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Offline Epiphany84

Spiritual - not religious
« on: September 27, 2010, 10:24:47 PM »
Okay.  So I'm going to be brave and make post with some of my thoughts.  I've come to the conclusion recently that I am atheist.  I have this obsession with talking, reading, and watching vlogs about it.  I don't know what it is.  Maybe its because I finally was able to let go of the guilt, or maybe that fear that somehow I could be wrong and burn in hell. After being indoctrinated my whole life to believe in 'God' and to fear him, coming out of it I feel free and this feeling is hard to contain.  I hate that I don't know any other atheist outside of the internet.  When I talk to my spiritual/religious friends, they may entertain me to an extent but no one really sees eye to eye with me.  Not that I need for the world to agree with me, but I guess it kinda sucks when you feel you are the only one. 

Well on to the topic.  In my search for opinions and debate - this including speaking with good friends - I find that a common theme is "I am not religious, but I believe in God, or I believe there is indeed a higher being."  While I am not opposed to the idea that there is a possibility that a God could exist, I doubt that there is because there is absolutely no reason to believe that a 'God' is somewhere lurking in the 5Th dimension in my humble opinion.  I also recently heard an argument that Atheist incorrectly attribute the characteristics of God to Yahweh, Allah, etc... to find flaws in human constructs in 'God' as a means to argue to point out the absurdity in religion, spiritualism, or the effects of these beliefs on the world.  They say that 'God' cannot be defined or compared to humans, or human ideas.

So my thing is, if you are spiritual and believe in 'God',  simply believe that there is some higher power but reject religion, or omit large chunks from this religious text or that one to believe a few texts that sound right to you - where in the universe do you get your concept of what 'God' is?  Like when has 'God' ever revealed itself or what it is.  So how then can one believe in 'God' without religion.  There is no historical record or phenomenon where 'God' has been expressed in verifiable ways that we can comprehend what a higher power or 'God' is.  Is it not then the case  'God' in itself is a man made concept.  Even without the use of religion or a sacred text, it is only a idea that was created by man.  I don't understand the logic.  I just find this so frustrating because I can have a great conversation with people about why religion is harmful, dumb, contradictory and the 3rd, but when it comes to having a belief in a god, and feeling like some spiritual being is out there and possibly even guiding or waiting for you in the afterlife, then all bets are off.  Why can people see through religion, but then fail to understand that also as religion is man made, so is the concept of 'God' altogether. 

I can totally be missing something here.  But I am very open to discussion and your thoughts on this.

Offline Tealeaf

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 10:51:17 PM »
The best way to look at it is like an addiction; a drug. People are 'trained' (brainwashed) from before they know better to believe what they believe for the most part. They are so hopelessly hooked on it that they will fight to defend it even when they themselves know it makes no sense.

The concept of a god is an easy way out. It takes no thought to believe blindly in any god. It becomes a game - a mission with purpose even - to believe, regardless of anything.

The 'higher power' thing is just a wishy washy way for smart people under the influence of religion to stay stay hooked.

Think about it realistically though. When has any of this belief crap stopped anyone from doing what they want? And if it has, why?

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 11:39:54 PM »
the perfect way of thinking of it ,id the way they describe everybody's views views that may be different from theirs....Myth
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline xphobe

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2010, 12:00:29 AM »
If I may draw an analogy...

I've been involved in several different martial arts, from judo, to karate, to kuk sool won (a Korean style).  Every "master" has the same story: theirs is the only way, it was handed down in secret from father to son, it is the true martial art, he can do amazing stuff with "Qi" that nobody else can do, yada yada.  Eventually you begin to notice repeating patterns in their claims, and when that happens you become enlightened and all the woo falls away.

At that point you have to ask yourself what is your goal: to do what is basically cool-looking choreography and develop your balance, or to kick ass.  If you just want to look cool, go ahead and continue memorizing dozens of forms, holds, and blocks.  If you want to kick ass, scrap it all, get as strong as you can, and learn a handful of basic down-and-dirty techniques really well.  Bruce Lee knew this - he said you have to use whatever is practical and cast off whatever is not essential.  In other words, you could say he applied a kind of scientific method to the "religions" that had evolved around fighting.

