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Rationalizing evolution with spirituality

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posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 05:13 PM
As I sit here watching "From Ape to Man" on the History channel I am trying to rationalize spirituality with evolution; because paradoxically I believe in both. I would like to stay away from approaching this from a specific religion but to spirituality in general. With the development of a larger more complex brain did man simply yearn for a reason for its existence? I don't believe that the search for something beyond ourselves is in vain and that their truly is something divine and super-sensible, albeit I do not know what this is. I have heard stories of animals which dream as well as projecting out of their physical bodies; is it simply a lack of speech in primitive man as well as animals, and no I don't believe that animals have any need for concern of spirituality. This is a dizzying subject so forgive me if I do not make much sense. I believe you can understand what I'm curious about although I have trouble putting it into words; just simply how does belief and the existence of a presence beyond ourselves with the evolution from primoridal ooze to modern man exist simultaneously? I know no one knows the answer to this and man has searched for it for centuries, just curious what everyones thought about the subject.

posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 05:33 PM
I am not sure if I am answering your post right but here is a thought. I think there is some difference in religion vs spirituality in regard to trying to answer your question. For those of us who believe in our religions, whichever they may be, it is hard to bring evolution and creation into the same page. Thus it is hard to post in this thread if you follow a religion, at least for me. I either have to believe in my Christian faith and creation or I don't. If I don't then of course evolution is the other theory.

If I were to not believe in God or Christ but only believe in a "higher source" then I would say your thoughts are very good in that I suspect mankind begain to ask more of where life begain as their brains became enhanced and knowledge gained. In that theory it could be proposed that religion was born of mankinds need to know more but lack of proof. Without concrete proof mankind created religion to fill in the unanswered questions. There is a certain logic to that.

If that theory was more of what occured than the question now would be, what took mankind to adopt the religion they developed to become such a belief as to cause many to dismiss evolution all together? If religion developed out of mankinds need to know, what caused the split with some adopting faith and others adopting evolution?

Good post, interesting question.

posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 05:45 PM

Originally posted by anniejhops
If religion developed out of mankinds need to know, what caused the split with some adopting faith and others adopting evolution?

Thats another very interesting question, man evolves to a sense of wanting to have knowledge of the divine, to strict religious views, to looser ones, and then some to atheism. Evolution....Devolution

(That was a joke no offense to the atheists on the board.)

posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 06:19 PM
What a very smart topic. I'll try to add my two cents here...

I spend a lot of time pondering these sorts of things. About life and death, and why we are here and whatnot. At the moment I don't know what to believe quite yet, so I try to leave myself open and believe in a combination of all sorts of different stuff.

The easiest way that you could see religion and evolution working together/not being paradoxal is if you view religious writings such as The Bible, etc not as literal works, but viewing their contents in terms of being a set of metaphors and similes that convey a different message than what is literally written. If you take the Bible figuratively instead of literally (not to pick on the Bible, but it is the one I know best), then a lot of the things said in it still line up with evolution quite well.

All religions follow (more or less) the same storyline, set of beliefs, etc. There is a creation story (Figuratively, the Big Bang), and there is an apocalyptical ending (Which scientifically we know that life on earth has to end at one point, for any number of reasons, even if it takes until the sun explodes). In between is a set of moral codes, some more stories that can be interpreted in other ways besides their literal meanings. This does not pervert religious documents, and this does not mean that they are not "The Word of God" as people claim, since in this understanding, God would be the universe as a whole, and the hand of God would work through evolution. It is even possible that the universe is a living thing, for all we know.

Many cultures worship the sun as their god, which could work just like the "universe is God" theory. Life on earth would not exist if it were not for the sun, "And then there was light"

If you read Genesis, it sure sounds a lot like a figurative reference to evolution, happening because of a big bang or the sun being born, etc. I believe that if there is a God, he/she/it would use figurative and poetic language like this to get it's meaning across.

I don't know what else to add at the moment. I'm sure I will have something else before this thread is done. I'm still not sure what I believe at the moment. This is just one theory that sort of links religion and evolution, by making nature a figurative god. I don't care much for organized religion anyway though, but rather just spirituality. I don't think that people should get themselves stuck into believing a single thing with blind faith. I think it is good to explore all of the religions and theories out there, and then see what the overall picture is, with all of the similarities, etc. I think that every religion out there has something to offer, but they are all a little bit off and have become skewed over the years.

Religion is a real brain-teaser. Even if we DO find out who/what God is, then we still have to figure out who/what made God!

