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#198987 - 01/11/08 01:16 AM Questions on hope for the non believer.
theatrekid Offline
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I know i am not the only one here who doesn't believe in god. I know many people use religion as part of there recovery. it serves as a great source of inspiration and hope for those that believe.

I was wondering what kinds of things non believers use in place of religion to find hope and inspiration to keep on working through recovery.


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#198989 - 01/11/08 01:32 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: theatrekid]
WalkingSouth Offline
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TK,

Excellent topic. I'm interested in what discussion may develop here.

Although I cannot answer this question from personal experience I had a co-worker some years back that was Native American. He did not believe in God, at least the way I have come to understand God, but he did have a real sense of spirituality about him. He had learned many of the rituals and ceremony's of his heritage, and they were a real source of strength to him.

Don't know if that in any way addresses the question you are asking or not, but he left a real impression with me and others in the time he worked there.

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#199013 - 01/11/08 09:37 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: WalkingSouth]
Jarrad Offline
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tk, i was actually going to start my own post on this but you beat me to it. its not that i am a non believer i just think that i cant rely only on that. the things that i focus on:

-the smell after it rains
-the wind that comes out of no where
-the family of quails the runs across the road as a unit, leaving no one behind.
-sunsets
-the expanse of the ocean
-huge white clouds
-thunderstorms
-the feeling when my room is cool in the morning and staying bundled up in bed is the only option.
-a hot bath


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#199103 - 01/11/08 08:57 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: Jarrad]
theatrekid Offline
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Thank you both for your replies. dose any one else have any comments they would like to add. i am trying to get as broad a picture as i can.

Thanks ,Chris


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#199104 - 01/11/08 08:58 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: theatrekid]
Jarrad Offline
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haha i love it. i read that as "okay.. no one responded... what the hell."


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#199110 - 01/11/08 09:11 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: Jarrad]
Danbuff Offline
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Gratitude for what is present and surrounds us is indeed a way of healing and to have appreciation for other things helps create balance. I will attach a link to an audio file that likely will not last forever. It is brief and is about an African American woman who lived to be 107. No doubt she experienced some lousy stuff in her lifetime but she was an amazing example of resilliancy. Here is the link. You may need to copy and paste.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17938591

Dan

_________________________
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

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#199113 - 01/11/08 09:42 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: Jarrad]
dancr6 Offline
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I did't know if I believed, and that is is what I felt and thought for years, then I had this experience of a voice, at a time of serious stress, that seemed both within and outside of my head that said "don't worry I'll take care of you" no conditions put on it.

I couldn't explain it and within a year and a half I had another auditory experience.
I had lost my father in August and my twin daughter and son were born in oct. rather that mid december.I already had two daughters and loved the idea of being a father again but never once caring if I had a boy or a girl I just loved the idea of having children.

On the third day after their birth I was sitting on my porch making the twins cradles. It all of a sudden hit me that I would have a son, someone I could relate to gender to gender. I had this ecstatic feeling and was almost laughing when the phone rang, it was the doctor at the hospital and he said'Mr._______ this is Dr. _____and I wanted to let you know that your son expired at_____. He had an aneurism in his brain and died. It was like the cosmic rug was pulled out from underneath me.
I decided to dig my sons grave myself so I chose a hill top in Kentucky and after it was dug I sat on the mound of dirt and started crying, "What kind of God are you that you would give such a gift and then rip it away?"
"I don't associate you with love!" I was so pissed, I screamed it; then I suddenly had this sensation that I was not alone and whatever presence was there was crying with me. I heard the voice like the first time, both within and outside of my head that said "I wish you could see how this fits into the overall scheme of things but for now, you can't" I had this feeling of extreme peace.I didn't, and don't, know how to explain that. I experienced a compassionate and reassuring voice. I don't know how to label it. I don't apply any religious dogma to it but I cannot say that I have doubts about the existence of God. I believe in an intervening presence and I'm content with it being unnamed, but for the sake of communication I call it God.

