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Forum: Atheist and Agnostic Parenting

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  #1  
August 2nd, 2006, 10:43 AM
ladybgg
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I am researching atheism and other religions. Could I ask y'all to answer these questions that I found in the general spirituality board (under the thread to announce this board)? I am not here to tell you anything. I am here to ask for your help in my study . I'd appreciate it SOOO much! Thanks!



Quote:
Finding Spirituality
Spirituality is often linked with religion. However, you do not need to belong to an organized religion to find your spirituality. Those who do follow a religion with specific beliefs and structures may find their spirituality there. Others may find it through their personal relationship with God or some higher power. There may be some who realize their spirituality by considering these broad questions:

What gives me purpose?
Where do I find meaning?
What gives me the strength to keep going?
Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment?
Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself?
Everyone has an answer to one or more of these questions. The answer will be different for everyone. It may be your belief in a higher power. It may be a loved one, such as a spouse, partner or child. It may be music or art. It may be an act, such as looking at the night sky.
Source[/b]
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  #2  
August 3rd, 2006, 09:20 AM
Number_3's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I'll try to answer these for you ladybg...just give me til tonight when DH is home and I can give you well thought out answers....baby doesn't want me to sit here right now....hunger calls
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  #3  
August 6th, 2006, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
I am researching atheism and other religions. Could I ask y'all to answer these questions that I found in the general spirituality board (under the thread to announce this board)? I am not here to tell you anything. I am here to ask for your help in my study . I'd appreciate it SOOO much! Thanks!



Quote:
Finding Spirituality
Spirituality is often linked with religion. However, you do not need to belong to an organized religion to find your spirituality. Those who do follow a religion with specific beliefs and structures may find their spirituality there. Others may find it through their personal relationship with God or some higher power. There may be some who realize their spirituality by considering these broad questions:

What gives me purpose? Many things. The catch for me is, they have to be real My family, myself, learning as much as I can about everything I can. Trying to help end infant circumcision consumes a large, and very worthwhile, part of my life.

Where do I find meaning? I don't find it anywhere. I create it inside myself by doing the things which give me purpose.

What gives me the strength to keep going? My husband and son. Stamina, optimism, laughter.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment? All the time.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself? Not in a religious sense. There are times when the group is more important than the individual, though I can't say I thought of the group as being greater than me. Just more important for whatever reason at that particular time.

Everyone has an answer to one or more of these questions. The answer will be different for everyone. It may be your belief in a higher power. It may be a loved one, such as a spouse, partner or child. It may be music or art. It may be an act, such as looking at the night sky.
Source[/b]
[/b]
~Nay
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  #4  
August 7th, 2006, 10:36 AM
Number_3's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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What gives me purpose? My family, my job, my efforts and participation in causes I feel strongly about.


Where do I find meaning? In those people/things that I invest myself in.


What gives me the strength to keep going? Love, laughter, inspiration from anyone who rises to the occasion, my children, my husband.


Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment? I've had many moments, and look forward to many more. i.e. the birth of my children, the day I married my DH, etc...


Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself? Everyday, through my children. I put them above me always. Also anytime I am working towards a goal that benefits more than just myself.
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  #5  
August 7th, 2006, 04:45 PM
ladybgg
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Thanks, ladies! Is there anyone else that could help me out here? I need quite a few answers, if possible.

Thanks!
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  #6  
August 9th, 2006, 02:05 PM
mrobinson
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These are great answers ladies.
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  #7  
August 10th, 2006, 01:43 PM
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What gives me purpose? : Everything, everything good in this world and everything bad. Family, friends, education, conversation, touch, taste, feeling, seeing, hearing, walking, running, sweating...being...



Where do I find meaning? Purpose and meaning are a lot alike...so i think my answer here is the same.


What gives me the strength to keep going? I would say the people around me the most but also the things that bring my joy and the things that I want to work for and the things I want to change in the world.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment?
Of course...so many...too many to list. Simple things like reading a good book or just breathing in crisp fall air all the way to more complex things like the births of our children.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself? All the time...everytime I put myself behind something or someone else. Also everytime I have worked to better society.
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  #8  
August 11th, 2006, 09:29 PM
my_boys_are_my_joy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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as promised, here are responses from a secular website. as far as i know, all of these people label themselves as atheists.

Quote:
I see that the link if for a hospital cancer site. Which is going to work towards helping a cancer patient or family member cope with something that's not in their control. There are no options for the atheist to seek inner strength there.

