Core Shamanism—A World-Wide Coincidence?

Micheal Harner, who recently passed away, was an anthropologist who studied shamanistic similarities around the world. The foundation for shamanistic studies houses the largest data base preserving the practice.

Shamanism can be seen as a fundamentally spiritual approach to real-life problem solving informed by an animistic philosophy that is practiced by individuals for the benefit of their group. These individuals systematically utilize a technique or combination of techniques to alter consciousness in such a way that they reliably access nonordinary reality.

“Core shamanism emphasizes the shamanic journey, an excursion into nonordinary reality by an individual or group of individuals facilitated by monotonous drumming. The excursion is purely a consciousness experience. The destination(s) of the journey is/are the conventional Lower, Middle, and Upper Worlds. Individuals are taught to journey in a weekend workshop, focused on methodology. Each participant has as a goal in initial journeys the meeting of at least one of their own existing power animals and spirit teachers. These become the indispensable resources of each person for further shamanic work. Participants are taught that shamanism is designed for healing, both of self and others(1)

Prior to colonialism regular people had access to the spirit realms and these things were forcefully done away with, while the church took control over spirituality—Now you had to go through them, while they swept under the rug ancient practices that gave people personal connections, personal ability to provide for their own spiritual needs, it was viewed as heretical or witchery, outdated or “uncivilized”, but the fact is that there were core shamanistic practices around the world, all different walks of life shared in the same common rituals to seek out higher levels of spiritual connection beyond our ordinary reality.

A common thread—They knew something, (and the church continued to keep their own mystics), while abolishing it wherever they could outside the church walls. Common people didn’t lose their ability to connect with god, but it was taken from them and replaced with a forgery that only provides hope without substance. The churches will never replace what man could originally do for himself, but that won’t keep the church from claiming authority for these things, while all along it was done at a higher level and with regularity (at will) by maintaining certain practices that are largely missing from the modern world.
It is evidenced by Christianity today, each believer going their own way but knows not where to turn, picking and choosing and searching, but failing. The power has always been within you to chart your own spiritual journey, but the churches have destroyed the tools to do so, yet each has gone their own way is evidence christianity has failed the people at a global level.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

154 thoughts on “Core Shamanism—A World-Wide Coincidence?”

  1. You stated — “The power has always been within you to chart your own spiritual journey, but the churches have destroyed the tools to do so”

    My response — I think the only way to experience God is directly. I see religion as a form of commercialism. Shamanism is interesting and closer to a direct experience but I wonder sometimes if it is also a bit scripted and preformatted.

    If a person believes in God and he is a real individual then it seems to me that one would need to make a connection that is individualized.

    Just a thought

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    1. The ability to imagine has taken us very far and nowhere at the same time. Believing in god doesn’t make him exist, in fact it’s probably to the contrary. If the existence of God is up for debate, he actually doesn’t exist. Belief/faith in something is not necessary if that something actually exists. I could list a thousand ridiculous things and most people could identify that as irrational. Except one. That one, has fallen to scientific discovery in every discipline. One last animal to explain and the odds are not in favor of a god.
      No supernatural explanation has ever supplanted a natural or scientific one. Things are not looking good for the shrinking influences of gods, or the need for one for all this to happen.

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  2. In fact, my beliefs tend toward animism, and I think, from what I have read, that there will be a widespread awakening of the so-called third eye or spiritual eye. This will enable people to see energy that is out of the normal visible range that we can see now, and it will allow people to see the innate connections of light between things.

    Belief and disbelief are very powerful in this dream world. After all, anything can happen in a dream, and our collective dream world is guided by what we collectively choose to think about, believe in, and do.

    I believe that magic and sorcery and spiritual powers are real—as much as they can be real in a dream. However, few people are disciplined enough to use them for only good ends. People are tempted by hate, jealousy, fear, revenge, etc. to use the powers they have at their disposal to hurt or manipulate others.

    Technology has become more and more like magic, and soon there must be a shifting point in consciousness, or someone will use their available powers to do great harm. But I also believe that things are being guided and controlled by disembodied, spiritual beings. I do what I can, and I trust that the rest is being taken care of by benevolent beings. However, I also try not to judge by appearances when things don’t seem to be going well, for I cannot currently see the big picture.

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    1. That’s what I always thought, but evidently I was mistaken (according to the shamanism.org peoples. Drums are a big part of it too. I think the idea is certain types of resonance stimulate parts of the brain, also, according to some animal studies (rats) the same chemicals can be released from the pineal gland. Who know what’s really going on in ones head?

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        1. I have two handmade Panama bongos and I just love to play. Interestingly, my African American grandson always breaks out into these totally tribal dances he has never seen before. It’s in his genetics, I believe. They appear spontaneously routine, if that makes any sense.