_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#199207 - 01/12/08 03:17 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: dancr6]
theatrekid Offline
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Danbuff Thanks for the link i will check it out this afternoon sounds interesting.

Dancr6 that is a heart warming story very powerful losing a child is a great loss I am sorry you had to experience something so horrible.

Dose any one out there who is atheist or even just agnostic have a view on this thats really what i am trying to find out in this post.

Thanks again Chris

thanks, Chris


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#199212 - 01/12/08 04:33 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: theatrekid]
dancr6 Offline
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Chris, thanks for the concern.
How would an athiest view what I experienced?
Just curious, I am in no way defensive or judgemental about anothers belief system.

_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#199217 - 01/12/08 05:26 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: dancr6]
theatrekid Offline
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I Think a atheist would view your experience through the eyes of a scientist. They would try to explain it using the laws of nature by using observations and collecting data.

maybe they would get a little psychological on you and say your emotional state of the time (which i personally can't fathom how much pain you had to be feeling) plus several other factors including your past history and the fact that you were exhausted from digging a grave at high altitude caused you to subconsciously give comfort to your self. Your conscience self interpreted this comfort to be a message from a higher power, thus changing how you look at the world forever.

just one Hypothesis of what could have happend.

Thanks Dancr6 for having this conversation with me. I mean no disrespect. its nice to beable to talk to some one that is comfortable enough with their beliefs to allow for a conversation like this to occur

,Chris


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#199224 - 01/12/08 07:23 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: theatrekid]
Lou Offline
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I know in AA they call it the God of "your" understanding. A lot of people in program do not believe in God, but they have come to believe that a power greater than themselves can restore them to sanity, I think that God could be anything that you choose for yourself. I have spoken to a lot of program people who are recovering and they know that they could not do it as by themselves, they screwed it up, but when they turned it over to their higher power....things got better.


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#199225 - 01/12/08 07:23 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: theatrekid]
Lou Offline
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Edited by Lou (01/12/08 07:24 PM)

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#199229 - 01/12/08 08:05 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: theatrekid]
dancr6 Offline
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Chris, no disprespect taken, thank you.
I see no flaw in your hypothesis. There is no doubt that my belief (which in me seems more like knowledge)was tied to my emotions and solidified by the intensity of the pain.
What wonderful life forms we are that we can even sense when we have a need, in this case to be comforted, and do it in an objective manner to affect our subjective need. But you know , I remember the same ability trying to destroy me, I had the implanted thoughts and feelings that I deserved not-so-good things happening to me,and I began to satisfy that expectation, which apparently is not uncommon in our group.
I have been party to a movement of experiences that took me from a lonely, emotionally painful, isolated boys' life to a mostly happy healthy man and I have had what has felt like several external nudges along the way. I feel my emotions are better stroked if I show gratitude to an "extra mundane point of reference" as Jung so aptly named it in "The undiscovered self"
Good topic Chris, Thank you

_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#199230 - 01/12/08 08:21 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: dancr6]
evanesence Offline
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i found truly good and kind people ,here as a matter of fact that helped me believe that there is good as well as bad in this world. before i never saw any good at all.


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#199240 - 01/12/08 09:07 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: evanesence]
GateKPR4 Offline
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Hi TK,
I don't have a religion but I have had some very powerful experiences that I can not explain. I believe that there is something but just what that is i have no idea. I have faith in my ability to recover from my past and that has given me hope.

_________________________
I'm a normal person dealing with abnormal experiences.
The greatest discoveries we will find within ourselves.
Ricky
__m_ô¿ô_m__
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#199283 - 01/13/08 09:47 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: GateKPR4]
dancr6 Offline
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To believe or not to believe
Is that the question?
Whether it is nobler in the mind to accept or deny? 
Or…
If it’s even important at all

We grow and decay in and endless display
of ignorance and brilliance combined
We love and hate
Give and take

Do we exist for no reason
Or a purpose unknown
Or are we just along for the ride

Thinking we are important above everything else
should we war over something that is only settled in an individual mind
or should we accept that we are all falling short of the answer
and concentrate on supporting each other rising from our pain.

