Spiritualism: An Existential Quandary

Discussion in 'Race, Religion, Science and Politics' started by blk_universe, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. blk_universe

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    Why is it that people try to differentiate spiritualism from religion? Maybe I'm missing something, but I have never heard of definition of spiritual(ism) that doesn't describe what many other religious folks describe as a religious experience. I'm just curious to know if there are any people out there who think otherwise or agrees with me? Given that spirituality seems to be intrinsic part of the black community, I wonder how many of us feel connected with that kind of notion?
     
  2. DreG

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    Religion is (in theory) more like the insitution or mass program of bringing a spiritual practice to people.
    Spiritualism is just your beliefs in the grand scheme of things.

    For example you can have knowledge without having an education/degree.A person can be brilliant without attending a university just as you can hold or practice spiritual beliefs without identifying with a religion.

    For me,religion is just a system to make things easier for the masses and push certain agendas,both good and bad.A lot of time it becomes a routine with no direct relevance for the individual and the possible value of the gestures get lost in going through the motions.
     
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  3. Cyrus-Brooks

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    Spirituality is general catch-all term for people who believe in the supernatural realm and ideas like spirits, souls, god or higher power(creator) but don't subscribe to specific religion. They tend to believe there is something or some other existence beyond the physical universe. I think such beliefs are superstitious nonsense. There is no evidence to back up the idea there is anything beyond the physical universe. I'm perplexed why most black people feel the need to believe in metaphysical hocus-pocus.
     
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  4. DreG

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    I think what happens with a lot of people is they were raised with a certain religion and weren't allowed to question it and so they are programmed to think it's the right thing for them.Then if you question it you're seen as wrong or heathenistic.I feel like if you don't believe in something or it's tennets it's better to voice that and to find your own path rather than fake it.

    For me personally,I think reality and the universe behaves in a way beyond what we understand.Like to put it kinda simply,I see the cosmos as a machine and what we call a higher being is the electricity that runs it.Plus i think my level of conciousness cannot be the highest form,but another expression of it exists on a level of which i can't totally concieve.

    Really I think there's more middle ground to science and spirituality than most religious leaders are willing to teach people.To build on my earlier point,if u question the creation story,you're seen as blasphemous,whereas I think the whole "God went by the side of the water" thing means creature came from the ocean and evenutally became humans.However,i if i say that in a baptist church that immediately makes me a non-believer.Religion has to water it down for everyone(you,grandma,Sista Jenkins) to understand.

    I believe you should question anything .The answers strengthen your beliefs or lead you to what you really think.
     
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  5. grownman

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    I like this thread. @DreG summed up my feelings on the subject. I believe that the mere fact that you brought this up-shows that their is a higher level of thinking. And you are trying to obtain it since it "doesn't make sense." I would call that "spiritualism."
     
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  6. African King

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    THIS!!!!!
     
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  7. Cyrus-Brooks

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    @DreG I think it's obvious that most religious leaders don't stray from the orthodoxy of their beliefs because they're invested in having people follow rigid religious beliefs. Straying from accepted doctrines and dogmas crosses into the area of heresy or apostasy. I'm not talking about people who follow specific religions. I'm talking about people who follow the kind of middle-of-the-road, milk toast, nondescript spirituality. I still see even those ideas being irrational. Though I can kinda see why people raised in religious background who no longer believe in religion want to maintain some attachment to the idea of the supernatural. The way I've come to look at the world and physical universe is just because we don't yet understand certain things doesn't mean that there is a supernatural explanation. People once thought earthquakes, storms, volcanic eruptions, sun rises and sunsets were supernatural too. We now know there is nothing supernatural about it. It's a handicap that so many of us rely on magical thinking.
     
    #7 Cyrus-Brooks, Nov 14, 2015
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  8. blk_universe

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    I completely agree with you in regards to your latter point on metaphysical hocus-pocus. I find it odd and troubling that people are quick to ascribe their feelings or sense of morality to something that is supernatural when the physical world provides us with enough grounding for both ideas.

    What I find troubling is the distinction that you draw between spirituality and specific religion. From my understanding their are plenty of religions that do not necessarily have an institution in which they congregate to practice certain rituals or certain certain doctrines. For me, a religion is always based on some spiritual or super natural claim. All the elements that you ascribed to spirituality are the same elements of a religion. I can think of no religion, though I make no claims to be a theologian, that are in practice and do not make some kind of spiritual claim in regards to their specific religion. Do you see why this issue is so perplexing to me?
     
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  9. blk_universe

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    If religion is bringing a spiritual practice to people then how is it really different from spiritualism? In my opinion, your definition of spiritualism is pretty similar to how religions operate. I think belief in the grand scheme of things is just that, belief in the grand scheme of things. Calling it spiritualism seems like an attempt to draw a distinction from religion or religious experience.

