"Spiritual but not religious"

jackie cox

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hi wil
of course intentional; its a scientific 'fact' that carbon came from stars and well the sun - :). You choose to use the word g#d and 'follow' a religion with all that entails to 'make sense' of that connectiveness and l do not as l find it hard to think of ultimate reality as a 'person' [in Christian talk, although l 'love' Jesus as a wayfarer to the truth that love is the 'way']. Saying that l suppose the nearest l come to is that the source, reason meaning and purpose is like an aristotelian statement like 'thought thinking itself' insofar as the human mind is concerned viz a viz a Universal Mind.
------------------------------pardon me but the fact that carbon came from starts and well the sun-:) exception--- Carbon is simply a mineral, almost pure carbon is diamond, man makes pure carbon by the vapor diposition method. Since carbon exists in a liquid, solid, vapor and gas state, like most other minerals. We use high carbon materials, like say anthracite, and heat it up untill it reaches the vapour phase, the other materials in anthracite separate out as gases before and some after this atmosphere is reached. The carbon vapor then settles out onto a metal surface as it cools down, and is then scraped off the metal for uses in the industrial processes used to manufacture a host of different products. The material scientists with the right instrumentation to grow diamond and sell it commercially have continued for years and are now able to grow diamonds in the one carat range. I always thought diamonds came from deep in the earth, formed under intense pressure and heat, or from the interactions at volcanos. Then since I try and keep up with material science, I read where they were going to try and make pure carbon ( diamond ) a while later they did it, its a big business now. The newsmedia still prints, Diamonds in the, vs, vvs, range and yellow diamonds ( mostly irradiated ) are still considered by some to be an investment, Its like gold, theres a lotta hype, in a bid to get you to invest, you gotta go deeper, like the actual amounts of dollar investments, in these quasi commodities, It takes a willing investment newsmedia, with vested interests, or control to keep up this silly idea of value. Diamond tooling for operations like grinding and polishing are a valuable market for the diamond diposition groups. Imagine, Pure Carbon Crystals one carat diamonds, The no. 10 loop qualified vs and vvs diamonds ranked as to the amount of unconverted carbon still in the stone are not worth much anymore, in reality, never were, unless your the girl who believes in time travel and worm holes and diamonds. Hey I'm not trying to debunk the myth that diamonds and other jewelery are not worth the going price. If I were a jeweler I would think like a jeweler, If the jeweler were me then he would think as I do, its a free country, mostly, we can speak our mind, right ?
 

Tao_Equus

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Hi Jackie and welcome to these forums...:)

I thought you might like this:

YouTube - Zero Punctuation on The Escapist

Manufactured diamonds are now more perfect that the real thing and laws have been passed to give them a nano "hallmark" so that they can be distinguished from the real thing. I think this first generation of hallmarked diamonds would be a great long term investment.
 

Tao_Equus

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Eudaimonist

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Do you find spirit and consciousness to be the same thing?

Yes, I tend to use those terms interchangably.

That is reminiscent of Buddhism to me.

That's a fair statement.

I think one of the problems in modern Western culture is that life is not sacred enough. We tend to compartmentalize, putting religion in one box and the rest of life in another.

Yes, precisely. I see this as quite a big problem.

If one is fighting all the time to divide and conquer in humanity and in life, whether one is atheist or not, one is stomping on the sanctity of the spiritual journey for all beings.

This is certainly true.

The focus is on one's own beliefs and comfort, and the desire is that all people think as "I" think, so "I" don't have to confront my own shortcomings and assumptions and limitations. But when one is working toward peaceful understanding, toward freedom for each being to journey in their own way and time toward truth, one honors the sacred in everyone and everything. There is a realization that "I" am a rather limited, temporary sort of being and perhaps there is some value to all these other beings and their way of living... be it mineral, plant, animal, or other human being.

I'm more anthropocentric (and even biocentric) than you, but I think there is much truth to what you write above.

Thanks for sharing your views. They were interesting.


eudaimonia,

Mark
 

nativeastral

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I think of "person" as some entity that has a consciousness or awareness to it, that operates as some sort of system with some sort of intelligence and memory. But that doesn't mean it's a human person or looks much like one.


