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Jenna has asked me to find as many people as I can to answer her questions about different faiths and religions. You can answer most of these if you are of any spiritual belief or none, and if you could that would be wonderful. I would like a wide range of answers for her if possible. smile If you don’t mind your answer being public, you could reply in the thread, or you could PM me if you would rather keep it private (I will not share your answers with anyone except my children). If you feel you need to add something that is really important to you, you can do so and I’m sure she will be very grateful. You are not obliged to answer every question. wink I have edited only for spelling and grammar.

About you:
What is your name and how old are you, please?

Do you identify yourself was belonging to a particular religion or group of beliefs?

Are there other branches of your faith? If there are, which are you part of and why?

What makes you part of that faith or belief?

Did you ever believe something very different to what you believe now?

About your faith/belief/values:
Do you believe there is such a thing as good and bad?

Do your beliefs have a concept of a God or gods?

How do you know what the right path or choice is?

What do you believe happens when a person dies? If you think there is a heaven and/or hell, what does this mean to you and what is their purpose?

Are humans born “good”?

Are we meant to do or not do certain things and why or why not? Do people who believe the same things as you tend to follow a particular set of rules or guidelines? Do you believe everyone should follow the same rules?

Do you pray, and what is prayer to you? Who do you pray to? What is prayer for?

Are there any symbols or objects that are important to your faith?

If you have time, could you briefly tell me about a story that is important to your faith, if you have a favourite I would like to hear it (or you could tell me what it is called so I can find it myself).


About other aspects of faith:
Do you have a view on how life began in the world?

Are humans different to other animals?

Do you believe there are other spiritual beings in the Universe, and if you have a faith what does your faith teach about this?

Do you believe our lives have a purpose, and what would you say that is?

Do you believe anything that goes against what is usually taught in your belief system/faith/culture?

What do you think about other religions and beliefs?

Do most of your close friends and family believe similar things to you, or not?

(Thanks in advance! xxx)

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

what’s the time frame on this? I’m happy to answer all the questions - I think they are amazingly thought-provoking, but it may take me several evenings!

Angie

http://www.etsy.com/shop/WashedUpFamily Sea Glass Jewellery from the beautiful South Coast[/color]

http://washedupfamily.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.etsy.com/shop/NannieCool , http://nanniecool.yolasite.com Nannie Cool - for beautiful slings, playsilks, toys, nappy wraps and accessories made by Grace’s Nannie. All designs are “Approved by Grace”

http://bournemouthattachmentparents.blogspot.com/

There isn’t a time frame really, she had lots of questions for me and I asked if she’d like me to help her find out what other people believe in their own words rather than mine. So we sat down today and she worked out what she wanted to know. However long it takes is fine. smile

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

Will PM you mine instead, felt a tad “exposed” when I added my answers to the thread!!!!

Daughter age 11
Three sons age 10, 7 & 5
Baby girl age 3

Thanks. <3

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

wow, good questions!!! not sure i even know the answers to some (lots?!) of them! will cogitate =)
x

What is your name and how old are you, please?

My name is quite unusual, so I tend to keep it to myself online.  It originates from the country where my Mother was born.  I’m 28 years old.

Do you identify yourself was belonging to a particular religion or group of beliefs?

I would consider myself atheist.  I imagine that some of my thoughts are quite individual, although my overall outlook might be shared by others who don’t believe in any form of God. 

Are there other branches of your faith? If there are, which are you part of and why?

I don’t know!  I think that atheism isn’t a faith or even a belief system so it’s hard to answer this question.  It could be seen as the opposite of belief.  There aren’t any guidelines or customs to follow, and there isn’t exactly a definitive atheist community.  It is simply a label some people might choose if they reject the idea of God/Gods.  Sometimes agnostics are grouped in the same category as atheists, and there is probably great variation among atheists.

What makes you part of that faith or belief?

Firstly, I don’t think that anything in the world or known universe can be explained through supernatural processes, divine beings or Gods.  Secondly, although explanations such as these do exist, I don’t see significant evidence to make me believe. 