Maybe I should have started a MA thread to post this in.   But my point is that religions are inbred and ritualized and refined with lots of specialized teaching, but it's all for show, which they do so well that they sucker a lot of people. Meanwhile, if you really want to know as much as you can about reality, apply the scientific method, use what is practical and cast off what is not essential.  To me, gods are not essential.
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Offline generousgeorge

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2010, 12:30:46 AM »
Okay Epiphany....... I'm Agnostic and I think there is a very important component of our existence that involves what can be called a Higher Power or Spirituality. I'm going to put on my Flak Jacket now..... I have been in the (AA) alcoholics anonymous program for many years. One of the steps of the "program "is to turn your will" (when it comes to drinking) over to a higher power of your own understanding.

That turned out to be a turning point for me in what was a problem in my life that no amount of will power could help, at least not  after I had the first drink under my belt. Significantly, from the moment I turned that problem over to "my higher power" it ceased to be a problem. I was able to stop drinking in an almost miraculous and unexplained way. So for me it was a real change that unexpectedly happened to me that many around me, who had ben through the same transformation, maintained was a spiritual experience for them.

Now, before that, the term spiritual was not in my vocabulary so I had no preconceived notions of "Gods" etc., all that was just something that was kind of on the periphery of my life experience and not something I counted as significant one way or another. I did not have a vision of "jesus" or "allah" and take on a religion lock, stock and barrel.

I just added another experience to my lifes journey. It was not a God in any sense that a christian religious person for example, would recognize. It was just kind of a paradigm change in the way I looked at the world. Whatever that "power" was that worked for me and the people around me I would find as the years went by worked for me in other areas of my life. I came to call that the "spiritual" component of my life and it symbolizes for me the fact that we don't know what we dont' know and need to be open to recognizing spiritual influence when it occurs.

I pray daily to "Whom it may concern"  :P I only pray for willingness to be honest with myself and be in tune with and open to whatever higher power for good might exist in us all. Maybe it is just a psychological "mind trick" I don't know and it does not matter for me. It opened the door for me to sharing with like minded people the goodness and power that is inside all of us when we are open and willing to recognize and utilize it.

Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.....heads for bomb shelter.

« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 12:35:58 AM by generousgeorge »

Offline MadBunny

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2010, 12:32:48 AM »
Epiphany.

Good name to use for a topic like this.  The thing is, when somebody shifts from religious to atheist what happens is a shift in perception.  No longer do you need to filter what happens through your religious glasses that color all your observations.  Instead you simply see what is there.

The problem with that is that as humans we've developed the tendency to see patterns in things where none exist.  a 'streak' of good luck, constellations etc.  That desire to see order where non necessarily exists makes us just flat our invent things if we can't figure it out.  For example, have you ever been raking up a big yard full of dry leaves and right when you have them all in a pile to bag, a gust of wind comes along and scatters them all over the place?  It feels really personal, like the wind, or some capricious force is messing with (or testing) you.  We WANT there to be something more than just what we see, so we invent it.  Everybody does, atheist or not.

Now, add in all the social pressures to be religious and you can see why so many people trend toward 'deist' or so called 'agnostic' rather than fully atheist.  Personally I find that the whole 'spiritual' argument is a cop out. 
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline generousgeorge

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2010, 12:37:24 AM »
Is that why they call you "Madbunny"?  :D

Offline MadBunny

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 12:42:02 AM »
That turned out to be a turning point for me in what was a problem in my life that no amount of will power could help, at least not  after I had the first drink under my belt. Significantly, from the moment I turned that problem over to "my higher power" it ceased to be a problem. I was able to stop drinking in an almost miraculous and unexplained way. So for me it was a real change that unexpectedly happened to me that many around me, who had ben through the same transformation, maintained was a spiritual experience for them.
>:(

I don't want to get into a bash fest, since generally speaking I like you GG, but I have to tell you, this kind of thing just pisses me off to no end.  For all that AA works for some people, an astonishingly small number mind you,[1]I cannot stand their philosophy, nor any doctrine that teaches somebody to abdicate personal responsibility for their own actions.


