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Old 10-01-2012, 11:01 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anderson View Post
What's the difference between an individual making up a god and a church doing the same thing?
Organizations do not perform creative acts.

Individuals do that. Organizations come along afterwards and try to extract a profit from what was newly created.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:15 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TipRoast View Post
And why is that?

It's because the material world is all there is. There is no "spiritual" reality.
Well, that's your belief. It's not everyone else's.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:38 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyxis* View Post
We are spirits in a material world.
...and I am a material girl.

Sorry, both the rhythm and sounds of the syllables were just right.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TipRoast View Post
Organizations do not perform creative acts.

Individuals do that. Organizations come along afterwards and try to extract a profit from what was newly created.
No, that's still individuals. They build organizations as a tool to do it.


IMO (Please note that some of the below is phrased as telling you to do something. I'm not. I'm kind of transcribing):
The author made this unnecessarily stark to get attention, but I agree with the basic point that the position is essentially lazy. I described myself with exactly those words through most of my teenage years. I called myself agnostic, talked about my journey, read dribs and drabs of this and that.

At one point, I sagely took the position that whatever you believed happened to you when you died was what actually happened to you. This is a very difficult position to attack logically, since anything can be countered with "well that's true for YOU." Also worth noting: there is probably no position more rooted in ego (my brain controls reality!) and in everyone-gets-a-trophy (we're ALL correct and no one's wrong! Hooray!) than this one.

All this stuff I mostly skimmed, I interpreted it almost exclusively for myself. Surprise, surprise, nearly everything I read was applicable to my life, how I felt, what I thought, etc. It all jibed very nicely into one big picture.

At a certain point, the following occurred to me:
1) Whether there is a God or Gods or powers beyond what we can see or understand is far and away the most important question imaginable.
2) The answer - both the actual answer and what you think is the answer - has colossal consequences in terms of how it informs your choices in how to live your life. And possibly, the consequences of the life that you live.

I chewed on that for awhile. Then the following occurred to me, which was a much bigger mindblower than the the first brainstorm:
3) I'm not nearly smart enough, educated enough, or dedicated/disciplined enough to answer that question.
4) Given 3, and seriously thinking back on 2, that's enough to paralyze you. More serious consequences than, for instance, life threatening surgery.
5) I would not attempt life threatening surgery on myself or anyone I love. Or anyone, really. And I'd be scared shitless and paralyzed if someone asked me to try. I would go to a professional. Someone who had trained for this, studied, etc.
6) Therefore, I should turn to a professional for this question - an individual who I thought was qualified (highly unlikely) or an institution that I thought was qualified.

It stands to reason that this may be the wrong decision. I know the bit about the law being written on our hearts, etc., and I agree with that. I'm not saying that it necessarily makes sense to try to adhere to every word of the institution you choose. But psychologically it's way too easy to fool yourself, rationalize, and take the easy way out without something memorialized and someone outside yourself holding you accountable. By all means question, follow your conscience. But question something that is concrete. Have a hypothesis that you try to disprove, or, put another way, something to rebel against and test.

The next bit is trying to choose an institution, which is an entirely different matter. I will say that there are a large number of institutions that do not really provide much in the way of something concrete to test against, and I essentially dismissed these pretty quickly. Given all of the above, a faith that relies on my interpretation of it's texts and doctrines is more or less useless to me since I've already determined that I'm wildly unqualified to do that.

Different churches, temples, gatherings, etc. (and I went to more than a few) made me feel different ways. Often confused, mostly good in some general way, sometimes connected to something beyond myself. In the end, none of that matters in terms of what I believe.

There are a ton of reasons to profess something - community, family, legal obligation, tradition, or just because doing so makes you feel good and brings you peace. But this is not belief. In the end, there is only one reason to believe something: because it is true.

Not because it "feels true" at a certain time or makes you feel a certain way when you think about it. "Believe." I believe that the sun will rise tomorrow. It's comforting to think this, but that's not why I believe it. I believe it because I believe it. It is a faith that has been confirmed over and over again. I would be absolutely FLOORED if the sun did not rise tomorrow.

I often yearn for a faith like that. Other times I am very glad it is not like that. There are even some times - usually very brief - when it really is like that.

Something said at a Unitarian Universalist service stuck with me over the years: "A doubt is an idea that is still alive." That is a very alluring statement. I held it as true for a number of years, well after I joined an organized faith, and it made me feel really good. It is, of course, total nonsense.

