nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,
nancylebov
nancylebov

Religion quiz meme

I picked this up from browngirl, partly because I think it's an interesting topic and partly because her answer to the first question and mine are so similar. How many people like us are there? Could we form a pressure group?

1) Do you believe in God?
That depends on what you mean by God. I believe there's something behind our ordinary experience. I don't know whether my feeling of such (which used to be much more present hand has faded in recent decades) is based in my neurology or a perception of something real.

I don't see how you can base a religion on this-- either you have that sort of perception or you don't.

And it doesn't have a good match for most existing religions. It might be closest to Buddhist or Daoism or a little bit to Hinduism, but it doesn't lend itself to elaboration and it doesn't dissolve ordinary experience.

It seemed like an underlying joy, but there's no reason to think it especially likes people or has an interest in ethical behavior. The universe being Shiva dancing in the void has some plausibility.

Sometimes I think of God as a Hobbyist, and just hope he isn't Pugsly Adams.

See Core Transformation for a psychological system based on the premise that people have much better stuff in the back of their heads than they generally know.


2) Define God.
See above. Spinoza is my pal. He said that God is equivalent to everything that exists.

3) What religion were you raised with?
A rather corpselike version of conservative (moderate) Judaism. I went to Hebrew school for eight years, and was in college before I found out that were still people who believed in their religions. I got off easy compared to a lot of people, and I learned some good songs.

4) Do you practice that religion?

No. I realized I was very detached from it in college, when I was halfway through a ham and cheese sandwich on Yom Kippur, and hadn't done it on purpose.

However, I'm still somewhat connected to it in the sense that I was very shocked when I first ran across the idea that Jews may never have been slaves in Egypt (insufficient evidence, though that's probably a weak argument) and was seriously weirded by Karen Armstrong's portrayal of the early Jews in The Great Transformation as just another Bronze Age tribe.

4a)Any subsequent religions? (I added this question.)

I'm a not very observant neo-Pagan. I like the ritual structure and the sorts of energy which gets raised, but don't do rituals very often.

5) Your most spiritual moment?

I'm not sure I've ever had one.

6) The last time you were in a house of worship...

I can't remember. It's been a while.

7) Death is...
Probably the end. Certainly the end if there's nothing but patterns of matter and energy.

However, I find it hard to imagine a universe without me in it, and I'm not convinced we know all that much about matter and energy. We certainly don't know how they give rise to consciousness.

On the other hand, it's also hard for me to be sure what would tend to survive loss of its material basis if such survival is possible. All self-sustaining patterns? Do people and much else share the afterlife with waves?

8) How do you picture the end of the world?
The earth will eventually be engulfed by the sun unless people move it to a more distant orbit.

The universe may eventually run down, but who knows? Physicists used to believe they weren't so far from a Grand Universal Theory, but physics and cosmology keep getting weirder.

9) God has spoken to you...
Personally? Not that I know of.

11) Do you feel that most wars started because of religious conflict?
No. I think that when religion seems to be at the basis of a war, it's actually a surrogate for ethnicity and the desire for power.

I also wish people would put less energy into opposing religion and more into opposing nationalism. I know which one gets more people killed.

12) Does life exist on other planets?
I expect so. There's a reasonable chance we'll get evidence of it, but much less chance that we'll get detailed knowledge unless it's in the solar system or if physics turns out to be much weirder than we expect.

13) Have they made contact with us?
I don't know. Sometimes I wonder if there's weird stuff happening which is done to us that we can't recognize because it's done by very powerful aliens. There's a lot we do to animals which is outside their ken. A wasp presumably can't understand what just happened if you catch it in a cup with a piece of cardboard underneath and toss it out the window, and it can't understand your motivations, either.

14) Do you believe that we are descendants of Adam and Eve.
No. That would be silly.

15) Do you believe in evolution?
It's one of the prettiest and soundest theories we've got. It would apply in many universes, including those which aren't much like ours.

16) Do you believe in astrology?
I don't see any reason to. On the other hand, I know a couple of people who generally seem pretty sane who do believe in it and I haven't studied the matter. If there's truth to astrology, I would expect that it's about patterns that don't have anything to do with the literal planets.

Linda Goodman's Sun Signs described a personality feature that I have very strongly, and I haven't seen it mentioned in any other system. I'm driven to gather and spread information, and I'm a Gemini. Somewhere on the vague to-do list, I have a notion to look at the astrological personality types and see whether there's something there.

17) Do you read your horoscope? 18) If yes, why?
Long ago, for mild amusement. The web is a better source for random amusement, so I've dropped the horoscope.

19) Have you ever been in psychotherapy?
Yes.

20) If yes, why?
Because I'm not happy with the way I'm handling my life, and I believe a lot of it is strongly held emotionally driven false premises and overreaction to bad memories.

21) Do you believe in reincarnation?
I have a semi-joke belief in reincarnation. When I was younger and had very little understanding of people, I hypothesized that I'd had a past life as a crystal while most people had been people a number of times, so they were better at it.

The mundane explanation is probably that I didn't have a great talent for people skills and did have an emotionally abusive upbringing.

These days, I tend to feel as though my weird mix of talents and lack of talents and some odd things in my life are the result of wanting to try out this combination. Maybe next time I'll try out tall, athletic, and mediocre dexterity to see what that's like.

22) If reincarnation exists, what would you like to come back as?
Seriously? I'd like to try being a jackdaw. Konrad Lorentz said they would deliberately go out flying in storms for the fun of it. But mostly, I'd like to try being a member of a sane sentient species. I hope I'd qualify.

I believe that the only form true justice could take would be for there to be a single soul, looping back and forth in time-- that way, everyone would suffer and enjoy all the results of everything they did.

23)Anything else you'd like to add? (Another question I've added to the list.)
I'm bewildered at why the nicer religions like Unitarianism are so bad at spreading themselves. This horrible homophobic fundamentalism is spreading into Africa. Where are the good guys?

And I think this questionnaire is probably a long accretion of questions that don't necessarily have a lot to do with each other. Why did the question about therapy show up in a questionnaire about religion?

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/466116.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.
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