Beyond Belief & Non-Belief: The Spirit of Community

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Do you ever wonder why people made up religion in the first place? What was that divine inspiration they felt rooted in? What needs and longings led them to come up with entire systems to provide for those emotional needs?

On one level, religions are about asking us to believe in something. They try to shape entire world views, ranging in subjects from how we got here to what will happen when our lives end. This ‘ask‘ is incredibly big, and many can’t acquiesce once they reach a certain place in their lives.

This inability to believe (or, at least, to be a lemming) has led more and more people to abandon religion altogether which many believers see as a problem. Non-adherents point out the flaws and failings of religion. Followers feel as though those without religion (specifically their religion) are lost.

A lot of fingers get pointed.

Nothing really gets resolved.

Nobody’s going to come out a winner in that argument—it’s mundane, fruitless to even argue any more—so, it’s time to start looking for the better way forward.

What someone else believes has no bearing on your personal life or ability to believe what you want, does it? You can’t force someone else to believe or disbelieve., and definitely not to accept your views.

I came up with an idea — apotheology — that looks into the meaning behind belief systems, the “spirit” of belief, and what universal lessons can be gleaned from dogma.

Religions bring people together, remind us to see each other as human beings. They use rituals to remind us to pay attention to certain things about life, like the changing of the seasons or the art and beauty around us.

Religion has helped make important ideas accessible to people. It causes people to feel things.

Then again… it causes people to feel things. Then, think things. Then, do and say things. And, sometimes, that doesn’t turn out great. Hence, people turn away.

But, beneath all that, there are some very compelling feelings—the needs and wants that causes people to make up these stories go on.

We’re lonely, violent, longing for beauty and purpose. People want hope. They want to feel guided, assured that their efforts are for some higher purpose. The secular distractions aren’t enough.

It’s nice to have reminders to be good, less selfish, and things that being us together.

The choice isn’t between religion and the secular world. The challenge is how to bring the two together.