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There seems to be a good population of New Age/Pagan/other cafe-blends ex-Christians here. Could someone please explain how you get from one to the other. From my standpoint, it looks like an exchange of one myth for another, many of them highly dependent on divine revelation or just made up from some loose gossimer and spider webs that happened to be lying around.

 

I'm not attacking here, just trying to explain my confusion. :phew:

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For what it's worth, here's my train of thought...

 

I wanted to find some theory that would explain evidences of reincarnation, esp, ghosties, the beauty of the physical universe, my desire to be reunited with loved ones, my love of earth's history (both human and pre-human). (Some may laff me out of the room just saying all that, but o well).

 

Also, i hated the hateful things about xtianity, so i had to throw that out right away. All organized religion= teh sihtz.

 

I wont bore you with the rambling conclusions that that all led to, but basically it turned out to be a newagey thing.

 

One sad result is, there is no god who "gives a flying fuck" about us, as mentioned in another thread by someone. If he did, he'd make himself known, by god, and not leave us making excuses for his non-presense. Wish I had somebody to pray to.

 

The only myth I exchanged xtianity for was the based upon my own observations, ponderings, and conclusions. Nobody told me what to believe, and I am free to xchange it when I rethink things differently if I ever do.

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People aren't labels even though to others they may fit into a stereotype. Most people have various beliefs, for example I call myself an atheist because I am, but I'm also a freekthinker, humanist and even a slight agnostic. How did I get here? By thinking logically, I thought about the hard questions, I was on a search for truth and I will always be, but this is where I ended up and so far I'm happy, far happier than I ever was as a xian.

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The only myth I exchanged xtianity for was the based upon my own observations, ponderings, and conclusions. Nobody told me what to believe, and I am free to xchange it when I rethink things differently if I ever do.

 

Personally, I've always been a student of truth. I studied Christianity but never really believed in it 100% because I saw inaccuracies & inconsistencies from the beginning. And whenever something doesn't mesh, I won't invest into it until I'm certain that it holds weight. Which Christianity obviously doesn't.

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To be quite honest I don't know what in the bloody hell I believe anymore...

 

I truly want to believe that there is something more to life than: you're born, you live, and you die...

 

I really want to believe that there is reincarnation, an afterlife, and angels and etc...

 

However, I am open to the possibility that all there is is oblivion.

 

It is really hard when you believed in something so much to just cut it all off an be an athiest...

 

Hell, maybe I might be on my way to atheism, I don't know. I have always been a very romantic person and belief in something more is such an intricate part of my personality...I am intrigued by gods and goddesses(I even write my own fantasy stories with them), and how the world got started...

Most important of all I am scared to tell my Fundie family that I feel this way then I have to put up with their bullshit...and I am scared of being an outcast because of my complete and utter lack of faith in Christianity....

 

Now, I honestly have no idea. I wish I didn't worry about it but I do...that is why I wish I was raised non religious.

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Bongo wrote:

One sad result is, there is no god who "gives a flying fuck" about us, as mentioned in another thread by someone. If he did, he'd make himself known, by god, and not leave us making excuses for his non-presense. Wish I had somebody to pray to.

 

I'm seeing a lot of this, and I think it comes with the territory. We give up Christianity and, I know I felt, like I'd just walked off a cliff. But at least I had some place to go. I can imagine its much worse without that.

 

All I can say is that you will adapt if you don't go off the deep end. As for why I believe God does "give a fuck", I offer this very profound quote, the Truth of which has been with me for many years.

 

"If you love something set it free. If it returns to you, it's yours. If not, it never was"--Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

 

The only way God can set us free is to butt out, at least in this life.

 

It sounds like everybody that's posted so far has said in either a roundabout way or straight out, that they value Truth. Hard for me to argue with tha. I believe that's the right path, but I detect differing degrees of the determination to follow it. The first and biggest hurdle after I left Chriatianity was making my peace with the possibiliy of oblivion. If you bypass it, you gotta go back and get over it. The question will always be there, but you know NOBODY knows and that at least you've made the first step on your path to Truth an honest one.

