Without faith but curious

Katyana1980

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I don't consider myself to have any kind of faith. So why am I here, you ask? Well, I obviously live with people who have faith and I do find it fascinating. I've always been questioning from a young age (my parents used to tease me about asking questions like "why are we here?").

I do feel a need to think about so called spiritual matters, but would feel more comfortable doing it with strangers. I suppose because some of my friends are super-religious and have been concerned by my lack of faith in the past. ALso because most people don't talk about these things in normal conversation. "So.... what's your opinion on life after death?!" Er... no.

I was wondering if there is anyone else on here that's similar to me in this respect?

I suppose to many people, being without faith seems like quite a desolate state of affairs. And as for the life after death thing, for me, when you die, you die, and that's it. I don't find it particuarly sad that all my relatives that have died aren't in heaven or some such place. I just accept that that's it.

For me though, I find the whole experience of being alive to be an uplifting thing in itself. I've been through depression recently, and there have been times of despair. But the thing that's pulled me through it is looking around at how amazing each individual person is. When I see awful things going on in the news, it heartens me to think that in the background there are hundreds of people being kind to each other and enjoying life regardless.

But then the irony is that many of these people are motivated by organised religion. Which is another reason why I'd like to discuss more. Whatever my beliefs, it seems obvious to me that religion usually brings out the best in people.

When people say that problems in society are partly down to a lack of religion, I say that they are down to a lack of discussion of spiritual and ethical matters in general.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on my ramblings?!!
 

jiii

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Firstly...

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For me though, I find the whole experience of being alive to be an uplifting thing in itself. I've been through depression recently, and there have been times of despair. But the thing that's pulled me through it is looking around at how amazing each individual person is. When I see awful things going on in the news, it heartens me to think that in the background there are hundreds of people being kind to each other and enjoying life regardless.
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That IS faith!

And believe me, religion brings out the best in people probably about 50% of the time...it's a coin flip. This, by the way, comes from someone such as myself that is fascinated by religion and that studies it enthusiastically. Nonetheless, as wondrous and fundamentally amazing and drenched with disguised wisdom as these religions are, they are largely misconstrued when they are preached and are subject to 'mal-practice' in almost any culture.

Ultimately, religions give people very detailed and oftentimes poetic mythologies, stories, and metaphysical insights that are designed to point them in the direction of a greater spiritual knowledge of themselves and the nature of the Universe, etc, etc. From what I can deduce, many religions have this at the core of their teachings. However, this aspect of self-realization is all but ignored and tossed away as sermon after sermon darts around this cagey prospect.

For a long time, I fancied myself an atheist of sorts, and then a believer of sorts, and then an atheist again. The fact is, I was reaching to be something in particular...and neither side really fit.

I only began to come around when I found Buddhism. Now, this reliance on Buddhism was to come to an end eventually, but that was okay. You see, the one thing I found in Buddhism, very CLEARLY expressed as is not common in many religions, is that once we 'get it' we don't need even a shred of a notion about Buddhism. In other words, Buddhism was very upfront in essentially saying..."Our religion is a gateway to understanding yourself...once you understand...you won't need our religion anymore." This is why Buddhism is often called the "Religion of No-Religion". The aim is to bring everything back to YOU, so that you need no attachment to dogma and laws of religious conduct. Now, the funny thing, is that when I read other religious books about Hinduism, Taoism, Christianity, and indigenous religions, I found that this attitude is ACTUALLY at the heart of their beliefs, as well. You see, I came to find that every religion started out like that...with that kind of 'freedom from belief' as a prinicple of their practice. But as the years went by, it appears that many of these religions lost their original attitude. Buddhism just happened to be one that kept that premise very close to their teachings through hundreds of years, and so it was a huge eye opener for me.

Atheism is belief in God, in a way. I mean, a remember a funny characterization of atheism by a religious philosopher by the name of Alan Watts (his books, I think, would be VERY interesting to you...he explores, without any biases, the realms of religion in the East and the West, making incredible examples and without asking the reader to believe a single thing). He joked," There is no God! And, I am his prophet!" Get the double-take in there? ;-)

Honestly, give Alan Watts a try...I really think you'll be impressed with his amazingly accessible and interesting explorations of world religions and morality and ethics, not from a standpoint of a rigid professor, but rather with colorful and intriguing examples and analogies. I HIGHLY recommend to you his book, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. Based on what you've said about your questions about religion and belief in contrast to secularism and non-belief, you will find some amazing insight in this book.
 
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