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Thread: Religion vs. Spirituality

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    Re: Religion vs. Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by RabidAlpaca View Post
    You're trying to redefine the word atheism to mean all kinds of things.
    I almost want to ask him to define "vegan", or "gay", or "conservative".

    I mean, imagine the possibilities.

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    Re: Religion vs. Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynical View Post
    I personally distinguish the two as follows. Religious is being part of an established system with some form of definitive beliefs and established dictates that one follows. Spirituality is about "experiencing" the divine or supernatural and that can be experienced in many different ways typically through in nature. Say someone meditating in a garden during a sunny day. Both forms do hold to some extent or another a belief in either a deity or supernatural form of existence.
    Does having a spirituality require a "deity" or "supernatural"?

    Can someone be very spiritual about nature for instance? Just really into the natural world without there having to be a supernatural aspect to it?

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    Re: Religion vs. Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post



    I've seen a few pics like the above on Facebook. Raises a few questions that might be worth discussion.

    1) Can one be spiritual without being religious?
    2) Can one be religious without being spiritual?
    3) In your mind, what are the major differences between "religion" and "spirituality"? Does the above pic capture the basic differences?
    4) If there is a god(s), which one might be more important from god's perspective?


    A slightly different question:
    Can Atheists be spiritual?

    A very different question:
    Which of the two, spiritual or religious, is potentially more dangerous?
    IMO, spiritual is communing by yourself. Religious is showing off in front of a crowd.

    Spiritual is not caring what others think. Religious is conforming to what others say.

    Spiritual is quiet. Religion is loud.

    Spiritual leaves others be. Religion will kill others who do not agree.
    "Donald Trump is Jesus to followers of Jesus who reject the actual teachings of Jesus."

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    Re: Religion vs. Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    Does having a spirituality require a "deity" or "supernatural"?

    Can someone be very spiritual about nature for instance? Just really into the natural world without there having to be a supernatural aspect to it?
    Individual beliefs vary from person to person. You can have a group of atheists all of whom may have slightly nuanced variations of particular beliefs. Also atheism from an Eastern perspective would reject the notion of a personal god or force that you pray to in order to get something but still might believe in a supernatural force that permeates the universe and all life. I would say that most if not all people who consider themselves spiritual have some type of believe in the metaphysical or supernatural.

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    Re: Religion vs. Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynical View Post
    Individual beliefs vary from person to person. You can have a group of atheists all of whom may have slightly nuanced variations of particular beliefs. Also atheism from an Eastern perspective would reject the notion of a personal god or force that you pray to in order to get something but still might believe in a supernatural force that permeates the universe and all life. I would say that most if not all people who consider themselves spiritual have some type of believe in the metaphysical or supernatural.
    I understand what you're saying. On some levels I agree. Probably many levels actually.

    I just think a person can be spiritually tuned in to something like nature without there having to be a supernatural element to it.

    I think a Taoist can be spiritual. I don't believe Taoists are deists, or conceptually supernatural.

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    Re: Religion vs. Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    I understand what you're saying. On some levels I agree. Probably many levels actually.

    I just think a person can be spiritually tuned in to something like nature without there having to be a supernatural element to it.

    I think a Taoist can be spiritual. I don't believe Taoists are deists, or conceptually supernatural.
    My objection to that would be that any traditional definition of spiritual involves something metaphysical, for example: relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.


    Atheism is Western thought generally if not definitively rejects any notion of immaterial existence. Western atheism typically are variations of philosophical Naturalism, Materialism, and even Reductionism. My studies of Eastern Philosophy, which is not extensive would try to explain it this way. I believe one of the influences of Buddhism was a rejection of aspects of Hinduism which involved praying to God to get things. So it was observed that many poor hungry people prayed and didn't get things and in most cases they lived a life of suffering. Consider the four Noble Truths of Buddhism:

    The Four Noble Truths

    The truth of suffering (Dukkha)
    The truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya)
    The truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha)
    The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga)


    And the subsequent wight fold path that was developed to address that. So my assessment of Eastern religion is largely a rejection of the Theistic practice of praying to God in order to get something. So in that regard you can still have various forms of spirituality that accept the metaphysical but reject there being a personal entity whom you pray to in order to procure favors.

