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  1. #1
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    Default Religion taxonomy. Help a slacker atheist out

    I was raised by bootstrap-grabbing atheists (and my mom thought the Catholic Church treated women badly ERGO (apparently) all religions suck).

    That being my background, I have no idea what an Episcopalian is.

    Or a Lutheran.

    Or a Unitarian.

    Or a Presbyterian.

    You get the idea. Does any one have a taxonomy of the different species of Christianity at their finger tips?

    You are welcome to venture into the other major religions as well, if you know one of those genera particularly well.

    No fighting, please, just taxonomy.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  2. #2
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    Having been raised Catholic and considering myself a non practicing Catholic, I never paid much attention to the "other" Christian churches - the Protestants. The way I was taught, which was not much, was there were 2 forms of Christian churches, Catholic and Protestant.

    I only knew a few things outside of that: 1) As a kid, my cousins were Southern Baptists and they had cool vacation bible school that I attended a few times with them (much more fun than Catholic Sunday school which we attended Wednesday afternoons), and 2) My ex's parents were members of Church of the Nazareen and my ex told me he would not go to a Lutheran church service because Martin Luther was a thief. Apologies to Lutherans, it's not something I have an opinion on.

    Having stated the above, google is my friend http://christianityinview.com/protes...minations.html They have a nice flow chart of sorts which was interesting. If you scroll down, there are different tabs to the different forms of Protestants. Here is another comparing Catholics and Protestants http://www.religionfacts.com/christi...son_charts.htm

    Have fun exploring religion. It's not a boogeyman and eyeballs don't burst into flames when nonreligious people look at religious symbols.

    editing to add: I've been to several Protestant services as an adult, but I have a preference to the ceremony of Mass in the Catholic church. I like the 'participation' of the Mass more than being preached at in the Protestant services. That is my experience.


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  3. #3
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    Faith is a belief in what you can't see. Faith in a divine being (or beings or entities or whatever) is just one variety. Consider the faith you have in everyday things (that when you flip a switch the light will go on; that the gas you put in your car is not contaminated; that the other guy will follow the rules of the road; etc.).

    Religion is packaged faith. There are lots of analogs in everyday life (political parties; economic disciplines; social movememts; etc.). The difference between the everyday and "religion" is the assertion of some divine command/approval in the religious context.

    It's quite possible to be a person of faith in some divine entity without subscribing to a religious system. Lots of lapsed Catholics, Baptists, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, etc. fall into this category.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


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  4. #4
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    Religion is sort of like a football team. Once you have chosen or been born into fandom for your team you must hate/shun all other teams and their fans as being stupid, doomed to hell, unenlightened. They are divisive, ours is the only way/path to the end zone/God and we pity those who are on the wrong path. Now give us your money or we might not let you stay on the path. Depending on your team you may be forced to kill to get closer to the front of the line. Other teams you can just give more money to get closer to the front.

    Short of the above, I have no idea what the difference is.


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  5. #5
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    dcm -- good find. That is a very nice "genealogy chart" for the major Protestant religions.

    *star*

    Quote Originally Posted by dcm View Post
    Having stated the above, google is my friend http://christianityinview.com/protes...minations.html They have a nice flow chart of sorts which was interesting. If you scroll down, there are different tabs to the different forms of Protestants. Here is another comparing Catholics and Protestants http://www.religionfacts.com/christi...son_charts.htm
    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurierace View Post
    Religion is sort of like a football team. Once you have chosen or been born into fandom for your team you must hate/shun all other teams and their fans as being stupid, doomed to hell, unenlightened. They are divisive, ours is the only way/path to the end zone/God and we pity those who are on the wrong path. Now give us your money or we might not let you stay on the path. Depending on your team you may be forced to kill to get closer to the front of the line. Other teams you can just give more money to get closer to the front.

    Short of the above, I have no idea what the difference is.
    I disagree. You can be a member of a faith system or church and NOT feel superior or hateful to others who do not believe as you do. Many churches (Christian at least) are very open minded these days. What you describe is medieval or perhaps some fundamentalist churches or radical sects. heck...I've been to one where Pagan's, Christians and gays all worships happily together.

    I consider myself a Progressive sort of Christian. I know what I believe and it works for me but I totally respect the beliefs of my Jewish, Muslim and Pagan friends. We get along just fine. I choose to kneel before Jesus Christ and his teachings and acknowledge his sacrifice for me but that doesn't turn me into a brain dead hateful person who can't respect others who believe or worship differently. I'm actually quite fascinated by other's beliefs and very interested to learn more of their customs.

    Interestingly one of the most open minded groups of women I've been around was at a Catholic Woman's Retreat. There was none of what you describe but rather much talk of tolerance, acceptance of others, love and caring for others, and respect. One lady even described how her daughter married a jewish man and how she converted to Judaism and how she coped with that and grew to love her in laws and respect her daughter's choice.

