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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

Secular hike to spiritual pilgrimage???

#1
I've heard that changes take place in a person when they walk the Camino.

Has anybody on the board ever hiked the Camino as a physical challenge or even just a fun way to spend the summer and ended the Camino totally reconverted to God?
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#2
I am a Buddhist - a non-theist Buddhist - so the Camino has always been a secular experience (as related to religious) but a spiritual experience as well.
When I walked the Camino Frances in 27 days in 2001 it was a very physical experience and although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I ticked it off my bucket list of things I wanted to do before I die and thought I would move onto other things!
When I walked the Camino again 2004 I was determined that I would have a slower, less demanding experience, which I did, and I said, 'That's it. Done that, been there, got the tee-shirt, time for new things."
I walked the Via Francigena in 2006. Wonderful walk - very little pilgrimage experience but crossing the Alps and hiking in Tuscany is great.
Then the Camino called again (2007, 2009, 2011).
I haven't found God (or Godde) but I've found that I reach the Zen-zone much quicker on each Camino I walk.
Can't wait to get back in May next year!
 

CaminoGen

CF May-June 2011; Oloron to Fisterra Sept-Oct 2013
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances-SJPP. Santiago (2011); Oloron to Fisterra (Sept 5-Oct 23 2013)
#3
Like Sil, walking the Camino was a spriritual journey and NOT a religious one. I strongly believe that nobody can walk 800 km without it being somewhat spiritual, however, I doubt walking will ever get me believing in an old man with a beard in the sky.
 
#4
...and how about the ones who set off thoroughly convinced in God who, after having a grandly physical time embracing lots of challenging fun, wind up in Santiago d C thinking God is a delusion? There might be a few of those...
 

Mysticl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May (2015) - pending
#5
Sorry neither spiritual nor religious here ... I am firmly in the secular camp and while I am sure the Camino can and perhaps will be a life changing event I can in no way see it doing anything other than confirming my secular beliefs regarding the universe. I do recognize the spiritual and religious significance others feel however, especially on this most holy of pilgrimages and I will do my best to be respectful even though I do not share that belief. They are in effect allowing me to share in something pretty special and I approach this Camino as if I were a guest in their home. I rejoice in the world around me and I hope to enjoy the fellowship of my fellow walkers. This walk for me is highly personal, a journey of self discovery but one grounded in my secular non theistic identity.

Variety is the spice of life.
 
#6
Mysticl said:
I do recognize the spiritual and religious significance others feel and I will do my best to be respectful even though I do not share that belief. They are in effect allowing me to share in something pretty special and I approach this Camino as if I were a guest in their home. I rejoice in the world around me and I hope to enjoy the fellowship of my fellow walkers. This walk for me is highly personal, a journey of self discovery
That's exactly how I feel too.
 

robertt

Active Member
#7
Okay, I'll quote myself in one of my ultra-rare sorties into the philosophical. This helped me a little with the whole why-do-it thing. Hope it helps someone else.

There are a few minor reasons for walking the Camino, and one compelling reason.

I know the minor reasons, I don’t know the compelling reason.
 

jennysa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino F 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 C Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016 & 17 Primitivo 2018
#8
Flatfoot said:
I've heard that changes take place in a person when they walk the Camino.

Has anybody on the board ever hiked the Camino as a physical challenge or even just a fun way to spend the summer and ended the Camino totally reconverted to God?
I was one of those who reconnected with my God on the Camino so that it was a wonderful spiritual pilgrimage.
 
#10
I leave for my first Camino in less than a month. I have been reading avidly the posts on this forum to hear advice from others and begin that connection with fellow travelers. Although I am walking for religious reasons, I certainly understand that not everyone is, but I fully endorse their efforts, and I look forward to their companionship. I have been greatly impressed and reassured so far that there has not appeared to be anything like an "us" versus "them" mentality coming from any members--whether religious or not. Most seem to take the approach that Mysticl so graciously voiced--respect for others' beliefs and for origin of the Pilgrimage. Thus, it saddens me when I hear derisive remarks, like a comparison of the Christian God to an "old man with a beard in the sky." Sorry, just seems gratuitously disrespectful to me.
 

