Another Theology Thread

Multidenominational atheist (i.e., the non-belief I have in the Christian God is merely part of a wider non-belief in anything else as a matter of course and nothing really specific or antagonistic about it (what goes for Yahweh goes for Odin, Ogun, the Homeric Gods, and the FSM) although religions are historically, culturally, psychologically and anthropologically interesting).

I believe the closed-system of the universe works marvellously well and is impressive in its own right. I believe that it is indifferent to our presence aside from how we affect/ are affacted within the system. I recognize the psychological importance for all of us humans to emotionally deny this fact on a day-to-day basis in order to get out of bed. I believe that other than biological species-wide imperatives (which can be very complex) we need to cook up our own purpose. I recognize that mine are as arbitrary as anyone else’s, and that we all have various reasons and rationales. And it’s all good. Group hug for the universe!

Sorry, I was misled when you asked for “a poll”. Let me try again (but this is really hard to do without sparking a debate) :

Tree-huggin’ neopagan dirt worshipper.
I am eclectic in beliefs and practices, taking elements from various re-creation and “old” religions and synthesizing them into a melange that works for me. Some would call me a dilletante. I think I’m smart enough to find what works and discard the rest. I believe in the imminent Divinity of God, meaning that the Divine is all around us and part of us, and not some separate being floating in some heaven somewhere looking down on us. I believe we all have the ability to evolve spiritually and become a bigger piece of Divinity. I believe that Jesus, Muhhomad, the Buddhas and the Taoist Ascended Masters are just some of the people that have shed their physical selves and lifetimes to become bigger chunks of Divine. I believe there is no scripture which completely captures The Truth because they are all filtered through human experience, and that each person is their own best Priest or Priestess. I believe everyone can connect with and understand the Divine independantly, without priestly intervention. At the same time, I believe that ritual with a priest working for me can be very powerful.

I practice magick, both practical magick to gain or banish things or help others gain or banish things, and spiritual magick to connect with Deity. The forms I use are most often Wiccan, sometimes Ceremonial Magick, sometimes Kitchen Witchery. I think The Divine is too big and all consuming for us to grasp, so we give individual facets of it names and call those facets “gods and goddesses” - this means that ultimately, we create gods, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster will become real as enough people channel their energy towards its creation, symbolism and meaning. The deities I work with are mostly Greco-Roman, some Egyptian (particularly Sekhmet) and some celtic (particularly Brigid).

I believe that a reverence for nature is important. This reverence is both on a spiritual (literally hugging trees and talking to plants) and practical (picking up rubbish, replanting forests, re-creating grasslands and native habitats.) I feel closer to the Divine in nature than I do in an urban environment (which is tough, because I live in the middle of Chicago.)

I am agnostic, knowing that I can’t know what I know, but I enjoy living my life as if it’s True. I do not prostlytize, as I believe that each person is responsible for his or her own spiritual evolution. I am happy to teach what I’ve found true for myself, and generally lead seasonal rituals for a community of a dozen or so adults and their assorted children. I am an Ordained Minister (Universal Ministries, not ULM) only so I can do legal weddings.

Secular neo-pagan here.

Why do I call myself that?

I like the neo-pagan idea that humanity does not have special status in the world, but is just another creature among creatures. I like the idea of Gods and Goddesses, as representations of cycles and processes in us and in the environment, if nothing else. I find the whole thing artistically- and creatively-inspiring.

I just don’t believe in them in the way that many of the followers of the Religions of the Book–Islam, Judaism, Christianity–seem to believe in their religions. I woke from a dream involving the Goddess one day in mid-1993 and knew with a certainty ringing through my gut that I was a pagan.

But that conflicts in no way with my science-based outlook. I believe that reality, as manifested in independently-repeatable experiments, trumps ideas every time. And if you have a hypothesis which can be verified through independently-repeatable experiments, it is automatically worthy of consideration… no matter what the theory behind it.

To me, many religious ideas are about areas where science cannot go: areas that do not lend themselves to experiment. I have no opinion about beliefs in those areas.

If religious beliefs contradict demonstrable experiment, then those beliefs are wrong, at least in the territory covered by the experiments. To me, this is an example of religious bliefs stepping out of their natural abode and into the realm of science.

All I ask of any religion is that its followers let their ideologies be constrained by the real world, and leave the rest of us alone, if we so desire. I am happy that Canadian political culture, at least until now, has treated religion as a private thing.

Hard atheist, secular humanist, absurdist.

I think one can say “there is no god” as a factual statement in the same way one can say “gravity makes things fall”. Something might come along and contradict the data, but I wouldn’t bet pocket lint on it.

In the same vein, though, if a creature/being did appear before me and say “Hey. It’s me, God. Are you going to finish that taco?”, I honestly can’t think of anything it could do to convince me it was god and not some very advanced species.

I think people are the cause of, and solution to all of our problems. I believe in reason and evidence. I take most “serious” things to be very silly, and I am very serious about silly things.

This pretty much covers my thoughts on the subject. I’m all for separation of church and state and will fight to gain/preserve it, but I’ve got no fight with private observance or passing it to others.

I’m an atheist, but I don’t have a problem with theists or religion in general. I don’t think the tendency toward religion is good or bad. It just is. Most believers I know are fundamentally good people who take a lot of solace from their religion and don’t try to force it down other people’s throats. I suspect the ones who do get jerkish about it would find something else to get jerkish about even if religion didn’t exist.

My beef with religion isn’t that some of its adherents try to shove it down everyone’s throats (although, when those few control the government, it becomes a big problem), but that it makes it’s own followers unhappy. I’ve never known anyone who found great “solace” in religion, except where religion was the thing causing the problem in the first place. The basic premise of Christianity (as I have experienced it) is YOU ARE NOT WORTHY. We might let you into heaven, but be sure to remember how miserable you are here, now.

Neo-quasi-Buddhist (which is to say I share a lot of worldviews with Buddhists but
because I come from a Western background I lack a lot of the “flavor” a Buddhist in
the Far East would have). Look up Ken Wilber and you will find a lot of ideas in
common (tho not all).

Question to the harder atheists here: do you also consider yourselves nihilists? If
not why not?

Do you mean in the sense of life being meaningless or nothing existing?

No, on both counts. I never realized how immensely meaningful life is, until I stopped believing in God.

If posters begin to ask other posters questions, and posters respond to those questions, this thread will wind up in Great Debates.

So far, posters have done quite well at answering the OP with minimal slaps at other beliefs. Frankly, I’m surprised. :stuck_out_tongue: But if my surprise turns into, “I knew this would happen,” the thread will be moved. It’s entirely up to y’all.

Mostly Theravada Buddhist. I’m not completely down with the whole karma thing, or the cessation that gets you out of it, although I concede that actions have consequences.

I do believe that the Buddha attained the end of suffering, that it’s possible for others as well, and that he had his finger on how to do it. I don’t expect to get there, but the attempt is rewarding nonetheless.

Mixed in with that is some of the Jewish common sense attitude about life.

I don’t have much appreciation for Pauline Christianity, although Paul has some good lines, but a lot of the teachings of Jesus (with a liberal spin on them) have a lot of appeal.

However, where there’s a god involved, I can’t go very far. I’m doubtful there is a god or gods, but if there is, I’m pretty sure we have absolutely no idea what he/they might be up to, and it’s best we stop pretending we do.