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Do You Still Have Any Spritual Beliefs?


Gus
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Hi

 

 

Not sure if this is the best place to post this or not but will give it a go.

 

I’ve replied to a few posts so thought I would start one.

 

This is an Ex-Christian forum, and there seems to be a lot of atheists on here.

 

But I was interested to know if anyone who walked away from 'Christianity' still has spiritual beliefs in any form.

 

This is not a trick question, I won’t come back and say' well if you believe such and such why not his'.

 

Also, again as this is Ex-Christian, and Christian by default is a believer Christ, is it the teachings and character of Christ himself that was the barrier?

 

I may not reply to any posts here, I’m just interested.

 

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I don't have enough information to believe in anything.

 

Regarding christianity, I know enough of its history to cross it out of the realm of possibilities.  And even if it were true, I cannot serve such a bastard as the god of the bible.

 

Gus:

is it the teachings and character of Christ himself that was the barrier?

 

---

Forgot to add this in my reply.  Come back when you've read Lev. 25 and Num. 31.  Slavery and child killing/child rape might be acceptable for you, but not to me.  Your god ordered these things. 

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Yes, the majority here are atheists, but there are some of us here that do retain "spiritual beliefs" and that is why we have a forum called "Ex - C Spirituality".

 

Gus you said:

Also, again as this is Ex-Christian, and Christian by default is a believer Christ, is it the teachings and character of Christ himself that was the barrier?

 

 

Look, everything we know about Jesus comes from the Bible, which was written many years after the life of said Jesus.  So, aside from believing from the get go that the Bible is innerrent and especially holy, how do we really know anything?   Gus, your very question shows you don't know much about us.

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I tried, I really did. I could never find evidence for anything supernatural. 

 

"Spiritual" is kind of a weasel word. People mean differing things when they use it, but I think people generally define spiritual as related to the supernatural existence of things we can imagine but not measure, see, or detect in any way other than the feelings an altered state can bring to one's experience. Since many things from ritual, to fasting, to drugs, to oxygen deprivation, to disease and injury regularly produce spiritual experiences of various natures among the world's population, I discount it all as an external reality. I do believe altered states can be beneficial, and simply communing with nature would be described as spiritual by many people.

 

As far as Christianity goes, people don't leave the religion because of it's dogma or the protagonist of the mythology. Most of us left because there is no reason to trust the Bible for anything more than a rather embellished history of ancient cultures. If Christians have more than 30,000 versions and interpretations, what does that say about the validity of the writings?

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No spiritual beliefs for me. There is a lot in this world that I do not understand but I have no evidence for any sort of spiritual reality.

 

As for jesus, I always liked him and still admire some of the character traits that have been projected on him. However I just cannot make myself believe that he was "God."

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Not anymore. After phasing out the rituals I picked up at the last church I attended (which wasn't hard), and quit going there altogether, spirituality fell by the wayside along with religion. I do have some ideas about karma, but that's more of a universal concept anyways. 

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But I was interested to know if anyone who walked away from 'Christianity' still has spiritual beliefs in any form.

 

 

Also, again as this is Ex-Christian, and Christian by default is a believer Christ, is it the teachings and character of Christ himself that was the barrier?

 

 

 

I have no spiritual beliefs.

 

The complete lack of evidence was the barrier.

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I believe 1. God is a universal consciousness and not a deity 2. All life is sacred and a manifestation of god 3. Heaven and hell are not places, they are spiritual conditions. Heaven is happiness and hell is suffering, heaven is higher consciousness, hell is lower consciousness. 4. Death is the transition of a different existence, and not the end of life, I believe death is similar to when a person goes to sleep and starts dreaming. 5. No religion is the right one, all religions have a piece of information, but not all. 6. There is no Satan or fallen angels 7. Much of the bible is false. 8. There is no such thing as non existence, only if the subject never existed in the first place. 9. Life is energy and consciousness. 10. The physical realm is only a small fabric of the truth. 11. We do not have souls, we are souls, we do not have lives, we are life to be exact. 12. There are ways to discover who we are without just wondering or believing that you are completely right. 13. Suffering exists because of hellish conditions we create within ourselves. 14. There is no such thing as sin, accept the belief that you are not connected to the mysterious. 15. There is no time, only the eternal now, since we forget to live in the eternal now, we believe time drags on, why do you believe time seems to fly when you're having a good time? 16. Love is life and life is love, if we ever forget, we create more suffering. 17. Without love, we fail. 18. Life is about us, not money, not pursuits, not material. We did not enter earth to be famous, rich etc. 19. Animals are a part of the cycle of life too, we are not superior or inferior to them, everyone is a part of the whole. 20. There is more to life than meets the eye.

