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God without Religion?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Anyone else in this sort of "boat"? I have a number of books on the subject, and I look forward to reading them as soon as I finish my current book ("Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism," if anyone's interested), but I'm wondering if anyone else is just kinda of "pursuing" God in their own way, without a religion or formal group, etc., or even as the only person in their household?
post #2 of 21
I am! I definitely feel like I need to follow my own path. No one else's path is going to lead me where I need to be. And I'm sure that part of it is that I was raised an atheist, and the concept of religion and especially religious meetings - like church - just seem so wrong to me. I've actually been trying to get myself to a Unitarian church for - no lie - the last 7 years. It hasn't happened. I can't do it. I think their religious ed program might be great for my kids, but I can't bring myself to make that trip. So, here I am, reading and trying to find opportunities for meditation, and finding what works best for me. My path is simply where I walk - it's not something I can choose from the selection that others provide.

And I'm definitely the only one in my house doing this. My DH is an angry-at-God agnostic (long story) and my 7 year old has decided that's he's an atheist - except he also likes all the stuff from the show Avatar: The Last Airbender. I'm a pantheist, but that's such a broad description. When asked my religion, I tend to say something like, "agnostic-pagan-zen-taoist... of sorts".

Now that my kids are starting to give me more opportunities to read while they play, I hope to finally get into all those books I bought so many years ago.
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Anyone else in this sort of "boat"?
Me!

I’m pretty much all over the place spiritually. I’ve never found a perfect fit for me, so I basically take a little bit from here and a little bit from there. I feel connected to all sorts of things so I just stay spiritually open and my main goal is to just keep on learning and connecting and I’ll end up where I end up! I go with whatever feels right in any given moment.

I do crave a sense of community though… And I actually checked out the local UU church a couple of times because it seemed like my best bet. I did enjoy it, but I’m not a morning person and haven’t been able to get my butt in gear and make it a habit!
post #4 of 21
I fall in this category. I'm also pantheist. I see it as creating my own personal religion. Once a good friend pointed out the literal meaning of religion I became more comfortable with that idea. I'm a reformed christian and have been out on my own for 20ish years on this. But really seeking intensely the past 10.

I would love to have more of a sense of community with this as well. I went to a UU church a few months back, and it was nice. But it still felt like church and I was uncomfortable because of my childhood associations. So I didn't go back. Its a shame too because I need the community and so does DD. And I'm definitely the only one in my family with a similar belief system. Most of them are atheist or christian. I've been really curious about lots of other religions and have scratched the surface of many. And I can see the common thread. And for me it's that common thread, the unpolluted, untwisted, untouched by the human desire for power and greed, that I seek and connect to most deeply. Sometimes I think of it as "The Single Truth" because I don't know what else to call it. It can stand alone for me and doesn't need any of the things that I typically associate with religion.

During a lecture in college a professor said something along the lines of, "The more deeply you go into any single line of knowledge, the less you know about everything else around you." So it's like saying the more you specialize in a particular skill or line of knowledge, the weaker you become in other skills or lines of knowledge. I've always been more of a skimmer, wanting to take in as much as I possibly can, but this made me feel that it was OK to be a skimmer and that not everyone needs to become deeply specialized. Sometimes I've joked that there's not a religion big enough to hold me yet. So that's why I'm having to create my own.
post #5 of 21
Save me a seat in your boat!

I am finally exploring my spirituality separate from my very religiously intense childhood.
post #6 of 21
After being raised by a fundamentalist christian mother who would constantly guilt me, I decided to see what else was out there. I determined that religions are an attempt to put God in a box according to a human agenda. I got fed up with this stuff:
"Our God is the only true God".
Are you born again? That is between He and I.
Are you going to hell? Again, that is my business (if there was a hell)!
Oh, and that constant judgement crap!!

My spiritual journey started about 15 years ago, and I no longer identify my self with any religion, but rather describe myself as on a spiritual journey of awareness. I am glad to be free of religion and it's baggage.
post #7 of 21
I am totally in this boat!

i will be back to post more

ETA: I am back to post more

I was raised catholic and was never raised with guilt. My mom was very positive to us finding what worked for us. However, the religion its self is a religion by guilt and that is something my mom, dad or anyone can hide even if there are saying “you are free to find what works for you”

I read the book “Conversations with God: Book 1” it really opened my eyes to how ‘organized religion’ really is religion by guilt. I know that my God loves me for who I am and not only if I follow ‘rules’. I truly feel that most religions have a ‘you are going to hell if you don’t, xyz’ attitude and that’s just not for me. That book really resonated with me! I finally felt like things I felt before were not totally crazy. I kept saying that’s so true, I thought that before and its ok. I no longer felt like I had the weights of religion tying me down. It was such a freeing experience!

For me I have yet to find a religion that works for me, so for now I am on my own. I believe that all souls (people) are equal and some are younger then others. That what God really wants from us is to find our path. The older souls are closer to that path and the younger souls are more far from their path. I believe in reincarnation. I have no clue what I am trying to say, but I totally agree, I believe in God, but have yet to find a religion that fits.
post #8 of 21
because i too would like to see more on this
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
lovebug,

i wasn't raised in any particular religion, and i don't have any real beefs with religion, personally, but i also don't know of any one religion that will work for me. i believe in god, and i think i might do okay in a reform judaism congregation, but that's not an option. so, i'm pursuing this on my own right now. i believe in god as something both within and beyond us. it's very important to me, but i don't know where to go from there.
post #10 of 21
I'm in this boat too!! I tend to refer to myself as a "recovering Christian" who still very strongly holds to the idea of God, just not as I learned (or had it forced on me) it.
Glad to see others on the same path!
post #11 of 21
Yes! I am quite a firm believer that you don't necessarily NEED a religion to find/ believe in god. I was raised Catholic and that was one thing I really didn't like was all the "rules", restrictions, etc. that came along with the religion. I think you should be able to pray when you want, do what you want- whatever, without feeling guilty or forced to go to church, or forced to read the bible, or forced the pray the rosary... etc. When I was Catholic that's just how I felt. Like it was such a burden to have to do all that, ya know? But now, I want to be spiritual and find god/ gods on my own-- but just have that spiritual aspect of it, not the religion aspect... If any of that makes sense.
post #12 of 21
I'm in! This is going to be a very large boat with all these people!

