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I Lost (faith) and Found (reality)


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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 11:50:17 AM PDT
Dr H says:
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paethos sez:
Certainly you are not comparing a human parent, who is bound by cultural expectations and societal laws, with an ominpotent, omniscient, and omnipresent entity that can do anything that it wants because it is bound by nothing, are you?
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Among the "omni's" usually ascribed to God, particularly the Christian God, is omnibenevolence. An omnibenevolent being could not be negligent to his creations, else He would not be omnibenevolent.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 11:54:29 AM PDT
Astrocat says:
That does make sense, in light of the fact that these rules were thought up before there were more humane practices.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 12:05:19 PM PDT
Dr H says:
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paethos sez:
I, nor anyone else, can limit God in any way other than in our own minds. You, too, limit God, as you claim that a God that can make the whole universe in under a week should be able to "make sure that his book gets translated accurately for everyone who uses it". Which begs another question: why is God obligated to supply a translation of "his book" that anyone can use?
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If God has no obligations, what is the point of prayer?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 12:11:46 PM PDT
Dr H says:
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TN sez:
Murderers can't possibly be a Christian. A CINO perhaps.
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LOL. I should have know you'd pull the "No True Scotsman" fallacy out in defense.

It's amazing: as soon as a Christian does something that reflects badly on Christians, he suddenly, magically becomes a non-Christian on the spot, thus absolving Christianity of all responsibility -- for anything.

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loses all his credibility with me.
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No problem, TN. You've never had any credibility with me.

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I think of myself as a philosopher, a person looking for knowledge.
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You have an inflated opinion of yourself.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 12:25:38 PM PDT
Dr H says:
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Nancy Davison sez:
That does make sense, in light of the fact that these rules were thought up before there were more humane practices.
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Yeah, and if you read the article it's not clear that contemporary practices are necessarily more humane. Given the sheer number of cattle slaughthered, it seems likely that the captive-bolt gun method fails a certain percentage of the time.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 12:33:59 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
Oh, I agree that our current practices are hardly humane. The wonderful movie on the life of Temple Grandin is graphic evidence to that fact.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 12:37:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2012 12:37:23 PM PDT
Rev. Otter says:
whenever i'm asked to name a personal hero of mine, Dr Temple Grandin tops the list.

she's done more to end needless animal suffering than all of PETA, ever.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 12:41:32 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
Otter, I agree. I've heard and seen her interviewed and find her single minded on the topic. Marvelous woman!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 12:44:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2012 12:44:45 PM PDT
Rev. Otter says:
i *still* have not watched the HBO biopic. no cable, but i think i've seen it on my Netflix que ...

Posted on Jun 25, 2012 6:40:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2012 6:43:56 PM PDT
Alright I have been on this thread for a little bit of time now, and I'd like to throw a revised explanation of my story into the mix. This will be short and to the point.

I experienced a radical shift of my reality. And that is what the thread is about, correct? Like the atheists and agnostics in this thread, my shift was an emotional and intellectual one. My purpose is not to go into that, but for those of you who have experienced a shift from dogmatic religion, believe me, I share in your anger. It is only recently I have authentically began going into this anger, and really see it for the tragedy that it is: feeding lies (poison) to innocent and helpless children. As a father of a 1 year old I want my son to love himself deeply. There's nothing wrong with that. It might involve a lot of pain; love can.

My shift, however, did not end with agnosticism. For those who are agnostic or atheist, I mean in no way to discredit your reality, your experience, and your way of thinking. I'm simply doing this to testify to my experience and my reality, which is what we are all here to do and support each other in.