I think when we dismiss personhood in entities, be it animal, plant, ecosystem, earth, or universe, we put ourselves in a privileged space and often fail to see other types of beings as worthy of our attention and love. Seeing an animal as a type of person, for example, causes many animist peoples to be sustainable and ethical in their treatment of animals. You don't do to persons what you would do to inanimate objects. Objects exist for use or possession or what have you. Objects don't have rights. Persons exist with rights, with a consciousness that demands respect, perhaps with thoughts, feelings, and/or will.

I don't like an anthropocentric vantage-point. I find that it justifies behaviors that are unsustainable and often cruel. Limiting how we define "person" means that non-persons are subject to less respect, fewer rights, less concern. I don't think that is the highest potential we have. Instead, I think when we expand the concept of personhood, we expand those beings to which we should behave respectfully. The extreme example of this are people who define other humans as not persons. This has been used to justify using slavery and genocide, for example.

I believe that when you look at how much of the Western world treats other beings- animals, plants, minerals- the entire earth- we treat them as objects. We own them, we use them, we control and manipulate them. We think they exist for our benefit. We enslave all these persons to suit our needs. We commit mass murder against other beings to suit our needs. We make ourselves feel better about our actions by saying these other non-human persons have no feelings, no thoughts, no will, no consciousness... the same ways we make ourselves feel better about hurting other human persons.

The way I see it, I can't say one being is a person and another is not. From another being's perspective, perhaps they are persons and I am not. Mutual respect and compassion seems to be a more sustainable and ethical way, to recognize the potential for consciousness, memory, feeling, and thought in other beings even if it does not look like my own expression of these attributes.

I found that experientially, when I opened up more fully to this potential in all beings, I began to have experiences of other beings as persons, including the earth/Gaia as person. Different persons have different ways of expressing themselves and these may not be much like human ways, but that does not make them any less of a person or their communications less valid just because we often fail to grasp them. I find horses, for example, generally communicate in images and the images are often not the message, but eliciting the feeling or impulse behind the message. I find that places hold a certain memory and energy signature. There is a sense of the "spirit" or "personhood" of place.

To insist that my own expression of selfhood is somehow more valid than another being's just seems biased and limiting. Other beings may have attributes we lack, but it does not make us less of a person, and I believe that is also true for other beings.

Objects are for use. Beings are for learning from. When people see a tree as an object, they think only of its wood and carbon sequestration and what have you. But when I see a tree as a person, and sit quietly with a tree, looking deeply into myself and into the tree... I find that here is an amazing person that can teach me so much. Here is a being that patiently grows around burns, pruning, and pests. Here is a being that accepts its slow decay and demise with quiet resignation. Here is a being that harms no other being in generating life, and out of energy and soil and water yields all the abundance that is the basis for life of all animal beings. Here is the living garment of Gaia. The wind brushes the leaves, and I hear their whisper to the Divine.

Many would say I am simply imaginative and fanciful. But then, I suppose they have not yet had the pleasure of communicating with a tree. The way I see it, even if materialism is accurate, it isn't very useful. Materialism makes everything a cost-benefit analysis. Personhood makes everything sacred in its own right.

thanks for such another thoughtful response path which l think exemplifies the spirituality or consciousness seeking 'vibe' we are all on at this time. Do you think this mystical slant, the divine within/without also concurring with new age/pagan notions, is what the C of S, as protestants, may be concerned about, that the creator/created becomes too blurred for any meaningful significance regarding worship/ritual to the 'man upstairs' insofar as the scripture/word or biblical christianity has held sway for so long above experiential/individual interpretations? ie religion was too abstract too transcendent as immanence was too natural? Hence their concern that the teachings would be watered down if one did not belief it 'this way'.

from wiki
'Anglican concern with broader issues of social justice can be traced to its earliest divines. Richard Hooker, for instance, wrote that "God hath created nothing simply for itself, but each thing in all things, and of every thing each part in other have such interest, that in the whole world nothing is found whereunto any thing created can say, 'I need thee not.'" This, and related statements, reflect the deep thread of incarnational theology running through Anglican social thought – a theology which sees God, nature, and humanity in dynamic interaction, and the interpenetration of the secular and the sacred in the make-up of the cosmos. Such theology is informed by a traditional English spiritual ethos, rooted in Celtic Christianity and reinforced by Anglicanism's origins as an established church, bound up by its structure in the life and interests of civil society.'
 

