What does it mean to be "Spiritual but not Religious"?
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25-09-2017, 06:46 PM
RE: What does it mean to be "Spiritual but not Religious"?
(23-09-2017 06:04 PM)Aegon Wrote:  So, if you've made it this far, it's time for you to tell me; am I spiritual?

You are if you say so, I suppose.

"Spiritual", to me, implies a belief in something called "a spirit".

While I can readily understand "spirit" as any of a number of particular combinations of emotions,
I am hard pressed to imagine what "a spirit" might be, other than just that: something imaginary.

--
Dr H

"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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26-09-2017, 05:07 AM (This post was last modified: 26-09-2017 05:23 AM by Deltabravo.)
RE: What does it mean to be "Spiritual but not Religious"?
(23-09-2017 06:04 PM)Aegon Wrote:  Okay, I don't really use the word "spiritual." I did so in my intro post because I thought it would be easier than explaining everything I currently believe. So I'm just going to do that, and if you think that's spiritual, then so be it. I certainly do not believe in angels and fairies, and I find it pretty hypocritical that atheists who suffer the most from false labels being put on us by non-atheists are ready to do that to others. I used to be a nihilistic type atheist. But I've been through a number of things despite my young age, including substance abuse/dependency and a couple of organ failures (well, it was both kidneys). So I had to reason with myself, and look a little deeper at things, because I felt pretty bad. (I should mention that I was incredibly lucky and got a transplant from a relative only after 7 months on dialysis.) I was too far removed from the Abrahamic religions for that to be an option, they were ridiculous to me. (Funny enough, they're actually more ridiculous now that I am more "spiritual.")

Also, some acid may or may not have gone into making these conclusions. But it's not as if I'm the first to think them. Far from it. And I have no issue with you thinking I'm stupid or loony for thinking them, I'm not trying to convince anybody at all of anything really.

I see discussion about immortality. We are immortal. All we know and ever will know is life. When we die, our consciousness ceases to be, and we won't know any better. All we have known, know, and ever will know is life. So I would argue that I do in fact live forever, because I won't exist to realize I don't.

But that's quite difficult to think of because it's hard to imagine not being, and it bothers a fuckton of people. It bothers me for sure. We're constantly looking for security in our lives, so we obviously want to know that it's not all for naught, that our deeds and our experiences won't just disappear with us. The anxieties we harbor are always concerned with the future. Work on Monday can prevent you from feeling good on a Sunday afternoon. Even if you're nervous about something you're presently doing, the reason you're nervous is because of what could happen in the future (perhaps the very, very near future) because of what you're currently doing. So if we have such anxiety about the future, and we look to stabilize it as best we can, then people are largely going to look for a reason to look forward to it instead of dread it. Hence religious belief. I don't fault people for it, but looking for security is largely irrational. We don't like the flow of life. We want to get what we want and how we like things and we want it to stay that way, but pesky life just keeps getting in the way of that. There is nothing secure about life. As mentioned, it is going to end, and everything you've done along with it. What is the point of chasing security when what you're trying to secure cannot be secure?

Firstly, we must realize that we don't have bodies; we are bodies. Our brain is as much a part of our body as our feet are, or as my new kidney is. It is another organ serving its function. We need to realize that the "I" that we identify ourselves as doesn't exist. It's something our very advanced minds have conjured up. An identity. During a 400ug LSD trip I experienced "ego death", which is probably the most fascinating experience you could have. Looking at the world around you with the "I" removed is quite breathtaking, and, as far as I know, impossible while sober. In that moment I was experiecing life in its purest form, without the "self" getting in the way. I was living in the moment, in every sense of the term. I realized that the key to being happy and to living (relatively) stress-free is to live in the moment. Duh, right? You've heard that several times before. There's probably a sports clothing company that preaches it. But rarely do people actually try to apply it (of course, trying to live in the moment would inherently be a contradiction Wink )