If there is or if there is not, I love my fellow survivors
I want their confusion to subside
and the clarity of our human equality to be illuminated.

The insight flashes that I have had over the years I attribute to God
you might attribute it to a chemical shift in the brain
I think the main focus is to care and share
the healing thoughts brought about from our moments of insight
And listen to those of our fellow survivors
without judging them by whether or not they are accompanied by a belief in God
I have a feeling of concern for you all and I’ll call that Love.
I have a feeling of a universal movement towards love and I call that God.

Regardless of what you call it I offer my love.
I believe that with or without a belief in God we can redirect
the outcome of this human condition
to which we have all fallen prey.

_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#199335 - 01/13/08 07:20 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: dancr6]
dancr6 Offline
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Cris, I'm sorry if I took the conversation from your original request. I hope people will respond, I'm sure it's an important topic. And I am curious myself how an athiest deals with day to day trials and tribulations. At the time in my life when I considered myself an athiest none of lifes big ones had yet to drop on me. I honestly don't know how I would have handled it.

_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#199339 - 01/13/08 08:45 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: dancr6]
MemoryVault Offline
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(Posted some of this in a PM -- taking the plunge to go public. While I find it relatively easy to be out as a gay man, coming out as an agnostic is much much more frightening.)

Here's my take, as a non-believer.

If you really don't believe in God...if the world just happened, and there's no reason it needed to happen, no cosmic hand pulling the strings...everything becomes much more miraclous. Without worrying about why a perfect being created an imperfect world, you can really be in awe of the world as it is. Isn't it amazing that some particles of matter, four fundamental forces, lots of dark matter and maybe dark energy, got together, and now I'm sipping my coffee typing this?

I don't know if people would agree with me, but it makes everything seem much more powerful and special. I didn't exist before I was born-I won't exist after I die--I'm a singular, unrepeatable event in space and time. I'm not part of a great plan, but I can make my own plans. I have a heart, intelligence, love, and they're not just pale reflections of some heavenly force...I think we're all there is, and we're beautiful. And there's no reason at all that we had to be here, so I celebrate the fact that we are.

And even if I'm in pain, or feeling alone, I can still step back and think about how strange and wonderful it is that a bunch of atoms can be alive and feel alone.




Edited by MemoryVault (01/13/08 08:55 PM)

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#199364 - 01/14/08 12:06 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: MemoryVault]
theatrekid Offline
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Dan did you write that poem it was good.

MemoryVault

I think that was exactly what i was looking for in this post.Great words thanks so much for posting it publicly. I couldnt agree more with you.

You shouldnt have to worry about speaking your mind as a non-believer. thanks for sharing.

,Chris


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#199379 - 01/14/08 01:46 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: MemoryVault]
bp83 Offline
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Originally Posted By: MemoryVault
(Posted some of this in a PM -- taking the plunge to go public. While I find it relatively easy to be out as a gay man, coming out as an agnostic is much much more frightening.)

Here's my take, as a non-believer.

If you really don't believe in God...if the world just happened, and there's no reason it needed to happen, no cosmic hand pulling the strings...everything becomes much more miraclous. Without worrying about why a perfect being created an imperfect world, you can really be in awe of the world as it is. Isn't it amazing that some particles of matter, four fundamental forces, lots of dark matter and maybe dark energy, got together, and now I'm sipping my coffee typing this?

I don't know if people would agree with me, but it makes everything seem much more powerful and special. I didn't exist before I was born-I won't exist after I die--I'm a singular, unrepeatable event in space and time. I'm not part of a great plan, but I can make my own plans. I have a heart, intelligence, love, and they're not just pale reflections of some heavenly force...I think we're all there is, and we're beautiful. And there's no reason at all that we had to be here, so I celebrate the fact that we are.

