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Controlling the discussion in a Diary is, I should know by now, an impossible task. Participants will take it where they want. Even trying to set some parameters will be viewed by some as a violation of free speech, undemocratic and an affront to the intelligence of commenters.

But let me make the attempt anyway.  

There are plenty of Diaries written here and across wwwLand that discuss whether this religion or that one constitutes Truth. Places where believers of a particular religion, or any religion, or no religion at all can be excoriated for their obvious ignorance or praised for their perspicacity. Places to debate the proper way in which politics and religion should intersect or what Democratic politicians should say about religion, if anything at all. There is the excellent Blog Against Theocracy series. I’ve got nothing against those discussions. On the contrary, I've participated in literally hundreds of them.

However, that’s not what I have in mind at the moment. I want to explore, I don't know, call it the ...uh... "demographics" of religious belief/unbelief, focusing on three questions - none of which seeks to learn why you think somebody else’s beliefs are completely ridiculous or absolutely right on. I want to know about your beliefs.

The questions: When it comes to religion/spirituality, what do you believe, if anything? How did you come to believe it? Do your parents (or did they when alive) believe the same?

I’ll start.

I’m a secular animist. I believe that all living things are embued with a spirit. Not something demonic or angelic. Just some form of "spirit." Maybe it comprises dark matter or dark energy. Or something even less known. More ephemeral. I don’t know. This "religion" of mine is deeply personal and private. There’s no scripture, no rituals, no preachers, no slaughtering of the infidels, no seeking of tax breaks, no blasphemy and no schisms since, so far as I know, I’m the sole adherent, although my wife leans in the same direction. Sort of.

No revelation or epiphany brought me to this belief. I started out as a true-believing Catholic. Spent a few years as a Lutheran, which pleased my stepfather’s extended family. Then read a bunch of theology and became an across-the-board unbeliever, which displeased my extended family and a lot of my friends. Then, years later, in exploring my American Indian roots, I arrived at my current views, although these do not mesh with any particular tribal belief, including my own tribe.

My parents? Mother raised Catholic, converted to Missouri Synod Lutheran, died an agnostic. Stepfather Missouri Synod Lutheran from the day he was born until the day he died.

So, what about you?

Take the poll. As usual, the template limits the choices. So the poll isn’t as comprehensive as we all would like, and some groups with a lot of differences have been glomped together. Sorry. Nuance is where the comments come in.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:17 PM PDT.

Poll

I am …

3%113 votes
0%18 votes
0%0 votes
6%197 votes
1%49 votes
0%11 votes
4%136 votes
11%348 votes
0%20 votes
52%1542 votes
2%65 votes
0%17 votes
0%7 votes
0%2 votes
14%412 votes

| 2937 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wouldn't call it athiest but i wouldn't call it (19+ / 0-)

    Jewish either. Secular Jew is the popular term round my parts.

    Reality has a well known liberal bias.-Stephen Colbert

    by pierredude on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:17:39 PM PDT

  •  Why are there so many (8+ / 0-)

    athiests?

    http://www.keen.com/jiacinto For DC related travel advice, please visit that link.

    by jiacinto on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:18:57 PM PDT

  •  Bet you get a lot of "other" (10+ / 0-)

    from people who think more or less the way you do.

    I voted Other.

    Despite not being much of a Christian, however, I do like church on Easter (on the occasions I have gone).  It's at the right time to year to feel like celebrating renewal and a gleam of hope after what has usually been a very dark March.  Marches are all dark.

    I'm not usually in the mood to wear a bright, flowery dress, but the songs are good.

    To the extent that I have ever had a church, btw, it's Congregational/UCC.

  •  Lapsed Missouri Synod Lutheran contingent (10+ / 0-)

    ...checking in.

    I became furious over the 9/11 Inter-Faith service travesty and haven't been back since.

    I haven't found anything yet to replace it.

    Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant

    by gloriana on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:20:17 PM PDT

  •  Jewish athiest, like most Jews (9+ / 0-)

    I've met.

    Grew up quite religious, far as practicing goes, with the three sets of dishes and all, but nobody believed in God, including at least half the rabbis I asked.

    I don't believe in spirit, or soul, or anything of that supernature. I guess I'm a pretty material boy.

    And when I saw your title, I thought this was another circumcision diary.

    Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

    by GussieFN on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:20:31 PM PDT

  •  Hey Meteor (9+ / 0-)

    I will be a seculur animist with you.

    I like your idea. I have always just called myself a non-denominational pagan myself. If I need to call on an archtype for something I will but other than that everything has power/spirit.

    •  I call it Eclectic Pantheism (18+ / 0-)

      The universe (Einstein's matter-energy) is made out of God. Includes people, bird, flowers, worms, poison toadstools, everything.
      Jesus had great ideas about how to get along with people. I like.
      The Buddha had great ideas about how to get along with yourself. I like too.
      But I don't think you go to hell if you fail to believe 600 impossible things before breakfast.

      •  Except for the Title (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MyBrainWorks

        I like your analysis a lot! The holistic integration of science; the human relations ala Jesus; the balance of one's perspective ala Buddha.

        I've also considered our relationship with 'a Higher Power' in terms of our own biology; 'I' am made up of billions of cells; I don't sense every single one, but I do sense if something is going out of kilter. If I'm wise, I try to adjust that. I don't know if any of my cells are 'aware' that there's this person I self-identify as 'Me,' but if they function in the best relationship to me, they remain healthy or are brought back into equilibrium. If they're healthy they remain oriented to the various 'signals' they get from Me; hormones, the balance of chemicals and gases, maybe even respond to my 'positive imagery.' If they don't attend to the signals, they're either dead weight or cancerous.

        It's an interdependent relationship, and I see human/spirit in that light. Immortality? Not of the individual, in my perspective.

  •  Kristos Vos Kres (19+ / 0-)

    but I don't think other people are wrong.  I think everyone (and I mean everyone) has a piece of the puzzle and our little human pea brains are not capable of seeing the whole thing put together.

  •  other (9+ / 0-)

    i was a jew last week. this week i'm agnostic. who knows what will spark my fancy next week.

    I am not, however, an athiest. I already tried that, in high school.

    all Along the Watchtower...... blogroll

    by terrypinder on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:21:31 PM PDT

    •  me too (6+ / 0-)

      it didn't stick.  I have no idea why..... but I think of God as a bit of a nag at times and "that "still small voice" at others.

      •  my reason as to why it didn't stick (4+ / 0-)

        was I got bored. Simple, honest truth.

        all Along the Watchtower...... blogroll

        by terrypinder on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:34:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Beliefs are boring (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stonemason

          lack of beliefs is boring...  the curse of thinking.

          People of faith have incredible mental stamina, IMO.

          •  it actually goes (7+ / 0-)

            part and parcel with the very deep and profound ennui that pervades my life.

            I do know atheism as defined here on DKos would not work for me. I believe in...hmm.. I guess ghosts is the best word for it, based on an experience I had toward the end of my atheist phase. Science says ghosts aren't real. I didn't feel any kind of parapsychological presense. I didn't see any kind of spirit. There wasn't that proverbial "I felt someone watching me but there was noone there" feeling. I understand a lot of that is due to infrasound. Yet I know there's no way that a picture of my mother can arc off of a wall, where it sat for 18 years, on the 1st anniversary of my grandfather's death. I examined the nail. it was fine. There wasn't a gust of wind---it was midsummer so the window AC unit in the other room was on. The wall was covered with other pictures. There were no neighbors banging on the wall next door---this was an old rowhouse and shared walls are a good foot and a half thick if not more--- Suffice to say watching this picture arc off of the wall freaked me out. It was also the incident that started the end of my atheist streak.

            In his final years my grandfather and my mother had an extremely strained relationship. My grandmother later told me she would come down in the morning and find the picture all over the living room. She would have someone rehang it as she is much too short to hang it herself. And the next day it'd be hurled across the room. Or she'd find it behind things like his recliner, which would be physically impossible for the picture to fall there in the way the living room was situated. And after he died she was completely alone in that house. Only that picture of my mother. No other pictures.

            who knows. Maybe that nail did suck. Maybe the neighbor was banging on the wall. At any rate I can't explain it. Grandma no longer lives in that house, and there's been no "ghostly" incidents in any of the apartments she's lived since to my knowledge.

            I bore easily in the various faith (or non faith) systems that interest me, but since I left Christianity and atheism behind I'd say I have a pretty broad undefinable agnosticism, punctuated by brief periods in being different.

            all Along the Watchtower...... blogroll

            by terrypinder on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:58:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "alamos" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Leslie in CA

              is the word we use to describe unidentified spiritual phenomena (USP).  

              Because until we stayed in the town of Alamos in Mexico, my husband did not believe in the unseen.  Alamos was a town ruled by inbred Spanish who took the local Indians hostage as slaves to work mining silver (which used mercury in the leaching process), until the indigenous people slaughtered them, then Pancho Villa slaughtered them, and above all between the mercury-tainted waters and the inbreeding, New World Spanish fratricide went mad too... there were murderous butcheries in so many buildings in that town, and evidently we had paid good pesos to stay in one haunted place (the woman who ran it was plum NUTS).  

              Something had its way with us all night in that ancient little building.  No telling what, but we hugged each other like freezing puppies and I screamed out with delight when finally I heard a rooster crow.  We tore out of Alamos, and since then when we perceive one of those spiritual black holes perhaps described by string theory but not understood by us, we call it an "alamos" (literally, cottonwood trees).

              Just sayin'.

              "Stonemason" has nothing to do with "Freemasonry." We build architecture with stone.

              by stonemason on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 08:20:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  CS Lewis (4+ / 0-)

        talked about this, about being dragged kicking and screaming to belief while fighting against it at every turn.  I can so relate.

        "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy

        by sobermom on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:47:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Funny, I feel that way about my atheism... (6+ / 0-)

          I was brought up United Methodist, spent most of my adult life as an Episcopalian, and only reluctantly admitted to myself that I don't believe in god, because I got a lot of positive things out of religious worship.

          •  As do I... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sobermom, DMiller, blueoasis

            I was brought up Episcopalian and for years clung to my faith, but reason eventually drove me "kicking and screaming" and very much against my will to atheism.

          •  I think we all need ritual of some sort ... (7+ / 0-)

            ...even though my version of secular animism has none. But I think the attraction to "religion" is as much an hard-wired attraction to ritual or magical thinking (which much ritual is) or to dancing and music as anything else. Atheists need ritual as much as Easter mass-goers.

            (I used to think, in the days when most public buildings didn't have no-smoking rules, but Scientology buildings did, that one of the main Scientology rituals was going out to sidewalk with your fellow believers to light up a cig.)

            •  Clearly, youre version of (0+ / 0-)

              secular animism includes some strong belief in social action and community organization. Like you say in your 'some of my best friends are Jews!' comment: the same holds true for you. Service can be a wonderful service.

              Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

              by GussieFN on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:49:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with you about needing ritual... (0+ / 0-)

              Unfortunately, I've never been able to find a spiritual group whose beliefs I could live with who also do ritual well.

              Luckily for me, I find much of the same experience in listening to certain kinds of music.

              I think some of it is just the desire to get outside ourselves and experience something that transcends the self - and I do think it is possible to do that without necessarily believing literally in a divine being.

              I also think the attraction to religion is that it can help people make sense of and find meaning in a world that  is very chaotic and random.  If someone's religious beliefs help them do that, I don't begrudge them those beliefs in the least, whether or not I think they are rational.  I do object when they try to force those beliefs on others and/or try to hijack the political system to advance narrow religious interests.

            •  OCD has lots of (0+ / 0-)

              rituals, and the people afflicted by it usually get upset if the rituals are not followed to the letter.  Sounds like any Fundamentalist sect.

              I think that I shall never see, a billboard lovely as a tree. Perhaps unless all billboards fall, I'll never see a tree at all. - Ogden Nash

              by Grannus on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 10:54:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  yup (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sobermom

          that's about how it feels sometimes, or used to.

        •  Graham Greene had a love/hate relationship (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sobermom, lazybum

          with his Catholicism, too.  (Reminds me, I've been meaning to reread The Power and the Glory.)

          Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions.

          by Ice Blue on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:29:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Ego Nags... (0+ / 0-)

        just saying.

        -5.0,-5.54 "Hate is a very powerful emotion, and it shouldn't be squandered while those old enemies injustice, poverty, and war still remain." Devilstower

        by SherriG on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:45:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  God as a metaphor! (9+ / 0-)

      I came accross this idea in existentialism class towards the end of college.  Kicked me off the atheism train, that did.  

      Martin Buber (jewish philosopher) had a semi-baked idea of god being communication, i.e. we manifest god through our dealings with other people.  If we're bastards to one another, then god is a bastard.  If we're compassionate, god is compassionate.  

      I think this meshes well with the christian idea that god works through us.  

      Of course, I probably got this wrong, because in college I was way more than semi-baked, myself.  

    •  Are you open to suggestions? (0+ / 0-)

      How about becoming a Santero for a spell?

      I mean, look at our pantheon of gods and goddesses!

      ...Plus you get to dance to the rhythm of those haunting drums!

      'Be the change you want to see in the world.' Mahatma Gandhi

      by maracatu on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:13:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Raised a Christian...realized by 21 that there (7+ / 0-)

    was too much that didn't make sense about a lot of it. Hate "Organized religion"...anything man-made and run by winger men.
    I am now agnostic/atheist/humanistic. Plain & simple, nobody is going to heaven & nobody is going to hell. Where we're all going, I don't know. IF we're going anywhere at all, I don't know. Eternity as worm-food?...maybe. Eternity becoming part of the "Giant Atom In The Sky"...maybe. Reincarnation of some sort...could be.
    Being a productive, positive member of human civilization who honestly tries to HELP people, with no ulterior motives whatsoever...definitely. Call it universal karma. Anyways...
    Peace ;)>

    "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And someone's giving booze to these goddamn things"-Hunter S. Thompson

    by rogerdaddy on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:21:49 PM PDT

  •  Is He risen? (15+ / 0-)

    I choose to believe that "Yes, He is risen." And if Jesus Christ can return to us, someday so will Pink Floyd.

    "It does not require many words to speak the truth." -- Chief Joseph, native American leader (1840-1904)

    by highfive on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:22:28 PM PDT

  •  Are agnostics, atheists, and humanists (6+ / 0-)

    similar enough to be lumped into the same poll option?

    ...i haven't seen a comb now for days / it's indie on the radio waves...

    by Diaries on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:22:31 PM PDT

  •  He is Risen Indeed. (21+ / 0-)

    But as Teresa in Pa says, that doesn't mean others are wrong.

    It's like the blind man and the elephant. Everyone has only a piece of the picture.

  •  I'm definitely not an athiest, but I lean toward (6+ / 0-)

    the agnostic. My mom was a Presbyterian (really serious, she would not let me go to the movies on Sunday), and my dad was a nominal member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I was raised as a Methodist, but I am not a practicing anything. I do pray for an end to all the violence and sickness in the world. I probably believe in some kind of a spirit or life force. However, I will celebrate Easter with chocolate bunnies and a roast chicken.

    •  Either a "doubtful agnostic" or "atheist" (4+ / 0-)

      I was raised a Roman Catholic in a very devout family who actually led the charge to start a Catholic congregation and fund the church in my home town.  Going to high school in Jesuit setting helped cement in me a lifetime of memories of how nuts the Catholic Church leaders can be - and my studies on the matter since have helped confirm my loss of faith in them.

      After college I became more a "non-practitioner" than anything else and was very dubious about any major spirit that transcends our lives.  After getting married, we've been in the Episcopal and now Methodist churches.  My wife and our kids are still quite closely affiliated with the Methodist church and I don't begrudge them their faith for a second.

      But over the years, I've gradually moved more and more away from my faith.  At this point I guess I would qualify an "agnostic". So many things done in the name of God (or some other name) have made so little sense to me.  The plagiaristic overlapping of mythical stories undercut their integrity for me.  

      And at some point, from the more scientific standpoint I ran out of things to explain to myself, "and what came before that?"  To me, there may have been some "other" force that actually help precipitate the Big Bang or whatever may have preceded it.  But even it there is/was, I just can't see how in this universe (which may be one of many if the string theorists are worth their salt), we little bumpkins on our little stone hurtling through space would matter a whit to it. [does that make me an agnostic/deist?]

      I'd much rather do my best today to help make the lives of people here now and those that may follow me a little more pleasant and a little more livable.  I worry most about our children and the generations to come that we are screwing up a pretty cool, fragile thing.  If when I'm gone, I can be remembered for having helped accomplish some of that in my own little way, that's good enough for me.  Then they can scatter my ashes in the hope that I'll help just a little bit more with the next years' harvests.

      "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." --Thomas Jefferson

      by frisco on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:56:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with MB (13+ / 0-)

    I wrote a diary a little over two years ago explaining my spiritual beliefs.  In it I referred to myself as a "non-practicing animist."  

    -4.50, -5.85 Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls. -- Rumi

    by Dallasdoc on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:23:36 PM PDT

  •  I was a Catholic but now I'm a Bokononist... (11+ / 0-)

    ... you know, from Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle."

    Our main teaching of the truth is,

    "Everything We Know is Wrong."

    A Poet is at the same time a force for Solidarity and for Solitude --Pablo Neruda

    by justiceputnam on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:24:09 PM PDT

  •  I Am an Atheist Trying to Learn to Be (6+ / 0-)

    a Buddhist.

