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Your perspective on spirituality

oappo

Well-Known Member
-Does it matter whether you can be confident that spiritual beliefs are true, if they are beliefs that you find comforting, for example?

-Is it necessary to believe in a theistic religion if you want to believe in an afterlife?
First question: I guess it doesn't really. If it helps the person somehow, such as comforting them, that's great. A definite no in that case. But like Filter was saying, it's not like believing matters or not in this regard, won't change the truth. And it's not like anyone can truly know anyways, making confidence sort of pointless from a strictly spiritual perspective. So I'd say no.

For the second question, I also say no. The idea of an afterlife is dependent on what you believe after all. What exactly the afterlife is will depend on your specific beliefs as well.
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
Since some users wanted to discuss their spiritual beliefs, and they began expanding beyond the gamut of discussion that their original threads were about, I've decided to create a thread that can accommodate all of that.

Topics that appear to be coming up frequently include the utility of beliefs.

-Does it matter whether you can be confident that spiritual beliefs are true, if they are beliefs that you find comforting, for example?

-Is it necessary to believe in a theistic religion if you want to believe in an afterlife?

And personally I want to ask if there's anybody who believes in a theistic religion but doesn't believe in an afterlife.


I've seen a lot of discussions about spirituality go very badly, so I encourage everybody who posts to try to be considerate of other's feelings, not just whether you perceive them as right or wrong.


I'm Wiccan and very comfortable with my beliefs in the power of nature and our ties to it. Thus said, answering your questions:

1) No it doesn't...by definition nobody can "know" they are right, and if they say they are they are lying to themselves or you. Thus you have to find a belief that matches your view of the world, your morality and values, and has the potential to makes sense based on what you DO know. In essence, you are finding the closest path that you want to explore based on what you already noticed/believe. BUT the beliefs don't define you!!! For example, I'm not a good person because I'm Wiccan...I'm Wiccan because the beliefs allow me the freedom to be a good person. A Christian don't need God to be good, but their beliefs match the religions. If they are ONLY good because of the beliefs, then they have serious issues spiritually IMHO.

2) Absolutely. An atheist cannot believe in an afterlife by definition as it involves "spirit".

3) Certainly...otherwise the only point of religions is to comfort our collective death-fear. <laugh> But it's more than possible to believe in a guiding spirituality and then know you're just going to die. It still guides you and comforts you.
To put it simply, I'd rather live 80 years of spiritually-fulfilled joy and helping others and bettering myself and exploring, than 8000 years of boredom and observations without connection nor purpose. (nobody ever asks what you DO in a christian heaven for example, or what you do after the 800th re-incarnation. What are you learning to DO forever? Focus on your current life, it's more relevant...)
 
D

Deleted member 134556

Guest
I'm very open to spirituality and various Pegan faiths. I also admire many of them, such as Wiccans, who care about the well being of the earth, it's environment, and it's creatures, which appeals to me since I was once a wildlife major.
 

aomagrat

Well-Known Member
I have experienced way to many coincidences to be a coincidence. I believe that there is a higher force that is directing our lives, causing us to interact with each other, whether we want to or not. For example, if I am driving down a road and come up behind a bicyclist, it seems every time there is an oncoming vehicle that forces me to slow down before I can pass the bicycle. It happens way too many times to be a coincidence. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is a cliche because it happens so often.
 
-Does it matter whether you can be confident that spiritual beliefs are true, if they are beliefs that you find comforting, for example?

I'm a Pagan and use the label "Witch". My spiritual beliefs do not include a list of rules and divine expectations. It does not include promises of rewards for belief or threats of eternal punishment if you don't happen to believe. They are all about exploring, contemplating, and appreciating the natural world and our place within it. It is an inspiration for creativity. In that sense, I would not be arrogant enough to claim that my specific beliefs are a true representation of reality that applies to every individual that has or will ever exist. They are a working model that works for me and if the divine truly cares, it will meet me halfway. Your mileage may vary.

-Is it necessary to believe in a theistic religion if you want to believe in an afterlife?

I don't see why holding the beliefs of a particular religion is a requirement for the belief in an afterlife.

