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Anything goes secular spirituality thread

Old 06-19-2009, 04:20 PM
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Eroica and Bamboozle—

I think you guys need to move to SF. I am actually sort of serious. I am so rarely around religious people; it is shocking to me sometimes to realize actually how religious this country is.

The last time I was in a church, I was helping drag queens serve homeless people Thanksgiving lunch.

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Old 06-19-2009, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by sfgirl View Post

The last time I was in a church, I was helping drag queens serve homeless people Thanksgiving lunch.



That's awesome. Too bad I don't have the funds to move there...SF is expensive. I'm just a poor West Virginian girl...and flipping burgers is one talent amongst many that I could bring to SF. Oh, and I know how to deep fry some mean-ass-crispy fries, too.

Wow...am I ever going to get a real job? By real, I mean something that pays well and allows me to make descisions for myself. Okay, I'm going to stop complaining (for now).
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:31 PM
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Here I am: all grown up and still living paycheck to paycheck.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by sfgirl View Post
The last time I was in a church, I was helping drag queens serve homeless people Thanksgiving lunch.

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for giving me faith once again......LOL...I love those sisters.
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:26 PM
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@ otterbear
I believe in the possibility of an energy in the universe that kind of holds everything together...But that tapping into that energy, kindness, compassion, has nothing to do with a god, gods, a goddess, or dogma.

Interestingly, that's how many define 'spirituality'...or a univeral connectedness.
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Overman View Post
@ otterbear
I believe in the possibility of an energy in the universe that kind of holds everything together...But that tapping into that energy, kindness, compassion, has nothing to do with a god, gods, a goddess, or dogma.

Interestingly, that's how many define 'spirituality'...or a univeral connectedness.
I guess for me it has always been a matter of semantics, and wanting to stay away from anything to could somehow be construed as being related to religion.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:49 PM
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I definitely don't believe in the stuff taught by most religions, certainly not Abrahamic ones. I don't believe in gods or goddesses or magic. Whatever else may be true in what we consider the "supernatural," I'll never know - and neither will anyone else.

So that leaves only this: What do I want to leave behind since, by default, I don't believe in my own immortality. I think what Otterbearcat said: kindness, compassion, etc. Can't go wrong with that legacy - and I want human beings to thrive. But that's not spirituality; it's the only rational choice, and it's genetically programmed into us (see Dawkin's "The Selfish Gene" for details).
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:34 PM
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I've always been a little perplexed when religious folks tell me I must think life is meaningless/worthless because I believe in biology rather than deities. Life is beautiful in the intricacies of how biology works, how we've evolved, how creatures can hang on in a niche they are poorly suited to hold because they have one little trait that gives them a slight advantage. That's awesome, in the true sense of the word. Every time a new piece of the puzzle is found, expanding our understanding of how we went from bacteria to fish to amphibians to reptiles to birds and mammals it is humbling. I realize we are *nothing* compared to nature and subject to our own biology. This chunk of rock we call home will be spinning long after we're gone, replaced by something that can adapt better and more quickly to the Earth as a living system. That's amazing, and it makes life worth more to me than it would if I saw this all filtered through a vain sense of my own immortality.
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:19 AM
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I recently read a good little article in the BBC about David Attenborough. Here's the link: BBC NEWS | UK | Attenborough 'received hate mail' but two parts really resonated with me:
Sir David said that people asked why his documentaries did not give "credit" to God for the creation of life.

"They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds."

"I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in East Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball."

"The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs."

"I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator."
and another...
Sir David said it was "terrible" when creationism and evolution were taught in schools as equivalent, alternative perspectives.

"It's like saying that two and two equals four, but if you wish to believe it, it could also be five."
I love David Attenborough
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:14 AM
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Thanks for the link Daisy. I also hate it when deists bring up the miracle of life or beauty of nature as proof of something divine. No one says that God is also responsible for earthquakes, malaria, hurricanes, tsunamis, and airplane crashes. Incredibly they blame it on the victims for bringing it upon themselves, as punishment for their sins or the sins of humanity.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:28 AM
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Hey Eroica, good job hating what the deist say and not hating the deists

Religion is hard for me to really understand sometimes - my parents are Catholics, and I was raised Catholic. I know they are good, loving people. They're not the types who question things a whole lot, so when faced with a question like "What kind of a benevolent God would do things like this?" the best the generally come up with is something along the lines of "God works in mysterious ways. Even if we don't know why he does things, it's good just to know he has a reason, even if it's not one we can understand."
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:59 AM
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“The common error of ordinary religious practice is to mistake the symbol for the reality” - Alan Watts

I think it's perfectly practical to hate organized religion. All religions, after all, preach the same basic things, all of which are promptly disregarded once a church is set up and people are running the show. Jesus, the pauper prophit, taught us that the kingdom of heaven lies within us, so what did we do? COMPLETELY misunderstood (I have to think intentionally) his meaning and built grand cathedrals with material idols and wonderful drapery etc etc. Loving your neighbor is supposed to be another one of those concepts that supersedes, say, vague, uber-interpreted comments about sexual preference*, yet that is the FIRST concept to get thrown out the window in the name of god. Without getting too deep into semantics, if you define religion as a personal relationship with god, then organized religion is the worst thing that ever happened to religion. We've not only mistaken the symbol for the reality, we've begun worshipping the symbol to spite the reality. What was that god said about worshipping idols?....

