God, Death and the Devil
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21-12-2012, 07:17 PM
God, Death and the Devil
I will preface this by immediately appologizing if I am covering ground that is well trod and rutted by all those that have come before me. I just needed to say my piece in a forum that will not immediately attack me because I am so vehemently apposed to all forms of theism now.

I had a daughter. She was the absolute light of my life. My entire life centered around her and everything I did was for her. I worked to pay for her education, I moved so I would be close to her college, I changed my carreer and bought a business all so I could be the best father I knew how. My daughter died suddenly last spring. She just woke up one morning, complained that it was too early to be awake, and collapsed dead on the floor. The coroner has not determined a cause of death and they cannot even rule out murder because there was someone in the room with her that had no business being there.

If any man can feel "Smote by God" then I feel "Smote". If I believed in God, he would be completely unforgiven and I would dedicate my life to destroying his saintly presence. Lucky I don't believe.
In the seven months since my daughter passed I have had the most inane religious crap thrown at me and I just want to share some of the ignorant comments made in a forum that will find them just as offensive:

1. "God must have needed her". Umm. Sure. Right. God needed a 20 year old aspiring photographer because the angels of Ansel Adams and Karsh were just not cutting it. Or, for that matter, my daughter was far more valuable than say my 91 year old mother who raised 6 kids and was a ward-nurse back in her day.

2. "God saved her from a worse fate" Hmm. Let me get this right. She was a 20 year old girl with a bright future and no major health issues and being murdered 6 weeks before graduation from college on a beautiful summer day was BETTER than...what? You know, I think I would have rolled the dice on that one and chanced that she was going to live long and die of old age.

3. "God moves in mysterious ways". Now that is just plain ignorant. Here we have a divine being capable of anything and he decides, in a pique of anger (?) to kill a beautiful 20 year old girl. Only a complete idiot would accept a non-excuse like that.

I actually was presented with several faith-based books dealing with death. The one I really took exception to was a fuzzy hearted little tome called "Heaven is For Real". Its about a little boy who survives a near death experience (NDE) and supposedly visits heaven. The father of the little boy, a young, optimistic Baptist preacher tells the story and guess what? Heaven is exactly like we have all been told it is: fluffy clouds, angels with wings and halos, everyone wearing togas and playing harps. Jesus is there, dressed in a golden toga and looking mighty white. The preacher just cannot imagine how his young son got all those "facts" right unless he actually travelled to heaven in his NDE. It never occured to the man that his kid was merely regurgitating all the imaginary images he had been exposed to every night during bible story time.

I found the book so offensive that I could not finish it. I still haven't. I finally wrote the ministry that published the book ("Heaven is For Real Ministries". I am not kidding) and told them that if there really is a God, he better be ready when I get to heaven because he will be facing one vindictive, unforgiving father. The ministry wrote me back and told me that my daughters death was "The Work of the Devil". REALLY?

If there is a God, and he is omnipotent, that would suggest that he has absolute power over the Devil. The Devil would, in fact, be his servant and all the acts of the Devil would then be done at the behest of God. God is the boss of the Devil. All evil is therefore caused by God.

Needless to say the Baptists did not take that suggestion well. They did say they would pray for me; I replied they better pray for their God.

One thing I do wonder about though: why did any of mankind embrace any of this "Good God" crap? It seems to me that in the days of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt the religions made far more sense for the ignorant masses. The gods of those days were all-powerful but lusty, selfish, vindictive and apathetic to the plight of mankind. In those days, if you wanted something, you bought off the god of the day with a sacrifice. If something bad happened to you or your family, you had displeased the gods somehow (so you sacrificed again). All the bad stuff in the world could be laid at the foot of a god who was pissed about something you did or failed to do. It seems pretty simple to me. It is even logical in some small way. In the Greek mythology, Zeuss would have lusted after my daughter, tried to seduce her and earned the wrath of Hera as a result. Hera would then strike her dead as punishment for leading Zeuss astray. All I would need to do to get back in the good graces of Hera would be to sacrifice a fatted calf and burn it at her alter.

