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dumb question.... am I "secular" or not?

Old 11-15-2007, 02:10 PM
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dumb question.... am I "secular" or not?

I used to be an atheist, but I lost the faith.

Now I believe in God but I don't endorse any particular religion.

I feel most closely attached to the teachings of Jesus, because I read the New Testament and paid careful attention to the red letters. I don't know if Jesus was the son of God or not, but his words make a lot of sense to me, maybe more than anybody else's words I've ever read in my life.

But I get hung on up on the part where I am supposed to "accept Christ as my savior." Without doing that, I've been told, I have no business calling myself a Christian.

So what do you think, am I secular? Or just confused?
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:03 PM
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Here is dictionary.com's definition of secular:

sec·u·lar:–adjective
1. of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: secular interests.
2. not pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to sacred): secular music.
3. (of education, a school, etc.) concerned with nonreligious subjects.
4. (of members of the clergy) not belonging to a religious order; not bound by monastic vows (opposed to regular).
5. occurring or celebrated once in an age or century: the secular games of Rome.
6. going on from age to age; continuing through long ages.
–noun 7. a layperson.
8. one of the secular clergy.

I hope that helps.
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:06 PM
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I call myself "secular" just because it helps me to clarify where I am in my recovery program--outside of recovery programs, I don't feel the need to call myself secular.

Secular works as a label for me because I don't attribute my sobriety or any events in my life to a deity; that doesn't mean that I'm an atheist, just that I don't feel confident enough to say my "higher power" made this or that happen. I have no idea how or why the world is the way it is, and no confidence at all that any higher power has any particular interest in us. It's not that I alone made anything happen either (which seems to be the understanding some people have of secular). I don't think I'm in charge here; I just don't think I know who is--or that anyone else really knows who is, or that it's possible to know who is.

That said, I'm a (sometimes) student of Buddhism and practice meditation; I also find much of the Bible inspiring, particularly the New Testament, though I can't call myself a Christian. I even used to say the third step prayer every morning. I've had a hard time doing that lately becuase I feel so odd about calling on a deity, but I may start doing it again. It's a powerful prayer to me, but I see it as asking to be free of "the bondage of self" in order to serve life, to be compassionate.

I go to AA meetings and find much I can relate to, though I often have a very hard time relating to people who attribute everything in their lives to a deity. Don't dislike 'em...just can't relate.

Just my little ramble...hope it's of some use.
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by exjunky View Post
I used to be an atheist, but I lost the faith.
Now I believe in God. ...
So what do you think, am I secular? Or just confused?
Secular means 'doesn't believe in God'.
So if you said "Now i Believe in God."
then you're a non-atheist.
Forget the labels.

Are you sure of your decision? Or does it confuse you?
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:55 PM
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Hello -

Perhaps I can offer a suggestion that can help.

You are thinking about this in terms of yourself rather than God. As in "what should I call myself?". The onderful thing about God is that, He doesn't care! What is important to God is how you live; what you do as a person. I have met many "Christians" who call themselves atheists and yet their lives resonate with the teachings of Christ.

It sounds to me that you are a student of theteachings of Jesus so perhaps rather than trying to push yourself too quickly to accept a label that you are unsure of, keep reading, keep listening, keep asking questions like you are now. When you are ready, God will know and you won't have to "accept" Christ into your heart because He will already be there.


Dietrich
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Old 11-16-2007, 03:31 AM
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But I get hung on up on the part where I am supposed to "accept Christ as my savior." Without doing that, I've been told, I have no business calling myself a Christian.
I don't believe in hell and I don't believe in free-will so I have no business calling myself a Christian by today's standards. I'm OK without a label today. It really bothered me at first though. It's not easy standing alone against such a large group of people when you see things differently. I felt very confused at first when I left the church and was immediately rejected due to my change in beliefs, but I'm comfortable with it now.
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Old 11-16-2007, 03:37 PM
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"You are what ever you say you are", Bob Dylan.

Sounds to me that you don't need a label in your position, just explain your position when people ask!
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Old 11-20-2007, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by exjunky View Post
I used to be an atheist, but I lost the faith.
Most atheists would say to you that atheism is simply a lack of belief in a god, so there was no faith to lose from the beginning. However, I believe that we all worship someone or something, including atheists, whether it be an inanimate object, ourselves, etc. The Pharoahs deified themselves and openly declared themselves to be gods, which has to be the ultimate in self-centeredness. Is it not possible for someone to deify himself, yet deny that he is doing so for obvious reasons? I am not suggesting that ALL atheists deify themselves, but I think it's safe to say that some (meaning 1 or more) do, just like some theists deify themselves.