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      1. I agree that psychoactive drugs and sensory stimulation can induce altered states of consciousness. But I’m not convinced that these experiences serve any practical application other than to grant a temporary reprieve from the rigors of daily life (or as McKenna so eloquently put it: “That’s how you break up the tyranny of serial Newtonian time.”)

        Thoughts?

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        1. I agree. I am surrounded by purported spirituality but where does it go? I can read pale blue dot and get the same sort of experience. One thing extra though, while in the non ordinary reality there is supposed to be some spirit to spirit healing that can be requested. Then again, from my own studies one can relate that to placebo effect and your own brain power. Seems we need to be tricked in some way to take advantage of our neural abilities. Phantom limbs are adjusted and relieved in the same manner, using tricks. Everyone can find something I suppose.

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  3. The Shaman is within everyone of us, not in institutions or collectives. Under “western” type institutionalism, only the leader/priest/preacher/president/head honcho has the right to determine the way, and has the final word. As we can now see from decadence and collapse into increasing idiocy, that was a gross error, or actually a great way to get and keep control over the masses. Now “science” so called is doing the same thing.
    I’ve been saying for years that the way to proceed is with self empowerment. I must think my own thoughts and act through that. Believe all things, believe IN nothing.

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    1. The leader/priest/preacher/president/head honcho also has the authority to call your personal experience a fraud, from the devil, deceptive, and so forth. Only through their approved entity can you find the true way

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      1. Exactly, and if they are in league with secular authority, or are the secular authority, they can have you jailed, tortured and executed. We tend to forget that very real and bloody, long-lasting history of Christianity.

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  4. It put me to sleep again, Jim. I think it is his voice, there is no enthusiasm in his words. 15 minutes, and I’m dozing like a baby. I should probably try some ayahuasca, but while I used psychedelics to get there originally, I consider it too dangerous for most people to play with. When I was younger my mind was much stronger than it is now. Saying that, I don’t know if mental strength is age related or not, but that same confidence I used to have in myself is gone. Not the confidence in what I lesrned, that is mine forever. But confidence in surviving the physical experience itself. It takes a lot out of the body to take the journey, and my powers of recovery are not what they used to be. Maybe on my deathbed, if I ever get the chance to lie in it. But I guess I could try the drumming. I have a hand made drum in my closet. I should dig it out…

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  5. I have studied core shamanism. What it really is low scale New Age/Monotheism for Western Europeans who want something akin to Native spirituality with Carl Jung mixed in. I know core shamans who trained with Harner and his successors. As you can see, I have a dim view of them.

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    1. That’s fine, as a polytheist you may be ahead of the curve. So, where does a person turn to seek out these things if they are interested? Are your sources agreed upon by everyone? Instead of pure criticism, I would be thrilled to see you post a link or two to broaden the discussion. This is a brief exploration of reuniting with past practices that just aren’t too main stream any more. Love to hear your input. At the very least Harner has put forth his best effort in preserving these things. Are there more? Others have tried to link Harner to new age as well, but his developed independently and prior to these new attempts.

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      1. I wrote several blog posts about core shamanism. I could list them here if you like. Let me know what you would like to do. Core shamans are a sore point with polytheists for points of theology.

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          1. One aspect of Core Shamanism that troubles me is Soul Retrieval. Sandra Ingerman who took over after Harner’s stroke came up with this. Her theory is that people lose parts of their soul in times of trauma or when people steal them. She combines Western therapy (she is a MSW) with shamanic ideas for this. For me the two are incompatible. She teaches the ceremony of how to retrieve lost parts of the soul and reunify it.

            I have been through Western therapy for many years. It was and is very helpful. However, the MSW was more dealing with how to overcome trauma the usual way through talk therapy. As a Polytheist, this did not bother me.

            I do know people who do soul retrieval and it makes me uneasy. They see the soul as a singularity – much like Christian doctrine added with Freud’s idea of ego, id, and super ego. Polytheism sees the soul as multiple souls or a soul complex. If one soul is missing, it is because it was destroyed during trauma. However, that soul does grow back. The task for the Polytheist is to ensure that nothing else takes its place. Soul retrieval runs counter to that.

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            1. These things would also be at odds with neurological findings. Just the idea of that seems a little odd, but I’ll have to think on that one a while. I think when people try to do to much, one gets away from the simplicity of the process, or the intent of the entire exercise by adding other mediums. Stick to what you know. Great comment. Thank you.