nativeastral

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------------------------------pardon me but the fact that carbon came from starts and well the sun-:) exception--- Carbon is simply a mineral, almost pure carbon is diamond, man makes pure carbon by the vapor diposition method. Since carbon exists in a liquid, solid, vapor and gas state, like most other minerals. We use high carbon materials, like say anthracite, and heat it up untill it reaches the vapour phase, the other materials in anthracite separate out as gases before and some after this atmosphere is reached. The carbon vapor then settles out onto a metal surface as it cools down, and is then scraped off the metal for uses in the industrial processes used to manufacture a host of different products. The material scientists with the right instrumentation to grow diamond and sell it commercially have continued for years and are now able to grow diamonds in the one carat range. I always thought diamonds came from deep in the earth, formed under intense pressure and heat, or from the interactions at volcanos. Then since I try and keep up with material science, I read where they were going to try and make pure carbon ( diamond ) a while later they did it, its a big business now. The newsmedia still prints, Diamonds in the, vs, vvs, range and yellow diamonds ( mostly irradiated ) are still considered by some to be an investment, Its like gold, theres a lotta hype, in a bid to get you to invest, you gotta go deeper, like the actual amounts of dollar investments, in these quasi commodities, It takes a willing investment newsmedia, with vested interests, or control to keep up this silly idea of value. Diamond tooling for operations like grinding and polishing are a valuable market for the diamond diposition groups. Imagine, Pure Carbon Crystals one carat diamonds, The no. 10 loop qualified vs and vvs diamonds ranked as to the amount of unconverted carbon still in the stone are not worth much anymore, in reality, never were, unless your the girl who believes in time travel and worm holes and diamonds. Hey I'm not trying to debunk the myth that diamonds and other jewelery are not worth the going price. If I were a jeweler I would think like a jeweler, If the jeweler were me then he would think as I do, its a free country, mostly, we can speak our mind, right ?

Right! hello jackie :), diamonds are a girls best friend? we are getting so clever soon we will make anything we want in whatever combination all for a buck or two to adorn.

Diamonds | American Museum of Natural History

AA342.pdf (application/pdf Object)

On the Winds of Carbon Stars and the Origin of Carbon

The Cosmic Origin of Carbon by Ken Croswell
 

Netti-Netti

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As someone (forgetting who at the moment) suggested, religion to him/her has to do with god(s). But Buddhism doesn't have much to do with god(s) and is a world religion. So would all Buddhists be spiritual but not religious to that person?
To me religion is a set of ideas and idioms about cosmology and ethics. Buddhism has those and would therefore qualify as a religion.
 

Netti-Netti

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I have rather complicated ideas about the self currently. It's a source of intellectual amusement, but I don't think it matters much in terms of what is. What is, is... whether I think accurately about it or not. ;)
The idea of theosis is that an individual can become more g-dlike. Isn't that different from a destruction of self? Isn't it more like a transformation of self?

In Anglican terms (e.g., Rev. Francis J. Hall), there is a movement toward holiness in the form of a reconsecration of the self in order that the self may become more g-dlike. How's that an option for a self that has no reality?

Which raises another question: How does one reconcile Buddhist doctrine telling you you're just a figment of your imagination with a Christian idea of salvation as a here-and-now ontological reality that involves a person who is becoming more real by partaking of Eternal Life?
 

path_of_one

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The idea of theosis is that an individual can become more g-dlike. Isn't that different from a destruction of self? Isn't it more like a transformation of self?

Depends, to me, on which self you're talking about. In my experience, when my egoic self dies, my real self lives. In this way, I am transformed. I am not sure that the words we use adequately describe either the destruction of self in Buddhism, which is really (from what I understand) not so much destruction as extinguishing attachment to permanence (that is, our false sense of selfhood that separates us from others and reality). And I am not sure that most Christians have a very full concept of transformation, as most seem to think it's about becoming a better person, but without any sort of emptiness.

I see myself as working toward an utter transformation in which I would hardly know myself when complete. My highest potential, I believe, is to be empty of myself so that I am a vessel for Christ, for God's grace. I fall short, far short. But I do think that is the potential and that is my hope. I do not just want to be a "good" version of "me." I want there to be no distinction between me and others. I want to love others as myself. And to love God with all my heart, mind, and soul. That doesn't seem to leave a lot of room for my desires, attachments, and so forth.

Philippians 1:20-22 (New American Standard Bible)



20according to my (A)earnest expectation and (B)hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with (C)all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be (D)exalted in my body, (E)whether by life or by death. To Live Is Christ

21For to me, (F)to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean (G)fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.


