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Author Topic:   Religion v Spirituality
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 46 of 161 (449960)
01-20-2008 12:28 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by Woodsy
01-18-2008 10:29 AM


Re: Knowable spirituality
Spot on Woodsy.
"Numinous" perfectly describes the feeling of wonder at the natural world that many of us are lucky enough to experience. I think that it is worth letting religious believers know that this feeling is not confined to the religious experience.
I dislike "spirituality" for much the same reasons as Larni has described. If a person does not believe in the supernatural and specifically in the existence of a soul or spirit, then I cannot see that the word "spirituality" could have any useful meaning. Too often people use spirituality as a sort of net, in which to catch often unrelated ideas and describe them under a single banner. A bit of sympathetic magic here, a little pagan imagery there, all topped off with a dash of moral philosophy. Calling all this spiritual is a neat way of presenting all this in a positive light, as though it were part of a single philosophy. The new age movement are most guilty of this.
"Energy" is another catch-all term that is misunderstood by many and it is frequently misapplied (sorry Heinrik), especially in contexts where the word "magic" might be better suited. Things like crystal healing or reiki are essentially kinds of magic, but modern people are usually a bit ashamed to say that they believe in magic, so words like "energy" and "spirituality" are vague enough to become popular substitutes.
I would speculate that the enthusiasm for spirituality is most prevalent in countries where religion has become somewhat marginalised. Many people in the West have abandoned organised religion, but are not ready to let go of superstitious thinking altogether. Spirituality is just a way of clinging on to religiose behaviour.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by Woodsy, posted 01-18-2008 10:29 AM Woodsy has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by pelican, posted 01-20-2008 9:00 AM Granny Magda has replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 53 of 161 (450129)
01-20-2008 10:15 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by pelican
01-20-2008 9:00 AM


Re: Knowable spirituality
Hello Heinrik,
You have a good point. I'm not going to dispute that the usual meaning of the word "numinous" is almost as wrapped up in the supernatural as "spiritual". There are important differences that make it preferable though.
The etymology of "numinous" is not as explicitly supernatural as "spiritual".
Wikipedia writes:
Etymologically, it comes from the Latin word numen, which originally and literally meant "nodding", but was associated with meanings of "command" or "divine majesty".
So only an association in the root word, not an explicit religious statement. Here's another definition.
Dictionary.com writes:
numinous \NOO-min-us; NYOO-\, adjective:
1. Of or pertaining to a numen; supernatural.
2. Indicating or suggesting the presence of a god; divine; holy.
3. Inspiring awe and reverence; spiritual.
It's that last one that is the closest fit for what I am trying to describe. There is a problem for atheists in trying to communicate this feeling, because our culture surrounds it in religious or supernatural imagery and language. If it were just a question of trying to avoid religious words and phrases, I would not care. What makes me interested in this is the argument put forward by many theists, to the effect that atheism must be a barren and depressing world-view, lacking in wonder. I reject this idea. I think that atheists can and do experience a sense of the transcendent, a feeling of inspiration, awe and reverence. Unfortunately, i think that many words have picked up too much baggage for use in this context. "Spiritual" is a the prime example. It has become so associated with religion and especially the new age movement, that its use by an atheist has become confusing. "Spiritual" is a philological lost cause in this respect, whereas "numinous" is more often used in an explicitly non-religious way, as in this example, quoted in the Wiktionary definition.;
Thomas W. Laqueur writes:
Smoking is a ritual, and it has all the numinous force of a ritual.
No-one is suggesting that smoking is religious, but to Laqueur, it feels like that sense of wonderment which many people would recognise as a religious experience.
I think that the use of this word in the sense in which Hitchens employs it is a little bit of a departure from the traditional meaning, but only in a nuanced way. I do feel that it is a necessary usage, if only to stop it becoming degraded in same way as "spiritual". I hope that the above clarifies my thinking on this.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by pelican, posted 01-20-2008 9:00 AM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by pelican, posted 01-21-2008 12:11 AM Granny Magda has replied
 Message 145 by Jaderis, posted 02-24-2008 7:34 AM Granny Magda has not replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 60 of 161 (450413)
01-21-2008 7:41 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by pelican
01-21-2008 12:11 AM


Re: Knowable spirituality
quote:
There is nothing outside of us that doesn't exist within.
I'm not sure what you mean by that, would you care to expand upon it?

