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6 years ago  ::  Sep 24, 2008 - 1:26PM #1
RavynG
Posts: 120
hello--I am new here. I joined basically because of a conversation I had with my cousin last week. It started me thinking and Googling. I feel like I am on the brink of an evolutionary step in my spiritual development.

I spent about 4 hours talking to my cousin on the phone about this and she expressed her beliefs/nonbeliefs to me in this way---and I was just wondering what you folks would categorize her as?

First she said she pretty much believes there must be a First Cause or Prime Mover, but she does NOT think that whatever that is, is directly involved in the affairs of any particular life forms, but It could be if It chose to be.

Rather she thinks It set in place certain Universal Laws and Principles that govern the Cosmos. These are everything from possibly Astrology to Quantum Physics--things we consider paranormal or New Age or supernatural may just be as yet undiscovered science.

She thinks humans got the concept of "gods" from higher evolved life forms in the Universe who have colonized or traveled to this planet and affected the genetic development of humans by interfering in our evolutionary process. She thinks it is still happening today.

She thinks prayer is just communication with these entities on an astral-type level. She thinks all religion is superstition and immaturity. She thinks faith is ridiculous. Miracles are just unexplained phenomenon. And the Law of Attraction does work on a quantum level. She does not believe we are inherently broken (sinful, evil)--and that is a big thing to her. She believes good vrs evil is relative.

She believes life never ceases to exist and that once this physical body is used up it is discarded and we go on to a different existence perhaps gaining levels and evolving possibly into what other life forms already are-like the extraterrestrials who visit here that we have mistaken for gods.

My first reaction to this was that she is a Deist. But with the New Age and Supernatural and alien stuff added I wonder if Thomas Paine would recognize her as such! She could be an Atheist as she does not believe in any concept of "god" that I can identify, but she does believe in higher life forms that might function as gods to us in our immaturity. What kind of Atheist is THAT? Agnostic does not seem to really fit as she is pretty sure about what she believes.

I am just trying to organize my thots around the conversation, so that is why I am trying to categorize it. She has given me alot to think about. Even tho our approach is different we share alot of ideas. I am struggling with the concept of Deity myself right now.

I was raised third generation Jehovah's Witness and spent a total of 34 years in that cult and it ruined me for all revealed religion. At the same time that I was a JW I was also exposed to very dark occult leanings of my father. I was raised to worship Jehovah during the day and Satan at night. So when I finally broke free of the JWs I went into the other familliar of witchcraft. I practiced as a pagan for a few years and missed the social contact of a "church", so I converted to my husband's childhood religion of Catholicism.

It is not difficult to be a witch and a Catholic at the same time--it is done in Italy all the time. So I was/am a Strega. BUT I do not believe, nor ever have believed, in any "Gods" per se. The modern idea of Jesus makes me sick. I am only a Catholic because I enjoy the ritual and there is energy in a Mass that you can't get alone. But I have never had any kind of relationship with any other pantheon either. (Eh- I kinda like the ol girl Babalon.)

So anyway, I am in flux. Ritual is not doing it for me anymore. I get as much out of going to Mass or a Sabat as I do playing D&D. It is just a game to me. Always has been. So where do I go now? My cousin really hit some nerves. She seems to have a freedom that I want. What is that called?

Thanks for listening and considering this LONG intro.

Ravyn
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 25, 2008 - 4:59AM #2
RevKeithWright
Posts: 137
Hi, and Welcome!

If you will read my journal, you will see I touched on many of the points you have raised.  She sounds like a Deist (with a few twists...lol) but if you have any other questions...feel free to send me a message or post it here.
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 25, 2008 - 8:00AM #3
cclendenen
Posts: 34
[QUOTE=RavynG;781423]hello--I am new here. I joined basically because of a conversation I had with my cousin last week. It started me thinking and Googling. I feel like I am on the brink of an evolutionary step in my spiritual development.

I spent about 4 hours talking to my cousin on the phone about this and she expressed her beliefs/nonbeliefs to me in this way---and I was just wondering what you folks would categorize her as?

First she said she pretty much believes there must be a First Cause or Prime Mover, but she does NOT think that whatever that is, is directly involved in the affairs of any particular life forms, but It could be if It chose to be.

Rather she thinks It set in place certain Universal Laws and Principles that govern the Cosmos. These are everything from possibly Astrology to Quantum Physics--things we consider paranormal or New Age or supernatural may just be as yet undiscovered science.
[/QUOTE]
Quite Deistic to this point. Reason can accept and defend all of this.

[QUOTE]
...
My first reaction to this was that she is a Deist. But with the New Age and Supernatural and alien stuff added I wonder if Thomas Paine would recognize her as such! She could be an Atheist as she does not believe in any concept of "god" that I can identify, but she does believe in higher life forms that might function as gods to us in our immaturity. What kind of Atheist is THAT? Agnostic does not seem to really fit as she is pretty sure about what she believes.
[/QUOTE]
The "stuff" is interesting, but "stuff" is a good description. Hard for me to reconcile all that with reason-based faith.

