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Old 06-06-2010, 02:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
warrior bodhisattva
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Location: East-central Canada
What are your religious/spiritual/political/cultural/social affiliations?

This is a basic question of how you define your politics, your morals, your social ties, etc.

Feel free to list/explain however many or few you wish to share.

How do you define yourself?

Not everyone likes labels, and I understand that: labels can be problematic. They can be misleading and limiting. But I suppose this isn't the point here. This is a thread of how we identify ourselves.

* * * * *

I am a social democrat (just left of liberal) and an agnostic atheist.

The politics I subscribe to, generally, are akin to that of the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada.

My moral beliefs were derived from a variety of sources. I was raised non-religiously. The morals instilled in me as a child came mostly from my mother and through the public school system. My mother taught right from wrong within the dynamic of the five siblings I grew up with. Any other moral teachings I obtained from school through teachers and the established behavioural expectations and disciplinary systems they had.

As an adult, I cemented my beliefs based on a number of readings of Buddhist texts (core non-religious Buddhism), social justice, humanism, and the writings of authors such as Tenzin Gyatso (the 14 Dalai Lama), Vietnamese Buddhist monk and teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh, and American Buddhist monk Pema Chodron.

Culturally and socially, I am strongly affiliated with the culture industry. I believe that art and culture is an essential aspect of society and that it warrants government support. Anything that has market potential and can be judged to have cultural significance should be supported and made available to the public. Free market capitalism is a threat to this process and that's why I believe art and culture requires unusual attention.

That's it in a nutshell....

So, what about you?
Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot

Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 06-06-2010 at 02:48 PM..
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
Kick Ass Kunoichi
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Location: Oregon
I would like to reply to this thread, but I'm going to have some trouble with it, as I am unsure which labels to affix to myself.

I am really pretty left on the spectrum, compared to most Americans. I am a Democrat. I vote Democrat largely because the political system in the United States prevents third parties from getting a real shot at winning an election, although I also vote Democrat because the Democratic politicians in my area (such as my Representative in Congress, Peter DeFazio) are pretty liberal too. If you were to look at the Political Compass thingie, I'm way down in the left-hand corner.

When it comes to religion, I don't really care. I broadly affiliate myself with a variety of mainline Protestant churches who all believe in ecumenism and understand that sometimes, it's better to be outside on a hike and be with nature than it is to be inside a church. You could say I'm much more spiritual than religious, and that I do have faith in a higher power. That's really all I want to say here. My relationship with my higher power is pretty personal, and I don't talk about it much simply because I don't expect others to understand. I've had experiences that fundamentally shifted my perception of the universe that I don't expect others to have had. My beliefs are pretty strongly influenced by a variety of Eastern philosophy; I suppose I have my father's urgings as a kid to thank for that. He is an atheist and pretty much raised me to believe that you couldn't believe in something until you'd read about all of the alternatives. So yeah, I have read a lot of the holy texts of other faiths and come to my conclusions about my own faith after rather a lot of research, including 2 university classes on Eastern philosophy and another on world religions.

Culturally, I believe that culture cannot compete in a free market and thus should be supported, much as you do, Baraka. I wish it weren't so.

I probably should have had more coffee prior to addressing this, but there you go.
If I am not better, at least I am different. --Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
Minion of Joss
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Location: The Windy City
First off, of course, I am a Jew. I believe in the preservation of my people's traditions and the education of all Jews in Hebrew and Jewish texts. I am a Zionist, although not uncritically. And I believe in the value of respectful interfaith dialogue.

I am more or less a proud American, although I am more proud of the potential of America's constitutional system, and less about the actual social and governmental conditions of the United States.

I am a Democrat, only because I believe the Democrats are marginally less destructive and greedy than the Republicans, although what they lack in those areas, they make up for in general incompetence. If America actually had a multi-party system, I'd probably vote Green a lot.