Josefine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés Primitivo Aragonés/Francés, Portugues Fisterra/Muxia Norte San Salvador Via Gebennesis
#11
As I said yesterday to a pilgrim friend, also a member of this forum, when we yesterday had a coffee together, may be I don't believe in God but I do believe in Santiago. The Camino has completely changed my life.
Josefine
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#12
I don't really understand the difference people mean when they say that they are spiritual but not religious.
Humans have been having spiritual/religious experiences and yearnings since forever, that is why religions came about. I think that it means "I cannot adhere to one particular set of beliefs and dogma and prefer to try to connect to that 'other' in my own way".

If it does them the majority of people who are members of organised religions feel exactly the same way.
When we dream we believe that everything is real. Good times bad times, suddenly being chased by a tiger - the awful fear, the terror, then we wake up in a sweat and go "oh, it was only a dream, it wasn't real at all".
This reality is very similar. If one is embedded in it as it appears to be then 'God' is a delusion, cannot possibly exist as the only way to think about his existence is using the mind that sees this as all real and solid.
But imagine this, that you are in a coma, dreaming. Lying on that hospital bed for some years. In an effort to wake you up they connect someone to a device that allows them to enter your mind, to appear in your dream - they would appear in different forms, in messages, in graffiti, in startling coincidences, you would start to think that something was going on but you don't know quite what. He or she would be saying and doing things with one aim in mind - to wake you up.

This world is very much like that and there have always been people appearing in it whose only desire is to wake us up - so 'spiritual' .. the longing for something, something other than this ... really, it is the longing to wake up, don't you think? Using the texts from an organised religion can be a shortcut, rather than spending years searching .. better by far one could say, to follow signposts than strike out blind - as in, 'In him we live and move and have our being' (Acts 17:28) meaning, as the Sufis say, that reality is God, there is only God - this is a deep truth, a key to the lock, that is why you cannot think him or see him :wink: (apologies for the lack of a non-gender word in English)

So, to me there is no such thing as a secular pilgrimage, nor a secular pilgrim.
 

Mysticl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May (2015) - pending
#13
I would take exception to the belief that all pilgrimages have a spiritual aspect. I am pretty rigid in my beliefs and I hold them to be as precious to me as someone else might hold their religious faith. I am not someone who is "searching" for some deeper meaning to life. I identify as an atheist ... not an agnostic ... an atheist. That's about as stark as it gets ...

Sorry to stir the hornet's nest ... but these types of beliefs are generally VERY deeply held on both sides and caution should be exercised when telling other folks how they should or shouldn't feel about things ... I can only speak for myself and I would never presume to know what someone else might be getting out of their experience cause I know one thing for sure ... I have NO idea what their experience is ... until they tell me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#14
Agree with you Mysticl, completely .. was just giving one world view, not trying to insist that anyone else agree with it, not at all - this world would be so weird if we all thought the same thing :shock:
ha! you'd only need one human on it!

I like world views, I am deeply interested in how people perceive and come to terms with the riddle ("what on earth is going on, where am I, what is all this") and I love the richness and variety of this existence.

The question is secular re pilgrimage so I don't think anyone will feel threatened by what I have said nor want to attack what I have written as it is not an attack on anyone it is only a viewpoint.
But, to me, from my viewpoint, no one goes on pilgrimage in 'secular mode', even if that is what they believe they are doing, something else is going on.

All is well
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2012
#15
robertt said:
There are a few minor reasons for walking the Camino, and one compelling reason.

I know the minor reasons, I don’t know the compelling reason.
Well put--hope you don't mind if I borrow your philosophy. ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#16
David said:
I don't really understand the difference people mean when they say that they are spiritual but not religious.
You've made a similar comment elsewhere, and I was tempted then to point out the fundamental differences between the two notions which you seem to discount.

First, anyone who wonders why something is beautiful, or falls in love, or seeks to understand whether there is a meaning to their life might be said to be spiritual. This is a concept about the individual.

Second, some people might be theist - have a fundamental belief or faith in the existence of a supreme being. Should they share the same set of beliefs, that would be a religion, and the set of beliefs a theology. Adherence to a set of rules such as the canon, sharia or talmud would provide the discipline of an organised religion. Religion is a concept about groups of people, not individuals.