    "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

    by webranding on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:24:14 PM PDT

  •  Atheist (25+ / 0-)

    without qualms, concerns, or angst.  I'm perfectly content with the knowledge that we evolved on this planet through the process of evolution.  I'm perfectly content that we understand some things about our universe (or the possible multiple "universes" of string theory) and that we will continue our quest for scientific understanding of the universe and our place in it through cosmology and physics.  

    It's all fun and games until the Vice President shoots someone in the face.

    by lightiris on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:24:36 PM PDT

    •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lightiris, sobermom, Desert Rose

      with your post and I agree with your signature...and I enjoy the juxtaposition. ;-)

    •  without qualms, concerns, or angst (8+ / 0-)

      That is good.

      And for you Agnostics...to paraphrase Sam Harris...I cannot PROVE there are no teapots orbiting Pluto, but I am SURE they are not.

    •  I'm with you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, SoCalLiberal

      by way of Judiasm (which, culturally speaking, I don't really need or want to leave).

    •  I agree but don't think (0+ / 0-)

      that epistemology (method of aquiring knowledge, such as empiricism) determines ontology (a list of types of things which exist).

      "Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you." -- Fry, Futurama

      by LithiumCola on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:58:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Um (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharoney, apdva

      Actually, religion isn't in the least incompatible with any of those things. Seriously - any number of scientists have been religious, and any number of religious folks are quite comfortable with science.

      I mean, if you don't believe in God, that's your own business - I have no interest in cramming my beliefs down your throat. I just want to make it clear that the Falwell-esque wackos by no means speak for the views of religious people as a group.

      •  I must disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lightiris

        Putting aside the political views of Falwell and his kind, as those issues are not gemane to this question, their religious views are precisely incompatible with lightiris' statement of atheism.  They, unlike polite moderates, represent in their expressions the undiluted beliefs of their religion.  Thus, while those who are more tolderant of the right for an atheist to chose not to believe may well be more pleasing, it is because they do not either believe as "purely" or express such beliefs as vigorously.  In a way, you almost have to congratulate the fundamentalist for believing what she belives fully and for not shrinking from saying so.

        An example:  the fundamentalist believes that the world was created in six days.  Period.  Science disproves that notion fully.  It also disproves the fundamentalist belief that the world was formed 4004 years before Christ walked it.  The biblical and scientific positions on this, too, are irretrievably incompatible.

        So, while the moderate may be of a mind to live and let live, he likely does so from a position of weakness.  That is; he's more outwardly forgiving because he does not fully embrace the strict mandates of his own faith.  

        In short, it's the atheist in him talking.

        •  The Falwellites religious views (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vox humana

          ...are just as batshit insane as their political views, though. Basically, your premise is fatally flawed because it buys hook, line, and sinker into the fundie propaganda that they and they alone represent the True Will of God and the Bible. They don't. The idea that they do is simply a right-wing frame cooked up to make religious moderates and liberals look weak in their faith compared to the Great Noble Fundamentalist, and it's got no factual basis. If you actually read the Bible, you'll see that it is in fact vastly more supportive of liberal positions and scientific principles than it is of the wingers, whether those wingers are political or religious (or both).

      •  Um? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GOTV, kd texan

        Um?  What's that about?

        The fact that you felt the desire to "explain" the compatibility of religion with science is curious to me, as if my only frame of reference for religion is the Falwell prototype or a failure to realize that religious people are comfortable with science.  

        My atheism is not, in other words, a product of  ignorance or misunderstanding.  It is not a defect in my understanding of the world or the world's faiths.   In fact, it's completely the opposite, your efforts to "help" notwithstanding.  

        It's all fun and games until the Vice President shoots someone in the face.

        by lightiris on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 06:47:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ... (0+ / 0-)

          First, what's with the quotation marks around "explain" and "help"? I was speaking in good faith (uh, no pun intended), and I think that's fairly clear in my choice of words.

          Second, since you appear to be confused as to why I chose to point out that hey, religious people can like science too, let me clarify: you appeared to cite your comfort with science as the reason behind your atheism. So I pointed out that, as it happens, an affinity for scientific principles is not necessarily something that would at all conflict with religion. I wasn't trying to launch some kind of sly, back-hand attack on your atheism, if that's what you're thinking.

  •  eclectic solitary neo-pagan/animist humanist (4+ / 0-)

    just eclectic for short.

    Raised reform Jewish, discontented with it for along time and explored. Death of my husband killed it for me, when I found no comfort there.

    fact does not require fiction for balance

    by mollyd on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:24:37 PM PDT

  •  Secular animist (5+ / 0-)

    works for me.

    As for rituals that resonate; sweat lodge, pipe ceremony, seven drum songs. Small non-commercial pow-wows kick my ass.

    I don't know why they resonate - my paternal line is pretty much Baptist, my mother's side non-practicing and non-talking. I was exposed to Sunday school a few times - BOR-ING.  Went to an Episcopal boy's school with mandatory chapel and bible study in middle school, because the public schools were terrible, not because of the religion.

    As for Is He Risen: no, I don't buy the resurrection. I do buy the living example of the life of the man Jesus Christ, along with a few other inspired humans. Some of them are famous, some are not. Just people with unconditional compassion and the power to make anyone in their presence feel more whole.

    (PC: -5.75, -6.56) Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun, still I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain? -J. Fogerty

    by RichRandal on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:25:57 PM PDT

  •  i'll diary it, at some point (19+ / 0-)

    i was raised a reformed a jew. i still am one. my rabbi was active in the civil rights movement, and was so outspoken against the vietnam war that he literally ended up on nixon's enemies list. they sent federal agencies after him, making for some ugly headlines, and when the accusations were proved false, the media buried those stories. of course. luckily, his congregation stood my him. my religious beliefs have taken on a more ecumenical and mystical aspect, but to him, religion was all about social action.

    to me, there is a chasm between spirituality and religious dogma. there is a chasm between religious experience and what can be written about it. to me, it is the word, the dogma, and the identification with political hierarchies has led religion astray. i find wisdom in every religion i have studied. i also find written passages which, if taken literally, can be very destructive.

    one of the wisest things my rabbi taught me was this: we do not say that our way of worship is right for everyone; we say it is right for us.

    it doesn't matter whether someone is religious, agnostic, or atheistic. whatever they claim to believe, or believe they believe, people's true beliefs are most evident in their actions. i know atheists who better fit my definition of "religious" than do many who are ostensibly religious.

    © 2007 because i needed a homepage, and the world needed another blogger...

    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:26:16 PM PDT

  •  Church of Buddha the Scientist (12+ / 0-)

    If I had the time and resources I'd start a new church based on Buddhist teachings and science, treating the mystical stuff as metaphor. Buddha was a scientific observer of life. Some baroque religions became attached, but I have not encountered fundamentalist acceptance of all of the tales, the stories are not taken literally by the Buddhists I know.

    The main challenge at the moment is to reconcile opposition to the death penalty with the certainty that any court will likely sentence George Bush to death for his war crimes.The solution is to redouble efforts to end the death penalty. Bush should spend the rest of his life doing the Spandau Ballet at Gitmo. Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi and perhaps even Mohammed could agree on that.

    I'm a linguist, licensed to use words any way I want to!

    by MakeChessNotWar on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:27:00 PM PDT

  •  I'm Zoroastrian. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, MTgirl, rgdurst, buhdydharma

    But I tend to be pretty non-observant.
    Except when I can use it as a coolness factor.

    ~~insertobscurereference,pretentiousquoteORsalientaphorismhere~~

    by shayera on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:27:04 PM PDT

  •  I am believing Canadian Anglican (13+ / 0-)

    and attend one of the most liberal Anglican congregations in Canada. In fact, I'm on the eight year road to becoming an Anglican minister, if that is still His will. Having said that, I include among family, both blood and heart, those whose faiths run the whole gamit from atheism to Roman Catholicism (including nuns and priests) to Wiccan to Judiaism. I believe everyone has their own path and don't judge others for theirs.

       Just my two cents,
         Heather

    •  Good luck on your journey, from an atheist. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, algebrateacher, Akonitum

      Religion and Theology are two different things.

      I suspect we share a common respect for and devotion to our religious nature as human beings.

      The Theology we have each accepted and study obviously differs, but I admire your pursuit nonetheless.

      May it bring peace to you and to all around you.

      Wes Clark -- The President we were promised as kids.

      by Jimdotz on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:33:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "there is a physical underpinning to the universe (6+ / 0-)

    and everything can be explained in terms of that."

    that's my "religion" and I'm sticking to it.

    I don't remember how I came to it -- in fact, I don't remember thinking any other way, though surely as a child I once did.  (In fact, I do remember having a number of superstitions, being scared of ghosts, believing in lucky objects or lucky little rituals.  I don't know if I dropped these when they didn't work or when I simply outgrew them, or what it means to outgrow something like that.)

    I think my parents believe likewise, but we haven't talked about it.

    (And for what it's worth, you are partly right in that we are all of us dark matter, as is Earth, and everything on it.  But, obesity epidemics aside, we don't weigh nearly enough.)

  •  Unitarian Universalist (23+ / 0-)

    We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Associationcovenant to affirm and promote

    • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
    • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
    • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
    • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
    • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
    • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
    • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
  •  I'm pretty much a Humanist (7+ / 0-)

    but, I'll tell ya true, when listening to a Handel Oratorio at loud volume, it's hard not to believe in something!

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:30:08 PM PDT

  •  Not a member (5+ / 0-)

    of an organized group.

    I believe and I voted other.

  •  raised catholic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Cmyst, justrock, mamamedusa

    my beef is not with jesus, who seems to have been a righteous, wise & kind sort, but with his deification. i am also impressed with mozart & shakespeare & da vinci & mark twain, i am awed by their works, but they are not gods & that fact does not diminish them a bit to me.
    basically, christ is okay with me, christians, not so much.

    "step on the gas & wipe that tear away..." - the beatles

    by rasbobbo on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:31:21 PM PDT

  •  Sigh. (18+ / 0-)

    Samsara is not essential to the school of ek.

    My teacher was just a guy seeking enlightenment, and just before he died he said-

    "Do the best you can."

    I follow his rules because they are about the way things work.  Humans have not changed much since we left Africa.

    4 Truths-

    1. Life means suffering.
    1. The origin of suffering is desire.
    1. You can stop suffering.
    1. By following the Eightfold Path.

    The Eightfold Path to end suffering-

    1. Right View
    1. Right Intention
    1. Right Speech
    1. Right Action
    1. Right Livelihood
    1. Right Effort
    1. Right Mindfulness
    1. Right Concentration

    Samsara is not essential.  There is no punishment, only waste.

    I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

  •  I believe in nothing (5+ / 0-)

    Lebowski. With a big dollop of Catholic guilt.

    That is one million percent truth-n-fact, moonbat!

    by calipygian on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:33:57 PM PDT

  •  everything is risen (4+ / 0-)

    Including the bread dough.

    •  Yes, we used to make a special Easter bread (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, ladybug53, lazybum, Pandoras Box

      in a coffee can so that it would rise up and be tall.

      The kids liked the idea of making special foods for special occasions and that has stayed with them while belief in any religion has not.

      I am a 'fallen-away' Catholic. I don't believe in any religion but if I had one, it would be gentle, compassionate, nature loving, environmentally aware. It would not inspire people to discriminate, hate, or kill.

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:48:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sure you're not a UU? ;-) (5+ / 0-)

        our 7 principles...

        We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:

        1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person.
        1. Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.
        1. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.
        1. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
        1. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and society at large.
        1. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
        1. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

        You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

        by Pandoras Box on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:22:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yummm... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agathena, Pandoras Box

        ...Pascha and Kulich!  

        If Russian Orthodox wasn't so damned, er, Orthodox, I'd consider being reconverted just for the vodka, sausages, eggs and bread we used to feast on right after Easter Vigil.

        I'm ready for 2008! Where's a candidate?? :D

        by InquisitiveRaven on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:24:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I make Easter bread, except this Easter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agathena

        I'm at my dad's and he took his stove out and pitched it years ago.  
        I guess I'm not devout enough to build a solar oven.

        What the hell, it's snowing here anyway.  If Easter bread and clothes and baskets and such were important    Easter would have to be canceled this year.

        She didn't know it couldn't be done, so she went ahead and did it.

        by Boadicaea on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 08:51:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I believe that no one has (15+ / 0-)

    ownership of the truth.

    And that no answer is right for everyone.

    Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

    by Frankenoid on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:35:29 PM PDT

  •  other (6+ / 0-)

    what about a "deist" option?
    I was raised Catholic, definitely do not believe in the Pope, and consider myself Christian in a vague way, unconnected with any church.

    I'm not certain that Jesus lived, died, and is risen, but the god I believe in is powerful enough to make that happen if he/she/it wanted.

  •  I tend to like to go to Quaker meeting when (7+ / 0-)

    I go at all.  An hour of silence - rarely broken in our laid-back up in the Cumberland hills part of Tennessee, a lot of back to the landers from the 60's,70's.  And they have a history of social conscience, activism.

    I also like the UU's, sort of - my husband likes to go every now & then, so I will tag along once or twice a year.  They have a pretty little ceremony - and really are less Christian than the Quakers.

    I think like Meteor Blades, I believe that there is a Spirit, vast - out there in the universe - that all living things are connected to, and return to when we leave this earthly plane. A sort of Super Intelligence..

    Maybe Zeus to the Greeks - I tend to believe in Gaia too.  We do need a Mother Earth.

    I was immersed in a baptismal font in my grandmother's church that my father would not step foot in - then left for the Presbyterians in the 8th grade cause that's where the boys were.  Then 25 yrs or so of no church attendance . . .

    Buy a Boat. Save the Seed.

    by cumberland sibyl on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:37:24 PM PDT

  •  He is risen (26+ / 0-)

    "Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again."  I believe all of it, hook, line and sinker.  And while I don't wear it on my sleeve, I do wear it around my neck more days than not.  One of my frustrations about the north is that, at least among liberal Protestants, wearing a cross around one's neck is unusual.  I wear mine not to tell you that you should be a Christian, but to remind me that I am.  

    •  Can't the same be said about Cthulhu? n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cmyst, lazybum
      •  Cthulhu fhtagn (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kalmoth, Cmyst, lazybum

        Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

        Putting a yellow ribbon on your car is literally the least you can do. Put your money where your mouth is and enlist or shut the fuck up.

        by darwinsjoke on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:20:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The First Amendment says (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lazybum

        that you can say whatever you wish, absent shouting fire in a crowded theater.  But I don't think that H.P. Lovecraft has either the history or the following of Christ, so it won't be said by me.

        •  You miss a point here... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kd texan

          Many gods  are supposed to have died and been reborn, and pretty much all of them are forgotten.

          Christ's death bears little relevance to the validity of his ethical teaching, whether one believes in resurrection or not.

          •  LIke I said, you can say whatever you (0+ / 0-)

            wish.  What you can't do, and what you shouldn't try to do in most cases, is shake my faith.  Trying to shake my personal faith doesn't matter that much; I'm here for the same reason you are--to elect Dems--and my faith has been tried quite enough.  But try to shake the faith of a shaky Democrat and you lose a vote.  

            Your second sentence is a matter of opinion, appropriate here, but not in places where it can be quoted to the detriment of our Democratic cause.

            And, yes, to me one of the strongest arguments for Jesus is that despite the many fools who have advocated for him, despite his similarities to others long forgotten, he has lasted 2000 years.

            •  "He who says... (0+ / 0-)

              he seeks the way, he is with me. He who says he knows the way, he is not with me." (second apocryphon to the Gospel of Thomas, I am quoting by memory, so it may not be exact, but that's the meaning).

              I don't try to shake your faith. On the contrary, I would like you to open your eyes to certain things that may empower it.

              •  I think we're talking at cross purposes. (0+ / 0-)

                I certainly agree with your quote from the Gospel of Thomas.  Faith should be challenged, although the shape of the challenge should be suited to the person's situation.  So let me distinguish two very different threads in my message.

                1.  I, personally, have been through the "Jesus is like other Gods" thing many times and in many versions.  I think it's a valid argument, although the original statement here was quite cryptic and perhaps a bit haughty.  I welcome thoughtful challenges to my faith.
                1.  As we write on this board, we need to remember that our words will be quoted by those who seek to "prove" that we are the anti-Christ.  We should be careful of the faith of those whose lives should lead to their joining us, but who have been led to believe that we are a bunch of atheists out to destroy their faith (as the comments to another recommended diary this morning seemed to try to do).  Because the truth is that our values are closer to what Christ (and many others) espoused than can be said of the Republicans.  And the key to our long-term stability is to convince Christians who have paid little attention to politics, and whose pastors and other leaders have led them away from us, that we are on their side.
                •  I think now we have understanding... (0+ / 0-)

                  however, I strongly disagree with the notion of hiding all the Atheists in the closet. They won't fit anyway, and besides, those who claim to be offended by people honest about their lack of faith, are likely lacking both faith and honesty.

    •  I don't wear a cross (0+ / 0-)

      I wish I could, but it would drive me nuts. I can't stand to wear a wristwatch or a tie either (though i do when required), nor can I stand to button my shirt all the way.

  •  I'm a Catholic, but more in name. (7+ / 0-)

    I have the same core beliefs as other Catholics, namely in the Trinity, the resurrection, Mary's place in everything, the Saints, and other things.

    However, on some significant issues I differ with many Catholics and the church itself.  The church is not infallible.  And it certainly is not correct on a number of things.

    For a brief period I decided there was no God, no reason for church, etc.  For many reasons, I can to realize I was wrong.