On the other hand, the modern God is loving, caring and benevolent. He just needs lots of children to die periodically when some crazy gun-slinger goes off his meds. He just needs movie goers to die in mass numbers when some university failure finds an assault rifle feels good in his hand. He just needs to kill my daughter when she says no to some randy young man who thinks she should sleep with him.

You know, I should consider starting my own church. I will set up a stone temple, put up some statues of Zeus and Hera and ask for sacrifices (donations) to the gods for favours rendered and disasters averted. At least the explanations for tragedy would make more sense in my church.

Did you see the knuckle draggers suggested that the slaughtered children in the States last week were killed because God was no longer taught in the classroom. God struck the children dead because the school board was secular.

I have to wonder if it really is the 21st century.
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21-12-2012, 08:35 PM
RE: God, Death and the Devil
(21-12-2012 07:17 PM)Bryce Fleming Wrote:  I will preface this by immediately appologizing if I am covering ground that is well trod and rutted by all those that have come before me. I just needed to say my piece in a forum that will not immediately attack me because I am so vehemently apposed to all forms of theism now.

I had a daughter. She was the absolute light of my life. My entire life centered around her and everything I did was for her. I worked to pay for her education, I moved so I would be close to her college, I changed my carreer and bought a business all so I could be the best father I knew how. My daughter died suddenly last spring. She just woke up one morning, complained that it was too early to be awake, and collapsed dead on the floor. The coroner has not determined a cause of death and they cannot even rule out murder because there was someone in the room with her that had no business being there.

If any man can feel "Smote by God" then I feel "Smote". If I believed in God, he would be completely unforgiven and I would dedicate my life to destroying his saintly presence. Lucky I don't believe.
In the seven months since my daughter passed I have had the most inane religious crap thrown at me and I just want to share some of the ignorant comments made in a forum that will find them just as offensive:

1. "God must have needed her". Umm. Sure. Right. God needed a 20 year old aspiring photographer because the angels of Ansel Adams and Karsh were just not cutting it. Or, for that matter, my daughter was far more valuable than say my 91 year old mother who raised 6 kids and was a ward-nurse back in her day.

2. "God saved her from a worse fate" Hmm. Let me get this right. She was a 20 year old girl with a bright future and no major health issues and being murdered 6 weeks before graduation from college on a beautiful summer day was BETTER than...what? You know, I think I would have rolled the dice on that one and chanced that she was going to live long and die of old age.

3. "God moves in mysterious ways". Now that is just plain ignorant. Here we have a divine being capable of anything and he decides, in a pique of anger (?) to kill a beautiful 20 year old girl. Only a complete idiot would accept a non-excuse like that.

I actually was presented with several faith-based books dealing with death. The one I really took exception to was a fuzzy hearted little tome called "Heaven is For Real". Its about a little boy who survives a near death experience (NDE) and supposedly visits heaven. The father of the little boy, a young, optimistic Baptist preacher tells the story and guess what? Heaven is exactly like we have all been told it is: fluffy clouds, angels with wings and halos, everyone wearing togas and playing harps. Jesus is there, dressed in a golden toga and looking mighty white. The preacher just cannot imagine how his young son got all those "facts" right unless he actually travelled to heaven in his NDE. It never occured to the man that his kid was merely regurgitating all the imaginary images he had been exposed to every night during bible story time.

I found the book so offensive that I could not finish it. I still haven't. I finally wrote the ministry that published the book ("Heaven is For Real Ministries". I am not kidding) and told them that if there really is a God, he better be ready when I get to heaven because he will be facing one vindictive, unforgiving father. The ministry wrote me back and told me that my daughters death was "The Work of the Devil". REALLY?

If there is a God, and he is omnipotent, that would suggest that he has absolute power over the Devil. The Devil would, in fact, be his servant and all the acts of the Devil would then be done at the behest of God. God is the boss of the Devil. All evil is therefore caused by God.

Needless to say the Baptists did not take that suggestion well. They did say they would pray for me; I replied they better pray for their God.