And personally I want to ask if there's anybody who believes in a theistic religion but doesn't believe in an afterlife.

I believe the afterlife is really just wishful thinking. It serves a psychological purpose.
I believe we only get one go around, so have to make it count.
 
D

Deleted member 134556

Guest
Why Necromancy of course...........;) (Seriously though another thread necro'd at least it is not the one from the video game forum......)
The only thing I don't like about this post is that I didn't think of it first. Bravo
 

Glossolalia

just happy to be here
I've always felt a sense that spirituality was important to me, but I never felt a connection to any particular religion. In the past few years I've been trying to develop my spirituality in my own way.

It feels kind of cheesy when I describe it in words, but I believe that everything is a part of god, and that existence as a whole is inherently right and meaningful (even the unpleasant parts). I guess you could call me a pantheist- I think everything is another facet of the same consciousness, and I think that this consciousness is essentially a loving one.

I believe this because believing it changes the way I think and the way I live my life, for the better. I feel a deeper appreciation for my surroundings and my loved ones, I'm able to be more patient with difficult people and situations, and I find it easier to structure my life. I don't know if it's anywhere close to the objective truth of reality (if an objective truth even exists) but things sure work better for me when I treat it like it is!
 

Rayd

philosophy & psychology nerd
1. i think this can actually be positive if it's for comfort or a variety of other psychological benefits, especially if it doesn't hurt anybody else. i sometimes humor astrology, animal spirits, chakras, etc. to give me some sort of peace or psychological benefit despite me ultimately not believing any of it exists. so it just goes to show that you don't necessarily even need to believe in something in order to derive some sort of comfort from the concept.

2. absolutely not. for example, the 2 afterlifes that i personally believe are plausible is A.) souls and "spirits" are a real thing, they're just nothing like how they're depicted in media, not being able to affect the physical realm at all, or being transported to an entirely different "spirit world" altogether. souls in this case are a natural element of our being and therefore do not require a god or an almighty being to create. or B.) ascension is real, and there's a concept outside the bounds of existence itself that we only experience when we die. not necessarily a "simulation", but a concept we cannot even begin to comprehend because it is impossible to describe as it's something outside of what it means to exist. think of existence and everything we are capable of understanding within it as a concept we can grasp, and the limits of our comprehensions is the concept we are bound to, in this case, existing. i often wonder.
 

Yoserfael1

Member
1) It's a difficult question, because it depends on what you're measuring it by. I'm too tired to expound on it rn.
2) I don't think a religion necessarily needs a god for an afterlife in theory. In practise, I don't think there are any religions per-se that hold like this.
Personally, however, I believe that belief in G-d (best defined as a Monad) is necessary for "afterlife," as all afterlife really is | is henosis. Without it, there's nothing. Although, I need to research this topic more.
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
I think, therefore I am.

But what if you only think you think? My computer can think as well but it is not alive, right? The only reason you can come up with thoughts (according to science anyway) is your neurons got programmed with instincts and experiences...so from their POV you and the computer are identical, you're just more complex and run on chemicals.
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
But what if you only think you think? My computer can think as well but it is not alive, right? The only reason you can come up with thoughts (according to science anyway) is your neurons got programmed with instincts and experiences...so from their POV you and the computer are identical, you're just more complex and run on chemicals.

'I think therefore I am' remains true.

You could be a computer simulation, or a brain floating in a jar, or a character in somebody else's dream. Those are all states of being- so you can still conclude I 'am'.
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
'I think therefore I am' remains true.

You could be a computer simulation, or a brain floating in a jar, or a character in somebody else's dream. Those are all states of being- so you can still conclude I 'am'.

<ponders a moment> Actually no they aren't though...a character in someone's dream is just an extension of their state of being...making you a puppet to their consciousness.
In that sense you would not be...you would merely think you are but your thoughts and movements are all the result of another being. By that logic, Pinocchio was alive before the fairy zapped him when Gepetto was playing with the strings..
 