    For my family, religion has never been a huge deal.  My grandmother tuts when I tell her that I don't go to church every Sunday, but that's about it.  My parents don't push the matter (and I think, though I'm not at home most of the time) that my father does not go regularly either.  I know my brother certainly doesn't.

    My faith, such that it is, is not based on the church.  It's more of my relationship with God. I go to church on the important religious holidays because it's part of tradition.  I go when I'm expected to, and for the most part, it is not a problem.

    But yes.  He is Risen.

    "No government has the right to tell its citizens whom to love. The only queer people are those who don't love anybody." - Rita Mae Brown (-5.38, -6.77)

    by AUBoy2007 on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:37:41 PM PDT

  •  Answers from a single Kossack (4+ / 0-)

    (1) What: I'm Agnotistic.  Note that this is different (I'd argue considerably) than an Atheist.  We are the most reviled, seen as an Athiest who is afraid to take the plunge from both sides, though I suspect we are more numerous than people would like to admit to themselves.

    (2) How: Born Catholic, but as my education progressed I found that there were just too many wonderful things that could be explained without a higher power, and too many damn things that I didn't know.  Education is a humbling experience.  In the end, I have no evidence for God but neither do I know of a way to assess the possibility that he does not exist.  So I just say "I don't know."  It isn't very satisfying, but it is so very often true.

    (3) Why: Parents were both Catholics.  My mother isn't a strict adherent, my stepfather was in a seminary before he decided it wasn't for him.

    Congress has the choice between what is politically expedient and what is right. Finally, for one goddamn time, let them choose the latter! IMPEACH!

    by zephron on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:38:23 PM PDT

  •  Well. You've succeeded in startling me, (24+ / 0-)

    Meteor Blades.  I also believe with all my heart that every living thing is imbued with  spirit, and that there is Power in water, air, and earth, but here I thought I was the only one.  And it even has a name - secular animist.  
    I was very small (maybe 5 or 6) when I was in a redwood forest, and thought it was natural to talk to the trees and call them "grandfathers".  On the same trip, I encountered a mountain lion, maybe 6 feet away..we just stared at each other, and I was filled with an indescribable joy.  I called him "brother", and he lay down in front of me and purred.  He told me he would lend me his strength, that I would need it, and that it was important I not forget this.  (I didn't think there was anything the least unusual about this, I was very young).  Two days later, a man grabbed me and was carrying me away through the forest.  Cat came to me, and filled me with strength.  I twisted in his arms and bit his chin and scratched his eyes.  He dropped me, and I ran away and hid in the trees.  You can call me nuts all you want, but I know what happened that day, and I know Cat really did lend me his strength, and the trees hid me.  
    Sometimes, I find, first you have to believe, and then you see.

    •  you were very young (8+ / 0-)

      and not very far into the unlearning process everyone in this culture goes through, that kind of communication is our natural state. Great story.

      Investigate, Impeach, Imprison! -9.13/-7.59

      by FireCrow on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:01:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My daughter (6+ / 0-)

      told me when she was around 8 or 9 that there was "a little fire like a match" that lived in the tree in our front yard, and that it was called Sammy. And that Sammy told her that "he" would always be able to appear like a flame in her heart when she had trouble and needed help. I used to ask her sometimes what Sammy thought about various issues that troubled her, and "his" advice was pretty damn good -- even better than my own much of the time.

    •  Wow...that is beautiful. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sherlyle, legal alien

      I always wanted a special spiritual experience like that.

      Closest I ever got is when I was 5 a squirrel stole my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  (sigh) If he was my animal guardian, I got shafted.

      •  DawnG, I've been helplessly laughing (0+ / 0-)

        at this for several minutes now..damn, honey, that's just plain funny!  You just turned MY mood around 180.  Thanks!!

        •  I'm glad! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leslie in CA, sherlyle

          Live, love, and share with others.

          Actually I think I might have had a spritual experience ONCE.  It was really strange though and I don't know if it was a dream or not. I was 23 or 24 and I had just woken up from a lazy Sunday nap.  It was raining outside and pitter patter sound of raindrops on the windows had lulled me into a seemingly perfect relaxation.

          I was just lying in bed and I got to thinking about death, and what I would do if I were faced with death.  If I fell off a tall cliff and only had a few moments to yell something to my beloved (now my husband), what would I say before my brains were dashed on the rocks below.  I played it over and over in my head, wondering what it would feel like, would I panic? would I try and tell him I loved him? Would I try and tell him not to be sad?

          As I contemplated this I closed my eyes briefly and I saw these glowing threads swimming through the space above my head.  They were wiggling like sperm tails and they all seemed to be going on the same direction.  I asked myself "where are they going?" and a voice that was NOT my own answered IN my head "Let's find out".  Suddenly my point of view panned around towards the direction these glowing threads were swimming and my perception was filled with a round brightly glowing object.  It was like a star with these threads radiating from it and returning to in pulsing sheets of light.  Millions of them.  I panicked. I knew without knowing how I could possibly know, that while my point of view was panning around this object in an ever tightening spiral, as soon as I became fixed on it, I would be drawn in.  I was afraid.  I was afraid if I went there I would not be able to come back.  That the pull of this massive star would be too powerful for me.  I jerked my eyes open and for the first time in my life I couldn't feel my heart.  I felt like I had an empty space in my chest where my heart was.  Eventually that feeling past and everything was just fine.

          I don't know if it was a dream or if what I saw was the "source" of all spirit.  I have had some odd dreams in my time, but I am a somewhat lucid dreamer.  When I dream I am aware enough of the dream to sometimes change situations or wake up entirely if it's going in a direction I don't like and I didn't think I was asleep.  I literally closed my eyes and in that instant was THERE, wherever I was.  I woudln't mind trying to recreate it sometime but when there are doctors or crash carts around "just in case".

          I don't know what it was, but it was strange.

          •  Wow! And Wow, again! (0+ / 0-)

            Wish you had a shaman or someone like that to direct you!  I'd like to know what that was about, too!  Hypnosis, maybe?  

            •  I don't know. (0+ / 0-)

              I don't even know if I could duplicate it to be honest.  But I hope if I ever do see it again I won't be afraid and trust that I will be okay no matter which way I go.

              •  I was sitting on the beach with my lunch (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sherlyle

                (hamburger and fries) in a bag next to me, and a damn seagull walked up, grabbed the bag, and trotted down the beach staying just a few feet ahead of me until I gave up.

                I've been mad about that ever since.

                She didn't know it couldn't be done, so she went ahead and did it.

                by Boadicaea on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 08:56:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  seagulls are the worst. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Boadicaea

                  I saw a flock of seagulls flying over a busy street and fighting over a large slice of pizza.  I didn't even think they were big enough to CARRY something that big, but they were carrying it and dropping it and someone else would catch it, all the while with cars buzzing under them.  

                  •  And they have aimed (successfully) their nasty (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sherlyle

                    poop at me several times, always hitting me on the chest.

                    How can they be so nasty and look so beautiful flying?  There's a lesson there.

                    She didn't know it couldn't be done, so she went ahead and did it.

                    by Boadicaea on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 09:21:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Man, I've tried hard to believe He is risen (6+ / 0-)

    I have struggled with faith since I was ten years old. I have a need to believe in a power greater than me. Hell, I've got too much responsibility already. Can't it be somebody/thing else's fault?
    Mom and dad were born and raised Catholic. Mom became a Christian Scientist. Oy, what a childhood that became. As an adult I attended most mainstream Christian churches in my search. I even explored the Southern Baptist route for three years. Then the charismatic movement. Then I spent three years worshipping at a Messianic Synagogue. Actually this experience was the most rewarding of my involvement in organized religion. Very First Century. I felt like if Yeshua was the way, I was closest to it there.
    Anyway, to each his own?

    roman catholic by birth---- thoroughly confused by life

    by alasmoses on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:41:24 PM PDT

  •  Where's the option for regular Christian? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    You know, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, etc?

  •  Yes (20+ / 0-)

    I'm Roman Catholic and our entire religion is based on the belief that Christ is risen.

    I remember talking with a Jewish friend in grad school and she was asking me about whether I believed everything in regards to Catholicism.  I said that I didn't and that some of the tenets were just too weird.  She said, "I know, like that rising from the dead thing.  Talk about crazy."  I laughed with her and said that was the one thing that I believed in most of all out of everything.

    Even when I was a broken wreck of a person in my drunkeness I never missed Easter Mass.  Never.  It was the one day I was guaranteed to be at Mass.  When I was drinking I think I needed to hear the story about the resurrection.  I don't think I was aware of it on a conscious level but it gave me hope that I could rise from the living death that is active alcoholism.

    It is still my very favortite Mass of all time.  I would normally be at the Easter Vigil, which is taking place right now.  It begins with the Church entirely in the dark and then the candles are lit by passing the light from one person to another.  And the Exsultet is beyond beautiful when it is sung.  I wish I was there but I worked all day and my husband needs a break from child care.

    So the answer is a resounding yes from me.

    "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy

    by sobermom on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:42:02 PM PDT

  •  Virgins don't have babies. (7+ / 0-)

    And dead people don't come back.

    On the other hand, I'm grateful for the opportunity I had while in a coma to hang out with the dead side of the family.

    I believe in the primacy of personal experience as an authoritative source of knowledge.

    Sometimes I'm a neopagan sympathizer, and sometimes I have to mock people who think they're druids because they pointed a potato in four directions.  If I had a pagan name, it would be Skyclad Catfish.

    That's the Medusa Manifesta.

    •  The dead side of my family visits me in my dreams (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie in CA, DawnG, Jagger, exmearden

      they tell me who is going to get sick or die next. They get all excited and can't wait to see whom ever is crossing over next, they give me messages to tell the living relatives that are dead one and give my family the creeps. Like you, that has been happening to me since I was in a coma after my senior year of high school.

      •  I've had this happen, too... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leslie in CA, Jagger

        I'm expecting my mom to visit a dream soon...I'm surprised she hasn't already.

        Both my oldest daughter and I experienced her presence, or her spirit about three weeks after she died, and she's returned to me a few times since then, mostly in dreams. It's odd...she's not, as a spirit, like she was when she was alive. But I know it's her.

        How we spend our days, of course, is how we spend our lives. - Annie Dillard
        Visit me at exme arden

        by exmearden on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 07:24:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  depends on your definition of "virgin" (0+ / 0-)

      It is technically possible to impregnate a girl without physical penetration, thereby breaking the hyman which is the definition of virginity.

      But no one would mistake that process as an angel coming down from heaven.

  •  Belief is a funny thing (5+ / 0-)

    You can believe a thing is Truth, even while you possess contrary evidence, or "facts," which negate the possibility of your belief being Truth. Religion is one of those beliefs that, despite evidence running contrary to much of what many religions teach as absolute Truth , people stubbornly cling to their beliefs, despite those pesky facts.  

    But here's the thing.  No matter what a person says, no matter what they desire, we always know the truth about ourselves.  You cannot fool yourself, ever - if "you" are fooling "yourself," who then is fooling "you?"

    I have yet to meet a Christian who does not fear death as the Great Unknown, despite their stated beliefs.  Why should a Christian ever fear death, when their religion teaches them Eternal Life is theirs for the taking?  Go ahead, look deep - are you a Christian in fear of death?

    I like what Freud has to say about religion - it is a crutch, an illusion we create and use to stand against the enormity of the universe, and our own mortality.

    And I know, one must have "faith."  Faith has been described as "the ultimate concern of mankind,"  and with good reason, I suppose. It's all a bet, you see - from getting up in the morning to laying your head down at night. We must have faith in our beliefs, or we'd never do a thing.  So I understand faith - I just don't understand those who doubt their own hearts as a means to feel safe and certain, in a dangerous and uncertain universe.

    •  I wish I could figure... (0+ / 0-)

      this out, meaning how to achieve it for myself:

      I just don't understand those who doubt their own hearts as a means to feel safe and certain, in a dangerous and uncertain universe.

      That's a beautiful statement.

      A great pilot can sail even when his canvas is rent. -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

      by Malachite on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:51:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  CinDan (6+ / 0-)

      I will tell you, as a Christian, that I do not have even one moment of fear in dying, because I will be able to hug my father once again, and place my husband's wdding ring back on his hand. I don't expect anyone else to believe as I do, but I do not doubt.

           Just my two cents,
             Heather

    •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, Jagger

      I have yet to meet a Christian who does not fear death as the Great Unknown, despite their stated beliefs.

      You haven't asked enough Christians.

      It's time for a president to to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war -- John Edwards

      by ThirstyGator on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:50:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've asked lots and lots of Christians (5+ / 0-)

        and I've seen them fear. Every single one. And I was a hardcore Missouri Synod Lutheran for 19 years, so I'm not coming at this blind.

        One of my best friends, Dave, died two years ago from pancreatic cancer. He had really bad heart burn for about two months, went to the doctor, who did a few tests, and found he was eaten up with cancer.  He lived only two months after the diagnosis.

        In that two months, this friend of mine (42 when he died, my friend since I was 11), this lifelong atheist, found religion in the hospice. Or rather had it shoved down his throat.

        Before he died, he told me he was turning to religion because he was afraid to die, and hoped to find some comfort there. It is bad enough to be dying at 42; worse to be terrified at the same time.

        I don't believe Dave ever found the peace he was seeking.  He was frightened all the way up to the end, despite his friends and family's reassurances and support.

        I looked this question in the face, as I watched my friend not just die, but die horribly, in terrible pain.  And when my end comes, I will not grasp at the straws of comfort; rather, I will face my death as we all must face it: head on, and alone.  No one follows us into the abyss...

    •  The fear of death is fear of the process, not the (0+ / 0-)

      state.  Will it be painful, etc.? Not fear of the eternal afterward.

      She didn't know it couldn't be done, so she went ahead and did it.

      by Boadicaea on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 09:04:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Timely topic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, MTgirl, Catte Nappe, alasmoses

    I was raised Baptist, but experimented with a few other Christian religions as a teen. Decided I didn’t fit in anywhere, although I felt very religious. I was troubled and wanted to be a part of something. None of the religions I tried spoke to me, made me feel any peace. I felt deeply spiritual, but couldn't find my place. Finally decided I didn’t need to fit in to be a good person. Maybe I gave up, but I finally decided my religion of one was what worked for me.  

    I believe in taking care of the earth and things that live on it. That we should work towards a higher level of love. That what we don't take the time to learn now will be what we have to try for next time. That none of us get to skip the lessons, only delay them. I don't believe in a master spirit, but that we are all pieces of the same.

    I haven't figured out what happens at the very end.

    My parents are Christian, but I don't recall ever seeing them in church, save for Christmas plays my sister and I were in.

  •  You should consider a follow up poll (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, sobermom, texasmom

    asking Kossacks about their religious (or lack thereof) upbringing.  It would be interesting to take both polls together.

    I had come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data.

    by TheBigKahuna on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:43:45 PM PDT

  •  Philosophically, I lean (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, sobermom

    Buddhist. I can't really think of it as religion for myself, and it's only where I most closely affiliate.    I tend to think of my own views as, well, my own.

    It's time to get serious about renewables and efficiency. It's time to win the oil endgame.

    by by foot on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:44:21 PM PDT

  •  Protestant (8+ / 0-)

    I am a Protestant hybrid -- my Dad was Episcopalian, my Mom is UCC (but taught 2nd grade at a Missouri Synod Lutheran school for >30 years).  Growing up I went to the local Dutch Reformed Church (and always admired William Sloane Coffin).  Right now, I attend a liberal Presbyterian church in Virginia.  I try to be a good Christian -- by that I mean, practicing compassion, working for justice, respecting the profoundly held beliefs of others and having hope.  I believe in the Resurrection and look forward to the life beyond.

    1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora.

    by noweasels on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:44:45 PM PDT

  •  I voted athiest/agnostic etc (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, sobermom, greeseyparrot

    but I can see your comfort, MB, in a life force that we can see around us. I believe in that myself, although I would still vote for atheist.

    Grew up with an atheist father, an agnostic mother. Went to several churches for instruction (none of which involved my parents). I joined a Disciples of Christ church for my adolescent foray into religion.

    I am actually thinking about studying comparative religion now that I am an old hag. Not to get religion, but to figure out how mainstream religions have forgotten their common beliefs.

  •  Taoist n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, sobermom, Ice Blue, buhdydharma

    "Tell us General, is it party time? And if it is can we all come?" - Men At Work.

    by rainmanjr on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:45:45 PM PDT

  •  animism (9+ / 0-)

    is the closest class I could put myself in. I don't believe in a heaven or hell though it would be comforting to know or at least "feel" that people like bush and cheney would someday reside there. I think if there is something akin to "hell" it would be a place or mindset if you will, made up of all the collective evil, negative shitty energy that humans are capable of administering to one another. My version of heaven would be to completely join with the vast circle of life in the next journey we take after our earthly visit. I had a drowning accident at age 17 and had what most people describe as a near death experience. There were no dead relatives waiting or angels singing, only the warmest, most intense, loving beautiful light that seemed to vibrate at a perfect pitch that exactly matched my own spirits resonance. It was the purest most incredible feeling of love I have ever experienced.I was actually kind of pissed when I came back from it and woke up. i have never feared death since and am looking forward to someday take that journey, though I hope to live to be a hundred. Whatever anyone else believes is fine by me, as I am pretty sure we all take the same journey anyway, just different paths and experiences.