I am a social progressive, with some elements of libertarianism. Basically, I believe that government exists to help and support people, and should be extremely active in providing social programs and services, building and maintaining infrastructure, defending us when necessary, regulating big businesses to limit their power and prevent oppression of the little guy, and otherwise ensuring justice and preserving people's rights-- and I believe in paying taxes to pay for all of this, because you get what you pay for. But I believe that government should stay out of people's private lives: there should be more or less no laws concerning what consenting adults can do sexually; there should be minimal "vice" laws of other sorts; the government has no place in people's private medical decisions; everyone has a right to privacy; the wall between religion and government should be vast and impenetrable; public education should be free, open, and unfettered by thought regulations; and every citizen should have a say in the government's major decisions.

I am an artist (actor, writer, director, poet, singer), and I believe in the freedom of artists to practice their arts without censorship, and in the responsibility of a cultured society to support its artists in their work.

I am a mystic, and I believe in the vital importance of pursuing spiritual awareness, spiritual advancement and enrichment, and practicing a spiritual discipline. I believe everything in the multiverse contains a spark of Divinity within it.

Hmmmm.... I am a reader and enjoy talking to other readers. I am something of a stoner, and believe in good friends smoking good weed together. I am a teacher, and I love what I do. I also believe that teaching keeps me young.

I guess those are the majors.
Dull sublunary lovers love,
Whose soul is sense, cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
That thing which elemented it.

(From "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" by John Donne)
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
I change
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Location: USA
I generally do eschew this sort of self-designation. It's hard to see something very worthwhile in a label...especially when one is generalizing about another human being or oneself.

Typically, I refer to myself as an artist, writer, and teacher. Those are labels I'm OK with. They define what I do and not what I believe. I don't see a need for believing things.

I avoid politics as much as possible and I don't see a reason why I need to have personal opinions about most political issues. That's why I am not a politician. As for the intersection of art and politics, I prefer as little of that as possible. I'm not in favor of government support for art or artists.

I have an interest in philosophy but no religious belief. I see both religion and science as essentially different forms of the same thing - metaphorical narratives people use to explain mysterious things. I use metaphors to talk about and understand the universe but I don't "believe" those metaphors need to represent anything besides aesthetic truth.

Ethically, I try to cause as little suffering as possible. That's about it.

I suppose I define myself from moment to moment by the things I experience and the things I think and do. There's a trail of evidence regarding those things.
create evolution
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
Lover - Protector - Teacher
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Location: Seattle, WA
I had an interesting discussion with a friend awhile back about the value of having various forms of 'to be' verbs in other languages. In English, we only have one - is/are/am. There's no distinguishing between "I am a teacher" and "I am sad." Both have an implied permanence to them, and the only way to know that "I am sad" might be transient is by experience with each person.

In Spanish (as well as other languages) - there are two.. ser and estar. ser is used for things pertinent to your identity like 'soy cubano' (I am cuban), personality, nationality, race, gender, etc., because those things on permanent labels for us. Estar is for the transient things, like feelings and even employment,; you aren't "permanently" a painter, for example.

There's a big differentiation between identity and states of being in other languages, and English really misses out on it entirely. There's a difference between El es aburrido (he is boring, a boring person) and Yo estoy aburrida (I am bored, but not permanently).

In this case I'm going with 'social democrat' and 'agnostic atheist' as Baraka did.
"I'm typing on a computer of science, which is being sent by science wires to a little science server where you can access it. I'm not typing on a computer of philosophy or religion or whatever other thing you think can be used to understand the universe because they're a poor substitute in the role of understanding the universe which exists independent from ourselves." - Willravel
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
Oh dear God he breeded
Seer666's Avatar
Location: Arizona
I tend to describe myself as a conservative with anarchist tendencies. I feel that there should be as little government involvement in our lives as possible. Laws should be limited in scope to "Does this tangibly hurt someone?" and never based on a moral view, like "prostitution is wrong". I am also in favor of simply shooting more people for breaking laws like murder and rape. We have to many people on this planet as is. Getting rid of the assholes that can't get along with the rest of us is a good start towards population control.