Claiming to be religious implies acceptance of being spiritual, but clearly not the reverse.

The matter of a pilgrimage being secular, that would depend on how narrowly one might wish to define the word, but in the sense that it distinguishes the worldly from the religious, then it appears to me perfectly possible for a pilgrimage to be secular.

Regards,
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#17
Hi Doug, yes, it would seem so, were you to use the Abrahamic religions as an example, but even here there are problems with your response as a survey of Christians coming out of CoE churches on a Sunday, 986 surveyed, produced 986 different beliefs and reasons for being there varying from an individual sense of spirituality and wonder at the phenomenal world to strict belief in the doctrines, which appears to show that the organisers of a religion may have strict written codes and dogmas, but the people who attend do not.

Then you have what is named 'Hinduism' (only named so in the west of course) - no hierarchy, no leaders, in the western sense, no dogmas, no doctrines, just individuals being spiritual in a religious way, sometimes as individuals, sometimes in gatherings of millions.

Then you have our European pagans - individuals celebrating nature and the energies they perceive - spiritual in the fullest sense and yet religious too. So, I am happy for your to have your interpretation as I am sure that you are happy for me to have mine - and mine are that in essence there is no difference between spiritual and religious in the thought and desires that lie behind the words.

Then there are the beliefs of the Celtic peoples before Christianity and before the cult of the individual and so on, don't you think?
 
#18
I do recognize the spiritual and religious significance others feel however, especially on this most holy of pilgrimages and I will do my best to be respectful even though I do not share that belief. They are in effect allowing me to share in something pretty special and I approach this Camino as if I were a guest in their home.
Mystici,

Thank you for that very gracious sentiment. While I am firmly in the other camp, I have to say that rarely have I ever saw such respect toward believers from an atheist. As a guest on this forum (as I have not yet walked the Camino and probably will not do so for a number of years), I started this thread hoping that many would have had the experience of coming closer to God and instead, found that modern pilgrims (...well some at least) feel that faith is only for fools and little children.

You have struck me with your kind attitude. Thank you.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#19
rarely have I ever seen such respect toward believers from an atheist
On the flip side, I have rarely seen respect toward non-believers from the believers! As an example (not one from the camino) in the U.S. right now, there is a large group of believers that insist that everyone see things their way. There are some vocal atheists out there, but by-and-large atheists seem to keep their mouths shut. It is a rare politician that touts his atheism, but many Christian politicians make it the focus of their campaign. "Elect me because of my faith." If there is occasional push back from atheists, I find that quite understandable. I haven't seen much disrespect on the Camino from either side.

By the way, pilgrims in France spend a lot more time in churches and chapels than pilgrims in Spain. One reason is that the churches are open, but another is that the French St. Jacques pilgrim is more motivated by a religious pilgrimage. With tens of thousand of kilometers of GR walking trails, French walkers don't compete for space on the religious routes.
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#20
I have sometimes wondered if the Camino was one of these places where it became very diffcult to distinguish religious and spiritual-- perhaps these are terms which are more relevant elsewhere.

In terms of the sectarian RC or more broadly Catholic or even more Christian practice, I ran into agnostics or nothings or Jews in attendance at pilgrim Masses along the way--- on my third Camino, RCs were in the minority among Mass participants. On other Caminoes, I encountered those who had set out on a very church-oriented Camino but found that this was nowhere near the point of their focus after a few weeks walking.

I have noticed that many pilgrims have no experience at all of religious practice in terms of church attendance, or of spiritual perception, that rarely being part of their education or upbringing, so there are some for whom this does not strike their radar in any way. My exprience, in five Caminoes, has been that believers and non-believers appear to be quite respectful of each other, if often distant and incomprehending. Almost all negative comments I have heard were off-Camino.