    Not to be contentious but some of the most hateful non tolerant comments on religion I've ever read was on this forum last OT day and your post is sort of an echo of that awful thread..which is why I posted. I'm sorry you have such a cynical unhappy viewpoint of religions/churches, etc...but I just don't think you paint everyone that broad a brush.


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  7. #7
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    Religion has killed more people then all the natural disasters in the history of the world combined. I am glad you are open minded, many are not. Turn on CNN on any given day and you will see carnage somewhere in the name of God.

    I personally don't think you can piss God off but if you could it would be from speaking of anything other than love in his name. How powerful can your God be if he needs you to fight his battles?

    Our's is not the only way but merely another way is the only way to have peace on Earth.


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  8. #8
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    Oh, I agree. It's awful what has been done in the name of religion. Just look at the mess in Syria. That's two sects of the same religion fighting each other.

    However, the VAST majority of religious people of all faiths and belief systems are peaceful good people and coexist happily. Just look at America founded on religious freedom for all. There are disagreements but are solved peacefully and more often than not, tolerance is the norm. Certainly not all believe in fighting to solve disagreements.

    I even have some good friends who are fundamentalist Baptists...about a hard core Christian as it gets...and they are fine with other faiths and even OK with gays, etc... They may not agree with their beliefs or lifestyles but they don't speak negatively nor are nasty or exclusive. I think there is hope for our world but we must all learn to respect others.


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  9. #9
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    I have come to believe that people are just tribal by nature. Sure, a lot of wars are in the name of religion. But if it didn't exist, I fear we would just find some other "difference" to justify hate and war.


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  10. #10
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    My personal experiences are like Daydream's. Even as a conservative, I am fairly tolerant of others and their beliefs/non-beliefs. There are extremists everywhere, and like MsM, I believe if it weren't for religious "tribes", there'd be another excuse.

    Most religious people I know are of the thought of live and let live, but do not force me to subscribe to your beliefs and don't force me to go against my beliefs. aka I don't believe in abortion, so don't make me pay for your abortion. aka my church believes marriage is between man and woman, so don't force my church to marry outside of that tenant. You want that? Then make up your own church, and I'll respect that. I'd even support gay marriage in Texas if there was not the intent to force others to participate. aka if my son or daughter were gay and wished to marry their partner, I would support AND participate as long as they did so without forcing a nonsupporter (church facility) to participate.

    I hope that makes sense because I won't debate the issue. It is my belief and my Constitutionally protected right to believe that way. I refuse to descend into the vitriolic hate that ensues. My opinion - respect that, and I'll respect yours.


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurierace View Post
    Religion is sort of like a football team. Once you have chosen or been born into fandom for your team you must hate/shun all other teams and their fans as being stupid, doomed to hell, unenlightened. They are divisive, ours is the only way/path to the end zone/God and we pity those who are on the wrong path. Now give us your money or we might not let you stay on the path. Depending on your team you may be forced to kill to get closer to the front of the line. Other teams you can just give more money to get closer to the front.

    Short of the above, I have no idea what the difference is.
    That's one of the best descriptions I've ever read.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant

    Member of Kathy S. has me on ignore club.


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  12. #12
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    They are all crazy. Just stay away from them and don't even try to understand their limited viewpoints. Religion leads to hatred and intolerance and lack of ability to think critically.
    Plus I suspect many of the religious folks have no idea how their religious brand differs from any other religious brand- they were thrust into it by their parents, and there they are.


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  13. #13
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    It is so funny/sad that the liberals on this topic are the ones mentioning hate and intolerance...not the religious people who have tried to share their viewpoints and beliefs and to answer the OP's questions. I suspect that many liberal people have no idea how their brand of thinking is truly narrow minded and intolerant. ;-)


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  14. #14
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    Ok here's a liberal, or better progressive, Christian who has to leave for church. But, here's a A “taxonomy” of religions major Christian religions equates to an overview of the history of the Church. (Perhaps many type-os as I've got to getr dressed)


    Since Jesus died Christians have been try to sort out among themselves exactly how he wanted them to live and believe. Among this first followers, even Paul and Peter couldn’t agree on what Jesus wanted. Splits in the Church and divisions among believers are couched in terms of “right belief,” the fancy word, orthodoxy. However, they are seldom about belief alone. The Church is the expression of the risen Body of Christ in the world of women and men. As such, those folks can only think about God and Jesus as people of their own time and place. Churches always govern themselves in a way that reflects their beliefs, so the way believers relate to themselves and relate to others reflects that. So, when Christians fight, it’s always about more than belief, it’s about power, fear and anxiety, lack of resources… . There’s always a load of human stuff just behind the curtain.

