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Am I Spiritual?

I am not religious. In fact I believe that pretty much all the mainstream religions are the most evil philosophies and belief systems that mankind has ever dreamed up.
I do however believe in the human spirit.

I believe that it can inspire us to the greatest acts of kindness, love, generosity, forgiveness, courage and pretty much all of mankind's greatest virtues.
On the other hand it can drive us to be mean, cruel, violent, sadistic, selfish and pretty much all of mankind's worst vices.

I am still not sure if I believe that the human spirit lives on after we die, I would like to think that it does but to be brutally honest, that is because I believe that i'm a pretty nice guy all things considered, and it would therefore be nice if my spirit were to linger on after I snuff it.

On the other hand, what about the spirits of all those rotten bastards?
It's like God and the Devil, you can't have one without the other.

So am I spiritual?   I'm guessing that it's a little more complicated than what i've mentioned above.

I'm open to guidance on this. 
AlmostAristotle AlmostAristotle 61-65, M 16 Responses Jul 28, 2012

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Dear AlmostAristotle, I believe a good ep story is one that draws many people into spirited discussion. You've really stirred things up. Keep it up please.

Thank you very much Katie. It's very kind of you to say so.

<p>Reading your answer below,whoever said that crimes are commited because the perpetrators are atheists are not thinking straight,tell them to look up the inquisition,the crusades and the religious wars all over the world,what were they thinking of? They must be very naive to say the least! or totally blind!! And that, without mentioning the church trying to hide abuses against innocent children in its care.</P>

Berangere, if you read the comments to this post from 'oldest first' you will see that I've pointed out the examples you mention alredy. you could then follow the debate, up to the last comment.

"If atheism is such a blessing for humanity, Mao’s China would have been an empire of sunshine, rainbows and frolicking bunnies, instead of a countryside of cadavers." - Anonymous

Mao wanted his people to consider HIM a God,his bible was "the little red book".No, he did not say"I am a god ,worship me" but the message was loud and clear.It is not a question of believing or not believing in God.Both christians and atheists holding power have done a great deal of harm,it is a question of total control and power over the masses.

What Christian in power has ever caused harm to others?

Bloody Mary for a start,who let her husband Phillip II of Spain bring persecution of her people in England, who would not convert to Catholicism,all these people burned at the stake by the thousands "auto da fe".
Then in France Catherine De Medici who was then queen consort of France,who persecuted and killed hundreds of protestants,because they would not convert to Catholicism.
Louis VII of France who sanctioned the massacre of the Cathars a christian religious sect,because their views differed from the accepted church beliefs of that time, mainly about reincarnation,which the church had removed from the bible to suit their own agenda.
And the church itself had great power,advising monarchs on many things and dabbling in politic ( Cardinal De Richelieu,Mazarin).The church established the crusades and the inquisition often with the blessings of the reigning monarchs at the time.Yes Christians in power have done a great deal of harm.

@Beran

It appears you misunderstood my question. I asked what Christian, not what Catholic.

There are good non catholic Christians I agree but most of them, still tend to blindly follow the teachings of the bible,they still condemn homosexuality and some of them even now, tend to look upon unmarried mothers as \"fallen women\",there are so called \"born again Christians\" who as parents make their children\'s lives a misery by condemning practically everything as ungodly.I am talking about fundamentalists who can cause a great deal of grief into the lives of others by their bigotry and intolerance.I know,I became a \"born again Christian\" while doing midwifery in England,a very convincing \"christian \"friend had persuaded me to. My world became narrower and narrower,everything was \"of the devil\"I gave up listening to classical music, only their songs in \"praise of God\" with tambourines and another instrument I forget the name of was according to them \"acceptable to God\",I stop reading a verity of books I enjoyed, because \"they were not Christian books\" I stopped going to the movies,I had to distance myself from very good friends unless I could convince them to also become \"christians\" Even my painting, a gift after all given to me by God would you not say? was frowned upon and I was advised only to paint \"religious themes\".The friend who convinced me to \"be born again\" told me she would have divorced her husband if he had not agreed to become a Christian! need I go on,now tell me that Christians can do no harm!

Please look up my story \"religion does not teach love\"

It appears you\'re condemning a certain body of moral values. If you could clarify for me, on what objective moral basis do you do so?