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I have no supernatural beliefs, but I do find value in some rituals, altered states of consciousness, communing with nature, and even in using stories and anthropomorphism to communicate ethics and values (as long as you're very clear that they're myths and not history). You might be able to call those things spiritual tools for self-improvement and group cohesion. I value the self improvement more than the group cohesion, because it's much too easy for a charismatic leader to push groups in an unhealthy direction.

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I believe 1. God is a universal consciousness and not a deity 2. All life is sacred and a manifestation of god 3. Heaven and hell are not places, they are spiritual conditions. Heaven is happiness and hell is suffering, heaven is higher consciousness, hell is lower consciousness. 4. Death is the transition of a different existence, and not the end of life, I believe death is similar to when a person goes to sleep and starts dreaming. 5. No religion is the right one, all religions have a piece of information, but not all. 6. There is no Satan or fallen angels 7. Much of the bible is false. 8. There is no such thing as non existence, only if the subject never existed in the first place. 9. Life is energy and consciousness. 10. The physical realm is only a small fabric of the truth. 11. We do not have souls, we are souls, we do not have lives, we are life to be exact. 12. There are ways to discover who we are without just wondering or believing that you are completely right. 13. Suffering exists because of hellish conditions we create within ourselves. 14. There is no such thing as sin, accept the belief that you are not connected to the mysterious. 15. There is no time, only the eternal now, since we forget to live in the eternal now, we believe time drags on, why do you believe time seems to fly when you're having a good time? 16. Love is life and life is love, if we ever forget, we create more suffering. 17. Without love, we fail. 18. Life is about us, not money, not pursuits, not material. We did not enter earth to be famous, rich etc. 19. Animals are a part of the cycle of life too, we are not superior or inferior to them, everyone is a part of the whole. 20. There is more to life than meets the eye.

Wow! That's very similar to my theories. I'm not as confident as you, so I can't say "I believe". Another theory is atheism (i.e. it's all meaningless). But I like your beliefs. smile.png

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On the OP from Gus, I have many different hunches about reality, and the plausibility of these theories goes up and down from day to day depending on my mood.

 

Here is a partial list to give you an idea:

- atheism/materialism

- Christianity in spite of historical and theological problems (it's more emotional than rational)

- each person lives in a personalized universe with objects and rules defined by that person's beliefs yet possibly these personalized universes overlap. So a person in my universe may be only my imagination or may be a partial overlap from their personalized universe.

- I'm a spiritual being that has fallen asleep into a dream that seems to be reality

- a single universal spirit flowing through all matter

 

The only theory that seems solid and trustworthy is atheism, but it's depressing.

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Like many on here, I am an atheist. Lack of evidence was key.

But consider how many Christian apologists and other Christian writers when, in talking about other religions or even other Christianities, communicate about states of mind or how we talk ourselves into things, just as an atheist does. Christian evangelical teachers have committed rational deicide on all other deities, even the god of liberal Christianity, disproving them all. Since I was a very big apologetics reader, and one who tended to read the writers that tried to rationalize things, I simply had to agree with them, and take it one point further: apply the same tools of skepticism against the faith we were brought up to believe in.

The mythos about choosing Christianity, for many of us anyway, was unknown to me until recent years, and learning about cultural memes and their characteristics. I got Christianity, in particular American republican fundamentalist Christianity, from my parents and the culture that surrounded us. Even when I parted ways with it at times in life, I still operated within the Christian framework, i.e. didn't challenge the Bible or the American idea of what it all meant. however, I was never a seeker of truth, did not have any real interest in other religions, could have cared less when girlfriends would talk meditation or crystals or tarot cards when I was younger. If I had been raised an atheist, I do believe I would have remained an atheist. because I don't have the type of spiritual curiosity that many people seem to. I do have curiosity about our natural world, and one of my favorite things to read when I was a boy was the National Geographic.

