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Oh boy...how do I phrase this....

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Background....I was raised Catholic. Now I am Agnostic.

Can someone point me into a direction on research of other religions (I guess thats the term I am thinking of). I am mixed up right now. I certainly don't believe in the Bible and God (Christian). But feel there may be something out there. I just don't know how to explore it. Pagan? Budhist?

Another question. I guess I don't understand the differance between Spirituality and Religion. Aren't they the same?
post #2 of 13
Have you checked out this thread ? There are some great book suggestions there.
post #3 of 13
Follow what you feel inside. Even if it's hard and not what you were expected to believe. Even if it's not what everyone around you says you should believe. Look inside. Then, go someplace quiet where you can hear the wind.
post #4 of 13
If you want the plain old dictionary answer, "spirituality" is
1. The state, quality, manner, or fact of being spiritual.
where "spritual" is
Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material.
. By comparison, "religion" is
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers.
b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
One analogy may be that spirit is an idea and religion is a book written about that idea. The same idea can led to many different books, and once a book is written it takes a lot of energy and time to change it. The idea is immaterial while the book is material. Spirit is the foundation of religion but religion is a human institution that interprets spirituality into a code of conduct/behavior/right living.

Personally... I found the Unitarian Universalist website/religion (http://www.uua.org/visitors/index.shtml but it's changed a bit since I first found it) to be a great aid in my journey from catholicism to pagan. DH and I still attend our UU church since they have a wonderful religious education program for the kiddos...
post #5 of 13
another vote for the UU church... I am in the same place as you and find an AMAZING mix of beliefs. really smart people, too (like here!) i am reading a lot of books for the various discussion groups i am attending and it is nice to have a community. good luck!
post #6 of 13
You could start with Huston Smith's World Religions.

If you can find the book of transcripts from the Bill Moyers series of interviews with Joseph Campbell, that's an education in itself right there too.

post #7 of 13
So you;re no longer agnostic

Ask "the thing out there" to draw you in. "God" (or whatever you want to call "it") will put materials/teachers/churches/ideas into your path that send you to the right location.

How does that sound? weird? I hope not. My dh is raised catholic-its hard to break free of those rules and black and white stuff. (It would be for me!)
post #8 of 13
For some high level information on a variety of religions, http://www.religioustolerance.org is a great site, and they have some wonderful essays there as well.
post #9 of 13
If you want to give up faith all together a good book is The End Of Faith by Sam Harris. If you want to deside on a religion theres the book So Whats the Difference by Fritz Ridenour, it gives a breaf description on 20 different worldviews.
post #10 of 13
beliefnet.com's belief-o-matic quiz is a good place to start, although I think it's definitely just a starting place.
post #11 of 13
I wouldn't even start with religion. I would start with ethics. We all already have internalized a number of religious and ethical ideas, even if we call ourselves atheists or agnostics. We don't receive these in any sort of systematic way, but they do become our world view. Since they frequently contradict each other, not only do we become confused internally but we find it hard to make decisions about where to go. So one thing you might consider before you pick a religion is to look at how you think.

Try reading the first chapter of Alasdair Macintyre's book After Virtue. If you decide you like him, go to a book by him called Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry. It really lays out what the general alternatives are to the way we think about these things in the West (no matter who one is).

If you want to read something rather difficult but very rewarding, try Sources of the Self by Charles Taylor. Two books in one; one looking at the question via philosophy and one via history.
post #12 of 13
I agree with pp who suggested religioustolerance.org. It is wonderful. As for the difference between religion and spirituality, I think that the difference is (for me, anyway) as follows:

-Spirituality is a solitary, personal thing; religion is a community-oriented, not- so-private thing.

-Spirituality is perfectly tailored to the individual; religion involves compromise for the greater good of the group.

-Spirituality is itself a higher power; religion is the organized worshipping of a higher power.

(This is the one that's going to get me in trouble, so let me just give a gentle reminder that is just my opinion.)
-Spirituality is gift from God; religion is humanmade.
post #13 of 13
I would look into different Christian churches (since I'm Christian.) Honestly, I wouldn't be Christian if I had to believe what Catholics do. I disagree with alot of their teachings. I've found several of their teachings that clearly do not follow the Bible's teaching. This is my church if you are interested. My DH up until Febuary was also pretty much an anthesist. (He was Catholic for a few years as a child as well...) What I realized is he really didn't know much about the Bible and what it really said/ meant. (Other than a few things they taught during mass.) So it really helped him to read the bible for himself and seek out others when he had a question about what he was reading. He also learned alot about why we believe Jesus is the Son of God in The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. But the thing that convinced him was learning for himself that the Bible is the Word of God.

You're in my prayers. I hope you find what you are looking for.
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