    That said, briefly:
    All Christians were Jews in the earliest days after Jesus’ death.
    312 CE—Constantine becomes Emperor of Rome and legitimizes Christianity, before that the followers of the faith of the man crucified for sedition were persecuted b y the government which executed him. You might say everyone was what we would call Roman Catholic after this.

    325—Council of Nicaea: the church is trying o define and organize what it means to be Christina. The first great Ecumenical Creed (statement of belief held by all Christians) was the result.

    390—Apsotles Creed: the second great Ecumenical Creed, more of the church sorting itself out. Council of Milan.

    451—Council of Chalcedon: the power of the church is split between Rome and Eastern Rite Churches (Greek Orthodox and the rest), mostly over beliefs about the person of Jesus and the nature of power and decision making in the church.

    1500 – 1599—Reformation era, the beginnings of Christians who are not Roman Catholic Christians in the west—Protestants:
    Lutherans: Martin Luther a German Catholic Monk felt called by God to confront some of the abuses of the church. He didn’t ever want to not be Catholic, however, after much great drama and politic-ing, he was asked to leave.

    Presbyterians and Baptists: Meanwhile, in other parts of Europe, in Switzerland, John Calvin (a former French Lawyer) and John Knox, in Scotland, were working to change the church—today their heirs are Presbyterians (I’m one of ‘em).

    In England, there was Henry and all his struggles with the wives playing itself out in the consciousness of reform among the people, hence, as the Roman Catholic church forbid divorce and he needed one (in his mind anyway) and by law he was head of the Roman Church in England, he simply split with the church. It was certainly mush more complicated and filled with drama over years, but the result was the Church of England. With the American Revolution it split to become in the US the Episcopal Church.

    Methodists: In England in the 1700’s John, Samuel and Suzanna Wesley felt the need to enliven the practices of the Church of England. They were dismissed by those in power as “methodists.” They were savvy enough to turn a negative into a positive and “rebranded” themselves—Methodists. Again the American Revolution split Methodism and every one else.

    Baptists, Congregationalists and United Church of Christ, Unitarians, and the non-denominational churches (Willow Creek types), large and small, are heirs of the Puritans in England. They do not have a hierarchical relationship to a regional, nationals and world expression of the church. They are often self-governing by vote of the congregation.

    Unitarians, though they govern themselves in a similar manner are by definition liberal. Not al believe in Jesus or God, though many do. Louisa May Alcott, Clara Barton, and Ray Bradbury were famous Unitarians.


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  15. #15
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    There are some basic differences regarding beliefs, but they are really just nuances.

    I was raised in a similar manner and I went exploring religion at the ripe age of 24. I was baptized Episcopal, confirmed Lutheran, but our son now attends a Catholic school. I can't speak for all religions, but I can give you a little bit about what I have learned.

    Why did I start out Episcopal? Well, it was much less complicated than Catholicism but had all the ancient rituals which seemed so alluring to a newbie. I think it was a great church to start with. Make an appointment with the priest (they call them priests, just like the Catholics, but they can marry).

    This is a good time to talk to churches about their faith because it's a sort of down time before Christmas. They often see newcomers around Christmas. They can give the basic outlines of their faith. Pastors/priests are typically well-educated (the exception being the independent Baptist churches which may not require seminary education).

    What you really need to understand is that many of the protestant faiths share communion, meaning that they recognize each other as essentially the same. Those faiths include: Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and the Church of Christ. There are even a few Lutheran and Catholic churches that share communion.

    As far as Lutherans versus Catholics, well, I can tell you that Martin Luther never wanted to separate from the Catholic church. He wanted the church to change. Many of the complaints he had, way back when, have changed in the Catholic church. He'd likely be rolling in his grave if he knew a separate religion was named after him.

    Another thing to understand is that the Pope, (Pope Francis) is the main public figure when it comes to Christianity. A good Pope makes it easier on all Christians. This Pope seems to be a pretty good guy. Pope Francis has already made history. His election was recognized by the Orthodox Patriarch (he represents the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches). That hasn't happened since 1000 AD. (ACE, if you prefer).

    As far the treatment of women, there are some things to be aware of there. Episcopalians and ELCA Lutherans have female pastors, and gay pastors. Catholics only allow men to become priests but hold Mary (Jesus' Mother) in very high regard, so there is an argument that they do respect women because of their adoration of Mary. The Missouri and Wisconsin Synod Lutherans are very strict about women not being allowed to teach men (they refer to one specific bit of scripture to restrict women).

    Now, here is the important part. No matter what you may have heard, the religions I mentioned above take time to join. They have classes for newcomers, which gives you a chance to study and think about what is presented. Baptism would come after that, if you believe. The classes typically take a couple of months, meeting once per week. Catholicism can take longer. Walking into a church isn't going to make you a Christian. There might be shorter timelines to baptism, (such as with a Baptist church. I don't know).