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I realized that we are all in the dark about before death and after death. No one had the answer...even the ancient folks. Where does that leave me? With everyone else of course. The Truth is the same for everyone and everything. There is no corner on the market...or is that a market on the corner???

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I don't think that we're off the deep end, if we want to say "fuck off god" I believe that we have a right to do as we want and to believe as we want. And you're right, if there is a god then god should butt out and not punish us for not choosing him because frankly its tiring of being on the god merry go round. So fuck god and fuck religion. Yeah maybe you do see a lot of people here bitch about xianity but you gotta understand we went through shit in this religion.

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When I first started researching religions other than christianity I research paganism I loved it and still do. I have become more agnostic meaning that I think all religions are a guessing game and this is the guess I like. I don't think I have the answers and I don't think anyone else does either.

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Started out with "Conversations With God" and the rest of Neal Donald Walsh's little literary empire.......

 

I don't think he's the Jesus or anything, or that his books are the word of God undeniable truth.

 

I don't believe in a mythological God, no. I don't believe in some old guy living in the sky who hates science. I do think that is illogical and can be disproven. To me, science is part of God, science is part of the beauty of God.

 

The sad part is that people usually jump to conclusions when I say I believe in God. Traditionalists nod their heads and smile because they have that picture of God and Adam by Michelangelo in their heads, and atheists smirk and pompously go on about what an idiot I am because they've got the same image in their heads.

 

I'm something of a panentheist. I believe that we can communicate with God, but God is also us. When we laugh, God laughs; when we suffer, God suffers, because we are God and a part of God.

 

When I see new reseach into the brain's firing synapses during spiritual experiences, about evolution, about atoms and deep space and all that - to me that is all a brilliant manifestation of God, in no way proof that God and the spiritual do not exist. In fact quite the other way around. I love reading about quantum physics and the Absolute and energy and natural law floating around the physical universe. To me every scientific discovery made is a wonderful celebration of the beautiful holy and spiritual world we live in.

 

I've become a lot more open-minded and a better person since I left Christianity. I view arguments against the existence of God and the divine as good opportunities to learn about the myriad experiences of life we all go through. Before I was all about damnation, hell, end times, etc. and now I view every other being as on the same path I'm on - some behind, some ahead, but all heading towards that same goal even if we don't know what it is or if it can't be put into words. Fundies of all shades I've actually become more tolerant of. Instead of just outright hating them I feel more pity for them than I used to, because I know they've got a long journey ahead of them before they begin to wake up. I view fundie atheists in the same way as well. In fact I think at some point in our eternal existence we've all been atheists. It's just another part of experience to go through to gain further knowledge.

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The sad part is that people usually jump to conclusions when I say I believe in God. Traditionalists nod their heads and smile because they have that picture of God and Adam by Michelangelo in their heads, and atheists smirk and pompously go on about what an idiot I am because they've got the same image in their heads.

 

If I had a nickle.... So true Sage.

 

I'm something of a panentheist. I believe that we can communicate with God

 

Two Way communication??? Has He communicated with you? If so, has He proven to you somehow that He's not a hallucination?

 

Willybilly wrote:

When I first started researching religions other than christianity I research paganism I loved it and still do. I have become more agnostic meaning that I think all religions are a guessing game and this is the guess I like.

 

You were the sort of person I had in mind when I started this thread. Can you say if there was a reason that you chose paganism other than it was a guess you liked it? Truth has one hard rule. You ask a question and then look for the answer (even if you never find it). If you jump straight to the answer without building a bridge from the question, you haven't really learned anything. A relative once told me that she believed in Christianity because she wanted to. The Truth meant nothing to her.

 

Knightly wrote:

if there is a god then god should butt out and not punish us for not choosing him because frankly its tiring of being on the god merry go round. So fuck god and fuck religion. Yeah maybe you do see a lot of people here bitch about xianity but you gotta understand we went through shit in this religion.