    Investigate, Impeach, Imprison! -9.13/-7.59

    by FireCrow on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:46:04 PM PDT

    •  My mom (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jagger, AmericanRiverCanyon

      had a similar experience, and she said she was in "a river of lights" and felt wonderful. She was pissed when she came back, too. She said some lights were going the wrong way, fighting the current if you will. She believed them to be in a "hell of their own making".
      People who do wrongful things, and act from fear or hatred, may just end up creating their own hell.
      Also, it isn't widely reported on, but not all people with near death experiences had the warm/light kind. A very small number had horrible, frightening things happen. People do tend to reap what they sow. Remember Lee Atwater's deathbed repentance?

      •  NDE's (0+ / 0-)

        My father had a near death experience.  With a scientific, agnostic background, I spent the last 5-6 years looking at NDE's.  I found the experiences and related studies very convincing.  For me, NDE's are not 100 percent proof of life after death but I "believe" they are reality.  The experiences have given me a concept of existence and purpose that is logical to me.  So I am no longer an agnostic.  Nor am I afraid of death any longer.  

  •  I am Other. (10+ / 0-)

    Forever Other.  Taoist, in this case.

    Teacher's Lounge opens every Saturday between 11 am and noon. It's not just for teachers.

    by rserven on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:47:09 PM PDT

  •  (Agnostic) Jew by choice (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, GussieFN, sobermom, Catte Nappe

    but I retain my WASP tendency to obsess over whether my attire is appropriate.

    I was raised agnostic and remain so as a Jew.  When I asked about God as a child, my ex-Catholic mother told me I was a perfectly nice person and I was born that way - there was no old man in the sky calling me a sinner.  The nuns of the 1950s were some treat, I take it.  My dad had mild mannered Episcopalian teachings, and they both taught us to be decent.

    Still, I do believe there is something universal that makes love/art/music possible.  Whatever it is, dogma is too small to define it.

    I also believe in Joseph Campbell and the study of myth.  

    Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

    by soyinkafan on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:47:58 PM PDT

  •  Doubting Thomas... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, sobermom, apdva, exmearden, lazybum

    I believe He is risen, but I have a lot of skeptical questions for Him. Constantly torn with doubt, I really find no spiritual rest. I can't help but wonder if that irks Him a bit. I'd frankly like to have a drink and grab a bite with Paul... maybe go sailing with him. What a fascinating dude.

    A great pilot can sail even when his canvas is rent. -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    by Malachite on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:48:12 PM PDT

  •  See the Jesus Puzzle (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, greeseyparrot, Pandoras Box

    You can download the entire thing here. The bottom line is there was no one Jesus (a generic term for Savior) Christ (a generic term for Messiah) but many. In fact, there were many "Christian sects" already before in existence before the supposed "historic Jesus" was born.

    A yearning for the past reflects not its many wonders; rather it speaks of the present and our many blunders

    by SocioSam on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:48:26 PM PDT

  •  existential pantheist. (6+ / 0-)

    "god" is in everything, and this is it.

    No second chances, no gold star at the end.

    For a philosophy of living, here on Earth, I would favor Buddhism, which isn't really a religion, but rather a set of teachings. Buddha certainly isn't a God, and worshiping him misses the point entirely.

    I do prefer to have my relationships with actual, rather than imaginary, beings.

    don't always believe what you think...

    by claude on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:49:04 PM PDT

  •  Watch someone die then tell me what you believe! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, MTgirl, andgarden, mamamedusa

    I was a christian, then a buddhist, now I am atheist.

    During a horrific traffic accident on I-65 in Indianapolis Indiana,  I held a complete stranger in my arms while his life faded then passed and all he wanted was his wife to be there.  I told him "she was on her way."  He seemed to be  satisfied with that when he passed.

    I watched my mother gasp for air after 50 years of smoking when we unplugged the respirator she died after 5 minutes.

    With these two experiences I have learned that the time we have on earth is it and you better make the most of it, because once it is gone all that is left are the memories of you held by your family.

    Watch someone die then tell me what you believe??????

    Never Give Up On Peace!!!

    by Gator on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:49:56 PM PDT

    •  it's the losses that bring me closest to belief (8+ / 0-)

      Not that I believe any identifiable body of dogma.  

      I've taken care of numerous families in the immediate aftermath of fetal or neonatal loss, though; it's in the care of those families that I come closest to experiencing something like faith.

      Maybe this is why the Neolithic death goddesses resonate so well for me- I can accept a sense of the divine that includes the most awful, chaotic tragedy.  It's not good; it's just what is, and all we have is each other and the beauty of the universe around us.

    •  Many, many times (6+ / 0-)

      I've sat with and held the hands of more dying people than I can even remember now. They tend to blend together, many of them. There are certain things that have happened kind of consistently with several of them, although a violent and abrupt death would not allow (necessarily) for the trajectory. One thing that happens more often than not is that those who are dying will tell you that they see a previously deceased loved one, who may be visiting them or who is actually in the room as you're with them. They do this even when they are perfectly alert and in their right mind, although some of them don't want to talk about it because they are afraid that they may be "crazy". They do this across all cultures and ages.
      My boyfriend and I both work in health care, and I mentioned to him that a favorite patient told me her mother had been coming to see her at night. He said "She's dying" and I had been thinking the same thing.

      •  Then I hope my mother... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exmearden, lazybum

        had someone visiting her.  Maybe that man was seeing his dead wife. I don't know.

        Never Give Up On Peace!!!

        by Gator on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:43:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  When my grandmother was dying... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo, Jagger, lazybum

        ...my aunts contacted a local nurse with hospice experience who helped guide us all through the process.  She said we would know when she was about to die because people who are on the verge will often talk about going on a trip.  They'll talk about packing their things or finding their shoes like they're going on a journey.

        And I think it is a journey, to something else.

        May your destination be worthy of your journey.

    •  Dying--not death. It wasn't easy for Christ, and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lazybum

      it's not easy for us.  It's the life after that Christians believe to be better even than this one.

      I am already sad about giving up the world someday, though.  I just trust that what I don't know now, I will know then.

      She didn't know it couldn't be done, so she went ahead and did it.

      by Boadicaea on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 09:07:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  from: "The Metaphysics... " (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, Ice Blue, Pandoras Box

    "... of the Barbarian Hordes,"

    I

    There are some things that just cannot be answered. There are some things that will inevitably remain mysterious. But nevertheless, it is our hereditary quest to put meaning to the mystery and order to the chaos.

    II

    The mere possibility of a divine being is enough for most people to pursue a study and justification of that very same divine being.

    IV

    If a man rages against the world, he rages against himself. All communities exist because of an aggreement of individuals to coexist. Harmony then, is
    only attained by a constant concern for the well being of one's neighbor.

    XV

    One of the strategies of historical research, is to divine the truth of events from the perspective of three different angles. Sometimes this is enough.

    XVIII

    In a benevolent world, the strong will help all to survive.

    XIX

    The ability to exert one’s will upon another does not make a man superior.

    XXII

    There is no danger in one man thinking differently from five thousand. The danger is when five thousand think as one.

    XXIV

    The truth is elusive because some do not want to hear it.

    XXVIII

    To revel in glory is the same as being paralyzed by failure.

    XXX

    Of course wings of wax would melt.

    XXXIV

    The exceptional man believes in moderation, and a lot of it.

    XXXXVIII

    Order may exist beyond the means to measure it.

    LIV

    It is the same as the Cosmological Constant. The gravity of thought may be the only power to slow the Universe from an ever-increasing cold and lonely expanse, (culminating in an inevitable and certain finality), to a congenial chaos within an intimate fire.

    © 2002 by Justice Putnam
    and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswesen

    A Poet is at the same time a force for Solidarity and for Solitude --Pablo Neruda

    by justiceputnam on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:50:02 PM PDT

  •  A "godfearing" atheist! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, GussieFN, sobermom, citizenx

    "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful,,,they never stop thinking of ways to harm our country and neither do we" G W Bush

    by irate on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:50:23 PM PDT

  •  Yikes. Outnumbered! (12+ / 0-)

    Guess I'd better go work for the GOP now.

    Oh, yeah. They're closet fascists out to destroy democracy, by force if necessary.

    On second thought I'll just hang out here. :)

    M-O-O-N! That spells Iran!

    by cskendrick on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:50:23 PM PDT

  •  other here (7+ / 0-)

    My mother is an agnostic/athiest/humanist, my father is a born-again Christian.  They're long since divorced, of course.  

    One set of grandparents are reformed but practicing Jews, the other is split, with my Grandmother a Quaker and my Grandfather being one of the very early members of what would become Scientology, though he apparantly soon decided that was bullshit, along with the rest.

    Of all that, the Quakers are the ones I feel are most in synch with my values.  (Much of my youth was spent in the New England Young Friend's quaker youth group, and that was the foundation of my understanding of my own spirituality. )

    Ironically, those values were learned from my mom (athiest Dem) but were spiritually re-inforced when I saw how like the teaching of Jesus they were.  My dad, who is insane about Jesus, has missed those values completely, and votes Republican.

    The values of Jesus are in remarkable synch with modern secular values- and the Quakers seem to be the ones who have known this the longest.  Maybe because they have no pulpit, and are quiet and listen.

  •  Well How About Some Input (4+ / 0-)

    In another post I said I was an atheist. That isn't really true most days. Kind of more of a agnostic. I think the world and universe is so amazing there must be a higher power, or many powers working at some level. And I am reading, even at 37, every book I can on Zen and Buddhism.

    Any links to sites you think are good, books you respect, would be very welcome. Very welcome.

    "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

    by webranding on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:50:59 PM PDT

    •  Well Let Me Be Way More Personal (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GussieFN, sobermom, Catte Nappe, exmearden

      then I usually am here. I asked for links or books cause I am searching. I am a recovering drunk. AA is pretty focused on a "higher power." Being an agnostic or atheist makes this harder on my end. But for the last two years AA had been a "god" sent.

      Recovery for those that know is about being honest. I gave myself over to a higher power in the first couple days. But not entirely sure I think there is a higher power. So as you might get, I have issues.

      "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

      by webranding on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:07:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  spirits incarnate (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sobermom, Lefty Mama, exmearden

        Let me highly recommend The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James. It's based on a series of very popular lectures he gave about a hundred years ago, and has been continuously in print since then. I think the popularity derives in part from his evident sympathy for all paths of belief and disbelief, and his exploration of why different paths appeal to different people. He's also a great writer.

        My followup recommendation is The Masks of God, by Joseph Campbell; my main qualm in recommending it is that it's four thick volumes. He describes it as "a first sketch of a natural history of the gods and heros". The final volume, 'Creative Mythology', is perhaps the best one to check out to see if his approach appeals to you.

        These books helped me reconcile atheism and spirituality. I suspect your higher power is within you: your conscience, your heart, your soul, your love. But the answer, of course, is up to you.

      •  Another friend of Bill W here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exmearden, Miss Butter

        I know that my spirituality has deepened in sobriety and I have taken the time to learn more about my faith and to struggle with the things that make me uncomfortable.  I found "To the Agnostics" very helpful but I never had the bolt of lightning that Bill did.  I don't think many of us do.

        It was clear to me early on, back when I hated any mention of God, that there was a higher power at work.  I attributed that to the the spirit of generativity in the members of each meeting.  And that worked for me for a very long time.

        I will always be grateful to the very special people that I've met in the program who have helped me in my faith journey.  They were of all faiths and of no faith.  And yet each was instrumental in my understanding of my higher power.  

        "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy

        by sobermom on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 07:12:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Link (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom

      Belief Net is fascinating if you are exploring in general
      http://www.beliefnet.com/

      And the Belief-O-Matic survey is doubly fascinating if you are interested in finding out what groups your beliefs most closely align with.
      http://www.beliefnet.com/...

      Revolutionary words start revolutions

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:37:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I believe in Love (11+ / 0-)

    I figure if I'm going to sign on with the "Easter Bunny" crowd, as Dan Dennett calls us, I might as well construct a belief system I like.

    So...infinite love is the animating force of the universe linking and organizing all reality in all dimensions for everything.

    And if I'm wrong, I don't care. I still get to live in a world I believe to be governed and generated by infinite love.

    I don't defend it and I don't explain it.

    Believe whatever you all like.

    Great diary, MB.

  •  ONce AgAin!!#$ (9+ / 0-)

    His Noodly ApendAge is ignored!!
    I'd watch it "Meteor Blades" you might just find a meatball where your gall bladder used to be!!! /crazedbeliever

  •  Quaker attender. (7+ / 0-)

    Raised atheist, developed general interest in religion very early in life, in high school started to take it more personally, started going to a Mennonite church in college, switched to a United Methodist church after I had serious questions about pacifism and came out of the closet, went to Methodist seminary for a degree in Hebrew Bible, left church at end of seminary, found life without church to be blander and less satisfying than with church, resumed church attendance at United Methodist church three years later, still felt block to Christianity as such, began attending Quaker meetings regularly in 2004.  Have not felt moved to seek membership - am in process of discerning whether I am moving back toward a more explicitly Christian position or toward a more universalist position.

    I definitely feel that the Protestant tradition is my heritage, whatever specifics I believe.  I thought it was the sweetest thing when a Episcopalian friend who used to be Catholic said to me, "Dirk, you are so Protestant I don't know what to do with you."

    - 8.75, -5.59. Peace is the state of distinction without domination, with the distinct participating in each other. Theodor Adorno

    by dirkster42 on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:54:51 PM PDT

    •  Went to "Friends" (as in Quaker) (PA) wedding (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dirkster42

      Most emotionaly moving wedding ever.   Loved the spiritual feelings that I had.   Connection with nature.

      Held outdoors...quiet...listening to bird, etc.  After the "friends" meeting.   We each put a shovel of dirt to plant a new tree...symbolic of planting of new marriage union.

  •  Thoughtful (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, sobermom, Ninepatch

    agnostic of mainstream Jewish heritage here.

    You do realize, of course, that this diary is going to get used by those "They're all atheists over there at dailyKos, they're giving Democrats of faith a bad name" trolls, right?

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    by sidnora on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:55:33 PM PDT

  •  why is Zorastrian under "pagan" ? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shayera, mbayrob

    i thought it was a nonproselytizing mono(or duo, if you count it that way...)theistic religion still extant in the Middle East. That doesn't seem to gibe with neopaganism, most of whose formative events were in the 20th century...

    •  Yep. Not pagan. (0+ / 0-)

      Not only that, but most beliefs in Islam and Christianity (and  a bit in modern/Talmudic Judaism as well) are of Zoroasterian origin.  Certainly the rabbis of the Mishna did not see them as pagans, but as a sort of enlightened community with which Jewish belief could, and did, learn from.

      So yeah, pagan's not a good description for it.

  •  Other here (4+ / 0-)

    My own spirituality begins in Christianity, but includes so many of the Jewish concepts, and a few cracks filled in with Budhism.

    It works for me.

    How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg. (Abraham Lincoln)

    by Ninepatch on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:56:54 PM PDT

  •  maybe deist comes closest? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Thorby Baslim, Pandoras Box

    I've followed a varied road over the years.  I'm technically agnostic, willing enough to accept the idea of a supreme being, but it's sort of academic in a way, since the place where I part company with religious people is twofold:

    1. I am completely unwilling to accept that a creator god, one who brought into being all the magnificence we see around us, everything from flowers to tigers to super novas is so silly as to demand to be worshipped and to care about the details of that worship and to get petty and vengeful if not worshipped enough or in exactly the right way.  Just won't buy that.  but every religion insists on it.
    1. sort of a corollary of the first - I just won't believe that god would care more about the petty details of our sexuality or diet than about the big issues of how we treat our fellow man.  But again, every religion insists that's the case.  When I was in high school I briefly lusted for a tall pretty young lady who was a Christian Scientist.  She took me to church one Sunday and I went to the special sunday school class for new comers.  The teacher explained that Christian Scientists must not use alcohol, tobacco or caffeine.  I asked " how do you feel about war and killing" She replied: "that's up to the individual cnscience."  And that exchange pretty much sums it up for me.  

    So in a way, what I believe about God is irrelevent, since I refuse to believe any of the people who claim to know how God wants me to behave.  

    •  I have deist tendencies, too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2

      I believe there's something, some kind of force, but I don't think it's a micromanager.  There are definites - definite good and definite bad, but there's no man in the sky who decides to answer the prayers of one football team's members over the other.

      At the same time, sometimes I lean toward being predestinarian, which I realize is a major contradiction.  But what appeals about predestination is that you don't know.  You don't get to say for sure that because you went forward at the altar call you're going to heaven - but that's not taken as an excuse, you still have to try to do the best you can.  I believe that maybe someone is going to some kind of heaven, and it's probably not me, but I still have to be the best I can because it's the right thing to do.

      My morality is deeply opposed to individualism, and for that reason I do not like the more individualist religions.  Yet I can't buy into the precepts of any major religion.  In the end, the politics of justice and equality are the best equivalent I have, and I take the duties they impose upon me seriously.

  •  Other ... "clueless and curious" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DebtorsPrison, sobermom

    Did Jesus rise?  Possibly.  I know there's more to the universe(s) than I can possibly understand, and I think there may well be a continuance of life post-physical-existance as some form of "soul".  I also think each of us capable of interesting feats of transformation, if only we knew how ...

    if kindness is contagious, help start an epidemic

    by tovan on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:58:24 PM PDT

  •  catholic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, vcmvo2, Pandoras Box, marykk

    raised in the absence of religion (well, we did have a christmas tree...) my father had been raised mormon and my mother would probably call herself a methodist, though i have never seen her seek out/rely on church/christianity/prayer...

    attended a jesuit university and discovered that dispite all my animosity and resistance, i liked the theology classes. alot.

    my parents were pretty wierded out by my decision, but they always said that my spirituality was my own, and my path to choose...