I read a book on meditation. I decided to try it. I didn't get it at first, but I kept at it and eventually it started becoming more natural. At first I focused on doing a breathing meditation. I would sit down and try to relax, in a quiet environment, and then bring my attention to my breath. I was instructed that whenever I noticed that my attention had gone away from the breath to gently bring it back to the breath. Not to admonish or judge myself, but to gently note that I had been thinking and had lost the breath, with a single thought, "thinking", and come back to the breath. Time and time again. Day and day again (I took a year off from school). Before long, I started having some peaks to my meditations: moments where I felt really in tune with the breath and just naturally staying with it. My body and mind were becoming more relaxed. I experienced something special soon after: for about 2 seconds, I became my breath. I mean that 100% literally. I experienced who I was as the breath. This experience was phenomenal and unbelievable. It has never occurred again to that intensity. It was pure bliss, something I had never felt before. There was no stress. Stress did not exist, or could exist. For how could the breath stress about doing what it was naturally doing? And no, it wasn't scary either. It was just amazing and awesome. So awesome, that once I noticed something amazing was happening, I became super excited and ended the experience by becoming excited about it. :/ Don't believe me or disbelieve me, just keep an open mind is all I ask. I'm not here to gain anything for myself or flaunt my ego, just to have fun and participate in this conversation, also making a bit more sense of things for myself in the process...

Well, that was awesome. I really wanted that experience again, and I had similar ones, not as amazing, but I soon after shifted to different forms of meditation. I tried "awareness" meditation, which is about focusing on the sensation of awareness itself, the part of you that is aware. "Pure awareness". As I did, my sense of who I was started shifting from "me" to "awareness". But awareness was not "me" in the same sense, like a different me. It could be called a deeper me or a simpler me. I didn't even try explaining it to my parents. (I was living with my parents while taking time off from school). I knew they wouldn't "get" it, and I was also dealing with a lot of anxiety at the time. The experiences became more and more intense until my experience of reality started becoming extremely disjointed. I would meditate and easily get into this state where I melted and became pure awareness. Then I would leave the room and have dinner with my parents or go to yoga class and experience all the anxiety as the "me" formed back again. Meanwhile I also started having extremely disturbing thoughts in my meditation. It started to seem like part of myself hated myself. I began having relentless and brutal thoughts of self-criticism that were utterly debilitating. I didn't know what to do; I felt extremely defenseless as I tore myself apart, over and over. It was like a tape running over and over in my mind. I couldn't stop it and I thought it was something special and spiritual happening so I struggled with it on my own for months (it happened in cycles, bad thoughts/feelings for about a week or so, then calm and happy meditation cycle) until I opened up to my mother as I could take it no longer. This is difficult to talk about in such detail; I haven't really before. The next year was hell. That part of myself that hated me had a job, and it was very, very efficient at it. I tried fighting it, I tried ignoring it, I tried accepting it, loving it. But at the time I was actually blinded by a new faith. The faith I had put into Eastern meditation based practices. I thought that doing anything to distract myself from myself was 'wrong'. This was my new belief, my new poison. All I really did was meditate, go to meditation groups, go to yoga, eat food, and go on walks. I was also physically ill and for some time could not even go on a walk. I eventually got to a therapist and also got on some medication, but it really didn't get better for almost a year. It did culminate with suicidal thoughts, and my deepest thanks go to those watching over and helping me that I did not act on them. It is hard to describe this time for you but suffice to say it was "hell". I had an unbeatable enemy that could approach and enter my house any time he liked and say and do whatever to me, constantly, without remission. I'll leave it at that.

Whoo. Clearing that energy with a big breath now, because I HAVE come a LONG way since then. I will take a break and continue with the next part of my journey soon. Comments, questions, you think I'm crazy or spouting BS, please say so.

Also, I see now that this was not short at all! Apologies, I do hope it is straight to the point though.