So you combine someone not being a real seeker, combined with a Christianity who has a lot of bad things to say about seeker churches and seeker movements, combined with a long list of apologists who can rationally explain away every other belief system under the sun just as we are doing here, and you basically have an atheist waiting to happen. Even when I still called myself a Christian, was rather in the thick of things down in Florida, a man at the church who was trying to talk apologetics to me told me once: "Even though you're a Christian, you think like an atheist." That's right. well-read Christians can rationally explain away the Mormons' burning in the bosom, transcendental meditation, and other self-imposed psychological experiences. I read of a modern missionary once who went to Jamaica, I think it was. He was at a village, and went to see a man who was constantly sick. The man told him this voodoo witch doctor kept placing an egg in a glass of water outside his door, and that was supposed to be a curse. He was sick, he believed, from the curse. The missionary did what any of us atheists could do: explained to the man that he was only sick because his worry was making himself sick. There was no curse being placed in that glass of water. To prove it, the missionary took the egg, cooked it and ate it in front of the man, proving there was nothing out there.

This was a Christian missionary. How far is it, really, from there to being as some of us are?I was never missionary-minded. But that little response sounds exactly like something I would do, or many atheists I know would do. Ultimately, what started my deconversion for real, was when my wife brought home those checklists. I knew I would fail the intelligent design test, and some others I can't remember, I scored more or less in the middle or unbelieving camp. But the inerrancy of Scripture? I already knew about mathematical errors I'd seen in the Bible. And, I've functioned as a government translator before, and so I know the rules of proper translation discipline, lack of bias, use of relevant idiomatic expression, stuff like that. Just from working in the Immigration department back in the 1980s. So, I honestly answered the questions, and bombed that est too. When She cried as a response, I knew that was the bottom line, I had to figure it out. I thought, at the time, that if I went out and researched this from nonreligious sources, and they came back with positive results for ancient documentation authenticity I could declare to my Wife that Ok, I've got the results, I'm convinced, I went out and found out from unbiased sources, educated sources. Sources not in doubt by being all tied up in theology. I had high hopes for an artificial-intelligence-driven translation of ancient texts. Not only the Bible but cuniform from Mesopotamia and others.

There were other moral issues at play here too, of course. Since 9/11, those of us in the West have now been exposed to the types of things the god of the Bible proposes. Any of us who do volunteer work for homeland security have been exposed to terrorism. Anyone who wants to get educated on the issues can watch a stoning on Youtube: That's what Yahweh ordered, after all, in some cases for such minor infractions as picking up sticks on the wrong day. Sounds an awful lot like Al Qaeda.

I know a lot of Christians, including my Wife's professors, didn't like Francis Collins, but I found solace knowing there was a believer who is an evolutionary biologist and geneticist, who was also a Christian. But the only thing his apologetic had going for it was the Moral First Cause argument. That one died on the vine, again, by seeing information from homeland Security, coming in from the Middle East. Even Pat Robertson (though he didn't know it) helped me get off the pot. I came home from work one day, this was about ten years ago, the Wife had the 700 club on. That was a show I tended to hear in the background, I didn't really get much into that. Many Christians with their very atheistic apologetic argue against his type of experiences the same way we atheists do. But in this case, he openly declared that any religious text that advocates stoning or other acts of terrorism, its adherents, especially its leaders, need to give an account for these things or change. I remember telling my Wife, "For the first time, I agree with something on the 700 club." The Old Testament stopped being sort of cartoonish, or sort of dysphoric for me. I saw modern events in ancient Yahweh religions, and that ultimately put the kibosh on the moral first cause argument.

My wife, possibly as some kind of concession, asked if I would consider reading some books from the Christian Left. I had to tell Her, I don't know any, and all the atheistic arguments against the god of the liberal Christians have already been long since made by every conservative apologist out there. It wasn't even that long ago when She was struggling with the gay situation, her own human conscience toards their natural rights, against the Scriptural mandates. And She never found the gay Christians' arguments very convincing Scripturally.

So for me, once the Bible wand its 3 Abrahamic traditions were demystified completely, there was absolutely nothing left.

I would disagree with Directionless RE: Atheism = meaningless. I still hold to the 3 primary virtues of the Pre-Romanized West: Love, honor and fidelity. These were with Europeans long before the warrior gods of the East ravaged Northern and Western Europe, putting to the sword thousands who would not convert to Christianity. Both Clovis and Charlemagne were the last responsible for this, a travesty committed against your European ancestors on par with what our closer ancestors did to First Nations people in the U.S. and in many nations in Africa and the South Pacific. This ancient information was stuff I've been studying up on, in search of my own personal roots and identity. I am an adoptee and had no information on my own past, and recently got my DNA tested by the Genographic Project. This is a horrible part of Christian history, long before there was an Inquisition. If you are of European ancestry and you are a Christian, there is one reason for it. An ancestor of yours was threatened by one of several invading armies. Either convert or die, or sometimes convert or be enslaved, or in other instances convert or be turned off your land to wander as an outlaw. Makes sense from the point of view of a warlord deity.