  •  I was raised in a secular Jewish family. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GussieFN, sobermom, Pandoras Box

    Now I'm completely non-religious.  Although I studied Christianity for a number of years just to learn more about the culture and origins of the New Testament and Christianity.  I compared many translations as well.

    Bush doesn't listen to anyone but the competing voices in his head. The winner he calls "God" and runs with it.

    by dov12348 on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:58:40 PM PDT

  •  Raised Roman Catholic until age 14 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GussieFN, sobermom, Ice Blue, Pandoras Box

    when I decided not to become confirmed because I just didn't believe in or feel in any way personally connected with it.  I then called myself agnostic for years, because it got fewer people's backs up and I wasn't ready to argue with anybody yet, but really I've been absent any god-belief whatsover since I first really asked myself the question as that teenager, and therefore I'm an atheist.

    •  Do you still consider yourself (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box

      Catholic, though? Or lapsed Catholic, or something? Is it possible to a Catholic athiest? Like a Jewish athiest; all the guilt, none of the god.

      Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

      by GussieFN on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:04:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, not Catholic anything, just atheist. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GussieFN, Ice Blue

        If it comes up -- for example, a proselyte trying to tell me the only reason I'm not a Christian is because I don't know Jesus or something -- I'll say I was raised Roman Catholic to shut them up.  But I don't claim any of it now, and it doesn't claim me.  I don't remember ever having any active god-belief of my own; rather, I only recall participating because that's just what my family did.

        So no, I was never a Catholic except in name.

  •  A bit odd (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, melo, Pandoras Box

    that the secular animist left "secular animist" off the poll.

    I seem to be a transcendental agnostic. (Which is a lot like being a secular animist, but with less exciting neighbours.)

    "Be kind" - is that a religion?

    by ThatBritGuy on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 04:59:46 PM PDT

  •  Zorastrians aren't "neo"-Pagans.... (4+ / 0-)

    The Old Religion is alive and well. I know a couple of Zorastrians; Parsis, from India.

    "It's better to realize you're a swan than to live life as a disgruntled duck."

    by Mumon on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:00:37 PM PDT

  •  My response (14+ / 0-)

    although written before I saw this, involves this drawing.

    Describe what you see.

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


    The drawing - taken from this fascinating site - is pretty simple... 

    unless you try to make sense of it.

       

    Yes, I believe. In the beginning was the Word.... in time the Word became flesh.  Jesus died, Christ is Risen - but I can't fully explain it all as it goes beyond what I can fully comprehend.  And my embrace of these stories, these realities does not mean other paths and understandings are invalid.  

    Much like the drawing.... real? impossible? Yep.

    more of my thoughts on this here.

  •  Christian (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Lefty Mama, noweasels, marykk

    A non-churchgoing, socially liberal Christian who picks and chooses what he likes and doesn't like from the Bible (I've pretty much given up on Leviticus, for example). Let's just say I have my contradictions, but yes I believe that He, meaning Jesus Christ, is risen.

    "I'm not here for the Iraqis, I'm here for George Bush." - Iraq occupation staffer

    by Beet on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:04:53 PM PDT

  •  Not sure. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Pandoras Box

    Raised Presbyterian, but currently I'd probably have to call myself agnostic/humanist.  I got to a point where I'm not convinced God exists, but I'm not convinced that God does not exist.  And I haven't taken the time or energy to do more intense study and self-reflection on the matter.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:06:18 PM PDT

  •  Cthulhu fhtagn! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JessicaDrewSW, Cmyst, lazybum, Pink Lady

    - What happens on DailyKos, stays on Google. - 11/7 changed everything.

    by Jon Meltzer on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:07:37 PM PDT

  •  Kerkorian, aka Dr. Death (4+ / 0-)

    said in an interview with 60 Minutes (?) that he believed in a supreme being.  He said he worshipped Bach.  I always that was funny.

  •  I'm agnostic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Thorby Baslim, Pandoras Box

    I was going to say I used to be Episcopalian, but that's not quite right. My parents raised me to be a Christian, but I always thought God was just like Santa Claus -- maybe real, but probably not. A joke to play along with. Almost everyone knows it but don't say it in public. I was a practicing Christian for a while, but I eventually lost faith.

  •  Generic non-practicing Protestant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Pandoras Box

    Reading with interest on Quaker beliefs.
    Distrustful of organized religion (as opposed to personal faith).
    Yes, I believe He is risen, but probably metaphorically rather than literally.

    Revolutionary words start revolutions

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:11:58 PM PDT

  •  I am an atheist, an agnostic, (4+ / 0-)

    a non-believer, a non-theist, and a secular humanist.

    Since all these definitions really limit one's beliefs or disbeliefs, I simply embrace them all and let other people draw their own conclusions.

    Mostly though, I am a non-believer in anything supernatural whether they are your invisible-friend-in-the-sky, the tooth fairy, or anything spiritual.

    I don't consider myself spiritual because the way I look at it is that to be spiritual one must believe in spirits and I don't believe in spirits.

  •  Well, I clicked on this diary because I (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Radlein, Downtowner

    though MB was asking if any of us thought our journalistic skills were as good as James Risen, the NY Times reporter. Yeah, I am amazed at what many of you uncover - so call yourself "Risen."

  •  The Precisely Right Word (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, marykk

    The Methodists have, or long had,
    the precisely right word to describe
    my relationship with the church
    of my youth: I'm a backslider.

    I sometimesstill  go to services with
    my aged mother, not hard to do
    because the Methodists have done
    little to antagonize me.

    But on your poll I voted
    Agnostic/Atheist/Humanist -- and
    was pleased that you didn't try to
    make me be more specific!

    There may be some Higher Power --
    the skeptic mentioned electricty --
    but if so, It surely doesn't need
    preachers, collection plates,
    sacred texts, miracles and uh
    appearances of the blessed,
    and It gives no reason to kill in
    the Name of the Higher Power.
    Or even to coerce the unbelieving
    to pray to it in front of high school
    football spectators, legislative
    assemblies. or anywhere else.

  •  I am a combo sandwich. (4+ / 0-)

    I take the best of them all - which is surprisingly similar - and leave the rest for the next deli customer.

    But I am heavy on the Buddhism, Taoism, Chrisianity and Judaism.  I like to sprinkle on some American Indian, Native Indian (meaning Central, South American and Caribbean) a heavy smear of Greek Mythology and various Pagan bits and bobs that give my spiritual life both diversity that suits my lack of patience with the same old story even if most mean the same thing and a whole lot of flavor.  Yum.  But one thing of note is that I'd be nothin' without the great philosophers and scientists.  They play a pretty big role in my view of the spiritual world too.  Because, I think, that all three disciplines religion, science, and philosophy essentially exist to answer the same questions and taking any one without the other seems silly to me.  Or maybe I should say not as yummy as the really great sandwich with all the flavors, textures, and depth.

    Easter sort of wraps all of these disciplines up into one big ball for me.  It has it all.  Science, religion, philosophy ancient and modern.  The added bonus is that there is chocolate involved and that is really freakin' important to one's spiritual life in my opinion.

  •  Unitarian, leaning Buddhist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuickSilver, Pandoras Box

    Who are the Shintos answering? Don't you realize that that is the only openly racist religion in the list? Don't you care? Or don't you know?

  •  I believe (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Caldonia, Ice Blue

    I'm Episcopalian.  And despite being told what an idiot I am a number of times on this site for that belief, I'm still here on DKos.  

    It's time for a president to to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war -- John Edwards

    by ThirstyGator on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:14:00 PM PDT

  •  I Was an Charismatic Christian... (7+ / 0-)

    ...now...not so much.

    Belief is a weird thing.  I know I will blow it if I try to write it down but...

    Even if I believe(d) in God, I must live as if there is no God.  Because if there is no God, only my mind and my own two hands will deliver whatever good and evil there is in in the world to my brothers and sisters.  If there is a God, that God, should God exist, will understand.

    I think that's it.

    So I don't believe in God.  ;)

    There are lots of corollaries to that statement, but I'll leave it there.

    I'm ready for 2008! Where's a candidate?? :D

    by InquisitiveRaven on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:15:22 PM PDT

    •  funny, i see it in reverse... (0+ / 0-)

      i choose to live as if god exists, and my 'mystical experiences' aren't just neurochemical crossed wires flashing.

      heavy into heisenberg...

      everything is vibrating, rocks slowest, light fastest.

      we choose to make it slow down,  same as we choose to process the upside-down retinal image to see it right ways up.

      why? just kos..... *just cause*

      by melo on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 10:38:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Spiritual mish-mosh here too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, North Coast Ohioan

    Raised Lutheran-Missouri Synod (and surprised at the several times it pops up in this thread), but had pretty much given up any interest in organized religion by my teens...it just didn't seem to make sense or have any direct bearing on life.

    In adulthood, I've developed an interest in Buddhism, which probably has the strongest influence on my spiritual life.  I appreciate it as a philosophy, as a means to deepen ones appreciation of life, and I like that there is no God-figure involved.  Still, I would not go so far as to call myself a practicing Buddhist.

    I find Hinduism fascinating as well, probably more through the fact of my two lengthy visits to India and Nepal.

    I do have as well a...sense, I guess is the word...of something spiritual, something greater than us, something connecting us, something we can only approach tangentially or catch a glimpse of as in peripheral vision.  Meteor Blades' description of some type of energy or consciousness imbuing everything is part of it.  One way I've thought of it as imagining the creation as being the moment in which 'God,' whatever that is or means, asked the question we humans so often ask:  Who am I?  Why am I here?  All of evolution, from the Big Bang through the emergence of life as we understand it up until now is just some cosmic drive toward answering those questions.  It's all too vast for any one to comprehend, and so our only mission is to lead as good a life as possible, and in so doing know that we are contributing in some small way to moving that spiritual force forward.

    That's the long answer.  In truth, I don't think about such things very much.  Nevertheless, it is the sense that lies behind my wanting to be as good a person as possible.

  •  Grew up atheist. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, Rachel in Vista

    Then Franny and Zooey primed the pump. Crime and Punishment taken in at basically a single sitting somehow proved to me the existence of God, don't know how, just did. In my early twenties all the things I was seeking -- freedom, joy, happiness, truth, honor, God, love, authenticity etc. all dovetailed and converged into a single point like a tiny but intense seed vibrating in heart. Certain situations activated it, certain situations turned it down. When I encountered my teacher it burst into bloom. There's God the theological theory that people can argue about till the end of time, then there is the experience of the divine known to mystics and the fortunate, leaves no room for doubt, nor for dogma. That's the one I recommend.

    "Your point. Their village." --Zhivago to Strelnikov

    by ailanthus on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:17:02 PM PDT

  •  MB: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box

    This may be of interest, if you haven't already found it (RE:"the sole adherent"):

    The Soul of the Indian - Online version.

    From Amazon (paperback)

    It is pretty much in line with what I have come to think/believe over the years.

    -FWIW

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - A. Einstein

    by FWIW on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:17:12 PM PDT

  •  Agnostic/Atheist/Humanist, but that's only becaus (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    it's been a while since I've read the Tao Te Ching.

    When I was growing up, my mother tried to terrorize me with her version of strict Lutheranism, but I discarded that dogma at about age eight.  That's when I began to read the Bible for myself.

         

    Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions.

    by Ice Blue on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:17:21 PM PDT

  •  For what it's worth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    I am an atheist.

    I am not agnostic, nor am I a humanist.

  •  Secular animist-maybe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    There is something inherently appealing to me about "The-Spirit-That-Lives-In-All-Things," or "The-Spirit-That-Flows-Through-All-Things."  Not being Native American, I haven't participated in any Native American rituals (with the exception of a remarkable Blessing Ceremony to inaugurate the nation's first American Indian Law Clinic, way back when I was in law school at CU), and I'm resistant to the EST/New Age line.  But, the "spirit" concept resonates.

    •  shintoism is similar (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SherriG

      everything in nature is imbued with a "kami" (god/spirit) and I wouldn't be surprised to find other regions of the world with similar beliefs

      "Do not weep, maiden, war is kind." Stephen Crane, a snarker ahead of his time

      by kumaneko on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 11:04:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i'm an agnostic or even a real gnostic... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mountain Don, sobermom

    there aren't any gnostics unfortunately to go join except some lovely freaks that claim to be "gnostics" on the west coast!

    so, i am somewhere between buddhist and gnostic christian.

    i dunno though.  i do know that i don't like what has become of christianity so i have started my own personal campaign against those people, see subtitle link.

    •  i meant to say I'm NOT agnostic nor a gnostic... (0+ / 0-)

      (but i try!)

    •  I'm not either (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, a gnostic

      but the more I look at early Christian writings, the "lost" gospels, the more fact-based historical looks at the period, etc, the more I am intrigued by gnosticism.

      Raised Catholic (father's family intensely Catholic, mother's not so much), agnostic since early teens (exposure to all that contrary "literature" and "history" and "facts"), but never quite atheist. Maybe a bit animist or deist.

      But I've been reading Elaine Pagels and related works, and have been quite fascinated with all the shenanigans in the early church. Seems that patriarchal power brokers have always loved to rewrite history to boost their positions.

      I bet that there are some pretty fascinating original works buried under the Vatican.

      "The Elephant is Dead!!" -- Bill Hicks.

      by Mountain Don on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:48:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  at 52 years of age (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, xyz, Ice Blue

    I've been in a church no more than 25 times.

    3 weddings & 2 funnerals are included in that total.
    My uncle was the one that took me, I was 12 @ the time & didn't have much of a choice.

    I don't take to people telling me how to think I guess.

  •  I'm a true believer (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, ladybug53, noweasels

    in the neverending search for understanding and truth.  And goodness.  And I believe that I'm a drop in a vast ocean and therefore shouldn't get too attached to my self, or undervalue myself either.  

    And I believe the universe (and beyond?) is ineffable, and regular conversation with a physicist has opened that up even farther for me - how much we don't know, probably cannot know, and the extraordinary minute order in the laws of the universe we do know about, which is more than enough to completely zap me out with wonder and awe if I just try to take it all in.  Power and glory, it's all there.

    So, no literal resurrection for me, but as a metaphorical story, it rings deeply true to me.  And certainly no big personality out there in the sky watching me, but I can't pretend to know all that is out there, and in here, nobody does.  Every material scrap of my reality was made inside stars, and when I die, I will disperse into new forms and so on eternally, that's plenty for me.

    Oh, and I believe the meaning of life is in perpetuating life and love, bringing order out of chaos, fighting off the powers of destruction.  Which (in part) brings us neatly right back to politics!

    "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

    by sarac on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:21:58 PM PDT

  •  started asking questions (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrhelper, sobermom, illyia

    around the age of 27.  Started reading Jiddu Krishnamurti and Alan Watts and Bede Griffiths and the Tao te Ching and the Upanishads and............

    Had a "religious experience" whatever that means.  The concept of time was obliterated.  All separation form "other" was obliterated.  A few hours later I came to, and haven't looked back since.

    Quit my job, changed my life entirely.  Found a good woman and had two frighteningly beautiful kids.  Life is good, knock on wood.

    I go to Buddhist meditation gatherings, Society of Friends meetings, Catholic mass with friends sometimes, Benedictine monasteries seem to draw me too, and my "group" is studying pagan rituals, which we have about 8 times a year.  They are wonderful.

    All religions are wonderful and terrible, and atheism is wonderful and terrible, and agnostics should all just decide for once!!

    Just kidding.


    "getting caught".....the greatest Republican sin. According to Republicans.

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:22:41 PM PDT

  •  Never Baby-tized (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Ice Blue, noweasels, Predictor

    My father was an anthiest. My mother is an Episcopalian, who goes to church to sing in the choir. She is a believer, but in a more metaphorical than literal sense.

    I am a secular humanist. I went through a brief phase of heavily indocrinated Christianity in junior high, fundamentalist actually. It helped me deal with some bad abusive situations in my family.

    For my first two years of high school I attended an Episcopalian boarding school where we had to attend services 3 times a week. Ironically, the bible studies class I had to take my freshman year changed my whole outlook on religion. We studied the history of the bible and compared it to the other texts of other major world religion.

    From there I delved Eastward into Buddhism, Sufism, and back to ancient European Paganism and eventually arrived at a comfy place of Secular Humanism. I believe now that Man creates his Gods and they do exist in a certain sense in the minds and hearts of humanity.

    I am still apt to be overtaken with moments of unexplainable transcendence/spirituality when confronted with great beauty, whether by the hands of man or in nature. I don't think "God" has anything to do with that though. I am content having such experiences being unexplainable. I'm just happy I have them now and then.

    It's always because we love that we are rebellious; it takes a great deal of love to give a damn ~Kenneth Patchen~

    by cosmic debris on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:22:45 PM PDT

  •  It's really hard to say... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, dgr

    Mostly, when I go to church, it is a Unity church.

    I have tried UU, and many others, but essentially, my beliefs can best be summed up as...

    1.  God is all and in all.  Trees, grass, animals, humans.  Sort of a pantheist I guess.
    1.  We are good because God is in us.
    1.  Jesus the Christ was a mortal representation of the God spirit that is in all of us.  He was just quite advanced.

    -6.5, -7.59. All good that a person does to another returns three fold in this life; harm is also returned three fold.

    by DrWolfy on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:25:17 PM PDT

  •  Became an atheist after seeing a photo (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, crose, Akonitum

    of a magnified dust mite -you know, those things that crawl in your nose as you sleep. No god worth his/her salt would allow such things to exist. and what's the point of believing in a crappy god. Actually, I refer to myself, if asked, as areligious instead of atheist, because I've met too many (not all, by any means) atheists who convictions have the fervor of believers.

