The Little Birds Fly

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50 Day Question Challenge 2016 - Day 3
Image result for spiritual animated gif

3. Are you religious or spiritual?

I think of myself as a stoic plodder and am probably more agnostic than either atheist or religious. I am not fond of sterotypes, but I would say I am spiritual - however, I would argue that can't people be a bit of both?  The question infers you can have either/or rather than both.  Some get hung up on doctrines, concentrating on judgment or hatred, rather than the messages of love behind it. I was brought up in a Christian Spiritualist family, which changed more towards the New Age movement in the mid/late seventies. For a while, I followed that path.  I concede that there were some very salient points, but at times, it was just plain flaky.  In my mature adult life, I have largely left that side of my life behind, but I keep an open mind.

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I tend to think 'spiritual' is just a 'woo-word' synonym for 'imaginative'.
Some people cannot acknowledge the wonders of our imaginative lives within ourselves, as part of our brain chemistry and function, and prefer to project them on to (fictional) external agents.
I value the world of the imagination and fantasy, but I know that it is my internal world. it is not an objective/external reality.

It seems to me that 'religion' deliberately obfuscates this: it's a live-action FRP game in which the players have either forgotten or wilfully deny that it is a game, that the rules are man-made by long-dead human GMs and there is no celestial GM in reality. When they dispute the rules, they can even kill each other over what is, basically, "fandom-wank".

Interesting - I never thought of it like that. Very well put.

Actually, everytime I reread this, it makes me smile more and more

Thanks. It's a conclusion that's taken half a century to hone. I was brought up on a range of mythologies (Greek, Norse, Celtic, Iranian), and always found it bizarre that at school (ostensibly non-faith, but not so in practice because of the 1944 Education Act) we were supposed to treat only one (the Judaeo-Christian mono-god) as somehow 'real-world' true, despite its evident implausibiities. I shopped around, and learned that the aesthetic buzz one can get from religion-as-performance-art (the music, artworks, architecture & c) is something people seem to con themselves into thinking comes from their mythical beings of choice, rather than being the high that human-made art gives us.

I've been accused of being a 'New Atheist', except I'm not remotely new. I value art and mythology and story-telling, but I think it's important to remember they are all human-made. All gods are creations of the human imagination: ultimately, we control them, not vice versa. One of the strengths of Classical mythology was that the narratives were flexible and open to being re-written by playwrights and poets. There was none of the text-fetishism and labelling of alternative versions as 'heresy' which is one of the most pernicious legacies of the Middle Eastern mono-god cults. When people acknowledge that myths are man-made and exist to serve us (not the other way around), they can be made more responsive to our changing needs as a society and as individuals; instead of people enslaving themselves to myths that no longer reflect their lives and values.

Edited at 2016-11-14 05:44 pm (UTC)

I agree, you can be both religious and spiritual at the same time and in whatever field you choose. There's a line from 'Dogma' - "God doesn't care what you believe as long as you believe in something."

That's me to a T.

I agree - I just get a bit testy with those who want to enforce their dogma on to you. That just gets up my nose big time :-/

Same here. I believe religion is a very personal thing and should be treated as such. I won't tell you how to believe and vice verse. It's not a hard concept to grasp.

I have a problem with people making 'real world' truth-claims that violate physics and biology. Keep mythology as mythology in the realm of the imagination.

maybe just human or some mammalian subspecies..

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