputies,
custodians of the treasures, officers of army and navy, financial officers,
and overseers of agricultural works.
Shamanism emerged with the increased imagination and parental instinct of
homo sapiens. While people searched for simple explanations behind everything
that happend around them, most things were not apparently that simple. What a
great situation for those with more imagination or special knowledge of herbs,
human body, or other nature. If you know how to tell stories, you can make the
people in your tribe believe almost everything and follow you against any enemy.
Your only true enemy is another Shaman or someone from the modern world. You can
communicate with the Spirits of deities as well as of dead people. This way you
are known for divination and magic healing. But the path to become a Shaman is
a hard one. You have to encounter your gravest fears and overcome your own
broken soul in the initiation rituals.
Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas
- If you consider death as instrumental in the perpetuation of creation, and gods and humans alike have the responsibility of sacrificing themselves in order to allow life to continue. If you consider sacrifices to the gods necessary in order to keep the world continue and the sun never to fall down, then you are probably a follower of that religion;
- If your tradition requires you to sacrifice maize bread or sometimes animals, rarely up to humans (adults as well as children), then your creator god is probably Itzamna;
- If your world is characterized by a duality between things, such as Hanan Pacha vs Ukhu/ Hurin Pacha, you honor Pachamama, then you belong to this group of religion(s),
Your gods are called Pharaohs
and were king of the country at the same time.
… to be continued.
According to legend (recorded in the 712CE Kojiki) Japan was founded by the two gods Izanagi no mokoto (male) and Izanami no Mikoto (female) when they were called by all the gods and given a spear to found a new island. They dipped it into the waters and removed the drops, and the Islands of Japan arose. They lived on this island and built a palace within which was a large pole. When they wanted to bear offsprings, they performed a ritual which contained surrounding the pole in opposite directions, the male leftwards and the female rightwards, but then the female greeted the male first. They thus had two children which turned out to be bad and they cast them out. They thus decided that the ritual was performed incorrectly the first time. They repeated the ritual, but this time the male spoke first. They gave birth to eight perfect islands which are now the archipelago of Japan. Later they gave birth to the other Kami (=spirits/ gods) of Japan. At some point Izanami no Mikoto dies and Izanagi no Mikoto tries to revive her. But his attempts to deny the laws of life and death have bad consequences.
Shinto teaches that there are some deeds that cause ritual impurity and one should get cleaned of that for one's own peace of mind and good fortune. Those who are killed without being shown gratitude for their sacrifice will hold a grudge and become powerful and evil kami who seek revenge (荒神).
Shinto is honored on various levels of Japanese culture, especially the purification, e.g. when building on new ground or even during the car production. Shinto became state religion together with the revival of ancient legends in the time 1868–1945CE. Here it was also used to justify a growing nationalism including the conquering of neighbor regions for exploitation of resources and domination over the people.
There are almost no don'ts in Shinto, but you should be aware that Buddhism exists in parallel in Japan and thus, e.g. sticking your chop sticks into the bowl of rice is seen as rude (because you only do that to sacrifice the food to your ancestors).
Your gods live in the Panthenon [at the Olymp]1
. The father of all
gods is Jovi [Zeus] the god of Thunder and heaven. He is known for its rage and
fertility. His first wife was Juno [Hera], but beside this one he had many
more, sometimes occured in human or animal shape to seduce beautiful women (such
as …). But beside the father of all gods there were plenty more, such
as Mars [Ares], Minerva [Athena], Neptune [Poseidon], or my personal favourite Bacchus [Dionysos] -
god of the vine and intoxication. Unfortunately this polytheistic religion
became almost forgotten after king Constantine converted to Christianity.
Nevertheless when you start learning dead languages such as Latin or ancient
Greek (not modern, which could actually be useful), you will certainly read
about their stories. Also the rules of Greek drama are that only gods or kings
are tragic enough to make a drama about them (as opposed to ordinary people).
Nevetheless the gods have most of the human characteristics.
If you look for a modern religion (p.2) you will
most likely have to go for a monotheistic one, because that's what happened after
Constantin. But you may of course also go for Atheism
(p.26) or even Communism/Socialism (p.29).
Annotation in brackets refer to the Greek mytholgy.
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
Sure, you like fun, even when it
comes to religion. That's one point of humor on your side. You should know that as a pastafari you should worship his holyness by eating pasta in numerous variations, spaghetti, tortellini, fusili, lasagne, …. You may wear your religious insignia (e.g. a pasta sieve) in public and even on official photos (as by court ruling in Austria) as other religious people do. And of course, once the true Christians have installed “Intelligent Design” in lectures of biology (or local history), you may also teach How he touches all things with his noodly appendage and influences scientific experiments the way they are predicted by theory. And don't forget that your god has the bigger balls!