Is that why they call you "Madbunny"?  :D

Actually it's a nickname I got when I was much younger.  A story from my firefighting days.


 1. though obviously important to each of the ones it works for
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline Epiphany84

Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2010, 01:43:36 AM »
Epiphany.

Good name to use for a topic like this.  The thing is, when somebody shifts from religious to atheist what happens is a shift in perception.  No longer do you need to filter what happens through your religious glasses that color all your observations.  Instead you simply see what is there.

The problem with that is that as humans we've developed the tendency to see patterns in things where none exist.  a 'streak' of good luck, constellations etc.  That desire to see order where non necessarily exists makes us just flat our invent things if we can't figure it out.  For example, have you ever been raking up a big yard full of dry leaves and right when you have them all in a pile to bag, a gust of wind comes along and scatters them all over the place?  It feels really personal, like the wind, or some capricious force is messing with (or testing) you.  We WANT there to be something more than just what we see, so we invent it.  Everybody does, atheist or not.

Now, add in all the social pressures to be religious and you can see why so many people trend toward 'deist' or so called 'agnostic' rather than fully atheist.  Personally I find that the whole 'spiritual' argument is a cop out. 

I completely understand that natural tendency to associate events with a perceived notion of fate and draw up patterns or try to 'connect the dots'.  I've become more of a skeptic in many ways.  And trying to undo that pattern-thinking I almost have to pinch myself.  Like during the day when every thing goes just wrong so that I miss an important  phone call, or that everything goes just right so that I see an old friend that I had been thinking about.  Not all the time, but sometimes I have to 'pop the rubber band' on my wrist and remind myself that hey "sh!t happens".  I don't believe in the hocus pocus AT ALL.  And on my long road to atheism, I realized how much those everyday superstitions and pattern drawing help explain or be at peace with the random events that may occur.  It's just habitual. 

Concerning the spiritual belief's... I started there too for a split second, admitting that religion was obviously farce, but remaining open to the idea that 'God' is actually there in some form. But when you try to define what that 'God' is, or what you know about it, and how it would be relevant to your life - you soon realize its pointless and maybe even dangerous. I  imagine that the struggle for most people is the thought that there is nothing guiding you, no bigger reason for the BS you've been through, and no glorious cosmic happy ending.  That scares people sh!tless.   I think when you can get used to the idea that life has all the meaning YOU give it you can then let go of the need to find and create other explanations.

(And thanks for the kudos on the name  ;D couldn't think of anything better when joining the forum)

Offline Epiphany84

Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2010, 02:04:42 AM »
Okay Epiphany....... I'm Agnostic and I think there is a very important component of our existence that involves what can be called a Higher Power or Spirituality. I'm going to put on my Flak Jacket now..... I have been in the (AA) alcoholics anonymous program for many years. One of the steps of the "program "is to turn your will" (when it comes to drinking) over to a higher power of your own understanding.

That turned out to be a turning point for me in what was a problem in my life that no amount of will power could help, at least not  after I had the first drink under my belt. Significantly, from the moment I turned that problem over to "my higher power" it ceased to be a problem. I was able to stop drinking in an almost miraculous and unexplained way. So for me it was a real change that unexpectedly happened to me that many around me, who had ben through the same transformation, maintained was a spiritual experience for them.

Now, before that, the term spiritual was not in my vocabulary so I had no preconceived notions of "Gods" etc., all that was just something that was kind of on the periphery of my life experience and not something I counted as significant one way or another. I did not have a vision of "jesus" or "allah" and take on a religion lock, stock and barrel.

