From the mind of a people watcher: Some thoughts on Spirituality and Religion
So, I am sitting here in this coffee shop, Coffee Underground (which is pretty cool btw), and I am just thinking about how much of a people watcher I am. I am so observant, so analytical, so much of a thinker-inside my head type of person, that I cannot really help it.
As I eavesdrop on the table behind me, there is a young group of people who are discussing the differences between agnostic and atheism. I am not sure what direction the conversation was going or where it came from, but it caught my attention. And, like many things I observe through my eyes and my ears, the stimulus went straight to my brain. I started thinking and analyzing. I started thinking about an ideal I heard Rob Bell talk about with Lewis Howes on The School of Greatness Podcast last week. But, I also decided I would take this as an opportunity to learn. As someone who is spiritual (I don’t particularly consider myself “religious”) and believes in God, from a standpoint of Christianity, I know that Atheist are described as the opposite, but I never really understood what it meant to be agnostic; although, I have heard the term many times.
Using my handy dandy dictionary.com app, I looked up the definition of “Agnostic.” Agnostic: (n) “A person who holds the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.” Another definition states, “A person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic.”
From my interpretation, If atheism is complete disbelief, then agnosticism is neither belief nor disbelief. It is staying grounded in the middle and saying, “I do not know, as I have no proof of existence or nonexistence as fact.” It is saying, maybe there could be a God, but I have not seen Him, so I cannot confirm.
Now, I have already stated that I am believer, but I have no issue with anyone who believes, doesn’t believe, or stays in the middle. I will love you and spread love regardless, because I believe that is just what we are supposed to do as human beings and good people.
Back to Rob Bell…In this podcast with Lewis Howes, he made a statement that opened my mind like crazy. Lewis Howes asked him, “What is the true answer,” as in is there a God or not? Rob Bell (and I am paraprashing) says first that, “If it is true, then it will have paradox fundamentally baked into it.” In explanation, he states that the word ‘God’ is “loaded,” and makes the point of describing ‘God’ using the words “a infinite, divine source,” or “some source of it all” — in other words, everything in the universe flows from something, is sustained by something, and there is more than just the physical reality we see. He then says, If it was completely knowable, then it would not be infinite or very big; and if we could actually wrap our minds around it, then it wouldn’t be interesting enough to be sustained. However, if it is unknowable, and elsewhere, there is something of beauty and infiniteness. He uses the example of the feeling we get when we serve and give beyond ourselves. “Something happens, and there is a feeling of good that we affirm, and can’t quite fully comprehend, but we know it is real” (the feeling, or the spiritually, we feel from doing good and giving and serving). In that good, we are connecting with something that is bigger than ourselves, and we can comprehend that as spiritual or divine or infinite (whatever words we want to use). We know it is real, yet we cannot put it on a spreadsheet. We cannot describe it. So, essentially, it is both knowable and unknowable. And, this is how Rob Bell thinks of God — knowable and unknowable. It is not binary, and “We have to move into a non-dual awarenss and be able to hold two truths that seem to be opposing at the same time.”
If that just blew your mind, I am with you. You should really listen to the entire Podcast. It is awesome (here is the link). But, let me put it all together and wrap this thing up…
I agree with the thought process of Rob Bell. Atheism, agnosticism, and even Christianity are all, for the most part, just labels. There are Atheists who are much better people than many Christians. And, there are some people who claim to be Christians who are absolutely terrible human beings. The problem is, we equate our beliefs to religion and not relation. Religion pushes many people away from the thought of God, or some divine source, being real. We are seeing it a lot more now in 2017. Let’s be real, we are much more intelligent overall, and many of us have gotten away from orthodox belief that you have to go to a building every Sunday and pray a certain amount of times a day to reap the benefits of the spiritual good. And thanks to more contemporary churches, many people realize (which this is stated in the Bible) that the church is actually the people and not the building. Implying that spirituality is in relation, not religion. So, if that is true…Is there a God? Is there a spiritual source? I would think that you have to believe that, even if you don’t believe in “The God,” you believe that there is a spiritual source that lives within yourself. So, could that be God? Just a couple things to think about.
Going further, I think, ultimately, people who are atheists aren’t necessarily unspiritual (some of them, that is), they just don’t believe in God as we Christians or Catholics or Jewish, often depict God. And, maybe agnostics are somewhat along the right lines, but just not asking the right questions. For instance, maybe there is a God, maybe there isn’t, but what is this spirit I feel inside of me? What is this flow I feel when I give instead of take and do good by others? Is it Karma?…Isn’t that based in spirituality though…and the belief in some unknown?
To conclude, I am not writing this to change your beliefs or even change your thought process. This is just a collection of my thoughts and the things I have experienced/learned through my eyes and ears. I am just sharing; just putting thoughts on digital paper, and looking to start dialogue. Let me know your thoughts on this subject.
Also, please provide feedback about this blog. This is my first. More to come.
Thank you for your attention.