    If the church, whatever denomination, feels too suffocating, move on. It shouldn't be like that. Most Christians are NOT pushy annoying or preachy. Most of us are just normal folks. Church is NOT for the holy and perfect. It's a place that should feel like a second home, with all the complexities and differences of a family. It's a place to help out your neighbors, enjoy folksy sort of gatherings, as well as religious services. It can also be more like a hospital for those that need help spiritually or a place to go to learn about religion.
    Where the short cows roam.

    War veteran


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurierace View Post
    Religion has killed more people then all the natural disasters in the history of the world combined. I am glad you are open minded, many are not. Turn on CNN on any given day and you will see carnage somewhere in the name of God.

    I personally don't think you can piss God off but if you could it would be from speaking of anything other than love in his name. How powerful can your God be if he needs you to fight his battles?

    Our's is not the only way but merely another way is the only way to have peace on Earth.
    If you "piss God off" you'll know pretty quickly--because "God" is another word for "cause & effect."

    You might want to investigate Buddhism as an entry point that does not require "faith" in anything but the recognition that your ~observation~ of reality is not reality itself. Not a worship, but an operating system. An interface between what life hands us and what we choose to make of it.

    It's the recognition that it IS our choice, but all choices, even not-choosing, come with consequences. People throw the word "karma" around, but few understand it. Most Americans think Buddhism is all about pacifism, vegetarianism, sitting or chanting, or the afterlife. That's on about the level of those who think Catholicism is just about kneeling, gobbling wafers and being anti-abortion.

    I'm neither pacifist NOR vegetarian, don't believe in any literal "next life," but I sure DO believe that we create our own reality through our actions of body, speech, and mind--and that is one of the deeper core tenets.

    Don't buy the books written by American hippies or Beat poets--google Shingon or Tendai and work from there.


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    It is so funny/sad that the liberals on this topic are the ones mentioning hate and intolerance...not the religious people who have tried to share their viewpoints and beliefs and to answer the OP's questions. I suspect that many liberal people have no idea how their brand of thinking is truly narrow minded and intolerant. ;-)
    Yes, isn't that interesting.

    I've always believed that the "dictatorship of the proletariat" was far more dangerous and long lasting than the dictatorship of some general. Events seem to be proving me ever more correct.

    No religion is ever monolithic. Even highly structured ones like Catholocism have layers of opinion and shades of belief.

    Most of the deaths attributed to "religion" are, in fact, the result of the marriage of religion to the state. Even the notorious Spanish Inquisition was at least as much an arm of the Spanish Crown as it was an internal method of Church discipline. So the idea that "religion" is the great killer is just historically wrong.

    This is not to say that there have not been purely "religious" wars; there have been. But they are considerably fewer than generally believed even if they might be rather more vicious than a purely politcal or economic conflict.

    Torquemada and Mother Theresa were both devout Catholics. Go figure.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guilherme View Post
    Yes, isn't that interesting.

    I've always believed that the "dictatorship of the proletariat" was far more dangerous and long lasting than the dictatorship of some general. Events seem to be proving me ever more correct.

    No religion is ever monolithic. Even highly structured ones like Catholocism have layers of opinion and shades of belief.

    Most of the deaths attributed to "religion" are, in fact, the result of the marriage of religion to the state. Even the notorious Spanish Inquisition was at least as much an arm of the Spanish Crown as it was an internal method of Church discipline. So the idea that "religion" is the great killer is just historically wrong.

    This is not to say that there have not been purely "religious" wars; there have been. But they are considerably fewer than generally believed even if they might be rather more vicious than a purely politcal or economic conflict.

    Torquemada and Mother Theresa were both devout Catholics. Go figure.

    G.
    TRUTH!!!! All governments since the world began have, when convenient, used religion, race, tribalism, sectarianism, etc. as a wedge and lever to control large groups of people's thought. The most interesting thing in our own times is how very quickly those mores can change when someone says, "Because I said so." Most people are intellectual children and prefer it that way.


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    Oh, I agree. It's awful what has been done in the name of religion. Just look at the mess in Syria. That's two sects of the same religion fighting each other.

    However, the VAST majority of religious people of all faiths and belief systems are peaceful good people and coexist happily. Just look at America founded on religious freedom for all. There are disagreements but are solved peacefully and more often than not, tolerance is the norm. Certainly not all believe in fighting to solve disagreements.

    I even have some good friends who are fundamentalist Baptists...about a hard core Christian as it gets...and they are fine with other faiths and even OK with gays, etc... They may not agree with their beliefs or lifestyles but they don't speak negatively nor are nasty or exclusive. I think there is hope for our world but we must all learn to respect others.
    My guess, you don't live in the Bible belt.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    My guess, you don't live in the Bible belt.
    I do. I guess my part of the Bible belt is more tolerant than yours. I do know ALL of the US Bible belt is way more tolerant than the Muslim Middle East.


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