Doubting that the sun will rise does not make the concept of the earth's rotation somehow broader, or better, and sure as hell not more accurate. I take that back, it is actually more accurate because it hedges your bets - if you really doubt, you win the grand prize of not being floored if the sun does not rise. But it doesn't tell you anything. It doesn't assert anything. In fact, it specifically avoids asserting anything. It totally pleads ignorance, just like I was doing. But it sort of stops there and says, "aw, **** it."

Stakes are way too high to stop there. When pressed, most atheists would agree that the Yes/No to God/Spaghetti Monster question is the most important question one can ask. Other than "do we have any bacon" of course, but right up there.

Not everyone agrees with the next step, that if you come down on the "Yes there is a Higher Power" side you have some more questions to answer. But me, I can't get past that - it makes no sense to me to stop there.

"So there's this thing, all important, superpowerful, may or may not have demands of us and how we live our lives, there may or may not be reward/punishment/natural consequence involved."
"Really? Badass. So what's this thing like? What does it want? What does that mean to me?"
"Huh? Oh, I dunno. I'm gonna grab a Snickers and play Guitar Hero. You in?"

This is the part where I'm supposed to say that I'm not saying I'm right. OF COURSE I'm saying I'm right. It's what I BELIEVE.

What I'll say is: reasonable people can disagree. But if you're going to disagree and want me to take it seriously and/or engage you in the question, you're going to have to tell me why. That is, where I am wrong. I can accept that you believe what you believe because it feels right to you and you feel connected or what have you. But that means nothing to me because it's only a re-assertion that you believe it, which I am perfectly happy to grant you.

This isn't a challenge or some internet ego trip take-all-comers-because-I'm-so-smart thing. The stakes haven't changed, and if I'm wrong I bloody well want to know that I'm wrong as soon as possible. I don't much care for arguments against the existence of God for two reasons: 1) it's a ridiculously tall order to ask you to prove a negative, even more so since you're not starting from even ground because 2) I'd be lying if I said I was all that open to it. I have my times of doubt, and many times I want to believe this because society makes me feel silly and stupid for espousing a particular faith. But realistically I've never spent much time on the "No higher power" camp, and when I have it was more an emotional reaction than based on serious thought or consideration.



Thus endeth Late Night Long-Winded Stream Of Consiousness Religious Musings with your host, Flagg the Wanderer. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:15 AM   #34
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I honestly believe that Epicurus and Lucretius are right.

Truly.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:03 AM   #35
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Quite frankly I don't care what anyone thinks about my spirituality. I very much doubt that people out there feel the ground shake or booming thunder because I'm at home on a Sunday morning.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:09 AM   #36
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I have no problem with describing myself as "spirtual, but not religious" and if somebody wants to call me lazy for that, then great. That doesn't faze me. I could easily call them lazy for letting somebody else do their thinking for them or rationalizing that if there are two hundred other people sitting in this church then we must be onto something. Yeah, that's it. We got this thing figured out. Pity the fools who aren't on this jubilee train, because WE'RE going to heaven and they ain't.

My fundamental belief is that mankind has literally no idea what actually created the universe and the world in which we live in. None. Perhaps we simply aren't intelligent enough as a species to grasp the concept.

Religions do provide an explanation for most everything and that, therefore, has a great deal of appeal for many who aren't into eternal mysteries without answers and I get that. It drives me nuts too, but not nuts enough to believe somebody that is just making shit up.

Those explanations just don't work for me, but I believe in generally playing nice with others when I'm not wondering what God actually is. That is, when my lazy ass can conjure up enough energy to think. The only thing I'm sure of is that I'm not God. I'm not the center of the universe. The rest is all speculation.

Spiritual, but not religious. Tag me if you feel the need.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:42 AM   #37
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:52 AM   #38
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Lucretius, a Roman poet who died around 50 BC, had some amazingly sophisticated thoughts on life and death, the nature of the soul, the way the universe worked, etc.
He was deeply influenced by the Greek philosopher Epicurus; here are some of their beliefs:

1. The universe is created of units called "atoms" (keep in mind this was WELL before the invention of the microscope by about 2000 years). Nothing is creating from nothing or perishes into nothingness.
2. There is a limited number of types of atoms (think of the periodic table)
3. The soul, being comprised of atoms, dies when the body dies; therefore, there is no afterlife.
4. To eliminate the fear that people have of the divine, one must gain an understanding of the physical universe. True understanding of the universe around us will free of the fear of death.

Outstanding stuff.

If you're interested, this is a great link on Lucretius: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/lucretius/.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:21 AM   #39
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Noone likes to be told that they are worshipping their own self.

So, let me ask the "spiritual but not religious" people here.

Name something about your "spiritual but not religious" faith that you disagree with.

One thing.

Name it.