I am pro gun. As an Arizonan I am very happy we are about to have permitless concealed carry. Even with this law I am still getting my CCW though, so that if I ever have to leave the state, I can still carry. I think we are up to 38 other states that recognize our permits.

While I am not sure I would call myself Christian, I get along well with God. I just hate his fan club.
Bad spellers of the world untie!!!

I am the one you warned me of

I seem to have misplaced the bullet with your name on it, but I have a whole box addressed to occupant.
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Old 06-08-2010, 11:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
warrior bodhisattva
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Location: East-central Canada
Originally Posted by ARTelevision View Post
I have an interest in philosophy but no religious belief. I see both religion and science as essentially different forms of the same thing - metaphorical narratives people use to explain mysterious things. I use metaphors to talk about and understand the universe but I don't "believe" those metaphors need to represent anything besides aesthetic truth.
With philosophy/religion/science, do you make a distinction between "applied" and "theoretical"?

I don' view religion/spirituality as merely a means to describe things we don't actually know or can't know. I also view it as a practice. One of the main reasons why atheistic Buddhism appeals to me is that it is functional if you apply its principles to daily life. It helps you foster consciousness and awareness of yourself and the world around you. Yes, this can be done without Buddhism, but I view it as one of many paths, not as a crutch as can be the case with a lot of organized religion. The main focus of Buddhism is empirical truth. It doesn't lay out a bunch of rules and "truths" and expect you to take it at its word. It will make statements and then say, "See it for yourself. Practice it. And then see it more clearly now."
Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot

Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 06-08-2010 at 11:08 AM..
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Old 06-08-2010, 11:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
I change
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Location: USA
Baraka_Guru, sure. Applied is the doing part...makes practical sense...I even do on a daily basis some of the things that Buddhists and scientists do. The theoretical aspects of Buddhism, neuroscience, quantum physics - to name a few examples - also hold some philosophical interest for me.

Essentially, it is the part of this entire discussion that involves beliefs, belief systems, and believing in things that I endeavor to avoid in both theory and practice. Existence is a constant "doing without believing" for me.
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Tennessee
Pretty cool thread

Religiously? I would probably consider myself an atheist, although I don't really care for that term because it seeks to classify what I "believe" which really when it comes to religion is that I simply don't care, don't think about and it really plays no role in my life what so ever. However as a child I was raised in the Baptist church.

I don't really consider myself a Spiritual person.

Politically I try to stay in the middle. I know, I know fence sitter right? When I was younger I leaned pretty far to the left but always found it difficult to shoehorn myself into one ideology, often times I staunchly disagreed with certain ideas and begin moving in the other direction, only the other side never really fit either for the same reasons. Whats a guy to do? It made more sense for me to look for the good ideas/candidates no matter where they came from and lend my support based on what I believe is right or best, not because it follows my chosen political ideology. Today I'm a registered Independent.

Culturally...I don't know, I'm kind of an oddball. I'm a musician by trade, went to an art college and have always supported the arts (I agree with the OP, Art and capitalism simply don't mix...or at least mix well. Our current system in my opinion has relegated many important artists and pieces into obscurity because they aren't necessarily good for the bottom line) yet I often distance myself from the art scene...the pretentious, snotty atmosphere just isn't for me (not to say all artists fit that description) and I just can't pretend that it is.

Which I guess leads me to social affiliations. I tend to associate more with people who are just laid back and know how to enjoy life, not much else tends to come into the equation. I hate social climbing and having to go out of my way to impress people which usually leads me to crowds that are content to sit around a campfire with a case of beer more then sitting around a loft with a glass of wine.

Hopefully all that made sense, I just woke up, its hard to collect your thoughts through sleepy eyes over a steaming cup of coffee.
“My god I must have missed it...its hell down here!”
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: Fauxenix, Azerona
I prefer to define myself as a naturalist, rather than an atheist. I don't just not believe there is a god or gods, I also firmly believe that there is nothing supernatural in this world.