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by pelican, posted 01-21-2008 12:11 AM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by pelican, posted 01-22-2008 3:24 AM Granny Magda has replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 64 of 161 (450472)
01-22-2008 4:38 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by pelican
01-22-2008 3:24 AM


Paradox
Yes, well that certainly is paradoxical.
quote:
Everything we are aware of on the outside of us could not exist in our reality without our 'awareness' of it existing. E.g. the flat earth existed until someone had a new idea on the possibilty it could be round. It still existed as flat until it had been experienced and believed by enough humans to change the reality.
However, the reality did not change. The earth was always round but to the believers of the flat earth, that was the reality. The awareness or consciousness or beliefs changed and they all exist within the human psyche.
Those two paragraphs completely contradict each other. You appear to be saying that reality is what we believe it to be, but you then go on to say the exact opposite.
Reality is not not influenced by our perceptions of it. The Earth was round long before anyone was around to imagine that it might be flat. It was still round when people thought it was flat (an idea that was never particularly widespread BTW) and it remains round, whatever we believe or perceive. The idea of a flat Earth may have existed in peoples minds, and it still does, but that doesn't mean it really existed, except as an idea. There is an important distinction to be made here between existence as an idea, within the human mind and existence in objective reality.
quote:
There is nothing outside of us that doesn't exist within.
What about a hypothetical life form, on an undiscovered planet? It would not exist in our minds, but it would still nonetheless be quite real.
One last question; if a tree falls in a forest and only a Big Brother contestant is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by pelican, posted 01-22-2008 3:24 AM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by pelican, posted 01-22-2008 8:08 AM Granny Magda has replied
 Message 68 by Larni, posted 01-22-2008 8:54 AM Granny Magda has not replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 75 of 161 (450651)
01-23-2008 2:40 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by pelican
01-22-2008 8:08 AM


Re: Paradox
quote:
Reality is what we believe it to be and experience it to be, until we become aware and experience it differently. The reality of the earth being round had no impact "on their reality". Until the belief was challenged it stood to be true.
The above statements would make much more sense if you substituted the phrase "world-view" for "reality". Our world-view is governed by our perceptions, but reality itself is not. Reality does not care what you think. The shared reality you talk about would be better described as perception or interpretation of reality, not reality itself.
NWR is right, this topic is in danger of sliding into an abyss of off-topic nonsense. What you are talking about Heinrik, is philosophy, specifically ontology. It has nothing to do with spirituality and your insistence on describing it in those terms only confuses things.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by pelican, posted 01-22-2008 8:08 AM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by pelican, posted 01-23-2008 8:24 AM Granny Magda has replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 83 of 161 (450700)
01-23-2008 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 78 by pelican
01-23-2008 8:24 AM