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            2. Interesting thread. Years ago I was enjoined to consider the concept of ‘soul’, to study it and arrive at some useful conclusion. The first thing I learned was that no one actually knows what a soul is, what it does and what it is supposed to be for. The second thing I learned was that the average ‘soul aware’ person totally confuses mind with soul. The third thing I learned was that it is our minds that exist in multiples, not our souls. Minds can attach to other minds, can ‘travel’ with them, though only as ‘partials’ of minds, as aspects, not the complete thing unless a person has died, for one’s mind cannot entirely leave a body to go inhabit another… or you’d have a zombie on the loose. (I’m actually serious here – 🙂 ) So we exist in a state of mind enhanced by partials from other minds. This is our normal state of mind.
              Point one: what is a soul? Raised Catholic and taught the doctrine in depth, the soul was what survived at death and went back to god for judgment, then the 3 possibilities: hell (damnation in permanent torture), purgatory (tortured horribly but eventually redeemed) and heaven (eternal bliss). Rejecting that, I discovered the nature of man’s soul. It is an implant, yes, from “god” (only not as people think of god but a very powerful system of control) designed to control people; to make them remain slaves to certain beliefs and remain useful functions. The soul is indivisible but can be reprogrammed (by the controlling system and soul-owner, the System) throughout one’s life to bring the ensouled slave back in step. Not to drag this on, I’ve gone on about this on my own blog, the self empowered person is one who has “legally” negotiated either the complete removal, or the neutralizing, of her/his soul and can no longer be controlled or swayed that way. I have done this, so speaking from personal experience. Those legal negotiations? Not an easy thing to accomplish.

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            3. Interesting. I wouldn’t agree though that the only way to disconnect from the system is through this negotiation, but solely by careful intent we can operate outside the system or at least neutralize its effect. I know you may disagree or not, but I’ve been operating on my own for quite some time. Interestingly, and I know you and I have had some pretty good disagreement on certain topics, but those topics are not who I am. They are merely points of discussion that bit you and I have amended at times. Just like this post. It is interesting to me but I really have no interest in spiritual things. I’m basically spiritually indifferent, but it is important to others and I am a curious one, so we talk, Reason, understand, and provide a forum of discussion. People like my wife, you, Neptune, and Raw have very interesting approaches that I hold in deep respect, although I am really an onlooker with a compassion for individual expression. This mix is just as I would picture the perfect life.

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  6. Ignoring the fit he threw about Buddhists being atheist and somewhat “spiritual,” It was curious to see Mel’s completely over-the-top fit at panpsychism. He could hardly contain his rage at the threat he saw coming from something that might actually be quantifiable spirituality. By his outburst (outbursts, to be honest) he really demonstrated just how shallow his actual belief system is.

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    1. Very shallow. It’s a big and interesting world outside of Christian indoctrination. And the simplicity (which I’ve always believed was the key) is an easy, but effective way for common people to circumvent the control and ineffectiveness of the churches. Interestingly as the church abolished all these practices, they still kept some of it amongst themselves. For instance, why is the floor of the Basilica the zodiac?

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  7. Another excellent post Jim. I’m always learning something new when I visit your blog. Things I never would have thought of myself, but can totally agree with.

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  8. So, I will agree that the church has done great harm throughout time and the world. People cling to power and seek it out in any and every possible avenue.

    Where do you get the idea though that people have no where to turn?

    Look within, that is all.

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        1. Christianity results in Christendom. I don’t separate the two as you conveniently assert. Christianity resulted in the removal of ancient practices. It’s common knowledge.

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            1. How about quantifiable empirical evidence? Do A, B, and C, then record your experience. This is the neat part. Evidently you can be taught the techniques and it works, then you can compare your experiences with others. Many of these shamen were able to access these non ordinary realities at will.

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            2. Of course what you are told is subjective. That’s why I observe things for myself. Why don’t you observe these things for yourself as well. That’s how I so keenly observed my Christian faith was a facade of words that never added up to those words we hear, nor the scriptures we read. Every single point is disputable and leads to more focus of self, greater division, and less harmony and equality. May not be the intent, but that’s what happens. The entire religion is a fraud perpetrated on the simple psychology of regular people, while those that make the rules never follow them in there own lives.

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            3. Everything is subjective, unless you open yourself to absolute ignorance almost. You must rid yourself of prejudice and a desired outcome if you are to learn or observe anything.

              If you are looking for proof to reinforce your desired outcome, it becomes easy to make excuses to enable whatever you’re looking for.

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            4. I don’t have a desired outcome. I just look around…a lot. Like I said in another comment, my indifference to spiritual things does not mean they are not important to many. So, I nose around in it. Maybe that makes me a good third party observer. As far as everything being subjective? That’s nonsense. Let’s start with one irrefutable truth and find consensus and work from there. We have many to choose from. From what it sounds like, objective shouldn’t even be a word. I could just delete 1/4 of my 20 years worth of medical notes.

