Religion and culture
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02-02-2014, 11:20 PM
Religion and culture
The other day I posted on here that I was headed to Omegle to screw with some theists and I ended up having an interesting debate with a guy who was a Baptist converting to Catholicism.

We discussed the horrors of the Catholic Church (and when I say discussed I mean I rattled off everything I thought was wrong with it and he tried to spin it) for a little bit, and then he said he was sad because losing my religion meant I was losing my culture. I told him I couldn't disagree with him more.

I told him my culture and the culture around me shouldn't be defined by superstitions and fairy tales. I think of culture as human accomplishment, arts, science, family. ... tangible things.

He disagreed and thought my former religion was what gave me culture. When I continued to pick apart his argument he switched gears and used the word heritage instead of culture, to which I said my heritage is my nationality and my family history, not its religion.

He changed the subject often and we moved on to other things, but am I wrong? Does culture mean religion and heritage to anyone here?

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02-02-2014, 11:41 PM
RE: Religion and culture
'Culture' changes with the thoughts and minds of the people as they live through their time.

I can still vaguely remember some of the things my Grandparent's thought were 'right' for their times.

I can remember things my Parent's thought were 'right' for their times.

I know of things that I think are 'right'.

The one constant? The 'right' has always changed.

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02-02-2014, 11:48 PM
RE: Religion and culture
(02-02-2014 11:20 PM)WillHopp Wrote:  The other day I posted on here that I was headed to Omegle to screw with some theists and I ended up having an interesting debate with a guy who was a Baptist converting to Catholicism.

We discussed the horrors of the Catholic Church (and when I say discussed I mean I rattled off everything I thought was wrong with it and he tried to spin it) for a little bit, and then he said he was sad because losing my religion meant I was losing my culture. I told him I couldn't disagree with him more.

I told him my culture and the culture around me shouldn't be defined by superstitions and fairy tales. I think of culture as human accomplishment, arts, science, family. ... tangible things.

He disagreed and thought my former religion was what gave me culture. When I continued to pick apart his argument he switched gears and used the word heritage instead of culture, to which I said my heritage is my nationality and my family history, not its religion.

He changed the subject often and we moved on to other things, but am I wrong? Does culture mean religion and heritage to anyone here?

I know a few cultural Jews and even Catholics who participate in some of the ceremony because they more or less enjoy it.

For instance I know a Jewish family who do celebrate Shabbat each week. Not because it's a commandment, but because for 25 hours they stop everything. To them it's important.

For Catholics it might mean belonging to a church, participating as they wish but because it makes them happy and they enjoy it. I kind of wish I could feel that way, but I don't.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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03-02-2014, 07:25 AM
RE: Religion and culture
Which culture are you talking about? American culture?

Which American culture are you talking about?
  • Heartland WASP culture? Yes, religion plays a huge part.
  • Culture on a typical college campus? Religions plays some part, but a much smaller one. Also, that religion isn't necessarily Christianity.
  • Manhattan culture? Religion plays a part in defining it, but it's a lot of religions and tolerance of other religions blended together.
  • Dearborn, Michigan* culture? Religion is huge, although it's Islam, not Christianity.
  • The culture of a particular family or town? It could be anything. It might matter a lot, or not at all.

"Culture" is way to vague to give a solid answer on this one. Yes, a lot of American culture is influenced by religion, but that doesn't really matter. I have no problem giving up the religious aspects of the various cultures that influence me. I've stopped saying "God bless you" when someone sneezes, I don't shut my eyes when someone is leading a prayer, and I do yard work on Sundays.


*Dearborn is a city in Michigan with the highest per capita population of Muslims.
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03-02-2014, 07:27 AM
RE: Religion and culture
I find all these 700 to 1200 churches that everyone talks about so much to be incerdibly boring... and cold.

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03-02-2014, 08:14 AM
RE: Religion and culture
(03-02-2014 07:25 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  I've stopped saying "God bless you" when someone sneezes, I don't shut my eyes when someone is leading a prayer, and I do yard work on Sundays.

Yeah, but what do you think about doing yard work on Saturdays? Consider




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03-02-2014, 08:45 AM
RE: Religion and culture
(03-02-2014 07:25 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  "Culture" is way to vague to give a solid answer on this one. Yes, a lot of American culture is influenced by religion, but that doesn't really matter.

This is what I was trying to get across to this guy, that religion doesn't equal culture at all, but rather it could be a small part of it, just like a carrot doesn't equal vegetable soup.

Does it contribute? Sure, I suppose, depending on the area and religion, but that doesn't mean it's the whole ball of wax, and it certainly never was my culture.

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03-02-2014, 09:43 AM
RE: Religion and culture
In the small town where I grew up the religion was the culture. Well over 95% of the people in town were Catholic. There are no buildings in town taller than two stories except for the towering twin spires of the Basilica that can be seen, not only from everywhere in town, but from miles away in all directions.

Everyone was born into Catholicism, no one there chose it. I don't think many people put much, if any, thought into it. It just 'was'. A Catholic town with Catholic schools (only the kindergarten is public). The stores all closed for a few hours on Good Friday. Priests, brothers, and nuns were common sights. Many of the nuns wore full habits long after it was no longer required.

Pretty much everything had ties to the church. There wasn't a way to separate the religion from anything else. People that I grew up with that stayed in the area still attend mass, contribute to the church and schools, and identify as Catholic. Many that left the area for college or other reasons have left the faith behind, most choosing other faith practices. The isolation from outside influences really does, in that case, seem to hold people to the Catholic church.

I have lived in places where there is more diversity and in those places the influence of a single faith isn't much of a factor.

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03-02-2014, 09:47 AM
RE: Religion and culture
Coincidentally, right about when I was defining myself as an atheist I started going to a very traditional folklore festival (it lasts 9 days but I usually go one sunday every year) which motivated me to learn traditional dances and music, and I got interested and investigated a lot about my culture and roots.
So no, losing my faith actually allowed me to gain in culture, instead of being in mass hearing the same repeating shit over and over again.

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03-02-2014, 10:09 AM
RE: Religion and culture
(03-02-2014 09:43 AM)Anjele Wrote:  In the small town where I grew up the religion was the culture. Well over 95% of the people in town were Catholic. There are no buildings in town taller than two stories except for the towering twin spires of the Basilica that can be seen, not only from everywhere in town, but from miles away in all directions.

Everyone was born into Catholicism, no one there chose it. I don't think many people put much, if any, thought into it. It just 'was'. A Catholic town with Catholic schools (only the kindergarten is public). The stores all closed for a few hours on Good Friday. Priests, brothers, and nuns were common sights. Many of the nuns wore full habits long after it was no longer required.

Pretty much everything had ties to the church. There wasn't a way to separate the religion from anything else. People that I grew up with that stayed in the area still attend mass, contribute to the church and schools, and identify as Catholic. Many that left the area for college or other reasons have left the faith behind, most choosing other faith practices. The isolation from outside influences really does, in that case, seem to hold people to the Catholic church.

I have lived in places where there is more diversity and in those places the influence of a single faith isn't much of a factor.


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