And even if I'm in pain, or feeling alone, I can still step back and think about how strange and wonderful it is that a bunch of atoms can be alive and feel alone.


yeah, that is a great miracle...now prove it

_________________________
-
Scott

"Life is for living, we all know, and I don't want to live it alone..."-Chris Martin

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#199382 - 01/14/08 02:10 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: bp83]
WalkingSouth Offline
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I'm not sure of the meaning of the last sentence of the post above, so I will throw no stones at the poster.

I will say this. Chris has led a great discussion in this thread up to this point about how individuals who don't believe in God find hope, etc. in their lives. Let's remember to keep this discussion amicable, kind, and respectful regardless of our personal viewpoint.

John for the MS Moderator Team

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#199393 - 01/14/08 06:42 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: WalkingSouth]
MemoryVault Offline
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Quote:
yeah, that is a great miracle...now prove it


I can't. I know that non-belief is as much a matter of faith as belief.


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#199397 - 01/14/08 08:25 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: bp83]
dancr6 Offline
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Cris & MV Beautifully said!!
I think we have touched on a level where humanity could find common ground if we weren't all so dead set on our "way" being the only way.
None of us can prove what we accept as our metaphysical belief so we will not necessarily hold that in common but we do have PLENTY of things in common as a group.
Metaphysics makes for very interesting conversation, as a matter of fact one of my most frequent, but I try not to let it get in the way of loving my fellow human beings and apparently you both believe the same.
My god (non- god) we are in agreement! :-)

_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#199421 - 01/14/08 10:43 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: dancr6]
bp83 Offline
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I can't. I know that non-belief is as much a matter of faith as belief.

well then we agree that you don't believe because of a certain worldview that you hold to and that faith goes both ways




Edited by walkingsouth (01/14/08 07:47 PM)
_________________________
-
Scott

"Life is for living, we all know, and I don't want to live it alone..."-Chris Martin

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#199441 - 01/14/08 12:46 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: bp83]
weapher Offline
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Thanks theaterkid for the post. I wish I could encourage you in trying to find ways to find hope and encouragement apart from God... But as I look around and see my world and the healing process I am going through, my hope lies in the things that he affords us. Perfect love, forgiveness, hope for a future and a perfect plan, hope for eternal life with Him and those who believe. Trust me, my life is far from perfect. I have struggles every day and I have screwed up many times and try hard to recover. But through it all I know there is a God who knows me, understands my struggles, and will be there to give direction to my path when I ask Him.

Good luck on your road to healing and path you have chosen. I wish only good things for you and hope you find the encouragement and hope you are looking for.

memoryvault...

Nice writing. I appreciate your thoughts on this subject and understand the great miracle you see in the world. If you find this earth beautiful then imagine what a perfect place such as heaven must be like.

If God was up there "pulling the strings" and if He did create an "imperfect world" I would probably agree with you fully and not be able to be a believe as well. Who would want to serve a God who creates chaos and controls what you do?

Fortunately for those who believe in God we have been able to understand that the world was created perfectly and instead of pulling strings God allows us free will... therefore the "imperfections"

If God was pulling the strings then abuse wouldn't happen, earthquakes and floods wouldn't happen, and free will would be gone. God in his graciousness created a place for us to enjoy and live and gave us our own will to operate as we see fit... And we as a human race have caused the "imperfect world" because of our transgressions against God.

Just a thought for you to ponder.



weapher



Edited by weapher (01/14/08 01:00 PM)
_________________________
Facing the struggle makes you strong.

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#199486 - 01/14/08 07:52 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: weapher]
theatrekid Offline
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I am doing an internship with a non profit agency that raises money for families with sick children. The family who i had been assigned to had there son pass away last month. the boy showed me how precious our lives are. he was so little and he missed out on so much. Knowing just how precious my time is here, inspires me to want to live my life as best as i can. I want to experience as many things so that when my time comes i wont look back with regret.

I am inspired by nature and everything around me. the fact that we are all here together. It is amazing that on the edge of a galaxy in the edge of the universe we are all here learning, sharing,fighting and forgiving each other all on this little rock we call earth.

these are the things i find inspirational.


