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Seeking Out A New Faith Or Religion Intentionally.


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Hmm. I felt compelled to add to this one for some reason. I usually don't have much interest in this particular forum. I gloss over it and read a bit, but I'm not much into spiritualism.

 

There are a lot of questions, and not all will apply to everyone. Not every question needs a direct answer. Though answering as many as apply is not discouraged either. Pick and choose any that strike you, as many or as few as one is comfortable with or feels like addressing.

 

I'm looking for a general explanation of what lead to the choice and the reasoning or process behind it. Just a sort of understanding of what lead to the belief in a new faith after Christianity and why it appealed or seemed like the best path.

 

The questions are just a sort of guide to what I'm curious about, and as I said, probably don't all apply to any individual.

 

I don't really get the concept of 'shopping around' for a new religion.

 

I understand having a look at other faiths and their beliefs. However, I'm a bit lost on the whole idea of actively seeking out another religion to 'replace' a failed one on purpose.

 

Why intentionally search for other Gods to believe in?

 

It's one thing to find a liking for another faith system and get more involved as you learn more about it if you find it suits you. However, I don't really understand the mentality of doing such a thing on purpose with a willing and proactive intent to replace a failed idea.

 

I personally just became skeptical of all such ideas. I'm not beyond convincing I suppose. I do try and keep an open mind, and I understand the appeal of groups and a set philosophy.

 

I guess it's just the idea of replacing a devil I know, with a devil I don't, that may or may not be worse than the one before.

 

Why intentionally seek to replace such a thing?

 

I'm not speaking out against finding another faith that suits you and going with it. I just don't understand why someone would do such a thing on purpose and with willing intent.

 

I do understand the appeal of groups and like minded individuals. I'm an Atheist though, and I have pretty high standards of proof and evidence that no spiritual faith can really meet in my experience. I do tend to get along better with alternative or new aged faiths than Christians or any Abrahamic faiths with the lone exception of Jews. I've never met a Jew I didn't get along well with.

 

In an odd sort of irony, they tend to be less judgmental. I know that they are in private, but they do tend to keep it to themselves and show at least an outward respect for me and my disbelief. They also tend to have a better sense of humor about it all. [in my experience anyway.]

 

I do understand some of the elements that appeal in a religion. I just don't get actively trying to replace Christianity with something else on purpose.

 

For example, I've been looking at a local Secular Humanist group recently. Though, I didn't intentionally go looking for a replacement for Jesus to find them. I just stumbled across some of their literature, had a look at their website, and I'm thinking of attending to see what it's about. I never really looked for them, just happened across them, and thus far I've liked what I've seen. Though, I'm by no means fully convinced either.

 

I'm aware that it's an Agnostic and Atheist group and I'm now curious to see what it's about. I'm planning on attending one of their meetings, which appears to usually consist of a lecture of some kind and mingling after.

 

They have an impressive member list, though I'm not easily star struck. So does Scientology. I don't like dogma, but they appear to be very liberal and open. Though, I'm not sure about the exact details of some of their positions.

 

They support Abortion for example. Though, I'm not sure about exactly how much. I don't care for late term Abortion. I find it unpleasant and disgusting to end a life for the sake of convenience. As a matter of medical necessity it should definitely be allowed. I do think there should be a window, before a nervous system is formed, but I don't think it's a matter of 'her body' or 'her choice' after a certain point either. Once a fetus is capable of suffering, it's not just about 'her' anymore.

 

There's a point where one must take responsibility for one's actions. There are many forms of contraception. Abortion should not be a license to act irresponsibly.

 

I'm interested, but wary and cautious. They seem to fit with my beliefs pretty well with the exception of a few points I'd like to get more information on such as Abortion.

 

As I said, I didn't really seek them out though. It was just something I came across that sounds interesting at the moment. I find the concept of doing something like that intentionally, especially after being burned by another religion a bit confusing.

 

What's the motivation for it? Why intentionally seek something like that out?

 

As I said, I do understand the concept of finding such a group that sounds appealing and seeking more information, perhaps eventually joining. I also get already having a shifted perspective towards a particular faith immediately after deconverting Perhaps being deconverted by a different faith for example.

 

I just don't get why someone would really intentionally look for another similar idea to replace a failed one though.

 

I see threads like this here sometimes and find them a bit confusing I guess.

 

What motivates such a thing?

 

I realize these question probably doesn't have static or correct answers. I'm just curious as to what might lead someone to do such a thing.

 

You lost your faith in Jesus, so why -look- for a replacement to put your faith into?

 

How much does it worry you that you might end up in a similar position as when you lost your faith in Christianity?

 

Why do you need a replacement? What purpose does it serve?

 

Do you really and truly believe in the new faith, or is it just a placeholder? Something to believe in that you might not necessarily really literally believe, but like the concept and philosophy of?

 

Is it more to do with spirituality, or the belonging to a group or family such as it is? Is it more Socially or spiritually motivated?

 

Did you actively seek out a replacement, or did you 'stumble across' this new faith and found it appealed to you?

 

Were you deconverted from Christianity by this faith, or did you find it later?

 

What made you decide that 'This isn't like Christianity and won't turn out the same way?'

 

What reassured you about it that it was different aside from cosmetic differences?

 

I'm a rationalist. I don't put any stock in spiritual anything. However, in the words of Thomas Jefferson "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

 

Just curious about the motivations involved and what the appeal is. As I mentioned several times, a bit confused about the motivation of 'seeking out' another religion in the wake of a failed one.

 

No judgment, just curious about the reasoning and experience involved behind making such a choice and the motivations for it. It's outside of my experience and way of thinking I suppose. I doubt that it's the same for any two, but find myself curious as I sometimes see posts in this area that make mention of 'seeking out' a new faith or religion or posts of a similar nature.

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I think many times when people 'shop around' as you say, they still believed in God, in the relationship or feelings that they had from before. They just discovered that Christianity could not be the truth or the whole truth and so go looking for more, or for different answers.

 

For instance when I deconverted I went straight into Wicca/ paganism. There were a few factors but mostly I was interested in it for a while and the more I read the more it made sense to me personally and the more I loved it. I felt closer to that god feeling than I ever did as a Christian. I still do the rituals and the holidays though I describe myself as an atheistic or pantheistic pagan. But it was all quite purposeful and solitary. Christianity was stifling me emotionally and spiritually and paganism helped me grow, and really helped me get over the guilt complex of my youth.

 

Some people deconvert and become atheists right away, and some people want to fill that void or at least have a system that can help them grow spiritually. Sometimes that too fades away, but not always. Some might use the phrase, 'don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.' Having a spirituality can be quite healthy and some people need it to feel at peace. When they loose it in Christianity, they go looking for it somewhere else - often somewhere with little to no dogma but can still give some structure and ritual to life. I mean, I suppose some people leave Christianity for Islam, but most people here who practice another religion went to Buddhism or paganism or Taoism etc.

