Help, I'm scared and confused.
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10-02-2016, 01:51 PM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2016 08:51 AM by Iñigo.)
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
For just being chemicals floating through space, we are fortunate to be much more than that. We have the capacity to think, to love, to see beauty and humor and to feel empathy. Who cares if those are a result of complex electrical and chemical processes, we are truly lucky to be able to have those experiences. Enjoy them. Enjoy loving your children and enjoy them loving you back. This is the only life we will have. Some people may be turned off by that idea, but to me, it just makes me cherish my wife, children, family and experiences that much more. Remember also that while we don't have a preordained purpose, we make our own purpose. If there are things that are important to you, go ahead and pursue them! It is freeing to create your own purpose. It is also freeing that you don't need to have the universe care about your chosen purpose. Deconversion is not an easy process to say the least as you are discovering. Yes, the anchors you grew up with are not there, but there are other anchors, like reality and the reality of our experiences.
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10-02-2016, 02:35 PM
Help, I'm scared and confused.
Thank you for all your replies. I think I have some issues with panic attacks and that breathing too deeply was causing me to feel spaced out. I'm trying to just be ok with not having answers right now. I'm reminding myself that the universe is wonderful and mysterious and that I need to be ok with that mystery.
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10-02-2016, 05:30 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  his definition of atheism was someone who didn't BELIEVE in any god but didn't claim to know for 100% sure there wasn't "something" out there.
An atheist can also be a person that believes that there is no god.
Most atheists are agnostic atheists or ignostic atheists, we don't claim to know everything, we accept that it is impossible to prove a negative, many of us acknowledge that the god idea isn't well enough formed in order to evaluate.
For the most part, we are baffled as to why the idea of god has been taken seriously because there is no underlying evidence to lead us down the path to speculate for the existence of a god.
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  I had a God who had a plan for everyone and not one person didn't matter. My kids mattered to him. They weren't just brains that would stop being the moment they stopped thinking.
Do your kids matter to you?
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  I would see my grandparents again even if it was in some completely incomprehensible way.
Do you remember your grandparents? Have they had some impact on who you are today? In this way perhaps their legacy lives on, their lives mattered.
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  the reason I feel so much love when I look at my kids, the wonder of DNA, of little humans coming out of me, of maths even existing to be explored.
Are these diminished without the existence of a god?
Do us atheists have no right to love and wonder?
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  And now it's all gone and I'm so fucked up.
Why would it be gone?
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  The fact that my kids are only special to me because of some chemical response on my brain is just tearing me apart.
It makes no sense to reduce your experience down to atoms and electric charge. The human experience is a conceptual one, that of love, sadness, happiness, wonder etc. Even though you accept there is a natural mechanism behind it all, you are allowed to perceive and experience at the conceptual level.
Just like it doesn't make sense to consider that television is just a series of very small coloured pixels in conjunction with a multitude of air densities (sound waves).
Our conceptual minds can perceive and understand the "story", the "ideas" being conveyed, we can "experience/associate" with the emotions portrayed by the conceptual tv program. We aren't getting emotional because a pixel changes from one colour to another, our human experience is that of a conceptual level rather than a physical naturalistic one.
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  My life feels weird, like it's not even real now. I think about this in my head then my kids need something and I do it, smile on my face etc- but what the hell is this? What is this life? How am I even here? In totally tripping out and I've got no anchor to pull myself back in.
I guess you are uncertain about your new perception of life. I'm sure you will find your feet with time. Your life in now much more real, it is based on reality rather than magical thinking. I'm sure you are just a bit overwhelmed right now. Things that you have been taught that were essential have now been taken away, as if a rug has been pulled from under your feet. You need to find some solid ground to replace those "essentials" that you have lost. It will take time to find your feet, but rest assured, there is solid ground. It's there, you just don't know where to find it yet. Perhaps you are busy trying to find those "essentials" that you have lost rather than being able to observe (and take in) your current environment.
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  If I ever thought about stuff to deeply before I would tell myself that God made us practical, material beings and that's what I need to be- that's how I'm "meant" to function. But now I don't even know how to reign myself back in. I'm just electrical impulses firing which happen to make me think I'm me, that I'm something, but I'm just a brain in a body.
Don't think about the physicality of it. Your human experience is at a conceptual level, you still have a mind, a personality, you still have your values, these can be thought of as your "soul". You still conceptually have a soul, you conceptually have "free will" (you get to make your decisions). Life must be navigated from a conceptual level. From that aspect, nothing has changed. You don't need to throw your arms up and declare "What's the point, I'm just a collection of atoms with no inherit purpose"

While you are alive, you get to decide your own purpose, you get to decide what you value, be it love, family, humanity, it's up to you. You can live your life seeking out to make connections with other people, seeking to admire others, seeking to personify what you admire in others. You can try to be the best parent that you can be for your kids, the best partner that you can be for your partner. You can seek to explore and discover wonders in the world around us. Yes, ultimately it may not matter once you have passed on, but that doesn't make you life less meaningless. Life is fleeting so make the most of it. Seek to discover meaning in your life, find passion and enjoy life while you have it.

