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  1. Slappydappy
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    Slappydappy Member

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    Why is spirituality important for humans? Can it be completely replaced wth science?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Slappydappy, Jan 24, 2012.

    One of the themes of a story I am writing is a character trying to bring spirituality and mythology back into his world, one that has completely forgotten the past and moved onto technology, logic, cities, and science. He goes on a journey to re-discover lost tombs of spirituality from the world's forgotten past. Lost pieces of mythology and forgotten places and creatures.

    As I am writing this, I keep asking myself....Why do I believe spirituality is important?

    My answer was, that humans can never really know the meaning to life, there are no answers. Spirituality puts us in touch with the cosmic powers of the the Universe and allows us to live in peace. This allows us to live, without fear of death, or without attachment to materialistic things that have no permanency.

    So that is the boon that he is bringing back into the world.

    If someone asked why you think spirituality is important for a human being, what would you say?
     
  2. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    I think you are onto something about just not knowing all of the answers, and therefore we believe in some external force that is moving all of those things we don't know. Before we knew that the earth rotated around the suns, ancient greeks believed that it was some God that pulled the Sun across the sky. So the way you would replace this with science is you would pretty much have to know... everything. 2 thousand years ago people thought it was a miracle that crops would grow because they couldn't explain it. Now a-days it's considered a miracle if somehow someone survives a cancer that doctors claimed was lethal. You would have to be able to answer all of those "miracles" to be able to replace spiritualities effect.

    The other effect it has is that some people believe in Karma. That if you are a good person, good things will happen to you and vice versa. To replace that with science you would have to somehow create like a perfect justice system and people would actually put their faith in that over some kind of spiritual thing. Which sounds impossible IMO.
     
  3. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    spiritulality has an air of mysiticism and magic about it.
    Human nature likes to be thrilled by superior/magical/unbelievable/higher/unreachable forces.
    Humans tend to get bored quikly when they know everthing so spirituality is something people cannot see or feel.
    There is also the idea of escapism into a ''safe unknown'' which spirituality offers to people.
     
  4. kablooblab
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    kablooblab Member

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    Spirituality is terrible for humans. If there was a sentient higher power that created us I'm certain he would be very disappointed in us for not using our brains. No animal can even come close to thinking the way we can. Our brain is what defines our species. We can hardly run, jump or swim. We have no claws or teeth. Our ears eyes and nose are all terrible compared to other animals. What we have is our brain. So we should use it to our full potential and try to discover and figure out every mystery to us. Instead of relying on religion as "God did it" as an answer for everything we don't understand. There are no cosmic powers to be in touch with or a meaning of life and spirituality doesn't make people lose their fear of death. It enhances it. Religious people are terrible of going to hell. Most people don't follow god from belief in god, they follow him from fear of the devil. They are scared of being tortured after they die. People without any spirituality aren't scared of this. It also doesn't allow us to live in peace. Its staggering the amount of people are killed because of religion. Everywhere from the crusades, where we invaded the middle east and murdered and raped innocent Muslims because they believed in a slightly different story that took place a thousand years ago. To the Spanish inquisition where the church tortured people in the most brutal ways possible because they were thought to be witches. To the holy war on America that is happening now where they are murdering innocents for Allah. Just the other day I saw a video of people being burned alive because they were thought to be witches. And as they screamed and tried to crawl out of the pit they were kicked back in. Does that sound peaceful? I know this was a little over the top but I deeply hate religion with a passion and wish it never existed nothing worse has ever happened for humanity.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Kablooblab, please don't equate spirituality with religion. They are not the same thing.
     
  6. SunnyDays
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    SunnyDays Member

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    Personally I wouldn't be able to handle a book like this because, it rings wrongly in what I believe.

    Science explains everyday life. Miracles are more powerful then science because miracles can not be explained my science.
     
  7. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Why do we need spirituality? I think it's inate in us. We are thinking animals and as such we have questions. There are some questions we can answer for ourselves. There are some that we have a reasonable expectation that we will be able to answer. And there are some where there is no likelihood of us ever being able to answer. These include things like where did we come from? How could something have come from nothing? What is my reason for being? And what is everything really made of? Spirituality provides an answer. Not a scientific or logical answer, but then it's not either of those things. It's about faith. The belief that there is something more then us.