Posted on Jun 25, 2012 8:23:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 6:58:05 AM PDT
Alright...here we go. I didn't like the meds, I didn't like that no one else got what I was feeling. I went back to school; I wanted to have some fun for once and get away from home.
I conformed to the college lifestyle, over time. Yep, I became a dude and had cool friends and stayed up all night playing board games and later video games. It was confusing to bring my disjointed past to this new life, but it strangely worked. I did feel like I was abandoning the important "spiritual" values that I had decided were so important (taking time to meditate, to cultivate love and peace, etc) but I slowly and slowly cared less. I would still meditate and get in that deep stage of awareness (not as deep or lucid) but my rest of my life was just what it was and that was pretty much okay. I struggled with my self-destructive thoughts less and less and I felt a little more okay with who I was.

However, it was soon time to progress onwards and finish up with school. More importantly, and fundamentally, though, I had a child. Realizing this and re-orienting my life around him, while finding a lot of love, and accepting that it is about time to progress from adolescence, has informed my new(er) sense of reality. One where I am becoming a different person, not in the sense of when I discovered meditation and a different way of being, but as in a different personality- different values, habits, perceptions. Not just about religion and meditation but about everything. To do this I know I must shed the old and move forward to fulfilling myself in activities that are meaningful in a deep sense. Such activities involve making the earth a better place for my son and future generations, helping the humans and animals here find some peace and solace, and trying to change things, in a mature fashion. These feelings and wishes are plainly taking a stronger presence in my heart and mind. Thinking and feeling deeply and deeply into myself, my trauma and pain, and others trauma and pain, and the way everyone is on this similar mind wave that represses the awareness of what is going on (like with religion) and that so many people are locking themselves into a way of life that is very, very repressive and destructive (like with religion) and causes immense suffering (as with religion). As in when most people in the Western hemisphere, even in the wealthiest nations, purchase clothing produced by what basically amounts to slave labor. As in how people have lost a connection to the Earth, to wild animals, and wild nature. As in how people here mindlessly justify the immense suffering and destruction their lives implicate, as they are caught up in that whole cycle, and how simply switching a switch or demanding different products or taking the time to love a child or sit in a circle around a fire at night and share our deepest thoughts and desires or take the time to listen and help your suffering friend or yourself or not sit by idly while the Earth is destroyed or watch the political system dissolve through the lens of 5 corporations (the "media") or just do something to make a good change in your life or do something to find something vibrant wholesome and that makes you deeply happy and fulfilled. If you reject the desire to be happy and fulfilled and live a wholesome life with meaningful action, I suggest you deeply ask yourself what part of yourself rejects that? And does any part of myself desire that? I accept that deep, deep problems have been ignored, repressed and so many people conditioned to experience them instead as "surface" questions- such as "who will the next President be?" I do believe that our actions right now are very important for the future of humanity, and I don't know how much time is left before we will hit a wall(s). A ton of "stuff" is coming to hit the fan. I believe that all I can do is accept the reality, do all I can to feel and inhabit my emotions which are the reaction to the reality(with the help of others, especially older, wiser people ("elders" do exist)), heal these over time, and change whatever else needs to be changed to come to a more mature (whole), centered place where I more deeply inhabit my soul (pure awareness). Such a way of life resonates with the Earth and with my heart. This is pretty much where this has all brought me and I ask you to please respect that I have given you a fairly deep glimpse into the general narrative I give to my life. If you would like to discuss anything with me in a respectful fashion I would enjoy that at rfriedma@mail.umw.edu. Intellectual criticism or questions are welcomed here; however if the majority of the posters seem to not enjoy my presence here (I will observe likes and dislikes of course) I will leave you be. I do get the feeling that we have met, at least a little. I wish you success and peace in your life, along with all the dreams of your deepest self. (If it exists) ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012 11:31:31 PM PDT
AxeGrrl says:
Rev.Otter wrote: "whenever i'm asked to name a personal hero of mine, Dr Temple Grandin tops the list.

she's done more to end needless animal suffering than all of PETA, ever."
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Ditto, Otter! I highly recommend "Animals in Translation" to anyone who hasn't read it yet......also, renowned documentary filmmaker Errol Morris did a little-known (but fab) TV show called "First Person" and Temple Grandin was the subject of the very first episode :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 1:50:42 AM PDT
Harry Marks says:
RawCocoButter -