Did you ever believe something very different to what you believe now?

When I was a younger, about 8 - 12 years old, I attended Church every week as a part of my village choir.  At times I believed in a few aspects of Christianity, though not enough to consider myself Christian.  I believed in a caring, fatherly God - not a creative force but a guiding light.  Younger still, I watched my mother sometimes pray to her God, Allah, and copied her but I think I was too young to consciously believe.

About your faith/belief/values:

Do you believe there is such a thing as good and bad?

No, I don’t believe in a black and white concept of good or bad.  I don’t think people are either good or bad. 

Do your beliefs have a concept of a God or gods?

No.

How do you know what the right path or choice is?

I don’t, often not even with hindsight.  I think that’s OK.

What do you believe happens when a person dies? If you think there is a heaven and/or hell, what does this mean to you and what is their purpose?

Eventually much of the matter that makes up our bodies will return to the environment around us, and possibly much of it will become part of new livings things in some way.  I think it’s hard to define what the point of death is, as a person is a diverse community.  When a human is considered to be dead, there are still millions of living things within their bodies.  I am not a believer of the soul, heaven or hell, reincarnation.

Are humans born “good”?
This isn’t something I believe in.  Humans are simply born human (and quite some time after they are considered to be alive).  I would never consider humans to be born ‘good’, or ‘bad’ for that matter. 

Are we meant to do or not do certain things and why or why not? Do people who believe the same things as you tend to follow a particular set of rules or guidelines? Do you believe everyone should follow the same rules?

I don’t think we are meant to do anything.  There are no guidelines resulting from an absence of belief in God, although I would argue that moral guidelines arise naturally among community groups of humans, some of which may be universal across humanity.  I don’t think that everyone everywhere needs to follow the same rules, but my thoughts on this topic are constantly evolving

Do you pray, and what is prayer to you? Who do you pray to? What is prayer for?
I don’t pray.  I give thanks to the people around me, and people across the world.  I consciously note my emotions, feelings, and thoughts and talk about them with my husband.  It’s a bit like praying to me!

Are there any symbols or objects that are important to your faith?

No

If you have time, could you briefly tell me about a story that is important to your faith, if you have a favourite I would like to hear it (or you could tell me what it is called so I can find it myself).

Sorry nothing comes to mind


About other aspects of faith:
Do you have a view on how life began in the world?

I don’t have a view as such, but I am enthusiastic to read and ponder scientific theories on the subject.

Are humans different to other animals?

We are animals, and we are different to other animals, as other animals are all different from one another. 

Do you believe there are other spiritual beings in the Universe, and if you have a faith what does your faith teach about this?

No

Do you believe our lives have a purpose, and what would you say that is?

No, but I think that each individual has countless opportunities to make a difference to the world

Do you believe anything that goes against what is usually taught in your belief system/faith/culture?

I think that atheists acknowledge that others may have differing thoughts, and enjoy scientific discussion

What do you think about other religions and beliefs?

Standing on the sidelines as I do, I think that religious systems can encourage greatness and strength in humanity but I also see destruction and despair.  In many individuals, I see that a faith can bring great comfort and support. I worry about those who get hurt.

Do most of your close friends and family believe similar things to you, or not?

No, not really.  I think that most of my friends have spiritual and religious beliefs


I would love to write more about what excellent questions you have posed Jenna.  I cannot devote more time tonight, sorry, but I hope your learn much from your diverse replies.

SAHM to 3 boys
H + C born Dec 2007 and R born March 2011

Hello Sarah (and Jenna) i’m more than happy to answer the questions so here goes :D

What is your name and how old are you, please?

My name is Sarah and i’m 29 years old.

Do you identify yourself was belonging to a particular religion or group of beliefs?

I would say that i would consider myself quite eclectic in my beliefs. I would say i am spiritual, with aspects of paganism and Buddhism in my beliefs!

Are there other branches of your faith? If there are, which are you part of and why?

I follow the Kadampa teachings of Buddhism because it feels more inclusive and relevant to modern living.

