Spirituality and Views on Existence

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Dynan, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Dynan

    Dynan New Member

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    So. I was walking in the gloriousness that is Crescent Lake Park this afternoon and came to somewhat of an epiphanic thought regarding religion and spirituality. After a number of years of study about the topic during college, I came away with the understanding that though there are superficial differences between world religions, much of the esoteric material is quite similar. They have many of the same general ideals about human nature and the morals to which we should abide by (don't lie, killing is bad, respect one another, etc.).

    The stories of creation amongst religions are really where the major distinctions lie. This is also where I tend to become somewhat of a skeptic. There are so many religions and belief systems, that each have their own scripture on how we came to be; and they are all devoted to their stories (they are sticking to their guns). How, I wonder, can one single religion have the right idea? Is there a "right" idea?

    So, back to the thought I had at the park: I was thinking about what kinds of things people instill in their respective deities--why they worship them and hold them in such high regard. The first thing that came to mind was compassion. Then love; empathy, generosity, mercy...all such wonderful attributes to have and to practice.

    These are all things that we, today have within us. We hold the powers of love and compassion. We practice them on a daily basis. We control whether or we treat a situation with resentment, anger or violence; or with understanding, empathy and forgiveness.

    I guess there's always the retort that it was God that gave those traits to us in the first place--that we were chosen to think the way we do, over say...an armadillo. And I can't say no; but I can't say 'yes, that's how it happened' with any kind of conviction, either. Because the truth is, I don't know. I don't know what happened before the earth came into being. I didn't exist. Nobody did. And science's explanations on evolution and genetics is pretty compelling.

    I am sure that there's a grand design in there, somewhere. The human body and the synchronized way in which it operates is testament enough.

    I guess, because I don't know, and have no way of knowing if there is a 'God' in the way most people believe there to be...but I do know that love exists. And charity, compassion, goodness, and honor. Those are what I invest my beliefs in. That is what I build my spirituality upon; and anything that inspires that within others is O.K. by me.
     
  2. Kelmourne

    Kelmourne The Savage Hippy

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    Keep in mind that there are millions of babies born each year that do not operate in a fully functional/synchronized way and that they usually die young, like people who are born with their organs on the outside of their skin. Then realize that this has been happening continuously throughout the evolutionary process that has lasted around 4 billion years. Then also realize that life started out as single-cell organisms that weren't actually that impressive biologically (unlike humans). With all of this in mind, I don't find it that hard to accept that humans weren't designed intelligently.
     
  3. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

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    I think the truth is probably unthinkable, meaning that we don't have the capacity to come up with it.
    The belief that books contain the truth about creation, god, and existence, books that were written by human beings, comes across naïve to me.
    Being naïve though, is probably a nicer state than being sceptic.
     
  4. Dynan

    Dynan New Member

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    I guess that the efficiency in with which we and all other lifeforms function can be explained by the process of evolution--how through countless trial and error, we've come to the point we are now, and even continue to improve relative to the environment. But, then how did that process itself come into being? Why/how did/was that first single-cell organism able to process the caustic gases and elements and live? Why not just...not live? From there, science is unquestionable in its findings. But before that? All we have is speculation. And as far as the single-celled little bugger not being so intelligent...well it had to start somewhere, yeah?

    I don't subscribe to there being an omnipotent being who has the power to create a perfect human in perfect circumstances right off the bat. Obviously, this is not the case. And regarding those millions of dysfunctional babies that are born...they are anomalies. There are billions more that are birthed with no problem (much to our poor, over-populated planet's dismay).

    I guess my big question is how this whole system came to be in the first place. Julie, you definitely hit it on the head---a very Taoist way of thinking. They find it near sacrilege to attempt pondering something so clearly out of there power to intelligently ponder. And, yeah...it's overwhelming to live in a constant state of dissatisfaction, if that's your nature. Much nicer to trust in and have faith in something...or, just not to worry about it. To let life come as it will, and death. I, myself am not afraid to pass, as when it happens, I'll finally be able to see just what the hell the big deal was. It'll be like getting the answers to the Sunday crossword!
     
