Monday, July 31, 2006

Organizing the Denominational Forest

Trees look alike to me. Unless there is a dramatic difference in the bark, or lack of, which I can make out, all trees look alike to me. If I spend the time to examine the leaves I can know the difference even though I cannot name the difference. I know a pine tree, but not what kind of pine. I know a weeping willow but not the difference between a maple and an oak, apple or peach, walnut or olive. I could, I’m sure, if I studied the differences … but I don’t. So when I am in the forest I can’t define the trees.

Many people feel the same way when they see religions, cults, denominations, churches, Protestants, Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, or Mormons. We see that there are individual trees in the forest but have no idea what they are called and what defines them as different from each other. What are the leaves or the fruit of the denominational forests? Let me try to define the forest for you a little.

Your religion is your system of belief. Your organized (sometimes very unorganized) system by which you look at the world. All of us have a religion. Many will say they don’t believe in God of any kind and call that not being religious but NON-belief in a God is a way to believe so therefore: a religion. We all have one. The major religions, or systems of belief in the world are: Christianity, Hindu, Jewish, Moslem (Islam), Shinto, and “no god” or Atheism. There are minor(meaning fewer people, not in importance) like: Taoism, Confucianism, Wicca, Satanism, Earth Worship, Moonies, and Scientology.

So when someone comes up to you and says that they aren’t religious that is similar to someone coming up and telling you that they can’t speak, while speaking. EVERYBODY has a system of belief and therefore everyone has a religion. Most will say that they are not religious because they don’t go to a church or mosque but that just means they are not that particular religion. So what is your system of belief? What is your definition of God or god or the reason you believe there is NO god? That is your religion.

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