[QUOTE]
I am just trying to organize my thots around the conversation, so that is why I am trying to categorize it. She has given me alot to think about. Even tho our approach is different we share alot of ideas. I am struggling with the concept of Deity myself right now.
...
[/QUOTE]
You certainly have had an interesting religious journey.

[QUOTE]
So anyway, I am in flux. Ritual is not doing it for me anymore. I get as much out of going to Mass or a Sabat as I do playing D&D. It is just a game to me. Always has been. So where do I go now? My cousin really hit some nerves. She seems to have a freedom that I want. What is that called?

Thanks for listening and considering this LONG intro.

Ravyn
[/QUOTE]
I'm no psychologist, but it sounds almost as if you want someone to tell you what to do. The JWs certainly told you how to think. Ritual is a prescribed way of thinking. Catholicism and dogma are synonymous. Your friend is not bound by any strict belief system. You seen to envy her that. People have been telling you how to think your whole life. Whether you embrace Deism or become a solitary practitioner of Wicca, I would suggest that you just accept what sounds reasonable to you, and reject what sounds false.

I find enormous freedom in Deism. There is an amazing diversity of thought among Deists. Probably no two believe exactly the same thing, and that is perfectly OK as long as their conclusions are reasonable. I lean towards positive Deism. I am much more interested in what's right about Deism than what's wrong with other religions. I must admit that many Deists spend far too much time and energy discussing the evils of revealed religion. That's been done to death. I get it. Spending more time bashing other religions is just boring.

Do something spiritual. Go outside. Experience nature. Let the majesty of creation fill you with awe, whether you are watching a sunset, experiencing a meteor shower or simply observing an ant mound. Grow and learn. Listen to others, and then think for yourself. Come to your own conclusions. Take what you like from the conversation with your friend, whatever makes sense to you, and reject the rest. Build on it. No matter what religion you belong to or start out with, the beliefs you end up with are all inside your head. Decide for yourself what that religious thought content will be. Don't let someone else decide for you. You can be as free as you let yourself be.

Abraham Lincoln said, "When I do good, I feel good, and when I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion." I doubt that he was a Deist, but a Deist is not stuck believing just a few things off an approved list. If something moves you, and it sounds reasonable, add it to your personal belief system. I think Deism offers a firm foundation and a reasonable methodology to build on.
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 25, 2008 - 4:59AM #4
RevKeithWright
Posts: 137
Hi, and Welcome!

If you will read my journal, you will see I touched on many of the points you have raised.  She sounds like a Deist (with a few twists...lol) but if you have any other questions...feel free to send me a message or post it here.
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 25, 2008 - 8:00AM #5
cclendenen
Posts: 34
[QUOTE=RavynG;781423]hello--I am new here. I joined basically because of a conversation I had with my cousin last week. It started me thinking and Googling. I feel like I am on the brink of an evolutionary step in my spiritual development.

I spent about 4 hours talking to my cousin on the phone about this and she expressed her beliefs/nonbeliefs to me in this way---and I was just wondering what you folks would categorize her as?

First she said she pretty much believes there must be a First Cause or Prime Mover, but she does NOT think that whatever that is, is directly involved in the affairs of any particular life forms, but It could be if It chose to be.

Rather she thinks It set in place certain Universal Laws and Principles that govern the Cosmos. These are everything from possibly Astrology to Quantum Physics--things we consider paranormal or New Age or supernatural may just be as yet undiscovered science.
[/QUOTE]
Quite Deistic to this point. Reason can accept and defend all of this.

[QUOTE]
...
My first reaction to this was that she is a Deist. But with the New Age and Supernatural and alien stuff added I wonder if Thomas Paine would recognize her as such! She could be an Atheist as she does not believe in any concept of "god" that I can identify, but she does believe in higher life forms that might function as gods to us in our immaturity. What kind of Atheist is THAT? Agnostic does not seem to really fit as she is pretty sure about what she believes.
[/QUOTE]
The "stuff" is interesting, but "stuff" is a good description. Hard for me to reconcile all that with reason-based faith.

[QUOTE]
I am just trying to organize my thots around the conversation, so that is why I am trying to categorize it. She has given me alot to think about. Even tho our approach is different we share alot of ideas. I am struggling with the concept of Deity myself right now.
...
[/QUOTE]
You certainly have had an interesting religious journey.

[QUOTE]
So anyway, I am in flux. Ritual is not doing it for me anymore. I get as much out of going to Mass or a Sabat as I do playing D&D. It is just a game to me. Always has been. So where do I go now? My cousin really hit some nerves. She seems to have a freedom that I want. What is that called?

Thanks for listening and considering this LONG intro.