Alas, so often, a 'spiritual' searching within can help someone in panic over their illness, so they've focused on that without using the reason it can help. For myself, I know that my inner strength is mine to claim, not from outside of me. So their way of pushing a cancer patient towards a 'spiritual' way of dealing with their fear and stress, isn't really helpful for someone who seeks to do it within reality, and not fantasy.

I think your friend needs to seek to understand us in a wider way than with the colored lenses she is currently using.

I'll try...


What gives me purpose?

Love. Family. Friends. Making my life as enjoyable as I can for the short time I have. Leaving the world a better place for me having lived.

Where do I find meaning?

See above.

What gives me the strength to keep going?

Why wouldn't I go one? Even in times of crisis, the only option would be suicide, which isn't an option. So, see the first question.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment?

Of course. Most of the time.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself?

Yes. Then I discovered that it came from within, not from without. That the human brain can created that sense, in order to protect us from feeling too small and meaningless. I also feel that when I look at the night sky and ponder it, but that's something quite real, as opposed to some magical thinking.[/b]
Quote:
What gives me purpose?

The beauty of nature and the love of family. The quest for knowledge.

Where do I find meaning?

In many places, but mainly in the forest. There I find the humility to contemplate that I am of nature, not above nature.

What gives me the strength to keep going?
That strength is in all of us. There is not need for that to be "given". However, certain things reinforce that strength, such as the love of my wife and my children.

Certainly one of the main things that reinforces my strength is the knowledge that life is short, so I need to milk love, enjoyment, improvement, and knowledge from each day.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment?

I feel this way on most days. It seems heightened though when I am in a natural setting, such as the mountains.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself?

Nature is greater than myself, as is humanity. Both are worthy of my dedication. I have no need for a manufacturing an illusion that the "something greater than me" is a supernatural and magical being.[/b]

Quote:
"What gives me purpose?"

Reality, and how flawed it is. It can be better for me, you and everyone, and it's possible to change it for the better.

"Where do I find meaning?"

Reality, and how good it is. Wherever you go, there is happiness, people caring about each other and working together towards a better life.

"What gives me the strength to keep going?"

Reality.

"Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment?"

Sure, all the time, whenever good things happen.

"Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself?"

The universe is a big place, so, of course. Looking at a picture of a tiny fraction of the sky, filled with billions of stars and probably billions of planets, it can really put a tiny organism on a small blue planet in context.[/b]
Quote:
What gives me purpose? Nothing. I bestow purpose upon things.
Where do I find meaning? Nowhere. I assign meanings to thing.
What gives me the strength to keep going? Spite. Sheer stubborn refusal to quit. Hope that scientists will find cures for what ails me.
Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment? Lots of them. Everyone has these moments. Being in love, accomplishing goals, perfect weather, whatever flips your switch.
Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself? No. Not if you mean some Beard In The Sky. If you mean "greater" in the sense of "bigger," then of course I have -- lots of things are bigger than I am, including most adult humans.

There. I even was polite and didn't leave one-word answers, although I was definitely tempted.[/b]
I'll let you know if I get any more responses.
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  #9  
August 12th, 2006, 09:48 AM
ladybgg
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Thank you. I REALLY appreciate that!


BTW, I didn't find these questions. They are displayed in a sticky in the "General Spirituality" board. I just thought they were a great basis to start from.

Also, can I ask why they had a hard time not being rude? It was just a question. I was not trying to "put" any beliefs on anyone. I just wanted to get some personal responses.... Sorry if I made them angry.
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  #10  
August 12th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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I think that perhaps not knowing the fiull reasons around the questions it might seem like the person posing the questions is being kinda "well, if you have no religion, how do you have these things?" If that makes sense...becuase they do kinda fit the questions you hear a lot when people find out you don't believe in God or don't think belief in God "matters."
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  #11  
August 13th, 2006, 05:51 AM
my_boys_are_my_joy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Thank you. I REALLY appreciate that!


BTW, I didn't find these questions. They are displayed in a sticky in the "General Spirituality" board. I just thought they were a great basis to start from.

Also, can I ask why they had a hard time not being rude? It was just a question. I was not trying to "put" any beliefs on anyone. I just wanted to get some personal responses.... Sorry if I made them angry. [/b]

That was just one person who said he/she had a hard time not being rude. I think it's probably an issue of his/her own and not yours. You didn't make anyone angry. I did, however, get a couple of sarcastic responses that I originally didn't post. I think it's just hard for many atheists to discuss anything remotely "spiritual"--it's virtual nonsense to them. They just don't take it seriously.

Here's one of the sarcastic responses.

