At what age did you distance yourself from organized religion? In what faith were you raised (if you care to share)? Do you consider yourself today an atheist, agnostic, freethinker, secular humanist
I was not raised to any religion. "figure it out for yourself" was sortof the motto.
My mother and father don't adhere to any religion. My grandmother is a serious (but not intrusive) christian. historically (from grand-generation backwards) my family is a mix of different degrees of protestants and catholics. my grandfather was in name and spirit catholic but was also very aware of and warned of the epic hypocrisy of the institution of the church
as a child i sometimes went to church with grandma. eventually i decided it was not worth the time and a big show over nothing and church organisation as nothing more than a social club.
it is my opinion that organised religion tends to obscure the better spiritual message in ritual and authority of clergy. and that any truth that was in holy scripture (if you accept that it was once the word of god) has been translated, twisted and dogmatised by mere mortals for their own ends for millenia.
that is: an atheist/agnostic who is a good person is better in the eyes of whatever god/s that may/not exist is more worthy of heaven than someone who does evil despite or in the name of their god.
and that being a good person because it is simply right, rather than out of a fear of judgement and punishment by/or as an appeal to appease a deity is a higher duty than to follow the clergy's word.
any cause/word/dogma can be twisted against its original purpose and religion is neither the sole representative of that, nor exempt from it "because faith".
if i end up at the pearly gates rather than the timeless void upon death, despite being non-religious; i think i could give god a good debate to let me in
If i have to assign myself a religion or philosophy, i would say it's a blend of humanism and daoism. the daoist influence being something akin to: "there is the way, that which is natural and without effort, that which is; "don't worry; be happy", everything happens for a reason, because it must be, because of everything that has ever happened in the universe which is unknowable, just follow the natural order."
the natural order being "what i instinctively feel/know is right".
i think this philosophy would work well for anyone who is not legitimately a psychopath. psychopaths on the other hand need a fear of punishment to be decent because they have no empathy. be that from god or civil institutions.
i feel most people KNOW when they have done something wrong. even dogs know to an extent. and i think religion as a whole gives more reasons to excuse BAD behaviour and outright evil that no good person would otherwise bear on their conscience, than it does give reasons for good.
a sad reality.
and if there is a god, i would like to think of it as "a universal consciousness", an entity that experiences my consciouness, yours, my dogs, everybody and everything. in that way, to maximise the experience of "god's life", we should maximise the experiences of all our fellow man. A gain for me at the expense of another is no net-win for god. God sees 1-1=0 and beholds both the pleasure and the suffering and my win is cancelled by the loss of others.
as an extention of this (and to throw in some gay theme because hey... its a gay site), i had an idea that one of the reasons i prefer sex with men over women i that i can intuitively emphathise with men far better than women on the account of being one, while on the other hand i find womens attitudes and feelings quite unpredictable and sometimes outright confusing. i can put myself in his shoes, and when we fuck or otherwise intimate, i can almost feel the act from both sides at once if i put my mind to it; and that's seriously amplifying and arousing to me; almost like fucking myself xD if god exists, that's what he sees/feels. to raise sex between two, as masturbation of the one who is all.
we need to get away from zero-sum games and look for "benefits as a whole" and make everybody's life better. and to be honest, that's a core message in pretty much every
as a side anecdote, i think there is a gap in spirituality-experience vocabulary that is not bound to one specific religion. english/germans/etc tend to discuss abstract spiritual experiences in inherently christian vocabulary. arabs tend to do it in islamic vocabulary. chinese buddhist or daoist... etc.. because we have no words for the abstract spirituality without an association with a specific religion. religion is awkwardly tied to culture and language for mainly historic and popularity reasons; and that sometimes the different vocabulary used to describe personal experiences that is otherwise devoid of specific-religion meaning can be an artificial barrier.
i had a very extreme migraine once that i could only later describe as "having been fucked by god". collapsed on the stairs unable to move being oppressed by extreme pleasure and pain simultaneously in a pool of sick and stripped of my will hend down by the weight of the universe while feeling like i was attempting to comprehend the reality of everything. what insight i may have gained from that experience was unforunately robbed from me by the particularly cruel sense of divine comedy in epiphanic amnesia. my human brain cannot comprehend. something special happened then though; and i'm still not sure it was actually a migraine (certainly wasn't like the others)
i have no other way to word what happened appropriately without using the word "god". but i don't think it was religious in any sense. yet by using this wording, i believe it will help both religious AND nonreligious people alike at least get "as close as possible" to a vague sense of what happened.