Belief-O-Matic

Feel free to debate any issues you wish here. Warning: The topics discussed and their content may on occassion offend some.

Postby steve » Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:36 pm

1. Secular Humanism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (93%)
3. Nontheist (79%)
4. Liberal Quakers (74%)
5. Neo-Pagan (68%)
6. Theravada Buddhism (67%)
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (63%)
8. Taoism (50%)
9. Reform Judaism (50%)
10. New Age (49%)
11. Bahá'í Faith (37%)
12. Orthodox Quaker (37%)
13. Sikhism (37%)
14. Mahayana Buddhism (36%)
15. Scientology (36%)
16. New Thought (33%)
17. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (30%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (27%)
19. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (24%)
20. Eastern Orthodox (21%)
21. Islam (21%)
22. Jainism (21%)
23. Orthodox Judaism (21%)
24. Roman Catholic (21%)
25. Seventh Day Adventist (15%)
26. Hinduism (10%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (
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Postby steve » Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:13 pm

this is odd because secular humanism, unitarian universalism and nontheism aren't religions as far as i'm aware
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Postby parnassus » Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:14 pm

Unitarian Universalism is a religion, according to some UUs. Others would argue that it isn't. The term 'pick-and-mix spirituality' leaps to mind - in Unitarian Universalism you can basically take the ideas you like and build a customised religion, providing you accept a few basic tenets, one of which is, "All religions are equal."

Secular humanism is an ethical system, not a religion. As for non-theism, I'm a bit puzzled as to why it's in the list, as it is neither a religion nor a system, just a basic descriptor term.
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Postby parnassus » Sat Sep 01, 2007 1:12 pm

Page wrote:
parnassus wrote:
I'd say it's pretty accurate as I am pretty liberal-minded for a Christian.


There is no such thing as 'liberal' Christianity or 'conservative' Christianity. There is only Christianity.


I must respectfully disagree.

There is a definite split in Protestant denominations.

The true "conservatives" are more apt to adhere to doctrines such as election/predestination, regeneration, sanctification, justification, but most importantly, the total sovereignty of God. I consider myself to be one of this category since I completely believe each of the aforementioned theological principles.

The moderate types (from my observations) usually take baseline Christianity and mix it with humanistic and Arminian concepts such as free will concerning salvation,

The Liberal types go even further, placing emphasis on tolerance and love rather than on sound doctrine, and may make attempts to fit evolution into what's left of their theology to some degree.


I know that there is a lot of variance in the way Christianity is expressed within the Protestant denominations, but I don't think 'liberal' and 'conservative' are the best words to describe those differences. For one thing, they're too political. For another, it's hard to pin down an agreed meaning. A few months ago I was talking to a small group of self-defined 'liberal Catholics' who didn't know much about their faith. One of them was repeatedly speaking out in support of 'Catholics for a Free Choice', a pro-abortion organisation, and I was trying to explain that it just isn't possible to be pro-abortion and Catholic. The sanctity of all human life is too deeply ingrained in the Gospel for it even to be an option. One of the girls, attempting to placate me, said, "We're liberal and you're conservative, but at least we agree on the essentials." I asked her what she thought 'the essentials' were, and she replied, "Love and faith in Jesus."

But that's where we hit a snag, because I think it is impossible to love fully and to profess faith in Jesus if you undermine that proclamation with dubious ethical mores that are totally out of keeping with His gospel. This is why I can't bring myself to speak of 'liberal' and 'conservative' Christians. Not only does it politicize the faith, it makes Christianity sound like some kind of giant a la carte menu. I prefer to use orthodox and heterodox.

Judging by your post, you weren't referring to the use of those terms in ethics, as I was. But I still find your definitions of 'conservative' and 'liberal' problematic. I accept predestination of grace, as expounded by Aquinas in his Summa Theologica, but I see double predestination as a Calvinistic innovation that had no real currency in the Church prior to that. Salvific grace is crucial to both the Catholic and Protestant view of sanctification and justification, although our understandings of how this soteriology plays out are slightly different. Regarding total sovereignty of God, I can't say I've ever come across any church that challenges that, although I suppose some individuals may not live out their belief.