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            5. A consensus? Where do you get an actual thorough consensus? Come on Jim, everything is subjective. Medical notes, where do you come up with this stuff? Believe what you want, but your first mistake was trying to preach the word that there is no God. You’re still acting as a missionary, trying to convince people based on your findings.

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            6. You’ve agreed with yourself that in your world it’s hopeless. There cannot be a consensus. We’ll never agree. I certainly am an expert at diagnosing many medical problems quite accurately, and an entire field of medicine will concur. Yet that’s in your book as subjective. I can’t help you out of your blinders. You are defeated before you even wake up. The bullshit games religion plays with little word games and excuses is quite disingenuous. Keeping everything in abstract is the ONLY way you can possibly believe in your god. Good job. And btw, I’m not proselytizing. You came here to do your thing.

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            7. Not sure what you’re trying to prove here, but there are plenty of things in this waking reality to observe and find consensus. In fact, there are about 300 people here on this little blog that would agree that you are grasping for relevance by ignoring observable reality to justify an inkling of faith.

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            8. Gender is fluid. Why don’t you talk to those involved and find out for yourself instead of listening to the religious opinion. I have some feminine qualities myself that arise from time to time. So what? But, in your world people born with a little different wiring than yourself are going to hell. I don’t buy that. The science and the personal experiences are very strong on this. I have a little over 300 posts on this blog. I cannot remember one valid Christian argument. They disagree, accuse, and get angry, then offer nothing. You are here because you need to be. Just as I did 4 years ago to prove my apologetic prowess. Well, all my arguments then were just as yours now. Rubbish. But, you’ll find your clarity in your own way. The key to understanding the mysteries is unbelief. No kidding. Only then will you speak your own mind.

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            9. Yeah, and you probably never will hear a Christian argument that sounds valid for you. You’re already closed off. In your echo chamber.

              Who said anything about burning in hell Jim? Take it easy on the dramatics there bud.

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            10. I have no echo chamber. I know all the Christian arguments too. Lived it for 35 adult years of my life. As a believer I had to make sense of it, and believe against all reason. I didn’t come to my own conclusions until after I no longer believed. Not before hand. I think I present some interesting topics and of course, that is my bias. But, I learn a lot every day from a wide variety of disciplines, and it just so happens that faith is at odds with all of them. In my spare time I call out the contradictions and the outcomes. It’s pretty easy to do. Even with my hands tied

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            11. Lol. Right. Science is a religion? The religion of general relativity that keeps satellites in orbit? Virtually every discipline has supplanted every religious explanation except the moment of creation. That too will fall by the wayside. If you care to look there are some amazing advances in that area as well, but you’ll never hear that from the pulpits.

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            12. If you postulate god, mr. coffee, you are prejudicing yourself before you begin, and heading towards a desired outcome. Try postulating no god, and an open outcome. I agree you should look inside yourself, at least that is where I found me, and I had no room for god. My outcome was life, which every living being has. You can be alive without god, but you cannot be alive without life. This is the one truth in life. Everything else is relative to that truth.

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            13. Yes, but my opinion comes from inside of me, not from something someone told me to find in what somebody else said or wrote. That is the big difference between us, mr. coffee, you looked and found what you were prejudiced to find. I looked, and found what I could not have predicted, because I allowed no one to tell me what to expect to find.

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            14. It is not a presumption. It is a fact. What you think comes from inside of you can only get there by someone telling you it is there. God is not a concept you are born with. It has to be put into you. Eslewise every person on this earth would have the concept of god inside them, and they do not. It is simple logic. If some are born without the concept, all are born without the concept.
              And do not tell me only the chosen of god are born with the concept. You are not the chosen of god. That title belongs to the Hebrews. Anyone else is just a usurper. And Christ made no sense to them. They rejected him outright. You became the last-ditch choice. And you think thst makes you special.
              Don’t get me wrong, if you choose to believe, go ahead. It is no sweat off my nose. I’m not about to tell you how to run your life. That is completely your choice. But keep it to yourself. No one else cares what you believe. As soon as you start preaching to others, though, or telling others what you believe, you make yourself fair game to be attacked and used as cannon fodder. And we will attack, because you crossed the border into our territory, and hurled the first piece of shit. And, in the end, you are going to lose your faith because of it. Let me tell you a little secret, all it takes is a tiny crack to bring the whole church crumbling down around you. We all know, we have been there…

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            15. Who says I am chosen? I do not believe I am worth being chosen or saved.

              I guess we will have to see. Why are you so obsessed with telling me that I will lose my faith? Why is this so personal to you?

