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Old 05-05-2014, 06:49 PM   #1
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Default Faith/Spirituality Thread

Tad I apologize in advance if this one goes off the rails. I'm sincerely hoping it doesn't, but well, I recall something about the best laid plans of mice and men, so with that in mind here goes nothing.

At the prompting of fat9276 about there being a need for a thread of this nature where folks can calmly and rationally discuss and share their beliefs on faith and spirituality. I wholeheartedly agree and here's a thread to do it in. I know this will be primarily based around Christianity as that will more than likely be the dominant belief system since most members are Western in nature. However, those with differing beliefs are welcome to participate and share as well. All I ask is that everyone be respectful of each others beliefs. I am also requesting of Tad to use a quick hook if people can't keep it respectful. If you are of no faith, or are a devout atheist, you're still welcome to discuss and ask questions as long as you stay within those guidelines, but if all you wish to do is come around to tell us all what hate-filled fools we all are, then don't bother. Just go on and cruise by this thread. I'm putting this in the BHM section because I think this is the best place a thread of this nature has a shot at being an actual discussion and not flame bait. Don't let me down folks!

With all that being said, I'll kick it off by saying I consider myself a follower of Christ. I'm no fan of the massive organized religions the world has. I have also read a fair bit of Zen Buddhism and a small amount of Hinduism and have found many good tenets there to put in practice for daily living. If anyone has any questions about anything in particular I believe or just want to bat around theological ideas, I'll answer to the best of my ability and as honestly as possible. If you wish to just share your own beliefs also, please feel free.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:34 PM   #2
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Teeheehee . . . you were expecting this to predominantly be a Christian thread, but the first person to respond is me.

I guess you could call me a pagan if you needed a term for it, or maybe just a witch. I believe in magic(k), signs, dreams, spirits who live in every corner of the earth & sky & beyond, other worlds beyond the veil, stuff like that. I also believe that everything science has been able to surmise about the history of the earth is accurate, and evolution and the long age of the planet/universe are facts of existence. But I also believe that somewhere outside of this fact-based reality is another realm where only the truths we imagine and believe to be true are supreme, and maybe that's the place we access in our dreams. Maybe it's the place we come from before birth and return to after death.

But mostly, I believe spirituality is the art of living your own stories. If you're your own storyteller, you come up with your own explanations for the strange things that happen in your life. A lot of people don't trust their own inner voices or storytelling power, so they look to others to tell them the stories they should believe in, and that's organized religion. I'm one of those people who tells her own stories, and I may believe in many gods and goddesses, but I bow down to none.
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by The Dark Lady View Post
Teeheehee . . . you were expecting this to predominantly be a Christian thread, but the first person to respond is me. ....

No worries. Some would posit that your belief predates most, if not all of the world's religions.

I'll be honest though and admit I know very little about paganism as such, other than how the Pentecostal church I was raised in viewed such beliefs, which were rather unkind to say the least. Out of curiosity's sake, was that a belief you were raised with or something you found during your own spiritual searching?
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:21 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by LeoGibson View Post
I have also read a fair bit of Zen Buddhism and a small amount of Hinduism and have found many good tenets there to put in practice for daily living.
So which tenets are they? Sounds interesting!


I consider myself a Christian because I believe in God. I believe that God created the universe and for it to be ruled by science with evolution and all that. I believe in a Christian sense that vegetarianism is ideal, although I'm not a vegetarian yet, I do plan to be some day. I also believe that God isn't against gay marriage. I believe it is good to pray and do so often (it's one of the things I like most about Christianity). I don't think there is much more to say about my beliefs. I have always had an interest in Paganism though but Christianity is more in my heart.
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:45 AM   #5
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Teeheehee . . . you were expecting this to predominantly be a Christian thread

Interesting LG....and DL....I would NEVER have guessed it would be predominantly a Christian thread....but that's just based on my experience.

I grew up in a Jewish home and reformed Jews, however we practiced the sabbath weekly, and observed all holidays; not just the big ones.

I hated the idea of organized religion always, I had questions as a small child, and never got the answers I needed so badly. Although my parents had faith, they/their religion didn't teach me what I so sadly wanted/needed.

Some of you know I got clean and sober 18 years ago, that was when I realized there was such a thing as *spirituality* and that it had nothing to do with religion necessarily. Most importantly, that spirituality could stand on its own. I found my God/Higher Power/Higher voice via the Serenity Prayer...and 18 years later it answers ALL my questions.

