ProfWag wrote:Believe me, my Baptist preachers talking about hell during my upbringing scared the bejeezus out of me enough that I could never close my mind to "the beyond."
I think that is where most, if not all of the confusion begins. Religious teachings say one thing and science has no way to prove any of it. Each religion has its own spin on what to expect upon death as well as what each follower needs to do according to that particular religion to acheive the ultimate goal. Meanwhile, all religions, with a few exceptions, are designed to controll the masses psychologically. Add morals and ethics into the mix, and viola! The holy shit hits the proverbial fan.
Let's take one particular subject that many of us here, regardless of religious choice, has more than likely participated in at one time or another, that also has governmentals laws applied to it. That would be marriage.
Anyone who is or who has been married knows that it requires in many US states an official license. Some US states recognize common law marriage with no filed documents. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common-law_marriage
. The license is what gives spousal rights as deemed by the individual US state laws and or any federal laws. Then of course you have the religious part of marriage as dictated by your personal choice of organized religion, if any. Here's where morals and ethics of each specific religion get thrown into the mix.
What is permissible in one religion may not be permissible in another. Hence the difference in how to get to 'heaven' for lack of a better catch all phrase. Let alone what is waiting for you in that supposedly wonderful place. It's all open to personal interpretation and completely void of any proof, scientific or otherwise.
Back to marriage which is a more earthly thing. In some religions you seem to need it as a sacrament (the more the better to secure that spot in heaven) and of course any sex outside of marriage will send you straight to hell. On a more earthly thought, some marriages become a personal hell, yet the though of eternal damnation is worse??? Then in that same thought process, there is the dissolution of the marriage, both the legal and religious. Another area of great differences as far as religion goes. Divorce and/or annulment will vary with the flavor of the religion.
The bottom line is who made up these rules? Before organized religion you had people who had one particular basic mission in life. SURVIVAL. Procreation was not taxed or governed or full of freakin' rules. OK, maybe they were because survival stood a better chance if people went around in groups and you just know that there had to be a alpha personality in that group somewhere, who had something to say about everything. However, if the leader wasn't a good one, it was GAME OVER...you all died. Plain and simple.
Then we start to see mention of 'prophets' mentioned in history. Some sort of revered person who had some unusual ability to lead with success. Not necessarily the established leader of that group or tribe but the person the leader went to for advice. No one could explain how or why he seemed to know certain things. The successful ones got recorded in history. The unsuccessful ones perished with their group, so there is no recorded mention of them. Once again, a divine crap shoot. Perhaps these wise men were the first skeptics?