 

I hope that helps. In my experience, disproving Christianity is easy, but God can well exist without it. If someone deconverts but still believes in God, they will likely want to find out if there is another religion that works better.

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Yes. That does shine a little light on things.

 

Opens up a few more questions too.

 

Did your views of morality change? If so, how much? Drastically, or are they still pretty similar to what you believed before?

 

Did miracles or spiritual works play a role in converting to your new faith, or were they largely unimportant?

 

Do you think they are real, or as with Christians [whether they realize it or not] largely not true but a method of converting or affirming the faith of believers? 'Lying, but for a good cause'.

 

Would you condone such a practice within the new faith? [Not meant as a morality question, not all faiths claim that lying is inherently wrong if done in the right context.]

 

Did 'God' become a general deistic concept after deconversion or did it start before you were fully deconverted as a Christian?

 

Did you still believe in 'God' such as it is but find the Christian view to be incorrect? Did the idea of one supreme God, or the Trinity become immediately invalid? Replaced by multiple Gods, or a single less 'hands on' version, or even one that's less concerned or direct than Christian God?

 

Did it take time and evolve to such a point?

 

Did the 'new' faith conform to the idea you had about what God was, or did your view of what God is change because of the new faith?

 

What made you decide that the new version of God or Gods was accurate?

 

Did you find it 'more correct' concerning God than Christianity immediately, or did it take a while?

 

I'm aware that not every version of spirituality involves 'a God'. Some sects of Buddhism for example don't deal with a deity at all as I understand, while others have a limited belief in such a thing, and still others consider Buddha to be a sort of deity. Some forms of Buddhism recommend that one not believe in God at all, others believe in several, but don't put any sort of importance into acknowledging them.

 

As I understand it, Buddha rejected the idea of 'creator God' or any Gods, but did not speak against or prohibit the worship of Gods so long as one followed the Dhamma, and it did not harm anyone or society.

 

Atheism is encouraged by Buddhism, but not necessary to practice it.

 

The concept of multiple Gods after worshiping a single all powerful God is also an interesting switch.

 

Was it difficult to grow used to such an idea?

 

Did multiple Gods seem to make more sense? If so, how? What led to such a belief? How did the idea of God become split up into multiple forms, and why did it seem better or more correct?

 

Did it just seem right? What convinced you that the 'new form' of God or Gods was correct?

 

Was there some form of logic? A feeling? Perhaps a closeness with a particular God in a pantheon that led to a belief in the others that went with it?

 

I suppose the real question is, what made the new idea of God that a chosen religion presented seem better, more valid, or true than the previous incarnation of Christian God?

 

What made them seem divine or better than the former belief about God?

 

Was he less cruel? More just? Less petty?

 

I'm curious, and don't want to sound like I'm trying to 'belittle' or 'speak against anyone with the next question.

 

What made the new idea of a God or Gods seem like it was less of 'human origin' than the old one?

 

Not to leave Non-theist out...

 

Was it difficult to accept spirituality without the concept of God?

 

Did you find it strange at first and gradually accept it, or was it an immediate or quick process because it seemed 'right' to you?

 

Did you completely stop believing in God, or was it more a case of minimizing it's importance?

 

Such as, there is a God, but he is unconcerned with us?

 

Did your view of spiritual power change when you stopped considering a deity? As in, it felt stronger or have less of an effect as when you 'imagined it' for Jesus? Which was it?

 

How hard was it to accept spirituality without the concept of God to attach to it?

 

Do you think you had past lives? Have you recalled any of them? [i won't ask for details, just curious if you feel you have and if you feel you have any recollection of it.]

 

If so, is it strong? As in you can remember parts? Or is it more a vague feeling of it? Deja-vu, or something more 'real' in nature?

 

Does the concept of God remain at all? Even if it is vague and not considered important or necessarily promoted?

 

Why did you decide against the concept of God? Not as in opposing it. Just what made you decide that spirituality without the concept was more valid to you?

 

Did you decide against the concept of God as valid, or not important before or after you chose your new faith?

 

Was it a result of the new beliefs, or something you already believed, and that helped with your conversion to the new faith?

 

Just curious about what leads some people down the path from Christianity to another faith, and why a person might be motivated to seek such a thing out intentionally, or just why in general, even if it's not that an individual sought out their faith with intent.

 

It seems like there would be interesting and varied answers, and given the diversity of this site, quite a few perspectives on it. :scratch:

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I think maybe a lot of it is simply habit. People naturally tend to seek others of like mind. Some aren't used to thinking independently and need outside direction to feel comfortable.

 

Sometimes it seems analogous to the ex-con who isn't equipped to make it on the outside so he seeks to get arrested again. Maybe the next jail will have ping pong tables.

 

It seems that most who have left a religion will poke around a bit to see if the True Religion isn't out there somewhere. Some settle on something that lets them feel "spiritual" while others gravitate toward rational thought and demands for proof since they were fooled so badly before.

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There's no doubt an emptiness, you've just lost a big part of your social and philosophical life upon deconversion. I looked around for a short while, especially at buddhism, but eventually all religions require a blind faith that I couldn't give anymore.

And I realized that I wasn't losing anything. It was never there.

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I became an atheist after I rejected Christianity. Then something happened...I don't know what really, but I had an intense desire to look deeper at all religions. I discovered that all of them were nothing more than people telling their stories about what they thought "God" was. It was an epiphany that none of them were the True religion, yet they all held truths. This was it, this was mankinds way of expressing what they perceived to be Divinty.

 

Divinity never literally spoke to anyone. No religion contains God. It doesn't mean there isn't something that inspires all these people to write, but it doesn't dictate. It just is. :shrug:

 

Oh, I like this question:

 

How hard was it to accept spirituality without the concept of God to attach to it?

IMO, that is the best way to become spiritual. Drop all the concepts, all the images and mental idols and you are free to feel what is. This is why I often say the atheists are much more spiritual than fundamentalists.

 

It's like trying to hold onto a rock that was thrown over a cliff beside you. It doesn't do any good. The rock is the image of God. Let it go and trust yourself.

 

Atheism is encouraged by Buddhism, but not necessary to practice it.

I think there should be a little disclaimer here. Atheism in the strictest sense, yes. But only in the "name" of God. What they view as the void is very spiritual. It is nothing as is No Thing. It is a necessary aspect of all things. All things have their existence in this No-thingness. It isn't nothing in the strictest sense of the word.

 

So, I'm still an atheist in the name of God, but not really an atheist. It wasn't just a switch to another god or gods, it was a shift in consciousness and understanding.

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Why do you need a replacement? What purpose does it serve?