Quote:
I will answer these from the master ninja atheist perspective:

What gives me purpose?

The money I make from each assassination.

Where do I find meaning?

In the bloody remains of my victims.

What gives me the strength to keep going?

A combination of herbs, suppliments, some ritualistic muscle excersices, and Honey Nut Cheerios.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment?

I'm always at my most peaceful and joyous right before delivering the killing blow, or pouring the milk on the Honey Nut Cheerios.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself?

When I first met my former sensei. That feeling went away when I killed him.[/b]
and here are some more real answers:

Quote:
These feel like rather dodgy one-sided questions. It is difficult to see how these questions can make sense outside of a theological framework. I shall explain in each case:

What gives me purpose?
What does it even mean for a person to have purpose. Machines have purposes. People are people, not machines.

What gives me purpose is my own decisions (or to use a more religious term, my personal 'vocation'). There is no pre-set intended purpose. Life sets the limits and within those boundaries it is up to us what we ought to do. (So it comes down to a pretty similar set-up as it would if you were to imagine a God were making plans for you, to be honest.)

Where do I find meaning?
Are you kidding me? How does someone 'find' meaning? A sarcastic answer might be "well, I'll start by checking down the back of the sofa".

Wittgenstein claimed that 'meaning is use' which means that the meanings of words depend on their context. However, you presumably aren't asking where the meanings of words come from, but rather what the meaning of life is. To be honest this sounds like the purpose question repeated. If it wasn't meant to be then you need to make the questions more specific.

What gives me the strength to keep going?

A combination of optimism and acceptance of fate. There are various things to be optimistic about and none of them remain constant. When optimism becomes more difficult it is important to accept the way things are and not to try to escape either through delusion or self-pity.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment?

Yeah all sorts of times. Peace, joy and contentment are emotions which I come across regularly. Certainly they never last that long, but that is part of the experience of life. Things change and that is how things ought to remain. If your experiences do not change, you may as well be dead.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself?

Depends what you mean by greater. Now if I was religious I might talk about the power of God, so I guess as an atheist I might refer to the awesome power and complexity of nature. But the fact is that there are many things that are greater than myself and not all of them could be seen as part of 'nature'.

The most sensible answer seems to be that I sense all sorts of things greater than myself all the time.[/b]
Quote:
What gives me purpose?

Life itself, and knowing this is my only life that i get. The fact that life is so fun and wonderful and to just enjoy it.

Where do I find meaning?

In living life, in the people around me, in my girlfriend, in my hobbies, ... you get the idea.

What gives me the strength to keep going?

My own emotinal maturity and support from family and friends.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment?

Yeah, a lot of times along with a variety of other emotions... i don't see how that is special.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself?

Looking at the stars i realise the size of majesty of the universe but i see no "greater than myself" higher power derived from that.

Hope that helped

Pete[/b]
Quote:
What gives me purpose?


Being free to live my life and make choices.

Quote:
Where do I find meaning?


In anything. Next...


Quote:
What gives me the strength to keep going?


See first point.

Quote:
Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment?


When I listen to my music.

Quote:
Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself?


Never. God schmod. It's all mumbo-jumbo.[/b]
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  #12  
August 13th, 2006, 09:11 AM
ManInTheMoon's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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What is your research for?



What gives me purpose?
Well, I think we all have an inpact on the world around us. I just try to do what I can to make the world a better place.

Where do I find meaning? The meaning of life? I believe we're all here by chance. I'm really okay with the idea that there is no grand meaning. But life is quite a gift. I think we should all make the most of it.

What gives me the strength to keep going?
You know, I don't have trouble with that. I don't think I've ever gone through anything that made it difficult to go on. I've had it pretty easy. However even when there are hard things, like my mother's death, I have my children, my friends, my husband, my extended family, my dreams & goals, all the things in life that I enjoy, etc.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt peace, joy or contentment?
Most of the time. I've a very happy person.

Was there a moment in my life when I felt a sense of something greater than myself?
It isn't a "moment". I don't suddenly get overtaken by the feeling or anything. I just know that everyone and everything working together can accomplish so much more than one being alone. So for me, it's the collective. I don't just mean human beings, either. We should live in harmony with nature and be respectful of it. We're all a part of the same thing.
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  #13  
August 13th, 2006, 08:57 PM
ladybgg
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Quote:
What is your research for? [/b]


Just my own personal research. So I can better understand others beliefs.


BTW, thank you so much for your answers...
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  #14  
August 28th, 2006, 01:45 PM
mrobinson
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Bump for any new members...
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