U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-19-2014, 09:32 PM
 
318 posts, read 643,097 times
Reputation: 322

Advertisements

I'm going through an internal conflict right now and I'm not sure what to do about it. I could use some guidance.

I am very confused about religion, which is why I label myself as agnostic. I think there might be a higher power out there; I'm just not sure if it is a god or higher level being. But I feel like something in my life is missing: a deeper purpose or meaning; something to live for other than just getting up and making money. I think I am missing spirituality.

Can an agnostic be spiritual? Or are the concepts mutually exclusive? Can an agnostic have faith in something? I come from a family that was raised Christian but I didn't go to church regularly, and I'm not sure I believe in The tenets of Christianity. But I feel like I am missing something in life. While I have no close family or friends, and that's certainly part of why I feel that my life is meaningless and purposeless, I still feel like I am missing a deeper connection beyond personal relationships. It almost feels like I can't form those personal relationships until I can discover a purpose in living.

I'm sure my post is rambling and confusing. Thanks for reading.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-19-2014, 11:34 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,862 posts, read 3,786,717 times
Reputation: 4594
Quote:
Originally Posted by poopycat View Post
I'm going through an internal conflict right now and I'm not sure what to do about it. I could use some guidance.

I am very confused about religion, which is why I label myself as agnostic. I think there might be a higher power out there; I'm just not sure if it is a god or higher level being. But I feel like something in my life is missing: a deeper purpose or meaning; something to live for other than just getting up and making money. I think I am missing spirituality.

Can an agnostic be spiritual? Or are the concepts mutually exclusive? Can an agnostic have faith in something? I come from a family that was raised Christian but I didn't go to church regularly, and I'm not sure I believe in The tenets of Christianity. But I feel like I am missing something in life. While I have no close family or friends, and that's certainly part of why I feel that my life is meaningless and purposeless, I still feel like I am missing a deeper connection beyond personal relationships. It almost feels like I can't form those personal relationships until I can discover a purpose in living.

I'm sure my post is rambling and confusing. Thanks for reading.
IMHO there is no reason why you can't be a spiritual person but not believe in god. Although I can tell you now there will doubtless be people along who will want you to define 'spiritual', - and I think that varies from person to person. Some people seem to feel absolutely nothing and will tell you 'feelings' are all a figment of your imagination.

To me 'spiritual' is whatever brings you joy and appreciating those things. For me that's my kids, my husband and seeing the world before I die. For others it might be writing, sailing, hiking, painting, loving their pets, reading, theatre - basically whatever makes them happy.
Sounds like you need to dig deep and think about what you really enjoy about life and focus on that. I think we all go through that 'what is life all about?' stage at some point in our lives so don't worry you are not alone. Don't spend too long pondering it, it won't get you far because nobody really has an answer.

I don't know what the meaning of life is, but I know that I get a great deal of satisfaction out of much of life. It can be depressing if you let it, but you can't spend too much time lingering on that. You have to give your life purpose, find the things that give it meaning for you. Set yourself a few ideals and strive for them. Basically life is what you make it.

One of the great things about doubting an afterlife is that you realise that this is the only life you have got. You might get 70 or 80 years if you are lucky. Fill every second. If you don't like it, change it. This is the only life you've got so don't waste it.

I hope that helps.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2014, 05:02 AM
 
Location: Space Coast
1,988 posts, read 4,633,288 times
Reputation: 2749
I think you're mislabeled. An agnostic isn't defined as someone who is on the fence about the existence of a god. It's someone who recognizes that the existence can't be proven or disproven. Most are atheist (don't believe), but there are some who are theistic (do believe). Maybe you can label yourself as 'spiritual but not religious' until you're more sure of your theism/atheism.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2014, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Downtown Raleigh
1,647 posts, read 3,008,353 times
Reputation: 2113
I cannot tell you that what I'm about to say is true for you, but it is true for me. I had no purpose in life to discover. I had to create my purpose in life rather than find it. It wasn't a thing that was out there for me to search for; it was something I had to work to make real for myself.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2014, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,084,119 times
Reputation: 6080
Check out The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by Compte-Sponville. It does a good job of covering this territory. Some of the writings of Jung and his followers dwells on the usefulness of personal ritual and non-theistic or theistically neutral framing of one's thinking. For example, the books He, She and We by Robert Johnson (in fact check out his other books too). Jung's concept of synchronicity is a way of regarding the seeming mystery of some aspects of life in a more clinical and non-dogmatic fashion. This kind of thing seems perfect for someone who can't fully or at all buy theism, yet has a strong intuitive sense that there is "something more".

As others have pointed out, "spirituality" is a squishy term, but I absolutely believe that you can be convinced you live in an indifferent universe and there is no supernatural reality, yet still have empathy, compassion, and caring. That you can embrace certain practices and rituals to reinforce and support that. That you can have satisfying relationships and enjoyable work, and have good reasons look forward to each day, in spite of all the hassles, disappointments and setbacks of life.

Personally I'm too matter-of-fact and pragmatic to be strongly attracted to "spirituality" but I'm not opposed to it, either. I do claim to have empathy and compassion and caring (to a fault sometimes) without it. But it's not everyone's bag, and I get that.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2014, 10:40 AM
 
318 posts, read 643,097 times
Reputation: 322
These are all tremendously helpful posts. Thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2014, 12:28 PM
 
39,070 posts, read 10,842,814 times
Reputation: 5086
Quote:
Originally Posted by poopycat View Post
I'm going through an internal conflict right now and I'm not sure what to do about it. I could use some guidance.