One thing I do wonder about though: why did any of mankind embrace any of this "Good God" crap? It seems to me that in the days of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt the religions made far more sense for the ignorant masses. The gods of those days were all-powerful but lusty, selfish, vindictive and apathetic to the plight of mankind. In those days, if you wanted something, you bought off the god of the day with a sacrifice. If something bad happened to you or your family, you had displeased the gods somehow (so you sacrificed again). All the bad stuff in the world could be laid at the foot of a god who was pissed about something you did or failed to do. It seems pretty simple to me. It is even logical in some small way. In the Greek mythology, Zeuss would have lusted after my daughter, tried to seduce her and earned the wrath of Hera as a result. Hera would then strike her dead as punishment for leading Zeuss astray. All I would need to do to get back in the good graces of Hera would be to sacrifice a fatted calf and burn it at her alter.

On the other hand, the modern God is loving, caring and benevolent. He just needs lots of children to die periodically when some crazy gun-slinger goes off his meds. He just needs movie goers to die in mass numbers when some university failure finds an assault rifle feels good in his hand. He just needs to kill my daughter when she says no to some randy young man who thinks she should sleep with him.

You know, I should consider starting my own church. I will set up a stone temple, put up some statues of Zeus and Hera and ask for sacrifices (donations) to the gods for favours rendered and disasters averted. At least the explanations for tragedy would make more sense in my church.

Did you see the knuckle draggers suggested that the slaughtered children in the States last week were killed because God was no longer taught in the classroom. God struck the children dead because the school board was secular.

I have to wonder if it really is the 21st century.
Hey Bryce, welcome.

You'll find that people on this forum will care for you even though we don't know you. Please keep posting.
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21-12-2012, 09:33 PM
RE: God, Death and the Devil
My sincere condolences on your loss.

Today I learned that a friend of mine lost his daughter, too. She's still alive, just gone - leaving him to raise her young son. He sees her around now and then, usually when she's broke. He is heartbroken, questioning what he did or didn't do, how he could have done something different to save her from the bad people who have influenced her. I was at a total loss to think of anything to say to him. I can understand that the platitudes you encountered, as asinine as they may appear, are just noise - something to show that people are empathetic. I know I probably seemed like an idiot, sputtering and mumbling and searching for something to say. Theists have no idea how to comfort you, and I don't either. They have convenient canned saws they recycle. It's the best they can do, and they believe they are offering you the ultimate comfort.

Just nod and accept it. Or avoid them. They know not what they do, but they are likely sincere in their support.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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21-12-2012, 10:37 PM
RE: God, Death and the Devil
The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and do not grieve alone. Connecting to others will help you heal.

So I'm glad that I was able to read that.

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The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
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21-12-2012, 10:47 PM
RE: God, Death and the Devil
(21-12-2012 07:17 PM)Bryce Fleming Wrote:  ...
They did say they would pray for me; I replied they better pray for their God.
...

Man, it sounds like you are just all the other atheists... angry with god! How can you hate a god that you say you don't bel....

Urgh!

Y'know what? I admire your strength of mind to be able to put up with that shit and to use humour in the face of such ... such... words are failing me, again.

When you mentioned the books, I thought shimmied across my mind:

In olden times, to scare off nasties (plague, angels of death etc.), the wary would mark their houses with some sign (e.g. lamb's blood on the door posts). Other fiction has e.g. wreaths of garlic against vampires.

If I were you, I would nail Heaven is For Real to my doorpost.

And then I thunked:
Early christians used to indicate their membership with the fish pic....

Perhaps we could start a trend. When feeling persecuted and/or to ward off JWs and other door-knockers, we should nail an inverted scripture to the doorframe.

That would make a great pic for Facebook.

More seriously, though, how did you get through the 'anger' phase of grieving?

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21-12-2012, 11:51 PM
RE: God, Death and the Devil
(21-12-2012 07:17 PM)Bryce Fleming Wrote:  I will preface this by immediately appologizing if I am covering ground that is well trod and rutted by all those that have come before me. I just needed to say my piece in a forum that will not immediately attack me because I am so vehemently apposed to all forms of theism now.

I had a daughter. She was the absolute light of my life. My entire life centered around her and everything I did was for her. I worked to pay for her education, I moved so I would be close to her college, I changed my carreer and bought a business all so I could be the best father I knew how. My daughter died suddenly last spring. She just woke up one morning, complained that it was too early to be awake, and collapsed dead on the floor. The coroner has not determined a cause of death and they cannot even rule out murder because there was someone in the room with her that had no business being there.

