Often here in GD folks (including myself) get pretty hard on specific religions. They seem to be just manifestations of thousands of years old mythology, and many here lend no credit to those beliefs. An important word here is belief. A rational person would realize that they do not know one way or the other whether there is truly a God/Designer. They would not BELIEVE one way or the other. Accept it as an unknown at this point.
I have, however, seen many instances where people alude to a spirituality. Just because you don’t accept mythology as fact does not mean that you have not felt something greater. Maybe it’s always just out of reach, maybe it’s something you haven’t given much thought, or maybe it’s something that you feel deeply about.
So my question, and the reason for this thread, is to enquire as to what those folks who are non-religiousm, but spiritual, feel about existense as a whole. This is a thread that will not be so much fact, but more intuition. Does it FEEL like there is a creator? A guiding force? Or is your existence completely lacking in any spirituality at all? Is your best guess that it IS all just chance? We are what we see and nothing greater? What’s your best guess based on your life experience?
I’m not looking for people who tout a specific religion, because I don’t accept that anyone (especially someone thousands of years ago) was able to break down existence and determine it’s exact nature. As far as I am concerned the question remains unanswered. But I have found human intuition to be a powerful tool, so I’m interested to hear the gut feeling y’all have about this issue.
Or maybe it’s just that human beings have a sense that is not in the 5 senses that are agreed upon by consensus. I mean, the only reason deaf people believe there is hearing is because just about everyone else tells them it is so.
I feel that there is not a God or gods. Just my gut feeling. With what little I know of how the world works, how people are, and the theories of evolution, it just feels that it is a material world.
If there is a God, he is a sick, twisted, tyrranical being, who loves to inflict pain and suffering on all things. That is definatly the God I want to believe exists. You can judge an artist by his artwork, and looking at this world, one would shudder at the horrid mind that would create such a place as this. Better for me to believe in natural processes. At least there is repreive in thinking I am nothing more than billions of years of random happenings.
Yes, I do believe there is something beyond what we see. Whether it’s the traditional Christian god, a host of pagan gods, a blind watchmaker or just a well of…whatever…that we can draw on in times of need, I don’t really know.
I’m now an eclectic-paganish sort of thing, but I was raised Catholic (in a laidback, “we’re Catholic but we still eat meat on Fridays”, let’s not make a big deal of it kind of way). That being so, I was - naturally - confirmed in that faith, according to standard ritual. Preparations were pretty low-key; instruction was handled in a down-to-earth manner by the teachers, and my family didn’t make a deal out of it. I had no great expectations of the day; some oil, some prayers, then let’s get outside and make noise until the adults hauled us home again, ho hum.
It wasn’t a mundane experience at all.
To this day, I don’t know what hit me. Maybe I got a little glimpse of what Saul saw on the road to Damascus; I don’t know. I can’t explain it any better than that except to say that it was spiritual, and that the two or three minutes it lasted has marked me for two decades now.
That was a purely subjective experience, I know. But it was real; I felt or saw something that convinced me there’s more to it than what we see every day.
In recent years I have softened from atheism to agnosticism. Maybe it is because I am older (47) than when I became an militant atheist in my teens, and maybe being closer to death makes me more afraid. But I think it is more than that. I believe in beauty, and goodness, and maybe something, whether it be the collective force of all life, or just some sort of neuro-chemical reaction in my brain when I look at something in nature or think about how much I love my daughters, my father, sibilings, and my significant other.
So I pray, in gratitude, or to ask for help. Whether anything ever hears these prayers is not for me to know in this lifetime. I don’t believe, if there is something, that we are meant to have first-hand knowledge of it, or we would have. I like to wonder about things, but I am content not to know.
DJ, there are those who find comfort in myths. The idea of myth is not to be sneered at; they have a function in human psychology that rationalists with a truly open viewpoint do respect for what it is. Ditto for ritual behavior. (Though one usually sees ritual in the context of religious behavior or its sublimation in such things as the Masons, there is a comforting sense to most people (not all) in the fact that someone is beginning a process which you recognize and know the appropriate responses to – as simply as “Good morning, how are you?” lubricates a first meeting’s tenseness.
But a wide range of behaviors lead to faith in God, or gods. A sense of belonging in a given place and time, a connection felt between one and the words of a Scripture (Bible, Koran, or whatever), an experience such as tavalla described above (and which I too have felt) – I have never known of anyone who came to faith in God on purely rational grounds, but typically people who have come to know Him attempt to “prove God” by rational means.
In sum, the idea of rejecting a mythical structure that does not speak to you makes an inordinate amount of sense. But do not forget that, since you are not yet brain-dead, you will inevitably change with age, not merely in “growing up” but I am not the same man I was at 30 – thank God!! – and what does not now speak to you may at some future time. Further, most theists hold their belief on evidence sufficient to them, not on “some musty myths” but on the present and vibrant reality of a Deity of which those “musty myths” give background historical data.
I believe in a god. I guess my belief is based in the human idea of time. The idea that something happened before the present and something else happened before that moment, and so on and so forth. God to me is whatever was here before there was anything. Even if he didn’t create he knows how everything was created. He can’t do anything to change your life now and the after life is the same for everyone. To me the after life is a state of knowing everything that you ever wanted to know, but, in the after life, you may or may not even realize that you now know the things that you learned through death…if that makes ANY sense at all.
In my opinion, spirituality is an acceptance by the individual that a higher power exists. It certainly FEELS, to me, that there is something greater than self. Jung referred to this feeling as the “mystical unconscious”. My life experiences have taught me that by recognizing this “feeling” my instincts and intuition are both significantly improved.
My intuition tells me that I have life energy. And when I lie down in the grass I can feel the radiance in the earth, the gravity. I do believe in some sort of “Universal Energy”. Where this goes I have many different theory’s.I feel we are all connected in some way and there is another state of life. I do not propose to know how or what that is. I believe you get what you put out and the happiest road is one where you follow your heart. I do pray, it’s my way of sending loving or good energy to those I pray for.
One of the first revolts I came up with while trying to shed the traditional beliefs was that for God to exist he had to be an inventor, and as such he has moved on to create bigger and better or just different things. He gets so into his inventions that each one takes his total attention. This is a plant in his corner. Planets are the dust balls and people the parasites that collect when something’s been sitting on the workshop shelf for awhile, or else one of those static globes.
Of course man has power over the world. Man, however, is not to blame for the harshness and cruelity in the world when it comes to “the strong survive” and “survival of the fitest”. If God exists, then it stands to reason that he made the world to feed off of itself, kill the weak, kill another so that you may live and eat, etc. If God made the rules of this universe, and he made it that way, where is the beauty of that method?
[slight hijack]There are those who would tell you that we no longer live in God’s kingdom. He created it, but we (humans) rejected his plan. The kingdom is now influenced by dark powers which mean that his beautiful creation is ‘spoiled’ by us. We use our powers unwisely.[/slight hijack]
I suspect that this point is probably better addressed in a different thread. Happy to be involved if it’s worth exploring.