              Let it go man, just let it go. Only time will reveal the truth. And in the end, that’s all we all have is time. We can not control it all we can do is wait.

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            16. Oh, I am not obsessed, nor is it personal. I say those very same things to all believers who come into my space. I give fair warning of what is going to happen. The longer you stay, the more opportunity you are going to hear something that gets into your mind, and at some dark time is going to raise its head, and you are going to ask yourself, could it really be so?
              Why would I let it go? The more I say it will happen, the more you will fight to ensure it does not happen. But the more you fight, the weaker you get. It is called human nature. And it is human nature for me, once I see an opening, to dig at that opening, until I bore inside, and make a molehill into a mountain. I am telling you my strategy, to make it easier for you to counteract. But it doesn’t matter. Your loss of faith is a foregone conclusion. As you said, it is only a matter of time, and there is all the time in eternity.

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            17. I brought my own soapbox. And I have no need of a podium, I do not speak from well-used notes. Even though I have said these things to others, every time I speak them they come new, and from my heart. I stand naked in front of you, nothing up my sleeves, or hidden behind me. I am completely vulnerable.

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            18. Spoken like a true pious Christian. Trouble understanding metaphors is a Christian strength. Remember, you are a visitor here. At least he’s not hiding behind the thoughts of others. Use you brain dude.

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            19. Your lack of joining ideas is astounding. Come back and read this after your deconversion. Your embarrassing yourself. Go away now if you don’t mind

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            20. Oh, a parry.
              So I thrust.
              The word of atheism, if there were such a thing, cannot be spread. No one can cause anyone to become an atheist. Finding no reason to go on believing is a personal thing. Everyone comes to disbelief in their own way. We have no book. Truth to be told, we have no we. Each of us is an army of 1. We believe as we choose to believe, not because someone tells us to believe a thing. This is the fatal mistake made by believers. Because you all believe similarly, you expect us to believe similarly. We do not. The basic premise is there is no theity. Beyond that, all else is chaos.

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            21. Ha, where do you draw your conclusions from then? How do you know anything is true if you so easily shirk your own earlier beliefs? Do you just jump from one conclusion to the next, always disparaging your last self? Why do you hate your old self so much?

              What was so wrong with what you once were?

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            22. I draw my conclusions from my experience. That is the only thing in this world I can be sure of. And with each new experience, I grow. I build on what came before, not creating anew every time, but adding layers upon layrrs upon layers.
              I do not hate myself. The young me thought it was right to believe what others told me. But as he grew up, he realized most of what had been told to him were lies. For this I am proud of him, and love him for his strength and ability to reason.

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            23. I think you lack the ability to see clearly as rawgod and his people have been nearly decimated by your religion, pushing its way around his world and pressing them into little corners of nearly inhabitable land, destroying complete cultures with gods love. I don’t think you have any idea how vile Christianity and its adherents and governments have spread this love of god you are enthralled with.

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            24. That’s complete rubbish. It is proof however, that the word of god leads to this behavior and oppression. Every time. The word of god is a travesty when implemented. It is the cause of horror. The perceived love of god has historically leads to a love affair with torture and force.

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            25. All of it. Your a part of it. You want to cherry pick out the good and excuse the bad as “leaders” going rogue and doing evil on people? Now you still are in it. That lacks integrity.

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            26. You are a voluntary member of a club that supports racism, oppression, division, and social inequality. I would never even pretend to be associated with someone that could do that, especially as a means of faith. Is your faith so strong you can overlook the misery you have inflicted on indigenous people, then joke about it when they stand before you with nothing left? I’d have some soul searching to do if I were in your mindset

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            27. Oh, so now you accuse me of something I’ve never done. What misery have others experienced from my own hand.

              Please stop with the stereotyping Jim.

              This is what I am talking about, all you people attempt is intimidation. No actual discussion.

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            28. Oh, am I travelling out of my own space? Did I go to your land to seek you out? Did I bring you something I want you to believe in, even if you do not want to believe in it? Do I rattle on at you to believe what I say, because there is someone greater out there than you. No, being a missionary is for those who are unsure of their belief, and who find safety in numbers. I am already the strongest number in the wotld. 1! I cannot be divided.

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            29. It seems as if you have already tried to separate yourself a few times before.

              When did I decree that you must believe what I say? I would suggest you believe for yourself, since I am fallible.

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            30. I cannot stand the adversity, mr. coffee, I thrive on adversity. But I see no adversity here. I see fallow ground on which to plant my seeds. It will be your tears that give the seeds the moisture they will need to grow. Your obvious choice is to stop commenting. But you cannot seem to do that. You are alresdy addicted to what I am saying. You want more challenges, so you can prove how strong you are. But you are not strong, you are weak. Walk away, sir, while you still have something to believe in.