Originally Posted by exjunky View Post
Now I believe in God but I don't endorse any particular religion. I feel most closely attached to the teachings of Jesus, because I read the New Testament and paid careful attention to the red letters. I don't know if Jesus was the son of God or not, but his words make a lot of sense to me, maybe more than anybody else's words I've ever read in my life.
I am an American who grew up in the 60's culture of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. In order to cope with my addiction problem, I turned to the religion of Islam which is similar to Christianity in many ways, but I, too, could not bring myself to believe in a personal savior. Moreover, Christianity lacked emphasis on the self-discipline of Islam, such as prayer 5 times a day and fasting during the month of Ramadan, which has proved to have been very helpful to me to regain self-control. I am not saying that Islam is for everybody, because it certainly is not, but it has helped me tremendously to overcome my addiction to alcohol and drugs.

Originally Posted by exjunky View Post
But I get hung on up on the part where I am supposed to "accept Christ as my savior." Without doing that, I've been told, I have no business calling myself a Christian.

So what do you think, am I secular? Or just confused?
You are not a Christian if you do not meet the qualifications of being a Christian, but that doesn't mean that you are secularist. All non-Christians are not secularists.
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Old 11-21-2007, 12:19 AM
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Well, I crafted a lengthy reply a few days ago but my computer froze and it was lost forever. Here's the short version:



From Wikipedia...


Liberal Christian beliefs

Liberal Christianity, broadly speaking, is a method of biblical hermeneutics, an individualistic method of understanding God through the use of scripture by applying the same modern hermeneutics used to understand any ancient writings. Liberal Christianity is not a belief structure, and as such is not subject to any Church Dogma or creedal statements. Unlike conservative Christianity, it has no unified set of propositional beliefs. The word liberal in liberal Christianity denotes a characteristic willingness to interpret scripture without any preconceived notion of inerrancy of scripture or the correctness of Church Dogma. A liberal Christian, however, may hold certain beliefs in common with traditional, orthodox, or even conservative Christianity.



For a few years, I was an ultra-hardcore, super-fundamentalist Christian. Most people call it a cult. After that, I became a liberal Christian for almost a month. And now, I am neither.
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by exjunky View Post

So what do you think, am I secular? Or just confused?
I would not get hung up on labels. I happen to hold my religious beliefs dear to me, but I still work a secular recovery. This Higher Power thing never worked for me in recovery. I am the one who makes the choices to use or not to use.
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Old 11-23-2007, 03:20 PM
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Hi exjunky,
I'm not secular, I guess. I believe in God, but I drop by this forum to read from time to time. There's lots of good stuff that can aid in recovery. Hope nobody minds.
Mike
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Old 11-24-2007, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Alera View Post
I am the one who makes the choices to use or not to use.
I have tried every method of getting out of this conclusion, tried every rationalization,
reasoned logically how using is not my fault, using is not my choice.
It's not my choice because (a) my body is chemically disposed towards using (b) i have family history (c) i'm trying to control my life by controlling my chemical intake.
(d) whatever reason someone else creates and i hear about.

But, in the end, I couldn't escape Alera's truth.
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Old 11-24-2007, 07:01 PM
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I became a non-believer about 10 years ago. But i eased my way into it. I wasn't absolutely, positively sure of my new conclusions at the time. So, I just went about my life, testing it out,
Over time, i stopped doing the things those around me do. Going to church, praying at meals, etc. They pick up on it. They're smart. They're curious.

I don't want to be a Born Again Atheist, intent on making everyone around me believe what I believe. I'm not hostile to other people's beliefs. Most of the believers I know are nice and easy to get along with. They haven't even read the Bible. I actually feel that I'm more idea-driven than they are. So i used to quibble biblical quotes with these believers, and they respond with "Jesus just wants us all to love each other, so please stop creating these arguments." So i did. I can be kind of a pain in the arse like that, getting too deep and literal into things.
now, i'm friends with all kinds of people, believers and non-believers alike. I don't care what ideas they carry around in their head, if we get along.
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Old 01-01-2008, 10:11 AM
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So what do you think, am I secular? Or just confused?[/QUOTE]

It probably doesn't really matter. As you're trying to figure it all out though you could just tell people you're spiritual. That covers just about everything. If they ask for further clarification either tell them what you posted or tell them you're still in the process of thinking about it.

