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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Wanting to Explore Religion - May 20th 2018, 05:20 PM

Hi everyone,

So...my family had to put our dog down about 36 hours ago. We'd had her for 10 years, since she was a pup, and we all really miss her. It's just been a very difficult couple of days around here...we all feel absolutely horrible.

Anyway, the grief in itself is not the point of this thread.

I consider myself an atheist. I believe in science, and I have difficulty believing in what cannot be scientifically understood. I have no reason to believe in a deity or an afterlife. To me, if something cannot be scientifically tested, it shouldn't be taken on faith. I say this not to offend anyone, but to explain my views as they are now. I hope you all know that I absolutely respect you and your beliefs no matter what.

All of that said, with my dog passing away, I find that I very much wish I was more religious or spiritual and believed in something beyond the life that we know. Because right now, my beliefs tell me that my dog has just ceased to exist...there is nothing, there is emptiness. And I want reason to believe that there is more to it than that...that she is in a beautiful place where everything is fine and she will never suffer again.

I just...don't know how to reconcile my belief in science and what we can understand with more spiritual ideas that require faith. I want advice on how people do that reconciliation, and on how I can start exploring different religions and spiritual traditions and ideas. I ordered a New International Version Bible and plan to start reading it (if nothing else, I want to learn about it from an intellectual perspective, and have wanted to for a while...just so I understand more). Any suggestions or words of wisdom would be appreciated.

to all of you


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last updated on 11/11/17
   
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Re: Wanting to Explore Religion - May 20th 2018, 06:22 PM

Hey Chris,
Wanted to start by saying I'm very sorry for your loss.
Next is the religious stuff. Obviously religion and spirituality can be really personal but it is also about connecting with others in the community and sharing it. If you know what you want to explore, you can try finding a local group of people who are practicing said tradition or religion.

I can also offer you my perspective based on Jewish teachings. I also know that some of the most famous physicists believed in a higher power. Religion and science are two ways to understand the unknown and mysterious but in traditions that are earth based
, the convergence of science and religion may be seen more clearly. Studies such as Tai Chi, Feng Shui, meditation and energy healing can be also ways science and spiritual overlap. Anything to do with healing, medicine I suppose including psychological healing.

You said you don't believe in God at this point but do you believe in the concept of a soul?
If you start exploring the soul and what it means and how to nurture your soul, maybe that would be a start. You can also try reaching out to a higher power. You can write it or say it out loud when you're alone or put headphones to make it look like you're talking another person. Just say, "I know you're not scientifically proven but I want to connect with you, please show me how" or whatever you feel. This was just an example.

I'm willing to discuss is more with you if you would like. I'm not necessarily totally religious myself but this is something I've tried. Prayer is a powerful tool. That's something scientifically backed up Science falls short if it isn't integrated with art and spirituality. That's my personal opinion anyway. Best of luck with your journey
   
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Re: Wanting to Explore Religion - May 20th 2018, 07:12 PM

Hey Chris,

First of all, I want to say I am so sorry for your loss. It is never easy losing a pet. My best friend recently lost her pet of ten years, and she is still grieving for the loss three months later. There's no limit for grief, remember that.

Getting on topic, I can definitely relate to you when it comes to the science and I can also relate with wanting to believe in something else, a greater power that isn't science and not necessarily God. Finding your religion, where you belong is a very personal journey. I think it's going to take some time to know exactly where you belong.

Different religions teaches different things, they have different philosophies, they practice prayer and meditation in their own way. I would suggest making a list during a calm, peaceful moment, and write down what your beliefs are. Use this as a form of meditation to some extent, and use that to dig deeper, do some research and find what you can relate to.

You are not going to find what you are looking for on the first try, and it is so important to remember that. When you come to the realization that a practice is not right for you, don't look at it as a failure. Look at it as a learning experience.

All the best.
   
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Re: Wanting to Explore Religion - May 20th 2018, 07:51 PM

Hey,

I guess my worry is that I will end up "faking" something just for my comfort. I don't want to adopt something just because of this...

As for believing in a soul, I really don't know. I would like to but I'm not sure that I do. Certainly I think that the brain is amazing and we transcend the sum of its parts in some ways.


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last updated on 11/11/17
   
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Re: Wanting to Explore Religion - May 20th 2018, 09:05 PM

It's still pretty soon after your loss to really know anything for sure. I would give it a couple weeks and if that feeling is still there, then it might be helpful to explore it more. I think it could just be the grief talking and wanting to understand what happens that's really taking over right now.

Best of luck.
   
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Re: Wanting to Explore Religion - May 24th 2018, 12:53 AM

Hey there,

I think exploring religions can be kind of fun. I know you are worried that you'll be faking something for comfort but I don't think that will end up being the case. I suppose I could be wrong but I used to fake certain beliefs for comfort and it was really constricting. I have heard other people voice having similar feelings when they are faking their belief.

The main reason I think exploring religion can be fun or a good thing is even if you don't come out believing 100% it can give you knowledge and open your eyes to different perspectives. I have a decent knowledge about religion and I find that while I don't believe 100% in God I do find comfort in the idea that there's a possibility of a higher power and the possibility of us having souls etc. While this might not be what you take away from exploring religion it is possible that you will still take something away.

Wishing you the best and I hope this helped in some ways.


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Re: Wanting to Explore Religion - June 4th 2018, 04:56 AM

Hey Chris,

I want to start off by saying that I am very sorry for the loss of your dog. Loosing people/pets that we care about is always hard. I will keep you in my thoughts.

On the topic of exploring religion though, I think its a great idea. i would maybe make a list of all the religions that you are interested in learning more about and start from there. There are tons of great resources and if you were comfortable with it, you could always attend sermons, or masses, or temple for these religions to see if it is right for you, if that particular faith has meetings, cause not all do. Like you said if nothing else you can learn about each of the faiths in an Intellectual perspective.

I was raised very strict christian, we were not allowed to even learn about other religions or parts of Science in High school because it went against the belief system that we were raised in. As an adult, I have branched out, and left the faith and learned tons about all kind of faiths in my journey to find where I fit, and where my beliefs most align. I think for me, I believe that if you believe it exists. So if you believe in one higher power being god then he is real for you, and if you are polytheistic then your gods are real for you. Each path and each experience is different for everyone, and it's important to know that you probably might not find what is right for you on the first go (and if you do that is okay too). Just make sure that the sources that you get your information from are credible, and If you can I would recommend talking to people within the community of the faiths you explore they can be some of the most helpful people.

Good luck with your search!

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