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Author Topic: What does religion give you?  (Read 7181 times)
FierFlye
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« Topic Start: December 17, 2007, 09:00:01 pm »

Ive been asking myself a lot of really basic (and very hard) questions pertaining to spirituality lately.  In a different thread, Soulfire gave me this advice:
One of the first people I came across on my way to here told me to take the time to write down on paper what religion was to me and spirituality and what I wanted out of my path.  It really helped me to ground myself and really give me a map, not that it won't change as I go along, but it helped me see where I am vs. where I was and where I want to be.
(emphasis mine)

And so I ask of you, what do you want out of your religious path?  Where is your spirituality leading you and what do you look to gain from it?
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FierFlye
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« Reply #1: December 17, 2007, 09:05:50 pm »

Here are some of my own answers:

*Relationship with Diety.  Closely connected to the next point.

*feelings of peace and contentment.  The feeling that everything is under control.  And if I'm not the one with the control, then control is in the hands of something bigger than myself, and it will work out in my best interest.

*A 'guide for life'.  Knowledge of how to act in different situations.  Structure for reaching goals.  Roadmap for where I want to go and how to get there.

*Soul-enrichment.  I'm not really sure how to describe what I mean by this, but like how exercise makes your body feel good and problem-solving is good for your brain, except for your soul.

*Self-growth.  Advancement as a human being.
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« Reply #2: December 18, 2007, 07:22:07 am »

Ive been asking myself a lot of really basic (and very hard) questions pertaining to spirituality lately.  In a different thread, Soulfire gave me this advice:(emphasis mine)

And so I ask of you, what do you want out of your religious path?  Where is your spirituality leading you and what do you look to gain from it?

Abridge your list a little and you've got mine.  Cheesy  Relationship with deity/ies, for sure, and self-growth (although that's a little stalled for now, but I keep getting beat over the head with "I know you FEEL like you OUGHT to have recovered 100% from giving birth and fully adjusted to the presence of an infant in your household, but you know, that doesn't make it so and this stuff will still be here when it is so").

I'm a little less certain about a guide for life and soul-enrichment (and yes, I do know what you mean and I don't know how to describe it either).  Soul-enrichment I see as more of an effect of the combination of the relationship with deities and self-growth than as a result of my religion itself, and not something I actively want so much as just something that happens and I enjoy.  (If any of that makes sense.)  A structure for life...  I feel like that's something bigger than my religion, and something I'm constantly developing that my religion is only a part of, and thus I can't really say that it's something I want out of my religion so much as just something I want, full stop.

The one that I will say I outright neither expect nor want from my religion is feelings of peace and contentment.  They're nice when they happen, but not something I seek out from religious sources.  I also...  might have a few tiny control issues sometimes that interfere with feeling terribly comfortable with the "if I'm not the one in control" part of that item.  And I feel like wanting peace and contentment is sort of at odds with wanting self-growth, personally.  It's not usually an easy, peaceful, contented thing in my experience.

Beyond that...  I'm not sure what I want or expect from my religious path.  The relationship with deity/ies is what's really important from a religious perspective to me; it's what makes it religion and not something else.  Beyond that and self-growth...  I'm not actually sure there is anything.  It may be as simple as that.  (Well, deceptively simple.  But you know.)  There are other things I want my religious practice to be, but that's more "things I want to do" than "things I want religion to do for me".
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« Reply #3: December 18, 2007, 07:52:16 am »

And so I ask of you, what do you want out of your religious path?  Where is your spirituality leading you and what do you look to gain from it?

I look for a more active interaction between myself and the Divine, myself and the gods, and myself and the Universe.  (three things, one thing .. yes, both).

I very much feel that religion is a call to action - or at least, FlameKeeping is.  It's a call to improve the world around us as well as ourselves the best we can.

So I guess I look for direction on what to do and what's most in need of doing.  Not that I am where I'm "supposed" to be .. but that I'm making what I am into something better than what I was, and that I will be better yet tomorrow.
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« Reply #4: December 18, 2007, 09:19:17 am »

And so I ask of you, what do you want out of your religious path?  Where is your spirituality leading you and what do you look to gain from it?

My spirituality is my anchor, no matter how convoluted things get I can always just sit and meditate, or get out my Tarot cards and do a spread, or do some rounds with my prayer beads. My spirituality allows me to ground myself. It also give me a connection to the divine which flows all around me, a connection I need in order to sustain my energy. And, as has been said before, it aids me in my self-growth, it pushes me to think about new things in new ways and to look at myself in new ways also.
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« Reply #5: December 18, 2007, 12:05:25 pm »

I’ve been asking myself a lot of really basic (and very hard) questions pertaining to spirituality lately.  In a different thread, Soulfire gave me this advice:(emphasis mine)

And so I ask of you, what do you want out of your religious path?  Where is your spirituality leading you and what do you look to gain from it?

I knew a Christian minster once that asked a similar question. It was what do you want out of God instead, but the idea is the same. When I reflect on that many years ago it seems funny how things change. But enough nostalgia.

What am I looking for...

- I am looking for connectivity and oneness. A sense of being and awareness in the universe. Not in the vein of another person or a father figure in the sky, but just an awareness.

- I am looking for something valid. If I can't test it and prove it in someway I'm more likely to distrust it.

- I am looking for something God-forming. Drawing on Meister Eckhart, I am looking for something to awaken in me what is related to the divine and to grow in that. You might call that soul-improving or something as well. To share a Meister Eckhart quote I love, "The soul is a seed of God. As an oak seed makes an oak tree. A peach seed makes a peach tree. So the soul seed makes God." That's an imperfect translation.

- I am looking for something that makes me happy. Simple and obvious but I have spent time in religious before that did not make me happy. They seemed "right" but did not make me happy.