 

I am a Buddhist. I don't view it as a replacement. Its entirely different. The worldview is in no way compatible with Christianity. It does serve a purpose, but if I explained it, you would just say, rightfully, that it was a matter of faith.

Do you really and truly believe in the new faith, or is it just aplaceholder? Something to believe in that you might not necessarilyreally literally believe, but like the concept and philosophy of?

 

Yes, I am convinced. I certainly like the concept and philosophy. It gibes with what I feel reality is actually like.

Is it more to do with spirituality, or the belonging to a group orfamily such as it is? Is it more Socially or spiritually motivated?

 

It is more to do with spirituality. I am a solitary type of person naturally and do not require a group. I studied other philosophy/teachings for many years before I became Buddhist.

 

Did you actively seek out a replacement, or did you 'stumble across' this new faith and found it appealed to you?

 

I don't view it as seeking out a replacement. Again, although it may look superficially similar to Christianity in some of the practices, it is entirely different. Where I am now spiritually grew out of a process of living and it was an opportunity I could take advantage of because of the geographic area where I live now. You don't find good Buddhist teachers on every street corner.

 

Were you deconverted from Christianity by this faith, or did you find it later?

 

Much later. It was not a reason for my deconversion. I was an agnostic for a few years and slowly turned this direction for the last 8 years or so.

What made you decide that 'This isn't like Christianity and won't turn out the same way?'

 

Because it really, really isn't like Christianity in almost every way philosophically. True, it is a structure and a path with an organized group and spiritual authority, but hey, we can't have everything.

 

The bottom line is the Buddhist understanding of "emptiness". Emptiness is potentiality and the fact that transformation is not only possible, but inevitable.

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Finding Christianity to be false does not necessarily mean you find the idea of some sort of Supreme Being(s) to be false.

 

 

Not necessarily, no, but usually, finding a religion to be false causes a person to question the belief in the deity itself that is the central object of that religion. Once you take away the wrapper, it doesn't leave much substance.

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Sometimes it seems analogous to the ex-con who isn't equipped to make it on the outside so he seeks to get arrested again. Maybe the next jail will have ping pong tables.

 

 

 

 

Come to think of it, I'd join any cult that were into billiards, snooker or 9 ball with slate tables and good lighting.

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Why intentionally search for other Gods to believe in?

 

 

I didn't. I searched for different ways to understand the God I already believed in. Then I took the big step of not believing in any gods. And now I am trying to reinterpret the whole concept of God/gods to find a middle ground between theism and atheism. It's hard to explain - but it's all a process of growing and learning and changing my mind.

 

It's one thing to find a liking for another faith system and get more involved as you learn more about it if you find it suits you. However, I don't really understand the mentality of doing such a thing on purpose with a willing and proactive intent to replace a failed idea.

 

Nobody does it on purpose - its always about finding a liking for another faith system that seems to ring true with what you actually believe.

 

I guess it's just the idea of replacing a devil I know, with a devil I don't, that may or may not be worse than the one before.

 

Why intentionally seek to replace such a thing?

 

Not all religions are the same. Just because one is false, doesn't mean that all of them are. And again - it is not intentional.

 

I'm not speaking out against finding another faith that suits you and going with it. I just don't understand why someone would do such a thing on purpose and with willing intent.

 

Oh, so maybe none of your questions apply to me :/

 

You lost your faith in Jesus, so why -look- for a replacement to put your faith into?

 

The Jesus/monotheism thing seems totally illogical. Pantheism - where the Universe itself is God - seems slightly more logical. I don't even see the universe as conscious anymore, but it still is something worthy of reverence. And the many gods of paganism can be symbolic - they are symbols to help us in our paths through life. That's the way pagan mythology is too - its fictional, yes - but it's fiction to guide you through life. I guess I see that religion at its best can be part of the natural tendency of human beings to be poetic and tell each other stories - some things are not literally true but they can still be intensely meaningful. This is the kind of religious thinking I do now - and it is very different from Christianity. It's really just atheism but dressed up in symbols and with extra reverence and respect for nature and life's journeys

 

How much does it worry you that you might end up in a similar position as when you lost your faith in Christianity?

 

Not at all. If I change my mind then I will do so joyfully. There's no huge emotional investment here, and no peer pressure from other people - I'm doing this by myself and for myself.

 

Do you really and truly believe in the new faith, or is it just a placeholder? Something to believe in that you might not necessarily really literally believe, but like the concept and philosophy of?

 

I really believe it - because it is not literal :HaHa:

 

Is it more to do with spirituality, or the belonging to a group or family such as it is? Is it more Socially or spiritually motivated?

 

spirituality

 

Did you actively seek out a replacement, or did you 'stumble across' this new faith and found it appealed to you?

 

stumbled

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Did your views of morality change? If so, how much? Drastically, or are they still pretty similar to what you believed before?

 

My morality have really changed quite radically from when I was a christian

 

Did miracles or spiritual works play a role in converting to your new faith, or were they largely unimportant?

 

no I don't believe in miracles.

 

Did 'God' become a general deistic concept after deconversion or did it start before you were fully deconverted as a Christian?

 

God became a pantheistic concept very soon after deconverting. But I think I was leaning that way even when I was a christian to be honest.

 

Did it take time and evolve to such a point?

 

My beliefs have been constantly evolving (hence my username)

 

What made you decide that the new version of God or Gods was accurate?

 

logic - the experience of my own heart.

 

Did you find it 'more correct' concerning God than Christianity immediately, or did it take a while?

 

immediately - probably because it was my own belief and not one forced on me by other people.

 

The concept of multiple Gods after worshiping a single all powerful God is also an interesting switch.

 

Was it difficult to grow used to such an idea?

 

Did multiple Gods seem to make more sense? If so, how? What led to such a belief? How did the idea of God become split up into multiple forms, and why did it seem better or more correct?

 

They are symbols - so of course it is more logical. Even when I was more theistic, and viewed God/gods as literal beings - I viewed many gods as different aspects of the One God. This seemed more logical than the rigid monotheism of Christianity because it allowed for acknowledgement of multiplicity of viewpoint. It involved a God who was more open to variety and diversity - it even allowed God to be both positive and negative, if you know what I mean - it opened the door to redefining morality as subjectively human and that nature in itself is both destroyer and creator and so God is morally neutral.

 

Did it just seem right? What convinced you that the 'new form' of God or Gods was correct?

 

Was there some form of logic? A feeling? Perhaps a closeness with a particular God in a pantheon that led to a belief in the others that went with it?

 

I'm eclectic with regards to pantheons - but I have definitely felt that I relate to certain pagan or hindu gods far more than I have ever related to the Christian God. Shiva in particular has an almighty pull on my psyche - I am in love with the idea of Shiva almost. There are certain Egyptian gods that I also feel some connection with. Then there are others, such as Cernunnos and Odin. I think pagan gods often encourage more affection because they seem less cold and aloof, and although they can be awe inspiring and mysterious - they can also seem more down to earth somehow. There is more warmth and humour in pagan myth - I think that often makes it seem more attractive.