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#199487 - 01/14/08 07:59 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. *DELETED* [Re: theatrekid]
theatrekid Offline
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Post deleted by theatrekid


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#199495 - 01/14/08 08:58 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: theatrekid]
dancr6 Offline
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Chris,
My educated guess is that you're an awesome human being.
I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on a variety of topics.

How do you help comfort a family that loses a child? There were no words that could come out of any person when my son died, that would have given me comfort.

I did, however, feel the comfort of silent human arms around my shoulders, and the unspeakable look in peoples eyes as they empathized and felt my pain.

All of my thoughts on that memory have been centered around the spiritual experience that I had at that time but your post reminded me of the loving people who tried to come to my aid. At the time I was unable to let many people in but I experienced their loving concern and thinking back to that time I owe a lot of people a debt of gratitude. I think I'll start writing them.
I appreciate your point of view and give it as much value as a I would "believer', or "agnostic". Thanks for triggering that memory. Keep writing.

_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#199525 - 01/15/08 01:50 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: dancr6]
theatrekid Offline
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Keep writing? will do thanks for the kind words....

The family that lost their son was from the pacific islands i don't remember what island they originally came from but they lived in Guam for a while then came to the states for medical treatment. anyways they had some family that already lived here and there is a small community of people from there home that get together. I wasn't there when this happened but a friend of mine was and he told me about it. When the boy died all the people from there community came over to the boys apartment and they had instruments and food and they just sang songs from there home and cried and laughed together.


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#199848 - 01/16/08 09:12 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. *DELETED* [Re: MemoryVault]
BJK Offline
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Post deleted by BJK

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#199873 - 01/17/08 12:07 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: BJK]
theatrekid Offline
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Bryan and Memory what you guys have said really makes me sad. We shouldnt have to hide our beliefs or be ashamed of them. every day science shows us more evidence that our beliefs are accurate, and yet we hide like we are carrying a secret that if showed to the world would ignite a fury that is yet unknown to mankind.

they used to say the world was flat. but they were proved wrong

they used to say we were the at the center of the universe, wrong again.

they used to say Darwin was out of his mind that there was no evidence to support his claims... but then DNA was discovered and the fosil record to back him up so they were wrong again.

Science can never completely prove that a god doesn't exist. Science can prove that we are each independent organisms here because of natural selection and a whole hell of a lot of luck. Science has given us the opportunity to look farther into the heavens than every before. We are constantly learning more about our universe and how it works.

Religion offers us no such proof. those that believe in there faith do not depend on proof, that is okay for them. but Bryan and Memory for people like us the Skeptics there is nothing wrong with asking for a little bit of evidence.

Instead of looking to a church and a belief in god for support we instead have to turn to ourselves and each other to find hope and inspiration in the world. A world that i think godless or not is a very beautiful place.

just my thoughts, Christopher



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#199892 - 01/17/08 02:33 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: BJK]
weapher Offline
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BJK and MV

my gut dropped and I was filled with compassion when I read this post. I am sorry for the burdens that you both carry. I understand your situation and am ashamed at the position the "Christians" put people such as yourself into. Please know that we are not all that way...that is the difference between grace and condemnation.

May you be shown Grace today.

weapher

Originally Posted By: BJK
Originally Posted By: MemoryVault
(Posted some of this in a PM -- taking the plunge to go public. While I find it relatively easy to be out as a gay man, coming out as an agnostic is much much more frightening.)


It was easier for me, and much less shameful, to admit that I was sexually attracted to boys than it was to admit that I don't believe in God.


_________________________
Facing the struggle makes you strong.

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#201078 - 01/24/08 09:44 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: theatrekid]
froggy12 Offline
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That's how we learn things, sharing our thoughts and experiences with others. We are indeed brothers in arms, fighting to survive and then go beyond, to learn how to live, not exist.