OK, so you claim to be an atheist, but what do you deny. A-theus literally
means against god, but historically only related to the Christian god. On the
other hand modern atheists deny the supernatural existence of any kind of
Q2: Moreover you need to ask yourself if you want to
- emphasize on the non-existence of god (or even prosecute any kind
of theistic religion; that leads nowhere except to hate);
- know that "Religion is the opium of the people" and instead want to follow
communist/ socialistic ideas (p.28);
- are always upset about the monopolistic position of software enterprises,
such as micro-soft
and plead instead for software with free sources written by the public, then
you should join the GNUish people;
- if you still have a positive credo (=what I believe), want to show that
high moral standards can derive from science and philosophical reasoning,
instead of dogmatic worshipment of thousand years old books and over-mighty
institutions. Maybe you should have a look for
Evolutionary Humanism (Brights) (p.26).
- Maybe I don't care that much for any god
- Choose irony (bottom of p.30 down).
Evolutionary Humanism (Brights)
"We are living in an asynchronous era: While our technology is the technology
of 21st century, our world view is still dominated by thousand years old legends
and mystics. This combination of highest technological know-how on the one side
but naive childish creed on the other side may cause fatal consequences. We are
like five-year-old children having the responsibility over a jumbo-jet."
(M. Schmidt-Salomon, Manifesto of Evolutionary Humanism)
If you wish to change that, you should use the knowledge won over more than
2000 years not only to build air-planes or nuclear bombs, but also to develop
modern ethics and world view. "If you have Science, Art and Philosophy
what do you need religion for?" (M. Schmidt-Salomon)
10 Proposals of Evolutionary Humanism
To give you an example of what can follow from modern philosophy consider
these 10 proposals (Taken from "Manifesto of Evolutionary Humanism"
These ten proposals have neither been dictated by any god nor are they
written in stone. No "dark cloud" should frighten us when searching
for reasonable guiding lines for our life, because fear is seldomly a good
guidance. It is upon everyone for themself to check those proposals free of fear
and with reason, to accept, modify or generally reject them.
- Worship neither foreign nor domesitc "gods" (who when
regarding them more carefully are nothing else than naive constructions of an
ape brain), but the great ideal of the ethics, to reduce the dolor of the
world! Those who claim to be very close to their "god" have
mostly been those who turned far away from weal and woe of the real humankind.
Do not contribute to this tragedy! Those who have science, philosophy and
art do not need any religion!
- Be fair to your neighbors and the ones far away from you!
You will not be able to love all humans, but you should respect
that every human - even the one you disgust - has the right to [realize]
their individual ideas of a "good life (and death) in this life", as
long as they do not harm the equal valued interests of others.
- Do not be afraid of authorities, but have the courage to use your own
brain! Remember that the power of an argument does not depend on who said
it. The criterion for the truth of a statement is only by its non-contradictory
and correspondence with the world of our experience. If today there are still
people who argue with "god on their side", this should not make you
awestruc, but laughing.
- You shall not lie, betray, steal, kill - except in the case of
emergency when there is no other mean, to enforce the ideal of humanity!
Those who did not lie under Nazi dictatorship, but told the Gestapo faithfully
the hides of Jewish families, were highly unethical - as opposite to those who
wanted to attempt assassination of Hitler, to save millions of human lives.
To act ethically does not at all mean to follow blindly commandments or
prohibitions, but to ponder the possible positive and negative consequences of a
- Get rid of the bad habit of moralization! There is no
"absolute good" or "absolute evil" on this world, only people
with different interests, needs and experiences. Contribute actively to abolish
the catastrophic conditions under which humans have to suffer today, and you
will be surprised what friendly, creative and lovely side of the "beast"
homo sapiens shows off.
- Do not immunize against criticism! Honest citicism is a gift you
should not refuse. By this criticism you cannot lose more than your errands
to which you should say farewell better today than tomorrow. Have pity with
those who cannot worthvalue criticism, who call themselves "unfailable"
and represent their dogms as "holy" (untouchable) due to a deep anxiety.
A modern society should no longer take them serious.
- Do not take your ideas too serious! Things that seem correct
today can be obsolete already tomorrow! But doubt also the doubt!
Even though our knowledge is always limited and preliminary, you should
decidedly argue for what you think is right. Nevertheless be always open for
better arguments, for only in this manner you will master the small line
between dogmatism and arbitrariness.
- Overcome the tendency to follow blindly traditions by informing
thoroughly from all sides before making a decision. As human being you
have an exceptionally learning brain, do not let it shrivel! Pay attention to
use the same rational priciples for questions of ethics and world view as you
use for your cell-phone or a computer. If mankind splits the atom and
communicates via satelites, it needs the maturity for that.
