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#31 of 38 Old 01-29-2003, 01:57 AM
 
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I wandered into this thread "accidently" (if I believed in accidents, that is!), and it makes my head swim. I think many of you/us are talking about different things using the same words, and talking about the same things using different words! No wonder we're confused! "Salvation," "God," "afterlife" ... for one thing, I think (I could be wrong) you're all talking about Judeo-Christian variations on a theme, which leaves out huge huge masses of people on this planet, of spiritual, religious, and combination spiritual/religious persuasions!

Being someone who feels enormously spiritual, but who has a strong bias against organized religion, particularly most sects of Christianity, my initial reaction to some of the posts has been negative. However, once I stop myself from jumping to conclusions and itching for an argument, I find these participants trying to be very respectful of one another, which I find quite refreshing and I very much appreciate. (Thanks!) Still, the assumption that your goals (back to "redemption/salvation" etc.) are the same as mine stilts the conversation.

Then, Chaka, just when I think you're phrasing what ^I^ believe as a spiritual person (I am spirit/all around me is spirit), then you jump to a conclusion that I can't follow: that life without deity is "better."

Please understand: I'm not saying that we all need to believe in some Higher Power that is greater than ourselves. Coming back around to the "all is spirit" concept, I believe that Jesus, for example, is no more God than I am. Granted, if we can believe the stories were actually about a single, real person, he was an amazingly enlightened guy. He had alot of things right, in my opinion.

But organized religion, particularly variations of Christianity, is man's (and I do use that in the masculine, as opposed to the generic, sense) way of keeping tabs on large populations of people. I think "church rules" fall into three categories: (a) certain practices, such as fasting, may assist meditation and therefore communication with Spirit, (b) rules against murder or stealing, or suggestions to help the poor, for example, are good general societal rules that allow people to live in community more easily, and (c) rules such as those preventing eating certain foods on certain days of the week were created more arbitrarily, maybe for reasons of commerce or other needs for control. In short, (c) is the input of Man that has nothing, really, to do with Spirit ... other than that Man can then judge and condemn people who do not practice (c) as a way of controlling masses of people.

I hope that made some sense.

Then, Chaka, I found your breadmaker analogy particularly interesting, but I don't follow your assumption that life without a deity is necessarily better. Different, sure, but why better? Are you saying that people who believe there is Nothing, no spirit, even, are better than those of us who believe ALL is spirit?

I mean, if you're truly operating under the principle that All is Spirit, within and without, above and below, then I am also the breadmaker, aren't I, and the wheat and yeast and water? As well as the electricity that runs it? And there's nobody but ME to blame if the bread is crappy! Whether I appreciate it or not has nothing to do with the breadmaker, or, for that matter, if its crappy. Appreciation, in your definition, is attachment to a judgment about "good" vs "crappy." A Buddhist, or at least someone who practices mindfulness, might suggest that nonattachment provides the opportunity to appreciate the bread, period, without judgment. It just Is.

Okay. Now I don't pretend to even BE a Buddhist, so I can't speak for that tradition, but I do try to practice mindfulness. That, to me, is a large part of my spiritual practice, which, in effect, is my "religion."

But I don't practice in any community, so am I really part of a religion? (I wish sometimes that I were in a community, since I grew up Catholic and I REALLY miss some of the positive aspects of ritual and community, but that's another post. Maybe.)

I'm talking in circles now, I need to go to sleep. But I wanted to step into this conversation today because ... well, my mindfulness tells me to pay attention to this thread and participate, and then see what I can learn!

Thanks for bringing up and participating in such a thought-provoking thread!

Luci
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#32 of 38 Old 01-29-2003, 02:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Luci: Hi! Just to clarify, what I wrote is solely my opinion and feeling on the matter. If you agree, you agree. If you don't, you don't. (blunt, no bitterness) I imagine life w/o diety would be better, b/c we are fallible human beings. Diety is so often used to divide and conquer, that it's sickening. I suppose it is to be expected, but I don't like it. Diety, being a human-concocted scheme, is subject to being misused by those same humans.

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Are you saying that people who believe there is Nothing, no spirit, even, are better than those of us who believe ALL is spirit?
Nope. I was speaking only on diety. Or, the lack-thereof. I, certainly, would not entertain the notion of anyone being better than me.
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#33 of 38 Old 01-29-2003, 02:25 AM
 
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Sure, for those for whom a Higher Power is unnecessary, or has brought sorrow, life is better without.

