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Thread: Religious Misconceptions!

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    Time Lord Apostle Malflick's Avatar
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    Religious Misconceptions!

    I thought it might be fun to talk about things we assumed about other religions and then found to be incorrect. Most of these things are going to fall into stereotypes I assume, but we all have misconceptions about other groups of people at some point before we really get to know some of them .

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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Religious Misconceptions!

    Satanists are nice.
    That's utter bs I tells ya!
    Satan is my spirit animal

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    Time Lord Apostle Malflick's Avatar
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    Re: Religious Misconceptions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    Satanists are nice.
    That's utter bs I tells ya!
    XD lol!

    On that note, I actually kind of assumed you Satanists were all selfish jerkfaces. My bad. Now I am well aware you're comedy geniuses.

    I also thought Neo-Pagans would all be politically left, so to speak. I was pretty surprised when that wasn't the case! Doubly so when I discovered pro-life Pagans. Major re-assessment of assumptions after that :P .


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    Member Orecha's Avatar
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    Re: Religious Misconceptions!

    As an anthropologist of religion, I get these often. Here are a few of the most common (and therefore most annoying!), listed by religion:


    • All Buddhists are just like the Tibetan Gelug school, follow the Dalai Lama, and worship Buddha. Oh, and they're all vegetarian pacifists. Buddha is also REALLY fat.
    • Jews are a race, and they all have horns and tails, speak "Jewish," worship Satan, eat Palestinian babies, and drink Christian and/or Muslim blood. They also invented money, banks, holy war, genocide, and are, of course, the cause of all wars in the world. They're all doctors and lawyers. They're all rich and super liberal, and they totally did that 9/11 thing. The only difference between Jews and Christians is that whole Jesus thing, but it's ok, because Jesus is a prophet in Judaism, even though they killed him. They're also a really large religion, like one of the main 5, but you can't convert to it, since it's clearly a race and not a religion... And, of course, Jews can believe anything, i.e. "Judaism" is a mix-and-match cafeteria religion. Chanukah is what Jews do on Christmas, like Passover is what they do on Easter.
    • Muslims are all terrorists and misogynists, and they all hate Jews and Christians. All Muslim women feel oppressed and are waiting for westerners to come and save them from their religion. Jihad means "holy war," and fatwa means "death sentence."
    • All pagans are Wiccan, worship the devil, are sexual deviants, and are prone to drug abuse.
    • Hindus all worship Ganesha, or Shiva or Vishnu, or they're SUPER polytheists. They're also the oldest continually practiced religion in the world, and their holy language, Sanskrit, is not only the source of all European languages but also is the oldest written language in the world. Oh, and they invented curry, meditation, henna, writing, bellydance, steel, and the number zero. Like Buddhists, they're all pacifists and have always been so.
    • Sikhs are some sort of Muslim, and therefore should be suspected of terrorism.
    • All Native American religions are interchangeable.
    • Catholics and Christians are two different things. All priests are pedophiles. Mormons are also pedophiles, and they're all polygynists. Baptists can't drink or dance. Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in Jesus. Jesus said, well... everything -- especially anything from Confucius, Zen Buddhism, or classical authors.
    • Atheists, agnostics, nontheists, and antitheists are all the same thing. None of them have morals.
    • All New Religious Movements are creepy cults with suicide pacts.
    • The Necronomicon is totally a real book.


    Common misconceptions from within religions, in no particular order (these all come from Judaism and Christianity):
    • The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (forbidden fruit) was an apple.
    • Jesus was born on the 25th of December.
    • Mitzvah means "good deed."
    • The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) condemns homosexuality. Also, it's a much worse sin than eating pork or sabbath breaking.
    • Genesis says that the serpent in the Garden of Eden is Satan.
    • Lucifer was/is Satan's name.
    • There were only two of every animal brought into Noah's ark.
    • Jews can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery if they have tattoos.
    • Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.
    • Ramses was the pharaoh during the Exodus.
    • Sephardi Jews are all "brown people" from North Africa and the Middle East
    • Bagels, knishes, kugels, latkes, blintzes, and braided challah are all traditional Jewish food.
    • Kosher laws (kashrut) just has to do with not getting food poisoning or parasites, so it's obviously outdated.