- Carpe vitam - enjoy life, for you are most likely given only this single
one! Acknowledge your and everyone's finiteness, do not supersede it, but
"seize the day"! In particular the finiteness of life makes it
extremely costy! Do not let anybody tell you it were a sin to be happy!
Oppositely: By enjoying the freedom you have today, you honor those who died for
it in the past!
- Put your life in service of a "more important matter", become
part of the tradition of those who want(ed) to change the world to a better
place for life. Such an act is not only ethically reasonable, but also
the best recipies for a meaningful life. It seems that altruists are the more
clever egoists, because the best fulfillment of our self-purpose is in extending
it to others. If you can recognise yourself as a momentum in the "warm
stream of human history" you will become happier than any possesion could
make you. Intuitively you will recognise that you do not live in vain and will
not have lived in vain!
The Manifoesto of Evolutionary Humanism was originally written for the
Giordano Bruno Foundation
in Germany. But if you are looking for a similar organization in the US look out
for The Brights.
Communism and Socialism
A modern European philosopher said: "If you are 20 and no socialist, you have no
heart. If you are 40 and still socialist, you have no brain." So what is that
thing about Communism
what is even Socialism
In three paragraphs, most was initiated after the publications of
Karl Marx who analyzed the
situation of laborers in Southern English cities at the end of the 19th
century, summarized in a book called "Capital". In Western
lead to the founding of Communist Parties whose idea was to put the ideal world
– where everybody takes as (s)he needs and works as (s)he can for the general
benefit – into political reality (see, e.g.
This was paralleled by important improvements in the rights of laborers,
regulations against child labor, further social welfare, and since mid 50ies
also practically more equality for women (such as support in rising children).
In some parts of
Asia (Russia, China, Vietnam, …) as well as Southern America this was
taken as the basis of a fundamental change in society. Most of these countries
were in developing state or far away from being industrialized countries.
During eras of chaos and reshaping of the society (often referred to as
Communist Revolution) the Communist Party quickly rose to the dominant
political power and with economic skills, expropriation of over-rich monarchic minorities, and change to more
recent production technologies had these countries advance economically considerably
within short time.
However, already Marx pointed out that the new political system also
required new education of people. Instead of the common attitude to think
about one's own benefit first, everybody needs to put the society first. But
here lies the crucial problem. While every five year old child knows that it
wants to have every toy it can think of, even eight year old children have
difficulties in sharing their sweets with friends, not to mention strangers.
Beside punishing political opponents also the education of the masses was the
official intention in such big campaings as the
which sent millions of city-people to the most rural areas to give them
Communist "Education" (in China). But all Communist governments
quickly that beside education of the majority of people it also requires the
special support of the most intelligent people of the country, where support
includes the political education of them to follow the Communist government.
Most Communist countries however discovered that explaining the advantage of a
Communist society is not enough when modern capitalist neighbor countries
have a much better developed economy and obviously better possibilities for the
personal development. That led in most Communist countries to the erection of
an Iron Curtain, in
Berlin and Germany (but also Czechoslovakia, Hungary, …) even
to construction of big walls, barbed wire fences and death zones to prevent
people from following their egioistic instincts and joining the enemy –
economic end of most of the Communist countries followed after 30 to
60 years when depending on the skills in designing 5 and 10year plans most parts
of industry had been mismanaged, people turned from working for the benefit of
their own factories to stealing from them for their private benefit and political
elite turned to most personal fights for their private benefit, influence and
power. Most Communist countries were declared bankrupt in the 80ies and 90ies
and more or less peacefully returned to modern capitalism. China however was
at the border of ruin already in the 60ies (after the Great Leap Forward) and
70ies (after Mao's dead and the end of the Cultural revolution). Clever
followers like Deng Xiaoping discovered that the only way to save the country
and state is to return to a capitalistic economy and thus return to private
property and special economic zones in China. Since then China is called a
modern Socialistic country, as Socialism is the way to Communism, but
is gradually opening more and more to modern capitalism.
Some historians say: "The worst experiment of the 20th century was Communism,
because there was not the slightest (theoretical) prediction of how much wrong
this Utopia could go."
Granted, the important questions about life are not about religion.
Moreover you have the advantage that the monotheists fear you the most, because
they cannot just turn you over to their god, they even have to indoctrinate you
why the existence of their god should be relevant.
If you extend this attitude to most aspects of your life, you could call
yourself a Nihilist.
Interesting, why pick just one religion, you can learn from all of them.
Nevertheless there are some religions, especially monotheistic ones, that do
not tolerate their faithful followers to belief in other gods. So after you
made sure, you have a good excuse for such questions, you can
return to the choice
and pick several religions
one after the other (p.2).
A final word
Asked questions about belief my father used to say: "I believe that three
pound stringy beef make a good stew, but not for eight dozen people."
OK, if you wish, you can go back to the choice of your
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