Like many others, in my little itty bitty world; I have found my own understanding through nature. I find peace there, riding motorcycles helped open my world up and see it. So I have a God of MY OWN UNDERSTANDING as we see in the 12 step rooms. Those capitalized letters mean the world to me....as my God has a sense of humor, laughs at my mistakes, I make over and over.

I meditate daily and pray often, looking for answers, peace for others, happiness, joy and good health and help for others as much or more then myself.

thanks for my opportunity to share....getting down from the podium
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:36 AM   #6
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So which tenets are they? Sounds interesting!
From Hinduism, not so much the actual religion part and the multiple god belief, but some of the things I've read on their belief in love and light and also living in harmony with the natural world.

From Zen Buddhism, some of the things that make sense to me are the way of living now, in this moment and focusing on doing everything to the best of your ability and learning that the joy and the art is in the striving for your best and not necessarily in arriving there. Also, to try and want for nothing and to be selfless and walk in peace and harmony with all.

For specific readings my brain can't remember off the top of my head, I'd have to dig through old boxes to find long ago read books.

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Interesting LG....and DL....I would NEVER have guessed it would be predominantly a Christian thread....but that's just based on my experience.
I only think that it will most likely be Judeo-Christian because of the percentages of people and what the predominate beliefs are in the western world and where most on this site are located.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:39 AM   #7
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So far, so good Although I have some concerns about how many "Lounge-type" threads we are starting on the BHM/FFA board. I can understand why people do it, but am pondering if it is a trend to encourage or not?

Anyway, on topic: I'm not strong on faith, in anything. There are certain things I have pretty high confidence on, based on evidence, but in general I'm ready to question things, and question my questioning of them. Which, predictably, makes me an agnostic--I think. I do question if that is really correct, sometimes... So basically I think it would be awesome if there were forces out there beyond what we can measure, I just have no faith that such things exist. Doesn't stop me from talking to them sometimes, however.

I do see value in religion, and much though I have no particular desire to attend church or the like every week, I think that those sort of institutions can have very important functions in terms of community building and even channeling the spirit of a community. For that matter I read one anthropological/historical study that looked at small Siberian communities, and found that the ones that had adopted monotheistic religions were generally wealthier and better off than similar ones that had not--and the suggested reason for that was that the religion helped create more trust between people, leading to more cooperation which was good for all.

On the other hand, leaders have used religion to lead people in all sorts of horrible directions, too--but that religion has been used toward evil ends doesn't make religion an evil thing in my eyes, any more than the fact that nuclear fission has been used to make weapons makes all uses of nuclear fission evil in my eyes. Both are potent forces that you want to be careful who you let mess with, but which can bring a lot of good to the world too, IMO.

Sorry that I spent more time talking about religion than faith or spirituality.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:18 AM   #8
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This is a fascinating subject, and I really hope this thread doesn't hit an iceberg.

As for me, the answer isn't an easy one. I am Christian mainly in the sense I accept Yeshua bin Yusuf / Jesus the Christ as my savior. I believe in one deity above all, that deity being Jehovah. I do believe there is an after life, but it is unknowable.

I've taken the time to study the bible, read about the origins of Christianity and Judaism that came before it. I know Jehovah's original name was El, the sky god of the nomadic desert tribes that would one day become the Jews. I also believe that Jehovah is not the only deity out there, but He is the only one I worship. God commands His worshipers to have no other god before Him. That commandment doesn't deny the existence of other gods, it just says if you worship Him you must hold Him as your only god. I should note that I'm using "Him," as English has no widely accepted gender neutral pronoun. I don't believe God has a gender. That's a human trait.

I accept both faith and science as equally valid. Deep time is valid. The Earth is roughly 4.54 bn years old. The universe is roughly 13.82 bn years old. Evolution is a fact in my mind. The precise mechanism may be murky, but the fact of it is indisputable.

The universe is an orderly place. If even one thing was different, we wouldn't be here to ponder the universe in the first place. That precise order is a peek behind the veil, so to speak. If the universe is a precision machine, there is a machinist who built it, no?
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by The Dark Lady View Post
Teeheehee . . . you were expecting this to predominantly be a Christian thread, but the first person to respond is me.

I guess you could call me a pagan if you needed a term for it, or maybe just a witch. I believe in magic(k), signs, dreams, spirits who live in every corner of the earth & sky & beyond, other worlds beyond the veil, stuff like that. I also believe that everything science has been able to surmise about the history of the earth is accurate, and evolution and the long age of the planet/universe are facts of existence. But I also believe that somewhere outside of this fact-based reality is another realm where only the truths we imagine and believe to be true are supreme, and maybe that's the place we access in our dreams. Maybe it's the place we come from before birth and return to after death.