So, with that in mind, I borrow from the Taoist school of thought, which, in a barebones analysis, tells us to be like water. It is soft and yielding, able to adapt to any twists and turns in its flow. There may be an interruption in its flow, but it will always flow wherever comes next naturally, even if that is not the original path it was on. Its formlessness allows it to adapt to almost any situation, and it only adapts to the current moment, it does not form itself to the container it may come into in 4 miles, but rather where it is AT THAT moment. So, Taoism tells us, take the "watercourse way" and be like water, and that will be the key to happiness and relieve stress. Some depression and anxiety may be better treated by psychiatry rather than philosophy, but the majority will benefit from this way of thinking. You cannot try follow the Taoist teachings; if you try to be like water, then you've already failed. It simply must just be done. Which is what makes it so difficult in our society... the way we live promotes quite the opposite. And I also realize that this way of thinking comes with some privilege, particularly economic privilege. But there is such widespread depression and suicide among my generation, and I think the changing times are the cause of this. We are as anxious as can be. We need to find a way to cope.

So, if you've made it this far, it's time for you to tell me; am I spiritual?


These religions have an important role for some people in quelling anxiety. Christiniaty has as one of it's primary goals, the achievement of personal "atonement". This word is just what it looks like, it means, for the person who achieves it that they are "at one". It's come to mean "making amends" but that ignores the feeling which one gets by making amends: https://cohabitationchronicles.wordpress...atonement/

Zen Buddhism is also about achieving a sense of psychological calm or tranquility.

The fact is (he says...lol) all of this isn't just "psychological". There's a neurological basis for the whole thing. Zen works on the amygdala. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/gue...our-brain/

My take on Christianity was changed when I read "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. He was able to give meaning and hope to concentration camp prisoners by talking to them about the meaning and purpose of their lives. From this he developed a theory of psychotherapy known as logotheray which is the third Viennese school of psychotherapy with the first being that of Freud, second being Adler.

Then I realized that the NT takes the "logos" as it's "god" and talks about the purpose of life. The purpose of Jesus' life was to save mankind. The purpose of Christianity for those following it is to "love others". That's not far from what Frankl says. He would, in some cases, impose a purpose on a patient and the purpose was always to think of someone else, for instance, a spouse who was in another camp or had died and he'd tell the patient that their purpose was to go on with their life as best they could out of, for instance, respect for their loved one...something like that.

The problem is that neurological processes take place in a billionth of a second so we don't realise that we are having thoughts or how they are formed and people have come to think of this process of finding meaning as the result of the workings of a "spirit" or "psyche" in ourselves, sort of disembodied. You can't point to neurological impulses without a CT scanner so it passes as legitimate when people talk about having adopted a spiritual life which has made real differences to them. It may, but at it's root, this is a neurological thing and nothing to do with there being spirits or some other metaphysical world.

The Jesus story has an effect on people because when "believers" read it, it is very compelling because it portrays someone with a very deep sense of purpose and, in my view, for what it's worth, buying into this story creates a neurological sense of euphoria, the same way as being a fan of a sports team gives one a sense of elation when they win a game. It's entirely neurological.
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26-09-2017, 08:25 AM
RE: What does it mean to be "Spiritual but not Religious"?
The only spirit I believe in is the human spirit. That is our own ability to decide who we are as individuals and to define our own set of values and moral standards to live by.

I certainly don't need a 2,000 year old out of date rule book to tell me.
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08-10-2017, 09:40 PM
RE: What does it mean to be "Spiritual but not Religious"?
I just finished Sam Harris's book Waking Up

Gives you some stuff to chew on about this topic
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09-10-2017, 12:35 PM
RE: What does it mean to be "Spiritual but not Religious"?
Spiritual but not religious is so vague as to be meaningless. Not until there are a lot of surveys done to get people to define what they mean by that. Until such time that is done, there is no way to understand what this really means to those who self identify as spiritual but not religious.

And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter
- Thomas Jefferson

Cheerful Charlie
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09-10-2017, 01:58 PM
RE: What does it mean to be "Spiritual but not Religious"?
(09-10-2017 12:35 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  Spiritual but not religious is so vague as to be meaningless. Not until there are a lot of surveys done to get people to define what they mean by that. Until such time that is done, there is no way to understand what this really means to those who self identify as spiritual but not religious.

Spiritual but not religious is just a way to describe not really being able to let go of woo.

It's BS. It's just individualized BS.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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