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Anything goes secular spirituality thread

Old 03-24-2009, 03:03 PM
  # 161 (permalink)  
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Hey, spark. I'm sorry I missed this last night. I originally started this thread to get a variety of opinions on what spirituality means to people, because when I was sort of discussing it in the Spirituality forum.....well.....lets just say I didn't feel welcome. I do find the topic interesting and people really do have a variety of opinions on this.

I was hoping that anyone would post anything they like here and feel safe to do it. I hope you don't leave.


Originally Posted by spark42 View Post
So I think it's right that there should be a movement to try and question and challenge religion and faith. Unfortunately, whilst moderately religious people don't wish to cause harm, the whole idea that faith, and by extension irrational belief, is sacred and not to be challenged, means that fundamentalism is more difficult to tackle at the root.

I agree with this 100%. I don't think anyone should get a free pass for bad and/or irrational behavior that causes harm. What concerns me the most is the "religious right" and similar movements in the U.S. You know, the ones who hate gays, lesbians, transgender/sexual people, bisexuals, pansexuals...you name it. These people have made it clear that people like me don't deserve to have the same rights as everyone else. I obviously don't buy it. I am tired of their bigoted rhetoric. They foster hatred through fear. What these groups have done to influence legislation and to keep hate acceptable in the general public has seriously f*cked with my mind. This is such a touchy subject for me…so much emotion involved. I’m sorry I just went off on a rant like that. This issue is so important to my overall recovery, and I do take this personally.

About organizing a movement…I read somewhere that it's awfully hard to organize atheists because many are very independent. I’m not sure what to do about that.

Take it easy, spark.
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:18 PM
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Double thanks for that bam. Agree 100% But how do we go about fighting fundementalism. I agree that challenging their ideas is important, but we have to ally ourselves with moderates too instead of just dismissing or attacking the religion. I have moderate Muslim relatives in Pakistan but there are really reactionary fundamentalist types as well who are going around killing everyone there by bombing cars/mosques. But saying stuff in the media like "The Islamic threat" or "clash of the civilizations" alienates the moderates more instead of helping to fight the fundamentalists.
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Eroica View Post
Double thanks for that bam. Agree 100% But how do we go about fighting fundementalism. I agree that challenging their ideas is important, but we have to ally ourselves with moderates too instead of just dismissing or attacking the religion. I have moderate Muslim relatives in Pakistan but there are really reactionary fundamentalist types as well who are going around killing everyone there by bombing cars/mosques. But saying stuff in the media like "The Islamic threat" or "clash of the civilizations" alienates the moderates more instead of helping to fight the fundamentalists.

Exactly. I honestly don't know what to do. I think that's why Dawkins and others like him are so off-putting. In a way they're hurting their cause by ignoring basic human psychology. I do think it's important have religious allies. Positive change will not happen without them.
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:35 PM
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Yo!
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:59 PM
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Bam, check out humaniststudies.org They were started in Europe and made a splash by running anti religious ads on the buses in Toronto.
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Old 03-29-2009, 01:28 AM
  # 166 (permalink)  
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I have had a few really odd things happen at critical moments that make me wonder, but more importantly I have buried someone I can't stand the thought of being only food for the worms, so I like to think that somehow, energy or spirit continues, and that maybe just maybe it wasn't really good bye.

That being the case, I still struggle with wanting to quell the screaming within, whether through improved mental health or aligning my spirit with its place in the cosmos=)

very tired, im going to sleep too bam
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Old 04-09-2009, 03:52 AM
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So....here is something that I will probably be discussing with my therapist..however since this thread is here and ya all are nice folks with opinions that ya like to share...here is my brain on spirituality....

I did not grow up with religion. My dad said he believed in God, but we never went to church or anything...and when staying with my mom she would have me say my prayers at night but that's about the extent of it.

Fast forward, I was 20 when I became a baptized christian. I went to church 3 times a week, lived with a christian family for a while, had no booze no cigarettes and no sex for a year! Moved out on my own, continued going to church 3 times a week for about 2 and half years.