I just added another experience to my lifes journey. It was not a God in any sense that a christian religious person for example, would recognize. It was just kind of a paradigm change in the way I looked at the world. Whatever that "power" was that worked for me and the people around me I would find as the years went by worked for me in other areas of my life. I came to call that the "spiritual" component of my life and it symbolizes for me the fact that we don't know what we dont' know and need to be open to recognizing spiritual influence when it occurs.

I pray daily to "Whom it may concern"  :P I only pray for willingness to be honest with myself and be in tune with and open to whatever higher power for good might exist in us all. Maybe it is just a psychological "mind trick" I don't know and it does not matter for me. It opened the door for me to sharing with like minded people the goodness and power that is inside all of us when we are open and willing to recognize and utilize it.

Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.....heads for bomb shelter.



I went there first.  That there was something bigger inside of each and everyone of us.  Maybe that we all were a part of 'God' or that we were all 'Gods' or that there was a source.  Not an external force, but something that is spiritual that we can reach into and bring out the best in ourselves.  And for a season, that seemed to be true.  But what exactly was I tapping into?  Is it a 'higher power'?  A universal god that is all of us?  In one sense if we call that god, it would be the  fabric of existence. But then it could be anything... an atom, a neutrino.  To accept in a definite sense that the thing that empowers you is anything other than yourself seems to be wishful thinking and that's not to impune your experience.  There is so much we do not understand about the universe. The fact that humans can do extraordinary things when there is an overwhelming will to survive when faced with a hardship or an immediate threat to life does make you wonder if its more than just hormones and instincts, but why should one believe it is anything else.  I love history and love studying societies and human thought and behavior at certain levels of knowledge and understanding.  It bums me out that I can't be here to see what we will understand 500 years from now - if we still exist.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2010, 09:03:03 AM »
The claim that a theist isnt' "religious" is, IMO, a reaction to how theists have made, by their actions, religious mean something very negative.  They want to run away from the pile of sh!t that they have made.  They *are* religious and they have created their own religion in their own image, their self-projection as god.   
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Offline generousgeorge

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2010, 10:21:12 AM »
That turned out to be a turning point for me in what was a problem in my life that no amount of will power could help, at least not  after I had the first drink under my belt. Significantly, from the moment I turned that problem over to "my higher power" it ceased to be a problem. I was able to stop drinking in an almost miraculous and unexplained way. So for me it was a real change that unexpectedly happened to me that many around me, who had ben through the same transformation, maintained was a spiritual experience for them.
>:(

I don't want to get into a bash fest, since generally speaking I like you GG, but I have to tell you, this kind of thing just pisses me off to no end.  For all that AA works for some people, an astonishingly small number mind you,[1]I cannot stand their philosophy, nor any doctrine that teaches somebody to abdicate personal responsibility for their own actions.


Is that why they call you "Madbunny"?  :D

Actually it's a nickname I got when I was much younger.  A story from my firefighting days.

 1. though obviously important to each of the ones it works for

Hmm, quite a reaction there.  &) I do not want to discuss the success rate of AA..... "figures don't lie and liars figure".  
I don't know what the success rate is for the organization as a whole, or even what should be counted as a success or failure. The  only rate that counts for me is mine and the people I know personally. (have first hand evidence for)

Do you even know what my philosophy is. What part of the philosophy I state here is what "pisses you off"?

"I just added another experience to my lifes journey. It was not a God in any sense that a christian religious person for example, would recognize. It was just kind of a paradigm change in the way I looked at the world. Whatever that "power" was that worked for me and the people around me I would find as the years went by worked for me in other areas of my life. I came to call that the "spiritual" component of my life and it symbolizes for me the fact that we don't know what we dont' know and need to be open to recognizing spiritual influence when it occurs."
"I pray daily to "Whom it may concern"   I only pray for willingness to be honest with myself and be in tune with and open to whatever higher power for good might exist in us all. Maybe it is just a psychological "mind trick" I don't know and it does not matter for me. It opened the door for me to sharing with like minded people the goodness and power that is inside all of us when we are open and willing to recognize and utilize it."