Ravyn
[/QUOTE]
I'm no psychologist, but it sounds almost as if you want someone to tell you what to do. The JWs certainly told you how to think. Ritual is a prescribed way of thinking. Catholicism and dogma are synonymous. Your friend is not bound by any strict belief system. You seen to envy her that. People have been telling you how to think your whole life. Whether you embrace Deism or become a solitary practitioner of Wicca, I would suggest that you just accept what sounds reasonable to you, and reject what sounds false.

I find enormous freedom in Deism. There is an amazing diversity of thought among Deists. Probably no two believe exactly the same thing, and that is perfectly OK as long as their conclusions are reasonable. I lean towards positive Deism. I am much more interested in what's right about Deism than what's wrong with other religions. I must admit that many Deists spend far too much time and energy discussing the evils of revealed religion. That's been done to death. I get it. Spending more time bashing other religions is just boring.

Do something spiritual. Go outside. Experience nature. Let the majesty of creation fill you with awe, whether you are watching a sunset, experiencing a meteor shower or simply observing an ant mound. Grow and learn. Listen to others, and then think for yourself. Come to your own conclusions. Take what you like from the conversation with your friend, whatever makes sense to you, and reject the rest. Build on it. No matter what religion you belong to or start out with, the beliefs you end up with are all inside your head. Decide for yourself what that religious thought content will be. Don't let someone else decide for you. You can be as free as you let yourself be.

Abraham Lincoln said, "When I do good, I feel good, and when I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion." I doubt that he was a Deist, but a Deist is not stuck believing just a few things off an approved list. If something moves you, and it sounds reasonable, add it to your personal belief system. I think Deism offers a firm foundation and a reasonable methodology to build on.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 25, 2008 - 12:41PM #6
shawnf
Posts: 73
[QUOTE=RavynG;781423]First she said she pretty much believes there must be a First Cause or Prime Mover, but she does NOT think that whatever that is, is directly involved in the affairs of any particular life forms, but It could be if It chose to be.

Rather she thinks It set in place certain Universal Laws and Principles that govern the Cosmos. These are everything from possibly Astrology to Quantum Physics--things we consider paranormal or New Age or supernatural may just be as yet undiscovered science. [/QUOTE]

This sounds to me like pretty straightforward Deism, except for one piece.  A God that can "choose to" interfere in affairs is a theist concept.

[QUOTE]She thinks humans got the concept of "gods" from higher evolved life forms in the Universe who have colonized or traveled to this planet and affected the genetic development of humans by interfering in our evolutionary process. She thinks it is still happening today...
She thinks prayer is just communication with these entities on an astral-type level. She thinks all religion is superstition and immaturity. She thinks faith is ridiculous. Miracles are just unexplained phenomenon. And the Law of Attraction does work on a quantum level.[/QUOTE]

Now this stretches things a bit.  I think it's where your cousins own "religious" beliefs are coming into play, only instead of thinking of all these things in terms of divine beings, she's talking about them as extraterrestrial/extradimensional.  This doesn't mean she's not still  a deist, but it does mean she still has a degree of "supernaturalness" in her beliefs.

[QUOTE]She does not believe we are inherently broken (sinful, evil)--and that is a big thing to her. She believes good vrs evil is relative. [/QUOTE]

A HUGE insight!  Good for her!

[QUOTE]She believes life never ceases to exist and that once this physical body is used up it is discarded and we go on to a different existence perhaps gaining levels and evolving possibly into what other life forms already are-like the extraterrestrials who visit here that we have mistaken for gods. [/Quote]

Aside from the extraterrestrials part, this is a pretty typical way to conceive of an afterlife.  The ETs just add on a (pseudo)scientific twist to encorporate a more modern worldview.

[QUOTE]My first reaction to this was that she is a Deist. But with the New Age and Supernatural and alien stuff added I wonder if Thomas Paine would recognize her as such! She could be an Atheist as she does not believe in any concept of "god" that I can identify, but she does believe in higher life forms that might function as gods to us in our immaturity. What kind of Atheist is THAT? Agnostic does not seem to really fit as she is pretty sure about what she believes. [/QUOTE]

I'd say deist, as she does have a concept of a creator.  Maybe she's leaning toward Scientologist, though I don't know all that much about it.  Keep her away from "the Tech." ;-)

Rather than quote the rest of your post, I'll sum it up with this:  Why should you ascribe to any particular religion?  Why do you need a name tag to put on the spiritual side of your life?  If you call it Catholicism, does that make it any less Wicca (or vice-versa)?  The point is that you're alive and conscious and aware of "something more" in the spiritual sense. 

Instead of trying to put that into a box with a label, why not focus on what doctrines you believe in and which ones you do not -- and remember that you can always change your mind later if you get new data.  The point is to consider your spirituality and decide for yourself what you think makes sense.  It's not a simple task, but it's empowering.  It also easier than trying to force yourself into experiencing the world according to someone else's dogmas.
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