But mostly, I believe spirituality is the art of living your own stories. If you're your own storyteller, you come up with your own explanations for the strange things that happen in your life. A lot of people don't trust their own inner voices or storytelling power, so they look to others to tell them the stories they should believe in, and that's organized religion. I'm one of those people who tells her own stories, and I may believe in many gods and goddesses, but I bow down to none.
THIS! ^

Though my transition to these pagan beliefs still feels quite recent and I've been taking the actual practice of said magic(k) very slow..... up to now

Growing up I was a really devout christian, despite us almost never setting foot in church as a family. I started going during my late teens and into my first two years of university. I experienced a few different denominations of christianity, before gradually starting to question everything and recognising what it is I truly think and believe.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:52 PM   #10
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Good luck with this thread and that's all i'm going to say about it.

Haha
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:52 PM   #11
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I identify as a Christian. I was raised in a Baptist household, and my dog tags say Protestant. It acts as a base for much of my worldview and beyond. I didn't really question my faith growing up, but did have moments where I questioned some of the dominant viewpoints.

I had what I consider to be my quarter-life crisis three years ago. I was ambitious, but I wasn't progressing as a person. I was just dealing with a lot of my circumstances rather than making attempts to change them. I started losing my sense of self, and it was crushing me.

After that period, I became more curious about spirituality. I did not necessarily lose my faith, but I changed my perspective. Faith is not enough in my opinion. To me, being spiritual is about your character and behavior: Not what you believe in. I've learned over time to separate religion from spirituality, and to take a more active role in the latter.

Though I still identify with being a Christian, my spiritual practices are heavily influenced by Buddhism, Buddhist psychology, and transpersonal spirituality. I still have a lot to learn, but it's gotten to the point that in considering a potential career as a chaplain, I still consider Buddhism as an option (but I can't have a family in most sects :/). If I am blessed enough to become a therapist in the future, I am already looking at incorporating it into my practice (both in orientation and modality [MBCT]). I wrote my thesis on meditation as an adjunct practice to psychotherapy.

I'm struggling with balancing acceptance with making changes and trying to integrate Buddhism with Christian principles, but I am much more positive.

"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Uesiba
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:38 PM   #12
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Aww, Surly. I have high hopes for this thread. I like talking about religion and finding out how other people practice and believe.

If pressed, I tell people I am a Christian Witch. I'm a follower of Christ who believes and practices magick.

I was raised Pentecostal. I'm talking speaking in tongues, fainting, wrath of God every Sunday morning Pentecostal. I was a talkative, opinionated kid, much to the chagrin of my Maternal Grandmother. She used to swear that the spirit of God would enter me when we went to church because I was so quiet and well behaved. Truth was, I was scared to death.

In my late teens I started reading about alternative religions. I attended a lot of different Christian churches, but the idea organized religion bothered me. I had a low tolerance for hypocrisy and dogma. So I wandered and continued to read. I finally settled in Paganism and that's where I was pretty happy for many years. Until I went through the degrees and became a Gardnerian Wiccan. It's a beautiful practice, and for those Heathens with the discipline for formal rites, I highly recommend it.

When I met my husband, I still considered myself Pagan, but I was slowly incorporating the Christian mythos of my youth into my rites and beliefs. Chuck is an ordained minister. We had a lot of long discussions about religion when we first got together. Actually we still do. There are a great many parallels between Paganism and Christianity and it's in those parallels that I tend to find myself. A spell is nothing more than a prayer request, with props. The Bible says, "to everything there is a season," and so the Wheel of the Year turns. I feel that knowing the historical roots of many Christian practices and holidays doesn't detract from them, it deepens them.

I do best away from a strict dogma. I recognize that my path doesn't work for everyone.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:56 PM   #13
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Let's start at the very beginning...

For 20 years , starting at birth I was a card carrying Catholic. Altar boy, parish religious classes, children's choir, even a stint as a chaplain's aide in the Boy Scouts. I started to distance myself from the church when I was 21. I was becoming disenchanted with the hypocrisy I saw in the Church. This coincided with me marrying a woman who came from a staunch Southern Baptist background. I would attend services with her, more to keep the peace then anything. let's just say I bit my tongue a lot and I just wasn't thrilled with the notion of a church service that felt like a TV production (the hypocrisy as well). When are kids arrived, I agreed for them to be raised as Southern Baptist. I figured better they be guided by a devoted Southern Baptist than a Catholic whose heart wasn't in it.