My views are not diametrically opposed to yours, but there are differences, and by the definition you have set out I would probably be classed as a 'liberal Christian' - which is odd, as I normally get labelled 'conservative'. I don't think that either term fits. If for some reason I need to use a qualifier when I say I'm a Catholic, I use the word 'practising' or sometimes 'orthodox'.

Tolerance and love have their place, but not at the expense of doctrine. It's as simple and as clear-cut as that, and no exceptions should be made lest erroneous teachings be introduced


Hmm. My understanding of good theology is that it is like a well-built house, whereas love is the light and the heat that illuminates and warms it. Doctrine without love may be very solid and very correct, but it's not living. I should not like to have one without the other.
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i think

Postby k9ruby » Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:57 pm

I think I was Secular Humanism... not sure
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Postby steve » Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:08 pm

it's funny you should mention "liberal catholics" because i am aware of a number of "modernisers" which exist in the catholic church who may seek to modify catholic social teaching to include female clergy, clerical marriage, acceptance of homosexuality, contraception and abortion, ,universal salvation and even marxism. On the other hand you have "traditionalist catholics" who may wish to reinstate the latin mass, believe in a male dominated household and support the death penalty. I am puzzled as to why groups like this exist because surely disagreeing with the pope goes against catholic teaching.
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Postby parnassus » Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:44 pm

steve wrote:it's funny you should mention "liberal catholics" because i am aware of a number of "modernisers" which exist in the catholic church who may seek to modify catholic social teaching to include female clergy, clerical marriage, acceptance of homosexuality, contraception and abortion, ,universal salvation and even marxism. On the other hand you have "traditionalist catholics" who may wish to reinstate the latin mass, believe in a male dominated household and support the death penalty. I am puzzled as to why groups like this exist because surely disagreeing with the pope goes against catholic teaching.


The line between the people you call 'modernists' and the people you call 'traditionalists' is a bit shaky.

For one thing, the Catholic Church rejects the death penalty in 99% of circumstances. It is only permitted if there is no safe way of keeping a dangerous person from the public. This situation hardly ever arises, so it's not possible for a Catholic to support the death penalty and still be in line with the Vatican. I've noticed that Catholics who support the death penalty are usually members of the American Republican Party, whom I've only ever encountered online, so I suspect that this has more to do with their politics than how 'traditionalist' they are in their religion.

As for the marriage of priests, this isn't forbidden. It already happens as a matter of course in the Eastern Catholic Churches. Priestly celibacy is a time-honoured discipline that is practised in the Latin Church alone, and exceptions are sometimes made. Esther (Thirteen-thirty-seven on the forum) is the daughter of a married priest of the Latin Rite. As celibacy for priests is only a discipline, not a dogma, it could conceivably be changed. The problem with the Catholics who you call 'modernisers' is that they often don't know that there is a distinction between discipline and dogma. They're also unfamiliar with small-t traditions and capital-T Tradition.

Homosexual people are already accepted. Catholicism doesn't teach that there is anything bad about simply being gay. Never has. You can't help what you are. You can help what you do, which is why sexual relationships between gay people are forbidden - as are sexual relationships between unmarried straight couples. This can never be changed, for the simple reason that it's not possible to change the design of a human being or the purpose of marriage. The trouble with the 'modernisers' is that they view marriage as a right that everyone should have a share in, arguing that people who aren't allowed to marry in Catholicism are missing out. In saying this, they are implying that a single, celibate life is worth less than a married life and that true equality exists in everybody having access to the same thing. This is a normal way of thinking in a culture where romance is used to sell everything from disinfectant to cars.