In Anglican terms (e.g., Rev. Francis J. Hall), there is a movement toward holiness in the form of a reconsecration of the self in order that the self may become more g-dlike. How's that an option for a self that has no reality?

I don't think the self has no reality. I am not sure what is meant by that. I do agree with the Buddhist idea that our temporary selves- our bodies, personalities, skills and memories are impermanent. Permanence belongs to God alone, in my opinion. My hope for permanence lies in giving up my attachment and clinging to what is temporary, so that I might become open and willing to embrace that which is permanent, which is God at work in me. Beyond this, I do not know how that new self, once I die, will be. I don't know what I will experience or think or feel, or if I will have any of that at all. Not knowing is OK with me. I trust God is sufficient. I wish for nothing more than to be swallowed up by God one day, entirely refined, entirely embraced. I keep my opinions about what happens afterwards open. Maybe I go to heaven. Maybe I go 'round and 'round and try to help others. Maybe I just am extinguished. Whatever happens, I trust that if I have faith in God and seek to be a vessel for God, one day my ultimate end/purpose will be revealed and whatever it is, it will be perfect and I will love it because I am cultivating a love for God, not a love for ideas of what I want my future to be. I am far, far from total acceptance and emptiness and openness right now, but I have hope that one day I will get there.

Which raises another question: How does one reconcile Buddhist doctrine telling you you're just a figment of your imagination with a Christian idea of salvation as a here-and-now ontological reality that involves a person who is becoming more real by partaking of Eternal Life?

I believe I am becoming more real by grasping the only real thing I know, which is God, and letting go of the rest. I do not wish to be attached to my own "self," in terms of my body, personality, and so forth. I can enjoy what I am right now while cultivating an awareness of its impermanence. I can see it as a gift, as something to share and experience, but to hold lightly, to not cling to tightly. This empties space in my heart and mind and body for God to work.

I used to pray to God a lot. I said all kinds of things. I talked about my feelings, my goals, my dreams. I asked for people I loved to be healed, for me to get this or that job, for me to be happy, for my marriage to be good. I believe God listened patiently and compassionately.

After a while, I began to be less interested in talking to God. I figured God already knew my worries, concerns, needs. Instead, I tried to cultivate gratefulness and listening. I tried two things. In every moment, noticing God and being grateful. Grateful for a smile, for a flower, for the wind. And noticing God's bountiful love in all things. And I tried to sit before God in silence, in listening without expectation of a message. I sat before God simply to worship God, to spend time with God. Like sometimes you sit with a close friend or spouse, and just hold hands. You don't ask a question or have a need or even say thanks. You just enjoy the company and give your full attention.

In those moments, myself melted away. I was just being with God. I would say, being within the presence of Being. And I found a solace, a peace, a joy, and a love I could not find in voicing my concerns. I found a faith in God for God Itself, rather than in what God would do for me. A faith that defies doubt. I can doubt every idea I ever had, and still have faith in God. It is difficult to explain, but in giving up any idea of an eternal life and my conceptualization of it, I found it in every moment I am attentive to the presence of God. In giving up any idea of heaven, I found heaven in every moment I am attentive to the underlying unity of all beings. The suffering will one day dissolve, and only God remains. With this, I am content. I need no other assurance than God's presence Itself.

I am not, I believe, a figment of my imagination. But neither is my body, my personality, my memories, who I am. They are the clothes I am wearing in this lifetime, perhaps even for many lifetimes. But they are not me. The real, eternal "me" is what is left when you strip everything away but awareness of God, moment by moment awe and joy and wonder in God. The rest is what I've been given to use in this lifetime to translate that real "me" into action, and I can only be really free to do this at my highest capacity if I am not attached to it. Attachment to the temporary attributes means my attention is diverted from God and seeing God and Christ in all things, which means I cannot fully serve God and Christ in all things, because I am concerned with "me" in relationship to "them." It blocks the natural flow that otherwise occurs from God's grace into the world through me as a living vessel to contain it.

As I say, I am far from this potential. But I can see it here and there. I have moments. I hope that explains somewhat of how this syncretism works in my life. I do not accept either Buddhism or Chrisitanity entirely in terms of doctrine/cosmology, but I do not find much of a problem integrating the two in terms of practical application and experience.