They were so called \"charismatic Christians\"

I don\'t follow. How does this answer my question?

I certainly condemn a body of moral value which fills people with guilt and religions whose \"moral\' values try to control every move their adherents make,take away their freedom of choice and threaten them with eternal damnation if they even attempt to think for themselves.Any organisations which try to get power over their followers by manipulating and threatening them, I disagree with.Has that answered your question?

Not exactly. What objective moral basis justifies your condemnation? In other words, how are your opinions anything more than an expression your particular preferences?

The moral basis that some religious teachings and endoctrination have caused great misery.

Keep going, you\'re not there yet since your criteria is still quite subjective for, what is the basis for the value of human beings? If God does not exist, then it is difficult to see any reason to think that human beings are special or that their morality is objectively true. Moreover, why think that we have any moral obligations to do anything? Who or what imposes any moral duties upon us?

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First of all, I make no such allegation. I merely question the veracity of your allegation that these crimes were comitted as a direct result of the perpetrators being aetheists. When the fact is that they were power crazed dictators, concerned more with power ,control, and conquest. Much like the Roman Catholic church.
Secondly, in the examples I use to counter your fallacious allegation. I have used a few of the evil mass murderers who. As a matter of fact comitted their crimes in the name of their God.

Conclusion: Since Atheism does not proscribe evil acts nor enjoin adherents to carry out good acts, any claims to moral superiority Gnostic Atheists make is illusory and fallacious.

Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't Danton, Lenin, Than Shwe, Stalin, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Ceausescu, Honecker, Castro, Pol Pot, Milosevic, Bonaparte and Mussolini sadistic, mass murdering atheists?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but.
When the christian army took Jerusalem in the first crrusade. didn't they butcher every man woman and little child in the city.
And, wasn't the Catholic inquisitor general Torquemada, a sadistic, murderous psycopath, hunter of heretics and witch's
who tortured and killed hundreds of innocent people durring the Spanish inquisition.
And.
Didn't the Catholic Queen of England Mary, or Bloody Mary as she came to be known, execute by hanging and burning, more of her subjects than any English monarch before or since, in an attempt to return Protestant England to the Roman catholic church.
And.
Wasn't the 1994 Rwandan genocide comitted by Rwandan Christians
Weren't all these people devoted Christians?

First, all you've done is make a case against Catholicism, not Christ Jesus' beneficent, compassionate, humanitarian, magnanimous, charitable, self-sacrificing teachings. In no way, shape or form do his teachings enjoin anyone to commit atrocities. In fact, only the opposite is true.

More importantly, you're trying to argue that the immoral actions of another group of peoples absolves these atheists for their murders? So if Fox murders 10 people that makes it ok for you to murder 100?

What's this maxim of jurisprudence called? 'Cause, I've never heard it used in any court of criminal law.

Maxy baby, I feel sorry for you.
All you've done is take a selection of murderous historical figures, who happen to be Aetheists and suggest that Aetheism was the cause of their behaviour.
All I've done is answer in kind, making the opposite argument, at least in my examples it's established fact that they murdered in the name of their religion.
I never even bothered with murderers from the other major religions .

Why is it, then, that every totalitarian regime that's ever existed has been strictly atheistic in scope?

How the **** is that relevant to the debate here.

You allege that atheism is benign yet all those corpses buried in the former Soviet Union evince otherwise.

The sad fact is that the teaching of Jesus "love,compassion,forgiveness,being non judgemental,being truthful,"certainly has NOT been implemented by the catholic church for centuries,in fact quite the opposite!

Which is why Catholicism's claim to Christianity is as genuine as Atheism's.

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I love the thoughtful and honest way you've written. Something about it delights me.

So are we spiritual? How can we know unless we have a definition which is meaningful to us?

My definition would not include anything about the paranormal and it would not mention attendance at a church or synagogue or mosque or giving support to any of these.

I wonder if we could agree that a definition would include living within oneself, immersed in the core of all where one is steeped in joy and is constantly enthralled by that joverwhelming love which encompasses all but is experienced by most people only rarely.