You could say that god/God is a creation of humanity to explain the unknown; to give some meaning to the unexplainable. If it works, fine. If not, keep on searching.

froggy

_________________________
??

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#201637 - 01/26/08 10:24 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: froggy12]
blueshift Offline
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Hey, Theatrekid, awesome subject! Glad you started this thread. I hope it's still active and continues to be!
A brief intro here, since i'm new on the scene and since it's, in a way, relevant to my post here. I'm 42, though i look a bit younger as you can see by my avatar.
I am a survivor of CSA and also was raped by someone with a gun who broke into my house four years ago.
I have suffered all my life from chronic depression and, since the most recent rape also suffer from PTSD.

The last time i prayed to a God was during the CSA and the complete lack of response as well as so much that didn't make sense to me about the Christian beliefs i had been taught caused me to start looking for other answers to life's big questions. In junior high i got interested in yoga and the Vedantic philosophy, then about ten years ago i started getting into Taoism and Zen.

I've really struggled with depression and have attempted or attempted to attempt (if that makes sense) suicide quite a few times and was nearly successful a couple of times.
I still suffer from depression as much as i ever have, but when i use the word "i" in this sentence, i only mean part of me. You may notice i never capitalize the pronoun "I" as it is supposed to be accept when beginning a sentence. Part of that is that my PC has a broken shift key which makes capitalizing it all the time a hassle. Another part of it though, is that i like to reserve the I for when i am referring to what i consider the real i. The big one. The I. Hopefully i will be able to explain this so it makes sense.

What i'd like to share as my primary source of strength and spirituality as an atheist is a state of awareness i call "minusmode" which is my term for a greatly diminished sense of self, or rather, false self. There are other terms for it but i coined my own because of the myths involved with so many of the other terms.

A passage in the Tao te Ching says something like "Misfortune comes from having a body. Without a body, how can there be misfortune?" It's my belief that what Lao Tsu meant by this was that it's all wrapped up in the body-identification self.

This is the self that is "separate". If you look up the word "separation" in the dictionary you will get a synonym that means the exact same thing....whatever that is, and that synonym, if you look it up will give you another synonym that means the exact same thing and look it up and the definition leads you back to the word "separate".

The truth is that even though we all use the word, it really has no meaning of it's own. What we're referring to has to do with the silly notion that non existence exists.
Even though, by it's own definition, it can't exist, we all go about, believing, not only that it exists, but that it gets between everything and everyone and "separates" them.

If you really think about all this, none of it makes any sense what so ever.

Here's the real truth (according to me, and those who believe as i do): existence does not "separate". It differentiates between visible and non visible. It is the non visible existence that we think of as this non existence that "separates" but it isn't non existence, it's non visible existence and it is part of us as much as the visible existence is.

We think of ourselves as being only this solid visible existence that is everything from our skin inward and everything outside our skin as other. But our bodies couldn't function if hollow parts of it, (lungs, heart, digestive system) were not also the invisible existence as well. So, just as the existence you call your body differentiates between bone tissue and muscle tissue, between solid and liquid, it also differentiates between solid visible and non solid non visible existence.

Seeing things from this point of view, you realize that there is no outer boundary of you where you end and this somehow existing non existence begins.....it's all you!

If you realize this you realize that you are never and never have been "alone" because such a state is only possible if you believe that non existence exists.
You might say the down-side of looking at things this way is that you are no longer divided apart from the f* ing assh*les who abused you, and that is true, you are them as much as you are you but the
good news is that it's all in how you choose to look at it.

For me, even though i know that (and this is where the capitalization works) I am as much my abusers as I am me, i just choose not to focus on that. Instead i just like to realize that I am the parts of the universe i find beautiful and lovable and focus on that. Another thing about this realization is that, though it may be mind-blowing at first, (it was for me anyway,) it's not one that changes everything once and for all. The awareness of this reality tends to come and go as you get wrapped up in the affairs of being the same self you have always been.

In my head there is an imaginary control panel with pretty shiny buttons. When i've had enough and feel like i want to die i go this panel and find the one with a minus sign on it and push it. This is my way of telling my mind that i've had enough of this "me" business and that i'm ready for a break. Then i begin to meditate, stilling the activity of my mind and cultivating the awareness of the fact that i really don't exist at all ...at least not separately from all else, and, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly the i disappears and i / I begin to experience just existing without any i to worry about keeping happy. There is great relief and freedom there in "minusmode".