Re: Paradox
quote:
But magda, I don't mean a 'world view'. I mean reality which only becomes s reality when experienced.
Oh, so you mean a reality that doesn't exist.
quote:
You can have a view but you cannot experience a view.
I'm currently experiencing the view that you are wrong.
quote:
the point about the flat earth was that they had evidence that the ocean fell over the edge, and they could not see land, and believed they were the only inhabitants of the world.
I would love to see your evidence of the seas falling over the edge of the world, but this whole spiel about reality is irrelevant unless you can demonstrate what connection it has to spirituality.
quote:
It was primitive thinking that caused them to experience something as true that actually was not.
No, they experienced a spherical Earth. They interpreted that experience as being one of a flat Earth.
Please drop this rubbish about reality. I am sorry I ever asked. It appears to have no relevance whatever to spirituality and unless you can show that it does, I am loathe to continue this off-topic blather.
quote:
It is in challenging the beliefs we know to be true that will change the world. There is no point in challenging beliefs you believe to be false, is there?
So there is no point challenging fascism, racism or sexism? What codswallop. If you want to challenge an idea that is true, you might start by jumping off a cliff in order to challenge the belief in gravity, but I wouldn't recommend it.
quote:
My reasoning is to look at the global experiences and find the common denominator that links us all together in a spiritual reality. All I can find is our humanity. Us. Each one of us.
So the common link between humanity is that we are all human? Wow. Thanks for that priceless gem of reasoning. Your waffle is typical of kind of circular, meaningless, self-important, pseudo-profundity that I would expect from a sentence containing the phrase "spiritual reality". This is a perfect example of why I dislike the term. "Spiritual reality" my arse.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by pelican, posted 01-23-2008 8:24 AM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 85 by Larni, posted 01-23-2008 11:34 AM Granny Magda has not replied
 Message 90 by pelican, posted 01-23-2008 7:42 PM Granny Magda has replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 93 of 161 (450831)
01-24-2008 9:00 AM
Reply to: Message 90 by pelican
01-23-2008 7:42 PM


Still No Useful Definition of Spirituality
My dear boy, I have made my position perfectly clear, throughout this thread. If I must reiterate, very well.
I contend that spirituality is a meaningless term when used outside of an explicitly religious or supernatural context. When otherwise employed, spirituality becomes a meaningless buzzword, which tends to be used in pseudo-philosophical new-age waffle. Furthermore, everyone seems to have their own meaning for the word, which makes it useless in communicating ideas effectively.
I'm afraid that, as far as I can see, your attempts to define the concept are only helping to prove me right.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by pelican, posted 01-23-2008 7:42 PM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 94 by Fosdick, posted 01-24-2008 7:20 PM Granny Magda has not replied
 Message 101 by pelican, posted 01-27-2008 5:54 PM Granny Magda has replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 116 of 161 (451919)
01-29-2008 8:02 AM
Reply to: Message 101 by pelican
01-27-2008 5:54 PM


Re: Still No Useful Definition of Spirituality
Heinrik writes:
What is your definition of spirituality WITHIN the religious or supernatural context?
Oh, closeness to God, relationship with God, questing after religious truth, unity with the tents of one's chosen faith, unity between body and soul, that sort of thing. This sort of thing in fact;
The Free Dictionary writes:
spir·i·tu·al
adj.
1. Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material.
2. Of, concerned with, or affecting the soul.
3. Of, from, or relating to God; deific.
4. Of or belonging to a church or religion; sacred.
5. Relating to or having the nature of spirits or a spirit; supernatural.
Of course, as an atheist, I don't believe in any of those things, so in a way spirituality still means nothing to me. The point is that "spirituality, when used in an explicitly religious/supernatural context, has a useful meaning, ie, it successfully communicates an idea.
Outside of this context, "spirituality" has had its meaning diluted, by everyone having their own pet definition and general misuse by flaky new-agers. It has become useless as a word, because its meaning is too protean to provide a useful tool in communicating our ideas.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 101 by pelican, posted 01-27-2008 5:54 PM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 117 by pelican, posted 01-29-2008 9:26 AM Granny Magda has replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 120 of 161 (451940)
01-29-2008 10:13 AM
Reply to: Message 117 by pelican
01-29-2008 9:26 AM


Re: Still No Useful Definition of Spirituality
Heinrik writes:
So in my own words, my definition of 'spirituality' is a non-physical entity that is the energy which connects and permeates all living things.
The problem with this definition is twofold. Firstly, your definition is far from widespread, and it has too much competition from other peoples definitions to be clear.
Secondly, there is no such thing as "energy which connects and permeates all living things", save for physical forces such as electromagnetism. If that is what you mean, why not call it "electromagnetism"? Talk of "energy", in my view, an attempt to dress supernatural ideas (specifically the soul or spirit in this instance) in the clothing of science. "The vital principle or animating force within living beings." has no real basis in science and is entirely supernatural in nature. If this "energy" truly exists, please give some kind of evidence to demonstrate that. Until then, I think it is just more woo-woo.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 117 by pelican, posted 01-29-2008 9:26 AM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 122 by pelican, posted 01-29-2008 11:15 AM Granny Magda has replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 127 of 161 (452434)
01-30-2008 11:14 AM
Reply to: Message 122 by pelican
01-29-2008 11:15 AM


