Are you immune to religion or have recovered from it?
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31-08-2011, 01:01 PM
RE: Are you immune to religion or have recovered from it?
(31-08-2011 12:23 PM)cufflink Wrote:  I'd like to hear your further thoughts on this, because spirituality is a subject that leaves me in a quandary....

Does being spiritual imply believing in a soul, some kind of personal identity that survives death?
I don't think so. I think spirituality predates the concept of any gods - and far, far predates the xtian god who's been promoted way above his level of incompetence.
It's more about the spirits of present, sensate beings than immortality.

Quote:... people often seem to use the term in a less defined, vaguer way, as if it were simply the opposite of crass materialism.
Yes, and that's true, as in the "spirit of the season" - a mood that can be felt, shared, passed along, contributed-to and expanded. But it's only part of the communal feeling we all miss so badly when we are isolated in individual, competing egos.

Quote: I look at the pictures from Hubble or the birds that come to my back yard and I'm filled with wonder and joy. When I listen to great music I'm sometimes moved to tears. On rare occasions I've briefly felt something I can only describe as a visceral sense of being connected to all living things, but it doesn't last. Does any of that qualify me as spiritual?

Yes! Connectedness. With life, the universe and everybody.
Feeling for, yearning toward, response to what's around you. Awe, wonder, joy.... the urge to jump and clap and shout, as well as the urge to be perfectly still and hold your breath. Humility in the face of vastness and pride in being able to encompass it.
In a human social context, it's even more. Intricate and fascinating.
But perhaps too big for here? You could start a new thread and give me time to collect better thoughts.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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31-08-2011, 01:06 PM
RE: Are you immune to religion or have recovered from it?
(31-08-2011 12:23 PM)cufflink Wrote:  
(31-08-2011 10:58 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  I think spirituality could - and should - be beneficial to human societies . . .

I'd like to hear your further thoughts on this, because spirituality is a subject that leaves me in a quandary. If I don't believe in god--which I don't--can I still be a "spiritual" person? People have asked me this, and I don't know what to say because I'm not sure what the word means.

Does being spiritual imply believing in a soul, some kind of personal identity that survives death? Then I'm not spiritual. But people often seem to use the term in a less defined, vaguer way, as if it were simply the opposite of crass materialism. If that's what spirituality means, then maybe I am spiritual. I look at the pictures from Hubble or the birds that come to my back yard and I'm filled with wonder and joy. When I listen to great music I'm sometimes moved to tears. On rare occasions I've briefly felt something I can only describe as a visceral sense of being connected to all living things, but it doesn't last. Does any of that qualify me as spiritual?

Need some help here.

I am not sure if I can define spiritual. However if you are interested in meditation and in making yourself a better person and something poetic like "journeying to your inner being to become at one with the universe" then I would say you are spiritual. The best thing about it is that it does not imply any supernatural belief.

For myself I am recovering and I am not at all convinced I am immune.
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31-08-2011, 07:35 PM (This post was last modified: 31-08-2011 07:50 PM by cufflink.)
RE: Are you immune to religion or have recovered from it?
(31-08-2011 01:01 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  
(31-08-2011 12:23 PM)cufflink Wrote:  I look at the pictures from Hubble or the birds that come to my back yard and I'm filled with wonder and joy. When I listen to great music I'm sometimes moved to tears. On rare occasions I've briefly felt something I can only describe as a visceral sense of being connected to all living things, but it doesn't last. Does any of that qualify me as spiritual?

Yes! Connectedness. With life, the universe and everybody.
Feeling for, yearning toward, response to what's around you. Awe, wonder, joy.... the urge to jump and clap and shout, as well as the urge to be perfectly still and hold your breath. Humility in the face of vastness and pride in being able to encompass it.
In a human social context, it's even more. Intricate and fascinating.
But perhaps too big for here? You could start a new thread and give me time to collect better thoughts.

Thank you, Peterkin. That was eloquent and beautiful. Collect your thoughts and I'll start a new thread soon. I'm eager to hear more.



(31-08-2011 01:06 PM)angry_liberal Wrote:  I am not sure if I can define spiritual. However if you are interested in meditation and in making yourself a better person and something poetic like "journeying to your inner being to become at one with the universe" then I would say you are spiritual.

Well, I'm definitely interested in making myself a better person. Smile

And at the risk of bringing the tone of the discussion way down, when I hear expressions like "becoming one with the universe" my mind always goes to this joke:

A Buddhist goes up to a hot dog vendor who asks him, "Hey buddy, what can I make ya?"

The Buddhist answers, "Make me one with everything."

There's a sequel, where the Buddhist hands the guy a $20 bill and gets nothing back. When he asks, "What about my change?" the vendor replies, "Real change comes only from within."

Ta dum dum.

Sorry . . .

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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31-08-2011, 08:25 PM
RE: Are you immune to religion or have recovered from it?
I grew up in a Southern Baptist environment in Tulsa in the 1960's and 1970's, though for some reason my parents stopped attending church around the time I turned 14. I never asked why because I didn't want to do anything to make them interested in going back.

Just as well, because religious behavior always gave me the creeps, especially "prayer." I remember feeling that way about prayer even as a child. It looks like behavior you'd see in a psych facility.