  •  It's a Pretty Safe Day of the Year for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GussieFN, sobermom

    maximizing humanist polling!

    I was raised Christian but I don't believe the resurrection any longer.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:25:33 PM PDT

  •  Good Catholic, I suppose. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, dgr, North Coast Ohioan

    Even though I'm pretty sure I don't believe anybody could rise from the dead.

    Wait -- I guess that means I'm a bad Catholic.

    Well, I do think Catholicism is an excellent system to raise kids in, if you do it right.  One system among many.

  •  Sourceror (6+ / 0-)

    Skeptical seeker of truth.

    Awed worshipper of The Great Mystery.

    Taoist animist.

    Cynic.

    Anti-religious.

  •  Evangelical atheist n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tiponeill, sobermom, Ice Blue, crose

    Don't blame me -- I voted for Weicker.

    by LarryInNYC on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:27:43 PM PDT

  •  A request, MB (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    I am an agnostic. Although I am frequently described as an atheist by some of my family (a mistake that, alas, I frequently have to correct), I do believe that there is some energy/force/existence out there that exists on a different plane than we do here in what we might crudely call meatspace.

    So that's why it's a little discouraging that you've lumped people like me in with atheists in the poll. There's nothing wrong with atheism - I am very much of a mind that whatever spiritual beliefs or lack thereof that one holds is none of my business, judgmentally or otherwise. But as an agnostic, I can say that my beliefs, as undefined as they are, are vastly different than the non-belief of a person who is an atheist.

    All of this is just a long-winded way of requesting that the next time you construct a poll like this, you give some consideration to giving the agnostics their own line. Especially since we don't really fit in neatly with the others you've grouped us with in this one.

  •  you forgot a few categories, MB (0+ / 0-)

    For instance, HindJe & BhuJew, common euphemisms on the spiritual circuit.  For those who, while not "converted" in the old-fashioned sense and even, in some cases, active in their faith of their birth(s) but who identify most and practice most in the various Indian traditions.

    (LOL)

    Happy Everything, baby.

  •  I"m rather a Deist, I suppose. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    I don't subscribe to any particular creed.  I believe that "God", if you will, is the Ultimate Truth.  I think that we, as human beings, are constantly evolving on a personal level while as a species we are evolving, too.  I believe we evolve towards this concept of Ultimate Truth.  

    I don't necessarily believe in an intervening God....there is no justice in that.   I believe that we can access this Truth ourselves, however, if we are open to it.  

  •  Don't forget Baha'i (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, VelvetElvis

    I tend to fall in with the secular animist and/or taoist beliefs myself, but if I were interested in a more organized form of worship, the Bahai faith seems as good as any:

    The following 12 principles are frequently listed as a quick summary of the Bahá'í teachings....

           * Unity of God
           * Unity of religion
           * Unity of mankind
           * Gender Equality
           * Elimination of all forms of prejudice
           * World peace
           * Harmony of religion and science
           * Independent investigation of truth
           * Universal compulsory education
           * Universal auxiliary language
           * Obedience to government and non-involvement in partisan politics
           * Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty

    Some good stuff in that list. Don't think I could follow the prohibition against partisan politics part though.

    Ninox Connivens - Winking or Barking Owl: Generally nocturnal, but sometimes calls during the day, and on duller winter days may begin hunting before sunset.

    by Night Owl on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:30:11 PM PDT

  •  I am a seeker (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TeresaInPa, sobermom

    As a kid I was a back-sliding methodist just like my folks.  As a young woman I looked at Unitarians and laughed at the ok city group because all of their hymns were just like regular hymns except they removed all reference to God, so then they sounded (this was springtime) somewhat like bachanalian orgies!  My apologies to Unitarians, I also went to Albuquerque's and Kansas City's, the first of which I enjoyed immensely, the 2nd of which I got really bored by the preacher's love of Buckminster Fuller.

    Now mind you, the problems with all the churches I have attended since:  Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal, etc. were not in them but in me.  Late in life I took a course called the Priestess Process, looking at the feminine side of deities. I discovered that the thing that frustrated me about churches and the thing I delighted in within the Priestess Process, was the treatment of ritual.  The former seemed to have become wedded to ironclad rituals, and indeed, all their books were all about the ritual of the week (Lent doing one thing, and Easter doing another) all because they were celebrating, not the congregation, but Jesus's life and death and afterdeath.  The latter said look, rituals can be healing, fun, inclusive, and they can contain many many elements that you can choose from.  So I created a ritual when my oldest granddaughter started her menses.  The ritual included her aunt, me and her mom.  We were laughing and we were joyous.  The ritual fit the moment and the participants.  If we do it for my other granddaughters, it will change accordingly.  But it probably won't be a solemn event however we do it.  So my views about rituals changed.  I still don't like the ironclad rituals.  I still like the extemporaneous ritual.  But would I be tempted to go back to church?  If they had a little less formal structure?  Maybe.  But I would have to feel included somewhat and as a woman within today's Christian churches that is very difficult for me.  They want my money, they want me to tithe, they need desperately new blood (like children) but I don't see much in it for me.

    On the other hand, dealing with the shamanistic studies, I feel very strongly that there is much we do not understand about our connections to spirit or soul.  Connections that may have been exploited consciously or unconsciously by churches.  But, like the shamans, it feels as if it is a very individual journey and one that can take many side steps.  There are times when I feel absolutely certain there is life after death.  And times, when I fear the snuffing out of my soul (perhaps only my personna.)

  •  I Don't Believe That Christ Has Risen (15+ / 0-)

    That happens tomorrow.

    Every culture has its own paradoxical life-in-death narrative, where the absolute of death is revealed not to be the end of time but, in fact, a living eternity.

    This is an absolutely essential part of being human.  It satisfies a need that we have to understand -- if not to know -- what might come After.

    A fundamentalist Christian might see the Resurrection in literal terms -- a promise of eternal physical life in some physical space with the Creator.

    Other types of Christians, like me, might see it as a metaphorical expression of the great infinity of time and matter that is the universe.

    A totally secular person can even enjoy the story of Easter as an ancient drama that served to explicate things known to science now -- for example, the cycle of regenerative life where all atoms are preserved and continuously re-incorporated into ever new forms -- but could only be explained by magic then.

    It seems to me that the Daily Kos community wants to approach this holiday as if it were a closed sign whose meaning is absolute and one dimensional, rather than something open and abundant in possible meanings.

    An earlier diary tried to paint religion as a prison.  It doesn't have to be.  It can be a field, a river, a rocket ship.

    And you don't have to be a fundamentalist, literalist subscriber to the words of the New Testament to find something beautiful and eternal and true in the story of Easter.

    I recommended your comment. And then I un-recommended it.

    by bink on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:34:44 PM PDT

    •  Very well said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bink

      This is one of the better comments on religion that I have read here.

      Thanks for sharing it.

      "Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." --James Madison, Federalist 10

      by mrhelper on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:41:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I like it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bink

      I don't understand it all, but it is a very well thought out explanation of why such a controversial event is commemorated for 2100 years. Personally, I don't believe a word of it. I don't believe that one group of people have dibs on absolute truth and spiritualism just because a bunch of Roman scribes like Eusebius of Caesarea says so. On its own, I think Christianity is a beautiful religion. There is only one thing I don't like about it. It uses magical precepts to convince humanity they better believe or else. When I think of the universe in its almost infinite time and space, then consider our small planet and the short time human beings walked the earth relative to the big bang or even the evolution of earth, I would rather marvel at the sheer magnitude of the cosmos than give myself up to some magical notions of religion. Or, I believe in the Grouch Marx school of religion:

      I would never join a club that would have me as a member.

  •  Baptist (8+ / 0-)

    Southern Baptist, to be precise.

    The sort of theistic-evolutionist, do-unto-others, the-next-verse-says-love-your-wife, and by-the-way-theocracy-only-leads-to-tears Southern Baptist that the leadership of the convention doesn't think exists anymore. Or doesn't think should exist, as the case may be.

    Priesthood of the Believer was still in the Baptist Faith and Message when I joined, and there's going to be at least one member at my church who remembers until it's impossible for me to stay.

    •  Here I was thinking (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, Ky DEM, dotcommodity

      I was the token evangelical protestant.
      Another (Atlantic) Baptist here. Currently not attending a baptist church and though it's difficult to get two Baptists to agree on much beyond potluck, I really miss the Baptist stances on the priesthood of believers, individual conscience and chuch autonomy. I'm at a more top-down denomination right now and the differences are starting to chafe. Sad to see from afar what's been happening at the SBC.

      Oh, and yes, He is.

      "Be prepared for anything at any time from anybody, don't take no shit, always stand your ground." - Blaise Bailey Finnegan III

      by Cletus from Canuckistan on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:57:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Total disconnect (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, crose

    I can't assign anything beyond a dictionary meaning to words like "spiritual" and "faith" (in the religious sense; I don't have much problem believing in people that I know and trust). There is no emotional resonance at all, and never has been, as far as I can remember. Religious belief to me seems simply weird -- either weird and harmless, or weird and malignant. This applies across the board -- I find it irritating when people speak as if Mormons, for instance, were weirder than Catholics, or Muslims weirder than Buddhists. All the same thing, in my opinion, though in a pragmatic sense some types of weirdness are definitely friendlier than others.

    Through tattered clothes great vices do appear / Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. (King Lear)

    by sagesource on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:37:33 PM PDT

  •  While I was baptized a Christian (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terri, sobermom

    at an interdenominational church, I never was enthusiastic about it (for some reason or other that I will not go into here).  However, my interest has grown over the years in what can loosely be categorized as religions of African origin.  I am talking about what goes by the name of Santeria in my home country of Puerto Rico, but also vodun (Haiti), candomble (Brasil), among others.  

    I must confess that what initially drew my attention, moreso than the fact that my ancestors likely practiced it, was the fact (true to my nature as a rebel!) that it was suppressed as part of the American institution of slavery [American in the broadest sense meaning both North and South (ie. Latin America) -- incl. Caribbean].  That initial interest eventually gave way to a fascination with the ethos and novelty of the beliefs in contraposition to the "major" world religions that I am most familiar with, beginning with Christianity.  I mean wow!  instead of one god up there somewhere beyond reach in the sky or on a planet somewhere, we had many gods with different facets and charactersistics; good, bad, mischievous; and they are right here on earth, hiding in trees or under the ground or in a river; some would inhabit our bodies and take over our souls!  Talk about fascination!!  Of course, my career as a Caribbeanist fuels this interest from a purely intellectual (historical, sociological & psychological) point of view.

    OK, let me stop before I scare (or bore) people to bits...

    Will I become a convert?  Who knows?  But I feel I am on a magical mystery tour and I love it.  I will be back to Bahia in May (and I can't wait!)

    'Be the change you want to see in the world.' Mahatma Gandhi

    by maracatu on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:38:28 PM PDT

  •  A very private Christian (8+ / 0-)

    I was raised a Catholic until my mother lapsed when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I was around it long enough that I was never able to totally let it go, but my mother's skepticism, combined with a natural revulsion for all things fundementalist (and unfortunately, THAT has been the face of Chistendom for a long time), led me to become extremely skeptical myself. I stayed away from church for a couple of decades.

    But I found myself reading books on early Christianity - trying to figure out how Christianity became such a powerful force, rising out of nothing. And that reading finally led me to read the Bible. While there are many parts of it that I find repulsive, I don't feel I have to embrace it either literally, or in its entirety. After all, Christ said he came to free us from much of it.

    What I cling to are the words of Christ - most especially the Sermon on the Mount, and his two commandments - and the actions of Christ. As Pancho says in Man of La Mancha: "I like him."

    Did he rise? Yes, I think he did. In lots of ways. How exactly he rose can't be known, and quite frankly I don't care. All I know is that his spirit continues to live in my thoughts, and I hope in my actions.

    I know that many of his followers have caused pain and anguish to many here, and to countless others across the world. Humanity has misused just about everything that has been handed to it. But I still like Jesus. I really like him.

    "Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." --James Madison, Federalist 10

    by mrhelper on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:38:45 PM PDT

  •  No. He is not risen. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, crose

    Dead people do not come back to life.

  •  What do I believe? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, crose, mn humanist, wvablue

    As this question is usually intended, nothing.  I belong to no established religion.  The only one that's ever made sense to me is Bokononism.

    What do I believe?  If there's a god, I think he has to be viewed as an artist.  That's a better prism than Lord of Father.  His media are hydrogen, gravity, protoplasm and DNA.  

    Also, I don't believe Agnostic, Atheist and Humanist should be lumped together like that.

    But what do I know???

    "...the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    by Roddy McCorley on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:39:12 PM PDT

  •  Jewish Atheist Taoist nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    Republicans believe government is the enemy. When they're in charge, they're right

    by plf515 on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:40:44 PM PDT

  •  Hey for all the believers/nonbelievers check this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Mama, illyia

    Just read the Talmud of Jmmanuel (considered to be the source of the Gospel of Matthew after analysis done by a professor which can be found at the link below).   check out www.tjresearch.info

    Some of the basic premises:

    1. that it is good to be rich in spirit, to be spiritually balanced, and to continue learning throughout life. Doing the latter is essential so that in the course of many incarnations -- reincarnations -- your spirit can approach the perfection of Creation itself, which created your spirit in the first place, and with which your spirit will eventually reunite. He taught that one's spirit grows in power as it becomes more and more knowledgeable through continued learning converted into wisdom.
    1. Jmmanuel continued to preach about learning the laws of nature so as to unlock the secrets of Creation and allow spiritual growth. He instructed his disciples to teach the same, saying, "The laws of nature are the laws of Creation, and the power of the Creational spirit within humans embodies life."
    1.  In one talk after setting out for the land of India, Jmmanuel taught about the evolution of the human spirit, and how in its eventual return to Creation as a perfected spirit it contributes its share to helping Creation perfect itself.
    1. One of Jmmanuel's most extensive teachings about the human spirit occurs at the point where the writer of Matthew substituted the Transfiguration for it. The essence is that a human spirit starts out ignorant in its first lifetime "until it has gained knowledge through thinking and inquiry" in lifetime after lifetime. This involves making mistakes and learning from them. In it he again emphasized the laws of Creation and of nature.
    1. In more teachings about the immortal human spirit, Jmmanuel taught that it stems from Creation itself, being a tiny piece of Creation's spirit, and that each time the body dies the spirit lives on in the beyond, where it continues to gather wisdom out of its accumulated knowledge, before reincarnating.

    Check out the links below for more info of the related case to the Talmud of Jmmanuel

    www.theyfly.com

    www.gaiaguys.net/meier.htm

  •  I am a deist, I think. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, sobermom, Lefty Mama

    I am also kind of a religion of one.  never really found what I am in any church that's for sure.

    I believe in an all-God.  The universe is the body of God and all life in the universe is an expression of God.

    And I believe that everything happens exactly as it's intended to happen, whether we like it or not. None of this "God is angry because you did X"  Nothing in the universe exists that is not absolutely intended to exist.

    There's more to it but I don't want to bore anyone.

    •  Not Boring (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom

      I appreciated hearing this.

      I recommended your comment. And then I un-recommended it.

      by bink on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:44:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  alright, you asked for it. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bink, sobermom

        Okay.  

        1.  God is the universe, and the universe is the whole of God.  Just as human being are PHYSICALLY incapable of comprehending the enormity of the universe as a whole, we are physically incapable of understanding God.  So don't try okay?  It just hurts your brain and you're never going to get the whole picture.
        1.  God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and omniprescient. He (gender neutral) is eternal and infinite in that He can perceive all time and all space simultaneously.  The past and the future are all part of the eternal present.  Human being, however, are mortal and bound by the limitations of perspective.  We can only perceive one point of time or space at a time.  While we can guess what is beyond our perception based on what we do see, we cannot know nor should we try and claim we do.
        1. Big bang and evolution = yes.  The entire universe is laid out like the ultimate and infinite set of dominoes.  A single action set in motion the entire universe, and everything, EVERYTHING falls into place exactly as it is intended to.  Every action is impacted by the action that preceeded it, and ever action impacts the action that follows in a perfect chain.  EVERYTHING happens exactly as it is intended to happen, regardless on whether we wanted it to happen that way.  This is not to say that we as mortals posses no ability to impact our fate.  When asked if I believe in Fate or self determination I simply say "Yes", because the two are not mutually exclusive.  It's kind of like the second matrix movie when Neo is talking to the oracle and she tells him "You have already made the choice".  SO yes, we do have a choice in how we live our lives, but through the eyes of God, that choice and those actions are already being played out.  The future is now.  The past is now.  God is Now.  This is one of the few things I found so RIGHT in the judeo-Christian bible, that God always reffered to Himself in the present.  "Before there ever was and after there shall ever be, I am." (or some such)
        1. All life is a manifestation or expression of God.  Just as God is "I am", so are we all (to a much MUCH lesser extent).  "I think therefor I am".  I do not know if all life together composes God, like grains of sand would compose a vast desert, or if we are all children of God and within us the potential to become God-like in our own spiritual growth (like tiny seeds may someday become a mighty redwood).  
        1. I do believe in reincarnation.  I believe after we die, what we perceive is an expression of the life we lived and what we "took" back with us.  If we live a life of love and joy and happiness, surely a heavenly afterlife of peace awaits.  If we live a life of shame, cruelty, hate, then  a miserable existance awaits.  But beyond death I think we get to choose whether we live again or not.  Those who chose life are reborn and those who do not are returned to the source of all spirit (God).