I think that there's a book here.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#21
Flatfoot said:
I do recognize the spiritual and religious significance others feel however, especially on this most holy of pilgrimages and I will do my best to be respectful even though I do not share that belief. They are in effect allowing me to share in something pretty special and I approach this Camino as if I were a guest in their home.
Mystici,

Thank you for that very gracious sentiment. While I am firmly in the other camp, I have to say that rarely have I ever saw such respect toward believers from an atheist. As a guest on this forum (as I have not yet walked the Camino and probably will not do so for a number of years), I started this thread hoping that many would have had the experience of coming closer to God and instead, found that modern pilgrims (...well some at least) feel that faith is only for fools and little children.

You have struck me with your kind attitude. Thank you.
I think both these posts are an utter delight, thank you for both of them.
I do post my world view when it seems pertinent to the thread - though sometimes I have been mistaken and posted at the wrong time, wrong place, and it is difficult to get the mood that one writes in across in text sometimes - but regardless of my understanding I hold that all worldviews are valid - some may be mistaken (mine may be mistaken) but they are all valid, we are all humans on a journey after all and we will all reach the top of the mountain in our own time ... and we have a lot of time/space to do it in.

As for experience of coming closer to God on the Camino - perhaps it is also realising that he was there all the time but we were too noisy to realise?
When I walked from Moissac in France in the year 5 I had a period of great and gentle weather .. I cannot remember where I was - but I was using that rhythmic walking that was oxygenating my brain. My body was alert yet relaxed, my mind was as clear as mountain water and I had been thinking of the development of early Christianity (my degree is in religions and theology) and I had reached a point where I could hold up, as it were, a clear vision of how it went .. you know those clocks with spinning weights, encased in a glass dome so you can see all the workings? I had reached that point - all was clear (to me - I know, such arrogance, but I had my academic cap on .. sorry). I was walking down a leafy path and the bottom of the small valley opened in front of me, overhanging trees, a flowing and chattering stream and a wooden footbridge, with rabbit trimmed grass mounds on both sides. As I arrived I remember thinking, of my three-d picture of early Christian development "well, if it is as I see it then what does it say about a God, here and now, always present?"
I stopped just before the bridge to take in the moment there and as I stopped, with that thought echoing in my head a swarm of tiny blue butterflies appeared from nowhere and danced around my ankles. I stood there, rooted in the earth, with the sound and vision of the stream, the sun shining through overhanging trees with Spring green leaves, surrounded - surrounded - by dancing beautiful butterflies. To me it seemed a perfect answer to my question and I stood there and laughed and laughed, from deep inside to the greater outside - for me a marvellous moment, and as a religious and a spiritual - that moment, for me, was connection with God, Other, One. For me it was like that and it was on the Camino.

I think that this is what I mean when I write that spiritual and religious are the same thing. Whether aetheist or agnostic or Buddhist or spiritual or religious there was a moment then, a delicate transient moment when it all made sense and I was connected. For me, from my view it was God speaking directly to me, with humour. For others it would have meant something different - but all, I think, would have felt, experienced, the same - don't you think?

:wink:
 

Mysticl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May (2015) - pending
#22
Yes David I think in that sense you are correct. I can feel the same sense of wonder as a theist we just ascribe different reasoning for that feeling. Some see the hand of god in a perfect flower. I see the wonder of evolution. The awe may be the same but awe is just an emotion, your worldview determines what you see as the source for that awe.

I don't think of emotion as a spiritual experience however (using the literal definition of spiritualism) which is why I believe a Camino can be totally secular. While I also agree that the awe and wonder of the world as it is, can feel very much the same for both the religious/spiritual person as for the complete atheist. Atheists do feel wonder and look up at the night sky and imagine ... we just imagine different things ;)

As to militant atheist vs theists ... I agree completely with Falcon. Atheists often very much keep their thoughts to themselves since our beliefs by their very nature tend to be viewed with a negative connotation even when we try to remain respectful of other beliefs without compromising our own. Some do actively fight back against a system they feel is rigged against them as a minority and yes sometimes they aren't all that delicate about it. I believe there is a place for that discussion and I actually support them in their efforts but that doesn't mean I am going to go around insulting everyone of faith that I meet on a personal level. In a lively discussion however, I would also probably be considered one of those militant atheists and I will almost certainly rise to the occasion if I feel that the beliefs of others are impacting the way I want to live my life. In this age of internet anonymity it is all too easy to disparage other beliefs without thought to the hurt it may cause ... I will vigorously defend my beliefs and I will challenge yours but I do not see why vigorous discussion and debate can't be civil.