I also have never understood why christians think that becoming an atheist results in an emotional disaster. Children in our culture switch from believing in Santa Claus to joining the ranks of us clausphemers in an instant, once you explain the facts to them. They don't suffer from trauma because of their deconversion from the Santa religion. In fact, if you met a newly enlightened kid who lamented that he had based his hopes on a lie, and now he has nothing to live for, you'd find that pretty damn peculiar; it would sound like a situation from an episode of South Park.
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31-08-2011, 09:08 PM
RE: Are you immune to religion or have recovered from it?
Kenny? Oh, no, they got Kenny!

Well that was dumb. It's late. I'll be adult again tomorrow.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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01-09-2011, 12:13 AM
RE: Are you immune to religion or have recovered from it?
I'm recovering. I was an extremely gullible child to say the least, why would I not trust what my mom said? I pretty much shut stuff out for quite a while, til high school. I never even used to consider that christianity might be wrong, though I did wonder why other religions' people held onto to theirs so tightly when christianity was "the one true religion".
Frankly, my household is still religious though. I've told my sister, who is also atheist, but I don't wanna tell any other family members, I don't think they'd react well. Kinda the outcast in my own house, though they don't know it. Also, my mom does church stuff all the time, I still haven't burst into flames from walking in there or melted, etc, etc, etc. I have, however, made it very clear that evolution is correct, I'm guessing my mom doesn't know the actual definition of "evolution" since she believes in microevolution.

But I can't help but wonder, even though it doesn't matter since I don't think either scenario is true, but: what if, instead of Lucifer turning evil and escaping from a good god, Lucifer was actually the only one with a brain and any sense of goodness and escaped from an evil god? I wonder how a christian would react to that theory (and I could always point out the christian god's frequent and unprovoked massacres of the innocent). At least the latter is more likely imo. I think Dragon Warrior 7 helped with that idea since in the game the god all the people were worshipping was actually the big bad.

But then I also wonder, what if someone was making an epic, like the Illiad or the Odyssey, and much like making fanfics, people just added new chapters when they could or needed to for control, and it got mistaken as true and therefore a religion. Will the future think that Lord of the Rings is a religious text? Then again, just look at L. Ron Hubbard...but yeah, I mean fantasy epic taken wrong.
Also, so much of christianity is ripped off of other mythology anyway.

But, yeah, sorry to ramble to basically say "I'm recovering". I wish I was immune from religion, at least I think my sister's kids will be.

"Ford! There's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they've worked out."
~Arthur Dent, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
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02-09-2011, 12:18 AM
RE: Are you immune to religion or have recovered from it?
The idea that Satan is the good guy is not exactly new. Bear in mind the difference between body count between Yahweh and Satan. Yahweh has... millions to his name, and that's not counting innumerable slaughters. Yahweh just LOVES to kill.

Satan? He killed Jobs family. While he egged Yahweh on to let him do it... he wasn't going to do it without Yahwehs permission. So while Satan is still a murderer for doing it, ultimate responsibility still lies at Yahwehs feet. The one time Satan killed someone, ultimate blame still goes to Yahweh. So, Satan is BY FAR much nicer.

In the end, even if Satan is an absolute asshole... he'd still be nicer than Yahweh, if for no other reason than it is almost impossible to make a worse character than Yahweh. I'd side with Satan simply because things couldn't get any worse.

Anyway, personally, I was raised by an atheist father (Of the 'just doesn't care' variety, I didn't find out he was an atheist until I was 25), and a 'spiritual but not religious' mother. My Grandmother paid for me to go to Catholic School though, but I don't think I ever once paid attention in church. Just about everything I knew about christianity was via pop-culture osmosis. My beliefs were also pretty ephemeral. I believed in god, but it didn't really impact my life, 95% of the time, though there was a brief period where I got a bit nervous seeing the number 666, but I always reminded myself that I'm just being silly, 666 isn't an uncommon number, given how many numbers you see daily (It's also 2/3rds of 1000, making it slightly more likely to pop up than other three digit numbers). But that's just my own personal paranoia working against me.

Eventually though, I was on a small message board where someone linked to some Vegan cartoon. The cartoon was idiotic, trying to claim that humans are not natural meat eaters, despite the fact that this claim could be disproven by eating a hamburger and not throwing up. But I saw a response to it that was a critique of the video by user Antybu86. I watched his video, enjoyed it, and checked out the rest of his stuff. Turned out he mostly did atheist videos. Previously, I never thought much about religion. If something seemed confusing I just kind of assumed there was an answer, and didn't worry about it, because I cared so little about religion. But this guys videos kind of pressed the questions in my mind until I realized there weren't any answers. Things progressed from there.

So, I wouldn't say I was immune to religion, but I was highly resistant. The first time I spent more than 5 minutes thinking about Christianity, it all crumbled. And really, that's kind of how it should be. After all, the cornerstone of Christianity is God having to forgive all of humanity, and how does he go about it?

1: Forgive his children outright, because he loves them no matter what.
or
2: Realize that he has been too harsh, forgive them of their past sins, and tell them to try to be better people in the future, and that he'll meet us halfway.
or
3: Commit suicide-by-cop.

Clearly, this plan could only have been formulated by an all-knowing, all-powerful being. Hallelujah.
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02-09-2011, 12:18 PM
RE: Are you immune to religion or have recovered from it?
I have recovered from and am now immune to it. In 1995 I got a totally unexpected kick in the ass from a 'trusted' pastor who secretly sabotaged my marriage, from that point onwards, I realized what a scam religion was. I didn't turn atheist at once. As I faced interpreting life outside of the myths and inside the light of reality, it did not take long to know I no longer believed. Never looked back and never been happier.
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