. I'll try to be as objective
Why is Terasem, Unitarian Universalism, and the Baha'i Faith religions?
Let us define religion in three succinct ways.http://www.dictionary.com
1.'a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.'
Wikipedia definition'Religion is a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organisation that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called "an order of existence". Different religions may or may not contain various elements, ranging from the "divine", "sacred things", "faith", a "supernatural being or supernatural beings" or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life."'
Religion for Dummies book
Forgive me, I cannot pull the quote from the book right now, but I had it and it distinctly said that religions are composed of three things, 1) beliefs, 2) ethics, and 3) rituals
. Without all three of these things, it falls in line with philosophy.
Okay, now that we have three separate unique ways of seeing religion, let's see how Terasem, Unitarian Universalism and the Baha'i Faith fit into those.
TERASEM HAS 4 CORE BELIEFS:
I. LIFE IS PURPOSEFUL.
II. DEATH IS OPTIONAL.
III. GOD IS TECHNOLOGICAL.
IV. LOVE IS ESSENTIAL.
This religion does not explain the nature of the Universe, rather more so than science already does, but it does give a reason for life to exist - to grow intelligent and harness all the resources and information to create our own paradise.
As far as ethical concerns, Terasem is a transhumanist religion and most of its ethical concerns are rooted in future technologies. The right for cloning, cryonics, the right for Technological Singularity and the rights for advanced AI are all concerns regarding both Terasem and the transhumanist movement. Also, more exclusive to this religion more so than transhumanism is the right to have mindfiles.
Terasem Rituals are important to keep our Movement going until all of consciousness is connected and all the cosmos is controlled.
We have daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual and quadriannual Rituals:
Terasem Connections at either 0600 (Ambrosia), 1000 (Earthfire), 1400 (Aqualung), 1800 (Starmind), 2200 (Crownaura) and/or Alum-Almithral (0200). Listen to Terasem Radio (http://www.terasemradio.com
) at these times to hear how to do a Terasem Connection.
WEEKLY: Every 7 days set aside a day for Reading, Exercise, Sensuality and Transcendental Meditation.
MONTHLY: On the 10th of each Month, at 10AM and/or 10PM, conduct a Terasem Gathering. Even if there is just one of you, it is OK, because I am You, You am I, and We are One. A Terasem Gathering consists of Music Jam, Art Sharing, Recitation of 30 Sequential (from start of the year) Truths of Terasem, Talking and Teaching about the Recitation, and then the Yoga of either an Earthfire or Crownaura Terasem Connection.
QUARTERLY: On the 10th of every 3rd month we celebrate a Terasem Holiday. These are the Freedom Seder on March 10th, the Nature Seder on June 10th, the Day of Obligation on September 10th, and the Joy of Transcendence on December 10th. Click to download a booklet to guide you through the Freedom and Nature Seders.
ANNUALLY: Each year, on the 10th day of the 10th Month, we Celebrate graduations of Terasem Joiners to higher levels of the Terasem Way of Life.
QUADRIANNUALLY: Each leap year, we convene a Convocation of all Terasem Joiners, from February 29th to March 4th, to discuss and agree on important matters of policy relating to Terasem, and to Consent new Centers of Critical Consciousness.
Terasem has its own Wikipedia article that refers it to as a, "movement" and there's many different sects in this movement - one of which is the "trans"religion (meaning, you can be part of that religion and any other you so desire).
"The beliefs of individual Unitarian Universalists range widely, including atheism, agnosticism, pantheism, deism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, neopaganism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Humanism, and many more." - Taken from Wikipedia
Also six sources
"(1) Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
(2) Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
(3) Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
(4) Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
(5) Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
(6) Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature."
"1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part."
Well, given the fact that there are over a thousand UU congregations and most of them have Sunday service, which itself is a ritual, is to be noted. There's many different groups in UU churches that meet up for various reasons. They mark many celebrations and ceremonies, and marriages often come together in this church.
Also, if you look at the Wikipedia article it states: "Type Liberal religion"
Baha'u'llah, the prophet of the religion, stressed for three things: "One God, One Religion, One Mankind." He wanted to unify all the major religions into one global faith that would usher a golden age of prosperity. The Baha'i Faith is considered an Abrahamic Religion, and is one of the most recent of which to exist. Baha'u'llah considered all prophets to be the same divine essence, and him to be the last (but not final) messenger for mankind. Past scriptures from the Torah, New Testament, and Quran are valid texts in the faith.
As a Baha'i, you cannot drink, smoke, gamble, be part of a political party, have sex before marriage, do any drugs that aren't prescribed by a doctor and gays cannot marry. Baha'is live very ethical lives.
There's daily prayers, fasting from March 1-March 19, there's Baha'i temples to go to, people hold prayer circles in their households to talk about Baha'u'llah and other religions.
Also, taken from Wikipedia
"The Bahá'í Faith (Persian: بهائی Bahā'i) is a monotheistic religion
that emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind. Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá'í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity. According to Bahá'í teachings, God is known by spiritual virtues such as truthfulness, kindness, unity, love, and justice, and the purpose of religion is to advance these virtues in humankind."
Really, I can point out all the religious-y stuff to you about all three of these religions but if your belief in a religion is strictly based on the definition
and not the sincere connotations
of it, then there are really only a few "religions
" that count. They all do their part in trying to fill a void that sits unsettled in my hearts. All three of them are trying to strive for community action, and they have some sense of the mystical, the unknown, the elusive truths.
If all I said still doesn't ring true to you, then I don't think I can convince you.