- I am looking for something that is universal. I cannot content myself with a religion that only works for me. It doesn't matter if other people agree or not, only that if they chose to they could and even if they don't it doesn't matter.

- I am looking for something I can share. Not the religion itself, necessarily, but you know those people you meet that are so content and at one with the world that you are comforted by their presence? That through them it seems like God is smiling? That is what I'd love to share, an unabiding love from God.

I'm sure there is more that I am seeking in my religion but that's all I have at the moment.
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« Reply #6: December 18, 2007, 12:25:06 pm »

And so I ask of you, what do you want out of your religious path?  Where is your spirituality leading you and what do you look to gain from it?

Im looking for awareness outside of myself. If Im not careful I get stuck in a little me shell and forget the rest of the universe exists. I need a philosophy that would force me to see beyond myself and encourages one to extend that which they see as self farther than the norm. Whether I am seeking to connect with a divine being, nature, or just another person, my religion has to involve a relationship outside of myself. When I reach, I have to know that something is reaching back.

All other aspects of my current religion can change but that core drive must remain the same. To know that one is not alone in the crowded room.
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« Reply #7: December 18, 2007, 06:33:51 pm »

- I am looking for something valid. If I can't test it and prove it in someway I'm more likely to distrust it.

I find this interesting, because I have been feeling very skeptical lately.  Most things associated with religion are hard to prove.  How do you go about doing so?
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« Reply #8: December 18, 2007, 07:48:04 pm »

And so I ask of you, what do you want out of your religious path?  Where is your spirituality leading you and what do you look to gain from it?

It can probably be summed up to this: I am looking to be useful; to the deities, to the universe, to humanity. I seek a connection with the deities, to the universe around me and to humanity, but I seek this connection because I seek a sense of purpose--I seek to fulfill a need, or do something that needs doing. I seek direction on how best to fulfill that need: what I should be doing, where I should be going. Not that I might ever truly reach a point on time where I have fulfilled my purpose, but the act of trying to do is the important thing.

The idea of knowing that I am not alone kind of ties into this, and peace, contentment, a sense of control (or a surrender to control in other capable hands), and a sense of sharing all kind of fall under the main idea of striving to be useful.
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« Reply #9: December 18, 2007, 11:15:04 pm »

And so I ask of you, what do you want out of your religious path?  Where is your spirituality leading you and what do you look to gain from it?

My religious path is helping me to learn. To learn about myself, to learn about others, and to learn about the mysterious universe around me. It's a never-ending quest, and that's fine with me.

My spirituality is my anchor

I agree. Lovely way of putting it  Smiley
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« Reply #10: December 19, 2007, 12:22:56 pm »

I find this interesting, because I have been feeling very skeptical lately.  Most things associated with religion are hard to prove.  How do you go about doing so?

Well, it depends on the matter at hand. Usually this is a problem for experiences. I'll give you an example.

I moved recently to a big city from a smaller city that was surrounded by parks and wooded areas. I loved the sense of connection to nature and the oneness with the universe I felt when walking alone in the woods. However, I'm not animistic and always felt it was a connection with the universe (God) not just nature. So when I moved to the city I began to wonder if I was just fooling myself with the awe of nature and how different it is. So I decided to see if I could find the same spiritual experience in the city. After all, if God was within all things (as I believe) I should be able to find Him/Her in the city as well. So I repeated what I did in the woods, taking long private walks to reflect, in the city. While a little harder to zone out since I had to watch out for traffic, I managed to bring back the same feeling of oneness. I found, what I feel, to be God in the city just like I did in the woods. And that helped me feel more valid about it.

I still have my skeptical moments, after all, walking meditation is a common practice in Buddhism and they claim a similar feeling without regard for a God figure. But still, it soothes me to know that I tested the subject and found what I hoped for. Not a perfect, scientific method, but it worked for me.

If it is a theological matter I spend time reflecting trying to draw out where there might be problems. Like when I still considered myself a Christian and I spent time reflecting on the nature of Hell when compared to God. I reduced the idea down to "If God made and loves everyone," which I felt (and still feel) He/She did, then I could see no reason He/She would condemn people to hell since he made them as non-Christians, in Non-Christian cultures, without the benefit of Christian upbringing. That's a simplification of my universalism but it gets the idea across.

Hope that helps.
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« Reply #11: December 19, 2007, 05:54:30 pm »

"If God made and loves everyone," which I felt (and still feel) He/She did, then I could see no reason He/She would condemn people to hell since he made them as non-Christians, in Non-Christian cultures, without the benefit of Christian upbringing.

Wow, I never thought about that before (people who are never exposed to Christianity).  Seems so obvious now. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #12: December 19, 2007, 06:23:14 pm »

Wow, I never thought about that before (people who are never exposed to Christianity).  Seems so obvious now. Roll Eyes

It's one of those strange things I kept in the back of my head as I grew up and learned/read about other countries and cultures in school. But I'm weird. LOL
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« Reply #13: December 19, 2007, 07:07:54 pm »

And so I ask of you, what do you want out of your religious path?  Where is your spirituality leading you and what do you look to gain from it?

A connection to the Divine, both without and within.

I've tried to think of more...but it really all jsut boils down to that.
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« Reply #14: December 19, 2007, 08:19:40 pm »

I reduced the idea down to "If God made and loves everyone," which I felt (and still feel) He/She did, then I could see no reason He/She would condemn people to hell since he made them as non-Christians, in Non-Christian cultures, without the benefit of Christian upbringing. That's a simplification of my universalism but it gets the idea across.

That's a nice concept. Yet I think *some* Christians *may* argue with you by saying you only feel like that because Satan has influenced you, lol.
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