I think I could go along with much of what you say, as long as we are not misled by the folly of religion.

religion? religion! ah, religion. I tried here to state my disinterest in religion as having anything to do with my own definition of spirituality. That needs, i think, no further disavowal.

As for folly -- i can't disavow that. I've done some pretty stupid things having to do with just about any subject you'd care to mention.

If you ask yourself..how did you get into your mother's womb? can you answer ..no ?
if you can not answer..from where you came and how can you answer..where will you go :)

Excuse me?

Hahahaha!

Aristotle..I mean..the soul not the physical aspect of you in the womb

Of all things, only spirit is indestructible. When an individual dies, spirit returns to where it came from. In reality it never lost its connection so that there is nowhere to come from or return too. I think that the collection of memories that we imagine to be ourselves cannot survive the death of the body, but the enriched awareness that is the result of a lifetime is free to merge with the source, and to become immersed in its unfathomable purpose.

Thanks for the comment.
Way over my head i'm afraid, but thanks anyway.

Do not give up on religion so easily. It is not the religion that is evil or stupid but the interpreters oe practitioners that are. Giving up on trying to find the truth in the muck is spiritual lethargy. Once there were people who said we can never reach the moon, a few never gave up and finally we did, thanks to them. It is because of our spiritual and other forms of lethargy that the priest, corporates, politicans etc have gained control over the massess,

Bollocks.

Religion is dogmatic, greedy, power hungry, self serving, bullying codswallop.
And it appears to have you in it's evil grip.

Hahahahaha!!!!

I agree with you Ari and with most of the comments below. I do believe there is a God though. I don't believe in evolution, but I'm not going to argue that here. I could. But, evolution is religion to some. So are some form of politics. Plenty of evil there.

I really hate to disrespect anyone. Especially someone who is being polite, and trying to make a sensible point, but.
To not believe in evolution is to not believe in science and logic and that is plain stupidity.

I don't feel disrespected. Science has progressed to the point where it's been discovered that biological systems are irreducibly complex. They couldn't have evolved. Please read Michael J. Behe's book, Darwin's Black Box. Michael Behe is a professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University, and holds a Ph.D. from the Ivy league Univ of Pennsylvania. So, my position is in fact based on science.

Thanks Mary, that's very interesting, i will keep my eye's and ears open for Michael J. Behe's theories. I'm not sure that I want to readd the book. The problem is, that when this sort of debate breaks out in science, experts and psuedo experts begin to write books, thesis, and articles contradicting each other.
It's all too easy to be swayed by one theory that sounds logical, and may actually be correct but for one tiny little flaw.
This is how science has progressed through history, problems are argued over often for years.
I think i'll wait until there is a consensus to the contrary before changing my current view.
I respect that your views are based on science, and not religeous dogma.
I hope that we can agree to differ, while remaining friends.
Oh and in view of the scientific basis of your views, I apologise for the stupidity comment. I do get a little hot under the collar a little too quickly sometimes. A flaw that i'm constantly aware of but with little success in keeping myself in check.

I am a forgiving person, Ari, and I wasn't that put-out at being called stupid. I've been called that, and worse. I would encourage you to read the book. It's not a difficult read as he makes a great effort to take the complex subject of microbiology and explain it in simpler terms. Had people during the Inquisition read Bruno's theory, he might not have been burned at the stake. (Was he really? How brutal.)

Oh yes Mary, Bruno and hundreds of others.
If you weren't a card carrying believer in Roman Catholic dogma during the inquisition, then you were a Heretic, and heretic's were burned at the stake. After of course, hours of torture and an indecent spell on the wrack to persuade you to recant.
It was the Pope's idea of how to save souls, by convincing them that the Roman Catholic church, was the true faith/church.

Pah! I can't beieve that you can take Behe seriously. Even his own science department have a disclaimer on their website, stating that Behe's views on intelligent design are his alone.
The vast majority of the scientific community dispute Behe's claims.
He's a Roman Catholic God freak trying to justify the Bible's pathetic rubbish as fact.
His own dept's disclaimer goes on to say, that ''It is our collective position that
Intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally and should not be regarded as scientific''.
It's sad that intelligent people get taken in by priests maquerading as scientists.

Read his book. Then I'll talk to you about this.