What makes you part of that faith or belief?

I would say a belief in peace and living in harmony with nature and others.

Did you ever believe something very different to what you believe now?

Yes i was raised Church of England and as a teenager i followed the Wiccan faith for a while.

About your faith/belief/values:
Do you believe there is such a thing as good and bad?

No i don’t think so.  I feel that we are all capable of actions that would be considered good or bad.  The issue is what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ i feel that society defines this for us in our laws and that what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ is very much an individual idea.

Do your beliefs have a concept of a God or gods?

I personally believe in a God but the Buddhist aspects on my faith don’t.

How do you know what the right path or choice is?

I do what feels most right to me and what i feel will do least harm to others.

What do you believe happens when a person dies? If you think there is a heaven and/or hell, what does this mean to you and what is their purpose?

I believe we go to an afterlife, i’d say i believe in heaven but not in the idea of hell.

Are humans born “good”?

I think humans are born pure.

Are we meant to do or not do certain things and why or why not? Do people who believe the same things as you tend to follow a particular set of rules or guidelines? Do you believe everyone should follow the same rules?

I think individual belief in very important as part of freedom of expression, however i feel that everyone should try and and do things which don’t cause harm to others.

Do you pray, and what is prayer to you? Who do you pray to? What is prayer for?

I pray to God occasionally, usually when i am in need of guidance and support.

Are there any symbols or objects that are important to your faith?

I feel that being in nature, in woods or by the sea is important to the more spiritual aspects of my faith. The Buddhist elements of my faith see a statue of the Buddha as being important.

If you have time, could you briefly tell me about a story that is important to your faith, if you have a favourite I would like to hear it (or you could tell me what it is called so I can find it myself).

I don’t really have one specific story but i think looking at http://www.whatdoyouthinkmyfriend.com/Stories/ would be interesting for stories from the Buddhist teachings.


About other aspects of faith:
Do you have a view on how life began in the world?

I believe in evolution.

Are humans different to other animals?

No i think we are the same as other animals.


Do you believe there are other spiritual beings in the Universe, and if you have a faith what does your faith teach about this?


I am open minded about this, it would be interesting if there was!  I’m not entirely sure what Buddhism thinks about this i’ll have to look it up myself!

Do you believe our lives have a purpose, and what would you say that is?


Yes i think we are here to live as compassionately as possible, to help others and to try and make a positive impact on the world around us.


Do you believe anything that goes against what is usually taught in your belief system/faith/culture?

Yes i believe in a God figure whereas Buddhism has no one God.

What do you think about other religions and beliefs?

I believe that others should be free to practice whatever religion or hold whatever belief they like, except when this leads to harming others.

Do most of your close friends and family believe similar things to you, or not?

I think some of my friends may have some similar beliefs but my family don’t.

There we go all done! I think you’re questions are really in depth and thought provoking Jenna really made me think anyway!  grin

Hope this helps

Sarah xx

[color=purple][/color
Radical Unschooling Mama to the two bear cubs Claudia (2ys) and Alex( 11 months).
Deschooling myself every day LOL

Hi mamabear, sorry to hijack the post but how do you reconcile believing in God and following Buddhism. Is it the meditative aspects of Budhhism you follow? Really interested as I find the ethics of Buddhism close to my own but cannot go along with the absolute belief in no God. I will also do the survey when I have a bit of time I am studying for OU exams at the moment (in religious studies).

Hiya :D To be quite honest i just really feel the same as yourself it is difficult but i feel personally that there is a God figure behind life somewhere ? I think the Kadampa teachings are quite general really and because they guide you as to how to apply Buddhist ideas to everyday life they maybe leave a bit more room for self interpretation.
Sarah xx

p.s. good luck with your exams!

[color=purple][/color
Radical Unschooling Mama to the two bear cubs Claudia (2ys) and Alex( 11 months).
Deschooling myself every day LOL

Really brilliant questions.  I’ll have a stab at this later on.  And if people question you on HE again, I think this is a pretty good sign of a mind that is learning, engaging, questioning and seeking!