The faithful Catholic response is that everybody has their own calling in life (known as vocation) and that each calling is valuable. I'm straight. I'm called to be a nun. And I know it. According to the secular worldview, I'm missing out. According to the Catholic understanding of the world, I'm missing out on nothing and gaining everything - I'm being what I'm called to be. It's only possible for a Catholic to claim that marriage should be allowed for all people and under all conditions if they believe deep down that some ways of living are worth less than others. And that's not the Catholic way.

Contraception and abortion can never be allowed, and not just because the Pope says so. Catholics do not believe that the Pope is perfect. He's a human being; he makes mistakes. His teachings are only considered to be infallible and binding when he's a.) teaching on matters of faith and morals and b.) speaking ex cathedra, not as a private scholar.

The reason why Catholics don't use artificial birth control is because of respect for the human body and a desire to work with it, not against it. The reason why we don't have things like abortion and euthanasia is because we believe that all life matters from conception until natural death. It doesn't matter whether a person is sick or disabled or going to be born into great poverty or conceived as a result of rape - their life matters, and the solution to such tragic circumstances is not death. What kind of solution is that?

I do not understand how anybody can go against the teachings on life and call themselves Catholic. I accept that it's easy to get confused over the question of celibate clergy and I can see why people are tempted to treat marriage as just another public service in a culture where a cheapened version of 'romance' is everywhere. But I don't understand how any self-confessing Catholic can stand up and say that abortion, euthanasia, et al are OK.

As for Latin Mass, very few Catholics want to abolish the Novus Ordo altogether and bring back the Tridentine Rite. Many of us do want to have a choice about which Mass to attend, though, and with the recently issued motu proprio we have got that choice. The Tridentine Rite is beautiful and formidable and we should take good care not to lose it - it contains nearly two thousand years of our history. But the Novus Ordo also has its place. The liturgical snobs might not like it very much, but few of them would be prepared to scrap it outright.
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Postby steve » Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:14 pm

by "traditionalist catholics" i wasn't referring to mainstream catholocism but rather a small section of the church which retains the teachings of the first vatican council, which allowed the death penalty in certain circumstances. Many of them disapproved of Pope John Paul's dealings with other religions, believing that he emphasised tolerance and love at the expense of doctrine. Pope John Paul also taught gender equality, whereas the first vatican council was more inclined to accept traditional gender roles. I was puzzled as to whether these traditionalists aswell as the marxist leaning liberation theologians and the pro-choic organisations could still call themselves catholics becuase they disagreed with the pope's teaching. Perhaps none of these issues have become dogma yet and so are still open to debate.
Last edited by steve on Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Page » Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:37 pm

parnassus wrote: Regarding total sovereignty of God, I can't say I've ever come across any church that challenges that, although I suppose some individuals may not live out their belief.


Many churches pay lip service to the concept, but then they turn around and preach doctrine that has been tainted with Arminianism (the idea that someone had some role in achieving their own salvation, a baffling concept since scripture very clearly teaches that no one seeks after God unless God has called them first.) Both concepts cannot co-exist.


Hmm. My understanding of good theology is that it is like a well-built house, whereas love is the light and the heat that illuminates and warms it. Doctrine without love may be very solid and very correct, but it's not living. I should not like to have one without the other.


Why isn't it living? In fact, good doctrine leads to love because it results in unity throughout an entire church. In fact, unity is one of the main signs of a healthy church. If people's beliefs are consistent, it allows them to teach and edify each other as needed without the flesh getting in the way as much as it normally would.

If people have differing views of doctrine in the same church, it is impossible to achieve unity. I've seen entire churches split apart because of doctrinal issues. Believers in such a state are much less able to present themselves as instruments of righteousness to be used in the church because their flesh is in a state of hostility towards their brothers and the deacon/elder/pastor authority in the church.

also, There can really be no unity between Christians and the world, because by being made alive in Christ we have essentially been made dead to the world. We still live in it, but we should no longer consider ourselves to be a part of it.
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Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:09 pm

Perhaps none of these issues have become dogma yet and so are still open to debate.