        I can't tell you how I came to these beliefs, I studied a little bit of most all religions and found them to incomplete or  have wrongheaded assumptions about the decidely human nature of God leading me to wonder if some people don't worship God so much as a reflection of themselves that they think is God, like the greek myth of Narcissus.  Though I do like the moral teachings of such religious figures as Jesus Christ.

        but anyway....since you asked (kind of). :)

        •  Agree except (0+ / 0-)

          Agree with everything you have stated except:

          If we live a life of love and joy and happiness, surely a heavenly afterlife of peace awaits.  If we live a life of shame, cruelty, hate, then  a miserable existance awaits.

          I don't believe any human is every completely lost to a miserable existance after death(based on NDE's).  

          •  not eternally surely. (0+ / 0-)

            but a person has to be willing to let go of the negativity they bear in their lives.  Some people find a perverse comfort in hating others, in guilt or shame or negativity.  If they don't let it go it will follow them until they do.

  •  For the (currently) 51% here... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, sobermom, Sopiane

    If you haven't read DarkSyde's excellent diaries, posted in late 2005, link to it here. "What It's Like to Be an Atheist" and "Why I Am an Athiest."

    Of course, it did spark a debate that rivaled The Pie Chronicles but it is still, in my humble opinion, some of the best work published here.

    Atheist: All dressed up and nowhere to go

    •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

      While I am a believer I found his diary on what it was like being an atheist to be very educational.  I am sheltered somewhat by the reserve we have in New England and never really thought about what it was like to be constantly confronted about religion.  I actually didn't think the atheist/believer pie fight was that bad.  There were some obnoxious folks on both sides but for the most part I thought it was fascinating reading about everyones' experiences.

      "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy

      by sobermom on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:46:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agnostic animist, sorta (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, annan, dirkster42

    Your description of secular animism is the closest I've seen anyone come to my peculiar and individual set of beliefs. Life is everywhere. Intelligences surround us. Salvation is irrelevant because we've never been lost. Doing good brings light and increases life-ness in the world. Yeah, I know "lifeness" isn't a real word, but says what I mean. I think.

    Is there a creator (or even a Creator)? Who knows? Certainly not me. I suspect that the question is irrelevant; can doing good in order to get a pat on the head really be considered to be doing good? I dunno, but I don't feel like taking the chance. I think I'll just continue to attempt to do good because it makes things in this world just a bit better. Or, at least, more bearable.

    But I do believe in, I dunno what to call'em, spirits, I guess. But I'm also prepared to entertain the idea that I'm crazy and the atheists are right. Until there's more evidence one way or the other, I'll stick to what I believe, and let others do the same.

    Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Those who study history are doomed to know it's repeating. - JWhitlock

    by Alice Venturi on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:44:30 PM PDT

  •  Object to agnostic/atheist/humanist button (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, annan

    Those are three distinct categories; humanism, in particular, is only looosely connected to atheism or agnosticism.
    As far as the agnostic/atheist divide, I prefer not be lumped with those cowardly agnostics who don't have the conviction their rationality demands of them.

    •  Agreed! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      khereva

      Because agnostic cherish their turf on the sane side of the reason / fanatacism divide.  :)

      "A Republic, if you can keep it". Ben Franklin 1787, regarding the new Constitution. "Challenge accepted." George W. Bush, Jan 20, 2001.

      by Quicklund on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:06:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, those don't belong together at all. (0+ / 0-)

      Agreed. That was a sloppy category. Sorry, Meteor. BoringDem is right.

      Well, sort of. I take exception to the "cowardly agnostics" quip.

      But these three really are quite different and spring from different roots.

      "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

      by annan on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 08:26:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Atheism and Agnosticism fit well together (0+ / 0-)

      I'm an atheist, effectively. But technically, I'm an agnostic, because accepting science means accepting that there is truth we don't understand, even if we have no reason to believe it now.

      Humanism isn't a religion, and shouldn't be a choice at all. But the atheism/agnosticism combo does not bother me. In fact, I'm amazed and thrilled by the huge amount of nonbelievers here. It's impressive.

      If death is a dream, life is insomnia.

      by sinistral on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 09:53:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  MB you're not alone (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, bink, sobermom, annan

    ...though I don't know that I'd define myself as "secular" animist. My own understanding is that the Creator is the Creation--that everything that is, together, is the Divine. I call myself pagan because as a puny human I can't comprehend the Divine in its totality; I need to put a face, or faces, on it. Plus also being pagan is more fun. Costumes and mucking about with incense and such, don't you know.

  •  3 answers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom
    1. Agnostic
    1. As far as I can remember, I have always been skepical of religion.  I seem to remember being introduced to the Chirstianity thing, asking a couple questions, and getting confusing asnwers.  And from thereafer always getting confusing answers.  I never understood why people put some much importance on stuff that made so litle sense.  So at a very early age I just decided the whole things was just sort of silly.
    1. My mother came from a strict Roman Catholic family.  One aunt was a Sister, even.  My father's familty was Lutehran, I gather.  I went to church several times for brief periods.  I went to Sunday school for times, at a couple different churches.  After a period of time the church-going would stop.  But I don't think either parent was personally that motivated by religion.

    Well, can't imagine this is of much interest to anyone living on the outside of my skull.  Via con Dios.

    "A Republic, if you can keep it". Ben Franklin 1787, regarding the new Constitution. "Challenge accepted." George W. Bush, Jan 20, 2001.

    by Quicklund on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:46:12 PM PDT

  •  Mennonite (5+ / 0-)

    Maybe I'm the only one, but I do believe He is Risen and annointed us to preach good news to the poor.  When I think of Christianity I don't think of Robertson or Falwell, I think of Dr. King and William Sloan Coffin.

    Too many atheists allow my faith to be defined by the hate-mongers.  You're giving them too much credit.  Christianity is about love, and my faith is the number one reason I am so dedicated to progressive politics.

    I'll even admit to being evangilical.  I can think of nothing better than sharing the good news that Jesus brought--we don't need a missile defense shield or more tax breaks.  We need the selfless love as demonstrated by God's son.

  •  I have my own Religion. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lazybum, crose

    Anyone can do it!

    Since my set of beliefs simply draws from whatever I like on the Big Buffet Table, I don't have a label.

    Though I would have voted for Taoism.

    While listening to Pink Floyd.

    http://realityprinciples.blogspot.co...

    I try to live by the Three Reality Principles.

    by proudlattedrinker on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:47:56 PM PDT

  •  I voted agnostic/athiest/humanist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    Though if you had Jungian as a choice I would have clicked that. Out of all the texts I have read, the Tao Te Ching was the one that read back to me.

    We didn't have the church growing up - parents weren't into it - I think my mother still views the whole church scene as a bit cultish but she is a radical individualist and that's prolly why more than anything. I think the one thing my father likes about churches is that he can sing and no one says anything bad about it.

    But that's pretty much the extent. We were left to figure it out ourselves and I just watched all these people in the world all hung up on quote/ unquote: religion.

    And it baffled me. Until I read Jung's take on religion and myths and the collective unconscious and his interpretations of archetypes/ anima animus etc.... it all kind of clicked for me then, or moreso, it made sense.

    ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

    by Tirge Caps on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:49:20 PM PDT

  •  Agnostic Deist. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    Impeach 'em all, let God sort 'em out.

    by jazzmaniac on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:49:44 PM PDT

  •  Everything in my brain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, sobermom

    tells me there is no God, however, I find myself at many times hoping there is one.

    I'm baptized Episcopalian, although I probably spent more time in a Catholic church than my own.

    I do know that if there is a God, he will not be found in any of our man-made religions, and he would be appalled by them.

  •  atheists/agnostics in a walkover (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, Terri

    and funny thing, we should probably be catered to a bit.  i'm so sick of having to spaces that are not churches (e.g. newspapers, blogs, public spaces, politics) where i'm supposed to genuflect (haha) to others' religious beliefs.  keep them where they belong, in church or in your home, and leave the rest of us alone.  if i have to read another amy sullivan whinge (or e.j. dionne, for chrissakes haha) about the left and religion i will kill myself, and rise from the dead three days later just to shut them all up, or something.

    "there is only one plot - things are not what they seem." Jim Thompson

    by robert green on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:50:50 PM PDT

  •  According to the Talmud of Jmmanuel (0+ / 0-)
    1. Jesus' real name was Jmmanuel (or as we know it Emmanuel, meaning one with godly knowledge)
    1. Juda Ihariot, a son of the Pharisee, is the betrayer of Jesus, not Judas as was spread by the Sanhedrin.
    1.  Jmmanuel does not die on the cross but is rather in a deep state of meditation, and that he had to endure the crucifixion for his own spiritual development
    1.  There is no such thing as original sin, or him dying for our sins (that was idea of Saul/Paul who was responsible for much of what Chrisitianity has become today (specifically Catholicism and its ilk).
    1. Gabriel ("the angel") is the father of Jmmanuel and Mary was not a virgin.  This is the same Gabriel that appears to Mohammed, who is supposedly the same spiritform that inhabited Jmmanuel's lifetime.
    1. He did spend his missing years traveling to the East, particularly India.
    1. after the crucifixion, he traveled to the east to complete his mission in India
    1. He married an Indian girl in , and bore many descendants, and passed away in Kashmir, India around 110 to 115 yo.

    Check out the analysis, it's quite amazing, and if authentic then it would hopefully get rid of the childishness of all religions.  www.tjresearch.info

  •  Christian (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    and that's more important than the denomination.

    Granted, I think that putting atheists, agnostics, and humanists together could skew the results slightly.

    Anyways, this is a bit more than the annual opportunity to go to church. So enjoy it. ;)

    "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

    by RBH on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:51:43 PM PDT

  •  JC's last words to humanity: (9+ / 0-)

    "HELP! I've RISEN and I CAN'T GET DOWN.

    Democratic Candidate for US Senator, Wisconsin, in 2012

    Runamarchy: n., the end product of corrosion of constitutional order.

    by ben masel on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:54:55 PM PDT

  •  ah well, here I go (9+ / 0-)

    Quaker who is agnostic on the issue of a personal God but who operates on the principle established by George Fox, that I am supposed to walk gladly across the earth answering that of God in each person I meet.  So I act ias if there is something divine in each person, and that it will speak to me, even as I do not know - or even care I suppose - if there IS a 'God"

    Perhaps you have inspired me to do a diary on my religious peregrinations - I have alluded to them often.

    I believe in music.  And Poetry.  And Nature.  And I refuse to believe that I have a "soul" and the incredibly loving four-footed creatures I know do not.  And in the Orthodox liturgy of St. Basil (done during Great Lent) the hymn to the Theotokos (mother of God, literally God Bearer) has the words "all of creation rejoices in you o full of grace."  But how could that which is less than participating in redemption have any reason to rejoice?  And thus it seems to me mindset is not to see them as inferior.

    I'm too tired to be theological.  And the Brahms double concerto is on XM right now - and that is my current sacrament.   So forgive me while I abandon this to do nothing but revel in the sounds.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:55:16 PM PDT

    •  Brahms double (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, lazybum

      My son, daughter and I were in car driving somewhere when they were very young. My son was usually quick to mischief - as 4 year olds often are.

      He fell quiet when the Brahms double started to play and listened to it deeply. At its end, in the way of sometimes "wise" four year olds, he breathed, "I will never fight again."

      I think he really believed it - he maintained the calm for some time, but it didn't work in his fiestier moments to remind him of the piece.

      But ever since, I've always enjoyed it as an exceptional piece of music - yes, sacramental.

  •  Roman Catholic (4+ / 0-)

    checking in.  

    Going to Church very early tomorrow so I don't have to be bothered by the mad rush at 10 am.

    Do I believe He has risen?   Yes.  

    Be a Strong Democrat, and you will have my support. Be a Weak Democrat, and you can have Joe Lieberman's support.

    by Lucius Vorenus on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:55:23 PM PDT

  •  Raised Christian (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, North Coast Ohioan

    Progressive Christianity choosing the positive and explaining some of the more fanciful stories as allegorical and in context not literal and avoiding the mindless death, destruction and vengeance of the OT.
    Bored to death by Sundays in church at 12 but continued. Jesus stared down at me from his cross above the altar week after week dying for my sins, which to my mind I hadn't got around to doing yet. Worst imagery I can imagine to express anything as simple as "love".
    Gave up on it by 14/15 after too many arguments, having growing pains and preferring to stay in bed on Sundays to rest from school.
    Had a few years wondering why anyone would take religion seriously when it was so obviously contrived, so I embraced the enlightenment, reason and went off searching.
    After 25, I realized there was something developing in me. I have no idea whether it was maturity, love of life, the world, the ability to know wrong from right the calmness of age or a lack of fear for not knowing "the truth". It felt like what religion was supposed to be but without the structure, stories and begging for money and without any need for the prerequisite "faith" to make it real.
    10 years more, pretty convinced that the last thing any individual free enough to choose his/her own path needs in life is someone else's crack-pot schemes to make money governing their thoughts and behavior.

    My tolerance towards the necessity of religion increased with exposure to other cultures and ideas and softened my attitude towards others who follow  anyone/anything they choose. Some people seem to benefit from weekly group therapy sessions after all. Religious gatherings aren't particularly dangerous until the "leader" teaches them to hate someone or something else then they are like any other mindless mob without a spiritual bone in their bodies.

    So where am I now? I'm agnostic on all the external named gods as they never seem to be any more than just bit of wishful thinking and seem disinterested in their creations at best, but I have no idea if the one in me is the same.

    Sentience comes with the price of not knowing, but I suppose it's best to come to terms with it ... to your own level of satisfaction of course.

    Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

    by UniC on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 05:57:28 PM PDT

  •  We are *ALL* atheists (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, theboz, Akonitum

    You (plural) and I are both atheists.  We are both atheists with respect to thousands of different gods/religions/faiths/mythologies/etc.  

    You just happen to not be an atheist with respect to one religion - whereas I am.  Otherwise, we have more 'atheistness' in common than you may not have realized.

    •  I thought that Jews, Christians (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, lazybum

      and Muslims all believed in the same God; they just don't agree on what that God has done in the world.

      So if a person is, as you put it, "atheist with respect to" Judaism, then that person is ipso facto not a Christian, either, or Muslim.

      "Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you." -- Fry, Futurama

      by LithiumCola on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:03:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nah (0+ / 0-)

        If it'd make you feel better you can combine Jews, Christians, and Muslims into one group.  Let's call them Christewlims.  
        Doing so doesn't change the reality of my statement.

        These 'Christewlims' are still atheists with respect to thousands of other gods/religions/etc.

        Furthermore, the reason a Christewlim would give as to why he doesn't believe in, say, an indigenous society's belief in Zolor Goddess of Spring, is likely the same reason I would give as to why I do not believe in Christewlim's god.  Ultimately it comes down to the fact that both mythologies are cute stories with no basis in reality.  It is purely an accident of birth, i.e., the culture you are born into, that one person happens to be a Zolorist while someone else is a Christewlim.  

        •  It would make me "feel better" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rcald

          if you used words correctly.  "Atheist" is like "apolitical".  A person who does not agree with Communism is not correctly described as "apolitical with respect to Communism".

          Or, if you don't like that way of putting it, "Atheist" means "believes there is no God".  It is misleading to say that Christians are "people who believe there is no God with respect to Greek mythology".

          Or, if you don't like that of putting it: calling everyone an Atheist makes it damned hard to figure out what someone who calls themselves an Atheist is saying.

          "Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you." -- Fry, Futurama

          by LithiumCola on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:37:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, I understand your frustration (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LithiumCola, Akonitum

            I am using the term loosely to make a point.

            That point is that the logic employed by religious people to discredit other religions would also discredit their religion; however, for some reason religious people refuse to or are unable to see that.

            Or to put it in even simpler terms: Religions are like farts, everyone's stinks but your own.

            My, albeit incorrect, use of the word 'atheist' was an attempt to illustrate this fact.

    •  But... but... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Officious Intermeddler

      are you sure that there isn't someone out there who believes in them all? :)

  •  Interesting that while 91% believe in God (2+ / 0-)

    That only 6% don't believe in God. (how do the remainder fit in?) And also that only 3% call themselves atheists. Don't they know what it means?

    To me all that indicates some conformity pressure. In this current period of religious assertion people seem hesitant to take an independent stance, and that leads me to believe that the numbers are a bit skewed.

    I find myself doing it too. I tend to refer to myself as a non-theist, or sometimes as a 'passive' atheist, to separate myself from the stigma of atheism. (which seems to carry an activist flavor to it)

    It's like coming out of the closet. "I'm an atheist, and I'm proud!"

  •  Buffet Humanist/Spiritiualist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    I like to pick the cool things from different beliefs. I would not be oppposed to being reincarnated if it turned out well. When it is beautiful outside and the birds are singing and the dogs are playing I glory in the "creator" who might be a pootie, a wise old dog,  an irritated goth woman having a good day ect ect....

  •  Christ Is Risen/Christos Anesti (8+ / 0-)

    I am  a Greek Orthodox Christian.  

    I strongly believe that faith is very personal, and we all should have tolerance towards each other.