Ha! Yes indeed!

I have to admit some of her questions really catch me out and I have to say, “I have no idea what *I* even think about that!” When she asks what other people believe, I hate to give her the basic textbook answers and maybe even accidentally put words in people’s mouths - especially when what she’s really asking is for genuine opinions and stories, a feel for how real people live and think. When I suggested asking my friends (while we were eating ice cream on a park) she pulled out my journal right away and starting writing questions down. So little happens here that looks like teaching. But a lot that looks like learning. wink

Thank you all for such thoughtful honest answers, I’ve had an amazing mixture and she’s really excited to read them. smile

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

These are great questions, and I’ll answer them too, when I get a decent chunk of time.  What a thinking young lady you are raising, Sarah!

SAHM to DS- 10/08 and DD 11/10

What is your name and how old are you, please?

Clara and I’m 29.

Do you identify yourself was belonging to a particular religion or group of beliefs?

I’m a naturalistic pagan - an earth venerating atheist.

Are there other branches of your faith? If there are, which are you part of and why?

Lots of branches of paganism!

What makes you part of that faith or belief?

I don’t feel that faith that people describe when they talk about God. I would like to believe in God, but just don’t.

Did you ever believe something very different to what you believe now?

I was raised Christian and believed it until I was about 14.

About your faith/belief/values:
Do you believe there is such a thing as good and bad?

No. Good and bad are mainly social constructs, I don’t believe that they exists on their own.

Do your beliefs have a concept of a God or gods?

No.

How do you know what the right path or choice is?

I make the best decision I can with the resources I have available to me at the time. I use reason.

What do you believe happens when a person dies? If you think there is a heaven and/or hell, what does this mean to you and what is their purpose?

I don’t believe in an afterlife, or a soul. When we die our bodies feed the earth.

Are humans born “good”?

No, see above. We are born human, we acquire morality as we grow older.

Are we meant to do or not do certain things and why or why not? Do people who believe the same things as you tend to follow a particular set of rules or guidelines? Do you believe everyone should follow the same rules?

No, there are things our personality and upbringing make us more suited to, but fate does not exist.

Naturalistic pagans are a very diverse group.

No. My morality as a privileged human being is not relevant to those in other situations.

Do you pray, and what is prayer to you? Who do you pray to? What is prayer for?

I don’t pray, but I do meditate.

Are there any symbols or objects that are important to your faith?

Not particularly.

If you have time, could you briefly tell me about a story that is important to your faith, if you have a favourite I would like to hear it (or you could tell me what it is called so I can find it myself).

There aren’t any really.

About other aspects of faith:
Do you have a view on how life began in the world?

Evolution.

Are humans different to other animals?

No.

Do you believe there are other spiritual beings in the Universe, and if you have a faith what does your faith teach about this?

No.

Do you believe our lives have a purpose, and what would you say that is?

Sort of. From the point of evolution, our purpose as humans is to procreate. I don’t believe any particular person has a purpose though, we just exist. Which I find quite freeing actually, my life belongs to me.

Do you believe anything that goes against what is usually taught in your belief system/faith/culture?

No.

What do you think about other religions and beliefs?

I don’t have any strong opinions on the beliefs of others. I loathe organised religion though as the structures have been responsible for a lot of war.

Do most of your close friends and family believe similar things to you, or not?

My friends are mainly pagans of one kind or another. My family are Christians.

Hippy-anarchist-feminist-eco-crafty Mama of

Helena July 06
Felicity March 09
Miranda December 11

http://theanarchistmama.blogspot.co.uk

http://rosehowey.org.uk - home!

I’ll have a go at this later too.  Out of interest, when people say that they believe that life on earth began by ‘evolution’ - what does this mean?

Husband to an amazing wife and learning all the time from twins boys (Dec 2007) and their younger brother (March 2011)

What is your name and how old are you, please?

Rachel. 42.

Do you identify yourself was belonging to a particular religion or group of beliefs?