If any man can feel "Smote by God" then I feel "Smote". If I believed in God, he would be completely unforgiven and I would dedicate my life to destroying his saintly presence. Lucky I don't believe.
In the seven months since my daughter passed I have had the most inane religious crap thrown at me and I just want to share some of the ignorant comments made in a forum that will find them just as offensive:

1. "God must have needed her". Umm. Sure. Right. God needed a 20 year old aspiring photographer because the angels of Ansel Adams and Karsh were just not cutting it. Or, for that matter, my daughter was far more valuable than say my 91 year old mother who raised 6 kids and was a ward-nurse back in her day.

2. "God saved her from a worse fate" Hmm. Let me get this right. She was a 20 year old girl with a bright future and no major health issues and being murdered 6 weeks before graduation from college on a beautiful summer day was BETTER than...what? You know, I think I would have rolled the dice on that one and chanced that she was going to live long and die of old age.

3. "God moves in mysterious ways". Now that is just plain ignorant. Here we have a divine being capable of anything and he decides, in a pique of anger (?) to kill a beautiful 20 year old girl. Only a complete idiot would accept a non-excuse like that.

I actually was presented with several faith-based books dealing with death. The one I really took exception to was a fuzzy hearted little tome called "Heaven is For Real". Its about a little boy who survives a near death experience (NDE) and supposedly visits heaven. The father of the little boy, a young, optimistic Baptist preacher tells the story and guess what? Heaven is exactly like we have all been told it is: fluffy clouds, angels with wings and halos, everyone wearing togas and playing harps. Jesus is there, dressed in a golden toga and looking mighty white. The preacher just cannot imagine how his young son got all those "facts" right unless he actually travelled to heaven in his NDE. It never occured to the man that his kid was merely regurgitating all the imaginary images he had been exposed to every night during bible story time.

I found the book so offensive that I could not finish it. I still haven't. I finally wrote the ministry that published the book ("Heaven is For Real Ministries". I am not kidding) and told them that if there really is a God, he better be ready when I get to heaven because he will be facing one vindictive, unforgiving father. The ministry wrote me back and told me that my daughters death was "The Work of the Devil". REALLY?

If there is a God, and he is omnipotent, that would suggest that he has absolute power over the Devil. The Devil would, in fact, be his servant and all the acts of the Devil would then be done at the behest of God. God is the boss of the Devil. All evil is therefore caused by God.

Needless to say the Baptists did not take that suggestion well. They did say they would pray for me; I replied they better pray for their God.

One thing I do wonder about though: why did any of mankind embrace any of this "Good God" crap? It seems to me that in the days of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt the religions made far more sense for the ignorant masses. The gods of those days were all-powerful but lusty, selfish, vindictive and apathetic to the plight of mankind. In those days, if you wanted something, you bought off the god of the day with a sacrifice. If something bad happened to you or your family, you had displeased the gods somehow (so you sacrificed again). All the bad stuff in the world could be laid at the foot of a god who was pissed about something you did or failed to do. It seems pretty simple to me. It is even logical in some small way. In the Greek mythology, Zeuss would have lusted after my daughter, tried to seduce her and earned the wrath of Hera as a result. Hera would then strike her dead as punishment for leading Zeuss astray. All I would need to do to get back in the good graces of Hera would be to sacrifice a fatted calf and burn it at her alter.

On the other hand, the modern God is loving, caring and benevolent. He just needs lots of children to die periodically when some crazy gun-slinger goes off his meds. He just needs movie goers to die in mass numbers when some university failure finds an assault rifle feels good in his hand. He just needs to kill my daughter when she says no to some randy young man who thinks she should sleep with him.

You know, I should consider starting my own church. I will set up a stone temple, put up some statues of Zeus and Hera and ask for sacrifices (donations) to the gods for favours rendered and disasters averted. At least the explanations for tragedy would make more sense in my church.

Did you see the knuckle draggers suggested that the slaughtered children in the States last week were killed because God was no longer taught in the classroom. God struck the children dead because the school board was secular.

I have to wonder if it really is the 21st century.

