Originally Posted by Magdlyn
One's higher self.
Right, the thing that I find interesting about it is that it seems to transcend the ego. So I guess "higher self" implies that it's 'higher' than egoism.
One might be an atheist.
No, not at all. Some people have a belief in their own inner power, wisdom and strength. You could call it god, buddha or spirit if you are religiously inclined. Not all people are that religious.
Yeah, I just mention it because I was pretty alienated from religion before I realized all religions are just philosophers writing from a certain standpoint. So if you can related to what they mean when they use language like "God" or other metaphysical ideas, you can gain a lot of insight to use in your personal spiritual development.
You have to be comfortable that you're not going to get brainwashed, though.
You would think people wouldn't be so afraid that they are susceptible to brainwashing, but I think many are. Also, many are afraid of getting into conflicts with devoted practitioners of religions and that causes them to avoid learning anything from those religions at all. You just have to accept that there can be crazy people and bullies involved in anything so if you want to learn about it and understand it, you just have to review the information you can get ahold of and try not to fear people who could harass you for not believing in it the way they do. Usually if you find anything good about a religion and tell that to devotees, they appreciate that you see something worthwhile in their religion.