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Durazac15
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Is religion a choice?
« on: 2004-03-22 15:31:17 »
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I was listening to the the Phil Hendrie show the other day and Phil said something to the effect "sexual orientation, like race, is something you are born with while religion is a choice".

In the hour I was listening, there were many callers, but none that took issue with that comment.

Well, it seems to me, that if religion were a choice, then very few would choose it unless they were raised up with it.

Is religion a choice?
Is it a choice if you are raised to believe?
Is something closer to indoctrination?
If it is indoctrination, then shouldn't it be treated the same as if you were born with it?

Just wondering what the minds here think?
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Re:Is religion a choice?
« Reply #1 on: 2004-03-24 23:43:06 »
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I think we can all agree that most everybody is given their religion rather than choosing their religion, based on their upbringing. Even most atheists, I believe. I think most atheists were Children who were taught evolution and didn't have strickt religious upbringings otherwise. It's kinda scary to think how much of who you are is how you were brought up.

Personally I was brought up in a Roman Catholic family that sent me to sunday school but never went to mass. My parents just wanted me to be confirmed so I could be married in a Catholic church, but for the most part never impressed on me the 'belief' aspects of Catholicism (ie. belief in god, creation), and I love them for it. Recently I've been exploring other religions and trying to open my mind to their beliefs, trying to believe in them. I've had no success. Atheism is another form of belief. Being brought up an Atheist is the same as being brought up any other religion, only on the other side of the fence.

To answer your questions I think religion CAN be a choice, but if I can't even come close to adopting another religion (and I consider myself a fairly free thinker) I don't know how much of a choice it is on a practical level. The vast majority of people live their lives without really thinking about it at all (Not to mention that exploring other religions is probably considered a sin by most religions; as an Atheist I'm not going to be punished by a god for trying to believe something else). 

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Re:Is religion a choice?
« Reply #2 on: 2004-03-27 23:22:06 »
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I believe that people do actually chose religion in their lives, as i know several people who, conversely to Gunits enlightened teachings (you'll like that one, hehe) have been raised agnostically and chosen, seemingly regardless of suroundings, to pick up religion.
religions are increasingly based on an evolving definition of Faith. looking at judaism/christianty 2000 years ago, it was accepted that adam and eve existed as God's first humans and so fourth, because the scientific theories of evolution did not exist. the greater our scientific understanding, the more nessessary to religon it became to disbelieve science, and during the dark ages, to condemn it.
This is where faith comes in. Initialy it would have seemed nessessary to explain the world without science, and yet now, people must use it as the answer to the questions science can never explain, the most glaring of which is 'is their conscious after death?'
we may know the chemical composition of stars, the earth, our human bodies etc. hell we may even agree on evolution, but can that truely explain the final questions such as the one proposed above? such a question the mind chooses to say yes to, if only for our instinctual desire for survival coupled with our limited understanding of abstract ideas such as death.
the easiest method to explain it is through faith, a form of belief without any proof whatsoever, for it is attempting to explain that which is beyond the limits of science.

The problem with faith is that for many people it is taught first, through some church, and the greater it becomes before scientific ideas can pervade the mind, the stonger it can hold the convicitions that proceed it, such as religious doctrine. Those who discover faith without prior religious convictions can no doubt hold to it stongly enough to begin to replace their own factually backed up beliefs for the dogma of a chosen church.
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Re:Is religion a choice?
« Reply #3 on: 2004-04-08 19:03:11 »
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Durazac15
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Re:Is religion a choice?
« Reply #4 on: 2004-04-09 18:59:35 »
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Quote:
Behavior is dependent on choice.

Does that mean that your native tongue was a choice as well?
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Re:Is religion a choice?
« Reply #5 on: 2004-04-10 13:24:59 »
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Nice quibbling. I guess old grumpy Wittgenstein would be much delighted to watch the language game once more. The joke is that many options are non-options and vice versa.

Choice requires at least two available options and a (subjectively) adequate knowledge of these options. When the times comes, the choices may take just one moment. However, the options and the knowledge of the options were not always there. So, by definition, you can't choose your native language or the religion you were born in -- you were just born there -- but you can choose both your language and your religion when and if the options are available.

Hendrie's statement that "sexual orientation, like race, is something you are born with while religion is a choice" seems a bit tricky for these and for other reasons. I'll take a guess that he started from the argument that sexual identity has a genetic (as opposed to social) basis, and then he thought "hey! why don't I give my argument a free boost by associating genetic with identity and social with choice". That, of course left him open to our quibbling. I don't think the numbers support that all actual homosexuality is genetic; a big part of it comes from choice. And as it was pointed out, religion nevers comes to be an actual choice for many people.

Ok, ok, I won't talk about race and Michael Jackson.
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