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Author Topic: Born to believe?  (Read 850 times)

TransporterMalfunction

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Born to believe?
« on: January 03, 2018, 11:09:06 am »
For those of us who are theistically inclined, I was wondering: do you feel that even if your gods had never existed, or you never had contact with Them/He/She/It that you would believe in some sort of higher power regardless?

I've been thinking about research regarding the 'God gene' and wondered how many people felt inherently spiritual/religious. Even when I knew that monotheism wasn't for me but hadn't found a path, I always believed that there was some sort of deity. Atheism doesn't come naturally for me. I do think that no matter where or when I was born I'd have some sort of belief in gods, even if it wasn't socially acceptable/common and I didn't have language or concepts to describe what I felt.

Is anyone else the same way, or for you is it the specific deity/path that called to you, and nothing else would do?
Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book II

Altair

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 11:23:45 am »
Is anyone else the same way, or for you is it the specific deity/path that called to you, and nothing else would do?

Like so many other things, this may depend on your understanding of deity. For me, my gods are largely understood as metaphors for forces really too vast for our limited human intelligence to fully grasp. And I tend to grasp things readily in the form of metaphor; always have. So for me, yes--I'd probably end up with some form of metaphorical gods as a framework for understanding the universe, no matter what.

P.S. Love your screen name, BTW; I just have visions of a protoplasmic meltdown
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 11:25:17 am by Altair »
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Eastling

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 12:11:57 pm »
For those of us who are theistically inclined, I was wondering: do you feel that even if your gods had never existed, or you never had contact with Them/He/She/It that you would believe in some sort of higher power regardless?

I've been thinking about research regarding the 'God gene' and wondered how many people felt inherently spiritual/religious. Even when I knew that monotheism wasn't for me but hadn't found a path, I always believed that there was some sort of deity. Atheism doesn't come naturally for me. I do think that no matter where or when I was born I'd have some sort of belief in gods, even if it wasn't socially acceptable/common and I didn't have language or concepts to describe what I felt.

Is anyone else the same way, or for you is it the specific deity/path that called to you, and nothing else would do?

A somewhat thorny question for me, given that I've always wanted to believe in some kind of Higher Power but spent a long time unable to get my brain into the right state.

Almost certainly I would have eventually gotten my brain into the right state regardless, but I don't know if it would have happened so fast without a very pushy set of gods. They more or less did just what I needed to make me Believe with a capital B, and I tend to suspect that is something specific to these gods, and others would likely have taken a slower or more circuitous path for me.
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MeadowRae

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 03:08:58 pm »

Is anyone else the same way, or for you is it the specific deity/path that called to you, and nothing else would do?

I think that this may be another version of the nature vs. nurture debate for me. My home life was strictly monotheistic and fundamentalist and to me that always felt wrong. I couldn't hack it as an atheist, though. There was too much wonder in the world. I think I have found balance now, but I wonder if I would have been okay with being an atheist if I had grown up in a secular household? If I would need deities/concepts to focus on, or if I would simply be a Humanist? Not having a concept of the Ether or Spirit is so foreign to me that I'm not sure if I can really answer the question.

I really like your user name, too.

Tay Redgrave

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 07:33:07 pm »
For those of us who are theistically inclined, I was wondering: do you feel that even if your gods had never existed, or you never had contact with Them/He/She/It that you would believe in some sort of higher power regardless?

Well, I was pretty Agnostic up until I was 15. I did believe there was a higher power, but that was about it, so I think I would still believe in some higher power and, essentially, still be agnostic or maybe a bit pantheistic. Or both, haha.

Ashmire

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 10:36:03 pm »
For those of us who are theistically inclined, I was wondering: do you feel that even if your gods had never existed, or you never had contact with Them/He/She/It that you would believe in some sort of higher power regardless?

I've been thinking about research regarding the 'God gene' and wondered how many people felt inherently spiritual/religious. Even when I knew that monotheism wasn't for me but hadn't found a path, I always believed that there was some sort of deity. Atheism doesn't come naturally for me.

Is anyone else the same way, or for you is it the specific deity/path that called to you, and nothing else would do?

Interesting.  I've often thought that most atheists and fundamentalists have essentially the same personality type at heart ---a desire for there to be one, and only one, inflexible Truth---and I have known some people who flip-flop between those two extremes.   Having been raised caught between both, I have often thought that my tendency to waver between polytheism and agnosticism might simply be a reaction to seeing that inflexibility as unhealthy and a source of misery.

   I've no idea what I would feel like if I didn't have that experience of atheism and fundamentalism being merely nasty funhouse mirrors of each other.  Had I somehow grown up surrounded by a faith or even a lack thereof that didn't seem profoundly mentally unhealthy, it's quite likely I'd never have cared enough to question it, though it's certainly possible that individual gods would have still had ideas of their own and found a way to grab my attention.

  Or would I simply have placed them into the framework of whatever I did believe at that point?

MeadowRae

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2018, 10:42:52 am »
Interesting.  I've often thought that most atheists and fundamentalists have essentially the same personality type at heart ---a desire for there to be one, and only one, inflexible Truth---and I have known some people who flip-flop between those two extremes. 


I completely agree. I've often thought that fundamentalism in any form is detrimental. It basically lays the groundwork for abusive behavior. When you aren't allowed to explore other ideas (i.e. critical thinking) it leads to people and concepts going unchallenged far longer than they should. Atheism expressed in the way you described is just another form of fundamentalism to me.

