happiness is finding the place where being yourself is exactly what's needed

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

thoughts on religion with a cup of coffee

I believe in multiple lives. I believe in kindred souls who find their way to each other one life after the next. We find each other as best friends, siblings, lovers, or strangers who pass each other on the street with a knowing look.

I realize that when I say I consider myself a spiritual person, I'm opening myself up for attack from people who are religious as well as atheists. The minds most drawn to spiritual thinking may tend toward specific relgions, and those whose minds are strongest in scientific areas are known to dismiss all the spiritual beliefs as silliness. There are probably just as many people like me, somewhere in the middle of belief and trying to tie things together as best we can. We just don't talk as much.

I don't talk very much about my spiritual beliefs by themselves, because I don't feel I have anything to prove to anyone. (Though I realize that our spiritual beliefs are a part of who we are and, therefore, they're naturally tied into other things we say and do.) I believe every person has the right to discover their own spiritual beliefs/religion/lack thereof in their own time. I feel that at times when I'm somehow a part of someone else's spiritual journey (or someone else is a part of mine), are souls will naturally be drawn together so we might learn from one another.

Others who try to view the world holistically do feel they have something important to say. Scholarly-drawn minds, no matter their studies, have an the instinct to learn and teach, seek and share, seemingly much more so than the majority of non-scholars. For instance, my current favorite blogger on Psychology Today, Nathan A. Heflick of The Big Questions, uses scientific studies to research human behaviors such as our tendency toward religion and uses his blog to share his speculations on this research. For example, one post is called Could God Be Science?

The tendency toward religion is something I've been wondering about since the beginnings of my own meager studies of psychology, especially as I think more and more over the years about my own beliefs.

I at least have to acknowledge that there may not be "something else out there," as terrifying as such a belief is to me.

Which leads into my speculation that if human beings have had such a tendency for so long throughout history, there must be an evolutionary significance to spiritual belief.

Therefore, even if there are no other lives or afterlives, I might as well stick with what I believe is true, as I'm only one small part of a species, composed of traits somehow valuable to my species.

If animal populations have natural ways of controlling their numbers (such as the occurrence of same-sex attraction), doesn't it make sense that the tendency toward religion could also be one of those things controlled by our biology to evolve the human? The atheists I've heard argue seem to skip right over the point that every way humans can act is a part of human nature and, therefore, at least minimally relevant to science. (We're not just a bunch of stupid silly-heads; we're animals acting according to our instincts.)

My point is the different directions we're prone to head toward in our minds are all perfectly natural. Each one is relevant to our evolution, though it may not be possible, given our ever-limited right-now-focused scope to explain the whys of spirituality or lack thereof in the human.

And, from a more personal (more spiritual) point of view, I feel that every one of these methods of thinking is also important in the development of the soul collecting knowledge of the universe over all its lifetimes.

[image from the LOLCat Bible]


  1. I too am a spiritual person having come to that decision after being raised a Catholic and going to Catholic school. Too many questions were in my head and when I began reading about life after death and the continuous journey to learning life lessons it was magical. My questions were answered. It is not a subject taht one can freely talk about. Others become defensive if you speak out on something they believe in and you don't. So I keep to myself and I am content in my beliefs. Great post.

  2. I have never considered myself religious or spiritual before. I think it stemmed from not understanding to it's fullest and not seeing the line between religion and spirituality. I started out in my college career going to bible study meetings and trying to learn the topic. I couldn't comprehend of their being a god.

    I taught myself the spiritual part of life. It's having this zen when you walk the earth alone. I get this zen in creating music as a collective process. I obtain this zen through solitude at the same time.

  3. Great post. You're right. When you say you're spiritual, you risk pissing off the more mainstream "religious" folks as well as the atheists/scientific folks. But, then again, I enjoy stirring the pot, so I don't care!

  4. I consider myself a very spiritual person. The fact that I don't believe a "heaven and hell" god exisits, doesn't impact that fact. If I was to label myself, I'd say I'm an atheist. BUT, If being religious makes a person DO good things and live a positive life, then more power to them. BUT (another big one), when people say EVERYTHING good and bad, is god's will, I want to yell at them...
    People should be good and kind, simply because those things lead to good and kind things coming back to them.