 

What made them seem divine or better than the former belief about God?

 

nature is the source of all divinity. It is what inspired mankind to dream up gods in the first place. There is nothing more worthy of worship than the earth that feeds us, the rain that waters us or the sun that gives us life.

 

Even as a Christian I knew that I felt closer to God by sitting in a field or walking through a forest then I ever felt sitting in a boring church building.

 

Nature is divine, no question about it. Some like to symbolise that divinity as a being, some even make the mistake of thinking the symbol is the reality, others prefer to simply call it nature and they study it with fascination but never call it god, and there are even others who prefer to uphold the mystery of nature's divinity, neither viewing it as conscious nor as purely physical but rejoicing in the divine mystery that is nature.

 

Was it difficult to accept spirituality without the concept of God?

 

Did you find it strange at first and gradually accept it, or was it an immediate or quick process because it seemed 'right' to you?

 

It took a while to get to the point I'm at now. AT first I was still theist, then I gradually became more and more pantheist (but still viewing the Universe as conscious) - then I rejected the idea of universal consciousness, becoming atheist. finally I am tip-toeing back to some form of spirituality

 

and it's a weird idea but I think it works for me - nature has a mysterious, divine presence - but it is not a conscious being. The human mind needs stories and gods - just remember that these are human inventions and not ultimately real. But nature itself has a kind of divine mystery about it - worship it by not defining it but by celebrating the mystery.

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Finding Christianity to be false does not necessarily mean you find the idea of some sort of Supreme Being(s) to be false.

 

 

Not necessarily, no, but usually, finding a religion to be false causes a person to question the belief in the deity itself that is the central object of that religion. Once you take away the wrapper, it doesn't leave much substance.

My approach was to study the old testament and ancient cultures and writings, and then came to the conclusion that at the very least, if there is a god, it's not the one in the old testament. Then, that being false, Christianity being false was a no-brainer since it is entirely dependent on the existence of the OT god.

 

Broadening my search, I couldn't find that any culture had any understanding of any gods. Greeks, mesopotamians, mesoamericans, Hindus, etc. There was no revelation; just good or bad human philosophy and teachings.

 

Combine that with a healthy dose of science, mathematics and medicine and - presto no religion.

 

I also re-read things like Thomas Paine. He was dead on about Christianity, but when he wrote of a supreme being, it was obvious that he was self-deceived. He liked that the "order" of the universe demonstrated god, but that is just a god of the gaps.

 

A whiff of science, and gods vanish.

 

All that talk about spirituality leaves me empty, confused, and filled with the same basic feelings I have when I see the Hari Krishna folks in the airports. Yuck. Or someone praying through a chrystal. Huh? Just pointless. Nothing that isn't alive cares about us.

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Why intentionally search for other Gods to believe in?

I think a point of clarification may help, for myself at least. I have no intention of seeking for other gods, nor another faith system to replace what wasn't working for me. However, the big however, is that there is a difference between a religion or a belief in this god or that god, and spirituality.

 

To answer this question as to why I would choose to intentionally pursue "spirituality", in the light of Christianity failing me, is relatively simple to answer. I turned to Christianity because I had a desire for development of my spiritual nature (that is entirely different than believing in supernatural gods and ghosts and whatnot - don't mistake the word spiritual with those). Though ultimately it failed due to a list of reasons I could offer, it didn't change the fact of my pull towards that sense of the spiritual in me. I have no interest in finding a religion, I have every interest in being true to myself: rationally, philosophically, and spiritually.

 

It's one thing to find a liking for another faith system and get more involved as you learn more about it if you find it suits you. However, I don't really understand the mentality of doing such a thing on purpose with a willing and proactive intent to replace a failed idea.

Spirituality is not a failed idea. It's a state of being. What is failed is mythical systems that try to explain it in a modern world.

 

I guess it's just the idea of replacing a devil I know, with a devil I don't, that may or may not be worse than the one before.

What you are expressing here is exactly the problem with turning to a religion in the first place. You look outside yourself for truth. Spirituality comes from within, not from a system with holy texts, and whatnot. There is a difference, a huge difference, between spirituality and religion.

 

I find the concept of doing something like that intentionally, especially after being burned by another religion a bit confusing.

Me as well. I've learned to not look to the religion, but to the truth in me. If from there I find something that squares with me, then so be it. Great. But it has to be found in you, not in some group. It's an introspective journey into your own heart, wrapped in the sacred truth of sincerity with yourself. If you do that, then don't worry about other groups. You already have it, and turning to groups for a different reason. It's about a community of like minded, liked spirited individuals with you. Very different.

 

What's the motivation for it? Why intentionally seek something like that out?

Because of being sincere, true to what is in me. But again, that's referring to nurturing the spiritual in me, not finding a religion to 'show me the way'.

 

How much does it worry you that you might end up in a similar position as when you lost your faith in Christianity?

At this point, none. So long as I remain true to my heart and not get swept up in group mentalities or other false imitations of depth and meaning, then there is no concern. I just have to know my own personality, and watch out for broken behaviors. It's about remaining centered, grounded in Self.

 

Do you really and truly believe in the new faith, or is it just a placeholder?

I don't consider this a faith. I consider this drinking water.

 

Were you deconverted from Christianity by this faith, or did you find it later?

I deconverted because I failed to thrive within that system. My awareness of the spiritual was suppressed in their system. It was either leave, or die spiritually.

 

I'm a rationalist. I don't put any stock in spiritual anything.

I'm also very rational. :) I find the spiritual extremely rational. (Again big difference between spiritual and gods and ghosts or religion).

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Why intentionally search for other Gods to believe in?

 

 

I didn't. I searched for different ways to understand the God I already believed in. Then I took the big step of not believing in any gods. And now I am trying to reinterpret the whole concept of God/gods to find a middle ground between theism and atheism. It's hard to explain - but it's all a process of growing and learning and changing my mind.

Hello again. :wave: I read this after I posted earlier, sat down with some beer to read a book and this kept coming to mind to make me come back to offer a response.

 

This really describes the last few years for me very well. I'm not claiming any definitive answers, quite the contrary. But one thing that has helped me move into that place of doing just this, bringing together atheism and theism is by not trying to find that bridge between them, such as the aesthetic, but to step out of that discussion altogether to a different perspective and integrate them into an understanding that spirituality is not about discussions of gods of any mythic or magical systems, or arguments against them in a rationalistic worldview that the material, chemical, biological worldview is the only *real* truth because it has Evidence!