The Camino however is a shared experience and I see no reason to bring conflict to a place of such ultimate beauty and meaning for both theists and non theist alike. I don't have to bring my atheism to the table to enjoy the comradeship of fellow travellers ... we can always argue about politics instead or whether one should use sugar instead of artificial sweeteners in their coffee ;) But if one does wish to discuss religion vs atheism then I will actively join in the discussion and present my point of view with as much gusto as the next person but I will also try and do so with respect for the opposing view.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#23
David, in an earlier post you asked
David said:
Then there are the beliefs of the Celtic peoples before Christianity and before the cult of the individual and so on, don't you think?
I'm not sure what you think I should be thinking. The examples you used demonstrate the clear distinction that I made between spirituality and religion. The assertion that someone found 986 Anglicans coming out of church indicates that they shared a belief in a Christian theology and were willing to subject themselves to the Anglican canon. Their differing views on the reasons for attending church are broadly irrelevant.

David said:
I do post my world view
I had always thought that societies held world views, not individuals.

David said:
I hold that all worldviews are valid
Really. So you would find acceptable the world views that gave us the Holocaust, apathied in South Africa or the killing fields in Cambodia? I must admit I find them difficult to consider valid, but maybe you have a different test of their acceptability.

David said:
"well, if it is as I see it then what does it say about a God, here and now, always present?"
Absolutely nothing. It does indicate that at least you have a vivid imagination. Your interpretation of it as a revelation is a personal choice, not an objective fact.

David said:
For others it would have meant something different - but all, I think, would have felt, experienced, the same - don't you think?
No. In terms of the plain English meaning of the words, you described a spiritual, not a religious, experience.

The two words are necessary in our language because they describe quite different things, as I have said before. There is little point in this discussion if you are not prepared to use words in their plain English meaning, and insist on having your own, quite contrary meanings.

Regards,
 
#24
Doug, you are being argumentative and pedantic. Mysticl and David have both posted gracious and humerous, albeit differing, views that are respectful towards each other as he was towards you. Let it go
 

Abbeydore

Veteran Member
#25
Yes this has been a wonderful thread, & I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, for your honesty, your eloquence of language, & being very thoughtful. I hope one day I can put my own feelings & thoughts forward. Thank you all :D
 

CaminoGen

CF May-June 2011; Oloron to Fisterra Sept-Oct 2013
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances-SJPP. Santiago (2011); Oloron to Fisterra (Sept 5-Oct 23 2013)
#26
Doug, thank you for your eloquence in your explanation of the difference between sprituality and religion.

"David wrote:
"well, if it is as I see it then what does it say about a God, here and now, always present?"

Absolutely nothing. It does indicate that at least you have a vivid imagination. Your interpretation of it as a revelation is a personal choice, not an objective fact."

Logic and objectivity rarely work when it comes to discussing faith and religion...
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#27
In terms of the plain English meaning of the words
The bane of lawyers and politicians. Redefine the dictionary, and the world is your oyster. "More is less." "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." "Enhanced interrogation." The possibilities are limitless. :mrgreen:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#28
I love this forum, pre-pilgrims read every word, so, please, if you disagree with someone, don't offer personal insults :wink:

I'm off for a little while - I will leave you with these thoughts from dear Rumi

"Little by little wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.
From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move on to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, "The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheat fields and mountain passes,
and orchards in blossom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding."

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.
Listen to the answer.
There is no "other world."
I only know what I've experienced.
You must be hallucinating."


don't be afraid, all is well. :wink:
 
#29
CaminoGen wrote:

Doug, thank you for your eloquence in your explanation of the difference between sprituality and religion.

"David wrote:
"well, if it is as I see it then what does it say about a God, here and now, always present?"

Absolutely nothing. It does indicate that at least you have a vivid imagination. Your interpretation of it as a revelation is a personal choice, not an objective fact."