Things do not “become” dogma. Dogmas are defined. This is a subtle distinction, but an important one. For example, Jesus' divinity and humanity were both accepted in the Early Church until the middle of the third century, when a bishop named Arius began to teach that Jesus was not fully divine. At that, the Church formally declared that Jesus was 'true man and true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father'. The dogma was defined. It wasn't as if Christians could happily think what they liked about Jesus until that moment - the teaching had always been there, an integral part of Christianity. But it was only when it was challenged that the Church moved to pronounce it formally.



Page wrote:Many churches pay lip service to the concept, but then they turn around and preach doctrine that has been tainted with Arminianism (the idea that someone had some role in achieving their own salvation, a baffling concept since scripture very clearly teaches that no one seeks after God unless God has called them first.) Both concepts cannot co-exist.


It is true that we cannot do anything without God's grace, and that no-one can come to God without being called. But not all those who are called come. Peter is a good example. He was the first apostle to recognise who Jesus truly was, with the words "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God."
He knew who Jesus was and was called blessed by Him, yet he was still able to turn away. Three times, he denied that he even knew Jesus.
He betrayed Him just as surely as Judas.
However, he also had the choice to turn back to that grace. And he did. After Jesus rose again, he repented. He became one of the most courageous Christian leaders ever.
This doesn't mean that Peter 'earned' his own salvation. That initial grace had to be present. He could never even have known about Christ if He had not said “follow me”. Following where He leads - co-operating with His gift of grace - does not mean that you are 'earning' anything. But grace comes to us as a gift, not as a mandate.


[quote=“Page”] If people have differing views of doctrine in the same church, it is impossible to achieve unity. I've seen entire churches split apart because of doctrinal issues. Believers in such a state are much less able to present themselves as instruments of righteousness to be used in the church because their flesh is in a state of hostility towards their brothers and the deacon/elder/pastor authority in the church. [/quote]

Love is based on doctrine and doctrine is based on love. The whole basis for Christian theology is belief in a God who loves us and wants us to be saved. The whole basis for Christian ethics is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your might and love your neighbour as yourself.” Saying that doctrine is more important than love is like saying that apples are more important than fruit. Knowing and sharing sound doctrine is part of loving God and neighbour. Love is both the result and the foundation of sound doctrine.
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Postby Syrons » Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:19 pm

1. Mahayana Buddhism (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (93%)
3. New Age (91%)
4. Jainism (88%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (86%)
6. Sikhism (83%)
7. Hinduism (81%)
8. Unitarian Universalism (77%)
9. Liberal Quakers (70%)
10. New Thought (66%)
11. Taoism (64%)
12. Orthodox Quaker (64%)
13. Scientology (63%)
14. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (62%)
15. Orthodox Judaism (60%)
16. Bahá'í Faith (59%)
17. Reform Judaism (57%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (56%)
19. Islam (45%)
20. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (45%)
21. Secular Humanism (45%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (44%)
23. Seventh Day Adventist (36%)
24. Nontheist (31%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (28%)
26. Roman Catholic (28%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (27%

Thats me so it says, "Abortion is considered murder" but i said i dont agree with that but that religion comes top still.

i say New Age and Mahayana Buddhism are what i think like.

But Im not religious so there you go!
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Postby Page » Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:37 am

Thirteen-thirty-seven wrote:It is true that we cannot do anything without God's grace, and that no-one can come to God without being called. But not all those who are called come. Peter is a good example. He was the first apostle to recognise who Jesus truly was, with the words "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God."
He knew who Jesus was and was called blessed by Him, yet he was still able to turn away. Three times, he denied that he even knew Jesus.
He betrayed Him just as surely as Judas.
However, he also had the choice to turn back to that grace. And he did. After Jesus rose again, he repented. He became one of the most courageous Christian leaders ever.
This doesn't mean that Peter 'earned' his own salvation. That initial grace had to be present. He could never even have known about Christ if He had not said “follow me”. Following where He leads - co-operating with His gift of grace - does not mean that you are 'earning' anything. But grace comes to us as a gift, not as a mandate.