Outside of funerals and weddings, I've attended a few Methodist services that I found appealing. I rather liked the vibe I picked up on. I found it very different from my experiences at the Southern Baptist.

If you ask me what I believe in, I believe that there is a God...and other than that I am not to sure. I tend to identify myself as a recovering Catholic and a Jedi (more for laughs than anything. A part of me believes that God made everything then backed off to leave us to our own devices. And I am not a big fan of organized religion. I am not fond of making a public spectacle out of my own personal beliefs.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:19 PM   #14
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I am a Christian. I believe in God, Jesus, the Bible, yep.

I think you would find me like some Christians you may know and I think you would find me far different from some Christians you may know. I think some of my fellow Christians would be very surprised at some of the things I think and believe.

My faith is ever evolving, growing...
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:54 AM   #15
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Positively no offense to any of you, but discussions like this make me want to rant like a militant atheist and then hide in a corner.

I just want to come in here and say I respect you all, but I fit in about as well in faith/spiritual discussions as I do into child's size clothing.

Carry on
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:35 AM   #16
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^ That doesn't offend me at all but may I ask why it makes you feel that way?

If it's an option to read/participate in this thread (I tend to stay away from threads that I have no interest in) and nothing here is being pushed on you, why does it give you that reaction?
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:52 AM   #17
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The tendency of atheists to go on "militant rants" irks me sometimes. Not that I can't understand it, or where it comes from. Just, atheists already have a bad enough reputation, and it only gets worse when people only see the ones who hunt out religious topics and go to town. I very much have a "live and let live" policy. I definitely don't think there's one system that works for everyone. Each person should individually tune into what works for them. In the end - ignoring institutionalized religion and things of that matter being pulled into politics - I'm much less focused on "truth" than I am happiness.

As for me, I'm an agnostic atheist. Agnostic epistemologically, meaning that I don't think that sort of knowledge (of a higher power, deity, anything beyond the physical) is accessible to us. But functionally and belief-wise, I'm an atheist.

I kind of want to fit into this discussion, but I'm not sure I do. I generally think along physicalist lines - meaning there's nothing for me to have faith in, and I don't really believe in the concept of a soul or spirit (at least in the typical sense.) So instead of practicing something more clearly faith-based or spiritual, I enjoy exploring and understanding the physical world/myself as a physical being. That encompasses reveling in/refining sense experiences, learning about how the world works, how my own physiology works, and learning about others. I suppose it's best described as analyzing the relationship between myself, others, and the world at large to optimize the experience for everyone I can. I've made a habit of trying to put myself in the perspective of the person who created whatever I'm experiencing - like, music. I find it allows me to experience it more fully, rather than writing it off. It can be easy to just dismiss something immediately, but putting effort into understanding/enjoying a multitude of things is more meaningful/fun to me.

Philosophically, I draw tidbits from multiple sources. I don't believe in inherent meaning to life, but I agree with the Existentialist notion that each individual is fully responsible for shaping their own existence. I like the Daoist teaching of following nature - particularly, following your own nature and not allowing external forces to redirect you towards something that feels personally artificial. And the Stoic & Epicurean ideas of letting go of that which you can't control and focusing on your own thoughts and reactions.

For a possible connection to something very old, Shamanism, I do enjoy alteration of consciousness and find it very personally fulfilling (and beneficial to many of the things I mentioned earlier here.) I'm naturally too curious for my own good, so tinkering with the organ that controls our perception of the world/reality is hugely interesting to me.
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:11 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Amaranthine View Post
The tendency of atheists to go on "militant rants" irks me sometimes. Not that I can't understand it, or where it comes from. Just, atheists already have a bad enough reputation, and it only gets worse when people only see the ones who hunt out religious topics and go to town. I very much have a "live and let live" policy. I definitely don't think there's one system that works for everyone. Each person should individually tune into what works for them. In the end - ignoring institutionalized religion and things of that matter being pulled into politics - I'm much less focused on "truth" than I am happiness.

As for me, I'm an agnostic atheist. Agnostic epistemologically, meaning that I don't think that sort of knowledge (of a higher power, deity, anything beyond the physical) is accessible to us. But functionally and belief-wise, I'm an atheist.