    Those who say there is no such thing as more to the universe then can be explained by scientific and rational means are, in my opinion, deluded. They are also impoverished in their world view. When you truly believe that everything can be explained with atoms and chemicals and laws of physics, I think you miss out a part of the true beauty that is life. However, that is only my own personal view, and many others have different ones.

    As for the value to people of spirituality. You might want to check out the writings of Soren Kierkegaard on faith and truth. Its hard going, and it wasn't written in English initially, but still his "Leap of Faith" view is inspiring. You might also want to check out a view called panentheism, which is a sort of spirituality without a godhead.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Why do we need spirituality? I think it's inate in us. We are thinking animals and as such we have questions. There are some questions we can answer for ourselves. There are some that we have a reasonable expectation that we will be able to answer. And there are some where there is no likelihood of us ever being able to answer. These include things like where did we come from? How could something have come from nothing? What is my reason for being? And what is everything really made of? Spirituality provides an answer. Not a scientific or logical answer, but then it's not either of those things. It's about faith. The belief that there is something more then us.

    Those who say there is no such thing as more to the universe then can be explained by scientific and rational means are, in my opinion, deluded. They are also impoverished in their world view. When you truly believe that everything can be explained with atoms and chemicals and laws of physics, I think you miss out a part of the true beauty that is life. However, that is only my own personal view, and many others have different ones.

    As for the value to people of spirituality. You might want to check out the writings of Soren Kierkegaard on faith and truth. Its hard going, and it wasn't written in English initially, but still his "Leap of Faith" view is inspiring. You might also want to check out a view called panentheism, which is a sort of spirituality without a godhead.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would quibble about the question. I don't see that spirituality and science serve the same needs at all - to me, the question is rather like, "Why are pets important for humans? Can they be completely replaced with shoes?"

    Yes, some religions try to explain some of the same phenomena that some science explains, but that's just the "how"., and I see that as a relatively small intersection.

    Science doesn't explain the "why", and it doesn't make judgments or set priorities. It _informs_ all of those things; it gives us the knowledge that we need to choose actions that will work toward our priorities. It's vitally important. But it can inform good decisions or evil decisions; science doesn't care.

    Philosophy, ethics, morals, storytelling, relationships, and many other things including, for some people, religion, give us the "why" and help us make those decisions. I would include all of these things, not just religion, under the umbrella of spirituality.

    I see no conflict whatsoever between spirituality and science.
     
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  10. muscle979
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    muscle979 Member

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    None of this has anything to do with the question presented in the thread. Great trolling. The sentence in bold gave me a good laugh. As if there are not brilliant scientists trying to figure out the universe at this very moment. No, I guess they're all in church praying right now instead... on a side note I'm almost positive I have teeth, I was just brushing them a few minutes ago.
     
  11. Allan Paas
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    I am of the same opinion. The worst 'disease' humanity still has. But I don't bother myself with it, I ignore it the best I can. Luckily it's already fading from humanity, although slowly.


    They are not the same but they are associated, even related. Which puts spirituality into a (very?) bad light, in my opinion.
    A simple googling, a copy-paste. Some common interpretations of spirituality, seems to vary person to person.

    -The idea of a process or journey of self-discovery and of learning not only who you are, but who you want to be.
    -The challenge of reaching beyond your current limits. This can include keeping an open mind, questioning current beliefs, or trying to better understand others' beliefs.
    -A connectedness to yourself and to others. Spirituality is personal, but it is also rooted in being connected with others and with the world around you. This connection can facilitate you finding "your place in the world."
    -Meaning, purpose, and direction. Spirituality, while it doesn't necessarily solve or reach conclusions, often embraces the concept of searching and moving forward in the direction of meaning, purpose, and direction for your life.
    -A higher power, whether rooted in a religion, nature, or some kind of unknown essence.