I feel that what you say makes a lot of sense. Probly I won't write to your email, but I think your head is on straight.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:00:28 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 26, 2012 3:04:35 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:02:39 AM PDT
tokolosi says:
Note to Raw: it's quite likely that your entire post will be deleted if you don't edit the s--- word out...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 5:27:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 5:32:28 AM PDT
Brian Curtis says:
"God is infinite, boundless. Again, why do you believe that God is obligated to do anything for anybody?"

If God claims to be a moral being, he has moral responsibilities. If you say he has NO responsibilities, then you can't call him moral.

In simpler terms, a god that never lifts a finger to help anybody doesn't deserve to be called "good." You can imagine a being that's beyond morality, but there would be no reason to worship it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 6:49:18 AM PDT
Me -- [paraphrased] We do not need "religion", we need Jesus.
Dr H -- because we're never going to agree on that one.

Very true. Unless God had intervened in my life, I would still be of that mindset as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 8:53:57 AM PDT
MaryAnn H. says:
RCB - it appears that you have taken quite a journey. The mind is the most powerful element in the body and can take many many turns. It seems as if you have found something to center you and that is a good thing. What I find most interesting is that your journey took you away from religious doctrine and more into a mental spiritual realm. It seemed that you craved the spirituality without the dogma.

I have tried Yoga and various meditations for stress and I just can't settle my mind enough to get any benefit. Also my days of twisting like a pretzel appear to be over ;)

The best to you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 9:16:04 AM PDT
paethos: Rachel, why do you believe that God is obligated to do anything at all. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. I believe God can do whatever God wants to do and is under no obligation to make anyone happy.

Rachel: It has nothing to do with happiness. It has everything to do with evil, as I explained. God is also supposed to be omnibenevolent. Allowing evil to the extent of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust or allowing the rape of a 15 year old girl who was a believer certainly lends the lie to the assertion that it is all-good and wants good for its creation. But if it doesn't do anything for its creations, then it acts exactly as if it is non-existent, so why bother?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 9:22:22 AM PDT
paethos: I also would be interested to see which evidence of the Universe it is that shows us that God does not exist. As far as I can tell, it is the atheists who keep insisting that they cannot be expected to prove God not to exist (which they can't, by the way), but that it is the theists who are expected to prove that God does exist. Does not the belief that the evidence of the Universe shows that God does not exist, in relation with the claim that such evidence cannot be supplied as it is impossible to prove that something does not exist, demonstrate that your belief that God does not exist is merely an idealogical position?

Rachel: The burden of proof is certainly on you for asserting that a god exists and is the creator of the universe. The existence of the universe doesn't make a claim either for or against the existence of God. But that does raise an interesting point: since you think that there is a God, what would a universe without a God look like?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 12:02:28 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
Brian, morality has nothing to do with responsibilities, that's values and ethics. Morals has to do with what you perceive as "right" and "wrong", and are very, very subjective. Any god who would impose its/hers/his morals on others is "god" in name only.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 12:06:24 PM PDT
J. Harding says:
Jeremy,

"Very true. Unless God had intervened in my life, I would still be of that mindset as well."

Don't you see a huge problem here? You think we need Jesus, yet we can only realize that need if god intervenes in our lives. Isn't god choosing who is saved?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 12:27:50 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
J., well, that was Calvin's idea, and that morphed into a major religion. It's a concept that has tainted Christianity from the beginning.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 12:31:39 PM PDT
J. Harding says:
Nancy,

As a former Presbyterian, I know about Calvin. I'd still be surprised to hear someone actually admit belief in predestination now.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 12:38:53 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
J., that may be a good point. One of my good friends was a Presbyterian and when I told her about Calvin and predestination she was horrified..... go figure.
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