One Small Step For Life, One Giant Leap For Understanding
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23-07-2014, 01:21 AM
One Small Step For Life, One Giant Leap For Understanding
It would be fair to say that the last nine months of my life have been far from ordinary. It is also fair to say that my life has recently been far from extraordinary. At first this sounds like a ridiculously worded sentiment of utter nonsense but let me elaborate.

For me, ordinary was belief. Ordinary assumed Mormonism and insinuated absolute truth. Ordinary was prayer, scripture, and revelation. Ordinary was seminary five days a week, youth group or callings once to twice a week, and three to five hours of church on Sundays. My life has been very far from "ordinary," not that I am complaining.

Extraordinary, for my culture, meant blessings of unparalleled value. It meant miracles and visions, spiritual awakenings, and heavenly visits. It meant baptizing and claiming the administration of angels above. Extraordinary also meant a revelation via God's voice or Jesus' manifestation on a piece of toast. My life has not been extraordinary either, but that doesn't mean it was meant to be.

Instead, my life has been the opposite of ordinary, but not sinful or blasphemous either. I hadn't been lost to Satan, Hell, or any sort of sickly life style. I hadn't even found myself immoral, deceitful, or aggressive. My whole life I had assumed that would not have been the case of a life of un-ordinary value. My whole life I would have been sure that I would have been subjected to such negative ideas if I had decided to be un-ordinary.

But even then, I hate to use the word (or made up word) of "un-ordinary." I find it similar to the terms of "ex Mormon" or "post Mormon." These terms alone assume that there is something of loss or perhaps something worthy to be compared and contrasted. But the life of an emerging skeptic and rationalist does not need to be compared to such lifestyles, these lifestyles don't deserve to be compared and contrasted against a free thinker's ideas.

So this is why my life is neither ordinary, extraordinary, and not even un-ordinary but because of the pretentiousness of the word, I would not call it "original" either. My life is very unoriginal. It's not even an unlikely or rare occurrence. Human life has shown itself to be rather successful on this planet. But I would be the first one to call my life "genuine."

For the first time in my life, I'm scared beyond believable extant due to my ignorance, but I can admit that. I can now admit that I am often wrong, arrogant, and often time ignorant and a little naive, but this is no embarrassing idea. I can now, with confidence, say "I don't know" and be completely at peace with it. I can now look at my life and say "I know absolutely nothing about this world" but then with minor confidence conclude with "but I am sure I can learn." But perhaps the most powerful ability is to say "I've done my homework and after further review I believe you are wrong...or more precisely, I have no reason to believe that you are right."

My life has been genuine, beyond a doubt, and nothing can replace the the joy that that idea creates. I can event admit that I sometimes find myself praying due to old habit. I can find myself questioning whether I can hang with disbelief. I can find myself wishing I could believe in some form of higher power. All these things I can admit, but I can also assess. I can work with these thoughts. Before it was "don't even ruminate with contrary thoughts" but now it is "challenge thoughts if they are persistently annoying."

Luckily, I have never found myself reverting back to the theist's schema. Contrary to popular American belief, atheism is something you are born with, theism has to be taught. It takes more energy to retain superstitious ideas and forcefully restrict critical thinking than it does to confront superstition and embrace critical thinking. So due to embracing my full nature, I have never once forsook my atheism and reverted to religious guilt.

Another thought that comes to mind is that the theist and I are not so different. The only difference is that one has come to terms with doubt and the other has refused to admit that there is anything to doubt. I for one am incredibly thankful that doubt is no longer sin, but an incredibly valuable asset.

On a closing note, the uncertainty of life and fear of illness and death is no more bearable with or without god, but knowing the facts of science and medicine makes things a little more understandable. As I was pulled into the operating room this past Friday and was prepared for surgery, I found my self singing all sort of songs. From classical to Broadway tunes, I found myself scrambling to self soothe. Before too much time, I found myself contemplating prayer. This was only natural since I had done the same the last time I went into surgery and I was eager to cope. At first I was eager to blindly reject the idea, but I thoughtfully confronted the idea for a few moments and thought "who am I praying to?" and "how I am sure this works?" Difficult questions, but then I followed with "why am I in surgery?", "who is operating on me?", "what is the explanation of my illness?", and "what are all the facts to this situation?"

Before long, I found myself soothed my the existence of knowledge, so much that my fear of the lack of knowledge was non-existent. Luckily for me, I new somewhat a scientific definition of my situation and conjured a simple explanation and algorithm as to what is to happen in the next couple hours.

Naturally, I was soon induced with some sort of pain medication, I resumed my worldly hymns, and I found myself comforted by the idea that "science is saving my life and if it doesn't, then hopefully it will use my disaster to save others." Within ten more minutes I had been given anesthetic and found my self awakening in the post op room thinking "one more success for medicine and one more reason to be satisfied with dis-belief. Either way, whether I lived or died, it was not my decision either way. Welcome to life."

"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."- Albert Einstein.

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special." Steven Hawking
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23-07-2014, 04:59 PM
RE: One Small Step For Life, One Giant Leap For Understanding
Sounds like you've been through quite a bit lately, Quantum1Connect.
Good to have you here.

Welcome to the forum. Smile

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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24-07-2014, 08:51 AM
RE: One Small Step For Life, One Giant Leap For Understanding
Also glad to still having you in the world. Keep up the good work of staying alive and thwarting god's plan. Smile

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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24-07-2014, 09:19 AM
RE: One Small Step For Life, One Giant Leap For Understanding
Quote:the uncertainty of life and fear of illness and death is no more bearable with or without god

I've found it much more reassuring to interpret life through a context of knowledge without resorting to a deity to explain it all.

I struggled mightily with why things such as illness occurred when I was a Christian, suffering just didn't fit neatly into the idea that God was in control.

Now it all makes sense -shit happens, but it's usually explainable through our understanding of the natural world.

Congratulations on your journey to reason, and getting your Sundays back! Big Grin

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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24-07-2014, 09:58 AM
RE: One Small Step For Life, One Giant Leap For Understanding
Quantum1Connection,

Welcome to the forum.

Things I like so far:
1. You found your way out of religion.
2. Your surgery went well.
3. You write clearly.
4. You're a computer scientist.

Keep up all the good stuff. Thumbsup

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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