    Your examples are interesting but they don't address my point. However, I think you showed just how difficult differentiating the two terms are. When you defined religion you said it was a, "mass program of bringing a spiritual practice to people" and I don't think it necessarily has to be a mass program. Religion can be just for yourself or for a small group of people, like most tribal groups that practice a religion or some spiritual practice that's akin to a religious practice. If that's the case with religion, how can you say spiritualism is like when a person "practice spiritual beliefs"? Most, if not all religions, hold a belief of the "grand scheme of things". I hope you can see why I am still confused?
     
  10. blk_universe

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    The mere fact that I brought it up shows that I'm confused about a certain phenomenon that has troubled me. What I'm trying to obtain is an understanding of something that I do not know. I would call that:
    giphy-2.gif
     
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  11. Cyrus-Brooks

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    I reject the supernatural claims of religion as well. Organized religion also falls into to the category of hocus-pocus. The only difference is lots of people believe in it, but it's just as silly to believe in a virgin birth, Mohammad rode to heaven on a magic horse, as it is to believe in spirits, or believe in the healing power of crystals. There is no evidence to back up anything of that. The physical universe is nothing but elements and molecules interacting nothing more. That doesn't require anything supernatural or magical. Many people disagree with me but I try to think about reality in a rational way.
     
  12. grownman

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    I see both intertwined. But, that's just me-if you choose to call it "science" or "science fiction" that works. Both are above your head and mine. I think that's where some of type of faith or trust comes into play. To even know that their is something to be "confused" about. I think that it's okay to question anything. But faith is in the eye of the believer. Spiritualism and religion are apart of every culture-not just black culture. I come from a strict Pentecostal background and my outlook has severely changed for the better. I realized that was some straight "fuckery" and I grew out of it . I realized that the "religion" I was dedicated to was killing me softly. But, at the time if you questioned me, than I would have been ready to whoop your ass or you mine. One of the two was going to happen. However, I had to mature.
     
    #12 grownman, Nov 14, 2015
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  13. Kouncelor

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    I am one who sees no division between the science and the divine. I recognize that the bible while inspired by God was written by man and and translated by man and is therefore prone to misinterpretations, mistranslations and misunderstandings of socio-cultural contexts and themes (e.g. homosexuality is a sin.. NOT in my book). I do not believe in following a religious leader or practicing a religion/faith blindly. I also recogonize that that parallels can be drawn between writings from mutiple beliefs systems (Bible, Koran, Torah). Hence, I will never criticize anyone elsed beliefs... in some way we are all connected.

    An individuals spiriturality, in earnest, develops based on ones personal experience... something we can not discount or criticize, because it is "personal". The individual may choose to adapt practices or traditions (a religion!) to how they live in their spirituality ... or not. Often times, we grow up practicing a religion, and our sprirituality/faith develop over time... or not or we loose it.

    That being said:
    I have to comment on using the term "hocus-pocus". I believe, while it may not be intentional, that term is insulting, belittling, disrespectful to individuals beliefs. I have not seen any disparaging remarks against those beliefs are otherwise. ijs
     
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  14. DreG

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    How about this,Spiritualism is what you believe,Religion is how you believe.
    to go back to my earlier analogy,you can gain knowledge and enrich yourself in many ways ,as opposed to going to school and doing papers and taking classes.
     
  15. DreG

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    RIGID is the word.

    I see it like this,my thoughts and feelings are have physical traces (chemicals,electricity) but there's still an intangible element to them.I see the supernatural as just being science on an amped up level.My idea of what we call God is the electicity that runs thorughtout the machine that is the universe.I only see it as a handicap when you forget to nourish your mind or do things on your own,or dangerous when you let other's dictate your beliefs.
     
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  16. grownman

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    Exactly. I would also add after reading this thread-it is similar to the "Sellout" one. At least to me, where you had dudes upset because some black men choose not to date them. While I get why their mad mostly because I STRONGLY prefer black men. But that's just the way that it is. Their is really nothing to question because you are drawn to what you identify or are attracted to. It's just that damn simple. Maybe , at some point I may "evolve" and want to try something else but I am happy where I am.

    Some people enjoy the "hocus pocus" that may help them to get what they need in life. I don't agree with a lot of things my mom taught me. I used to get in arguments with her because I discovered a new out look. She didn't want to hear it. I get it now. She was happy where she was. It was not my place to get her to see another way
     
    #16 grownman, Nov 14, 2015
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  17. grownman

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    Some people enjoy the "hocus pocus" that may help them to get what they need in life. I don't agree with a lot of things my mom taught me. I used to get in arguments with her because I discovered a new out look. She didn't want to hear it. I get it now. She was happy where she was. It was not my place to get her to see another way
     
  18. Cyrus-Brooks

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    I'm sure people enjoy cocaine and think that it gives them something they're lacking. That doesn't mean it's beneficial. Relying on hocus-pocus ultimately doesn't spur people to improve themselves or solve problems with practical solutions. It's a crutch, one that cripples many black people.
     
