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Datasmithy
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So, for religiously minded folks, it's hard for them to separate out their emotional attachments to a given belief, from the validity of the belief itself. When growing up religious, specific beliefs are associated with important human conditions: belonging identity purpose It is hard for the religiously minded to separate specific beliefes from these factors. It feels to them, if you are questioning beliefs, you are attacking their *identity* and purpose. Now, this may have a lot to do with child-hood indoctrination. BUT, as atheists and agnostic humanists, if we really want to change peoples minds, we need to be aware of these emotional connections. We need to give the religiously minded a way to find community, belonging, identity and purpose outside of their specific beliefs.
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I would define spiritual as that state of mind that connects us to a vastness that is beyond our everyday experience. I think that God or Spirit is a (mostly unconscious) metaphor or analogy for those parts of our thinking and experience that *seem* to come from outside our conscious mind. I am very Jungian in this sense, but it's also another way of saying our brains are very complex, and a unitary self-identity may not be as solid or as cohesive as it seems. In other words, there is a *lot* going on in our minds besides what we are conscious of, and connecting or sensing that "other" in ourselves is a lot of what "spirituality" is about. Another part of "spirituality" is about freeing us from the terrorism of our own thoughts, and letting go. I believe all of this is 100% compatible with an athiestic approach to the world.
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5. There is no God. I would change this to: The theoretical existence of God does not assist in explaining real and observable phenomenon. Also, I liked another post where you said "Thou Shalt Doubt", and I wish that made it in this list.
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I think of meditation as swimming in the vast seas of our unconscious mind. When we relinquish focus and control, the vast presence of the unconcious can be sensed. If we sense another presence, it may be our (larger) self. I am very Jungian in this regard. It's another way of saying our brains are very complex, and a unitary self-identity may not be as solid or as cohesive as it seems.
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I just discovered Julian Bagini last week, and I find his thinking to be considerate and thoughtful (he is a philosopher after all :-) Have you read his Heathen's Manifesto? http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/25/atheists-please-read-heathen-manifesto I found it fascinating. I may have to pick up one of his books.
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I have just finished reading "The Ravenous Brain" by Daniel Bor, how the new science of consciousness explains our insatiable search for meaning. Sounds like you might like it. He really gets into the recent discoveries in neuroscience and how the brain works, that help explain consciousness and a sense of self. He is also an atheist, if that matters to you :-)
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Jan 6, 2013