I kind of want to fit into this discussion, but I'm not sure I do. I generally think along physicalist lines - meaning there's nothing for me to have faith in, and I don't really believe in the concept of a soul or spirit (at least in the typical sense.) So instead of practicing something more clearly faith-based or spiritual, I enjoy exploring and understanding the physical world/myself as a physical being. That encompasses reveling in/refining sense experiences, learning about how the world works, how my own physiology works, and learning about others. I suppose it's best described as analyzing the relationship between myself, others, and the world at large to optimize the experience for everyone I can. I've made a habit of trying to put myself in the perspective of the person who created whatever I'm experiencing - like, music. I find it allows me to experience it more fully, rather than writing it off. It can be easy to just dismiss something immediately, but putting effort into understanding/enjoying a multitude of things is more meaningful/fun to me.

Philosophically, I draw tidbits from multiple sources. I don't believe in inherent meaning to life, but I agree with the Existentialist notion that each individual is fully responsible for shaping their own existence. I like the Daoist teaching of following nature - particularly, following your own nature and not allowing external forces to redirect you towards something that feels personally artificial. And the Stoic & Epicurean ideas of letting go of that which you can't control and focusing on your own thoughts and reactions.

For a possible connection to something very old, Shamanism, I do enjoy alteration of consciousness and find it very personally fulfilling (and beneficial to many of the things I mentioned earlier here.) I'm naturally too curious for my own good, so tinkering with the organ that controls our perception of the world/reality is hugely interesting to me.
I didn't want to sound like I was ranting or hating on anyone because I'm really not. It just irks me that, in this day and age, it's assumed that atheists have to be the ones with the burden of proof. As if I'm the one that should have to defend my lack of faith for logical reasons against someone who just "feels it in their heart." I wasn't trying to stir the pot or rattle anyone's cages or attention whore with that post. It's more that I can't weigh in on discussions of "spirituality" or "faith" because I don't find the idea of a soul to be any different from the idea of a body.

I think, in terms of countless studies, that it's been proven time and time again that consciousness is a biological process and damaging certain parts of the brain can render people colorblind, losing the ability to speak, or having physiological reactions that prove that each part of the brain is a functioning piece of the whole, that your personality is pre-determined by a combination of experience and random occurrence.

I also think that the holistic, new age "spiritual" view of things is just an optimistic way of dealing with the fact that you will die someday. You don't want to align yourself with the crazy right wing reactionary gun-toters, but you don't want to be some smile-less "atheist" either. I get it. I understand. I respect absolutely everyone's thoughts on everything, but that doesn't mean I won't argue or probe or be skeptical. It's just my nature.

I'm not an absolutist in any sense, so even the term "atheist" bothers me a bit. I just align myself with them because it's the only way to take a side. I feel a bit like "agnostic" is like saying "I dunno... maybe" when someone asks you an opinion.

Really, the idea of religion just offends me because of the hate-filled violence, segregation, social classism, and moral elitism that it's fostered and continues to foster to this day. I would be happy to live in a world without it.
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:21 PM   #19
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Personally I was raised Christian. I consider myself a Christian who has read the bible conver to cover, and I still read it. I find strength and comfort in it.

lol.. the imagine of a grown man trying to get into child size clothing.. funny as hell. smh.. too funny

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I just want to come in here and say I respect you all, but I fit in about as well in faith/spiritual discussions as I do into child's size clothing.

Carry on
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:07 PM   #20
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Being from the south, I was raised Southern Baptist. I went to church for a bit when I was younger, but never enjoyed going and stopped when I was 9. I'm not a big bible reader and never have been. I do believe in God. I have died once and did indeed find peace and drifted towards a bright light before being sent back because it was not my time to go. I don't have answers to many questions other than I do believe in Free Will. I feel we all have it and it gives everyone the opportunity to do good or bad and that's why we have victims of crimes, disasters, etc. Rather simplistic view, but it has worked for me. Have nothing against other religions or of people who are not religious. It's not my place to judge. My daughter is an atheist and we have never butted heads over it.
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:48 PM   #21
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Snipped...
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Originally Posted by Ninja Glutton View Post

Really, the idea of religion just offends me because of the hate-filled violence, segregation, social classism, and moral elitism that it's fostered and continues to foster to this day. I would be happy to live in a world without it.
I understand this and it makes me think of something a "preacher" once said... "the problem with the church, is that there are people in it".

Power hunger, greed, selfishness, etc., can corrupt individuals and those type of people using something (such as religion) for those purposes, can/does make it seem corrupt as well.
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:15 PM   #22
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A couple of mostly irrelevant, but hopefully not too irreverent, thoughts that popped into my head while thinking about this thread.