[edit on 13-8-2005 by Yarcofin]

posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 07:09 PM

Originally posted by Baphomet79
... just simply how does belief and the existence of a presence beyond ourselves with the evolution from primoridal ooze to modern man exist simultaneously?

One of the first things I would note about spirituality is that the 'Presence' does not exist beyond ourselves, like you mentioned, but rather that It exists within ourselves.

This is a fundamental shift away from what most Christians have been taught from Sunday School on into adulthood. This seperation between the shepherd and the flock is, imo, the main block to inner spirituality.

When we talk about some-one being in 'high spirits', we think of that wonderful feeling of elation that comes with the joy of being alive. Seeing your baby for the first time, finding someone that is willing to love you or just the good feeling you get from accomplishment is 'high spirits'...the love of being alive.

You can see this same thing in animals...the way a deer will just prong for the hell of it, a dog will run in circles chasing it's tail...animals feel happiness too...that elation runs right across all of the animal kingdom. I've even seen this happening with fish and birds. They love to have fun and revel in the joy of living.

The Gnostics thought that life was just for suffering until the greater glory of 'life after death' came as their reward,. The more they suffered, the better the afterlife, because they thought living a life of happiness and health was a sin.

If we can recognize the spirituality as a 'joy of living', then it is a small step to see it as a Deity...a Godlike state within ourselves.

Evolution is just adaptation to environmental conditions. Todays skinny hairless men will, through natural selection, turn into hairy brutes once they stop commuting on the subway and begin slogging through snow to spear game for their living.

posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 07:36 PM

The Gnostics thought that life was just for suffering until the greater glory of 'life after death' came as their reward,. The more they suffered, the better the afterlife, because they thought living a life of happiness and health was a sin.

I have studied Gnosticism in-depth and not all of it is like that. Perhaps in the time of Christ (Gnostics were perhaps the ORIGINAL Christians), they were like this. But not necessarily any more. I assume that is what you mean since you used the word "thought" instead of "think", etc.. Modern-day Gnosis is much different than that, and doesn't say that happiness and health are sins. In Modern Day Gnosticism, most gnostics would not even refer to themselves as such. Since gnosis literally means "knowledge" in Latin, the Gnostics believe that each person must discover the Path for themselves, and are very anti-"simply blindly following", so it isn't really even a religion any more, as much as a life guideline. For more info on modern Gnosis, check the works of Samael Aun Weor (There are free E-Book versions of his writings scattered all over the Internet). Just a clarification =).

I agree with the rest of what you said, though. I think that Jesus really did come to "save" people, but not really from their sins, as much as from themselves. Jesus came conveying messages that the Kingdom of God is within, and that anyone could do what he did ("I say unto you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he also shall do, and greater than these shall do also"), and that everyone is connected and one ("That which you do unto the least of them, you do unto me").
I believe that Jesus came to teach people that they have the ability to save themselves, and that we create our own reality, and to save them from blindly believing and worshipping the Old Testament God, but sadly they idolized Jesus and ended up worshipping him in just the same way. See, all of the messages are there, but over the years the messages have been disregarded. If you go to a church service, you will notice that everyone is simply reading off a sheet and all saying the same thing. Seriously, how many Christians actually know what Amen or Hallelujah or Emmanuel means when they are saying it..... people just blindly follow along these days without even considering what is written. Something to think about, but now I am getting off-topic.

Perhaps the best theory that I have heard is that The Universe is a single thing, it is everything and nothing. I don't know how to explain it, but I'll try here.... The universe was just one thing in the beginning, but since there was only one thing, it had nothing else to relate itself to. So it had to divide itself into a bizillion pieces in order to relate to itself. It could not know what good or bad was, because it had nothing to relate these things to, so it had to divide itself into good and evil, big and small, fast and slow; so that it could put these things into perspective. Everything is part of the same thing, just acting in a different way in order to 'play a role' so that this one giant entity that is everything can gain knowledge through experience of itself. This supports the evolutionary as well as the religious side of things ....... and I explained that horribly so it isn't going to make any sense. Oh well.

[edit on 13-8-2005 by Yarcofin]

posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 08:04 PM
We agree totally...I was indeed talking about Gnostics who are hoary with the passing of ages and I am 'in the know' about the meaning of 'gnosis'.

As to some one to read, I also recommend the following;

From his easy to read book, The Pagan Christ, all the rest of what you mention in your excellent post follows.

You did not, as you said, explain that horribly...exactly the opposite, I would say.