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            31. Words represent concepts. They are not just words. If they are only words for you, I pity you. You say you want conversation. It takes words to converse. But if that is all words are to you, there can be no conversation. If I am not allowed to use words, then there is no exchange of ideas. You are running around in circles with your head cut off.

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            32. I have no need to do better. I do not know what limits you are using to decide what is wrong or right, good or bad, weak or strong, but I have no such limits. I have what is, and what is not. There can be nothing more.

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            33. Without limits, there is no absolute. Everything is possible. Even your god is possible, but highly improbable. But if you are asking what is at the pinnacle of my beliefs, it is life. All things come from life. There is nothing without it.

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            34. No, I do not appreciate you using me to distract you from what you are being paid to do. If I knew where you work, I would tell your boss. You are being dishonest with him or her. And if you are your own boss, you are being deceitful to anyone you have working for you.

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            35. Honesty is only an ideal. Not really a practice. This is the problem with forgiveness through grace. No accountability.

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            36. There is no accountability, except to yourself. If a person cannot be honest to themselves, they have to reason to be honest, and therefore trustworthy, to anyone.

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            37. The bible may be a window into something, but it is certainly not a window into your soul. How egotistical can you get. The bible was written specially for you. Wow!
              Meanwhile, you accuse Jim of proselytising, and having followers. I am a reader of Jim’s posts, but that does not make me a follower in any definition of that word. Nor is Jim trying to preach anything, he is putting statements out there that we the readers are free to agree or disagree with.
              That you disagree with him is obvious, and I disagree with you. I am making this obvious right here. And if you stick around you are going to give up belief before you make any one person here believe. That I can guarantee you. God is not dead, god never existed to be able to die. You believe in a lie, and if you want to go on believing that lie, go back where you came from and stay there, hiding your head in the sand. Once you lift your head from the sand, you can never go back. This is not a warning, but a promise.

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            38. Yep, everything I say, do, and write informs my opinion, just like you. And IMO there is nothing written in the bible that can show anyone what is inside them. But, what it does do is tell you what to find, predisposing you to find what you were told to find. God is a myth told to a child to keep that child from running wild. A true thinker will forego that myth in order to discover what they truly encounter in this world. A fake thinker will always find what they have been told to find, even if it is unbelievable, and incomprehensible.
              We live in the same world, mr. coffee, so one of us is not seeing truly. There is an unseeable, unknowable god, or there never was a thing that is unseeable or unknowable. Tell me the rational choice is yours. No problem. I will not tell you the rational choice is mine, because there is no such choice! It is impossible to choose what was never there.

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            39. God loves all, whether they are wild or tame. Just because people use the word of God for their own gain, doesn’t make it untrue. It just shows how corrupt people can be.

              I am not looking to “turn” anyone with my questions or comments. Just conversation. I have faith plain and simple. Do you exercise faith as well with your findings or the findings of other people?

              We cannot begin to know all or even attempt to know all. Our hubris is wild and out of control. It has been since Adam and Eve.

              Just because I believe something, doesn’t mean that you must believe the same and vice versa. We all believe whatever we believe and to attempt to convince someone of your intimate beliefs is an attempt of a disingenuous encounter.

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            40. Jumping in here but… when you ask, do you have faith, aren’t you implying that faith, as you understand it, is an essential process to expressing life? Aren’t you saying that living a life without faith is an error? In which case you are attempting to convince? There are three things your religion claims to be the greatest: faith, hope and love with the greatest being love. I personally decided decades ago to give up entirely on all three in order to shake the religion out of my system. It worked wonderfully well since all three great “Christian” virtues are fake. Faith is believing in what does not exist and never has. Hope is believing that something that does not exist is going to take care of little ol’ me when I die. Love is believing that this non-existent nonentity cares about my hangnail problem and whether I can find that famous parking space near the Wal-Mart entrance on boxing day or the black Friday sale day. It may not have been what the great false teacher and fake disciple, Paul of Tarsus meant, but it certainly is what it has devolved into. I’m not telling anyone how to live their life, I’m just making personal observations.

              Liked by 3 people

            41. Same here, what’s the problem with me asking questions? How do you know what you think you know is true Sha’Tara?

              Your translation of what faith is to me is wrong. By faith, I mean that we all practice faith in many forms. Some have faith that what the doctor tells us will come to fruition as they say. Some have faith in their fellow man that the science that they practice is true and void of prejudice.

              To exclaim that faith is futile, is an exercise in fantasy.

              I know the term “faith” is already coined a curse word in the mind of the atheist, since the atheist is full of hubris and cannot simply acknowledge that they are not totally sure about anything.