I wouldn't waste my time reading a book written by an author whose sole objective is to prove thet a piece of religeous dogma can be scientifically proven.
Behe has been part of one Roman Catholic institute or another all of his life.
He believes in the Catholic dogma first, and manipulates the scientific evidence to try to prove it.
Far cleverer people than you or I have already read the book and dismissed it's conclusions. I'm totally confident in the judgement of the non religiously biased experts.
You of course are free to believe whatever you want.

You've jumped to a lot of conclusions, Ari. I'm not surprised Lehigh has posted a disclaimer since evolution is a controversial subject. But, just because intelligent design doesn't have a scientific paradigm (yet) doesn't disprove the theory. Evolution is a theory, too. People are unwilling to consider abandoning their long held belief in evolution just like others are unwilling to question religion. This brings me back to my original point that, for some reason, people treat evolution as a religion. Thank you, Ari, for the spirited discussion.

Evolution is not a controversial subject. It is universally accepted as proven by all respected scientists in that field, and most others.
Intelligent design is controversial, because despite overwhelming scientific evidence some God freaks like Behe continue to try to prove that it has a scientific basis, despite the scientific consensus that it does not.
No matter how overwhelming the evidence to the contrary, certain people steeped in religious dogma will always stick to the fantasy of intelligent design.
Some people will argue black is white, there is really no point in trying to persuade them, they will never give up their fantasy.

I thought you would be a little more open minded about this. The book isn't written by a zealot. Behe isn't promoting creationism, he's just raising valid scientific problems with the theory of evolution. I would like your insight once you've digested his thesis.

It's a bit much accusing me of not being open minded, when you look at the religious dogmatic motives of your hero Behe.
Michael J Behe is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. Behe is best known for his argument for 'irreducible complexity' which asserts that some biochemical structures are too complex to be explained by known evolutionary mechanisms and are therefore more probably the result of intelligent design......Now that's quite a quantum leap for a scientist to make. If it hasn't yet been explained by science, therefore it must be intelligent design.
Behe's claims about the irreducible complexity of esential cellular structures
have been rejected by the vast majority of the scientific community,
The Discovery institute is an American non-profit public policy think tank best known for it's advocacy of intelligent design.
It's, teach the controversy campaign aims to teach creationist anti-evolution beliefs in United States public high school science courses alongside accepted scientific theories, positing a scientific controversy exists over these subjects.
A federal court along with the majority of scientific organizations, including the American association for the Advancement of science, say the institute has manufactured the controversy they want to teach by promoting a false perception that evolution is ''a theory in crisis'' through incorrectly claiming that it is the subject of wide controversy and debate throughout the scientific community.
In 2005 a federal court ruled that the Discovery institute persues ''demonstrably religious, cultural and legal missions'' and the institute's manifesto, the wedge strategy, describes a religious goal to ''reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist world view and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions it was the Federal courts opinion that intelligant design was just a redressing of creationism and that, as such it was not a scientific proposition.
This pretty much blows Behe's scientific objectivity out of the water, and shows that, while he may not be a Zealot his motives are more religious than scientific.
And therefore I WILL NEVER READ HIS RELIGEOUS CLAP TRAP.

END OF DEBATE.

I just re read this comment.
I feel I must say that to claim that ''Science has progressed to the point where it's been discovered that biological systems are irreducibly complex. They couldn't have evolved. Please read Michael J. Behe's book, Darwins black box.''
Is taking a huge liberty with the truth.
The above quote refers to Behe's argument, Which is disputed by the majority of the scientific community, and the American association for the Advancement of Science.
Mary, also neglects to mention that Behe is a dyed in the wool Catholic Creationist.
See my comment above.
If you believe Behe then you are a fool, because you are believing in an assumption that hardly ANY respected scientist has not rejected.

My comment above, belongs below Mary's comment containing the 'please read Michael J. Behe's book', quote, but due to EP's total cocking up of the way we comment it was impossible for me to place it below Mary's comment.

Thank you for commenting. This was a vexing and disappointing exchange that I haven't reread until today. I am unfamiliar with Sitchin, but I'll look into it.