Personally, I hate (and I don't think hate is too strong a word for this) christianity for the fact that it stunted human progression for over a thousand years. Anyone who has studied Greek or Roman history will see where I'm coming from, christianity plunged us completely into a dark age until the renaissance, we lost so so much literature, spiritual and social development, even infrastructure and technology due to the control structures set up after the council of Nicea. What could be more tragic than human progression stiffled with dogmatic foolishness in an age of technological advancement such as ours? How much sooner and healthier would we have gotten here had Rome never crumbled into the mistake of embracing a tiresome religious cult? How much purer would christianity have stayed had the power of the empire not absorbed and refined it? Early christianity was beautiful, but promply had its wings clipped after incorporation into the machine. So, I guess this goes both ways for me, and maybe specifically I should hate Contantine for all of this, I hope he suffers in Hades.

"God and I are one in the act of my perceiving him" - Miester Eckhart - (13th century Christian Mystic)

*interesting side note on god's 'stance' on sexuality. There are several references tabooing man on man sexuality, but not one denying woman on woman sexuality, in fact, in certain passages it seems to be encouraged.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by siamcat View Post

Personally, I hate (and I don't think hate is too strong a word for this) christianity for the fact that it stunted human progression for over a thousand years. Anyone who has studied Greek or Roman history will see where I'm coming from, christianity plunged us completely into a dark age until the renaissance, we lost so so much literature, spiritual and social development, even infrastructure and technology due to the control structures set up after the council of Nicea.
I don't disagree with anything you said, except that "Christianity plunged us" into the dark ages. Famine did that, the church just took advantage of the situation, and probably with good intent. It's not the intent of religious people that bothers me, so far as most religion goes, but it is the result: Rarely good and mostly oppressive.

*interesting side note on god's 'stance' on sexuality. There are several references tabooing man on man sexuality, but not one denying woman on woman sexuality, in fact, in certain passages it seems to be encouraged.
Which could be why there's always a girl-on-girl in any mainstream porn, and even prime time TV, but you'd never see male-on-male porn unless you were looking specifically for that. So, the Nicean creed helped design porn - LOL.

I don't understand the aversion. The Boy Scouts have battled for years (and been battered some) over the whole homosexual thing. The Girl Scouts never saw need to address it at all. All that comes from a patriarchcal place, I suspect, and so your post suggests. Another good reason to ban Abrahamic religions from the planet.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Daisy09 View Post
Religion is hard for me to really understand sometimes - my parents are Catholics, and I was raised Catholic. I know they are good, loving people. They're not the types who question things a whole lot, so when faced with a question like "What kind of a benevolent God would do things like this?" the best the generally come up with is something along the lines of "God works in mysterious ways. Even if we don't know why he does things, it's good just to know he has a reason, even if it's not one we can understand."
My parents were uber-Catholic (but not until later in life). It was almost impossible to have meaningful conversation with them. I grew up (before they were so bent on the church) with the Time-Life Evolution of Man series and National Geographic and all that. When they got all religious, I couldn't really talk to them anymore. The universe and our own existence no longer held mystery for them. They had all the answers, so I stopped asking questions - and just smiled and nodded a lot.

Besides not liking their answers, I like the mystery. I trust it in a way that I could never trust religion.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:53 PM
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Lemme rephrase that.... Roman State Christianity (what we not call Catholicism) erected the stifling social structures and maintained them with an iron fist through a culture of fear and ignorance and access to god only through church for a thousand years, whatever the original catalyst for the amalgamation of the Jesus Cult and the Roman Empire may have been...

Welcome Mistycshore, you look like you're kinda new.
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mistycshore View Post
The universe and our own existence no longer held mystery for them. They had all the answers, so I stopped asking questions - and just smiled and nodded a lot.

Besides not liking their answers, I like the mystery. I trust it in a way that I could never trust religion.
There's a quote I love, but don't know who it's by:

Unquestioned answers are far more dangerous than unanswered questions.
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:52 AM
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As a practicing Catholic, I acknowledge the damage the Church has done in the past. However we aren't living in the past. We live in the present.

I have never heard from the pulpit that God brings bad things upon us. One teacher in my Catholic high (who was a priest) did teach that God did punish Adam and Eve. He gave them, as he gives us, freedom of choice. How we choose our actions is our decisions. Not God's decision, not the Devil's. Ours.

Just as much as anyone else here, I hate those who push their religion on others or who twist their beliefs, bringing people away from religion, especially when they are most likely to be in need.
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:46 PM
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As a practicing Catholic, I acknowledge the damage the Church has done in the past. However we aren't living in the past. We live in the present.
This seems like faulty logic. Couldn’t the same thing be said of slavery, racism, or terrorism? It doesn’t seem to be a problem right now…

Speaking of slavery, isn’t that what dogmatic religion is? Unending, unchallengeable servitude to god, or punishment for the failure to do so?

Didn’t god harden the Egyptian pharaoh’s heart multiple times when the pharaoh wanted to kill all male Hebrew children?

Who created hell?

It’s great to have the free will to discuss this matter, I wonder if they could do this in heaven?

Don’t worry. The people in the middle east who push their religion on others through the use of theocracy are not bringing people away from religion; to the contrary, they are recruiting hundred of millions of people to hate and sometimes kill innocent people, who are deemed to be heretics and infidels, at, of course, the will of the invisible and unknowable god.
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:54 PM
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*Gnashing of teeth* Nevermind, I was going to post but I just don't want to get into it. Politicians make me mad.
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:57 PM
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Oh, go ahead and post Gneiss, now you've piqued my interest...
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