I am very confused about religion, which is why I label myself as agnostic. I think there might be a higher power out there; I'm just not sure if it is a god or higher level being. But I feel like something in my life is missing: a deeper purpose or meaning; something to live for other than just getting up and making money. I think I am missing spirituality.

Can an agnostic be spiritual? Or are the concepts mutually exclusive? Can an agnostic have faith in something? I come from a family that was raised Christian but I didn't go to church regularly, and I'm not sure I believe in The tenets of Christianity. But I feel like I am missing something in life. While I have no close family or friends, and that's certainly part of why I feel that my life is meaningless and purposeless, I still feel like I am missing a deeper connection beyond personal relationships. It almost feels like I can't form those personal relationships until I can discover a purpose in living.

I'm sure my post is rambling and confusing. Thanks for reading.
Your post is perfectly comprehensible, Poopycat (I had one of those). Many have described your feelings in many ways and they are far from uncommon. We are, I am sure, abreast of your post.

In a way, while your feelings that there must be a 'higher power' out there would make you theist rather than agnostic, on the other hand, your doubts about what It might be, would suggest that 'agnostic' is perfectly valid.

And lets face it, nobody - including fundamentalist Muslims and atheists alike, really knows whether there is a god or not, so we are all agnostics - either theist or atheist agnostics.

The Semantic stuff done we can look at your puzzling.

I am not here to try to wean you off Belief of some kind (I am a lifetime atheist, by the way) but to help you find some kind of reasoned way of living with your doubts.

I'd suggest first that it isn't anything to worry about. You are clearly far removed from belief in a vengeful God Roaring: 'Why didn't you worship me? Into perdition with you!' but are thinking of a more Sortagod mind that is running the cosmos, which it (rather than he) created, perhaps. It is a 'God' that quite a lot of people from Einstein to Mystic phd here would recognize, and I myself came to recognize that, if there is Cosmic Mind we could call 'God' it is the god of all peoples and religions, or none.

I still recognize it (Sortagod) as a possibility, while having ruled out any of the personal gods and man - made Holy Books and religions. But you might not have gone that far.

I wasn't going to go into the explanations of this 'something greater' feeling, but since you talk of meanings in life, I suppose I have to.

My view is that there is no real meaning to life, other than survival. The feelings we have such as love, hate, need for society, need for personal worth, need to find assurance that we mean something, that we have a purpose, that someone is looking out for us, that it is all going to come right in the end (no matter how much it may look otherwise at times ) are evolved survival instincts. And religious trust in a divine being that is looking out for all of us and specifically our Tribe is very much one of these.

'In God we trust' can stay on the banknotes - it is an endorsement of Darwinism.

But no God is taking sides (1). If there is one, it cares equally for all of us. Like for instance not in the slightest. In a way that is not a bad thing. Who wants a dictator or Big Boss telling us what to do? Even an invisible one?

Thus, while it may take some mental adjustment, being able to decide for yourself what's important and meaningful in your life is not a bad thing. It is all I have ever needed. Time saved wearing out your knees in church droning to a God who couldn't care less is better spent noting down 1-10 (or A - J if you prefer) what is important to you, and what you consider interesting, worthwhile or valuable. Because aims and objectives fulfill out innate urge to accomplish and make us feel that our lives are worth something.

I agree with the theist, that just drinking your lifetime away because you can't think of anything else to do if not a sin, it is a sinful waste of the Big Lottery win - a life in the west in the 21st c - one of the most exciting times since the Renaissance.

Now i have probably gone on enough, but perhaps that will settle some of your worries and doubts. If only the one about rambling and confusion. If I can get away with it, you can.

(1) split infinitive? Pl advise.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2014, 03:37 PM
 
318 posts, read 643,097 times
Reputation: 322
Thanks.

I should clarify that when I say that I'm unsure of whether there is a higher power, I'm not necessarily thinking that there is some god or life force that is controlling things behind the scenes. It could actually be some sort of scientifically-explained power, or physical energy.

Ok, as I read what I just wrote, I sound like a complete nut! And anything else I dare to write will just make me sound nuttier. So I will stop now and just thank all who replied. I see value in spending some time thinking about my values and what really matters to me. If I outline my personal goals and my own ethical code, perhaps my purpose in life - and ultimately some sort of happiness - will be the result.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2014, 05:56 PM
Status: "Smacking fundies." (set 4 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
25,811 posts, read 13,417,575 times
Reputation: 11675
If you've ever marveled at anything: a baby's grin, the leap of a salmon, breaking dawn - or heard music that made you shiver or weep - you've tapped into your spirituality.

Learn to recognize, and then appreciate the small wonders that surround us daily. For me, that's a form of worship.

Then again, I'm a believer - of the non-biblical, heathen variety.

But even if resolutely atheist, I'm quite sure one can tap into one's spiritual nature.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2014, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,349 posts, read 2,976,604 times
Reputation: 2030
Quote:
Originally Posted by TroutDude View Post
If you've ever marveled at anything: a baby's grin, the leap of a salmon, breaking dawn - or heard music that made you shiver or weep - you've tapped into your spirituality.

Learn to recognize, and then appreciate the small wonders that surround us daily. For me, that's a form of worship.

Then again, I'm a believer - of the non-biblical, heathen variety.

But even if resolutely atheist, I'm quite sure one can tap into one's spiritual nature.
Except...you'll have to drag most of us kicking and screaming before we'll call it "spiritual."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top