PS .... I don;t know why we need fire fighters anyway, why not just have a dedicated group to pray those fires out.  :D

Offline gonegolfing

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2010, 10:52:53 AM »
Epiphany84:

Quote
Why can people see through religion, but then fail to understand that also as religion is man made, so is the concept of 'God' altogether.  

I can totally be missing something here.  But I am very open to discussion and your thoughts on this.

Holding onto the idea of a god can be the last and comforting bastion of relief to the troubled human mind that has abandoned religion. At this point the purpose of religion is meaningless to them, but the purpose of their existence is still heavy on their minds. The reality of a finite life that ends more than likely with a painful death is troubling enough on its own, but add to that the thought that their existence was the result of a purposeless natural event and it then becomes a burden to the mind that many cannot handle and they continue to cling to the god/supernatural hypothesis.

They have understood their entire lives that religions as organisations and their rituals, are man made.
But even though many have seen through religion and the fact that they have been bullied and coerced, they still consider that the foundations on which religions stand are not man made and believe them to be supernatural ones. This makes it much more difficult to abandon the god idea in general because once this is done the onus then rests on them to give deeper meaning and purpose to their own lives, the responsibility of creating moral and ethical codes for themselves, and of course, it also eliminates the afterlife doctrine that most believe goes along with faith in dieties.

Importantly as well, it also takes away the "god did it" answers that so many rely on for gaps in knowledge at the moment.

If one abandons both religion and the god idea, an absurdity is then revealed between what we previously wanted out of life and what the universe has to offer us. The atheist must then come to grips with this reality and press on with integrity and hope and purpose, and in love. Which as far as I can see, happens mostly all the time  :)

Thank goodness for biological evolution, and although it's not always perfect, its wonderful gift of material mental and emotional awareness to us  ;)  

  
  
 
"I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism"....Penn Jillette.

Offline generousgeorge

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2010, 12:20:07 PM »
UP  please take note that I am not an Atheist... ;D

I was helping my 17 year old with her science class on atoms and was reminded they are mostly empty space. The analogy that caught my eye, was the one that demonstrated the relative distance between the nucleus and the electrons of an atom being comparable to a marble in a football stadium. So, in a way our whole reality is mostly empty space.  :shrug

The more we learn about our world through Science, the more we come to comprehend how little we know about our universe and our very existence. I have no doubt that Science is reducing the "God of The Gaps" at light speed, but it is also (for me) making me more and more aware that I just don't know what I don't know. Our senses detect solid objects from what in fact may just be the empty space, in atoms and waves of electron clouds configured around Nuclei as described in the football analogy.  

I understand about the scientific method and measurable facts etc., what I don't understand is the knee jerk reaction of many atheists to the idea that if you cannot measure it with current science, for all practical purposes it does not exist. We cannot measure thought or emotions or consciousness in general, yet some day Science may figure out how all that works and we could be surprised by the hidden meanings of the quote..... "All the world is a stage and we are but actors on it."

I sometimes see a similarity in the immediate knee jerk reaction of Atheist to anything with a spiritual connotation which reminds me very much of the Christian reaction to the possibility even, that the Bible is not the literal word of God.

Without at least some bridge of the gap between Atheism and Religion, sites like this are often just a waste of time. I pray daily that "The Force" lol whatever, be WILLING to help me be honest with myself and to also be open to the things I dont know and help to bridge that gap.

Surprised UP???   :o

Offline velkyn

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2010, 12:27:06 PM »
I'll have to say that at least this atheist doesn't say if we can't measure it with current technology it doesnt' exist. That would be simply dumb, since we've found things constantly the better our instruments are.  I will say that since there is not a shred of evidence of any kind for oh, say the "soul", there is little reason to assume it exists.   
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2010, 12:52:12 PM »
What part of the philosophy I state here is what "pisses you off"?