It's about you now. There is no authority (god) to give you a purpose, to tell you what is right and wrong, to guide you. But you are an independent adult, you are wise enough to sort this stuff out for yourself. Sure you will make mistakes, but you also have the ability to forgive yourself and move forward.
If you think that "Jesus" of the NT presents a role model for yourself, something that you admire, you can continue to be Jesus-like. As an atheist you don't have to hate Jesus.
(10-02-2016 11:54 AM)razzles Wrote:  Now I just have two giant question marks at the beginning of the universe (I know, time/space, Big Bang, can't even ask what came "before") and death.
Science hasn't yet discovered what was in existence before the big bang. This moment happened 14 billion years ago, why is it significant to you now? Perhaps it was a quantum fluctuation, perhaps an event from the multiverse. Who knows? It's amazingly interesting but it doesn't impact your day to day life.

Death is a ceasing of existence/functioning of your own mind. Time (for you) will cease to be. You will no longer have any perception or thoughts. You physical being will return to the physical universe to be recycled and your conceptual self will only exist in the memories of those left behind. You will not know you are dead, you will have no regrets, no pain, no thoughts. Death will take care of itself (you don't need to worry about that), it is life that you need to worry about. You are the pilot, the path is for you to navigate your way through. Life has much more meaning and urgency knowing that it won't last forever.
Life is not some bizarre test, for you to prove your love/allegiance to an unseen god by choosing to believe in "him" despite the lack of evidence there would be no point in that.
The only way to choose to love someone is to know them, to interact with them, to support them and have faith in them, there are many people here on earth that you can know and love, people that can know and love you back, that can interact with you, share experiences with you, learn and explore with you. God can do none of this.
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10-02-2016, 06:57 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
(10-02-2016 02:35 PM)razzles Wrote:  Thank you for all your replies. I think I have some issues with panic attacks and that breathing too deeply was causing me to feel spaced out. I'm trying to just be ok with not having answers right now. I'm reminding myself that the universe is wonderful and mysterious and that I need to be ok with that mystery.

Thanks for your story.

It reminds me again what we are doing here on TTA (and why I should do more at home).

Yup, nihilism can be a mind-fuck even when you've never had the supernatural comfort blanket to hold on to.

It still gets to me sometimes.

How's this for a thought:
Yes, you, your children and everything else are indeed "molecules in motion" but your children are so much more... they are the latest and best effort of the Universe's ability to grow its own central nervous system. Each generation adds to and builds upon the body of knowledge of the previous generations.

It's a journey without a destination ... why not enjoy the ride?

Thumbsup

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10-02-2016, 07:16 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
(10-02-2016 06:57 PM)DLJ Wrote:  How's this for a thought:
Yes, you, your children and everything else are indeed "molecules in motion" but your children are so much more... they are the latest and best effort of the Universe's ability to grow its own central nervous system. Each generation adds to and builds upon the body of knowledge of the previous generations.

It's a journey without a destination ... why not enjoy the ride?

Thumbsup

Yes, that! Thumbsup

[Image: dobie.png]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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10-02-2016, 07:27 PM
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
(10-02-2016 06:57 PM)DLJ Wrote:  It's a journey without a destination ... why not enjoy the ride?

The journey IS the destination.

This thread has had some really great responses from a lot of people. It should be require reading for any theist that asks how we can face life without a god.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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10-02-2016, 08:48 PM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2016 09:01 PM by GenesisNemesis.)
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
Quote:I'm just electrical impulses firing which happen to make me think I'm me, that I'm something, but I'm just a brain in a body.

The brain has this amazing abilty to allow us to change our perspectives. There are plenty of atheists who go along just fine without the concept of god, and there is no reason you can't transition into it also. The only thing you feel to be preventing you at the moment is your perspective. You can change your perspective about your belief that you need the concept of god in the same way you can change your stance on the concept itself, you just need to think critically about it. Start with questions like "why do I *need* the concept of god?"

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15-02-2016, 05:21 AM (This post was last modified: 15-02-2016 01:49 PM by FreeBeer.)
RE: Help, I'm scared and confused.
When I was in a similar mental state, I decided to read the bible. By the time I finished the old testament I was both scared and angry, because before this I did not know what was actually written in there. I knew fragments, and what I found did not make any sense on top of it being so amoral I recoiled at the thought and started to understand why so many people fear the biblical God.

Thinking about it more and reading, I understood that this whole thing was created by people at the time to make sense of the world around themselves, which was often violent and very barbaric, so it is reflected in the biblical God and the people's reasons for doing things, the commandments etc..

Christians can't pick and chose what they believe, there is no rejecting or interpreting according to convenience, however the Bible is full of contradictions as people had different ideas depending on the time and circumstances.

All in all considering scientific discoveries about the nature of the universe, modern ethics and how the world is now, I found that the christian worldview had become very narrow, limiting, scary and unethical (I have a suspicion most religions are like this). This is where I began shifting my perspective (how I view the world) away from religion in general.

When I look at the stars today, or into the eyes of my cousin's newborn baby I still feel that something, you know, that feeling of awe, probably more then ever.

Want to know why? Smile its because existence is filled with wonder and mystery now, whereas before I had certainty, now I have the thrill of discovery as agnostic atheist. There is so much to learn, create and discover.

Existence can be a wonderful or terrifying place if you let it. How you chose to see it matters. I think I heard Buddhists say that hell is not a place, it is a state of mid. Chose to overcome your "hell".


OP you sound like a wonderful person. I suggest finding your own answers & reason for existing. Agnostic atheists do not know, but we don't believe in the biblical God either for obvious reasons, so we are free to find answers. Imo why you exist is up to you, make it a worth while existence, if not for you, your kids or whatever you chose / makes you happy.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.” ― Mark Twain

EDIT: added Carl Sagan's pale blue dot Smile enjoy




“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.” ― Mark Twain
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