    The bottom line then for me is that there is a distinction of an Eastern Atheist from an Western Atheist.

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    Re: Religion vs. Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynical View Post
    My objection to that would be that any traditional definition of spiritual involves something metaphysical, for example: relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.


    Atheism is Western thought generally if not definitively rejects any notion of immaterial existence. Western atheism typically are variations of philosophical Naturalism, Materialism, and even Reductionism. My studies of Eastern Philosophy, which is not extensive would try to explain it this way. I believe one of the influences of Buddhism was a rejection of aspects of Hinduism which involved praying to God to get things. So it was observed that many poor hungry people prayed and didn't get things and in most cases they lived a life of suffering. Consider the four Noble Truths of Buddhism:

    The Four Noble Truths

    The truth of suffering (Dukkha)
    The truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya)
    The truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha)
    The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga)


    And the subsequent wight fold path that was developed to address that. So my assessment of Eastern religion is largely a rejection of the Theistic practice of praying to God in order to get something. So in that regard you can still have various forms of spirituality that accept the metaphysical but reject there being a personal entity whom you pray to in order to procure favors.

    The bottom line then for me is that there is a distinction of an Eastern Atheist from an Western Atheist.
    Great post.

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    Re: Religion vs. Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    Does having a spirituality require a "deity" or "supernatural"?

    Can someone be very spiritual about nature for instance? Just really into the natural world without there having to be a supernatural aspect to it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    I understand what you're saying. On some levels I agree. Probably many levels actually.

    I just think a person can be spiritually tuned in to something like nature without there having to be a supernatural element to it.

    I think a Taoist can be spiritual. I don't believe Taoists are deists, or conceptually supernatural.
    So what exactly do you mean by spiritual?

    I enjoy observing nature, but I don't consider it a spiritual pursuit. I consider it a physical, intellectual, and emotional pursuit. Your use of spiritual seems to me like another way of saying something that you enjoy deeply. But I think the word spiritual implies something a bit more than that, and I'm not sure exactly what that something more is. I'm not sure that the word can be seen as separate from the idea that there is a non-physical aspect to human existence, which is also an idea embraced by religious thinking. I'm not so sure spirituality can be extricated from this kind of thinking, and that it is not so different in its nature.
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    Re: Religion vs. Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    1) Can one be spiritual without being religious?
    Yes

    2) Can one be religious without being spiritual?
    In the strictest use of the word "religious", yes, but I'm going to limit myself to the context of the forum and say no

    3) In your mind, what are the major differences between "religion" and "spirituality"? Does the above pic capture the basic differences?
    I think the pics wrong. Religion is a defined and structured, however loosely that may be, belief system that includes details on what you are and are not supposed to do. Spirituality is more vague and the morals are not so strictly defined, but there is still a higher power of some sort there, be it the Ancestors or a Deity.

    4) If there is a god(s), which one might be more important from god's perspective?
    Quite honestly that can depend upon the deity. Some might wants strict adherence, such as how the radical Muslim (not necessarily all Muslims) one seems to want, while others are more "just be good", as can be evidenced by some worshipers of the Goddess.

    A slightly different question:
    Can Atheists be spiritual?
    That really depends.onnhow one views atheism. More radical atheists would claim there cannot be any supernatural anything at all, thus no. Others might believe that while there are no deities per se', that doesn't rule out other supernatural possibilities.

    A very different question:
    Which of the two, spiritual or religious, is potentially more dangerous?
    Neither, in and of themselves. It is the individual being that would make such dangerous.

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    Re: Religion vs. Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by beancounter View Post
    No, a true Atheist can not be spiritual. People who are spiritual usually believe in some form of ambiguous higher power such as "nature" or energy of the universe, etc.

    A true Atheist does not believe in any type of unverifiable force (conscious or not) that controls/brings order to the universe.
    But would not believing only in a higher nebulous power, but no deity, be atheist by the strictest definition?

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