    I myself have never thought about spirituality and whether it is important to me or not, and never will. Considering that, I'd say it is not important. I have come up with answers to the questions about life on my own. With reason and logic, spirituality seems to go against those, at least partly.
     
  12. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    Religion and spirituality are connected. Quite possible that religion came from spirituality considering the similarities, and then was turned into something very bad and evil.
    Human teeth are for grinding, not tearing and ripping flesh from a body. I'm very confident that that is what he meant, in fact the first time I read it that is what I imagined - sharp teeth for killing prey.
    You reduce human's mind/brain to that of an animal. There would be no chance for survival. No claws, talons, nor sharp teeth; thin skin, no fur; senses are low - a recipe for death.
     
  13. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Keep in my mind that your world of technology and science will still be underpinned by faith and a certain religiosity of temperament. These are powerful urges in many. You do not need to rediscover it; you perhaps needs to divert its flows. Those who claim to be sceptical and entirely rational are usually not so, and have often merely swapped one religion (monotheism perhaps) for another: science.
     
  14. Slappydappy
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    Slappydappy Member

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    Thanks for the responses.

    I would say many stories have similar themes. Star Wars had the theme of trusting in the Force (Human Spirituality) over machines (Science). Luke turns off his targeting computer and trusts in the mysterious energy of Life, to defeat the forces on Antagonism. Darth Vader represents the system, half-man half-machine, serving the Empire, a symbol of future man. Notice how at the end, Anakin's spirit is shown still living, with the other Jedi. This is symbolic of the freed spirit living on in Nirvana.

    I've never seen people disagree with Star Wars based on the all mysticism and "mumbo-jumbo" in it. Lucas was greatly inspired by Joseph Campbell's works on mythology. I just finished two of his books and I can see it pretty clearly now. I believe Lucas was presenting the case that humans cannot living on technology alone, that they must stay in touch with their inner spirituality. If not, we will end up with the Empire, Death Stars, and Stormtroopers.

    I don't know why people are talking about religion. I never even mentioned it. I also find it odd that writers would be against spirituality, since there would be no point in writing anything creative, or any beauty in art, in a world ruled by science and logic. Art comes from the spiritual side of us, as we attempt to convey emotions and ideas that cannot be articulated logically or scientifically, only felt deep inside ourselves. I think revealing truths moves us and gives us a reason to carry on and push forward in life. Unless you believe art is just for entertainment and serves no other purpose.

    I am a Christian, but not terribly religious. I don't care to push religion into my stories at all.
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But there can't _be_ a world ruled by science and logic. It's impossible. Science and logic has no point of view. Science doesn't care if humanity thrives or it dies. It can describe either situation, and it can give us information to bring about either situation, but science doesn't care. Similarly, logic has no point of view. You can use logic to try to achieve a goal, but you still have to come up with the goal.

    I have great faith in science and logic. I'm an engineer and a geek. And I think that artists also need science and logic; it's not a coincidence or even a surprise that Da Vinci was a master of them all.

    But science and logic are tools, not philosophies. They don't _have_ any philosophy, opinions, goals, _anything_ of their own. You can't be ruled by something that has no point of view.

    ChickenFreak
     
  16. GemmaB
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    GemmaB New Member

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    I can really relate to your character. I'm part Pacific Islander and Native American. I'm very active in our traditional indigenous ceremonies. From that perspective, all life is spirit. I'm often frustrated with a modern society that is so disconnected from reality that it that it lives as though spirituality might be an option in life rather than understanding it as the essence of life.

    From an indigenous perspective, all life is spirit. Not only does everything have a spirit but all life is first conceived within the spiritual realms. The realms of the unseen and not yet written. Mythology is a misnomer. Myths imply fantasy and fiction. Indigenous cultures consider their traditional stories as based in profound ancient truth. A spiritual truth that precedes physical reality.

