Sorry bout the duplicate posting, guys. I mistakenly put this in the "Introductions" board and meant for it to be here, so I've just copied and pasted it here.
Okay, so, probably like most of you, I grew up with an religious background. In my case, growing up in rural (and I mean seriously rural. My hometown Loco had a population of about 150) Oklahoma, I was of course exposed to the baptist bent of christianity, as my grandmother was a devout baptist (I can remember going to church with her on some Sundays and it being only she and I in the church. Not even a preacher).
So when I was a child, up until I was mature enough to begin questioning things at about the age of 17 or so, I believed in god and prayed now and then and just blindly accepted that whatever things happened in the world, good or bad, happened because that's just how god wanted it to be and that he wouldn't interfere with the affairs of man and this was why he allowed babies to be murdered and etc..etc...
Well of course when I put all that nonsense behind me and had the good fortune of meeting and becoming friends with some wonderful people who were also atheists, I of course came to understand mankind and world in a much clearer fashion.
but here's the thing...
Many of my friends are not atheists. They are pagan in some form or other. They are Wiccans, or Druids (and even one is an Odinist), and they are by far the coolest people I've ever met in my life. And of course aside from having these wonderful, accepting and wise personalities, they have these really cool rituals associtated with their religions.
For example, one of my friends invited me to a "drum circle" and it was awesome! It was just a bunch of folks gathered around a camp fire, pounding out a rhythm and getting into it and having a ball!
And I feel left out a little.
You see, my brain, my logic knows there's nothing up above and knows there's no supreme deity. Yet I find myself drawn to the religions of the ancient druidic religions. The very same religions that my ancient Welsh-Nordic ancestors likely practiced. Runes and things of that nature are very interesting to me as well as most things Pagan.
Now, part of me thinks this is probably more of a search for identity, rather than a search for a god, but I wonder if anyone else has ever had these kinds of feelings. Knowing, logically, that a supreme being doesn't exist, but wanting in your heart to be a part of such a cool lifestyle. Anyone feedback or advise is of course welcome.
Ya know, this reminds me of back when I was married several years ago. My wife was a reformed Jew and she basically accepted my atheist views pretty much wholeheartedly, which I thought was kind of strange in a way. But after we had been together for awhile she started taking me to synagogue and on Sundays I would participate in the kid’s torah studies. Now of course I was very skeptical of all this but figured I’d take this all in as a learning experience. After awhile many of the other parents who would attend pretty much knew that I didn’t believe in any of this but seemed to accept me just the same and eventually I figured out why. It was because many of them were also atheist or had atheist leanings of some sort. This is because Judaism at its core isn’t exactly the same as Christianity; it’s not all fire and brimstone but basically a set of guidelines for living a good and productive life.
Now I know, you’re gonna say that can’t be right, but you need to realize that even though the Torah is basically the Old Testament of the Christian Bible it’s not the same. Christianity basically has reinterpreted the Torah (Raped it to be more precise) into the poisonous weapon that it presently is. In any case I’ve come to know quite a number of Jewish atheists, that is, people who uphold the Jewish laws but don’t believe in an afterlife, Devine intervention or the existence of a soul.
I guess I would agree with the advice of Brian Wood, “Just keep a level head”.
Hey Hoss, its as simple as this.
Most of us human critters like to be around other members of the human critter species and around members of the human critter community that we dig. That feeling you've got? Its about being a member of a group. Traditions that are followed are what help individuals identify with a group and become a part of a group, even if the individual is only active on the fringes.
Heck, who doesn't like the idea of people a part of something that is old and ancient, the Wiccans took a bunch of disparate things from way back and started a contemporary religion out of it. There are folks in Europe that participate in ceremonies recorded in historical documents to worship the Greek and Roman pantheon.
Belief systems like the Big 3, the older belief systems, and the newer inventions all have traditions that help to cement a group of individuals together as a group. Think of the Pastafarians or the Church of the Subgenius, groups of atheists that started a "belief" system out of a sense of humour and community. These groups have created some things that help to separate themselves from the rest of the larger critter community and help them to find like minded individuals in the big ocean of human critters that are out there.
Maybe you should try to find out if any local groups of like the Pastafarians or Subgeniuses or maybe start something of your own. Like a Godless Gamers Night or even just a People I like to hang with Gamers Night.
Lots of secular humanists are afraid of rituals which stir the emotions, like drumming and chanting. I think we need to understand our primitive brains and involve ourselves emotionally in our values through ritual, but keeping in mind very carefully what ritual does. In a sense emotional arousal is like fire, a dangerous and essential endeavor which must be understood to be helpful rather than destructive.
One ritual people I created which was well received at a HumanLight celebration in our home was an Honor Net (Xian tree subsitute). A decorated net is hung will ornaments which represent values we cherish. Each celebrant hand crafts their ornament, and tells the story of an inspiring experience. Then everyone sings, "Celebrate! Celebrate! People (or events) which inspire us!" If and only if they agree with those values. If they don't agree they remain silent. Afteward we discuss why we had reservations about particular values or interpretations.