Politically, I find the lack of meaningful choices in the US system to preclude me from grouping myself usefully with one side or the other. I generally vote Democrat, but support many of the initiatives of the current Arizona republican government.

I am:
pro-socialized medicine,
anti-all forms of gun control
pro-pure science and arts (I don't mind taxes that go to large hadron type-stuff, space exploration, PBS, public libraries and museums)
pro-unrestricted free speech
anti-organized religion (or at least, anti- its various influences politically)
pro-legalization (drugs, prostitution, maybe even donkey sex...all victim-less crimes)
pro-small government
mildly anarchist
twisted no more
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
The sky calls to us ...
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Super Moderator
Location: CT
pro-legalization (drugs, prostitution, maybe even donkey sex...all victim-less crimes)
Show me a donkey that con consent and I'll turn a blind eye.

I am socially liberal and economically support responsible but not punitive regulation. I oppose organized religion and find religious belief absurd. I support the rights of the individual in balance with the duty of humans to help each other. The problems facing humanity are fundamentally human problems and have human solutions.

I have neither time, patience, nor credulity to believe in things, I accept that for which there is evidence, reject that which the evidence disproves, and keep an open mind toward that which is not yet knowable and to all new evidence. I admire the unarrogant open-mindedness and firm skepticism of Carl Sagan, who clearly laid out what he knew, but humbly conceded "Of course I could be wrong."
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
Une petite chou
noodle's Avatar
Location: With All Your Base
I have a hard time with labels because I'm an excellent bullshitter and circle-talker.
I rarely find terms or concepts that I whole-heartedly believe in or identify with.
So, I often make up my own.

I'm the child of a reformed Mennonite and a Southern Baptist.
I did my whole rebellious "you're wrong, there is no god" deal and it didn't fit either.
I've done a lot of surface reading of texts from different philosophical theories and none
really seemed to fit either. So I decided that there really isn't a right or a wrong.
I'd like to believe that whatever a person believes is what is true for them.
For example, I don't think I'm going to heaven when I die because I don't believe
in a particular heaven.
I'd like to think I'll be reincarnated, but whatever works. I know that
when I do die, I'll be dead. I live my life by what I think is right or wrong for me.
I'm a moralist, I suppose. There's no text to tell me what to do or guide me,
I look internally and base decisions on my experiences.

I am, though, a student. I think I'll always be. For awhile, I didn't pursue organized
studies and when I returned to formal education, I forgot how much I liked learning,
exploring, writing, and teaching other people about what I learned.
I'm also a bit of a guide. People turn to me for advice, knowledge, etc.
I've always been that person who set aside time to listen to the issues of others.
I enjoy it, I'm good at it.
So I sorta identify with that role as well.

Culturally, I''m a bit of a hippy artist at heart.
I love finding random art and beauty in the unexpected places.
And I seek it out. I like music and am learning to appreciate the technical side as S
learns guitar and shows me how dang hard it is. But I'm no musician.
Nor am I a successful artist. I'm an appreciator of culture.

I don't identify with a particular ethnic culture as I'm 98% german and
with a wee bit of UK-ness in there.
But it was never a part of my growing up or childhood.
My maternal grandfather didn't identify with much from his father's side and
my paternal side were all conscientious objectors and emigrated from
Austria and Germany before anything really soaked in.
Or maybe everything leached out when they hit Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
I'm a Floridian at heart.
Love the beach, love the outside.
The combination of outside and music and bugs and fires and thunderstorms
and alcoholic beverages.

So, I'm for legalization of many things that don't hurt other people (except cousin sex),
against people controlling my ability to pursue what I want in life (that doesn't hurt or
negatively impact other people in a life-altering manner), a strong supporter of
assisted exits from this life when this life is too unbearable due to disease and
the ability to say whatever the fuck you want
as long as I get to retain my right to listen or ignore you.

