Why I Believe
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09-04-2017, 10:34 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2017 10:52 AM by Vera.)
RE: Why I Believe
Aw, Kimmie, that was lovely. And reminded me (plus, it's autumn here) of this beautiful haiku by Issa:

"quite remarkable
being born human...
autumn dusk"


[Image: 1NpjsX.gif]

SeaJay, if you're struggling with believing and fear of letting go of the idea of god, and fear is the only thing that's stopping you... don't. I've been in a very similar position and it was the most depressed I have ever been (and believe me, I've had really low moments); I, too, could imagine no meaning without a god, the idea that we're just a biological bundle of chemical reactions made the entire existence of the world futile and meaningless...

... and then I came out the other side, to a world which was beautiful and full of possibilities; a world which I didn't have to struggle with myself not to "love more than its creator" and one where suffering was random bad luck, and not the premeditated malicious actions of a supposedly loving "parent". When something bad happened to me or my loved ones, we weren't being punished and there was no plan for me that I desperately had to try and figure out. The Universe was indifferent to me, but I was in awe of it and it's potential. It didn't care for me or protect me, but it didn't threaten me with eternal torture if I didn't spend my life on my knees, beating my chest and hating myself and my fellow human-beings, either.

In short, before I wax *too* poetic (I have my cynic cred to maintain, you know Rolleyes ), life, the world and everything in it are immensely more wonderful and awe-inspiring once you let go of the shackles of religion and bronze-age mentality.

Good luck!

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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09-04-2017, 10:46 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 07:13 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  It's around Exodus 7. Pharoah hardened his heart quite a few times according to the bible. Then, after that, God hardens Pharoah's heart, so when Pharoah finally does say 'ok your people can leave', his heart was now hardened.

(4:21) And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

(7:3) And I [god] will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
(7:13) And he [god] hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
(7:22) And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.
... this one doesn't specifically say that god hardened it but it also does not say that the pharaoh hardened his own heart either; at best it is ambiguous but given the preceding verses it is hard to interpret it the way apologists want to

(8:15) But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
... this one does seem to read that way but it is long after the god hardened it multiple times, not before
(8:19) Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This [is] the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
... this one is also also pretty clear since the god didn't just say that pharaoh's heart would be hardened but that he (god) would harden it
(8:32) And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.
... like verse 15, this one says it was the pharaoh but, again, it is long after the god did it multiple times

(9:7) And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
... ambiguous at best
(9:12) And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.
... pretty damn clear
(9:34) And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
... one thing the writers were not was consistent
(9:35) And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.
... ambiguous again

(10:1) And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:
... seems like every time it is really clear guess who the guilty party is
(10:20) But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.
(10:27) But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.

(11:10) And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

(14:4) And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I [am] the LORD. And they did so.
... the fucker even made the Egyptians chase the Hebrews just to show off some more
(14:8) And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
(14:17) And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

So tell me again where the pharoah hardens his own heart multiple times before the god does it to him?

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09-04-2017, 12:18 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 10:22 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(09-04-2017 06:25 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  Let's say a hardcore Christian becomes a hardcore atheist...

I'm not quite certain what you mean by hardcore atheist?

Would you also say a woman is partially pregnant, or fully pregnant? The use of the word hardcore is meaningless in terms of atheism, and I always reject the notion of variables when theists erroneously ascribe "degrees" of atheism—they don't exist.

I think he fears becoming a frothing-at-the-mouth anti-theist and wants to confirm that if he does indeed do this, there's an escape route back to comfortable pink fluffy la-la land. I've done my best to convince him that there is indeed such an escape route without drawing attention to the fact that once he arrives in horrible atheist land his fate is to be immediately sacrificed to Satan. Mwahahahaha.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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09-04-2017, 12:19 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 10:01 AM)kim Wrote:  
(09-04-2017 03:33 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  If God exists and He is good, He will understand.
If God exists and punishes me for unbelief, do I still hold the moral high ground?
-----'
If I say "I am agnostic", how would I really know that? What happens if I say I am agnostic? Do I change, does something happen?

Perhaps I can't 'not' believe. Just because I fear hellfire doesn't mean I can just decide 'Ok I don't believe anymore.'
------
If I didn't believe, what kind of person am I? Do I try and do good because I am good or because of Christianity? Do I get my morality from the bible? I mean, there's some mad stuff in there, but there's also some good stuff. Turn the other cheek, he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.
-----
I am not sure what I believe. Is anyone, are you?

I don't think it is possible to just stop believing something because you fear it. I fear because I believe it to be true. Or do I really believe?

I posted this previously and I think it may be important to ponder...
Quote:All powerful - powerful over you and the entire world
All knowing - knows everything of you and the entire world
All loving - loves you and the entire world
-----
If you and everyone believes, suffering still remains.
If you and everyone believes, uncertainty still remains.
If you and everyone believes, hatred still remains.

What happens if you don't believe?

You fear change. Everyone does, in even the smallest ways. To you - to many - this nonbelief does not appear to be a small change.

What happens if you do not believe?
Nothing. Not a fucking thing.
Everything. Not really - you may see things more clearly and possibly more comfortably. You might be a bit better able to deal with things as they come up.