 

It depends on who you're saying fuck God to; Him or the audience. I suspect God's got a pretty thick skin. And I went through the same shit you did in the buckle of the Bible Belt and I understand the anger. When you move on it becomes a lot more interesting and life becomes more fulfilling, which is the ultimate life experience for me. If you feel the need for payback, first figure out what you do honestly believe, then promote that. It's sort of what I'm doing with deism, and I'd only feel sorry for them if they didn't have so many damn votes.

 

notblinded wrote:

No one had the answer...even the ancient folks.

 

??????????????They'd be the last to know I 'spec.

 

Where does that leave me? With everyone else of course. The Truth is the same for everyone and everything.

 

Glad you think that way, and for all intents and purposes it's true, even as there are many as there who are trying to deny it. But Truth compels me to say that we can't neglect the subjective end of the Truth spectrum which has its place as well, for individuals only though of course.

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I read excerpts from conversations with god, but my big question is...

 

How does the author know that god is responding through him? There is still no absolute that God is saying all that...

The author is noble in giving us all a bigger vision of God...but can we honestly know for sure?

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I read excerpts from conversations with god, but my big question is...

 

How does the author know that god is responding through him? There is still no absolute that God is saying all that...

The author is noble in giving us all a bigger vision of God...but can we honestly know for sure?

 

I just see him as all those other peeps who wrote "holy texts," in other words, none of it is true, just another guy looking for fame and money by using the religion mojo.

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I read excerpts from conversations with god, but my big question is...

 

How does the author know that god is responding through him? There is still no absolute that God is saying all that...

The author is noble in giving us all a bigger vision of God...but can we honestly know for sure?

 

No, you can't know for sure, but if it works for you and brings you peace and happiness like what people keep claiming you should feel when you "have a relationship with god" why is it a bad thing unless they are trying to push it on you?

 

I'm another theist in the crowd and I've come up with my own set of beliefs that has been taken from a lot of different teachings. I just don't accept there is nothing or that there is a God and he/she/it just doesn't care. I've seriously considered Atheism and it just doesn't work for me. It's not been my experiance to have "nothing" respond to me or not be moved. I don't feel god is a judge or meddles with people's freewill or gets vengeful and jealous at us for doing exactly what we were created to do. Because we're all aspects of the same source. Rather like what Sage was saying about it, I believe the same thing.

 

Two Way communication??? Has He communicated with you? If so, has He proven to you somehow that He's not a hallucination?

 

I think so. It's really hard to describe having a relationship with God. It feels like it feels when you talk to another person. It's that warm, peaceful, otherworldly feeling that there is something there that religion pushers keep trying to shove down other people's throats (ironically enough). I've had information I never have could have possibly have known or ever read about pop into my mind, and I've had my prayers answered pretty consistantly.

 

BTW, I am emphatically against prostelyzation or pushing beliefs and I usually keep mine private because many people seem incapable of looking outside their own viewpoints and keep trying to "save" me (christians and atheists alike). If anybody here thinks I'm crazy, I really don't care. The question was asked.

 

But I'll say this much, I believe faith should be fluid. I don't have a problem with the idea of "oblivion" after death. Being "wrong" isn't going to damage me or who I am in the slightest. Honestly. I might become an Atheist someday too. I can't see it ever happening, but you never know. Because I don't think it really matters in the grand scheme of things what I worship anyway.

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I'm a pantheist in the sense that I believe that all gods are "real" in some sense. Mostly this has to do with how the observer sees the universe and interacts with it. But I won't get into the hows as it's all just speculation. I really don't know, all I know is what i've experienced. I've experienced Jesus (actually, various different kinds of Jesus ;p) and i've experienced many other gods from other religions. It leads me to the conclusion that either, I'm making it ALL up, or "something" is really happening. I choose to believe in the latter and that both are equally real, but I don't believe that any of them hold the ultimate truth. I see gods as myths and archetypes but they still feel real to me. Maybe it's because of how much energy has been given to them from people. So maybe we created them. I don't know, but I know that my relationships with the gods are benificial to me, even if it's just all in my head. There is no way to know for sure if I'm hallucinating or just really really imaginitive. To me it doesn't make much of a difference.