Not really, I am agnostic in that I don’t believe the truth of whether there is a God is ultimately knowable by a human being nor is the truth about the beginnings of the universe, earth or life. However, I would say I am in tune with a lot of religious beliefs about how to behave in an ethical or moral way as I think most religions are about love and loving each other, animals and the earth. In some ways I am pantheist or buddhist in my beliefs. So a bit of a mix smile

Are there other branches of your faith? If there are, which are you part of and why?

No I do not belong to an organised faith but there are probably people who feel like I do about things.

What makes you part of that faith or belief?

After a lot of research and searching for God I realised the truth is impossible to know.

Did you ever believe something very different to what you believe now?

Yes I used to be an atheist.

About your faith/belief/values:
Do you believe there is such a thing as good and bad?

No I think we have a choice as to how we behave always, although I can see why people might behave in a ‘bad’ way due to their own circumstances but that does not excuse their behaviour either.

Do your beliefs have a concept of a God or gods?

I think it is unknowable, but also think there is probably some supernatural beings but I don’t know whether they are God or gods.

How do you know what the right path or choice is?

I try and think about what it the right thing to do which probably involves morals I was taught growing up plus things I have learnt myself by living and making mistakes. I try not to do anything that will upset other people although I am not always ‘good’.

What do you believe happens when a person dies? If you think there is a heaven and/or hell, what does this mean to you and what is their purpose?

No idea. However, if there is existence after death I don’t think there is a heaven and hell I think there is more likely to be more than one place to go to I think some of this depends on what Buddhists call Karma.

Are humans born “good”?

No, I think personality and behaviour depends on upbringing and life experience.

Are we meant to do or not do certain things and why or why not? Do people who believe the same things as you tend to follow a particular set of rules or guidelines? Do you believe everyone should follow the same rules?

Yes, we are not meant to hurt sentient being or the earth because it causes suffering.

Do you pray, and what is prayer to you? Who do you pray to? What is prayer for?

Not very often. I do pray to the universe or anything that might be out there to ‘listen’ to me. I sometimes give thanks for something good that has happened or ask for help in difficult times. I also try to mediate, although this is a new thing, for me to calm my mind.

Are there any symbols or objects that are important to your faith?

No although I love photos of the wild earth in all it’s glory particularly very wild places.

If you have time, could you briefly tell me about a story that is important to your faith, if you have a favourite I would like to hear it (or you could tell me what it is called so I can find it myself).

The only thing I can tell you is when I was an atheist at the age of 17 I went to live in a very old building - sixteenth century - some people would say it was haunted. I don’t know the truth of it only that I could feel a prescence there which led me to start thinking about the possibility of supernatual beings or other spheres of existence and led me to start to change my mind about being atheist.


About other aspects of faith:
Do you have a view on how life began in the world?

No. I don’t think science always has the answers regarding evolution but neither does religion. Perhaps we were put here by aliens? I am being serious it is a possibility anything is possible, who knows?

Are humans different to other animals?

Only in that we have better capacity for reason and therefore we should be able together to solve world problems of poverty, ecology etc if everyone would just work together for a better future for all humans. I actually think at least some animals can reason though, maybe dolphins and elephants and have the same powerful emotions we do.

Do you believe there are other spiritual beings in the Universe, and if you have a faith what does your faith teach about this?

Yes. I do not know what they are though if they are souls of humans or other types of being.

Do you believe our lives have a purpose, and what would you say that is?

Not particularly. I think we can find a purpose in life if we are passionate enough about something. I think our purpose is to live well, do no harm and have fun.

Do you believe anything that goes against what is usually taught in your belief system/faith/culture?

I think my morals are broadly based on the Judeo-Christian tradition but I do not agree with some of the inequalities within them.

What do you think about other religions and beliefs?

Everyone is free to belief what they want, as long as they do no harm to others.

Do most of your close friends and family believe similar things to you, or not?

No most are atheist or say they are Christian but do not go to church. I do go to Church occasionally as my husband is Christian and he goes every Sunday.

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