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I understand exactly where you are coming from Ari. For most of my life I felt just as you. I was agnostic... I just didn't know. A little more than two years ago all of that changed when I had a near death experience. I've written a story about my experience. It is called, The Day I Died Was The Best Day of My Life. The experience has changed me forever and while I still feel exactly the same way you do about most mainstream religions I now know that there is more to existence than this life. I invite you and anyone else to read my story. It is my sole purpose for being on EP. While I do not claim to know anyone else's truth, I have found mine.<br />
<br />
<br />
Wishing all who read this inner peace, love and happiness.

Thanks for commenting Ken. I read your story and, left a comment below it.Thanks for stimulating the debate.

"I am open to guidance on this."<br />
<br />
I love that part, Ari. Much like you, I don't have any definitive answers for spirituality. Seems to me, it is an ongoing process of understanding and questioning. The human spirit is awesomely powerful. There are triumphs all around to prove it. But is there an even higher power? I don't know. I do know that no one can stop a tide from coming in or stop the sun from rising everyday. Is that a higher power or science? I need more coffee now...

Lilt, the tide comes in and goes out because the Moon orbits the earth and it's gravity pulls the sea's and ocean's one way then the other.
The sun rises every day because the Earth rotates on it's axis, bringing each hemisphere gradually into the new light of the Sun every twenty four hours. That is pure proven science. Nothing spiritual, Mystical, or Godly in that.

there are mystics of varying backgrounds and varying times who have solved this conundrum for themselves very happily, and who are in complete agreement with each other, but for the mind to look at it is like the proverbial blind men describing the elephant. as for your afterlife, they agree that this realm is a "school" to which we return, life after life, until we are advanced enough to move to a higher realm. so, from that perspective, the worst that could happen to us is that we be sent back to learn more about radiating love.

Are you saying, that because various 'Mystics' believe that they have the answer and agree with each other, they are therefore right, and that reincarnation which they appear to share as a belief is a fact?

No. A belief is not fact and should never be accepted as such. Mystics also know this.

Great story, Ari.<br />
I think you have hit the nail squarely on the head when you say "In fact I believe that pretty much all the mainstream religions are the most evil philosophies and belief systems that mankind has ever dreamed up."<br />
<br />
Religion is a man made thing, dreamed up by man and incorporating the best and worst of what it is to be human with its rules, dogma, money making agendas, and intolerance.<br />
<br />
Spirituality, true seeking to understand The Source, has little to do with religion. And perhaps duality only exists on this plane, and not at a soul level which is our true being. Lots to think about and to try to understand!

Thanks datura. A nice balanced, sensible, rational perspective.

I think very many of those who are supposed to represent mainstream religion, especially in the form of "organisations" have a lot to answer for when it comes to putting people off completely. Also I think many "religious" people seem to consider themselves so above others, and that it is their place to bash others about, I doubt that does anything to endear them to others, or the religion they are supposedly practising. Far as guidance goes, for people genuinely seeking "Truth" of some form, I think the best thing really is to keep an open mind, study widely, do not take things for granted ba<x>sed on either what stuck-up so-and-so's have to say about it, nor the media; rather try to maintain contact with sincere practioners of a variety of faiths and learn what each has to say from them; perhaps you might find something that resembles or begins to resemble "Truth" for you, perhaps you will not; but you'll have done a better job than by absorbing stereotypes from the media, as many people do I've found, or by being defeated by fanatics of any religion, who seem to be worshipping themselves rather than anything else, which hardly makes them any different from very many people it would seem.

Good comment just.
Iget most of my information on all of these subjects from the dozens of serious documentary programmes that I watch. Science, religion, history, and all three subjects looking at each other and asking serious meaningful questions.
As the years go by, advances in all forms of knowledge and thinking, help us to understand the world and the life in it better.
As you so rightly said, keeping an open mind is vital, because things change as we gain more insight into all areas of knowledge.

Aww Ari....I can still do some mental juggling with this too. I believe there is something WAYYY bigger then us humans somewhere but what and where....I'm not too sure....<br />
I'll keep track of this thread and share some of the guidance that pours in......

We're all just stumbling around here on this planet the same as yourself, we ALL question and hope and ponder....I think you're very spiritual~ Ari your spirit shines brightly in every post!

That's very kind of you hilly.