About a month ago I went from being a full-hearted atheist to having more spiritual beliefs

Before I go on to explain what lead me to change my mind on such a huge topic, let me give you some background information on my thoguhts before this sudden change.  My belief was pretty materialistic.  I believed every humans actions was created solely based off hormonal mixures and electronic impulses.  Everything could be measured and proven; if it could not be proven, it could not be real.  The physical universe was the only thing that existed and the only thing that help any importance at all.  For me, it was as simple as that. 

Despite the fact that this is what I sincerely believed to be true, I never opertated off this mindset.  When I saw art, I took in it's beauty and it's communication.  I was able to really understand the spiritual part of it.  When I saw someone do a good deed, I didn't imagine that they solely did it to improve their own survival, I felt they did it to be a kind soul to others.  I was living and acting and consciously thinking in a way that really went against the way I thought things were.  It was kind of a weird feeling, but I just shrugged it off.

Fast forward a bit, I'm dating this great girl.  She's religious, I'm not.  She's the one that got me to really think about the subject. It's hard to explain fully.  She started asking me why I didn't believe in spirits.  I just told her that that idea never made sense to me; I couldn't look at this world and think it was created through some non-physical force.  We talked more and I wouldn't budge from my opinion.  She was clearly getting. . . .upset with my viewpoint.

Then she did something that I had heard a million times from friends and family.  She did that (what I thought to be) stupid drill: "What controls your body".  I answered how many people would: "My brain".  "What controls your brain".  This question always confused me.  I'd always stop and think deeply, "what does control my brain?"  It was a scary thought so I would just shrug it off and answer, "my brain."  Any "what controls. . ." question was answered with "my brain", because the brain was the ultimate part of one's existence, or so I thought.  That made sense to me, because I had proof of that.  I knew there was a brain and that it controlled the body.  Then we got into the conversation "are you your brain?" I said yes because, again, that's what made logical sense. Then I explained along the lines, something like, "Well, I know there is, you know, a "me" beyond the brain, the person that can love, and appreciate art, you know. . ." "Well then, what is that "you" beyond the brain?" And, I dunno, something just hit me. I had never really categorized that "me" as the brain, as anything phyiscal; it just didn't feel right.

I started to question the idea by myself over the next couple of days.  I layed in my bed for hours just thinking about it.  Not gonna lie, a couple of tears were shed. In the end I realized that, for me, the existence of a spirit made sense.

Since this realization I've noticed some changes in myself.  I've been more happy and appreciative.  It's become easier for me to really see life through the eyes of others.  I've taken up meditation and that has also helped me improve my overall state.

This idea is still so new to me that it feels weird.  Thinking of myself as a spirit is still. . .uncomfortable.  Probably just because it's such a new idea.  Being able to look at everybodt as spirits has given me a sort of connection with anybody I meet.  It's weird, it's really weird, everything that has changed since I made this realization.  But hey, not everything that is weird is bad.


If you have any questions you want to ask me, I did an AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit.  Someone found me there and wanted me to share my story on Cathartic.co, and so I did.


Have a great day!

User Comments

I'm glad that you shared your story :) Thank you! I've wobbled back and forth on the subject of religious belief for my entire life. I've spent the last few years as a deist; I can't shake a belief in God, but I accept scientific explanations of reality, and I don't believe in organized religious doctrine. It's always interesting to have a new perspective on some of the old questions!


Personally, I believe that a person "is" their brain. Scientists have even been able to map images from dreams by reading electrical impulses while a person sleeps--which is kind of scary, admittedly. At the same time, I'm a believer in something greater than the life we lead on Earth. I'm glad you're able to broaden your perspective and appreciate more than one way of looking at things :-)


Not enough people are willing to talk to their significant others about this. They keep it to themselves, an isolated part of their lives, until it festers and spoils things. I've seen three marriages fall apart due to people with differing spiritual beliefs who acted like the subject of their deeply-held faiths was taboo--which always seemed painful right up until their splits.


I've always been a deeply spiritual person. Personally, I think your g/f could have been a bit more on-target with her assessment of things, but I want to echo the opinion that it's great you two are willing to talk about it :-)


There is definitely more to us than electrical signals in a brain. It's funny; scientists can stimulate the condition of a near-death experience. What they don't often mention, though, is that the feeling of warmth and the experience of encountering departed love ones doesn't happen outside of the real thing. The law of conservation of information states that information is never lost--so I think "everyone" is still out there, somewhere, in some form.


It's rare to find two people with different sets of beliefs who are capable of communicating and coming to some sort of a mutual understanding. I'm quite glad for the both of you. I think the "truth," if there is such a thing, is beyond our understanding, but it's how we face that dilemma that defines us.


I don't personally believe in a 'me' beyond the brain, especially since we know what triggers love and artistic appreciation, and can even stimulate it artificially. That said, whatever works best between the two of you -- if you're both happy with it -- ought to be embraced. Me, I play computer games, and I sometimes think they're out to get me... which is ridiculous. But I still think it, and even get angry. I've broken computer equipment over it, which is stupid. So we don't always make rational decisions, but somtimes the irrational ones work out for the best (ok... mine didn't, that was a poor example, but the principle holds true!)


There's something out there right now, a scientific theory about the preservation of information which relates to the possibility of the mind enduring after death. I believe it's discussed on that documentary about the universe which Morgan Freeman narrates. 


I can't share your acceptance of spiritual beliefs on the basis of another person's poorly-phrased scientific misunderstanding, but y'know, if the two of you are happy with it, it doesn't matter what I think or why. My own beliefs are a little out there; most people wouldn't accept them. So enjoy each other's company; I hope it works out for you both :)