PS .... I don;t know why we need fire fighters anyway, why not just have a dedicated group to pray those fires out.  :D
You are right not to talk about the relative success of AA.  First, because it's dismal, second because ultimately it's irrelevant.

The problem I have with AA? It's the abdication of personal responsibility for your own actions that AA espouses.  The whine and bitch fests that ensue while a group of what are ostensibly adults, sits around in a room filled with stale cigarette smoke and bad coffee blaming 'the alcohol for their problems.  Might as well be a quilting circle 300 years ago blaming Satan for all their problems and abdicating the responsibility to think to a 'higher power'.  The only main difference between AA and a church is that your bible only has 12 steps in it and little poker chips with numbers on them.

While I'm glad that AA helps some people find a way to deal with their problems, albeit in a childish way, I don't see it as any different than a women submitting herself to a nunnery and to avoid dealing with the real world.  The philosophy of "a higher power solved my problems for me" pisses me off.
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline generousgeorge

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2010, 01:41:53 PM »
My experience with AA leads me to a different opinion. anyway, I can't knit worth a damn.   ;D How did you come to these conclusions, first hand experience or some other source and I still don't see why it pisses you off so much. Must be more to all that than meets the eye.

anyway..... I was just trying to give my "spiritual" if you want to call it that experience.....any comments on that or are you including me in the nunnery, quilting, childish group?  :-\
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 02:05:10 PM by generousgeorge »

Offline Omen

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2010, 01:56:59 PM »
Okay.  So I'm going to be brave and make post with some of my thoughts.



Quote
I've come to the conclusion recently that I am atheist.

Well then I'll put the torches and pitchforks away.

Quote
  I have this obsession with talking, reading, and watching vlogs about it.  I don't know what it is.  Maybe its because I finally was able to let go of the guilt, or maybe that fear that somehow I could be wrong and burn in hell. After being indoctrinated my whole life to believe in 'God' and to fear him, coming out of it I feel free and this feeling is hard to contain.  I hate that I don't know any other atheist outside of the internet.  When I talk to my spiritual/religious friends, they may entertain me to an extent but no one really sees eye to eye with me.  Not that I need for the world to agree with me, but I guess it kinda sucks when you feel you are the only one.

I think that this is just an accompanying factor of breaking through indoctrination.  It feels good not having to jump through hoops of self rationalization and compartmentalization, plus all the emotional dependencies tied up with the indoctrination become moot.  I've also observed a negative reaction that accompanies deconversion, usually exhibiting itself as shame and anger.  People seem to be made that they ever believed in the first place, that they cheerfully accepted lies ( or even lied to themselves ), and all for the belief of superstitious fantasy that is often to the benefit of human suffering.  I certainly felt ashamed that I had not questioned earlier, faster, and with more insistence on being answered.

Quote
Well on to the topic.  In my search for opinions and debate - this including speaking with good friends - I find that a common theme is "I am not religious, but I believe in God, or I believe there is indeed a higher being." 

....

I can totally be missing something here.  But I am very open to discussion and your thoughts on this.

You have to remember that the language tied up religion and cultural beliefs is heavily rhetorical.  Plus, the individuals that use that kind of language may not necessarily be too concerned with the deeper intellectual merits and instead might defer the language they are using to more emotional terms.  The self becomes god, happiness becomes spirituality, etc.

My only advice is to not be too wrapped up in the labels people use and if in doubt, just ask what they mean.
"Religious faith is the antithesis to knowledge, it is the opposition to education, and it has to act in animosity against the free exchange of ideas.  Why? Because those things are what cause harm to a religions place in society most." - Me

Offline xphobe

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2010, 02:12:01 PM »
You are right not to talk about the relative success of AA.  First, because it's dismal, second because ultimately it's irrelevant.