The creator, imo, is dreaming the universe, and in this dream the Deity is fragmented into all things which exist and as all things are either one or another, such as fire and water, air and earth, the Deity experiences the creation in a trillion, trillion ways.

Life is experience.

We are only small parts of the Creator on the stage of the Creators' dream, and, as we play our little parts out for the Creators' edification, it is we who learn as well, for we are also the Creator.

How's that for confusing?

posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 08:21 PM
Thank you for the link Masqua, I'll check it out =).

Good to know someone on here is forming the same beliefs as I am starting to; lets me know I may be on the right track here
. It is too bad that the Christian churches seem to regard this all as blasphemy for the majority, when it all fits so well and (as some, like us, believe), it is the real and intended message. I suppose they are content in their comfortable belief system that has been handed down to them by their parents and their parents, and don't wish to do any exploring. I don't think any less of them because of it, but I don't agree either :\.

Since I got into the paranormal and spiritual side of life, I have been trying to formulate a system that can combine the religion that I was forced into being brought up with, the science that I have studied (such as evolution), as well as agreeing with most of the other legitimate religions and belief systems of the world. I don't know if I can ever finish this task, but I believe I am well underway, and may have even already figured out the "What is the meaning of life" question that so many people ask all their lives, as well as all those other spiritual questions.

As long as I don't simply die and everything is black and I no longer exist as a conciousness, and all of this discussion and all of my memories and life and effort has simply gone to waste, I will be content. We can't really verify the majority of this until we die, which is perhaps the scariest thing. I hope that 90%+ of the cultures of the world believing in an afterlife can't all be wrong though

posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 08:33 PM
Yeah I dont get the conflict between evolution and spirituality.

Do creationists consider that evolution may be the hand of God? Or did they expect a giant hand to come out of a cloud?

Do evolutionists really accept that all mutations are random?

posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 08:55 PM
This notion of trying to search for the meaning of life must be as old as the
mountains themselves and I am glad to see someone else is on the same well trodden path today.

This is all about inner spirituality, isn't it (?)...the realization of the soul within us and what it means to our day to day life. How does some-one go about their daily tasks, knowing that within them is something that not only never dies, but also carries all the deeds done, all the thoughts, all the mistakes and intentional lies ever concieved while living?

The most important thing for me, also, was the desire to mesh all the good things about Christianity (which I grew up as).

The understanding is that the knowledge of 'the soul within' can change our behaviour.

I look at death this our body is disassembled after death, it breaks down into its many parts...water and earth mostly...atoms of many different types become free to associate with others to become something else, eventually. The water we are mostly composed of, someday will join the seas or become the main part of some other being, whether it is a fish or a leaf...who cares?

Our soul, however, is indestructable and where it goes and what it does after it is seperated from the body is the million dollar question...but I suppose we all will find out.

I would also really like to know what Baphmet79 and anniejhops think of the direction we're going in this as well.

I think we have answered as to how we accept evolution with spirituality. What do you 2 think?

(not wanting to highjack an excellent thread)

posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 09:16 PM
Hmm true. It is sort of getting off the evolution vs religion topic and onto a topic of it's own. Perhaps what we are talking about warrants a thread of it's own (If there isn't already an existing one, haven't searched yet), or else you can just send me a U2U if you want to continue discussing it (Or anyone else interested) until there are some more replies by other people.

I want to hear other people's takes on the original post too still =).

posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 01:07 PM
Wow their is a dizzying array of ideas, hard me to catch up with
You all are certainly not off my intended topic I just didn't expect such incredibly well formulated ideas for me to have to contend with, you people know what you're talking about. But I'll do my best bit by bit and more in depth when I have a bit more time. I am personally glad that the Gnosis was brought up because I feel it takes the farthest steps towards an explanation of many seemingly divergent ideas.

While this will certainly lead into another related tangent, my Joyce-esque though process couldn't pass it up. I believe their are two types of evolution the physical one which was my originial intent; and then the spiritual evolution which obviously is much more finite. I'm not discussing the spritiaul evolution of man in a single life time and how as the years go by grasp more and more of their religion's or pantheon's intricacies but how the spiritual journey we undertake in this life time echoes into the next.

I hate using the term Karma because I like to shy away from Eastern Thought in that it tends to be less understandable to many in the West without a deep background in Eastern Religions. The evolution of the spirit I view as something of a series of grades, you could even call it say Kindergarten through 12th as in America if you want. Each life we are put here to learn a certain cosmic lesson, it could be an earthly morality or trait that is their to correct a possible grievance with our previous life or to learn a new lesson that benefits our spiritual evolution. If you learn the lesson you progress, if not you "study" until you do.