 

It's not that I don't care about the truth really, it's that I love mythology and stories and imagination and they enrich my life rather than detract from it.

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I think I might lean towards pantheism too...To me all the religions are valid(yep, even christianity)in the sense that every culture seems to have some belief in a diety(or multiple gods and goddesses) so I keep wondering, "could they all be wrong?"

 

However, I am trying to keep from choosing a religion just so I can "fit in." I want whatever belief I have to be my own this time...

 

But, I don't want to have doubts about anything...Yes, something might help you get through the day. But for all we know it could just be you and not a system of beliefs.

 

So I feel that I am in spiritual limbo at this moment...I do believe in a existence beyond this one. However, I am going to figure it out for myself.

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How does the author know that god is responding through him? There is still no absolute that God is saying all that...

The author is noble in giving us all a bigger vision of God...but can we honestly know for sure?

 

That's actually a point taken in the book. There's more than a couple times Neale says, "But what if you're not God, you're just a voice in my head, my subconscious?" The answer is, so what if that is all God really is? If the ideas and lifestyles presented in the books work and lead to a better self-esteem and world, then who cares whether it was an actual God talking to us or just our better sense?

 

Now before anyone starts accusing me of promoting some kind of New-Agey world-wide sharia, I must point out that the books really don't say that much of anything, besides, Be as you are. It's not some dogmatic religion wrapped up with rules and laws and punishments and rewards. In fact, one key point made is that God wants nothing from us - not obedience, nor surrender, nor rigid conformity to some capricious divine "will". Our lives are what we create, nothing more, nothing less. And don't hate yourself for being human - you're a glorious example of life in motion. You're not better than anyone else, of course; but don't look at it as being just another face in a crowd, but a loving, glorious being among other loving, glorious beings. And for chrissakes, don't get into all this thinking that the good things in life are wrong.

 

It works for me, so I'll stick with it. If it doesn't work for you, that's all very fine and well.

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notblinded wrote:

No one had the answer...even the ancient folks.

 

??????????????They'd be the last to know I 'spec.

The first shall be the last, and the last shall be the first... :woohoo:

 

Whatevertheheck that means... :Wendywhatever:

 

Isn't there something in the bible that says something like that?

 

I think there is.

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And you have the truth right?

 

 

 

 

 

You were the sort of person I had in mind when I started this thread. Can you say if there was a reason that you chose paganism other than it was a guess you liked it? Truth has one hard rule. You ask a question and then look for the answer (even if you never find it). If you jump straight to the answer without building a bridge from the question, you haven't really learned anything. A relative once told me that she believed in Christianity because she wanted to. The Truth meant nothing to her.

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There seems to be a good population of New Age/Pagan/other cafe-blends ex-Christians here. Could someone please explain how you get from one to the other.

 

Speaking strictly for myself:

 

I went from nominal German Lutheran jebus cult to sincere Asatru, so in a way one could say that in fact I only became religious at that time.

 

Back in my christian days I adhered to that nominal faith that most of my fellow Germans share - its doctrine is nicely summed up, completely, as "be nice to one another and come to church at christmas".

Then I started to read the Poetic Edda and was... moved. Stunningly powerful so. Imagine reading a book out of sheer curiosity and suddenly having found your way home.

 

That sums up my reason for joining the ranks of the Asatruar. My reason is of deeply emotional nature.

 

Yes, logically there's not much of a difference between the two faiths (although at least our "scripture" makes no claim to literal truth...). I openly admit that. I'm emotionally convinced, and I reserve the right for myself to continue down that path unless I start harming someone - and I trust that someone of my friends will give me The Warning if I ever start to bother others seriously without realizing. ;)

 

(Note that I don't include, in that above definition, the mocking of fundies right after they tried to play their harrassment card on me. I looooove retaliating in kind. Too bad that they usually just don't get it how I do the same to them that they do to me...)

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I truly want to believe that there is something more to life than: you're born, you live, and you die...

 

I really want to believe that there is reincarnation, an afterlife, and angels and etc...