Isn't the important question "relative to what?"  If AA's success rate is dismal, but other methods are dismaler, then maybe AA is the way to go.  I'm not taking sides here, I'm just saying we should look at the studies.  If it works, use it.  We can figure out why it works later but meanwhile maybe we've saved some lives.
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Offline generousgeorge

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2010, 02:27:09 PM »
There is one major study done that is flawed for lack of good definitions and control of sample input. More important, there are a million people, including me, that say it worked for them.

I derived most of my personal opinion on "How it works" from my 25 year experience with the program" observing first hand thousands of people coming into the program, who stays, what happens, who leaves, why?  I am not promoting AA as it is a "Program of Attraction" and I strongly disagree with court ordered attendance.

Thats all I am going to say about AA, if someone wants more info or to discuss pro or con, I will be glad to do that with private messages or providing my phone number.

I primarily wanted to tell Epiphany how I thought my AA experience might relate to his question.

PS.... I want the 12 steps imprinted in gold in every public office.  NOW!!!

Offline xphobe

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2010, 02:39:15 PM »
More important, there are a million people, including me, that say it worked for them.

That's no more important than the claims of the 3.6 billion people who believe in Yahweh/Allah.  Three billion flies like bullshit, but it's still bullshit.  Important would be a decent double-blind study or two.  It's astounding to me that they haven't been done in all this time.

Our world is full of pseudoscience claims: autism cures, homeopathic medicine, chiropractic, etc.  As rational skeptics part of our job is to determine as best we can what reality actually is, as opposed to what people would like it to be.

If there's a method of kicking addiction that actually works, even if involves chanting to Papa Smurf or drinking the blood from severed chicken heads, then I'm all for it.  Let the facts decide.
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Online Str82Hell

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2010, 03:05:01 PM »
Thats all I am going to say about AA, if someone wants more info or to discuss pro or con, I will be glad to do that with private messages or providing my phone number.
Do you accept collect calls? :P

I've found a great quote yesterday and I put it in my signature, do you agree with it?

You assume that there is a higher power, because of an experience. You managed to stay away from the booze after you mentally handed your problems to a 'higher power', maybe even because of it, who knows. Your assumption however, is based on an experience, not on an objective observation. You recovered after putting your fate in something beyond yourself, but it has not been proven that something beyond yourself actually cured you, it's an assumption. We don't know because of what you were cured. Don't you think that it's incorrect to assume a higher power did it, since there's no evidence for that. Yes it is apparent, but back in the days when people didn't know the shape of the earth, it was apparent that it was flat. Yet many years later, we all know now that the earth in fact is spherical.
Quote from: George Bernard Shaw
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one

Offline generousgeorge

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2010, 03:17:21 PM »
Are you a very cute young blonde girl?   ;D  For me, that is anyone under 50   :'( If so, YES, I accept collect calls.  :P

Basically I said....."I just added another experience to my lifes journey. It was not a God in any sense that a christian religious person for example, would recognize. It was just kind of a paradigm change in the way I looked at the world. Whatever that "power" was that worked for me and the people around me I would find as the years went by worked for me in other areas of my life. I came to call that the "spiritual" component of my life and it symbolizes for me the fact that we don't know what we dont' know and need to be open to recognizing spiritual influence when it occurs."

"I pray daily to "Whom it may concern"   I only pray for willingness to be honest with myself and be in tune with and open to whatever higher power for good might exist in us all. Maybe it is just a psychological "mind trick" I don't know and it does not matter for me. It opened the door for me to sharing with like minded people the goodness and power that is inside all of us when we are open and willing to recognize and utilize it."

Man just say spiritual and all you guys act like superman around Kryptonite.   &)

You are all making strawmen out of my position, just like you accuse the Christians of, anyway I am not an AA Evangelist so I respectfully withdraw from the discussion as my opinion on the subject is just that, my opinion.  8)
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 03:20:45 PM by generousgeorge »

Online nogodsforme

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2010, 03:26:07 PM »
I have one question for the "spiritual and/or religious" people. Why do you need to believe that there is "something more out there"? It seems to come down to a nebulous feeling that "this life is not all that there is" and "it makes me feel like I matter".