  5. wanderingmagus

    wanderingmagus Constantly Around :D

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    I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth

    and in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, my Lord,

    Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

    born of the virgin, Mary,

    suffered under Pontius Pilate,

    was crucified, dead, and buried;

    descended into hell,

    yet rose again on the third day,

    ascended into heaven and to this day stands on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

    I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Universal Church, the reunion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

    I believe that God so loved the world that He sent his only Son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

    I believe that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the Same was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing that was made was made; in Him was life, and that life was the light of humanity; the Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not understand it.

    I believe that Christ died for our sins, exactly according to the scriptures.

    I believe in the existence of both Creation and evolution simultaneously.

    I believe in guided evolution.

    I believe in the existence of supernatural Stewards who watch over and guide certain aspects of reality, whether metal, wood, water, fire, or earth.

    I believe in the existence of sentient spirits residing within all creation, called by some dryads, by others fairies, by others youkai, by others guai.

    I believe in the sentience of animals and of the Earth itself. I believe in an as-of-yet unanalyzed energy/force, called by some psi, by others Chi, by others Yin and Yang, by others Magic.

    I believe in the Internal Energy, and the effectiveness of ways to harness and guide it such as acupuncture, yogic meditation, tai chi, qigong, and herbal medicine.

    I believe in the power of faith, the power of prayer, the power of curses, the power of blessings.

    I believe in the existence of both angels and demons.

    I believe in the afterlife, and in the existence of spirits who are able to hear the words of the living.

    I believe in all these things as fact, not fantasy, not fiction, not wishful thinking.
     
  6. Blackness

    Blackness Well-Known Member

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    The macro and micro structure of the cosmos is simply too perfect for it to have come from a random bang of nothingness and ended up in complexity such as this. If any physical constant were just a bit off, everything would cease to be.
    To put it in Pratchett's words "In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded".
    That doesn't mean I believe all the contradictory lies (my opinion ;)) great religions would want us to, but rather that there is so much left to learn and comprehend. Science has none of the answers and I doubt it ever will, which means we are left to other means to find out the truth. And somehow I think that the ancient Greeks were right when they said we should first come to know ourselves. Perhaps we would understand the universe a lot better then.
    As to "evolution", the basis of it, and all the other trillions of possibilities it could have wrought, was set at the moment of creation (or explosion of nothingness, whichever rocks your boat), and as such evolution is secondary.
    I would also add that we should tackle these big questions only when we evolve as a race, through love and understanding of each other. We won't get far without our ethical values growing as a collective, until every single human being comes to understand everybody else and we act as one entity, much like the cells of our body create what we are.
    As long as money and competitiveness rule our lives, that's not going to happen.
     
  7. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I always find this very interesting, the phenomenon that people are looking for meaning in their lives. Often by spirituality. It sometimes seems hardwired in our DNA :)

    I can't be certain either. But, untill then, I hold spirituality to be something inherent to the human nature :)
     
  8. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

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    You're not the first to think along these lines, actually, there's a theory that humans are hardwired for spirituality, the researchers called it "the God Part".

    "Essentially, what I'm suggesting is that humans are innately "hard-wired" to perceive a spiritual reality. We are "hard-wired" to believe in forces that transcend the limitations of this, our physical reality. Most controversial of all, if what I'm suggesting is true, it would imply that God is not necessarily something that exists "out there," beyond and independent of us, but rather as the product of an inherited perception, the manifestation of an evolutionary adaptation that exists within the human brain. And why would our species have evolved such a seemingly abstract trait? -In order to enable us to deal with our species' unique and otherwise debilitating awareness of death."
     
  9. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Ahh but has anyone ever asked a wolf or an ant if they have gods? We (humanity) seems to love always drawing lines of difference between ourselves and mostly everything else on the Earth - always singling ourselves out as being something different (not always greater - we also revel in being lesser creatures as well). Could be that there are indeed ant gods and cat deities and that their concept of understanding of these things is simply different to our own. Language is clearly the barrier here - namely our lack of ability to understand theirs

    In the end though science and religion are very similar to the masses - its still something where the few hold all the keys and where the many don't really have a clue. So belief in religion and science are both greatly present in society (many yonger athists are clearly belivers in not beliving).