Logic and objectivity rarely work when it comes to discussing faith and religion...
Thank you Gen... now that's the atheism that I'm talking about. The atheists are logical and objective, by default making the believers illogical and unobjective. Prefering to believe instead that this beautiful life and this beautiful world came about as mere happenstance defying your own law of entropy (the second law of thermodynamics), which states that all matter moves toward a state of greater disorganization.

Gen, I'm sure that you keep that "vivid imagination" sentiment to yourself when you're sharing in the generosity of the monks and religious along the camino.

Tell me... Where is the logic for an atheist, in following in the footsteps of millions before you on the route of a pilgrimage that leads to the bones of a dead Christian saint???
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#30
Where is the logic for an atheist...
In losing ten pounds? In acts of friendship? In being outdoors? In challenging oneself? In observing? There are quite a few point of logic. Since only 43.07% of the pilgrims last year had a religious motivation for the pilgrimage, there is more logic than illogic!
 

CaminoGen

CF May-June 2011; Oloron to Fisterra Sept-Oct 2013
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances-SJPP. Santiago (2011); Oloron to Fisterra (Sept 5-Oct 23 2013)
#31
Flatfoot said:
CaminoGen wrote:
Doug, thank you for your eloquence in your explanation of the difference between sprituality and religion.
"David wrote:
"well, if it is as I see it then what does it say about a God, here and now, always present?"
Absolutely nothing. It does indicate that at least you have a vivid imagination. Your interpretation of it as a revelation is a personal choice, not an objective fact."
Logic and objectivity rarely work when it comes to discussing faith and religion...
Thank you Gen... now that's the atheism that I'm talking about. The atheists are logical and objective, by default making the believers illogical and unobjective. Prefering to believe instead that this beautiful life and this beautiful world came about as mere happenstance defying your own law of entropy (the second law of thermodynamics), which states that all matter moves toward a state of greater disorganization.

Gen, I'm sure that you keep that "vivid imagination" sentiment to yourself when you're sharing in the generosity of the monks and religious along the camino.

Tell me... Where is the logic for an atheist, in following in the footsteps of millions before you on the route of a pilgrimage that leads to the bones of a dead Christian saint???
Please note that I did not say that atheists were logical and objective; I stated that logic and objectivity are rarely used in discussions regarding religion, sentiments usually taking over.
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
#33
Purely a personal observation but to me, put simply, one can be "spiritual" and have no need for a god or God at all. That certainly is not true of "Religion" most especially when the word "organised" or Church is appended. Buddhism operates quite nicely without the need for God or gods, or "Godde". One can refer to a "Higher Power" or "The Universe" or whatever and not restrict it to a notion of a deity and still be deeply spiritual.
As I said, my own understanding of the difference.
Having said that I set out on my first Camino to find something. I think I did.
Matron very definitely over and out on this one. I won´t get caught again..
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com.
(Oh, and don't forget that the word "Heresy" comes from the Greek Hairesis: Choice.) :wink:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#34
Priscillian said:
Purely a personal observation but to me, put simply, one can be "spiritual" and have no need for a god or God at all.
Priscillian - this is a view supported by the common English meaning of the words, as I and others have pointed out.

It is interesting to see some amongst us continue their framing of the discussion to interpret any and every spiritual experience as some proof of the existence of a supreme being, and in turn a religious experience. In pointing out this is not a logical extension of the plain meaning of the words, and commenting on the rhetorical gambits involved, I have been accused of being pedantic. I agree with that criticism. It was and remains necessary to distinguish between spirituality and religion if there is to be any understanding of what attracts the variety of non-religious pilgrims.

Flatfoot said:
Where is the logic for an atheist
Someone who doesn't believe in a supreme being can still desire to understand the source and inspiration for the higher moral qualities we aspire to individually, or as members of society in general. It would seem to me that pilgrimage is a perfectly acceptable way of improving that understanding.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Oct.( 2012), Pamplona to Santiago Compostela. Camino Finisterre, Oct. (2015)
#35
A quote from the poet Ernesto Cardenal,"all emerged from the Big Bang, cosmos not finished yet and every day is the Big Bang, the creation-evolution continues, traveling futher and further away from nothing." He also believes that it is spirituality that unites humanity, not religion.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#36
Aquinas was an interesting man. In his 'proofs' for the existence of 'God' he never said what God was, only, once he had drawn his listener to the end of his logic argument, "well, that is what we name God".
I think the problem here is that when one says 'religious' some people hear 'organised religion' but these are two very different things. The secular hike question is easily answered - no one on the Camino minds why you are there, it is a truly eclectic mix of people and everyone just mixes in and helps each other. I think we have all found this.