I had a comprehensive reply ready, but my power went out (it's been very hot here lately and it was more than the local power grid could handle) I'll try to remember as much as I can.

In Peter's case, you seem to be stating that Peter temporarily nullified God's grace through his denial. (if this was not your intended meaning then please clarify)


It is important to note that Peter was regenerated (that is, made a new creation) when he was called to follow Jesus. Peter had to struggle with his flesh, just as we all do. Romans teaches that the flesh (that is, the physical body) has not been saved yet (and will not be made new until the second coming of Christ) , and as such is still as subject to sin as our spirits once were if we are Christians. This is in direct contrast to our new souls, which have been made completely new and incorruptible according to God's own righteousness. Since your old spirit was put to death when you were regenerated, you cannot lose your salvation, even for an instant. (think about it-- how could anyone or anything expunge the new soul that God has placed within you and replace it with what you had before? It no longer exists. )

My point is, Peter never left God's grace; he simply had an instance where his flesh took over his thinking for a moment, which happens to all of us from time to time in some way or another. The fact that he "wept bitterly" almost immediately after denying Christ proves beyond a doubt that he was truly regenerated (otherwise he would have felt no remorse).

(To understand more of what I mean by regeneration, Check this out. )
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Postby ~Jenny~ » Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:49 am

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (89%)
3. Liberal Quakers (88%)
4. Secular Humanism (87%)
5. New Age (84%)
6. Theravada Buddhism (78%)
7. Mahayana Buddhism (77%)
8. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (76%)
9. Taoism (68%)
10. Scientology (64%)
11. Reform Judaism (62%)
12. New Thought (59%)
13. Nontheist (55%)
14. Orthodox Quaker (54%)
15. Jainism (52%)
16. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (50%)
17. Sikhism (50%)
18. Bahá'í Faith (43%)
19. Hinduism (42%)
20. Orthodox Judaism (31%)
21. Islam (27%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (26%)
23. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (26%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (23%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (18%)
26. Roman Catholic (18%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (13%)
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Postby Matt » Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:38 am

I'm an atheist and so my results reflect this. :wink:

1. Secular Humanism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (97%)
3. Liberal Quakers (88%)
4. Neo-Pagan (85%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (80%)
6. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (74%)
7. New Age (70%)
8. Nontheist (66%)
9. Mahayana Buddhism (60%)
10. Reform Judaism (58%)
11. Taoism (56%)
12. Orthodox Quaker (50%)
13. Bahá'í Faith (42%)
14. Jainism (37%)
15. New Thought (36%)
16. Sikhism (34%)
17. Scientology (33%)
18. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (31%)
19. Orthodox Judaism (28%)
20. Seventh Day Adventist (25%)
21. Hinduism (23%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (23%)
23. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (22%)
24. Eastern Orthodox (20%)
25. Islam (20%)
26. Roman Catholic (20%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (15%)
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Postby hortonsheardawho » Sat Oct 27, 2007 6:21 pm

1. Mahayana Buddhism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (90%)
3. Neo-Pagan (90%)
4. New Age (87%)
5. Hinduism (83%)
6. Liberal Quakers (82%)
7. Jainism (82%)
8. Theravada Buddhism (80%)
9. New Thought (77%)
10. Sikhism (77%)
11. Reform Judaism (69%)
12. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (66%)
13. Scientology (66%)
14. Taoism (63%)
15. Bahá'í Faith (56%)
16. Orthodox Judaism (56%)
17. Orthodox Quaker (52%)
18. Secular Humanism (52%)
19. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (48%)
20. Islam (43%)
21. Nontheist (33%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (28%)
23. Seventh Day Adventist (25%)
24. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (21%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (19%)
26. Roman Catholic (19%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (16%)
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