    My answer to you is to restate the question from an indigenous perspective, "What caused you to forget? What caused such a severe spiritual amnesia across time and nations? What stories beg retelling that will shatter the illusion of separation from the spiritual reality and reconnect with those spiritual systems that have existed since time immemorial? "
     
  17. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    First of all, to the opener of this thread: an interesting idea you have there! I can really relate to your main character. I've read a lot about the things people used to believe in the past and sometimes I do get the idea we might be better off still believing them instead of the current dogmatic faith in science, technology and modernity. A lot of times it feels like science is denegrating the value of human life. We have darwinists saying we're no different from other animals, AI researchers saying our brains aren't any different than computers(and some saying, if our brains are just computers, we should replace them with better ones when we can) and scientists saying living matter is not any different from inanimate matter. Sometimes I've heard people say they don't see how a valid moral system could form, since science can't address moral questions.

    Spirituality is a really vague term and that's why I can't say if I'm a spiritual person. For one person it means high morals and ethics, for another it means meditation or some other rituals and someone thinks it's actual belief in some sort of spirits or higher powers. I'm not really a religious person, but for me, the value of these type of beliefs is as a form of resistance against the modern world. I have no idea if I count as a spiritual person, but I certainly don't live like the world is made of matter.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    bravo, allan!...
    you're the first person i've come across other than myself in a long, long, time, who makes a point of the fact that humans are not biologically/zoologically/physiologically intended to be carnivores, they simply choose to be...
     
  19. astroannie
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    astroannie Member

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    To me -- and I speak for none other -- spirituality is a way of accepting and interacting with the unknowable.

    In shorthand, "deity as metaphor" for the part of the universe that either one personally or humans as a species, cannot comprehend / deal with. It imparts the sense of dealing with it.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I really should point out that this is not a writing issue. Philosophy discussions do not belong here, even if it will be a theme in your story.

    The reason for the site's separation into forums is to keep similar subjects together for the sake of those searching for answers regarding writing issues.
     
  21. slippingbeauty
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    This very much depends on the person, some people have a deep need for a spiritual life, while others have a desperate need to categorize things in life scientifically. I think both extremes are different ways to feel safe, like you mentioned in your question
     
  22. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Mammamaia,

    Actually if you look at our dentition, humans are specifically designed to be omnivores. We have molarsand premolars which are specifically designed for grinding down tough chewy plant matter. But our molars are nowhere near as robust as those of say a sheep, and our musculature controlling the jaw nowhere near as powerfulas it would need to be if we lived purely on plants. That's why we have to cook a lot of our grains. But we also have incisors and fangs for ripping into soft fleshy meats.

    Also if you look at our closest cousins in evolutionary terms, chimps, they are also omnivores and will hunt down and kill prey.

    In short we are designed by nature to eat a little bit of everything, and that's a part of why humans have been so successful as a species.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  23. agentkirb
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    While I agree with the point about religion being "bad", I don't like it when people bring up the point about all the people that use religion as an excuse to kill or do bad things... as if concluding that if we didn't have religion, none of these things would ever happen. That's simply not true. I will say this one last thing about religion and then get back to the actual topic. I sometimes wonder if society could exist without some kind of religion. You could probably start off with no religion at all, but then as soon as people start wondering why certain things happen, they make up their own minds what they can't explain with "science".

    Back to the topic about spirituality vs science. I would really try to take religion out of the equation for science purposes. And if you do that, the argument becomes almost logic vs emotion... which is a theme we see in a lot of stories where logic says that A should happen, but B somehow ends up happening for some unexplainable reason. Imagine a world with all logic and no emotion... if they tried to tackle an issue such as healthcare, I could imagine the conclusion they would come to would be to kill off old people because they are costing us money and have the least to offer to society. But because we have that emotional part to society to say that that's a bad idea, we don't actually do that.
     
  24. VM80
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    That's not universally so. Having some spiritual/religious feelings or outlets can lessen that 'fear'. And all that terrified-of-the-devil business is terribly antiquated. Unless one is highly religious, perhaps, and then imo moving into extremist directions I don't care for.

    No meaning of life? There is meaning, can be meaning in how we live. It's up to the individual.
     
  25. Cogito
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    This is no longer remotely about writing.
     
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