Hi, I'm n0odle.
Here's how life works: you either get to ask for an apology or you get to shoot people. Not both. House

Originally Posted by Plan9
Just realize that you're armed with smart but heavily outnumbered.
The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. Ayn Rand
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
Willravel's Avatar
Politically, I'm Green, which is a combination of European leftist and radical environmentalist. I believe most strongly in making the world a better place for all people through altruism and environmental responsibility. I believe in clean water, clean air, clean dirt, clean food, and leaving as much of the environment alone as possible. I believe in harmony, homeostasis.

Religiously, I'm an atheist of the agnostic type. I have not been given sufficient evidence of anything supernatural, and should I be presented with such evidence, I would view it with extreme skepticism as it requires incredible evidence to verify incredible claims. I harbor no ill will towards people that believe in god or g-d or allah or shiva or whatever, though I often find myself having a problem with the words and actions that result from some religious views, particularly those of a hateful or anti-science nature.

Culturally, I'm white bread. I end up exploring other cultures often because I'm off-put my the American cultures of consumerism and religiosity (religion as a culture). While I believe in liberty, justice, and equality, these things seem disjointed from everyday American culture.

Socially, I'm a libertarian. So long as people aren't hurting other people, they should be free to choose what to do and with whom to do it with. I love experiencing all life has to offer, and I see no reason to prevent other people from doing the same thing.
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Location: In the land of ice and snow.
I'm a bleeding heart utilitarian who believes in whatever makes sense at the time.
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
rahl's Avatar
Location: Ohio
I grew up Catholic(12 years of catholic school).
I also grew up republican.

I'm not sure when or how it happened but I became agnostic and I'm pretty much dead center politically, maybe slightly left.

I'm pro choice, and pro gun.
I'm pro Gay marriage, but I'm not pro green.

I'm complicated.
"Your life is Yours alone...Rise up and live it"
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
Oh dear God he breeded
Seer666's Avatar
Location: Arizona
Originally Posted by MSD View Post
Show me a donkey that con consent and I'll turn a blind eye.
If 500 pounds of muscle and hoof had a problem, I'm sure the girl would know pretty damn quick.....
Bad spellers of the world untie!!!

I am the one you warned me of

I seem to have misplaced the bullet with your name on it, but I have a whole box addressed to occupant.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:09 PM   #17 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
Willravel's Avatar
Originally Posted by MSD View Post
Show me a donkey that con consent and I'll turn a blind eye.
It's knowing consent, not just consent. The party has to be able to not only give a clear indication of consent, but have the ability to understand the consequences and reality of what he/she/it is consenting to. Thus statutory rape, thus necrophilia, and thus, in this case, bestiality are all sans the consent necessary.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:53 AM   #18 (permalink)
I'm not a blonde! I'm knot! I'm knot! I'm knot!
raeanna74's Avatar
Location: Upper Michigan
I was raised - Baptist/Conservative Republican/generally English-American/belonged to local Art Association and Homeschool group, Most all other social functions centered around church.

Now... I am - Agnostic/Independant moderate/learning about Slovakian foods/belong to the PTA, Teacher's Association, Autism Association, I'm a Yooper, and I almost never go to church. I've also gotten into some more environmental practices. I walk to work when I can, compost, garden, recycle everything that I possibly can, and feed the outdoor birds.

When I've gotten in touch with some of my former college classmates I've gotten a lot of questions of how and why I changed direction so much. It's been a gradual evolution even though it's been a big one.
"Always learn the rules so that you can break them properly." Dalai Lama
My Karma just ran over your Dogma.
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:49 PM   #19 (permalink)
telekinetic's Avatar
Location: Fauxenix, Azerona
Originally Posted by Seer666 View Post
If 500 pounds of muscle and hoof had a problem, I'm sure the girl would know pretty damn quick.....
girl? I think guy on donkey is WAY more common, and is primarily what I was referring to.