TyraWadman

The Silent Observer
<ponders a moment> Actually no they aren't though...a character in someone's dream is just an extension of their state of being...making you a puppet to their consciousness.
In that sense you would not be...you would merely think you are but your thoughts and movements are all the result of another being. By that logic, Pinocchio was alive before the fairy zapped him when Gepetto was playing with the strings..

Well I sure as hell didn't put you all here. So there must be something to it.
Who the hell put me here?
I'll kill the bastard.
 

Skittles

Queen of FaF. Empress of Fløøf.
Something put us here. But I don't think they care anymore.
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
<ponders a moment> Actually no they aren't though...a character in someone's dream is just an extension of their state of being...making you a puppet to their consciousness.
In that sense you would not be...you would merely think you are but your thoughts and movements are all the result of another being. By that logic, Pinocchio was alive before the fairy zapped him when Gepetto was playing with the strings..

If Pinocchio could think, then yes he was. To think is to be aware of your own existence, so it is to be certain you exist in some form.
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
If Pinocchio could think, then yes he was. To think is to be aware of your own existence, so it is to be certain you exist in some form.

WE know he could think after the fairy, but before that we don't know at all. Could he? We have no outside way to know while Gepetto was tugging the strings. Just like our dream person has no outside way to confirm his sentience to the dreamer.

(p.s. this is a fun thought experiment BTW!)
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
WE know he could think after the fairy, but before that we don't know at all. Could he? We have no outside way to know while Gepetto was tugging the strings. Just If he could think, then he would be certain he existed.

.

That's the point of Descartes' 'cogito ergo sum'.

To think is to be aware you exist. The nature of that existence may be unknown, but the fact of it is known.

Only Pinocchio himself in this situation would be able to confirm his own existence- and only to himself. He could never persuade anybody else with total certainty that he is 'real'.
The same applies to all of us.
You might think I'm real, but maybe this text is just a hallucination you're having and it doesn't come from 'me' at all
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
That's the point of Descartes' 'cogito ergo sum'.

To think is to be aware you exist. The nature of that existence may be unknown, but the fact of it is known.

Only Pinocchio himself in this situation would be able to confirm his own existence- and only to himself. He could never persuade anybody else with total certainty that he is 'real'.
The same applies to all of us.
You might think I'm real, but maybe this text is just a hallucination you're having and it doesn't come from 'me' at all

That's possible...catnip is a harsh mistress after all. <LOL> So basically nobody can prove anything...which makes sense as at some point everyone's brain is just taking things on faith.
"I think, therefore I am confused" might be more appropriate lately. :)
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
That's possible...catnip is a harsh mistress after all. <LOL> So basically nobody can prove anything...which makes sense as at some point everyone's brain is just taking things on faith.
"I think, therefore I am confused" might be more appropriate lately. :)

Definitely!

If you continue to follow Descartes' approach you can prove a long list of other things must be true. Comments about the structure of internally consistent sets of statements can still be proven- so that's mathematics, for instance.
 

MaelstromEyre

Slippery When Wet
My family was "Christmas/Easter Catholic," though we went to public school instead of the local Catholic schools. We did all the indoctrination stuff - baptism as infants, First Communion, Confirmation. I just never really had any interest, my parents followed "the rules" but it's not like we read the Bible or said the Rosary or anything.

When I was a teenager, I went to some youth group stuff at a local Presbyterian church and got involved in a ministry group called YoungLife, went to their meetings and camps. It was more of a social thing, though. I heard how all these people's lives were so dramatically "changed" when they found God, and I guess I wanted it, too. . .but it never really happened. So, I put any faith stuff on the backburner until after college. Started going to a local non denominational church and really liked it - because it wasn't "churchy." It was welcoming to all kinds of people. It was small and friendly. I stuck with it for several years. . .but in that time, it grew. . .and it became another "big church" that was all about promoting marriage and family and kids, and if you were a woman who didn't aspire to be a housewife and mother, they didn't know what to do with you.

I did try. I led an Outdoors ministry. I volunteered heavily in their artist community, and also led a Young Adults' ministry. I read books and went to Bible studies and tried, because I thought that would make me happy, maybe less alone. But it made everything worse because it was clear I simply didn't "fit in" there.