Well.....it didn't stick. I started questioning things here and there about whether my beliefs and those of the church were in line. They weren't. So I stopped going. It didn't bother me all that much at the time to make such an adjustment, I was happy in my life, things were going well, heck I even had a new boyfriend. Wooohooo

Fast forward....I have emotional conflict with my beliefs....I no longer consider myself to be a christian. I have over the years read about different religions and opinions about why we are here and all that jazz. One of the things I realized, for me, is that there is no way I can believe in a God that would allow certain things to happen as they do. I think that if anything I believe in natural law..mother nature..not as a being but a set of rules/laws. ( I dont know if this makes sense if ya have questions just ask... lol)

SO to get to the point of the post. This, in my belief, leaves humans to do as they will. It also means that when bad things happen and when good things happen, it could have a reason...and it may not have one. I do however think that most people are for the most part products of their environment and are born innocent.

I have emotional conflict with my beliefs..they cause me great stress and anxiousness. To not have reason for the things that happen in life... to not have a optimistic view of the eventual outcome is very distressing. This means that anything can happen, to anyone, with out any reason and that's it. Do not pass go..do not collect 200 dollars....do not have peace about how your life or the life of those you love will eventually turn out because alot of it is up to chance. This scares the crap out of me. It is what I believe though....I cant deny that for the comfort of convincing myself that there is some all powerful being out there making sure everything is all right. Because I can tell you its not from personal experience, everything is not all right.

Has anyone else ever dealt with this? How would you go about living if you were instilled with such fear? How could you find peace and meaning?

Thanks for reading... :ghug
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Old 04-09-2009, 04:53 AM
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It just doesn't frighten me. Why would "nothing" be frightening? I certainly think the concept of my life being already plotted out by "something" sounds much more frightening.
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:25 AM
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God botherers frighten me.
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:37 AM
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Well it is frightening for me...not sure why...I guess I could look into that part too....

To me though it isn't nothing...its random acts of murder, anger, abuse, etc etc that you cant make sense of...that there is no reason for.... this is what I think leads to some of my anxiety....
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:43 AM
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Viv I went through a similar expereince. I had beleived in god/HP when i first got sober, and then after about 2 years realized that i didn't..or that if there was a god i hated him.

I'm not sure how to explain what i did with the fear part...i guess for me I did still believe in the law of cause and effect...there are reasons but they are complicated and impersonal. Tornados form, hit homes and kill people, but there is a cause effect going on....just not personal. If you get my drift here.

I don't find myself full of fear all the time anymore so I do know it settles in time, I did do meditation practice and my buddhism to help me with this, but I think the main thing is it is always scary when some core belief is suddenly taken from us. Just the uncertainty of how we will manage without that support that we have relied on.

Well..not particularly helpful...PM me sometime and maybe we can talk more...

Sorry you are struggling (hug)
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:10 AM
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ananda is probably right, when you've always had faith, then lose your faith, it must be a tough period to pass. Take faith in yourself, the good you can do, what you can teach to others, the way you can help others, maybe that will help. I don't think mankind is a lost cause, but there are a lot of bad elements... I try to ignore what I don't like.
Don't let things get you too down, and keep posting !
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:30 AM
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BTW Vivid, have you read the sticky, "Handling irrational beliefs"? I can't remember what all was in it, but I don't think it could hurt to read it....
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by vividserenity View Post
I have emotional conflict with my beliefs..they cause me great stress and anxiousness. To not have reason for the things that happen in life... to not have a optimistic view of the eventual outcome is very distressing. This means that anything can happen, to anyone, with out any reason and that's it. Do not pass go..do not collect 200 dollars....do not have peace about how your life or the life of those you love will eventually turn out because alot of it is up to chance. This scares the crap out of me. It is what I believe though....I cant deny that for the comfort of convincing myself that there is some all powerful being out there making sure everything is all right. Because I can tell you its not from personal experience, everything is not all right.


Hey, vivid.

I have anxiety and I've had it for a long time. I don't like feeling like I'm out of control when it comes to the big things.

I used to have religious faith...and when I did it was comforting to me. For the last 8 years or so I've had to learn (and I'm still learning) how to cope with my new thoughts on life and death. It's an adjustment...and honestly to this day I still struggle. It's even harder without alcohol.

Just speaking for myself here--random thoughts…I’m trying to look at things now as though I have a chance to change myself and seek out a happier living experience. I’m trying to not see existence as futile…I get a chance to define for myself what my life means and what I’m going to do with it. I have an opportunity to change my perspective. I hope I can.