'Spiritual', on the other hand, is a separate issue. For those who have no place for a 'Supreme Being' (whatever is meant by that - to me it always sounds like a rather stern and dangerous Victorian father) in their belief system it is an odd word to use.
We all have belief systems, we cannot function without them. Some people have a 'no God' belief system. Usually the details that support their beliefs is that there was a big bang of compressed matter, it expanded and is still expanding, that matter has become more organised over time and as it has become more complicated it has produced life.
That life has evolved into various discrete forms and the more complicated forms have acquired intelligence and self awareness. There is nothing else than this, this physical universe, and it is governed by physical laws ... we are all a product of it and a result of it - chaos organised, nothing else, there is just this, therefore a Supreme Being cannot exist.

I don't knock that argument, no matter how childlike it sounds to me (personal opinion, not an insult, as those people may feel exactly the same about my understanding, were they to ask me what it was). My view, if anyone is interested, is that the truth is the opposite - Matter does not produce life, life produces matter.

Such a belief system is all very well but a problem arises when such a person has or desires a 'spiritual' experience as such an experience is to do with the 'spirit' which in their view of the universe cannot exist. For it to exist there would have to be two universes, the phenomenal universe and somehow within it, or underpinning it, another invisible universe made of a different material or essence.
For the 'religious', and I use this completely separately from 'organised religion' - they are separate you know - that is how they see existence, a three dimensional physical universe that follows physical laws - speed of light and so on - but also another universe, and to the religious, a more important one, one that is the organised energy that the physical universe is imprinted upon or manifested from.
They also believe that there is a constant yearning for some form of deep connection with that other universe, that energy .... so in that particular sense spiritual and religious are the same thing. Monks, friars, nuns, sufis, buddhists, hindu mystics - all have (or believed they have or try to) connected to that spiritual world ... and the driving force has been a desire for a spiritual experience because of a need that seems to be hard-wired into almost each and every human being .. in that sense the spiritual experience and the religious experience are the same.

Organised religion, literalist religion, dogmatic religion - these are not that, though members of them may be that. One can be religious without having a stern bearded personification of a God, one can merely say to those who have a 'connection' experience, "ah yes, well that is what we name God".

Some humans, of course, are unable to perceive or even understand the God thing - those with Aspergers syndrome, such as Richard Dawkins for instance, are completely unable to do this, theirs is a 'nuts and bolts' universe, basically a giant meccano set (without a child building it of course) - it is part of the syndrome..

But, atheist, agnostic, spiritual, religious .... these are just names and parts of belief systems that people feel comfortable with, that they have constructed over years to make the universe comprehensible to them, and in that sense this is what I mean by all views being valid - they are to that person, and for someone to say they are not it to say that theirs is superior, which is the beginnings of tyranny.

So my view. It isn't a problem, it isn't an argument, it is merely an explanation. Whether someone accepts it or not? I am indifferent - those who recognise it will, those who don't won't, where is the problem?
We are all pilgrims on here and we all hold diverse views. We should all be able to rebutt an argument by making counter-statements, not by being rude or belligerent or accusing others of having vivid imaginations and so on. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis, don't you think? :wink:

Let us be kind in sharing our understandings of this riddle we live in.

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#37
Aquinas, the Buddha, Richard Dawkins, Rumi, Brother David, etc...

If they walk a while, and shed their expectations and labels and judgements along the way, they will at the end find themselves changed, often profoundly.

"Religion" and "spirituality" and "atheist" and "God" are labels we stick onto things that are ultimately beyond definition. They are just part of the noise and mind-babble that we have to deal with as we walk.

As we walk, as we walk, the racket often fades. And we can find "God" in the birdsong, or a kind gesture, or the botafumeiro, or in Saint James the Great.