I beleive the evolution of man physically and spiritually are intertwined. I do not see the physical evolution of the species as a series of random mutations, but a fination of man but towards what I do not know.

I know this was wayyyy off topic but I couldn't help posting it here for all of your thoughts, as it has always intrigued me, and some of the posts you all made got me thinking about the subject. When I have some more time, I'll post more acute thoughts about what has been discussed here; but you all have a much firmer grasp than myself, and definitely know how to present it much more cogently.

[edit on 16-8-2005 by Baphomet79]

posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 06:48 PM
Nah I understand what you mean perfectly Baphomet. Indeed Gnosis seems to be the place where all ideas become non-conflicting in one neat little package. I definately think that the world is going to move towards a Gnosis-esque idea system if it is to make any progress. Unfortunately it looks like Scientology is on the edge of becoming popular and accepted these days for some odd reason
. That may throw things back a little.

I wouldn't say that the physical and spiritual evolution are completely intertwined, but I think there is definately a correlation. Look at our society's views on spirituality, and then look at our lifestyles, what we are eating, etc. We don't care about anything any more, not even ourselves. We are purposefully filling ourselves with chemicals, ruining our air and water, etc. Eyesight and hearing of humans as a whole is getting worse and worse, etc. Seems like there is actually a de-evolution taking place.

I agree with your sort of "Wheel of Samsara" idea. While I don't really want to be re-incarnated, I think it is a pretty plausable idea. Especially having all of this information laid before me, like this life was chosen specifically so that I could learn quite a few lessons. I'm sure you probably feel the same.

But now this is getting really abstract and hard to talk about, since there are no facts to back any of this up. And it is getting really specified too. I can't even think up much more to say

I look forward to hearing some of your "more acute thoughts" when you are feeling less overwhelmed =).

posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 09:55 PM
Looking back to the original questions a bit...

It is actually not all that hard to balance spiritual matters with the rational world of Science, as long as you keep the terms clear.

To understand Religion in all it's forms you must look at the nature of the humans that formed the ideas. Lets jump in the 'Wayback Machine' to the beginnings of thought.

The Universe is, what it is, what we do, or do not, understand does not change what is. We have been in a constant state of attempting to describe and define Reality for a very long time. Our finite efforts, for all their inspiration, deep thinking, and experiments, will forever fall short of the mark. They are always influenced by who we are, far too often we simply insert our own personal concepts in place of what something actually is from an objective viewpoint.

Life is so vast, the potential for Life exists as far down as we can see, so it makes sense to us that it goes the other way as well. Is everyone aware of the species of Dust mite that exists in our eyebrows? Microscopic to be sure, but there are bunches of them and they live their short lives on you.

I have described these little critters to some people only to trigger a bit of a oh shall we say negative reaction. Some people have needed to be 'talked down' to cope with the panic this little fact causes. Life does extend as far down the scale as we can see.

I have always seen the traditional view of Dieties as something spawned in human psychology more than any other fact. The need for a parental figure 'in charge' is so basic that early humans could do nothing else but personify their need.

The original thinkers took the best model they could from nature, and went from there.

So for me it has never been hard to mix the facts of Science with the wisdom of Religion. I acknowledge the need for context in everything we do, and it takes both sides to get the best picture we have, so far.


posted on Aug, 17 2005 @ 08:20 AM

Is everyone aware of the species of Dust mite that exists in our eyebrows? Microscopic to be sure, but there are bunches of them and they live their short lives on you. I have described these little critters to some people only to trigger a bit of a oh shall we say negative reaction. Some people have needed to be 'talked down' to cope with the panic this little fact causes.

I think you just explained why some people feel the need to shave their eyebrows off and draw them on :\. Always wondered about that.

Seriously though... I think it is a great thing to mix religion with science. It allows you to see that your 'beliefs' can actually stand up to 'known' things. Even though you yourself don't need any proof, it allows a little bit of proof to others that what you believe has some actual credability. At some point, all religions that make sense will become a "science". When you finally "meet your Maker", there won't be a need for belief. You will have no choice but to know the truth.

I wonder if some spiritual beings sit around talking about Earth like this. "Have you guys heard about Earth? Supposedly you go there and have a physical body, and you can interact with things in a way we could never imagine" "Oh everyone knows Earth is just a myth. Nobody believes SCIENCE."

*scratches eyebrows*

[edit on 17-8-2005 by Yarcofin]

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