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            42. Faith is more like an ability to force yourself to adhere to doctrines that have no basis in reality. In the realm of biases, Belief Perseverance and Self Serving bias (wiki those two) is a pretty cut and dry explanation of those stuck in the faith trap.

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            43. Oh, Mr BC007, it’s not the asking of questions so much as the sometimes not so subtle “aggressive tone of voice” used by Christians when replying to their real or imagined challengers. It seems strange to me that Christian apologists should get tense when being challenged on their beliefs considering that they have god’s infinite wisdom indwelling them in the person of the Holy Spirit so that they can never be wrong on the subject of faith and salvation, (I’m saying this tongue in cheek, you understand, I know the score of that game) and also on being enjoined to always have a gentle and kind answer to all those who would question them on the hope that they have.
              As to faith, you have it quite wrong, friend. Faith is not believing in medical intervention, or that my car will start – far from it! Assuming I believed a doctor could heal me (I don’t, I trust them about as much as I do the Pope) or that my car will start come morning, it has nothing whatsoever to do with faith and any atheist would probably say the same: I believe, not by faith but by simple observation, and I reserve the possibility that the Dr. will not heal me (a most likely scenario) or that my car will not start due to a weak battery. Let me refresh your memory on the proper definition of faith as only someone who trusts in GOD FOR ALL THINGS can use. I think this is KJV, but whatever, “now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11 of memory serves). My own motto on the subject of faith is, Believe all things, believe in nothing. Was that too harsh? 🙂

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            44. There is more wisdom in a day of disconnect from faith in the abrahamic gods, than a lifetime of thinking what you are taught to think and say from the lifetime of indoctrinations. It’s simply true. The whole world of love and tolerance only comes after dismissing the forgery.

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            45. Your god does not love me, I will not let him. But why start a conversation with known unbelievers if you are not out to turn them. Are you trying to understand something when you do not accept the possibility you are wrong. That is disingenuous.
              And yes, I exercise faith, but it is faith in myself and my experiences. When it comes to thoughts about spirituality, there can be no surety of most things. When we die, we will continue to exist on some level or not. If not, we will never know it. If yes, we will discover that. But discovering one still has life does not immediately mean your belief was right. It is only one possibility among gazillions of possibilities. So is your faith that you will survive death, a 50/50 chance, or is your faith that you will live in the kingdom of god, a one in a gazillion chance.
              And as I said in the comment I just sent you, mr. coffee, I am not out to change your beliefs either. I am just presenting to you the facts as I see them. And I know, every time you reply to one of our comments gives us another chance to put another chink on your armour. So, the result is inevitable. Meanwhile, if you care to have a true conversation, just remember it is you who are talking from a place of weakness. You still believe in the unbelievable. I stopped believing in the unbelievable over 50 years ago. That puts me at an advantage you cannot fight. I have already looked at both sides of the situation. You have not.

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            46. You have no power in who loves you or who hates you. You do not possess that level of control over people or God.

              Sure, hack away at my armor, it is good to test one’s resolve and beliefs. That is why I engaged with you people, iron sharpens iron. I want conflict, without it, how will I know my own resolve?

              I am looking for a conversation or any solid point you people are trying to point at. But all that I seem to get is belittling and hubris from you people. You cannot engage in an honest discussion, all you seem to do is project what you want to despise onto me.

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            47. No, I have no power over who hates me, but that would be their choice. Love, on the other hand (not obsession), needs to be fed, and I have the power as to who I feed.
              I have no reason to despise you, mr. coffee. You fell into the trap of belief, and now I am extending you a hand to pull you out. You can choose to take it, or you can choose to ignore it.
              You’ve said before, you want conversation, but you are allowing me to dominate that conversation. When are you going to man-up and change it. Ask your questions or make your statements of whatever it is you want to discuss. Right now you are doing nothing but retreating from my onslaught. Do you think you are drawing me into your trap? There is no trap. You have not taken the time to formulate one. So now you are just reacting.
              Stand your ground, sir.

              Liked by 1 person

            48. Obviously you do. But I am not laughing. How they got there has no bearing on anything. That I found them is the important fact. But you only know one way to think. Believing in a creator does that to you.

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  9. Great post Jim. It does seem like the one important missing ingredient to organized religion is the removal of spirituality though they claim a foundation based upon it. Many off shoots of major religions are efforts to return to a more spiritual belief system that is void of ritual and rules. I think these things actual oppose spiritual experiences. A spiritual experience by definition should be something that is unregulated. Ritual only strengthens belief, but doesn’t increase the chances of having spiritual experiences. I think it also increases the expectations you will have about what your spiritual experiences should be like, and if there is one thing I’ve learned from mindfulness meditation is that expectations act counter to having successful meditative experiences.

