Religious survey

MusicalRose

Member
Just kind of jumping into this discussion. I only read the first page so apologies if I missed something in the pages in between.

It is easiest for me to identify myself as atheist to other people, although I am not quite sure it describes my beliefs in full.

I was raised Methodist and dabbled in paganism/Wicca for a while. More recently I have been doing my own spiritual exploration and have been feeling better and better about my personal spirituality stance. It doesn't have a name, and I'm not sure I would give it one, so I just tell everyone I am atheist unless I think they will give me the time of day to have a good discussion about it.
 

River

Active member
I'm not religious, at least not by conventional definition.

However, I'm very much inspired by Buddhism and practice Buddhist-style meditation pretty regularly.

I suppose I'm one of those "spiritual but not religious" types. And "spirituality," for me, isn't really about what one believes, or claims to believe. It's more about how one lives, or endeavors to live. I'm not very much interested in supernaturalist sorts of beliefs. I am very much interested in growing in lovingkindness toward self and other, as well as in peace, joy, freedom.... These terms don't belong to anyone. They exist in many languages and are common property of all peoples, regardless of religious affiliation or belief.
 

Athena

New member
I like the term lovingkindness, it is also used in the Hasidic Jewish community (and to a certain extent I think some of the mystical beliefs of this community are a result of Judaism meeting Buddhist and Hindu thought, and it was the Jewish response to those ways of thinking, in a positive way I think).
I have bummed around in a lot of different spiritual and religious positions over the years.
I have had agnostic years, atheist years, intensely Orthodox Jewish study years, pagan years.
At this point, I am a person who enjoys her ethnicity (East European Yid of parents who grew up in Israel), believes there is a God(ess) that is an integral part of the existence of the Universe, that ethical behavior is an essential component of spirituality that is valid (that is a life respecting spirituality), and the rest is custom. I feel that we have such great cultural and biological and religious diversity because God(ess) made it so and saw that "It was good".
 

Ruby

New member
As I mentioned several months ago, I'm a cradle Catholic (parochial schools and all) in the process of "swimming the Tiber" to the Anglican communion. One of my partners is a second-generation Unitarian Universalist, and the other two are also cradle Catholics of the parochial-school set. One is a Buddhist, and the other an atheist.

We all have fantastic discussions on religion (both civil and sacred) and religious culture, which pleases me NO END. :)
 

Erato

New member
I'm poly (though never have been a practising poly and not looking to start any time soon) and I don't have a religion but I do have spiritual belief based loosely on Kemetic (Egyptian) beliefs. I tend to call myself a Kemetic/Egyptian Pagan because it's easiest to explain to people. I chose Isis (Aset) as my higher power of choice as I feel a strong connection to her.

It's interesting to me what someone posted about thinking of themselves as a born again Atheist, born with no belief/religion and taught it as they grew, because I had the opposite experience growing up.

One of my sisters described our household rather aptly as "Militantly Atheist". I felt that I wasn't capable of belief in a higher power due to always being told that religion was a crutch for the weak, an imaginary friend if you will, at best and a cause for contention at worst. I was always looking for something - taking every opportunity to engage religious people in genuine conversation to try to figure out what they had to offer but never finding anything I wanted there. I didn't stop searching, though.

I found a more flexible and appealing entry to faith via an Anonymous fellowship and have since been working on a relationship with my higher power "as I understand her". I still slightly fear church and religion but I'm working on my prejudice toward it.

Bold, I think, considers himself Atheist. He's monogamous. But he does go to the Universalist Unitarian church with his parents, by choice, and wants to stay involved with them. It's a source of strength for him and they seemed pretty nice there when I went. Any place that teaches love, tolerance and freedom of belief can't be half bad, I say.
 

Passport

New member
I was raised Christian, still believe a lot of it - but practice more new age spirituality.
 

Somegeezer

New member
I'm not a part of any religion as such, but I have my own beliefs. All athiest means is that you don't believe in a god or higher being as such... Which I guess is true. So yes, I am an athiest, but I do have beliefs just like religions do.
 

StrangerinKS

New member
Baptized Catholic, raised Episocopalian.

These days I am some sort of weird neo-pagan goddess freak with mystic tendencies.

Bottom line, I believe that God/Goddess is Unconditional Love, and that the more love we have in our lives, the closer to God/Goddess we are. Poly is a part of that for me...it is a big part of my spiritual growth.
 

Raven

New member
The "simple label" is that I'm an agnostic atheist - I don't think there's anything out there, but I don't deny the possibility.

I also identify somewhat as an atheistic pantheist. I find that I have almost "spiritual" feelings of awe, respect, and wonder when considering both the natural world and the world as a whole (not to mention the universe). I don't so much identify with the idea that "everything is God / I am God" as I do with the idea that the whole of the universe is more than the sum of its parts, and is amazing and worthy of respect just for being.