Thank you for the opportunity of working through these thoughts, Netti. This was a growing experience for me to articulate it.
 

path_of_one

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Do you think this mystical slant, the divine within/without also concurring with new age/pagan notions, is what the C of S, as protestants, may be concerned about, that the creator/created becomes too blurred for any meaningful significance regarding worship/ritual to the 'man upstairs' insofar as the scripture/word or biblical christianity has held sway for so long above experiential/individual interpretations? ie religion was too abstract too transcendent as immanence was too natural? Hence their concern that the teachings would be watered down if one did not belief it 'this way'.

C of S... I'm trying to figure out the acronym. Perhaps my brain is tired because it's nearly midnight here. LOL

I do think that there has always been a tension in Christianity between those who are comfortable with immanence and those who are not, or those who don't like how that immanence is interpreted. I make no bones about it, my interpretation of immanence is heretical in many denominations. But then it is acceptable or even common in others.

To be honest, I think the consistent concern with steering people away from individual experiential faith is two-fold, one magnanimous and one petty. On the one hand, you don't want people to just rely on their own understanding without any community or teacher or course of study. Most people are lazy, to be honest. It is unlikely for most individuals to put the time and effort into serious study and critical self-reflection. The community and commentary of scholars and teachers is there to assist in guiding the individual through practicing her faith, and in helping her integrate experiences into her life, to encourage, and to sometimes be a "reality check" when her negative impulses or cultural conditioning or somesuch get in the way of spiritual growth.

On the other hand, Christianity was early on tied to state political organizations, which used it at every opportunity to oppress, to war, to murder, and to torture dissenters. Organizations and institutions invariably fall prey to human greed, aggression, and prejudice, and unfortunately religion is no exception. So there was also this malevolent and often conscious manipulation of the sanctioned "religious community" to collect money, to justify harm to people, to shore up inequality and power in relatively few, and to outcast protestors and reformers and innovators.

This dualistic function has always been with us, and crops up in every religion. It has the unfortunate result of often causing those who are most passionate about ethics and a spiritual life or who are most innovative in the way they view society and human potential or who are most in communion with God to be shunned and, at worst, killed. Jesus himself is an exemplar.

Yet without any sort of scholarly body, any sort of commentary, any sort of community... we have no compass with which to learn and no one to encourage, and we must rely wholly on our own self-reflection. This is very difficult to do. I suppose the hope, to me, lies in working toward community again and away from institution. A community does not necessarily need a leader, and it doesn't need to be singular in its religion. In fact, the type of probing questions and outsider input I find I get by having a wide variety of advisors, including this forum, is extremely valuable, as it causes constant mulling over and refinement of my practice and ideas. My friends and family are my "reality check" on my actions, because they are close enough and love me enough to tell me when I'm a brat. :)

from wiki
'Anglican concern with broader issues of social justice can be traced to its earliest divines. Richard Hooker, for instance, wrote that "God hath created nothing simply for itself, but each thing in all things, and of every thing each part in other have such interest, that in the whole world nothing is found whereunto any thing created can say, 'I need thee not.'" This, and related statements, reflect the deep thread of incarnational theology running through Anglican social thought – a theology which sees God, nature, and humanity in dynamic interaction, and the interpenetration of the secular and the sacred in the make-up of the cosmos. Such theology is informed by a traditional English spiritual ethos, rooted in Celtic Christianity and reinforced by Anglicanism's origins as an established church, bound up by its structure in the life and interests of civil society.'

Sounds about right. From what I've read of Celtic Christians, including those outright deemed heretics (such as Pelagius), I am inclined to agree on every turn.
 

path_of_one

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To me religion is a set of ideas and idioms about cosmology and ethics. Buddhism has those and would therefore qualify as a religion.

I would agree, pretty standard for comparative religious studies. I find it interesting that many in the West define religion as something to do with God, since that is what it is for the Western religions. Either they see other religions as odd sorts of extensions of this prototype, or fail to see enough similarity and so designate the others philosophies or somesuch.

My favorite definition of religion is a combination of one that came from one of my religious studies profs (who taught Asian religions and needed something other than the standard) and a bit added to make it more anthropological/socially oriented:

Religion is communal human transformation in response to perceived ultimacy. So, religion is- *social/done in groups, *uniquely human, *moves us from a problematic state to a goal state, *perceives some ultimate reason why we're doing that.

I'd say spirituality is the same, but is individual and does not require a group, and potentially also eliminates the problem/solution/goal state aspect. So it can be just grooving on the ultimate, however that is perceived.