 

It's about a recognition of existential truth and emerging consciousness. It's about holding truth with reverence and an open hand. It's about recognizing the future light to be known, and respecting the past without turning to it to fulfill the thirst for transformation. It's about seeing past the arguments about this system or that, to a universal truth that transcends reason, to Spirit. There are no gods, and there is more than the natural. We are not just machines, nor are we controlled by deities. We are becoming more than what our perceptions of the world inform us of, whether that is the world through mythic systems, or the world of rational materialism through a philosophical interpretation (myth) of the natural world using science as its Light of Truth.

 

Anyway, didn't mean to go all visionary here, but what you said inspired some thoughts.

 

How you doing? :)

 

BTW, in honor of your choice of member name, here's a thought to ponder: Spirit speaks as the process of evolution itself. See where that takes you. :)

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Why intentionally search for other Gods to believe in?

 

 

I didn't. I searched for different ways to understand the God I already believed in. Then I took the big step of not believing in any gods. And now I am trying to reinterpret the whole concept of God/gods to find a middle ground between theism and atheism. It's hard to explain - but it's all a process of growing and learning and changing my mind.

Hello again. :wave: I read this after I posted earlier, sat down with some beer to read a book and this kept coming to mind to make me come back to offer a response.

 

This really describes the last few years for me very well. I'm not claiming any definitive answers, quite the contrary. But one thing that has helped me move into that place of doing just this, bringing together atheism and theism is by not trying to find that bridge between them, such as the aesthetic, but to step out of that discussion altogether to a different perspective and integrate them into an understanding that spirituality is not about discussions of gods of any mythic or magical systems, or arguments against them in a rationalistic worldview that the material, chemical, biological worldview is the only *real* truth because it has Evidence!

 

It's about a recognition of existential truth and emerging consciousness. It's about holding truth with reverence and an open hand. It's about recognizing the future light to be known, and respecting the past without turning to it to fulfill the thirst for transformation. It's about seeing past the arguments about this system or that, to a universal truth that transcends reason, to Spirit. There are no gods, and there is more than the natural. We are not just machines, nor are we controlled by deities. We are becoming more than what our perceptions of the world inform us of, whether that is the world through mythic systems, or the world of rational materialism through a philosophical interpretation (myth) of the natural world using science as its Light of Truth.

 

As usual, you are better at explaining these things than me :HaHa:

 

I like your use of the word 'existential' - because I think my journey towards a form of 'semi-theism' (as I like to call it) is very much a matter of my recognition that we create our own meaning in life and that chimes in very nicely with existential philosophy. Some existential philosophers were atheist (Sartre for example) but others were intensely religious - and it's because existentialism acknowledges that the only real meaning in life is that which we create ourselves. Our existence preceeds our essence.

 

Anyway, didn't mean to go all visionary here, but what you said inspired some thoughts.

 

How you doing? :)

 

Ok, thanks. The recession is getting me down but I'm coping. Relationship problems too. But I'm getting closer to realising who I am and what I need in life than I ever have been before. So many of my problems are probably the teething problems of growth ("if you want the things you love, you must have showers" - Pennies from heaven)

 

BTW, in honor of your choice of member name, here's a thought to ponder: Spirit speaks as the process of evolution itself. See where that takes you. :)

 

Thanks. I think that also chimes in very nicely with my own philosophy. I'll ponder those words anyway.

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So, Contra Barbus, what do you think? You had a lot of questions. Are you still puzzled or do you have more insight into this process?

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So, Contra Barbus, what do you think? You had a lot of questions. Are you still puzzled or do you have more insight into this process?

 

I've definitely gained some insight. :scratch:

 

It's been interesting reading. I'm something of an Agnostic Atheist. I don't believe in God, but accept that I don't really know if one exists or not. I would not claim that 'there is no God' but I do not think such a thing exists either. At the very least, not as any religion on this planet sees him in my view.

 

It grates me a bit when people confuse what they believe with what they 'know'.

 

I also don't think much of spiritual ideas [as in Ghosts, spirits, internal energies that can be manipulated or 'cleansed, such as chakra, ki, or magic and such]. I do understand the more philosophical elements of spirituality though.

 

Though it is still a bit of a mystery to me on some level how people go looking for another faith, even with the idea of God remaining on some level. Every answer creates more questions. That's just the nature of answers in my experience. :)

 

It's more a question of 'What is it that makes a faith's particular view of God/spiritualism/the nature of the Universe seem more correct than the previous one?' now. I suppose that answer really depends on the individual and what they are looking for in the end.

 

I get Agnostic deism more than other faiths even without being an Agnostic deist myself, but still don't find the organized religions who believe in a God or Gods to be without flaws of their own. I guess their ideas of God and what he is appear 'too human' to me. Buddhism is also less confusing to me than a lot of other faiths even though I don't buy into some of the more 'spiritual' aspects of it.

 

Other spiritualism seems to have too many 'extra spiritual' elements for me also. Such as chakra, ki, or other supernatural things like spirits, reincarnation, and Ghosts, that just don't jive with my personal view of the Universe.

 

I suppose I believe in 'reincarnation' on a very limited level. As in, my body will become nourishment for another organism and be absorbed into the Earth or made into other organic compounds. It's just not on what I'd call a spiritual level, but more of a literal one.

 

I don't believe in the 'supernatural' at all. I don't really like the word that much, because I think it presents a false level of 'existence'. If something does exist, it is by definition 'natural' in my view. Even if it is spiritual or even God if such things exist. They would still be natural phenomenon. I think they'd have evidence of some sort that would be detectable even if they weren't. Perhaps there is such evidence, but no one has found or proved it yet either.

 

I'm a bit of an evidence whore I guess. I require proof and evidence for things I believe in and really can't get myself to rely on faith alone.

 

Still, looking for a place to belong isn't really something I don't understand. Just the concept of joining another organized faith that, in my view anyway, pretty much has the same level of evidence as the last one to support it isn't something I get.

 

I'm still curious to know why people 'look for another faith' in the wake of leaving Christianity. Even though the concept of God often remains, I still don't get what motivates people to seek out another fixed explanation for it that may or may not be just as wrong, though perhaps without some of the baggage that the Christian faith carried with it. Maybe God does exist, but what makes them more right than the Christians about him? What clicked about it to you and made it seem better than other faiths? What is it about their idea of God or Gods that makes it work for you and seem plausible or correct?

 

Spiritualism without God is interesting as well. Even then the same, if slightly altered question remains. What made you think their version of spiritualism was more correct than the Christian view? What clicked about it and made it seem to make more sense than the other similar faiths?

 

I've seen mention of people 'looking for a new faith' in this area several times before. Though, it does seem less common now, and more like most people either lean towards a particular belief immediately, or move in a particular direction over time and find something that fits with their views about God or the Universe as they exist at the time.