For instance, this video inspires incredible awe in me - it's molecular mechanisms, most of which go on in every one of our cells, constantly, and most of us aren't even aware of them: http://www.xvivo.net/the-inner-life-of-the-cell/ I also love the Symphony of Science videos, like The Poetry of Reality (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cd36WJ79z4) and We Are All Connected (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGK84Poeynk). You can probably tell that I'm a science geek and a Biology major lol. :D

Historically :p I grew up very conservative Christian, abandoned that when I was 17 for a couple years of paganism, and then had a couple years of struggling to admit that I just didn't know before I could accept myself as agnostic. There's a part of me that would really like to believe in an anthropomorphic god or goddess, but I just haven't really experienced anything that would allow me to believe in that. Might be my science background, I analyze everything I experience - might just be time, I'm only in my mid-20s yet. Who knows. :)
 

Erin

New member
What a beautiful array of religions / philosophies under one forum! Right now, I am undecided. I was raised Presbyterian but left the Church at 13, even though I still lived next door to it until 16. I explored Buddhism for many many years, but discovered that I still have a difficult time settling on one philosophy. In the meantime, I enjoy reading about others viewpoints instead. Such a unique world we live in!! I'm happy with me until / if I make a decision for myself. ;)
 

whatamIdoing

New member
I was raised Jewish. I don't really practice any religion at this point... I'm open to a lot of pagan ideas and rituals however.
 

polychronopolous

New member
I am atheist. I grew up VERY religious and found more questions than answers. This is just my view. My parents broke religion for me and I completely lost interest. I would shed blood to protect other peoples' right to believe what they see fit. That said, I am a very spiritual person.
 

nycindie

Active member
I was raised Protestant (Lutheran until my teens, then Dutch Reformed). When I was little, I was very fearful of the devil. I started questioning things in my teens. I then dabbled in a New Age-y kind of Wicca briefly in my 30s, but that was mostly because I was apprenticing with an herbalist who was also a green witch, and she had us all taking part in rituals. I never actually believed in any of it, though the idea of a goddess appealed to me more than a bearded old man on a throne. I have been agnostic for quite some time now. I used to call myself "spiritual," but that doesn't do it for me anymore. Not sure if I believe in a spirit. I do think we may each have something at the center of ourselves, that is like the essence of who we are. I call it my spark, rather than my spirit, and I think it might be what connects us all but I don't know where it comes from. I picture it kind of like a pilot light.

I don't know what's out there, and it isn't important to me to try and figure it out. I just believe in being good for goodness' sake, not for any kind of religious reasons, and in treating people respectfully and the way I want to be treated. I think love is very important. I also feel that Heaven and Hell are what we create here in our lives on this planet, and it's preposterous to assume that we know anything about what happens after we die. I also very much support keeping church and state separate. My soon-to-be-ex husband is Catholic with a bit of a Buddhist leanings, but he will probably never let go of his Catholic guilt. The new guy in my life is a Humanist, which fits quite well with my outlook.
 
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Iktomi

New member
i identify with "pagan." NYCindy, you sound like you might identify with a "pantheist" worldview. i lean somewhere between pantheist and pagan, with taoism thrown in there as well. :)
 
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Quath

New member
What do you see as the difference between pantheism and non-theism? It sounds like pantheism is just non-theism by just renaming universe as "god." Is that right?
 

nycindie

Active member
What do you see as the difference between pantheism and non-theism? It sounds like pantheism is just non-theism by just renaming universe as "god." Is that right?

Not to hijack this thread, but from how I understand it, pantheists see divinity or sacredness in everything, whether they call it god, the cosmos, or the universe. They don't view god or the divine as a solitary being, but something that is in everything and everyone. They tend to be very nature-oriented. A non-theist, as opposed to an atheist who says there is no god, rejects definitions. A non-theist doesn't necessarily recognize nor deny that there is such a thing as the divine or sacred, doesn't feel a need to know, and is perfectly okay with the ambiguity and uncertainty. Really, I don't care.

I'm basically an agnostic, but agnosticism as a term is rather vague -- means not knowing, but not knowing what? You can be an agnostic theist, saying you don't know for certain that god exists, but you believe in god anyway, despite not knowing. Some agnostics claim to not know one thing but then believe in others. My citing myself as a non-theist was only to clarify that my brand of agnosticism is not like pantheism, since someone said I sounded like a pantheist. No, I don't look at a cloud and see a divine presence. Though I do feel that there is something that connects humanity, I wouldn't necessarily call that divine. Pantheism doesn't ring true for me, and atheism leaves no room for possibility. So I'm an agnostic non-theist. I guess! ;)
 
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Karma

New member
Just wante to comment on the richness of faith I'm blessed to be surrounded by in my life.

I'm an ecclectic pagan following primarily Tyr, but also Kali, Morrigan, Coyote.... even Papa Legba stops by every now and then :)

Mohegan is a native american shaman.

My brother is Buddist (I can never spell than right...)

My best friend is a fundamental Taoist.

My girlfriend practices an intriguing blend of paganism and Voudoun (again, hope I spelled that right.... don't yell at me, Cricket :) )

Along the way I've met and had varying degrees of relationship with Christians (both the scary kind and the kind I actually respect), Muslims, Jews, Satanists, Luciferians, Nihilists, Atheists, Druids, and Agnostics.

I feel lucky now :D
 

Athena

New member
What do you see as the difference between pantheism and non-theism? It sounds like pantheism is just non-theism by just renaming universe as "god." Is that right?

Hi, its a bit of a tangent but Quath's definition above was Spinoza's type of pantheism (one my favorite Jewish heretics ;) )
 
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