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    1. This probably isn’t exactly in line with what you wrote, Swarn, but your comment about religions returning to a more spiritual belief system … and focusing less on ritual and rules … is one of the primary reasons I left Christianity. The church I attended was so caught up in “the rules” that it began to overlook the spiritual side of things. Although I’m sure they thought they were VERY spiritual with their tongue-talking, dancing in the aisles, swaying in the spirit, etc., etc.

      I tend to think there is a “spiritual” side to all of us — but it has absolutely nothing to do with religion. For me, it tends to rise to the surface when I’m outside on a clear summer night looking up at the stars … or watching a baby smile and laugh … or standing on the beach as the waves roll in. IOW, it’s simply truly observing … and enjoying … this life.

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      1. Religious beliefs can be spiritual, but spirituality does not have to involve religion. Spirituality is all of those things you mentioned, and much much more.
        But if you listen to religious practitioners, they control spirituality, and they expect you to pay for the privilege of being allowed to feel spiritual feelings. Christianity is the biggest con game in the world, even conning governments out of taxing their incomes.
        I have a certain experience of spirituality, but I am not about to say it is the only way to have spiritual experiences. Shamanism, basic buddhism, meditation, music, scents, chants, there are billions of ways to spirituality, and every person alive today has their own way to see, feel, or experience it. Spirituality is life. And we are all alive…

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      2. I think of spirituality in the same way Nan. I think only now I’m being convinced that there are ways to seek these experiences, I used to just think that spiritual experiences randomly happen. But I do think there are ways that the odds can be increased now. I think religion can be a vehicle for it, but I don’t think it often comes from the things in a religion that people are told they need to practice to get it. One of the things I noticed when I dabbled in Christianity is that people love it when people give Testimony. I’m sure you know what this is. When people have this come to God moment it is a very spiritual experience. I’ve no doubt, but that experience wasn’t brought on because they were going to Church every Sunday, dropping money in a plate, or not eating meat on Fridays. I was often moved by these stories because they did seem like awakenings, like a sudden change in a state of consciousness out of deep despair. It’s a strong selling point, but I think that it usually is the beginning of a life of service to the religion, rather than a life of further spiritual experiences. For some people maybe they feel they only needed that one to set them on the right path, but I think that we, in general, want to have those experiences more often. Some turn to drugs, and I think there are things that people do as a way to try to get there. Some more successfully than others.

        I am certain those pentecostal tongue-talking hand waivers…at least some are having spiritual experiences, but the group phenomena there is well documented and I believe most are just following along and have convinced themselves they feel what others are feeling, rather than having a truly spiritual experience. It’s heavily weighted by expectations and also very narrow in the range of experience it allows you to have. None of them are likely to be visited by a talking wolf, which is a shame because I think it would be nice to have Jesus visit, and then later have a talking wolf, and then maybe a good cry as you see leaves fall like liquid drops from trees, and then maybe see buddha floating in the air. It all sounds fun. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh my … so right-on: ” it usually is the beginning of a life of service to the religion”. Since it’s perceived as a “religious experience.” the cards are all in the deck.

          From many discussions with believers, it seems that experience is the defining factor. And since it’s generally related to “prayer” by others … or encouragement in a church setting … or even reading the bible and having a certain scripture “speak ” to you, there is simply NO argument that it’s all from “God.”

          As rawgod indicates, there is no single path to spirituality, but IMO those that connect it entirely with Christianity are missing out on some pretty great experiences in life.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. The expectations are a crippling seed of the doctrine. How frustrating it is as a believer to be told signs will follow then that believe, while the access to these practices has been culturally shielded from view?People crave these connections but have no idea where to turn, or of the simplicity that was forced out of our culture. My personal indifference to spiritual exploration is offset by many, many that have a strong desire to connect to such things. Modern religion is too “civilized” to admit that the ideas they’re selling could be had with a drum beat.

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        1. Stuart Copeland too? Maybe. I do think we look beyond the mark and the simplicity of contact is right under our noses. The mono god has become so great it takes a specially trained wordsmith to keep the masses at bay from taking their own journey. The men of words have solidified their niche with ontological ambiguity only they can decipher…over and over

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          1. There are definitely other good drummers. Copeland, Keith Moon and John Bonham also come to mind.

            But I agree with you Jim. It’s seems fairly obvious that the enterprise at large is about power and money. I am not saying that’s what all people are in it for at all levels, but you need only to look at the quality of churches and temples throughout out the world to see how elaborate their buildings are, populated by some of the poorest people to see what’s really going on. I think when religions begin they usually begin from the bottom up. But once they move to a top-down structure that’s when the real value of spirituality I think begins to get lost.

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