This is not a happiness pill. The i still is depressed, but at the same time, the degree to which I experience this depressed i is the degree to which i/ I focus on it.

If you're not quite able to wrap your mind around this concept, i would suggest reading "The Book" by Alan Watts. He can explain it better than i can.

Sorry this is so long.... if i could say it in fewer words i would but this is the best i could do.

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#202408 - 01/29/08 09:02 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: blueshift]
Still Offline
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I've got a question:

When did CSA become a "Christian issue?" And dont tell me it was the catholoic church scandals...cuz that's not what you are debating here.

Why dont we blame the IRS for not protecting us. I mean they take tons of our money from us every year...why aren't we pissed with them for our CSA?
____________
In fact....I'll make this its own post...cuz I'd really like to see the explainations.



Edited by Robbie Brown (01/29/08 09:25 PM)
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#203520 - 02/04/08 12:18 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: Still]
VLinvictus Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
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I know I probably shouldn't get involved, but I cannot resist a discussion on religion and belief \:\)

As a Jew, I suppose the question of the existence of God is not as big a deal for me as it is for those from a Christian background. Whereas Christianity has traditionally been defined by belief, Judaism is more defined by action. As long you DO the right thing, there's a substantial leeway in what you can believe. It pretty much boils down that you have to believe that YHWH is the Jewish God and the only God for Jews -- whether you believe YHWH actually exists is pretty much up to your own preference.

I do not believe in a "God" as in a personal, omnipotent Being "in another dimension with voyeuristic intention, well-secluded, seeing all." What I do know, though, is two things:

1.) the world around me, in all its pleasure and pain, arouses in me a sense of awe and wonder.
2.) the practices of my religion, to the degree that I observe them, provide me with structure and purpose for my life, inspiration for right action, and a sense of connectedness to other people past and present and a sense of belonging to something greater than me.

Extrapolated from this -- and influenced by reading of such diverse authors as , Marx, James, Kaplan, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Heschel, etc. -- I say that I believe the following:

1.) Everything that exists is part of a single, organic, internally interrelated totality. We are all connected and dependent upon each other and everything else. We are all in this together and every single person, animal, and thing has its role and place in the system of the functioning and unfolding of the universe.

2.) Existence for its own sake is a joy. Life, despite its pain, is the highest good. That which promotes and sustains life, that which inspires the human mind to work for the qualitative and quantitative betterment of life, that which makes life worth living and human life human -- that is God.

3.) It does not matter whether this God can be said to have any objective existence or is just a projection of the human mind onto the cosmos -- since all things are one, there is no meaningful difference between the two propositions. God is all in our minds, but our minds are part of the stuff of which the universe is made and share in the same miracle of existence that all things enjoys, and so any language that speaks of God as being something separate from nature and humanity is meaningful only because the human mind (which evolved based on the dichotomy of self and other) can't comprehend anything otherwise.

4.) All things are one an all existence is a single organic whole, a system in which all parts must work together. The human mind, though, is (AFAWK now) unique in being self-conscious and believing itself to be a separate individual entity. This individuality masks the fundamental reality that at the bottom line, at the most basic quantum level, all things are of the same one substance. Individuality leads to creativity and reason and emotion and all of the good things of human nature, but it also gives rise to selfishness. This, coupled with the ignorance -- either inadvertant or willful -- of the true reality that all things are one and dependant on one another, allows for choices that are contrary to the harmony of existence, that create strife and turmoil, and works against the promotion of life.

5.) The road to fulfillment then is in action that tends toward harmony with existence and the promotion of life and works against division and discord and the destruction of life.

So, my beliefs would probably get me labelled as "pantheist" or "panentheist" or even "agnostic" or "atheist" but that doesn't really bother me. I'm not hung up on labels. But I do not expect or believe in any intervention from a divine parent figure nor do I pretend to have any clue what awaits us in the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns -- but to which we all have one-way tickets.