Sorry if this doesn’t help, vivid. I saw your post and I felt for ya. Try to take it easy, okay?
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:03 AM
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The way I think of it.. all people are at the mercy of chance but we just have to accept it, like accepting that we'll eventually trip and fall, or accepting that we'll all die.... even good things. like accepting how beautiful we all are LOL j/k And we have to accept that for the most part after we die we'll all be forgotten. I guess that its not fair to put in so much "work" into life and in the end it be so pointless... but oh well.

Even if you believe there is some cosmic reason for bad things happenning, the bad things will still happen so I find little comfort in supernatural explanations.
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:39 PM
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Viv

As a child I remanded religious because of fear, fear of eternal damnation. When I left my church my fear turned into anger. I personally felt deceived by the stories about God I was told in church. They just didn't add up to me. So on the emotional level I can relate with you. Fear and anger are two powerful emotions.

Intuitively I sensed there were better beliefs to hold that would bring meaning to the 'big picture'. One that helped me was to explore and come to some understanding about the universe. One understanding that held my interest (and still dose) was how stories about God come about and their role in societies. Deepening this understanding has given me a lot of relief, especially about all of the fears I had about God as a child. Another understanding that has helped is learning about nature and how people are effected by it and interact with it. Nature can bring great comfort and fear among a host of vast experiences all rolled into one. The one prominent thing I get from nature is living beings are born to thrive. And as humans, we get a grand opportunity to bring meaning to our own survival. That is I am allowed to have a purpose. I strongly believe I can assign my own purpose or let others do that for me. Personally I find it very rewarding to come to some understanding of what my purpose is that than to allow others to do it for me. That also goes for what is the purpose for everything. Collectively as well as individually people can make the experience of being alive a relativity pleasant one or a nasty one.
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:56 AM
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:10 AM
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There is no meaning to the big picture, IMO. I know that seems like a negative outlook, but when people say that everything is connected and everything, they're saying that others' pain and suffering are happening for a reason.. but some things are totally senseless and serve no purpose-like deadly viruses. Why is there HIV? Why are there deadly tsunamis? Why do people OD? They didn't consent to being an example of what addiction can do.

Because nature is inherantly cruel, its up to humans to stand up to nature's will, by thinking, practicing science, by creating art and music, by creating stable societies, we're empowering ourselves against nature will for us. In other words, doing things like helping your fellow man are unnatural. They're uniquely human. If we weren't human, then we'd kill other people for food and find mates by clubbing them on the head. Nature is a cold product of the evolutionary process, not an awe inspiring tapestry of Gods work.

Crediting our power for good to something else seems like an insult to all man has been able to do.
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:48 AM
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Maybe I would say: "Intuitively I sensed there were better beliefs to hold that would bring understanding to the 'big picture'." Yes there is no meaning to every thing or at least as understand it. If I were to find a meaning for everything it would be something I bring forth from my mind. I can say that life seems to me to be some kind of competition for survival. Life eating life for the purpose of expanding. A winner take all. Except winning it all means death to the winner. You know, out populate the food source and death becomes the balancing force.

What I get from universe is from the beginning the universe has been organizing it self into more complex structures. And what could be more complex than thought. Well many things I'm sure. But to string my scattered thinking together, we as humans bring meaning to the big picture. See it as you wish or like to believe. I don't know if the universe needs interpretation other than to comfort or disturb ones mind.

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Old 04-21-2009, 11:56 PM
  # 180 (permalink)  
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“magic happens.”
You either agree with this statement or you don’t.
If you’re agnostic, you must not have seen any evidence of magic, and if you have seen evidence, you didn’t believe your own eyes. I don’t think that it’s arrogant to be a strong atheist, I think it is a rejection of the statement “magic happens.”
If I drop an object and it falls to the floor and I do it again and it falls to the floor, then the third time I hold the object in my hand and have all the people in the world pray that that object will not fall to the floor, would the agnostic position be that they don‘t know whether the object will fall to the floor?
If you ask physicians in theistic countries whether any of their patients are overcoming illness due to faith and miracles, many would say “yes.” But to what extent? If a patient were dead for a week, would they still believe in a possible miracle? If a patient were decapitated, would they believe that a miracle could take place? Do they believe amputees would be cured by a miracle?
Why is it that in the day and age of Jesus Christ, the sea parted, people were raised from the dead, bushes went into spontaneous combustion, and now no miracles are evident?
I have not been saved by faith, I have been repeatedly saved by a lack of faith in the supernatural.
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