I think only humans have religion, but many (perhaps all) beings have spirituality. The hope is that religion accelerates one's spirituality through tradition, practice, text, teachers, and fellowship.
 

17th Angel

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An increasing number of folks in the US, and I would imagine in some other places too, are saying they have no religion but are spiritual.

What do you think it means to be "spiritual but not religious" and why?

Do you belong to any religious institution (church, synagogue, coven, whatever)? Do you think you are religious? What about if you are spiritual? Why or why not?

This phrase is used all over the place on surveys, but what the heck does it *mean* to people? :confused:


I would wager more are religious yet not spiritual.
 

wil

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex P
I would wager more are religious yet not spiritual.
I'd be interested to hear speculation about why that is.


eudaimonia,

Mark
I'd agree. Many religious folks pay lip service to their religion. This is exactly what drove me away from mainstream Christianity. Take Clinton for example, going to church on Sunday making sure to wave his bible in the air for the reporters and then playing with cigars then next day...marriage vows be damned. Or Bush/Cheney, good Christians sending other good Christians before the UN to continue known lies of yellow cake and weapons of mass destruction to fan the flame of revenge and patriotic fervor to go over and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. Or Bennet and his book on virtues as he racks up gambling debt.

Don't get me wrong I ain't no saint, but when folks can't even leave the parking lot of the church before they forgot the topic from the pulpit something is amiss. Talk about turning over the tables...church is a networking adventure.
 

17th Angel

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Basically, yeah as wil says,

Religion to some is a fad, a fashion, a statement... Not about religion but themselves. Wear a big ass cross... Get a Star of David tattooed.... Get some scripture from the Qur'an tattooed on your lower back.... So on and so forth..... There is a fashion side to it.

But there is also other sides to it... Jewish, Christian, Muslim and 'mainstream' religions 'leaders' and scholars, philosophers and 'experts' and so on tend to be far more busy attempting to show rationality to their said faith, rather than showing their is an existance of their god(s).....

To some they focus simply more on who is right(me naturally) and who is wrong(all of you.) There is a pride thing... Others use it simply for status/power.... As the good book says... There is a difference in believing in god and saying you believe. Errrmmm example... Erich Fromm and his book You shall be as gods..... That goes on about breaking god down to nothing, and basically rejecting him..... That is written by a man of faith...

As for status/power/pride..... older times... I am the pope... Pay me taxes, I'm living well :D You know... Like those tv healer preachers.... They preach to you about good and so on... But they are there with a smile happily taking you as a fool and taking that earned cash... And all this time they are out probally banging hookers taking drugs and so on and so forth... Do as I say but not as I do... You know... Sheesh man, The majority of "religious" people have no real belife in god.... (HOW DARE I STATE THAT! SHAME ON ME!)

If I am wrong.... there is a claim (wiki) 90%.... 90% of the human population..... Are religious.... 78% of that is some form of christanity or whatnot lol.... But anyway! 90%.... All this greed, hate, war, seperation and other bollocks... is that really all caused by the 10% ? Doubt it son.

So somewhere in that 90% quite.....a...few... Peepils are not listening to their good books... Why would that be? What would cause that? You told me to do something, and I laughed in your face and just did what I wanted.... You'd say "this guy doesn't take me seriously... He thinks I'm a freaking clown shoes." And that is what is going on with these religious people and their god(s).

They have no serious conviction... There is a lack of true strong faith and fear in their god(s). They're in it for something else...

Fashion.
Status.
Symbol.
Power..
Peer pressure.
Born with it...
Can't be bothered to change their birth card's "religious status".
Money.
Confusion.......

Just my thoughts.... is all... I feel as most do not take religion serious... Hence the lack of spirtuality. If they truly were spirtual... this world would be paradise... Sure they are of different faiths but ALL of their faiths ALL of these faiths, every, single, one, of, them... Promotes love for your neighbour and enemy.... LOVE and PEACE, ask your self this... Does 90% of this worlds population practice this?
 

Saltmeister

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I would agree, pretty standard for comparative religious studies. I find it interesting that many in the West define religion as something to do with God, since that is what it is for the Western religions. Either they see other religions as odd sorts of extensions of this prototype, or fail to see enough similarity and so designate the others philosophies or somesuch.