 

To try and put it into an analogy, it's as if someone is left with a key that doesn't work for the Christian door anymore, and they go looking for a lock that fits it.

 

It seems as if the most common way to 'find new faith' is to research several things, and go with the one that seems to best suit the beliefs and sensibilities someone already holds.

 

I do understand a bit more about some of the motivations now. Thanks for the responses so far. It's definitely interesting and eye opening about a lot of the motivations for moving to another belief.

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I think you have raised some very interesting questions ContraBardus. I am glad this thread has gained some insight for you!

 

The question of reincarnation hinges upon whether we think that consciousness is a quality of matter or not. I think the jury is out on that one. Personally, I held it out as possibility even while I was a Christian. At least since high school, when I read Ian Stevenson's work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Stevenson

I wasn't convinced totally, and even Dr. Stevenson says it isn't proof, but it is circumstantial evidence and makes very interesting reading. How can an experiment be set up to prove reincarnation? I just don't know. I have become more convinced as I have gotten older, but I really can't explain why.

 

In Buddhism, there is no such thing as a permanent soul. But some tendencies, some mental habits, are held over from a previous life. This is related to "dependent origination" which is very complex but basically everything has a source. Even in the life we have now, we are constantly changing. As a 51 year old, my mind is much different than when I was 17, and yet there is a continuity. Rebirth, or reincarnation, simply says that this process continues. God does not enter into this picture.

 

I can assure you again that the last thing I wanted to do was shop around for a new system, new rules, a heap of new conditioning, and a new God. It was just that the opportunity presented itself and Buddhism corresponds very well to my understanding of the world at this time. It did not 15 years ago. Why? That is an excellent question.

 

It's more a question of 'What is it that makes a faith's particular viewof God/spiritualism/the nature of the Universe seem more correct thanthe previous one?' now. I suppose that answer really depends on theindividual and what they are looking for in the end.

 

I think it must depend on the individual, their perceptions and what seems "true" to them. Truth is from moment to moment.

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So, Contra Barbus, what do you think? You had a lot of questions. Are you still puzzled or do you have more insight into this process?

It grates me a bit when people confuse what they believe with what they 'know'.

I always love challenging ideas. If someone says they know what it is to experience love, would you challenge that?

 

As a rational person myself, and one that understands the nature of perception and ideas of truth, I would argue that even the most rigorous of scientific evaluation, offering supportable evidences, repeatability, etc, still boils down in the end to a belief and not a knowing. The only way to have full knowledge is to have full knowledge. We don't, or can't ever have that with the tools we have, let alone our infinitesimally small access to everything there is to possibly know.

 

I think when someone says they know something, existentially, it's a valid statement. What isn't valid is when they say that knowing should be considered objective truth for others. It gets more complex after that...

 

Though it is still a bit of a mystery to me on some level how people go looking for another faith, even with the idea of God remaining on some level. Every answer creates more questions. That's just the nature of answers in my experience. :)

You actually touch on a highly sophisticated thing here. This is part of the nature of manifest existence that underlies the nature of evolution itself as a process. Each advance, each new layer of complexity is the result of a process of self-transformation being drawn to resolve a new need that arises in each new level. It never rests. It is always in motion, either in agency, communion, or emergence. These are in fact scientific principles explored in complex systems theories. And this is true not only on a material level, but within non-material reality, ideas, culture, values, ethics, etc.

 

Is it looking for another faith, or is it looking for higher meaning? I would argue that someone leaving Christianity and looking to the science and reason alone as the path to enlightenment, are doing the exact same thing. It's not a matter of mythic versus scientific. It's the internal intent that is identical. Some just find that a philosphy of scientific reductionism or materialism fails to talk to them existentially/spiritually, as much a Christianity failed to also. Those truths are not about facts on the ground, but light in the heart.

 

That may be the missing puzzle piece. :)

 

I don't believe in the 'supernatural' at all. I don't really like the word that much, because I think it presents a false level of 'existence'. If something does exist, it is by definition 'natural' in my view. Even if it is spiritual or even God if such things exist. They would still be natural phenomenon. I think they'd have evidence of some sort that would be detectable even if they weren't. Perhaps there is such evidence, but no one has found or proved it yet either.

This is very close to how I think. And I would and will argue that there is evidence for this. But it's not going to look like a fossil you can pick up and do testing on. It is a measurable effect based on individual and shared experience. That murky little inner world of experience. But its manifest reality is a real as that rock you pick up laying in a field. And it can itself be measured and examined and talked about, but it cannot be experienced or "known" by a discussion about it.

 

I'm a bit of an evidence whore I guess. I require proof and evidence for things I believe in and really can't get myself to rely on faith alone.

What's your impression of the so-called 'soft sciences'?

 

Spiritualism without God is interesting as well. Even then the same, if slightly altered question remains. What made you think their version of spiritualism was more correct than the Christian view? What clicked about it and made it seem to make more sense than the other similar faiths?

I have to make a major correction for you here. Spiritualism and spirituality are two entirely different things. Spiritualism is a religious belief that has to do with contacting the dead, or disembodied souls communing with the living through mediums. It had its roots in the 19th and early 20th Centuries and is what Harry Houdini launched his career in magic as part of debunking it.

 

In no way, shape or form would I use the world spiritualism in connection with my philosophical views or experience of spirituality.

 

 

I've seen mention of people 'looking for a new faith' in this area several times before. Though, it does seem less common now, and more like most people either lean towards a particular belief immediately, or move in a particular direction over time and find something that fits with their views about God or the Universe as they exist at the time.

 

To try and put it into an analogy, it's as if someone is left with a key that doesn't work for the Christian door anymore, and they go looking for a lock that fits it.

Another way to put it is looking for relationship that fits you. You choose your friends because they meet you with where you are at, and with what you hope to become. It's all very natural in this regard. I don't go out seeking friends. Genuine friendships happen naturally. They grow out of mutual benefit.

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Guest Wayne Buchanan

"Why intentionally search for other Gods to believe in?"

"Why intentionally seek to replace such a thing?"

 

This may have something to with both of your initial questions.

 

There is a desire to have purpose in this life. I think that if one eliminates the eternal all purpose is either destroyed or becomes finite. Eventually it will fade, either from the death of anyone you ever remembered you existed or by the eventual destruction of the human race. Both of these will happen in a naturalistic belief system. So, if this is the case, ultimately there is no purpose. Yet there is something within a person (I am speaking for myself and those I know, not for anyone else who may not believe this is true of them) that seeks purpose. Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? etc. I do not think this desire or these questions are accidental. I think they are put there for a reason because they are answered in God. Suddenly there is purpose and meaning in life. The things we do matter in eternity. The human race will not be destroyed. That desire to seek out eternal things is put inside us by God to draw us to Him.