Re: Still No Useful Definition of Spirituality
If you wish to avoid accusations of mysticism, then I suggest that you come out and explain exactly what this much-vaunted "energy" actually is. If you cannot demonstrate that it is real, then you are engaging in mysticism.
I agree with Larni, what you are describing is "The Force". It's just fiction, a fantasy idea that appeals to you.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 122 by pelican, posted 01-29-2008 11:15 AM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 128 by pelican, posted 01-30-2008 7:12 PM Granny Magda has replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 129 of 161 (452715)
01-31-2008 6:49 AM
Reply to: Message 128 by pelican
01-30-2008 7:12 PM


Re: Still No Useful Definition of Spirituality
Heinrik writes:
Your preconceived notions about who I am and what I am saying coupled with your preconceived notions of the subject at hand are blocking my ideas before I begin.
Please believe me Heinrik, I have no preconceptions about who you are or what you believe. I am more than happy to judge you (and all other members for that matter) solely on what you say. Any attempt to prejudge you would be fruitless anyway, because this is the internet. I have no idea who you are. You could be anybody.
Heinrik writes:
These make it terribly difficult for me to communicate with both of you.
The only thing that makes it difficult for you to put your ideas forward is that others have expressed disagreement with them. This is a debate board. You must expect disagreement.
I am inviting you to explain your ideas. You say that spirituality is an all-pervasive life energy of some sort. I am asking you to point to this energy and show me that it really exists. Until you can do that, you leave yourself open to the accusation that your definition of spirit describes nothing at all.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 128 by pelican, posted 01-30-2008 7:12 PM pelican has not replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 132 of 161 (457377)
02-23-2008 12:07 AM
Reply to: Message 131 by pelican
02-22-2008 7:14 PM


Re: Internal Energy
pelican writes:
The energy is in the form of beliefs, thoughts, emotions and actions. I believe the source/force is our whole consciousness within the individual.
Obi-Wan Kenobi writes:
The Force is what gives a Jedi his powers. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.
As Larni said...

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 131 by pelican, posted 02-22-2008 7:14 PM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 133 by pelican, posted 02-23-2008 8:44 AM Granny Magda has replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 134 of 161 (457412)
02-23-2008 10:37 AM
Reply to: Message 133 by pelican
02-23-2008 8:44 AM


Re: Internal Energy
Do you not have Google?
Jedi

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 133 by pelican, posted 02-23-2008 8:44 AM pelican has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 135 by pelican, posted 02-23-2008 11:15 AM Granny Magda has not replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 143 of 161 (457572)
02-24-2008 7:18 AM
Reply to: Message 140 by pelican
02-24-2008 6:36 AM


Re: Internal Energy
The point of my story was to show how my ingrained beliefs shaped and or created my life experiences.
None of which has anything to do with energy or spirituality for that matter. You have allowed yourself to drift off into self-referential circular logic. In Message 137 you say;
However, I can personally testify all of my energies from this inside source of belief systems has created my life experiences.
So, to rephrase that into something resembling English, you know that these "energies" are true because you know that they are true. That is not much of a basis for anything except self-congratulatory waffle.
Energy is just a buzz-word when it is used as you use it. It's meaningless. It just makes your ideas sound flaky and you sound foolish.
My concept is very simple, probably too simple to be taken seriously
No, it is too vague and nonsensical to be taken seriously.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 140 by pelican, posted 02-24-2008 6:36 AM pelican has not replied

  
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