    For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; I was naked and you gave me clothing,. . . Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."
    Matthew 25: 35-40

    Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official... ~Theodore Roosevelt

    by Pam from Calif on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:01:29 PM PDT

  •  Pleased to meet another animist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    and rather shocked, to be truthful.
    Here's my spiritual trajectory from age 12 onward:
    Methodist, ceremonial mage, fundamentalist Christian (very very very short-lived), Mormon (loved the people, thought the hierarchy and dogma were nuts), Wicca, Hinduism (still retain some), Buddhism (still retain some), Celtic neopagan,polytheistic animist.

    I believe. The problem has always been that the more organized religion becomes, the less spiritual it becomes to me. Even Wiccans and Neopagans are basically too dogmatic; in fact, many of them are as judgemental and authoritarian as fundamentalist Christians. I don't label things "Good" and "Evil" but I do think that there are nurturing and loving spiritual paths and there are fearful and destructive ones.
    Everything has spirit. The Earth is alive.
    The best way I can describe the polytheistic part is that I believe regions, places, maybe times/eras, all have an over-arching and inclusive spirit that is greater. I've just always believed this, from the time I was a child, and tried very hard to cram it into various other "systems" so that I could feel that I belonged to some tribe.
    My father was probably an animist, but he obediently attended church most Sundays. My mother was more a Christian transcendentalist. They settled on the Methodist church because a neighbor went there and invited them to a potluck, and they very much liked the minister. When that minister left a few years later, they didn't like the new one and they stopped going to church.

  •  I want to be called Loretta n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, crose, wayoutinthestix

    Fierce defender of liberty.

    by Slgalt on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:03:43 PM PDT

  •  My devotion to Christianity waxes and wanes with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, wayoutinthestix

    The stupidity of the religion's extremists. Right now I'm in a pretty down cycle. Way down. Since like 1993 or so. It got way worse every year. Especially last year.

    Enjoy your Jesus baskets tomorrow. I'm going in to the office to catch up some stuff.

    "With great power comes great responsibility." -- Stan Lee

    by N0MAN1968 on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:04:03 PM PDT

    •  Feel oppressed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      N0MAN1968

      by the religionists, myself.
      Wish for a Church full of light but there are dark places in every one.  The last decade has been distressing.
      Find comfort with the Gospel of John, Thomas Merton, Paul Tillich, Emmylou Harris, some sweet, strong souls who have passed by.
      Christian, gnostic type, old sinner.
      As for the Risen Christ? He is the ardent ones who exist through time.

  •  I believe in Jesus, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, audemocrat, khereva

    the love of God incarnate, who forgave the people who crucified him, and is risen, out of pain and humiliation and death. The strength of love, the sign of an indestructible life.

  •  and to answer the question in your title (3+ / 0-)

    in 59 different languages:

    <div align="center">

     


       
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                           
    English:Christ is Risen!Indeed He is risen!
    Albanian:Khrishti unjal!Vertet unjal!
    Aleut:Khristus anahgrecum!Alhecum anahgrecum!
    Alutuq:Khris-tusaq ung-uixtuq!Pijii-nuq ung-uixtuq!
    Amharic:Kristos tenestwal!Bergit tenestwal!
    Anglo-Saxon:Crist aras!Crist sodhlice aras!
    Arabic:El Messieh kahm!Hakken kahm!
    Armenian:Kristos haryav ee merelotz!Orhnial eh harootyunuh kristosee!
    Aroman:Hristolu unghia!Daleehira unghia!
    Athabascan:Xristosi banuytashtch'ey!Gheli banuytashtch'ey!
    Bulgarian:Hristos voskrese!Vo istina voskrese!
    Byelorussian: Khrystos uvaskros! Sapraudy uvaskros!
    Chinese:Helisituosi fuhuole!Queshi fuhuole!
    Coptic:Christos anesti!Alithos anesti!
    Czech:Kristus vstal a mrtvych!Opravdi vstoupil!
    Danish:Kristus er opstanden! I sandhed Han er Opstanden!

           (or Sandelig Han er Opstanden!)
    Dutch:Christus is opgestaan!Ja, hij is waarlijk opgestaan!
    Eritrean-Tigre:Christos tensiou!Bahake tensiou!
    Esperanto:Kristo levigis!Vere levigis!
    Estonian:Kristus on oolestoosunt!Toayestee on oolestoosunt!
    Ethiopian:Christos t'ensah em' muhtan!Exai' ab-her eokala!
    Finnish: Kristus nousi kuolleista! Totisesti nousi!
    French:Le Christ est ressuscite!En verite il est ressuscite!
    Gaelic:Kriost eirgim!Eirgim!
    Georgian:Kriste ahzdkhah!Chezdmaridet!
    German:Christus ist erstanden!Er ist wahrhaftig erstanden!
    Greek:Christos anesti!Alithos anesti!
    Hawaiian:Ua ala hou `o Kristo!Ua ala `I `o no `oia!
    Hebrew:Ha Masheeha houh kam!A ken kam! (or Be emet quam!)
    Icelandic:Kristur er upprisinn!Hann er vissulega upprisinn!
    Indonesian:Kristus telah bangkit!Benar dia telah bangkit!
    Italian:Cristo e' risorto!Veramente e' risorto!
    Japanese:Harisutosu Fukkatsu!Jitsu ni Fukkatsu!
    Javanese:Kristus sampun wungu!Saesto panjene ganipun sampun wungu!
    Korean:Kristo gesso!Buhar ha sho nay!
    Latin:Christus resurrexit!Vere resurrexit!
    Latvian:Kristus ir augsham sales!Teyasham ir augsham sales vinsch!
    Lugandan:Kristo ajukkide!Amajim ajukkide!
    Malayalam (Indian):Christu uyirthezhunnettu!Theerchayayum uyirthezhunnettu!
    Nigerian:Jesu Kristi ebiliwo!Ezia o' biliwo!
    Norwegian:Kristus er oppstanden!Han er sannelig oppstanden!
    Polish:Khristus zmartvikstau!Zaiste zmartvikstau!
    Portugese:Cristo ressuscitou!Em verdade ressuscitou!
    Romanian:Cristos a inviat!Adevarat a inviat!
    Russian:Khristos voskrese!Voistinu voskrese!
    Sanskrit:Kristo'pastitaha!Satvam upastitaha!
    Serbian:Cristos vaskres!Vaistinu vaskres!
    Slovak:Kristus vstal zmr'tvych!Skutoc ne vstal!
    Spanish:Cristo ha resucitado!En verdad ha resucitado!
    Swahili:Kristo amefufukka!Kweli Amefufukka!
    Swedish:Christus ar uppstanden!Han ar verkligen uppstanden!
    Syriac:M'shee ho dkom!Ha koo qam!
    Tlingit:Xristos Kuxwoo-digoot!Xegaa-kux Kuxwoo-digoot!
    Turkish:Hristos diril-di!Hakikaten diril-di!
    Ugandan:Kristo ajukkide!Kweli ajukkide!
    Ukranian:Khristos voskres!Voistinu voskres!
    Welsh:Atgyfododd Crist!Atgyfododd yn wir!
    Yupik:Xris-tusaq Ung-uixtuq!Iluumun Ung-uixtuq!
    Zulu:Ukristu uvukile!Uvukile kuphela!
    </div>

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:06:26 PM PDT

  •  Wow... We really ARE the reality based community (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, wayoutinthestix

    51% and counting...

  •  Two of the above (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    Jewish and Atheist/Agnostic/Whatever.

  •  Zen says dogma's the root of all evil in religion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Pink Lady

    According to the Zen-jin, religion takes a wrong turn the moment you get into heavens, hells, original sins, martyrs spend eternity with 72 virgins, purgatories, it's a sin to mix dairy with meat  . . gimme a break.

    Think about it - dogma is the launching point from where people start getting red-in-the-face mad with each other. It's the start of the wrong road.

    Realizing this, the Boddhisatva said to lose all the nonsense, and look at self-discovery, ethics, treatment of others, discipline, truth and hard work, and meditation as a hallmark of one's belief system.

    "When Siddhartha has a goal, he does nothing. He thinks, he waits, he fasts. He goes through life like a stone through water." - H. Hesse, Siddhartha

    by thenekkidtruth on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:09:23 PM PDT

  •  Atheist now courtesy of fundamentalists/neocons (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, North Coast Ohioan

    Grew up a midwestern Methodist with a grandfather who was a protestant minister. Have struggled most of my life to try to reconcile all the disparities. Now am having a really freeing and wonderful time letting it all fall away. Just read Madyln Murray O'Hare's speech back in 1986 in which she says what the fundamentalists are doing to our country way back then.

    Still doing it today.

    They cause much harm and do NOT behave as Christians, but as whiny spoiled ideologues who are afraid that somebody somewhere is having a good time.

  •  Christian, not protestant, not catholic. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Ky DEM, lazybum

    A follower of Christ. Yes I believe he has risen.

    Eveyday I believe it.

    •  I respect that... I really do. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theboz, wayoutinthestix

      I just don't for the life of me understand it.

      I am deeply curious, and I hope you don't mind me asking:

      Do you really believe that over half of the posters in this diary are going to burn in hell for eternity, and if so, that that reflects a 'loving' god?

      Or to take it one step further, for the purpose of illustration: that a sadistic child-molester/murderer, who converts to Christianity on his death bed, will go to heaven...while an altruistic, kind-hearted, and loving human being will burn in hell because she is an atheist?

      How do you wrap your head around that?  Seriously.

      •  I am not America08, but as a fellow Christian (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sobermom

        can I just jump in here and say - No, I totally do not believe, nor was I ever taught - that non-Christians are going to Hell. And as a Roman Catholic I was taught that what you DO is way, way more important than what you SAY.

        I could not wrap my head around your scenarios, and I don't personally know any Christians who espouse those "beliefs".

        Lisa

        I don't care what Armando does for a living.

        by Boston to Salem on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:57:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Umm... I'm confused... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sobermom

          'whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life'  (John 3:16)

          I do not believe in him, therefore I shall perish and not have everlasting life.  Yes?

          •  ummm, no (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sobermom

            Unless you are interpreting the Bible literally, which most Christians (and educated peoples regardless of their religion) do not.

            Lisa

            I don't care what Armando does for a living.

            by Boston to Salem on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 07:09:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Boston to Salem - if you have to start with (0+ / 0-)

              ummm - then you should know that you do not understand the teaching completely.

              You are incorrect in what you think about taking the Bible Literally, and you should not talk like an authority for "most christians" nor imply that only those who do are uneducated.

              Have you read the Bible yourself, from cover to cover?
              And if so how many times?

              If you can not answer that with more than once, than I would say you are uneducated. You would know that in the Bible is says that the "Word is the way".

              •  It doesn't matter how many times (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Boston to Salem

                you've read the Bible cover to cover, if you don't understand what you've read.  If you are a literalist, then you must obey ALL the rules, not just the ones you like.

                I think that I shall never see, a billboard lovely as a tree. Perhaps unless all billboards fall, I'll never see a tree at all. - Ogden Nash

                by Grannus on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 11:12:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes it does matter, because each time you read it (0+ / 0-)

                  you understand more, and maybe even differently.

                  If you had read it more times, you would understand that to be true.  Also if you are reading it and don't understand it, it maybe that you are not really trying to understand it, and sometimes a concordance helps, because the verse are intertwined in different parts of the books, therefore the understand gets intertwined.

                  And you are correct, it is about obeying the entire text. Not just parts that are easy, or that you like.

                  •  That makes no sense to me. (0+ / 0-)

                    I spent 12 years in Catholic school and was never, ever taught to interpret the Bible literally. And yes, I have read it "cover to cover" several times, as part of my religious education.
                    And I hold my ground that properly educated people do not take the bible literally, as you would then be ignoring the history of the bible, the fact that it has been translated numerous times and it's words and meanings have been manipulated and shifted over time.

                    Lisa

                    I don't care what Armando does for a living.

                    by Boston to Salem on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 07:03:58 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Do you really think the Catholic church wants you (0+ / 0-)

                      to think for yourself about God, religion, and the church?  Spending 12 yesar of education from k up does not constitute properly educated in religion, it only means you were taught to not question your teaching. Basically the same as brain washing. Did you ever have any instructor or priest who told you to read the Bible from cover to cover and not some little verse they took out to pronounce in rote in class or service?

                      You would be one of the first Catholics that I have ever heard of that has read the bible from cover to cover, word for word.

                      The bible has been translated many times, true, you have to be careful of the translation for sure, and not only that you have to use original meaning from Hebrew words.

                      I do not have to ignore any history in the old testament or new, nor have I, you are the one that is ignoring history in the old testament, if you think that God does not set standards, and is a judgemental GOD, through out the old testament are several examples.

                      I would tread lightly over your idea of "not taking the Bible literally" as that gives an open door to people who founded their own version of religion and have since written their own book for their followers to follow, including the pope.

                      •  There is no point in any further discussion. (0+ / 0-)

                        with you. You are coming across as extremely judgemental and closeminded, and you are making huge assumptions about me, my religious education and my faith; in short you are insulting.

                        Done with you.

                        Lisa

                        I take the bible seriously, but not literally.

                        by Boston to Salem on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 05:20:40 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

          •  No. Logic doesn't work that way. (0+ / 0-)

            Rather, if you do not end up having everlasting life, then one might conclude that you did not believe.

            The problem of your turning a purpose clause into a free-standing law of nature is left as an exercise of the reader.

            If we would be the Land of the Free, we must again become the Home of the Brave.
            Justice Holmes: "When you strike at a King, you must kill him."

            by khereva on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 08:41:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  By those words you are not a true Christian (0+ / 0-)

          A true Christian believes the words only through faith in Jesus Christ can anyone find salvation and eternal life. It is the very foundation that the church is based on. The New Testament is very specific and absolute regarding who is to be saved and who shall perish in hell. One does not require a reading of Dante's Divine Comedy to understand how the rest of us are depicted by Christians and what Christians believe our fate to be.

        •  Boston to Salem - you are using the catholic (0+ / 0-)

          teaching, I do not believe as a catholic. As a catholic you need to read the scripture yourself from cover to cover and then do it again, and don't let any priest tell you what to believe, if you can read you can understand.

          You are incorrect to think that God my be all forgiving, example after example in the old testament does not support your position. God is a vengeful GOD, while also being a forgiving GOD. A loving God to those who follow his will.

          I believe that God has given directives to follow, I believe that God blesses those who follow his teaching and tries their hardest to follow.

          The Officious Intermeddler asked about "are going to burn in hell"

          My answer: is I can not say, Judgement is unto the Lord  (not me). As for those who do evil, than you ask about their going to heaven after being forgiven, that is also unto the Lord, but I will say that no matter what the ill will done on earth to another/or for wrong in general, there is always suffering back (hence the what goes around comes around) another example, that if you drive while drunk and hit a tree, end up with a broken back and live in a wheelchair, you may be sorry and change  your ways, beforgiven, but you will live in a wheel chair for the rest of your life.

  •  ΚΑΛΟ ΠΑΣΧ (4+ / 0-)

    to all my fellow 17 Orthodox out there :)

    2006: The year the Donkey went Rocky on the Pachyderm

    by marcvstraianvs on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:14:24 PM PDT

  •  LOL! a hive of Godless secular progressives! (0+ / 0-)

    according to the poll results

    -------------------------------------------------------
    Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

    by SFOrange on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:16:03 PM PDT

  •  Almost skipped this diary because of the title. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mn humanist

    However, that's not what I have in mind at the moment. I want to explore, I don't know, call it the ...uh... "demographics" of religious belief/unbelief, focusing on three questions - none of which seeks to learn why you think somebody else's beliefs are completely ridiculous or absolutely right on. I want to know about your beliefs.

    To me, the title sounds like only certain parties are invited. The diary, of course, is more inclusive, but I wonder how many others considered or actually did avoid it...

    "Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime." -- Ernest Hemingway

    by spread the word IRAQ NAM on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:17:02 PM PDT

  •  I thought it was (0+ / 0-)

    snark and my first reaction was "Who?  David Blain?"

    Jewish/Agnostic/whatever works for you, dude.

  •  Is he risen? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    Couldn't say.  don't know.  And, don't particularly care.

    For awhile now, the question has been unimportant for me.  I guess that means I'm not a Christian, since his "risenness" is at the heart of the matter.

    Raised a Southern baptist.  Raised my children in the Lutheran Church (ELCA). Now, my inner work is following the path of Buddhist psychology.  I'm not a Buddhist, but attempting to follow it's path to "freedom" sure seems to make me a more peaceful, skillful sort of guy.  

    "It is up to the most conscious member of the relationship to create the space for the relationship to grow." Ram Dass

    by bosuncookie on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:20:42 PM PDT

  •  He is NOT risen (4+ / 0-)

    Ex-devout Catholic.

    I am an atheist though I prefer to call myself an antitheist. That means I actively oppose religion whenever I encounter it.

    Agnosticism is a bad joke, spineless logic grasping for vulgar respectability, the intellectual equivalent of a limp dick. It assumes a crass equi-probability between the existence and non-existence of god(s).

    And, no, Jesus is not risen. He's as dead as a lump of ice.

    For every descriptive proposition, there must be objective, verifiable evidence. If you make a descriptive claim - e.g., 'there is a god' or 'Jesus is the son of God' or 'the earth is flat' - but provide no inter-subjectively verifiable evidence,  I consider your claim bullshit and deserving of ridicule.

    A question to theists - how come you are atheists with respect to all gods but the one you believe in?  On what grounds do you differentiate their truth value?

    Man is the measure of all things. Of things that are that they are; of things that are not, that they are not. - Protagoras (ca. 380 BC)

    by ManIstheMeasure on Sat Apr 07, 2007 at 06:24:17 PM PDT