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There is a desire to have purpose in this life. I think that if one eliminates the eternal all purpose is either destroyed or becomes finite. Eventually it will fade, either from the death of anyone you ever remembered you existed or by the eventual destruction of the human race. Both of these will happen in a naturalistic belief system. So, if this is the case, ultimately there is no purpose. Yet there is something within a person (I am speaking for myself and those I know, not for anyone else who may not believe this is true of them) that seeks purpose. Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? etc. I do not think this desire or these questions are accidental. I think they are put there for a reason because they are answered in God. Suddenly there is purpose and meaning in life. The things we do matter in eternity. The human race will not be destroyed. That desire to seek out eternal things is put inside us by God to draw us to Him.

 

Wayne, this thread is about people who have decided that Christianity is NOT the answer. We think it is wholly inadequate and unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons. That is why this section is labelled EX-CHRISTIAN Theism. Please don't be going on about how Christianity gives people a purpose not found elsewhere in any other religion or philosophy. We know better.

 

There is no God such as you believe in, so we don't believe they are answered in God. For myself it is karma and dependent origination.

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Yet there is something within a person (I am speaking for myself and those I know, not for anyone else who may not believe this is true of them) that seeks purpose. Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? etc. I do not think this desire or these questions are accidental. I think they are put there for a reason because they are answered in God. Suddenly there is purpose and meaning in life.

As a point of order I'll echo Deva's point that this is a discussion of Ex-Christian thoughts about the spiritual and their pursuits of it. We are all very aware of the Christian response to it, as we are former-Christians ourselves. Though of course I respect you have a point of view to share and don't mind engaging in a dialog about it, it would be better for you to start a discussion topic over in the Colosseum forum here where we can have a serious dialog about it between Christians and Ex-Christians. Debate usually ensues, which is fine, but this forum is not designated for debates with Christians.

 

To respond to this briefly for your benefit of reading this along with the other fine replies members have offered for consideration, from my point of view the desire is not accidental either as I consider it part of the nature of existence, but I don't carry that forward into a mythic symbol of some god placing it in us for some reason, some purpose 'he' has in his Cosmic plan for us as his subjects eternally. That's an unsatisfying look at existence, unsatisfying intellectually and spiritually.

 

The things we do matter in eternity. The human race will not be destroyed. That desire to seek out eternal things is put inside us by God to draw us to Him.

One last thought for your consideration until you start a topic in the other forum for discussion, this is eternity now. There is no 'afterlife', there is Life, and we are in that now. To echo Plotinus, "Always and always, the other world is this world rightly seen".

 

Spirituality is not religion, or this god or that savior, or this doctrine or that ritual. It is the development of the perception of the Soul. This world and all worlds. And that is one of many reasons where I see the Christian system as limiting to spiritual growth. But we can discuss that elsewhere should you wish.

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Wow. Lots of thought-provoking ideas on this thread.

 

Did your views of morality change? If so, how much? Drastically, or are they still pretty similar to what you believed before?

 

A few of my views did change, but one of the reasons I had trouble with Christianity in the first place was because some of the morals I had -- which formed out of my own heartfelt responses to various issues -- conflicted with the morals I was "supposed" to have as a Christian. I came down on the side of wanting to understand why people do what they do and what needs they are trying to fill by their actions, rather than praising or condemning them based on some external code. And that perspective fits a lot better with Paganism than fundamentalist Christianity.

 

One thing that did change, specifically as a result of a religious experience, though, was my orientation towards the Divine. As a Christian I had been taught that it was right to depend on God for things, because as they say nothing comes except by his blessing. I was taught it was right to pray for help, to pray for him to "save" me not just from sin and hell but also from difficult situations in this life. But a few years or so into Paganism, during a rough period in my life in which I did a ritual that amounted to praying in almost exactly the same way, just in a Pagan context, and what I felt in "response" to this was complete nothingness... long enough that it became pretty alienating, actually... and then I had a spiritual experience unlike any I'd had before, which essentially instructed me that I had to get off my ass and work towards making things better, myself. I saw very clearly that the kneeling-and-begging-for-help-in-prayer bit was baggage from Christianity that kept me from finding out that I had strength within me to change a lot of things in my own life, and that this baggage had to go. It was a very important revelation for me.

 

Did the 'new' faith conform to the idea you had about what God was, or did your view of what God is change because of the new faith?

 

Views about the Gods vary quite a bit within Paganism. You can find all kinds of beliefs ranging from a literal "hard polytheist" belief in multiple and distinct Gods all the way to a more or less atheistic view which regards the Gods as archetypes within the human mind. So there is and was quite a lot of room for exploration in this sense, without any need to decide up front which way to believe when you first get involved. And in fact, belief is not even the point for some Pagans.

 

For my part, when I first became Pagan I tended very much towards the view of Gods as human archetypes, and as such I could readily accept the idea many Wiccans have that "All Gods are one God, all Goddesses are one Goddess". Now, I'm not entirely sure. Some of my experiences over the past nearly 20 years, and the experiences of others I've talked to, suggest that the Gods might be more "real" than the view of archetypes suggests. This is always open to question, though, at least for me. This change definitely took a while.

 

I suppose the real question is, what made the new idea of God that a chosen religion presented seem better, more valid, or true than the previous incarnation of Christian God?

 

What made them seem divine or better than the former belief about God?

 

Was he less cruel? More just? Less petty?

 

Well, one important difference is that Pagans recognize their myths as myths. If you only look at the historical stories of Yahweh or of the Pagan Gods, a great number of them are portrayed by somebody at one point or another as cruel, unjust, and petty (with a few very notable exceptions on the Pagan side). In fact, these portrayals bothered thoughtful Pagans even in ancient times, and many of them came to the conclusion that such stories must either be symbolic or have some other explanation, because "real Gods" wouldn't do the things that were described... the behavior attributed to them was considered to be beneath their dignity. (I'm talking about the ancient Greeks here, and it's the Greek pantheon I've been most drawn to and have worked with the most for well over a decade.) Anyway, it was very refreshing for me to read that even back then, people realized this and didn't take the stories literally. Some of the ancients didn't take the Gods literally, either.

 

Instead of relying on the "truth" of ancient literature, most modern Pagans highly value personal experience. Some Pagans do have personal experiences of Gods, others have personal experiences which have more to do with things like the effects that rituals have on them, or inspiration or insight they get out of meditative "journeys" or other practices. It's not all about "Gods," and some Pagans who are more interested in the effects of ritual and magical practices don't really bother much with Gods at all.

 

Again, for me, I found this kind of freedom to experiment, think, experience, and find my own way very refreshing and intriguing.

 

What made the new idea of a God or Gods seem like it was less of 'human origin' than the old one?

