Tuesday, October 18, 2005

a matter of faith

Now here's a strange thing. There are are few 'quizzes' floating about on various blogs including several 'religious' ones. I tried this one, Which religion are you? and it came out as this ..
You scored as Islam. Your beliefs are most similar to those of Islam. Do more research on Islam and possibly consider taking the shahadah and officially becoming a Muslim, if you aren't already.

Despite the actions of some - who go against the teachings of Islam - Islam is a religion of peace; the word "islam" means "peace through submission to God." "Muslim" means "one who submits to God." Islam is the third of the three Abrahamic faiths, and it shares much with Judaism in Christianity; its differences are the acceptance of Muhammad as the last and final prophet, and the oneness of God - in other words, that Jesus, though he was a revered prophet, was not in fact God, and only one God exists. Apparently the Taliban could not read (though their name means "students"), because the Qur'an states that men and women are equal as believers, and that all believers should be educated and seek knowledge. Modesty in dress and behavior is required in Islam for both men and women to preserve the values of society and move the emphasis from superificial appearance to intelligence, knowledge, and God.



















Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com

.. which is a bit strange, since I was brought up in a Methodist household, with staunch Anglican ancestors. The whole thing must be rigged :-).

However, if I try This one the results come out as ..

Your Results:
# 1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
# 2. Neo-Pagan (95%)
# 3. New Age (90%)
# 4. Liberal Quakers (88%)
# 5. Mahayana Buddhism (86%)
# 6. Hinduism (81%)
# 7. Scientology (78%)
# 8. New Thought (77%)
# 9. Jainism (74%)
# 10. Bahai Faith (72%)
# 11. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (71%)
# 12. Theravada Buddhism (68%)
# 13. Reform Judaism (66%)
# 14. Mainline - Liberal Christian Protestants (64%)
# 15. Sikhism (64%)
# 16. Taoism (63%)
# 17. Secular Humanism (59%)
# 18. Orthodox Judaism (58%)
# 19. Orthodox Quaker (56%)
All very strange, though I like the sound of "Neo-Paganist" .. heh heh heh .. has overtones of cavorting in the woods with Pan pipes and nubile maidens.

My 'personal' view is that all 'religions' are 'man made', in that they have been constructed in the dim dark past as a set of 'ethics' to control the social behaviour of local tribes - most of whom, if not all - could not read nor write. It seems to me that most of the 'popular' western religions are based on rules invented by the 'patriarchs' of tribes based in the Middle East, and revolved around "patriarchal" dominance, purely as a method of 'survival' in a generally hostile and difficult environment - though apparently the Jewish religion was the first to latch onto the idea of One, all powerful, unknowable God which could not be named.

In the beginning, (and I mean pre-history) the tribes were small, and the ethical and social rules of behaviour were handed down by 'word of mouth' and, of necessity, strict and simple - so that the 'mythology' could be transferred from generation to generation without too much alteration or change. Whether Moses went up the mountain with a chisel, the 'intelligent spacemen' used a high powered laser, or 'god' was/is a dab hand with a lightening bolt is open to conjecture, but - as a social and ethical premise - the "ten commandments" have pretty well been 'written in stone' and form the basis of a a simple ethical premise that seems to apply across many, if not all societies and cultures.

We really have no idea what sort of philosophical discussions or schisms went on between populations and/or priests until later, when writing and reading became a bit more commonplace, and we have the 'records' to see what they thought about.

It seems to me that anyone who "hears voices in the head" has a diagnosable illness, but back in those times the peons may have thought it strange enough to give whoever insisted on it some sort of 'status' as a 'holy man'.

And so, the stories were told and re-told, passed down from generation to generation, then written down - to become 'the word' of 'god' - and so, today .. we have 'undeniable faiths'.

It all reminds me a bit of something like
Lesser Primate Committee Thinking Experiment

Start with a cage containing five apes.
In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the Banana, but as soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the apes with cold water. After a while, another ape makes an attempt with the same result-all the apes are sprayed with cold water. Turn off the cold water. If, later, another ape tries to climb the stairs, the other apes will try to prevent it even though no water sprays them.
Now, remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new one. The New ape sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other apes attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original five apes and replace it with a New one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous Newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.
Again, replace a third original ape with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four apes that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest ape. After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes, all the apes which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no ape ever again approaches the stairs.
Why not? "Because that's the way it's always been around here."
Sound familiar?

(Which can be found on Mad Elaine's Fun Page)

And so, I guess it all comes down to a matter of 'training' and 'choice'. Pick a religion, any religion, they are all just as valid. The trick, of course, is living by the rules (and having enough 'faith' that it will all turn out for the best in the end).


Liquidplastic said...

Now this is a deep post .. and very thought provoking, as much of your writings are. I have heard the ape story before, and it amazes me how really blind we are as human being. Now I am going to check out the games and see what they say about me. Thanks D, this was a refreshing read.

Liquidplastic said...

Test 1 - I score as a Buddhism -- and as follows

Buddhism 100%
Paganism 100%
Hinduism 83%
Satanism 83%
Islam 67%
atheism 58%
Christianity 42%
agnosticism 42%
Judaism 17%

Test 2 - Still score as a Buddist.
1. Mahayana Buddhism (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (99%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (90%)
4. New Age (89%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (79%)
6. Liberal Quakers (78%)
7. Taoism (77%)
8. Hinduism (73%)
9. New Thought (72%)
10. Mainline - Liberal Christian Protestants (68%)
11. Secular Humanism (64%)
12. Scientology (63%)
13. Jainism (61%)
14. Sikhism (61%)
15. Reform Judaism (58%)
16. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (55%)
17. Orthodox Quaker (45%)
18. Bahá'í Faith (40%)
19. Non-theist (32%)
20. Orthodox Judaism (30%)
21. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (23%)
22. Mainline - Conservative Christian Protestant (23%)
23. Islam (22%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (18%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (15%)
26. Roman Catholic (15%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (10%)

Now this was indeed interesting D ... Thanks!

Davo said...

Thanks for the comments LP.
Am very interested in Buddhism, but have to admit that I don't know much about it. At least the Gautama didn't claim to be a 'god', and his philosophies are wise and peaceful. It also seems to co-exist with others without much conflict. Way to go.. grins.
Be well,