TransporterMalfunction

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2018, 12:17:15 pm »
P.S. Love your screen name, BTW; I just have visions of a protoplasmic meltdown

Thank you! It's not the most heartfelt name, but I recently bought a mug with a transporter frame on it, and when you pour in hot liquids Captain Kirk appears. Unfortunately, often I only have it half full and Kirk's legs and part of his torso are there, but he has to wait until the heat rises in the mug to get his shoulders and head back. It's endless amusement for me.
Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book II

Altair

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2018, 09:18:23 pm »
Thank you! It's not the most heartfelt name, but I recently bought a mug with a transporter frame on it, and when you pour in hot liquids Captain Kirk appears. Unfortunately, often I only have it half full and Kirk's legs and part of his torso are there, but he has to wait until the heat rises in the mug to get his shoulders and head back. It's endless amusement for me.

That. Is. AWESOME! I want one!
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

TransporterMalfunction

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Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book II

Castus

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2018, 12:36:56 am »
For those of us who are theistically inclined, I was wondering: do you feel that even if your gods had never existed, or you never had contact with Them/He/She/It that you would believe in some sort of higher power regardless?

I've been thinking about research regarding the 'God gene' and wondered how many people felt inherently spiritual/religious. Even when I knew that monotheism wasn't for me but hadn't found a path, I always believed that there was some sort of deity. Atheism doesn't come naturally for me. I do think that no matter where or when I was born I'd have some sort of belief in gods, even if it wasn't socially acceptable/common and I didn't have language or concepts to describe what I felt.

Is anyone else the same way, or for you is it the specific deity/path that called to you, and nothing else would do?
Yes. I think mankind as a whole is naturally endowed with religious sentiment and an awareness of the reality of the Divine, the latter of which can be easily discerned via the use of reason once one gets older, so... well that just about sorts it. Now given that can manifest itself in many different ways up to and including outright denial depending on the person (for me personally atheism is roughly akin to eating raw meat: theoretically possible, but the idea is instinctively repellent and those who indulge in it probably should be held at arm's length; much as I'm sure some atheists would say the same of theism) but mankind as homo religiosus, to borrow somewhat from HaRav, is to me a foregone conclusion.

Cinder

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2018, 01:14:47 pm »
Is anyone else the same way, or for you is it the specific deity/path that called to you, and nothing else would do?

I think that I'm inherently spiritual, but not inherently religious- if that makes any sense. I think that I'd always believe in some sort of higher power, but I don't think I would've done much about it if my gods didn't exist.

Altair

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 09:08:23 pm »
I've been thinking about research regarding the 'God gene' and wondered how many people felt inherently spiritual/religious. Even when I knew that monotheism wasn't for me but hadn't found a path, I always believed that there was some sort of deity.

Somewhat related comes this article from today's NY Times that I'm still working my way through.

Can We Learn to Believe in God?


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/opinion/belief-aspirational-faith.html
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

EclecticWheel

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2018, 10:21:40 pm »
For those of us who are theistically inclined, I was wondering: do you feel that even if your gods had never existed, or you never had contact with Them/He/She/It that you would believe in some sort of higher power regardless?

I've been thinking about research regarding the 'God gene' and wondered how many people felt inherently spiritual/religious. Even when I knew that monotheism wasn't for me but hadn't found a path, I always believed that there was some sort of deity. Atheism doesn't come naturally for me. I do think that no matter where or when I was born I'd have some sort of belief in gods, even if it wasn't socially acceptable/common and I didn't have language or concepts to describe what I felt.

Is anyone else the same way, or for you is it the specific deity/path that called to you, and nothing else would do?

Well, I don't know that my God(s) exist outside of my mind and psychological experiences.  And I doubt anyone else does, either.

I have always been religiously inclined, at least as long as I remember.  I have also almost always been skeptical of spiritual beliefs.  I cannot say what I would believe in different circumstances.

But it is possible that even had I been raised in another family I would have found a way to be religious.  I have managed to build a religious life for myself even with my skeptical tendencies.

Belief can be quite fluid.  A scientist may make different assumptions and reason differently depending on whether (s)he is working in a scientific context or a more personal, spiritual one.

For me belief is very much becoming an action.  It is related to what I am doing ritually or otherwise.

Lots of things may or may not be true.  When I make an act of belief ritually or otherwise I consider various factors.

In a spiritual context I may ask, To what end does this belief lend me?  Does it have harmful consequences to believe X if I am completely wrong?  Is this belief useful?

In different contexts I work with different beliefs.  We probably all do that to some degree or another.  Belief is a tool.

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Louisvillian

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Re: Born to believe?
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2018, 06:09:59 pm »
For those of us who are theistically inclined, I was wondering: do you feel that even if your gods had never existed, or you never had contact with Them/He/She/It that you would believe in some sort of higher power regardless?
Between me deciding to be a pagan in 2007, and me having a series of spiritual experiences in 2011-2012, I kinda didn't-but-did-but-didn't believe in the gods as real beings. That is to say, I wanted to because I felt it was part-and-parcel of being a Pagan (which, by-the-by, it isn't), but my sense of skepticism prevented me from embracing it. Even though polytheism has always kinda made sense to me, and pantheism was something I was comfortable with.
I was raised as an atheist, in an atheistic household, and so I never had a natural inclination towards religion or faith. For much of my elementary, middle, and high school years I was a militant atheist. Turning towards Paganism was a gradual thing for me, starting in late High School, when I was fascinated by the idea that people today still believed in ancient gods and mythology and were dedicated to reviving it. But even then, I frankly could not accept the existence of something I could not see, feel, touch, or hear. I was educated, especially at home, to question everything and have critical thinking skills.

I believe in the gods now, though my personal experiences. But nonetheless I wouldn't say that I regret taking the path that I did. I think that skepticism until evidence presents itself is a much smarter and more critical way of going about one's life than blind faith.

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