It is a simple thing, made needlessly difficult and complicated by our endless human desire to define, label, seperate, and rank things. I do not think the Camino de Santiago is a magical place that brings clarity and conversion. I think it is just a wonderful combination of silence and mutual support that lets individuals get past their personal noise, so they can rediscover the primal beauty that is already within them. (that, in turn, opens their eyes and ears and senses to the wonders of the daily world around them!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Oct.( 2012), Pamplona to Santiago Compostela. Camino Finisterre, Oct. (2015)
#38
JillHives said:
Mysticl said:
I do recognize the spiritual and religious significance others feel and I will do my best to be respectful even though I do not share that belief. They are in effect allowing me to share in something pretty special and I approach this Camino as if I were a guest in their home. I rejoice in the world around me and I hope to enjoy the fellowship of my fellow walkers. This walk for me is highly personal, a journey of self discovery
That's exactly how I feel too.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
#39
Well said, Rebekah Scott!
The 'spiritual' lies somewhere in all of us. How we define it, how it manifests itself, is up to each one of us, individually.
Buen camino!

Stephen.
 
#41
Rebekah Scott said:
Aquinas, the Buddha, Richard Dawkins, Rumi, Brother David, etc...

If they walk a while, and shed their expectations and labels and judgements along the way, they will at the end find themselves changed, often profoundly.

"Religion" and "spirituality" and "atheist" and "God" are labels we stick onto things that are ultimately beyond definition. They are just part of the noise and mind-babble that we have to deal with as we walk.

As we walk, as we walk, the racket often fades. And we can find "God" in the birdsong, or a kind gesture, or the botafumeiro, or in Saint James the Great.

It is a simple thing, made needlessly difficult and complicated by our endless human desire to define, label, seperate, and rank things. I do not think the Camino de Santiago is a magical place that brings clarity and conversion. I think it is just a wonderful combination of silence and mutual support that lets individuals get past their personal noise, so they can rediscover the primal beauty that is already within them. (that, in turn, opens their eyes and ears and senses to the wonders of the daily world around them!)
Well said Rebekah!!! :)
 

Abbeydore

Veteran Member
#42
Richard Dawkins, now if he did a camino & got to the other end, reckon he would see himself coming towards himself, well I hope so,

Oh, I think I would like that for myself too.......maybe I have :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#44
lizlane said:
At one time, the world was flat and Finisterre was the end of it! Believing this to be true did not make it so!
What do you mean, the earth isn't flat? :shock: you'll be saying Unicorns don't exist next!! :|
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#46
lizlane said:
No unicorns do exist! They are in the Bible! (KJV) :mrgreen:
Phew! My foundations were shivered then .... so, ....errmmm ... Leprechauns? We are ok with leprechauns?
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#47
The Camino does affect people from a diverse set of backgrounds. It is surprising at how many individuals feel compelled to return again and again. I agree with Rebekah that the Camino is not magical, but it does offer sufficient silence, simplicity of action, and opportunity to commune with others honestly. Daily life today is so busy and so full of all types of stressors that individuals have a difficult time of listening. The universe speaks, but with a still, small voice. On the Camino we hear better.

One of the great characteristics of the Camino is that all are welcome regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. If you seek to come then the Way is open to you. Some can go on Camino and hear nothing; others hear something and ask what was it; still others hear and follow. The best news is that they all do it by choice and all are equal and none does the Camino better than another. There is no judge, no jury to review every pilgrims walk. All can pick up the same, identical Compostela if one is wanted.

As for me, I love to be a pilgrim and find great joy on Camino. As a disciple of Jesus Christ I learn how poor a man I am and how deeply I am in need of his Grace. The Camino strengthens me, renews me, along the way and teaches me more each time I go. I would that I could walk every year, but such is not my way yet. Each of you are the type of pilgrim I would gladly meet and be honored in walking together for a while. May we each remember the beauty of the Way and treat each other similarly in our daily life. That is the Way.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
#49
I've heard that changes take place in a person when they walk the Camino.

Has anybody on the board ever hiked the Camino as a physical challenge or even just a fun way to spend the summer and ended the Camino totally reconverted to God?
No.
 

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