    And, just for fun (and somewhat related), here is a list of the top 10 list of questions I'm asked when people find out I'm an an anthropologist of religion:
    1. Is religion (or culture) really that important to study?
    2. Why does religion cause so much violence?
    3. Aren't all religions essentially the same when it comes to core teachings and faith? I mean, they all teach the same morality, right?
    4. Why is religion X so different from religion Y? Or, what's the difference between religion X and religion Y?
    5. Why doesn't everyone believe in Jesus?
    6. Why have all of these religions divided over belief in one guy (i.e. Jesus)?
    7. Why are the Muslims so mad at (or why do they hate) everyone else?
    8. Doesn't religion X worship the devil?
    9. How can you study religion scientifically when there's nothing scientific about it?
    10. Why do religious people fight science/progress/reality all of the time?

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    Grey Warden Rowanwood's Avatar
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    Re: Religious Misconceptions!

    My favorite is "all pagans believe everything supernatural is real, every unicorns that fart rainbows and hence are flaky and ignorant." The come in two kinds, "white" and "black". But they all hate the "black" ones.

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    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Religious Misconceptions!

    I think the one I encounter the most is the all pagan's believe in the Wiccan Rede and Three fold law and the sacredness of nature, then you get a shocked look when you tell them you don't.

    For me the biggest was probably the placement and usage of Foo or temple dogs at Buddhist temples. I always though they served no real meaning and were placed for decoration.

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    Re: Religious Misconceptions!

    It's taken ages to figure out that not all Christians are Trinitarian.

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    Sr. Member Riothamus12's Avatar
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    Re: Religious Misconceptions!

    Quote Originally Posted by monsno_leedra View Post
    I think the one I encounter the most is the all pagan's believe in the Wiccan Rede and Three fold law and the sacredness of nature, then you get a shocked look when you tell them you don't.

    For me the biggest was probably the placement and usage of Foo or temple dogs at Buddhist temples. I always though they served no real meaning and were placed for decoration.
    I honestly don't understand how a pagan could not find nature sacred. It's inherent in paganism. Especially considering the emphasis on holy spirits and the Deities thereof. I can't really consider someone a pagan if they do not respect or see sacredness in nature. How can you truly respect the Mother Of The Earth if you will not respect her domain or poison the Father Of The Sky's dominion?

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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Religious Misconceptions!

    I used to think most Pagans were very...eh..spiritual hippies. But I've found them to be some of the most sane and logical thinkers I've had the pleasure to know. They see things in an outside of the box sort of way. I had no idea about Pagans until I came here. I had no idea what to expect.
    Satan is my spirit animal

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    Sr. Member MoonRaven's Avatar
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    Re: Religious Misconceptions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Riothamus12 View Post
    I honestly don't understand how a pagan could not find nature sacred. It's inherent in paganism. Especially considering the emphasis on holy spirits and the Deities thereof. I can't really consider someone a pagan if they do not respect or see sacredness in nature. How can you truly respect the Mother Of The Earth if you will not respect her domain or poison the Father Of The Sky's dominion?
    Well this entirely depends on how we define pagans because, depending on definition, not all pagans believe in Mother Earth or Sky Father.


    @Orecha. But the Necronomicon totally is a real book . Okay seriously though. Thanks for that one I needed the laugh.


    As for my own misconception. All people who worship/rever/whatever the Old Norse gods are neo-Nazi and/or white supremasists.
    Warning: The above post may contain traces of sarcasm.

    An apostrophe is the difference between a business that knows its shit, and a business that knows it's shit.

    "Why is every object we don't understand always called a thing?" (McCoy. Star Trek: The Moive Picture)

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