    As for what I think - I think I trust to no human to tell me what I should think, though I'll listen to their argument and with the lack of any negative evidence won't fully dismiss their viewpoint (within reason of course).
     
  10. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    yeah...


    To tell you the truth, most of my ideas are old and stale...
     
  11. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Eh I don't fully hold that DNA controls us in the way they say - It might well be that part of our DNA structure (either through inherant human charicteristics or through selecitve breeding over the generations (favouring belivists)) results in the concept or promotion of the idea of a deity. However it could also be something totally different, which only manifesets itself (as a result of our upbringing and society) currently in the form of religion.
     
  12. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Ow, I wasn't talking about our deoxyribonucleic acid per se. I know about DNA, and it doesn't quite work that way. When push comes to shove, there probably isn't a spirituality gene (though, when you would push science for it, it could probably come up with one anyway).

    However, social and behavioral implications might be implied by the regulation of genes and the interection they have directly on an intracelular level; and indirectly on an intercelular level. The sort of interaction that makes us an organism that works in unison - more or less anyway. DNA regulation will change throughout our lives and experiences, though. As such, I think that our environment has much more to do with it.

    Personally, I think spirituality is an artefact of the development of the human brain or, at least, psyche. The intelligence we have developed leads us to reason in certain ways. For instance, there are very few philosophical functions the human brain is capable of. There seems to be the Why-question (why do things happen the way they do). And there's the polling of information with a bias towards recognising patterns. Combined with an elevated self-consciousness, religion and spirituality are logical outcomes.
     
  13. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    Interesting, you brought this up. Other name is 'The God Center', considering where it is situated. I have read about people having epilepsy and they would have seizures, and every time they would have a seizure they would feel the presence of God. So I certainly thought that was interesting. Another theory why it exists is grooming. It is to hold populations together. We start from clans to tribes and the population expands, so what holds us together then? A common belief.
     
  14. Dynan

    Dynan New Member

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    Minds are most certainly frontiers yet nearly impossible to fully explore-both or own, and those of fellow organisms. I agree with Blackness that to better understand the origin of our universe (or at the very least to better speculate), we must understand ourselves and, more importantly the world we live in. There has been a trend ever since the coming of secular religions of losing interest in and perspective of our environment and those with whom we share it, and drawing further within ourselves--seeking truths that cannot be validated without such perspectives. Man became self-important and arrogant. Today, we explore other galaxies, expending millions of dollars trying to solve its mysteries, while back here on Earth, we know less about our own oceans than we do about the Milky Way.

    So, yes. Self-evaluation and reflection are most likely the key to enlightenment, as it were (finding how our minds are able to function at the level they do, and what they are actually fully capable of); however, no matter the depth to which we reach within ourselves, the hole we'll have dug will still insulate us to everything else. And without that knowledge, we will remain in the dark and incomplete.
     
  15. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

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    That makes sense.


    I don't why it couldn't be genetical. If it's a quality that we developped in order to survive, and then passed on from generation to generation, it's genetical, right?

    I'm not sure I understand this. What do you mean, "incomplete"?
     
  16. Dynan

    Dynan New Member

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    Without first understanding the world around us and how we fit in it, we remain incomplete in our knowledge of ourselves.
     
  17. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

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    How can we ever fully understand though? Why would it be necessary?
     
  18. JIM

    JIM zombie Turncoat

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    since this is a religious thread i would like to make a request.
    my girlfriend underwent surgery to remove a lump in her uterus ( i have heard the details but refuse to memorise them)
    she has been released from hospital but the stitches keep bursting and shes having an awful time.
    the drs have called her back in and shes under observation.
    if its not too much trouble, if any religious peoples could send their prayers her way, her name is Gina.
    for us non religious types, best wishes will be appreciated also.
    (oh, and if u can add in that we both want kids so for the big man to make sure its all good there i would love u too)
     
  19. Dynan

    Dynan New Member

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    Necessary only for those who chose to go that far. For those who are content with the concept of life they understand now--hey, I don't know maybe in their contentedness they've found something everyone else who's searching has not. And, best wishes for a speedy recovery and children, Mr. Jim.
     
  20. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

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    Best wishes, Jim. I hope everything will turn out fine.