But that's a jack for another thread, one which I will start when I am not at work.

---------- Post added at 02:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:47 PM ----------

Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
thus necrophilia
Can the deceased really be still considered a party? Also, what if the party consented while alive? And with that, I am now apparently a necrophilia apologist, and we really DO need to start a debate thread....haha.
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:57 PM   #20 (permalink)
Lover - Protector - Teacher
Jinn's Avatar
Location: Seattle, WA
Consent can be terminated at any time before or during the act. If he or she revokes their consent during sex you have to pull out and discontinue.

If she started out alive and was deceased by the end, I'd think your consent would end when she died..
"I'm typing on a computer of science, which is being sent by science wires to a little science server where you can access it. I'm not typing on a computer of philosophy or religion or whatever other thing you think can be used to understand the universe because they're a poor substitute in the role of understanding the universe which exists independent from ourselves." - Willravel
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:00 PM   #21 (permalink)
Paladin of the Palate
LordEden's Avatar
Location: Redneckville, NC
Why does it always involve the cock in here? We can't have a damn thread anymore without it coming back around to "Who stuck what where". Jesus people, get over it.

OP: I am an agnostic of the "There has to be something out there I can pray to in order to receive 72 redheaded asian virgins" kind. I have no idea but I think SOMETHING is out there. I believe in spirits, energies, afterlife, reincarnation, all that jazz. I don't think magic is out there but I'm hoping it is.

I try my hardest to get into politics, but since I'm all over the map, it makes it hard to back a single party. I range from left-wing to anarchist depending on how my bowel movement was that day. I dislike not being an active participant in politics but most of the time it disgusts me to much to really get into.

I'm not an artist and or a player of music, but I love both.

I'm a southern boy, geek, (wannabe) chef, and a lover of knowledge. I like laid back people who like to talk about heavy issues while taking shots of liquor. I'm learning to like guns and not hate (more than stupid people) all forms of veggieism. I love to talk, to listen, to debate, to argue, to laugh, to cook, to drink, to eat, to live and to love.

I am not a hippie.
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
In my own personal experience---this is just anecdotal, mind you---I have found that there is always room to be found between boobs.
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:19 PM   #22 (permalink)
Idyllic's Avatar
Location: My House
Spiritually: I believe in eternally questioning human beings’ both singular and collective answers to mankind’s existence, but I always seem able to find “my” life’s truths when I stop long enough to listen to humanities collective aaaahhhhh moments. I love to study, and attempt to understand (usually futilely), the world’s myriad religions and ideologies.

Politically: Words can only represent the power we enable them with and I refuse to be an enabler.

Culturally: I am the future of my overcame past, where everyday I define my tomorrows as my present, while never entirely unwrapping yesterday, and refusing to tie now in a bow. I believe dreams and nightmares are just the opposite beginning and/or end of the same story merely teaching me how to live within my own reality.

Societal: I swerve whenever possible for all butterflies and frogs, and rescue as many turtles as I can, even snappers…. (I do this on a daily basis, so car rides can be rather nauseating with me, especially in the spring ). [metaphorically, the butterfly, frog and turtle represent humans at different levels, too, as well the attempts to insure their safe habitats]

I am simply Idyllic…………with weather.

p.s. yeah, silent_jay, the snappers would be the terrorists, they make good soup...... just kidding, they are a part of that whole attempting to understand religion/ideology thing.
you can tell them all you want but it won't matter until they think it does

p.s. I contradict my contradictions, with or without intention, sometimes.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:42 PM   #23 (permalink)
still, wondering.
Ourcrazymodern?'s Avatar
Location: South Minneapolis, somewhere near the gorgeous gorge
Confirmed Lutheran, with all the rights & privileges that doesn't entail.
My universe loves me. Walks in the park.
Yogurt & cheese, & anything else that tastes good. & art museums.
Talking to strangers, eye candy, & finding commonality almost everywhere.
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