Classic anthropology has it that monotheistic deities are warlord gods, and their preeminence comes from their ability to best their foes in battle: One god, one state, one united front, one vertical authority structure. Not AT ALL very convincing as the Moral First Cause of the English Literature professor C. S. Lewis, or the geneticist and evolutionary biologist Francis Collins. But very convincing to the warlord politicians we have running Christianity and certain political structures in the U.S. You read about Sharia Law in the East, Reconstructionism in the west? Same god, same Mediterranean and Southwest Asian origins. 

I have found friendship on the Internet with several deconverting muslims in middle eastern countries. Their god is basically no different than the god of the RepubliChristians. A few minor details, but in the main vengeful, a tiny way out, claiming to love while at the same time willing to destroy forever and ever most of its creation. Makes for a great license to torture, kill and destroy things.

A bit long-winded as an explanation: sorry for that. Hopefully it is instructive.

Leo

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The beauty now about atheism for me, is that my mind is free and open to ponder other spiritual concepts. When I was following Christianity, I felt guilt and a sense of betrayal, by just the mere exploration of outside religions and spiritual concepts.

 

Now, I'd say my beliefs if any are that if or should a god exist, he/it is nothing that we can pinpoint or define. I'm thinking he/it is nothing like the god of the various versions man has been trying to promote throughout the ages. But, of course, no one knows with certainty if a god exists or not. I find the idea of not having to know very soothing and appealing to me, now. Atheism is more than just a non-belief in the existence of a god, but rather it is a way of viewing life in a more open way. I'm not closed to the idea of a god existing, but there is no proof, currently, that one does.

 

I'm currently studying Buddhism at a closer view. If there is any one concept of spirituality that makes remote sense to me, it would be Buddhism. There are things I disagree with, but I think the concept of not attaching one's self to this world is a path worth following. Not because a higher power dictates it, but because it logically makes a lot of sense, to me.

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Hi

 

 

 

Not sure if this is the best place to post this or not but will give it a go.

 

I’ve replied to a few posts so thought I would start one.

 

This is an Ex-Christian forum, and there seems to be a lot of atheists on here.

 

But I was interested to know if anyone who walked away from 'Christianity' still has spiritual beliefs in any form.

 

This is not a trick question, I won’t come back and say' well if you believe such and such why not his'.

 

Also, again as this is Ex-Christian, and Christian by default is a believer Christ, is it the teachings and character of Christ himself that was the barrier?

 

 

I may not reply to any posts here, I’m just interested.

 

At first (for the first few years or so after de-conversion) I drew a spiritual blank.  It felt like being a blank slate.  Then, as I grew as a person and read some, I began to develop a new set of spiritual beliefs, which continue to evolve today.  They are naturalist and assembled from various perspectives around the globe, excluding forms outlined in christianity among other "us and them" religions.  I choose not to model these types of religions for spirituality.

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Over the years I've tried many times to figure out this belief business.  I've attempted to follow several spiritual paths, but have never been able to cultivate unconditional faith in anything that seems the least bit unreal -- I've gone through the motions, but it just doesn't stick.

 

The closest thing I have to spirituality at the moment is imagining the universe as a sentient entity, but I couldn't say that I believed it to be true.

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Not really, though I do have a tremendous sense of awe about the universe.  Perhaps that's all the mystical and ineffable that we need.

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Everything that killed god for me killed any belief in the supernatural as collateral damage.  I.e., the same logic that caused me to stop believing in god works equally the same with alternative woo. 

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I'm skeptical but open to some things perceived by strict naturalists as woo.  They may or may not be verified one day using the scientific method or whatever emerges from it in the future.  As far as Jesus goes, I don't find the teachings attributed to "Joshua of Galilee" all that original or compelling.  I like how he stood up to hypocrites and stood up for the poor, but that's about it.  I find a literal historical interpretation of what the various gospel writers recorded about Jesus untenable.  The same goes for Old Testament myths and legends.

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Used to. I believe it's a common process to deconversion. It's tough to give all that magic up at once. But once you let your reason guide you, it becomes tougher to hold onto the magic.

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My views are on the Ex-Christian Spirituality board under a post entitled "Reply to Dagny", if you are really that interested.

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