I am a "recovering christian" as well. I lean towards pantheistic, pagan, and buddhist practices, but really have a problem with organized religion in general. I do believe in god/dess higher power, but I recognize that that is a belief within me, and I don't feel like others need to agree.

I am really interested in talking with more mamas (and dads!) who feel similarly.
post #13 of 21
Me too ! I define myself a "spiritual but not religious". Sometimes when people find out that we are not a Christian family, and don't follow any religion, they assume I have issues with God. Not at all....I just don't find any meaningful connection from within any defined religious framework. My faith is based on my own experiences. I am very satisfied with this. I wish it was not so unsettling to others to find out that we are religiously "undefined".
post #14 of 21
I don't really like boats, but I'll climb aboard!!

I am also an ex-christian. Was raised in a very strict fundy borderline-cult environment, and I have gone through a few stages.
Ultra judgmental christian to
pagan to
super angry agnostic to
completely apathetic to
searching and reading my bible with an open heart to
realisation that there is no one true way.

So here I am with a Deist label and no idea what to make of it!
post #15 of 21
It's really nice for me to read this thread. I have been searching for my path and a relationship with God for years now. I was raised by an agnostic father and an atheist mother, but I attended some christian services (with friends) on a regular basis. In high school I decided I was an atheist, but as I got older, events in my life made me feel as though there is a god. I read the bible, as it feels like the only way for me to get an idea of god's nature, though I know that's not true. I guess I don't know where else to turn.

Does anyone else get frustrated with not having a label for what you believe? I believe in a god. That's all I know. Does it really require further definition?
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpen88 View Post

Does anyone else get frustrated with not having a label for what you believe? I believe in a god. That's all I know. Does it really require further definition?
I definitely know that feeling! I was like that for a few years actually. Now I kind of label myself as an Agnostic Unitarian Universalist. But it's annoying sometimes when people ask about your beliefs or whatever and you're kinda just like um... I believe this, that, and the other thing.... Especially when people don't know anything about what you believe or they can't put themselves in your shoes/ thoughts. But yea, it really shouldn't require further definition: you believe in god. End of story!!! Haha.
post #17 of 21
I am on a similar journey and was so happy to find the Unity church. The focus is in celebrating the spirit of God that already exists in all of us, not worshiping Jesus. I have really enjoyed finding a place to gather with like-minded positive people without that feeling of religion that I was used to from my Baptist upbringing.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theia View Post
I fall in this category. I'm also pantheist. I see it as creating my own personal religion. Once a good friend pointed out the literal meaning of religion I became more comfortable with that idea. I'm a reformed christian and have been out on my own for 20ish years on this. But really seeking intensely the past 10.

I would love to have more of a sense of community with this as well. I went to a UU church a few months back, and it was nice. But it still felt like church and I was uncomfortable because of my childhood associations. So I didn't go back. Its a shame too because I need the community and so does DD. And I'm definitely the only one in my family with a similar belief system. Most of them are atheist or christian. I've been really curious about lots of other religions and have scratched the surface of many. And I can see the common thread. And for me it's that common thread, the unpolluted, untwisted, untouched by the human desire for power and greed, that I seek and connect to most deeply. Sometimes I think of it as "The Single Truth" because I don't know what else to call it. It can stand alone for me and doesn't need any of the things that I typically associate with religion.

During a lecture in college a professor said something along the lines of, "The more deeply you go into any single line of knowledge, the less you know about everything else around you." So it's like saying the more you specialize in a particular skill or line of knowledge, the weaker you become in other skills or lines of knowledge. I've always been more of a skimmer, wanting to take in as much as I possibly can, but this made me feel that it was OK to be a skimmer and that not everyone needs to become deeply specialized. Sometimes I've joked that there's not a religion big enough to hold me yet. So that's why I'm having to create my own.

Theia, I think you should check out your local UU again. It took me a few years of starting and stopping going to really get into the one I'm in now, and it's very much unlike my old church experiences.

With the above bolded. That's so true, two things came up in my mind as I read that: 1. PhD programs - the scientist becomes so focused on her/his particular specialty that s/he loses the time/focus on the broader scope ( I reckon it's true of medical specialists too) and 2. in ecology there's the concept of specialist species - they're a kind that has generally only one kind of food/habitat/breeding ground etc. They're less adaptable and are more at risk for dying off since they're so narrowly focused. And in reading your above quote I thought, well there's a truth that's pretty universal on alot of different levels, which ends up, in my eyes as being kind of spiritual/religious.

Also, FWIW I call the concept of the higher power "The Divine" because it can apply to so many things - the Divine in all of us, The Divine essence around all living/nature and possible a Divine being.
post #19 of 21
"The more deeply you go into any single line of knowledge, the less you know about everything else around you."

LOOOOVE that quote!!!
post #20 of 21
Subbing, will write more later
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