For those for whom said Higher Power is necessary, or has brought joy, life is better with.

And some of us have lived with both world/energy views, and have moved between them without regret.

For me, life is better this way. But the great thing about it is you don't have to agree ...

My life, my choice. (Sounds like a commercial for a particular POV on a particular women's health political issue ... nah, just a coincidence. )

And Chaka, I love reading about your mental meanderings & neuroses. They're very thoughtful & eloquently stated ... and I can associate with a good deal of it, having been through very similar spiritual gymnastics myself.

Enjoy the search ...



- Amy
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#34 of 38 Old 01-29-2003, 11:30 AM
 
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Chaka, thanks for your explination, it is beautiful. But I think I may have worded my question wrong. You say:
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Dieties, IMO, are just creations to help us guide our energies and interpret the energies of others.
and I understand that concept. You acknowledge a spiritual rhelm and spiritual creations, just do not defer to any of them as one would a king or lord.

I was really reffering my question to those people that don't believe in Dieties at all. That don't see the existance of spiritual beings at all. That is my question, how does one conect with the spiritual, yet not recognize spiritual beings, or dieties. Does that make sense?

Namaste,
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#35 of 38 Old 01-29-2003, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah, yes. I understand completely now.

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#36 of 38 Old 01-29-2003, 04:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by lucimomster

(c) rules such as those preventing eating certain foods on certain days of the week were created more arbitrarily, maybe for reasons of commerce or other needs for control. In short, (c) is the input of Man that has nothing, really, to do with Spirit ... other than that Man can then judge and condemn people who do not practice (c) as a way of controlling masses of people.
I just wanted to say two things about this. First of all, I belong to a religious group that has "lifestyle guidelines" that seem to fall under this category, according to your POV.

Since this is your POV, understand that others have POVs. Such as, mine is that said lifestyle guidelines are given by God (Supreme Being) to a prophet (spiritual leader for believers) and then those people covenant (make a promise, with the promise back from God to receive blessings) to try and live by those guidelines. While there are some very specific guidelines, for the most part, it is for each individual to "interpret" those guidelines. The promises from God include physical endurance to call on when needed (not superhuman), and enhanced spirituality/connectedness with the Spirit, to more easily be able to call upon God, and have more ability to cope with our lives. In my POV, these are very real and tangible blessings to choosing to live by something that falls under your "category C."

When I have made the effort to eat healthy food, live a healthy lifestyle, it even affects my spirituality--and my ability to "tune in" to the spiritual nature of life--others' spirits, the feeling of the divine in nature, the divine in my children, etc. Many, many other people I have talked with both IRL and online have said something similar. I strongly believe in mind/body connectedness, but I think of it as more of "mind/body/spirit connectedness."

Just my POV.
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#37 of 38 Old 01-29-2003, 05:39 PM
 
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Bekka, you're right, it is my POV, and thank you for being respectful in your response. I'm trying to be respectful, too, in my dissent. I hope I'm coming across that way.

I appreciate your position about how eating healthily enhances your life and your connection with Spirit, too. I just don't get how the God of one group of people says you shouldn't eat pork, for example, and the God of another group says you shouldn't eat beef, but it's okay to eat pork ... to me, that sounds alot more like the hand of man (who's got an agenda in there somewhere) than divine inspiration ... unless you believe that one religion is right and the other is wrong. Certainly, a healthy diet, appropriate exercise, sleep ... these things all help us be better humans in lots of ways. Alternately, a certain amount of ritual self-sacrifice and periodic hardship may even enhance our relationship with Spirit.

I don't want to come off as being anti-religion or anti-ritual. In fact, I'm on something of a quest right now related to finding or creating appropriate ritual to fill a need in me personally and in society. (At least, for the portions of society who are also seeking ritual: I'm not proselytizing "my way" or anything.)
So this thread continues to fascinate me, and I'm glad to participate in it with women who are so thoughtful and willing to share their opinions and experiences. Thanks!

L
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#38 of 38 Old 01-29-2003, 05:53 PM
 
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Oops. Double post. Sorry.
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