1) Based on the joke "Do agnostic, dyslexic, insomniacs lie awake at night wondering if Dog exists?" I frequently mentally use 'dog' in phrases where we normally use 'god' (as in: "Good dog, it cost it how much?"). Somehow I feel that, at least in my own thoughts, it makes for cleaner agnosticism to de-deify my language. Since I don't expect anyone else to understand, I try to find alternate phrasing when I translate things to the outside world.

2) During my brooding teenage years I listened to this song a LOT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwHfaK_A9sc (Blasphemous Rumours by Depeche Mode). Eventually it helped me conclude that I was agnostic, rather than a disillusioned believer. Go-go pop music!
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:18 PM   #23
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I didn't want to sound like I was ranting or hating on anyone because I'm really not. It just irks me that, in this day and age, it's assumed that atheists have to be the ones with the burden of proof. As if I'm the one that should have to defend my lack of faith for logical reasons against someone who just "feels it in their heart." I wasn't trying to stir the pot or rattle anyone's cages or attention whore with that post. It's more that I can't weigh in on discussions of "spirituality" or "faith" because I don't find the idea of a soul to be any different from the idea of a body.

*snipped*
Interesting that you feel like you have to defend your belief in logic over spirituality/belief. A lot of the time I as a spiritual/believer feel the same way...that I have to defend or prove my faith. I remember a philosophy teacher asked a class I was in once, "Who is stronger: the atheist who places his belief in logic and science, or the religious person who places his belief in the unproven/unseen?" The debate that followed was fascinating.

The angry, condescending atheist stereotype isn't really the norm, is it? I have always wondered if the majority of atheists feel the same way about that stereotype that a lot of Christians do about the extremist nut jobs who use religion as a tool of hate.

ETA: thank you for sharing and clarifying your views. I don't often get the chance to interact with many atheists (I don't personally know any,) and my experiences have always ran to the stereotypical atheist I mentioned above.

Last edited by Donna; 05-07-2014 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:49 PM   #24
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If pressed, I tell people I am a Christian Witch. I'm a follower of Christ who believes and practices magick.

I was raised Pentecostal. I'm talking speaking in tongues, fainting, wrath of God every Sunday morning Pentecostal.
Oh that's interesting. I don't know much about Pentecostals beyond the stereotypes but I suppose there is something about the speaking-in-tongues part that is a bit like shamanism or being ridden by the loa.

I think a lot of the pagans I've met were raised Catholic, and one of them commented once that the two have far more in common than either side wants to admit.

I currently feel like a Christian Agnostic -- I don't think it's possible to prove or disprove the existence of god, and I suspect trying to do either is missing the point. I've also come to suspect belief/non-belief is like handedness or sexual orientation -- doesn't affect your morals either way, and trying to change yourself from one to the other will make you miserable at best and a hypocrite at worst.

OK, someone else can have the soapbox.
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:51 PM   #25
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I've tried to post a response here a few times, and to be honest I just couldn't do it. I could just drop a quick one sentence description of my beliefs and be done with it, but I'm sure we can all agree it's rarely that simple. Before I try to say...something...about my personal beliefs, let me just say how impressed I am with the level of respect I've seen so far in this discussion. It's not my intention to distract from the conversation by pointing that out, I'm just pleased to see it.

Let's see...simply put- I'm an atheist. I don't believe in any theistic God, I just believe in nature*, in myself, and I think the universe pretty much exists despite us. I stopped going to church when I was 10 years old and have never been back. I've read the bible twice since then, honestly looking for something there, but it really meant nothing to me.

My struggles with religion over the years, particularly Christianity since that was my upbringing, in retrospect were my own doing. Looking for something else to believe in, instead of following what I instinctively knew to be true in my heart. Denying my true nature. I was born this way, it just took way too long to embrace it fully. I'm at peace with where I'm at now. I will still be inquisitive about things, but I'm fairly certain the "answers to the universe" won't be answered in my lifetime. Best to just enjoy the ride while we are here.

At Christmas time, I have and always will say Merry Christmas. I love watching the Ten Commandments at Easter, it's one of my favourite movies, but I get no religious lift from it. I guess what I'm saying is just because I don't believe in something, it doesn't give me carte blanche to be a gratuitous ass to people who don't deserve it. I don't feel the need or desire in constantly broadcasting my beliefs to others either, and to be honest even posting this is making me feel icky right now. I prefer to just exist, have a good convo with friends on the subject when the situation arises, and move on.

*Not to be confused with hippie-esque tree-hugging.
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