Welcome to the TTA board. My condolences to you on the loss of your daughter. I can't even imagine what that must feel like. Maybe interacting with others nonbelievers here will offer you some comfort and solace over this tragedy.

I completely agree with you. I have always found the Abrahamic god to be a foul, cruel, vengeful, vindictive, capricious tyrant and it would be a terrible universe indeed if he were in charge of things.

Hearing stories like this I always have though back to a quote from Stephen King's book The Green Mile. The guard Paul Edgecombe recalls John Coffey's words to him "He kill 'em with they love. That's how it is all over the worl." Edgecombe thinks to himself "If it happens that way, God lets it happen. And when we say 'I don't understand', God replies 'I don't care.'" King has often written about the evil and repugnant nature of God is in his fiction e.g. The mother of Carrie, etc. I think he, and a lot of other smart people have observed the same divine cruelty in the face of such human good. I left my shackles of religious darkness long ago. It took only myself and a desire to see a better world, not the blood of Jesus.

Best of luck to you. And feel free to contact myself or others on the TTA board if you need anything.

And may the New Year be a new beginning for you.

"IN THRUST WE TRUST"

"We were conservative Jews and that meant we obeyed God's Commandments until His rules became a royal pain in the ass."

- Joel Chastnoff, The 188th Crybaby Brigade
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22-12-2012, 12:11 AM
RE: God, Death and the Devil
"More seriously, though, how did you get through the 'anger' phase of grieving?"
Here is a little known secret: there are no phases of grieving. Its a myth. There are just two stages: the shock stage where you are protected from complete break down simply by being in shock, and then there is the rest of your life.

During the shock stage you feel nothing completely. You eat because friends and family force you. You function only when you have to. You believe your child is dead because they told you so and she has not called home to refute it. You sleep very little or all the time. And you get caught by the wave of grief frequently, dragging you down and trying to drown you. Its relatively nice to tell you the truth, because you don't believe its true...yet.

When the truth hits home,usually after everyone else has moved on with their life, you get bitter. You blame everyone and no one. You question everything you did and if you think you could have or should have changed something, you blame yourself. You don't move on from this point. You don't progress and go through any damn stages. You just get way better at covering because you realize the rest of the damn world is sick of waiting for you to "go through your stages".

Anger. You want to talk about anger. I resent the coroner who cannot find a cause of death. I resent the doctors who never collected anti-mortem blood work, so we have no idea of what her blood chemistry looked like before she was actually declared dead. I resent the laws that say the ambulance attendants cannot administer any anti-arrthymic drugs to convert her hear back to sinus rhythm. I resent the police that released the unknown young man that was present when she collapsed after only a single interrogation. I resent the pathologist who did not do a rape-kit and never checked to see if she had been choked (occluding the carotid artery will kill someone in under one minute). I resent the young man because despite 7 months of opportunity he has never attempted to contact me and explain what the hell he was doing in the house my daughter was sleeping at. I resent my daughter's best friend for not being there that evening as her wing-man. I resent the son of a bitch who stole my daughter's last set of published photographs and her iPod from the barbecue she attended the night she died. I hate myself for being there every other time in her life except the one time she really needed me.

You don't get by the anger stage; you sublimate it and continue on with your life because you have to. Since my daughter has died I have met all sorts of people who have lost their child and we all admit the same thing: you don't get by it, you just cover your tracks.

Think about that when you think about those parents that lost their children in Conneticut. They will never get over the anger. They will want and need change so they can know that sort of thing cannot happen again. I felt some of their grief the day that happened and I know all their anger, especially about the God-mongers blaming the lack of bible in the classroom for the deaths.

Am I a typical atheist who is angry at God? No. There is no God. I am angry at the churches who spew the crap that some God is behind all the good in the world and his angel Satan is behind all the bad. That sort of thinking is what makes people justify just about anything, including a slaughter of innocents. It seems to me that the majority of the evil in the world throughout history was dressed up as God's will.
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22-12-2012, 10:01 AM
RE: God, Death and the Devil
My condolences on your loss. I have a son who is 24 and a grandson who is about to be 2. I have no idea what it must be like to lose a child but I do know how it feels to lose the woman who was the mother of my child at a point in our lives when we were very much in love.

