Grieving for God
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29-03-2013, 09:21 AM
Grieving for God
I remember the first time that I read the story of the madman in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche (Die fröhliche Wissenschaft §125). I had heard that Nietzsche said “God is dead,” and it didn’t mean much to me at the time, being that I was 21 years old and a student in Bible College when I first came across Nietzsche and his way of thinking. I was certainly no atheist, and the declaration of the death of God seemed naught short of hubris (the Greek ὕβρις means much more than simply “pride,” by the way) on behalf of a man who could certainly not claim the power to know such things.

Only now, having arrived at the point of disbelief just over a year ago, have I understood that it is necessary to grieve for God (or, at least, the idea of God and its coming to an end) in the same way that we would grieve over the loss of a close friend or family member. I think we’re too quick to throw everything away and not mourn its loss, which turns many an atheist who was once a believer into a bitter, aggressive attacker of religious opinions. Can we be unbelievers and sceptics (skeptics) without feeling the need to attack those whom we see as under a certain level of delusion?

I think that “God is dead” in the story of the madman is very meaningful. I’m reminded of the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel mocking the priests of Baal and telling them to call on their God – who may have gone on a long journey or may be sleeping or may just not hear them, so they should call louder. It amazes me today that we would be portrayed as insensitive or insensible were we to challenge religious people to call upon their gods and demand that they answer by fire (or die) as Elijah did with the priests of Baal. Where is their God? Why can a Christian not work a miracle today (as if they ever did)? Is their God sleeping? Is he on a long journey? Is he M.I.A.? No. He simply doesn’t exist. He is dead, just like Thor and Zeus.

Should we, though, act like the madman or like Elijah (who was also, by the way, a madman)? No. We should grieve the fact that the God that we trusted in during our times of duress was nothing but a fantasy. We should mourn for the loss of the idea that there was some comforter in the sky waiting for us to kick the proverbial bucket. And then we should move on and encourage others with respect, restraint and reason to get past the delusions that are being fed to us by religious leaders and by the masses of those who follow fairytales. But, we have to do this without anger and without attacking people personally – and the way to get there is by not being bitter ourselves. Grieving and letting go of the pain rather than storing it up and resenting the fact that we grew up with lies.

This is a quote of this section as translated by Walter Kaufmann:

Quote:The madman. — Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: “I seek God! I seek God!” — As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? — Thus they yelled and laughed.

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. “Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him — you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

“How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us — for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.”
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29-03-2013, 10:15 AM
RE: Grieving for God
Ah yes, and a person who has believed for a long time goes exactly through the grief stages like someone who has lost an important person in their life.

Good observation.

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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29-03-2013, 11:15 AM
RE: Grieving for God
(29-03-2013 09:21 AM)jaihare Wrote:  Can we be unbelievers and sceptics (skeptics) without feeling the need to attack those whom we see as under a certain level of delusion?

Yes . . . provided that those "under a certain level of delusion" don't try to impose those delusions on the rest of us.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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29-03-2013, 11:38 AM
RE: Grieving for God
(29-03-2013 11:15 AM)cufflink Wrote:  
(29-03-2013 09:21 AM)jaihare Wrote:  Can we be unbelievers and sceptics (skeptics) without feeling the need to attack those whom we see as under a certain level of delusion?

Yes . . . provided that those "under a certain level of delusion" don't try to impose those delusions on the rest of us.

Granted. Fools and idiots should be put in their place as fools and idiots. Creation Science proponents need to be told that they are trying to pass off their religious mantras for scientific fact, and they should not be allowed to get away with it. Religious tyrrany is the same, no matter where it originates (which is why I agree with Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens [long may his name be remembered and his genius be celebrated] when they argued that fundamentalist Islam is an enemy that we must fight – because of its desire to repress and suppress life). I would never think that we should passively allow religious fools to usurp the power of government and to abuse itself of the public goods. However, the level of nastiness that often comes from within atheistic camps is just unjustifiable. We should argue so as to convince, not to dehumanize. Know what I mean?
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29-03-2013, 12:08 PM
RE: Grieving for God
I should have finished the quote. I didn’t copy it all. Here is the rest.

Quote:Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. “I have come too early,” he said then; “my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars— and yet they have done it themselves.

It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: “What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?”
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29-03-2013, 06:53 PM
RE: Grieving for God
Fundamentalism killed God for me emotionally. I guess I can thank it for that, at least. BTW, if anyone thinks that my atheism is merely emotional from this, I'm fully convinced philosophically and empirically as well. Thanks be to God that he gave us the Bible, which makes such ridiculous counter factual claims about reality that it just makes His nonexistence an inescapable conclusion. For the more literal minded folks out there, I'm being sarcastic.
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29-03-2013, 08:39 PM (This post was last modified: 05-04-2013 11:01 PM by Doctor X.)
RE: Grieving for God
******

Those who administer and moderate in order to exercise personal agenda merely feed into the negative stereotype of Atheism
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29-03-2013, 08:52 PM
RE: Grieving for God
(29-03-2013 08:39 PM)Doctor X Wrote:  A man who uses proper fonts?

My compliments! [Image: golfclap_zps44777ef9.gif]

--J.D.

Learn me somethin...

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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30-03-2013, 03:22 AM
RE: Grieving for God
jaihare,

I hate to break it to you, but there is no nice way to tell someone their faith in is a delusion. And, when I tell someone that their faith is a delusion - either directly or indirectly - I do not expect them to agree with me any time soon. Instead, I insert cognitive dissonance into the discussion and let the other guy's mind do the work for me - I let him deconvert himself. It may take months or even years, or maybe he doesn't deconvert at all...but it most always works for even if he doesn't deconvert, he has lost some confidence in stating his beliefs and convincing others.

Now...someone may mourn their loss of faith, but they also now have the truth and the sovereignty of their mind - and that's a fair trade.
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30-03-2013, 04:02 AM
RE: Grieving for God
(29-03-2013 09:21 AM)jaihare Wrote:  ...
we should ... encourage others with respect, restraint and reason
...

Huh

But where's the fun in that?


(29-03-2013 08:52 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  
(29-03-2013 08:39 PM)Doctor X Wrote:  A man who uses proper fonts?

My compliments!

Learn me somethin...

Not liking that font. I find I am skipping posts using this. Hurts my eyes.

Sadcryface

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