KariSue (the happy atheist)
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Old 01-01-2008, 10:31 AM
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[QUOTE=ccirider;1572601]Most atheists would say to you that atheism is simply a lack of belief in a god, so there was no faith to lose from the beginning. It IS a lack of belief in God (by definition of the word) so there is no faith to lose. However, I believe that we all worship someone or something, including atheists, whether it be an inanimate object, ourselves, etc. BUT the definition of ATHEISM isn't lack of belief in ANYTHING, it's the lack of belief in a DEITY ONLY. Do you see how you're expanding the definition to fit your own beliefs? Atheists believe in many things. Just not deities. I can't think of anything I worship. I'm an atheist. The Pharoahs deified themselves and openly declared themselves to be gods, which has to be the ultimate in self-centeredness. Is it not possible for someone to deify himself, yet deny that he is doing so for obvious reasons? I am not suggesting that ALL atheists deify themselves, but I think it's safe to say that some (meaning 1 or more) do, just like some theists deify themselves. I definitely don't think I'm a deity of any kind. What I believe is that people create their own God/gods. God doesn't create man. Man creates God. It's something to think about. Why else does everyone's God agree with THEM? Ever notice that?

KariSue

P.S. When I capitalize certain words I don't mean to yell. I just mean to put emphasis on the word for clarification purposes.
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:04 PM
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Is disbelief in an idea the same as believing that the idea isnt true? No: mere disbelief in the truth of a proposition is not equivalent to the belief that the proposition is false and that the opposite is true. If you make a claim and I disbelieve it, I am not necessarily saying that your claim is false. I may not understand it well enough to say one way or the other. I may lack enough information to test your claim. I may simply not care enough to think about it. There are a variety of reasons why I might disbelieve something and the most basic meaning for disbelief is to simply lack belief.
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Old 01-02-2008, 08:53 AM
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I am not a christian, tried it. Didn't work for ME. I consider myself a monotheist. I believe in one Deity. There is no God But God. Yes this comes from Islam but that doesnt work for me either. I believe in what works for me today, while always trying to keep an open mine to more info no matter where it comes from. I know that I don't have all the answers and never will, so my spiritual journey continues.
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:49 AM
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I'm too dumb to understand religion and stuff. I do like looking at pretty wimmens.
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:49 PM
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^^ oh LOL!!!


I have been wrestling with these concepts for many years, and I've kinda made up my own personal world-view over that time. I'd be interested to know if anyone else feels the same way.

First, I believe that the universe operates on a probablity/possibility matrix that carries through infinite universes, based on the probability of something happening.

Second, I believe that there is a force at work in the larger universe that we are unable to measure, calculate, explain or understand. This force is connected to gravitational force exerted on galaxies by other galaxies, black holes, convergent suns, sea-turtle homing impulses, fluid dynamics of storms (on a terrestrial and galactic level) etc... there's no way that we'll be able to understand the influence of everything on everything else. The force could well be simply the inter-connectedness of all things.

I reckon that this is what people call God, or Allah, or Jesus etc... I think it's all the same thing. Perhaps it's matter vs. dark matter, or the force of creation vs. the force of destruction, or just a constant brushing of endless possibility. I think it is that force, or energy, on a universal scale, that people worship - every culture in the world.

I feel connected to the universe, but since I have never had any religious training or education, I can't personify it. I am pretty confident though, that when I smile at the sky and smell autumn leaves or a sea breeze, or share a smile, that I am connected to the universe in a way that feels spiritual to me.

As a result, I have always loved talking to people about their faith, for a number of reasons. I have many issues with organised religion, as I think it is mostly used as a tool for control and power, but I have no problem with someone's personal belief in something greater than them - infinity is a big number! I think it's important to feel like we are part of the universe. I also know that the basic tenets of all of the major religions are very similar at their core, and they all contain a (generally) good prescription for a happy life.

I've been off my face for ages, and I have felt very disconnected from the universe at times. I look forward to learning more about eastern religious beliefs and philosophies, as they seem to be based on personal growth and development, where a lot of the western religions seem to be more about inhibiting certain behaviour.

hmmm... gosh that's a lot of rambling!
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:27 PM
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