 

However, I am open to the possibility that all there is is oblivion.

 

Personallly, I'm (oddly) encouraged by this.

 

On one side, there's the (albeit extremely minute) possibility of some kind of afterlife; which I simply can't imagine as being so cruel and unfair as those portrayed by any organized religion. If that's the case, I hope/imagine I get to go on, maybe be reborn in another body, and continue learning. (all of this, of course, is nothing more than wild speculation and wishful thinking)

 

On the other hand, there's the equally possible (if slightly more likely, depending on your view of matters) end-point of oblivion, in which case I won't be around to be disappointed that I didn't get to go on and continue learning.

 

Far as I'm concerned it's a win-win situation. :shrug:

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notblinded wrote:

No one had the answer...even the ancient folks.

 

??????????????They'd be the last to know I 'spec.

The first shall be the last, and the last shall be the first... :woohoo:

 

Whatevertheheck that means... :Wendywhatever:

 

Isn't there something in the bible that says something like that?

 

I think there is.

 

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. -- Matt 20:16

 

The first shall be last....yes.

What caught my attention though was "even the ancient folks". What they had was even more superstition than we do today, and we still have plenty to go around.

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Monsterfeets wrote:

It's not that I don't care about the truth really, it's that I love mythology and stories and imagination and they enrich my life rather than detract from it.

 

I think you should go with it. Mythology, stories and especially imagination do greatly enrich your life and the lives of those around you. But the words you use for them show that you know deep down that they aren't real; and if you try to make them real, don't they then become a lie...and in a way, die?

 

You have one of the more interesting and captivating avatars I've seen. Did you get it from the web or something, or did you create it?

 

Thurisaz wrote:

Yes, logically there's not much of a difference between the two faiths (although at least our "scripture" makes no claim to literal truth...). I openly admit that.

 

Then you're saying that you went from one blind (intuitive, unreasoned) faith to another?

 

Willybilly wrote:

And you have the truth right?

 

I think I have a good working definition of Truth, yes; and while the goal is still a long way off, I have been able to eliminate a lot of untruth along the way. The point is to honestly hold Truth as the highest value. It is the foundation for reason, love, creativity and life itself.

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For me, I went from various forms of Xianity to Freethinking (began as a Deist, then evolved into an Agnostic), and began appropriating Heathenry as it suited me, mostly of the Odinist variety.

 

Today, I can be best called an "Agnostic Odinist." I'm an Odinist because I honor, of all the Gods, the one called Odin - the ancient Teutonic/Germanic God of wisdom and inspiration. As for how I view Odin and the other Gods, that's where the Agnosticism comes in; in my time as a Deist, I learned the value of using reason and truth as my guides, as best as I was able to. In truth, no one knows if there are any gods at all, much less their identities - so we are free to speculate. And I choose to defer to the Gods of my ancestors simply because I have more respect for them than I do for uber-ascetic Middle-eastern sheepherding monotheists.

 

My reason tells me that honoring a God of wisdom and truth-seeking will encourage me to follow those concepts. My emotions tell me that whenever I defer to Heathenry, I am happier and more at peace within myself, no matter how much of it is fact or fiction. So, both heart and mind are in agreement (for once), and hence I pursue my path.

 

Sometimes I view Odin as a real god, other times more as only a metaphor made up by humans. Perhaps both are true; perhaps there are in truth many gods, and humans once knew a good deal of their identities, yet with time lost much of that knowledge. But that's neither here nor there.

 

I am an Odinist because I honor Odin (though my definition of who and what Odin is does tend to fluctuate) but also an Agnostic because I know that as of this moment, we don't know.

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notblinded wrote:

No one had the answer...even the ancient folks.

 

??????????????They'd be the last to know I 'spec.

The first shall be the last, and the last shall be the first... :woohoo:

 

Whatevertheheck that means... :Wendywhatever:

 

Isn't there something in the bible that says something like that?

 

I think there is.

No, no...it's he who laughs last, laughs least. Or is it he who laughs least, laughs last? :twitch::grin:

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