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  19. DreG

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    :wtf: :wtf::wtf:You're against drugs too???
     
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  20. Nick Delmacy

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    Life is short, dull and full of pain...if a little "hocus pocus" helps some people get by and prevent society from turning into The Purge, so be it... I only have a problem with it when they try to impose those beliefs on others through laws, harassment or violence.
     
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  21. Cyrus-Brooks

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    [​IMG]
     
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  22. grownman

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    Who said it anything about cocaine? I didn't. But, what I am saying is that everybody has to go through and will go trough different stages in their life. If it's destructive such as the "cocaine" that you mentioned, maybe the fall will help them to see another way. If their is one that needs to be seen.

    I will agree that religion has hurt black people in that some of us have allowed it to enslave or way of thinking. But, it hasn't done any more to us than any other culture. That's why the assinine "white Christian woman" refused to license the gay couple because of biblical verses. It was so entrenched in her that she locked up herself up in the office. We need to be tolerant of others belief whether we agree with them or not. As long as, they are not force feeding the cocaine to someone else.
     
    #22 grownman, Nov 14, 2015
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  23. Cyrus-Brooks

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    I used cocaine as a analogy. As for tolerating others beliefs my tolerance stops when such beliefs promote stupidity, cruelty, anti-intellectualism, or cowardice. Back to spirituality I agree it's relatively benign in comparison to religion but it still can be summed up with one word, magic. I find it unproductive for adults to believe in magic.
     
  24. grownman

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    I think that is what most have been saying in our own way. We'll rest the "cocaine" "magic," and "hocus poxus" comments. All is well.
     
  25. Jdudre

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    Your talking about more theology or philosophy then science. And as someone pointed out the only real difference between spirtualty and religion is the organization aspect of it, someone can be spiritual and not be religious like if you into Buddhism it's more often then not spiritually,while a religion like Christianity is about the whole God is on top of everybody followed by the church and so on and so forth. And yes it is that narrow of a thing
     
  26. blk_universe

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    It's a bit discouraging if you can't see that the two aren't tied together. Science and science fiction are two separate things, I think you know that. Both do not go over our heads just because they can be complicated. We do not need faith to tell us that the sun will rise the next day or that the chemical makeup of the sun is mostly hydrogen and helium. All one needs is a rational mind and the courage to say "I don't know". The pursuit of clarity through confusion is how we obtain knowledge, not by faith. I think that fact the you have grown out of your Pentecostal upbringing is testament to the point I made about obtaining knowledge. Your ability to find some understanding after you realized that the teachings of the religion of your parents were "straight fuckery" is a fantastic example of how thinking rationally can be more of a benefit, then strict reliance on faith in things you don't understand.
     
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  27. blk_universe

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    I'm honestly confused on how you can claim that there is no division between the divine and science, then go on to say how the divine (God) is an incomprehensible being by men. By your logic, it's impossible to even say that God inspired the bible given the inconsistencies in stories and the multitude of competing claims by all religions about the divine. What we do know is that men wrote the bible and it is very apparent given the subject matter of the book. But since we know better than our bronze age progenitors, we can, for the most part, say that they were wrong about most of the things that they believed in. To your point, I completely agree with you that there is nothing wrong or sinful about homosexuality because we know it is as natural as heterosexuality. That is why we are so connected, because we understand our place in nature; we are social animals called human beings.

    In my opinion your personal experience is rooted in how you experience the physical world. Simply put, its just your belief. There's no need to go further and make claims that someone how you have experience things that lie outside the bounds of our physical reality. I mean you have every right to make those claims, but those claims are not protected because they are personal to you, they are subjected to well deserved criticisms. I have no intentions of personally disrespecting anyone but I don't have to respect your personal belief. That's part of how we progress as a society. Most people, not all, use to believe that the earth was flat or that the planets revolved around the Earth. But I'm sure you don't respect the Flat-Earth society, which is still in being and continues to make claims that the earth is in fact flat. When we are able to reflect back on the silly notions we use to hold and realize that they were in fact silly, we develop a sense of pride as a society. Again, I don't mean to disrespect anyone personally.
     
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  28. blk_universe

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    Again, your analogy doesn't really apply. A school is a physical construct where learning can occur. There's nothing about learning that necessitates a school, but spiritualism is intrinsic to religion. Like I noted before, religion isn't just how you believe it is intertwined with what you believe as well.
     
  29. Kouncelor

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    There is a big difference between disrespect and disagreement, regardless of whether it is an individual or their personal beliefs. While I completely disgree with most of what you have to say, I respect your opinions and your personal belief- you are entitled to that . Based on the tone of your statements, it would be pointless to debate them.