Nevertheless, the awe and wonder I derive from life and the universe and the ethical commitment to the triumph of life that I feel is imperative in the very nature of existence help me find a source of strengh, inspiration, and consolation within myself and other people. The rituals and symbols of my religion help maintain a sense of community and commitment to this ethical ideal and give a structure and support to the rhythm of life.

You could say then that I don't actually believe in "God," but it all depends on what that word is supposed to mean. I think there is a mythic value in religious language and symbolism and so "God-language" can be revaluated to reflect whatever a person's actual belief may be. That's probably why I identify as a Reconsturctionit Jew.

I don't mean this as a debate or as a criticism of anyone, just to show that there is a range of opinions and things need not be either all or nothing. God both does and does not exist. \:\)



Edited by VLinvictus (02/04/08 12:37 PM)
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#204063 - 02/07/08 10:26 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: VLinvictus]
theatrekid Offline
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Registered: 06/03/07
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Loc: oregon
VLinvictus

My father grew up in NYC in a very Jewish home but my mother grew up Christian. So my parents decided that i should discover religion all on my own because the two of them could never agree on what to teach me. Anyways my dad would agree with alot of what you said.

especially this sentence "I do not believe in a "God" as in a personal, omnipotent Being "in another dimension with voyeuristic intention, well-secluded, seeing all."

I am ashamed to say that i do not know very much about actual Jewish beliefs I have read my dads old copy of the Torah and am familiar with the stories but am clueless to how they are actually interpreted. which i am sure varies very widely from person to person. anyways good post. i really like what you said good post thank you for sharing.

Christopher


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#204067 - 02/07/08 10:43 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: bp83]
Trish4850 Offline
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David,

That was beautiful and I thank you. Never in a million years could I come up with the "why" of my thought process without sounding like a moron. I'll be borrowing your words in the near future. Thank you.

ROCK ON............Trish

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#210010 - 03/11/08 02:13 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: VLinvictus]
blueshift Offline
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Registered: 01/21/08
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Loc: infinity
Thanks VLinvictus! I too am ashamed to say i know little about the jewish faith, but you seem to think exactly as i do about life and God and spirituality. Pretty much everything you said, i couldn't agree more. \:\)

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#372262 - 10/12/11 11:59 PM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: theatrekid]
cris40ky Offline
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Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 188
Loc: KY, US
"bump"

I really should have read this through before "bumping" it up for renewed discussion. I'm sorry I did it.

This, I thought, was a discussion about how Atheists find hope. It turned into a debate about whether or not there is a god. Not what the original poster was looking for or me either.



Edited by cris40ky (10/13/11 12:47 AM)
Edit Reason: read the whole thread

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#372265 - 10/13/11 12:20 AM Re: Questions on hope for the non believer. [Re: MemoryVault]
cris40ky Offline
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Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 188
Loc: KY, US
Originally Posted By: MemoryVault
(Posted some of this in a PM -- taking the plunge to go public. While I find it relatively easy to be out as a gay man, coming out as an agnostic is much much more frightening.)

Here's my take, as a non-believer.

If you really don't believe in God...if the world just happened, and there's no reason it needed to happen, no cosmic hand pulling the strings...everything becomes much more miraclous. Without worrying about why a perfect being created an imperfect world, you can really be in awe of the world as it is. Isn't it amazing that some particles of matter, four fundamental forces, lots of dark matter and maybe dark energy, got together, and now I'm sipping my coffee typing this?

I don't know if people would agree with me, but it makes everything seem much more powerful and special. I didn't exist before I was born-I won't exist after I die--I'm a singular, unrepeatable event in space and time. I'm not part of a great plan, but I can make my own plans. I have a heart, intelligence, love, and they're not just pale reflections of some heavenly force...I think we're all there is, and we're beautiful. And there's no reason at all that we had to be here, so I celebrate the fact that we are.

And even if I'm in pain, or feeling alone, I can still step back and think about how strange and wonderful it is that a bunch of atoms can be alive and feel alone.


Cool!


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