She passed away 20 years ago and even after all this time it's still hard for need to say the words "she died". Those words are the final admission that you will never see that person again. I know about grief, but I don't know or ever want to know your grief.

I was never angry at any of the people for the way they offered to help in my time of sorrow. They were only saying what they grew up hearing. They meant well.

Their problem is that they believe in a god with all the wrong attributes. Their god is the guy napping on a sunny Sunday afternoon in his easy boy recliner unaware of the world, unaware of poverty, famine, rape, murder, torture and all of the ills in the world. Their god has no power, no knowledge, no conscious presence in the hear and now.

And this is because their god is strictly everything they imagine it to be and when imagination meets reality, reality is a baseball bat to the face going through your imaginary mental force field of godly protection.

I wish you well but truthfully nothing I can say will change a damn thing. Only time can soften the blow one day at a time.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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22-12-2012, 10:58 AM
RE: God, Death and the Devil
I am truly sorry for your loss. She sounded like such an amazing girl.
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22-12-2012, 01:26 PM
RE: God, Death and the Devil
Here is a question about my own beliefs now. I am not sure where I stand.
I never was much of a "Christian". I attended church and I took the values from that church that I thought were worthwhile and I dumped the values that I didn't. I openly questioned the entire validity of the bible and I happily read "The God Delusion" and passed it onto my daughter for her to see the truth on her own. I have since armed myself for arguments by reading several other books ("Misquoting Jesus" for one) and I was very comfortable with my own belief system. I believed in myself, I believed in always doing the right thing and maintaining rigid morals. I believed that I should not drink to excess, not lust after women I was not married to, treat everyone honestly and constantly act with kindness and fairness. I thought I was stonger because I did this without any silly dusty old scripture to guide me. (and I always laugh at the strict conservative religions that ask their women to dress in head-to-toe bags rather than ask their men to keep their eyes on the road and there hands upon the wheel)
Then my daughter suddenly died and I was left wishing for an after-life where I would have another chance to be with her and be her father again. It has led me down a few roads I thought were permanently abandoned. It has not led me back to religion. If anything, I am absolutely sure that theists have it completely wrong. God is not a possibility and one would have to be completely obtuse to maintain any belief in divinity.
On the other hand, for me there is a possibility of a continuing consciousness after death. There have been enough questions raised by things such as NDEs and paranormal experiences that I cannot completely dismiss the idea that there may be something beyond our physical existence. Its not heaven thought. In fact, the idea that "heaven" is a wonderful paradise filled with angelic people who play harps (I really hate harp music) and wear togas makes me want to just go out and be a devil. To me, my heaven would be just so different.
To me, if there is a heaven, it would pretty much be exactly what I have now: Earth. Maybe without the pollution, wars, and crazies killing children in schools. I would like having a job to go that gives me purpose and makes me appreciate my holidays. I would like having lots of cold, rainy days so I could revel in the beautiful sunny days that are sure to follow. I would do anything to have my daughter back at college learning photography so she could phone me every day and come home on the weekends for us to do her laundry. I could help with her school projects, carry her camera bag and set up her lights for her and we could make sarcastic little jokes about the over-the-hill grandmother wearing spandex tights in the Walmart parking lot. This would be a great heaven. No clouds, no harps, no wings, halos and no damn togas.
Since her death I have considered what I could live with if I had to believe in an afterlife. It would be something akin to the philosophy put forth by Richard Bach in "Jonathan Livingston Seagull". In his "world" we all are put on this world for the express purpose of improving ourselves. We strive to "find perfection" and, if we truly become enlightened, after we die we move onto another world, exactly like this world but with bigger challenges which force us to find new ways to "find perfection". If we don't progress in our lifetime, if we continue to concentrate on eating, urinating, defecating and fornicating as our sole reason to live, then we don't move on. We just keep living the same shitty life over and over again.
This is a belief system I can understand. There is a "good" and a "bad" and there is consequences of both. There is no "God" and nobody is keeping track of "naughty or nice". No ten commandments, nobody cares if you are flaming gay or promiscuous straight, and preachers always get left behind in whatever shitty world they construct for themselves.
I'm not sure what that makes me if I have to have a label.
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