 

The ancient concepts of the Gods are just as of human origin as Yahweh. Modern Pagan experiences of the Gods are also likely heavily influenced by both our larger shared culture and the particular Pagan subculture each individual experiences them within. What intrigues me is the process, the insight, the spiritual energy that produces these core experiences which emerge clothed in these cultural trappings.

 

Do you think you had past lives? Have you recalled any of them? [i won't ask for details, just curious if you feel you have and if you feel you have any recollection of it.]

 

I mentioned in the thread on the afterlife that I did attend a workshop where we were led in a meditation to experience two of our supposed past lives. Two "lives" did emerge during the meditation for me but I have no way of knowing whether they are "real" or not so I remain ambivalent about reincarnation. Nevertheless, thinking about the themes which emerged during the meditation was very helpful to me.

 

Again, for me, since one cannot know if the experience itself is "true", what becomes important then is whether the experience provides some kind of helpful insight or not. One does not have to take the experience itself literally.

 

 

 

 

I guess it's just the idea of replacing a devil I know, with a devil I don't, that may or may not be worse than the one before.

What you are expressing here is exactly the problem with turning to a religion in the first place. You look outside yourself for truth. Spirituality comes from within, not from a system with holy texts, and whatnot. There is a difference, a huge difference, between spirituality and religion.

 

One of the very helpful ideas I found within Wicca is found in "The Charge of the Goddess". Ironically, this is considered to be a holy text of sorts, but nevertheless it expresses this idea:

"And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without."

 

The Charge is one of the most beautiful pieces of literature to come out of modern Paganism, IMO.

 

I've learned to not look to the religion, but to the truth in me. If from there I find something that squares with me, then so be it. Great. But it has to be found in you, not in some group. It's an introspective journey into your own heart, wrapped in the sacred truth of sincerity with yourself. If you do that, then don't worry about other groups. You already have it, and turning to groups for a different reason. It's about a community of like minded, liked spirited individuals with you. Very different.

 

That's a big part of it, yes. And while there are a lot of Pagans I do disagree with, generally speaking I do find a number of others who are like-minded and like-spirited.

 

But it's more than just this... I find even more like-minded and like-spirited individuals within the Unitarian Universalist church, for example, but I am not very inspired by the religious structure of Sunday church in a building with sitting, standing, singing, sermon, and the occasional seminar or meeting after the service. It's all very intellectualized with little opportunity for the direct experiences of inner or potentially Divine encounters I find in the Pagan community. Pagans as a whole tend to be a lot more organic in their approach to religion and spirituality. Church facing a pulpit in a building will probably never move me the way that being outside around a fire with drums or in a circle with others seeking a direct connection to spirit through ritual does.

 

 

I think when someone says they know something, existentially, it's a valid statement. What isn't valid is when they say that knowing should be considered objective truth for others. It gets more complex after that...

 

I agree wholeheartedly with this.

 

The whole business of personal spiritual experiences and the meaning people find in them is what has kept me involved with my own spirituality and religious studies in a more general sense. Whether it's the kind of deep reflection and personal evolution I seem to be hearing from you and some others on here or the more mystical or visionary experiences I hear from Pagans, there are things to learn in these sometimes very irrational processes that are important, IMO.

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"Why intentionally search for other Gods to believe in?"

"Why intentionally seek to replace such a thing?"

 

This may have something to with both of your initial questions.

 

There is a desire to have purpose in this life. I think that if one eliminates the eternal all purpose is either destroyed or becomes finite. Eventually it will fade, either from the death of anyone you ever remembered you existed or by the eventual destruction of the human race. Both of these will happen in a naturalistic belief system. So, if this is the case, ultimately there is no purpose. Yet there is something within a person (I am speaking for myself and those I know, not for anyone else who may not believe this is true of them) that seeks purpose. Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? etc. I do not think this desire or these questions are accidental. I think they are put there for a reason because they are answered in God. Suddenly there is purpose and meaning in life. The things we do matter in eternity. The human race will not be destroyed. That desire to seek out eternal things is put inside us by God to draw us to Him.

 

Why do you seek meaning after you die? You are saying that God is the meaning of life. What is the meaning of God? What is the meaning of your afterlife? Is the purpose of life to always be striving towards a greater purpose beyond the place where you are now? See how this question leads you to pospone life? It should then lead you back to where you started and then ask yourself why life doesn't have purpose right now.

 

Life is a dance and do you have a purpose when you dance? Is your purpose to get to a certain place on the floor or is the purpose just to dance? What is the purpose in a song? Is the end the most important part of the song? I don't think so. The purpose of life is living it, not putting it off hoping for some greater purpose because you don't think that life itself is a good enough purpose.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I'm in a strange place with my beliefs, but this seems to apply to me.

 

Why intentionally search for other Gods to believe in?

 

I'm not seeking to believe in any god(s). However, other religions are looking more interesting right now - it's more for the rituals and spirituality in general than replacing Christianity.

 

I guess it's just the idea of replacing a devil I know, with a devil I don't, that may or may not be worse than the one before.

 

Why intentionally seek to replace such a thing?

I'm not looking for another devil, if that's what you mean. I see pantheons as a symbolic thing now.

 

You lost your faith in Jesus, so why -look- for a replacement to put your faith into?

I'm not looking to put my faith in any "gods". I revere the universe, the human spirit, etc, but not the fairy tales I grew up with.

 

How much does it worry you that you might end up in a similar position as when you lost your faith in Christianity?

Not very much; it isn't jumping into some other thing on blind faith that I'm looking for.

 

Why do you need a replacement? What purpose does it serve?

I still want spirituality - just, without the bullshit this time.

 

Do you really and truly believe in the new faith, or is it just a placeholder? Something to believe in that you might not necessarily really literally believe, but like the concept and philosophy of?

The latter.

 

Is it more to do with spirituality, or the belonging to a group or family such as it is? Is it more Socially or spiritually motivated?

Both, and to an approximately equal extent.

 

Did you actively seek out a replacement, or did you 'stumble across' this new faith and found it appealed to you?

Um, a little bit of both. I've always been fascinated by Paganism partially because I was always warned to stay away from "Witches" (the ignorant blanket term for any Wiccan/Druid/Neopagan/Goth/Emo/Punk/Kid-Dressed-in-Raggy-Black-Clothing/Whatever in church vernacular) and partially because I love the mythologies. I also heard about Unitarian Universalism on these boards - having looked into it a little, it seems like a good fit for me.

 

Were you deconverted from Christianity by this faith, or did you find it later?

A plethora of tiny things led me to deconvert. I think the straw that broke the camel's back was the counter to Pascal's Wager (y'know, "what if one of the thousands of other religions are the right one?"). But, no, no specific religion deconverted me.

 

What made you decide that 'This isn't like Christianity and won't turn out the same way?'

 

What reassured you about it that it was different aside from cosmetic differences?

I'm using my brain this time. ;)

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