    However, I do hope that the lessons in disrespect and disagreement that you learn in life will not be to difficult.
     
  30. blk_universe

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    Again, your analogy doesn't really apply. A school is a physical construct where learning can occur. There's nothing about learning that necessitates a school, but spiritualism is intrinsic to religion. Like I noted before, religion isn't just how you believe it is intertwined with what you believe as well.
    Again, I'm not sure if you caught the cognitive dissociation in your posted but it was pretty clear to me. What I understand from you stated is that you understand that our thoughts are products of physical processes in our brain, something that is supported by science and evidence, which is something you seem to be alluding to. Then you want on a completely different direction by positing that there is an intangible element to them. How can you assert such a claim without any evidence? Taking the hard work that scientist have done in order to make our physical world more comprehendible and slapping on idle terms to that, only taints the work they have done.

    Please keep in mind that almost no one has the same definition of God, unless you strip that word down to mean something as simple as creator but you run into a whole slew of issues when you start to discuss this creator. To call the universe a machine is only self serving and a is a true handicap for those who refuse to nourish their minds with the knowledge that science has presented us. To that point, I truly respect the philosophy of science because it's a constant exploration for understanding. Science continues to push the boundaries of what we think we know and forces us to realize we don't know (what it means to be educated). It teaches us that there are things we can know to a high degree of certainty e.g. physical laws of the universe (on a macro level, I'm not to sure how things work on the quantum level) and that there are things we may never like what occurs within a black hole or Donald trumps head.
     
  31. blk_universe

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    For starters, I don't know what tone you are perceiving me to have but I have made several statements regarding my attempt to no disrespect any person. I think it is quite clear that I disagree with the beliefs that some people have posted but I cannot control how one feel someone doesn't respect their belief. That is why I made the point about the flat earth society, which I would love to know if you agree with because I believe it to be a point that we can both agree on. But if you don't, I'll make another: There are people who believe that women should be, essentially, second class citizens, should have less rights than men and should be subordinate to men. Now I will go out on a limb and assume that you disagree with these people, the question I have for you is whether or not you respect their belief?

    I think it's possible that I might have offended you, which was not my intent but it is completely unfair for you assume that I have some tone that warrants dismissal by you. I have been completely open and honest about my personal beliefs but the whole point of my making them public is to debate them. I could be wrong, and I do not see why you wouldn't want to take the opportunity to correct someone who has a mistaken belief. You sir, do not know me well enough to make the assumption that a debate would be pointless. If you completely disagree with most of what I have to say, wouldn't I benefit from hearing why? I thought the whole point of this board thing was to discuss topics as a community of gay black men, there is no reason why you should take such a dismissive tone with me after having only one exchange with. Especially when I went out of my way to clarify that I meant no disrespect to anyone. With that said, and even if you refuse to continue our discussion, I wish you the best.
     
  32. blk_universe

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    Technically, I am talking about the philosophy that underpins science. I think it's interesting that you agree that a distinction between religion and spiritualism is the organizational aspect of religion, but you posited Buddhism as an example of a solely spiritual based practice. I'm not sure if you are aware of this but Buddha had a strong following of people who came together to practice his teaching i.e. Buddhists. I don't agree that religion needs to be a God is on top of everybody philosophy. My initial contention was with the distinction of spiritualism and religion. Both are philosophies, whether personal or shared by many, about the super-natural and how it affects our physical world. I'm not so sure that its such a narrow thing, but I could be wrong.
     
  33. grownman

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    You are right we don't need faith to inform us about physical manifestations.
    But, my point was/is that spiritualism and religion are not anything to be concerned with if it will help a person internally. This is what people are attempting to use it for. Science can't do that for everybody. I dont agree with alot of what is going in those camps. But, at one time it was all l knew. It worked for me until my understanding became a little more evolved. You are speaking a foreign language to people that don't care to speak it. I also felt during the conversation you were going side ways and I started going the opposite direction. But, we agree on the fact that straight reliance on faith or man made teachings can be harmful. I can shake your hand too.
     
  34. DreG

    DreG is a Featured MemberDreG Art Heaux
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    A person can have beliefs but no be part of a religion.Some people believe in believe in Jesus,but also believe in Wiccan practices ( I promise you these people exist).They arent proper Christians or Wiccans so I wouldn't consider them to fit in a religion,despite having spiritual beliefs.

    What i mean by "the intangible element" is like the pictures or sounds you have in your head with your thoughts.They're generated by an electrica impulse but you interpret that electricty as pictures sounds,memories etc.
     
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  35. Cyrus-Brooks

    Cyrus-Brooks is a Featured MemberCyrus-Brooks The Black Vulcan
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    I consider Buddhism to be more of philosophy than a religion, since there is no god in Buddhism. Some may disagree but that's how I perceive a lot of those eastern religions that are non deist.
     
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