During that time I was also dating a guy who was heavily KJV Baptist, but only on his terms. He was also a manipulative, controlling, jealous asshole. Long story short, he tried to get me pregnant so that I'd have to stay with him (apparently he thought sex before marriage was okay if it benefitted him). It didn't work, I broke up with him.

In all those years, I had so many negative experiences with followers of that religion that I decided I was done with it. I define myself as an atheist for simplicity, because I really don't have enough interest in any other belief systems to pursue or practice.

But. . .the most spiritual I've felt when I was out in nature, seeing beautiful places. I don't care about buildings or group prayers or lengthy sermons, I want to go see waterfalls and rock formations and hear birds and walk through an autumn forest where the sun in the leaves is brighter than any stained glass window. That's where I feel my "connection."

One of my defining moments in leaving the Christian belief system was hearing others call my love for nature "earth worship." They said it was evil. They said it was man's God-given duty to dominate nature, to develop the land and bring everything into civilization. Nature, to them, was "evil." I guess they forgot about the whole thing in Genesis where their god is the one who CREATED that stuff.

There are aspects of it I miss - mostly the people in the artist community. They were more "normal" about stuff - they were fun, they weren't uptight or judgemental. I am still in touch with a few from Facebook and none have ever talked down to me about my choice to leave the church, nor have they tried to change my mind.
 

TyraWadman

The Silent Observer
"earth worship." They said it was evil.

*record scratch* Wut?

I always liked the idea of religion for its community aesthetic. People smiling and welcoming each other... then I have to remember that it's almost always the propaganda. They're showing you what you want to see and then you get crazy shit like what you mentioned- and then some.
 

sshado

Artemis the Satanist
Spirituality is large motivating factor in my life. It used to be more of a core part of my external identity when I was a kid but I went through many periods of reconstructing my beliefs growing up and ended up in an unorthodox place.

I would describe what I believe in to be radical spiritual humanism. The focus is on people and their needs, finding rational and practical ways to meet those needs within a framework. That framework is pursuing actions which strengthen experiences relating to:
* Truth
* Contentment
* Empathy
* Humility
* Love

I believe in radical acceptance of individuals. When I look at someone, I would like to tell them "I know who you are, I know what you are, I know how you serve". Now, obviously I'm not going to go around telling people that randomly but I can convey that through how I engage with them. Being fully in the moment with that person, actively listening, and seeing them for who they are deep down allows them to define for me who they want to be instead of who the world has decided they should be. This informs how I do business, how I interact with friends, how I acknowledge strangers.

I believe in a higher and lower self. I do not believe that we have any conscious communication with our higher selves nor do I believe that I can interact with them in any way because they are not physical concepts. My higher self is an expression of myself which has always existed and will always exist. If I choose to align myself to that expression then who I am is fundamentally different while I hold onto it. If I could align myself to that higher expression all of the time then I gladly would, but it will take me a lifetime to grow and mature that much. In the meantime I can only try my best and try to help others reveal their own inner truths.

I believe people can have shared-experiences and moments of synchronicity and that through mass-synchronicity we can perform actual miracles through completely practical and human means.

I believe in expanding the mind beyond known boundaries. The type of work I do involves working with laws of physics for which we have no concrete theories yet, so it is not uncommon for me to hear someone say they don't believe what I'm doing is real. Reality is something that people put a little bit too much faith in. I take a slightly different approach and I try to push the boundaries of my reality as often as possible. Any time they give a little, I take that as a cue I need to investigate and find a way to see past those walls.

I believe we should always be looking beyond what we know and trying to acknowledge the impossibly vast boundary of everything that we do not yet understand.

I consider myself a follower of Satanism, Chaos Magick, and pursuit of Mastery.

Lastly, and most important, I believe we should all touch fluffy tail and I'm here to tell you that paws are so gosh darn cute.
 

VeeStars

uh I can explain?
While I personally am atheist and not a very spiritual person in the slightest, I do find it interesting to learn about what other people's worldviews and what they believe in. ^^
 
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