Let's take Christians, Leviticus 20:13

20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

This is God speaking to Moses.

Now, I am guessing that most Christians probably do not agree with this.

If you can't find something in your faith that you at least question, then it means that you made it up, you manufactured your own religion in your own self image.

If you agree with your religion 100%, then without question your religion is self worship, because noone but you would agree 100% with it.

Either that, or you worship nothing, so there is nothing to disagree with.

I know someone will ask.

I am a Deist.
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Who is this self-important instigating douche-bag, anyway?
Dude, Baron has been a valued member of this forum for quite some time.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:01 PM   #40
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Am I the only one who has no idea what Baron is going on about?

It's my belief that the tool who wrote this article has no idea what "spirituality" is.

I'm not sure if Baron knows, either.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:16 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron Samedi View Post
Noone likes to be told that they are worshipping their own self.

So, let me ask the "spiritual but not religious" people here.

Name something about your "spiritual but not religious" faith that you disagree with.

One thing.

Name it.

Let's take Christians, Leviticus 20:13

20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

This is God speaking to Moses.

Now, I am guessing that most Christians probably do not agree with this.

If you can't find something in your faith that you at least question, then it means that you made it up, you manufactured your own religion in your own self image.

If you agree with your religion 100%, then without question your religion is self worship, because noone but you would agree 100% with it.

Either that, or you worship nothing, so there is nothing to disagree with.

I know someone will ask.

I am a Deist.
Do you ever stand on a beach and watch the sunset? Or bald eagles soar over the Snake River scanning for salmon? Or
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:20 PM   #42
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Stupid length restrictions. Do you ever just admire nature? I do and I find it spiritual. I haven't found anything in nature that I disagree with. That's my God there, Baron. Do you understand how one can be spiritual without religion? Because I'm not going to go into nature and read the Bible.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:32 PM   #43
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Spirituality is the concept of an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality;[1] an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the "deepest values and meanings by which people live."[2] Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop an individual's inner life. Spiritual experiences can include being connected to a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self; joining with other individuals or the human community; with nature or the cosmos; or with the divine realm.[3] Spirituality is often experienced as a source of inspiration or orientation in life.[4] It can encompass belief in immaterial realities or experiences of the immanent or transcendent nature of the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirituality

Spirituality IS religion.

Trust me, I am well familiar with "spiritual but not religious" people. They are verywhere in my life, trying to express to me how wonderful their bullshit theories are.

Here is a bit of "truth" for ya, chump.

God is probably unaware that you exist. God is probably unaware that Humans exist.

He probably wouldn't care if he does know, any more than a lab technician cares about the bacteria they are growing in a Petri dish.

As a Deist, I believe God scribbled the laws of nature out on the universe and pressed the "Go" button, and is watching it go, and that's about it.
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Who is this self-important instigating douche-bag, anyway?
Dude, Baron has been a valued member of this forum for quite some time.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:39 PM   #44
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Quote:
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Stupid length restrictions. Do you ever just admire nature? I do and I find it spiritual. I haven't found anything in nature that I disagree with. That's my God there, Baron. Do you understand how one can be spiritual without religion? Because I'm not going to go into nature and read the Bible.
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I do understand what you are saying.

I spend a lot of time in the mountains of Maine with no electricity or cell phone service.

I've seen a lot of things, and I feel at home there.

...I guess I would not classify this as "spiritual".

Spiritual implies belief in something that is not part of this world. That is the whole point of the word "spirit".

So, I recognize and identify what you are feeling.

But unless you are assigning some additional properties to it, or the things around you, properties that involve otherworldly existences and connections, that is not "spirituality".

If you ARE assigning otherworldly properties and connections to your experience, then that is "spirituality", which is religion.
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Dude, Baron has been a valued member of this forum for quite some time.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:12 PM   #45
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I do understand what you are saying.

I spend a lot of time in the mountains of Maine with no electricity or cell phone service.

I've seen a lot of things, and I feel at home there.

...I guess I would not classify this as "spiritual".
I'm doing exactly that tomorrow for 5 days. To Baxter State Park. Perhaps I'm not really bright enough to understand the Webster's definition of spiritual, so I looked it up:

1: of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit : incorporeal <spiritual needs>

Spirit also has several meanings. The one I prefer to use, is:

1: an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms

I'm pretty sure that I am alive and nowhere do I feel more alive then when I am in the backcountry of Baxter. I feel the beauty and the power of the place in a way that feels real. It affects me in a way that feels spiritual, therefore it is so far as I am concerned.

So, I guess we partially agree on something. Or temporarily seem to until you reply to tell me just how wrong my "bullshit theories" are.
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