I can understand to some extent if you are one of the truly downtrodden people of the earth: an untouchable cleaning latrines for 50 cents a day in Calcutta; or a HIV-positive prostitute in a Haitian shanty town; a starving prisoner in a Chinese forced labor camp.

If you have almost nothing holding you together and are at the edge of your human resources, maybe you need to start relying on imaginary supernatural beings or forces to help you survive.

But so many of these "spiritual" people are middle class westerners, employed, educated, highly privileged in global and historical terms.  Probably have enough to eat, a decent place to live, entertainment at your fingertips, the ability to travel widely, and communicate with people all over the world. No major threats to existence or daily survival. Even if some part of your life falls apart, there are usually some resources to rely on, in terms of family, friends, or social services to keep us from hitting absolute bottom. Not paradise, but certainly a fairly comfortable life.

Why do you need magic, too?

Incidentally there are many articles critical of and questioning AA type programs. I come from a family of alcoholics/addicts and none of them ever attended AA or ever would. Some stopped drinking and abusing the people around them. Some never did. :shrug

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/06/ff_alcoholics_anonymous/all/1

http://www.sossobriety.org/sos2/aa%20articles.htm
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline TopolX

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2010, 05:48:18 PM »
Asking why people believe in higher powers or magic or spiritualism etc is like asking why people take drugs or drink alcohol. It's detrimental and unnecessary but people ultimately do so because they want to and enjoy doing so. People, even the most skeptical, are prone to flights of fantasy or at least suspending disbelief in some rediculous crap just for the pleasure of doing so. Take for example your favourite film, doesn't matter what it is be it action, sci-fi, romcom or whatever and there will be at least one thing in it which is totally impossible or unrealistic but when you watch it you will for the few moments that it occurs (or longer in some cases) stop thinking "that's total rubbish and would never happen" just so that the moment is more enjoyable to watch. Now a lot of people, even rational ones, will have some sort of belief in something which isn't provable or even sensible but will hold onto it just because they want to, it's human nature and a higher power is a common one as it has a lot of perks to the psyche from a personal perspective. It essentially allows you to fill in gaps in your knowledge comfortably, takes some of the responsibility in your actions out of your hands and gives your life more meaning (I know this has been said elsewhere but it backs up my point).

On the topic of AA, that's what you get when you don't have an NHS. My father is and was an alcoholic but the NHS did send him to be "dryed out" which meant he was not an alcoholic for 3 years or so. He unfortunately started again last year despite the doctors warning him that if he went back on it they wouldn't bother sending him back for rehabilitation and the process didn't stop him being a miserable bastard but the overall method used is far more effective as it physically forces a person to give up rather than giving them some self help BS and I'm sure overall success rates are much higher for this method than the AA's.
If I don't agree with anyone am I invariably wrong?

Offline Gimpy

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2010, 06:03:20 PM »
Now a lot of people, even rational ones, will have some sort of belief in something which isn't provable or even sensible but will hold onto it just because they want to, it's human nature


For me that "belief" is: dragonflies are really fairies in disguise. They are. I know this.

I love dragonflies! They follow me everywhere!


Not all those who wander are lost; some are buried in my backyard. . .

Online Str82Hell

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2010, 03:01:52 AM »
Are you a very cute young blonde girl?   ;D  For me, that is anyone under 50   :'( If so, YES, I accept collect calls.  :P
I'm young (21) and have blonde hair. I'm not a female, but I hope that's not a problem.

Only thing I was interested in is whether you were aware of the possibility that your experience was physiological. I think your answer is pretty clear.
Quote from: George Bernard Shaw
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one

Offline generousgeorge

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2010, 07:25:25 AM »
Gimpy.....those are "flies"..time for the monthly bath.   :o

Offline xphobe

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Re: Spiritual - not religious
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2010, 08:57:01 AM »
I'm young (21) and have blonde hair. I'm not a female, but I hope that's not a problem.

Don't do it George!  He's DUTCH!!   :o
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...