My favorite definition of religion is a combination of one that came from one of my religious studies profs (who taught Asian religions and needed something other than the standard) and a bit added to make it more anthropological/socially oriented:

Religion is communal human transformation in response to perceived ultimacy. So, religion is- *social/done in groups, *uniquely human, *moves us from a problematic state to a goal state, *perceives some ultimate reason why we're doing that.

I'd say spirituality is the same, but is individual and does not require a group, and potentially also eliminates the problem/solution/goal state aspect. So it can be just grooving on the ultimate, however that is perceived.

I think only humans have religion, but many (perhaps all) beings have spirituality. The hope is that religion accelerates one's spirituality through tradition, practice, text, teachers, and fellowship.

I separate religion, spirituality, the social, political and literary into four levels:

1. Spiritual/Spirituality
Abstraction of human psyche in terms of exploring the cosmic and otherworldly

2. Religion
Abstraction of purpose and goals
No inherent structure
No inherent policies, rules or tenets
Kept alive by tradition

3. Ideology
Implementation of purpose and goals
Well-defined structure, rules, tenets and laws
Policy-driven
Approach to a religion

4. Secular
Common platform, public space where people exchange ideas
Universal and generic mental framework
Excludes the cosmic and otherworldly

The realm of the secular is the public space of wider society where people exchange thoughts, ideas and sentiments. It is the common ground for the spiritual, the religious and ideological. Any idea, thought or sentiment that is universal, generic, understandable, acceptable or compatible to all members of a society, or of the human race in general is secular.

What is religion? To me, religion is conceptualised by understanding its relationship to people, society, the human race, human psyche and the other three levels listed above.

Every religion has a purpose and goal. Every religion also has a theology. A theology is a theory about the relationships between supernatural and natural entities and concepts. Theology makes references to otherworldly entities. Supernatural concepts and phenomena are concepts and phenomena that have no verifiable scientific evidence for their existence. Their existence and validity is just a matter of faith. These concepts are otherworldly. Any belief system that does not have a theology is not a religion. Such a belief system is a philosophy.

If a belief system defines concepts that conflict with science, concepts that are not otherworldly, but refer to concrete (not nominal;, physical and material) real-world phenomena, such concepts are superstition.

A religion may, however, define concepts that refer to nominal real-world phenomena. By nominal real-world phenomena I am referring to things that don't exist physically or materially, but exist (at least) in people's minds. They may indeed exist apart from just merely being ideas in people's minds, but we will never know. What makes nominal real-world phenomena different from superstition is that they have real influence on world events. Nominal real-world phenomena are social and political in nature, and include national boundaries, organisations, established laws, economies, monetary systems, religion, ideology, philosophy, history, opinions and individual human personalities.

Society often undergoes significant changes during the long (or short) life/history of a religion. What keeps a religion alive is tradition. The aim of a tradition is to re-align future generations to the original goals of a religion.

Ideology is the implementation or set of rules and policies for achieving the goals and purposes of a religion. People often confuse ideology with the religion itself.

When people say X is not a religion, they really mean that X is not an ideology. They associate religion with established institutions, rules and laws. An ideology has structure. A religion is just an abstraction. It is an abstraction, in particular of its own purpose and goals. Ideology is the implementation of that abstraction. Religion itself has no intrinsic policies. It is the ideology that hopes to achieve its goals that sets the policies. Ideology is just an approach to a religion.

The difference between tradition and ideology is that tradition is about the past manifestation of a religion. Ideology, however, is about the present manifestation of a religion.

Spirituality is even more generic and abstract that religion. A religion has particular goals and is driven by tradition and ideology. Spirituality is about what all religions have in common. Spirituality is about people, their relationships with each other, their individual and collective psyches and how these works together to influence their cosmic destination.

The difference between spirituality and the secular is that spirituality is an embrace of the human psyche with regards to the otherworldly, while secularism excludes notions of a human soul and otherworldly phenomena.

Spirituality is independent of ideology, theology, tradition and religion. It is like the universal language of everything that is important in all the world's religions.
 

Eudaimonist

In Galt We Trust
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I'm confused. Is dreaming spiritual?

Why do you ask? Is it because of Saltmeister's description of spirituality?

According to that view, I would think that dreaming is spiritual only if you believe it provides messages to you from some otherworldly source.

According to my view, dreaming wouldn't itself be spiritual. That would depend on how one relates towards one's dreaming. E.g., if you were to use dreams as a tool to understand yourself better, the activity of reflecting on your dreams would be spiritual.


eudaimonia,

Mark
 
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