Do you perceive you will have to start killing people as soon as you begin to not believe in a god? Do you think that you will suddenly have no hope?

You trust a god as the source of your hope. This is understandable - human beings are unreliable. You are a human being.
You have no faith in the thing that you are. You are a human being.

You do not trust yourself to "choose the correct way to change" because no god has "told you", only other human beings. The thing that you are - the thing you do not trust. You are beginning to think there is no such god, only unreliable and only untrustworthy human beings. You are a human being. What a fucking nightmare.
****

You are the exact same person you were 10 years ago.
Have you changed? Yes and no.
Did it hurt? Yes and no.
The only thing that has changed is how you see yourself.
Your self perception changed because your mind changed to see the world around you, differently than you had the day before.

***

Change happens - it is unavoidable. Accepting change and working with it, can be a bit difficult but it can also relieve the anxiety it brings.

Not accepting change - trying to avoid it and finding everything to reject it, causes anxiety and continues to do so, while relieving none of the fear & anxiety it brings.
Avoiding something doesn't make it go away, it just makes it worse.

****

You are a human being.
You are loved and possibly detested by just as many right, now as you were 10 years ago. You struggle with who you are.
You may also struggle with who you love and who equally loves you back. Will your fellow, untrustworthy humans love you back as much as what may be a nonexistent god has been loving you?

Possibly best to start out slowly. Begin to love yourself as a human being. Begin to trust yourself as a human being. Maybe if you do this, you will find a greater hope in humanity than in a god.

You are a human being.

Heart
Very profound

Thank you very much for this reply, I appreciate it.

You are right, not only do I not like change, I can't tolerate uncertainty. I will continue to look at what I believe (or think I believe) and test that. See where it takes me.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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09-04-2017, 12:23 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 10:34 AM)Vera Wrote:  Aw, Kimmie, that was lovely. And reminded me (plus, it's autumn here) of this beautiful haiku by Issa:

"quite remarkable
being born human...
autumn dusk"


[Image: 1NpjsX.gif]

SeaJay, if you're struggling with believing and fear of letting go of the idea of god, and fear is the only thing that's stopping you... don't. I've been in a very similar position and it was the most depressed I have ever been (and believe me, I've had really low moments); I, too, could imagine no meaning without a god, the idea that we're just a biological bundle of chemical reactions made the entire existence of the world futile and meaningless...

... and then I came out the other side, to a world which was beautiful and full of possibilities; a world which I didn't have to struggle with myself not to "love more than its creator" and one where suffering was random bad luck, and not the premeditated malicious actions of a supposedly loving "parent". When something bad happened to me or my loved ones, we weren't being punished and there was no plan for me that I desperately had to try and figure out. The Universe was indifferent to me, but I was in awe of it and it's potential. It didn't care for me or protect me, but it didn't threaten me with eternal torture if I didn't spend my life on my knees, beating my chest and hating myself and my fellow human-beings, either.

In short, before I wax *too* poetic (I have my cynic cred to maintain, you know Rolleyes ), life, the world and everything in it are immensely more wonderful and awe-inspiring once you let go of the shackles of religion and bronze-age mentality.

Good luck!
But I don't know how to let go. Truth is, I'm not even sure what I believe. Not in an "oh so you're agnostic" type of way.

Thing is, I'm ok with there being no god looking out for us. I'm fine with us just being a bunch of chemicals and electrical synapses on two legs. It's just my fear of burning in agony forever. How did you get over this fear?

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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09-04-2017, 12:25 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 12:19 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  You are right, not only do I not like change, I can't tolerate uncertainty. I will continue to look at what I believe (or think I believe) and test that. See where it takes me.

But... nothing is certain old bean. That's a fact. Well, there are some certainties. Like gravity and such. But is it really more important to be certain even if you're likely to be certainly wrong, than to admit a little lack of knowledge? What is so particularly scary about admitting that you're not sure of something?

Any case I can cheerfully assure you it's quite possible to be certain that there is no God Smile In the same way that it's perfectly possible to be certain that Santa and his elves do not in fact, visit every household on Christmas eve.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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09-04-2017, 12:29 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 12:23 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  How did you get over this fear?

I'm dead scared of spiders. Don't go near the critters, even small ones. But if you threatened me with spidery hell I'd laugh. It's not irrational to be scared of burning in agony forever, it *is* irrational to believe that any crappy fever-dream of some misbegotten woo-merchant is an accurate description of reality. There is simply no possibility that this will occur. Hell does not exist.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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09-04-2017, 12:36 PM
RE: Why I Believe
Let's examine these two statements.

I'm not certain that the girl I work with is attracted to me or not.
I'm certain that Alecia Keys has fallin' in love with me.

Uncertainty about the possible is much better than certainty about the improbable.




Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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09-04-2017, 12:47 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 10:46 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(09-04-2017 07:13 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  It's around Exodus 7. Pharoah hardened his heart quite a few times according to the bible. Then, after that, God hardens Pharoah's heart, so when Pharoah finally does say 'ok your people can leave', his heart was now hardened.

(4:21) And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.
I just checked this out and it looks to me that God initially hardened Pharoah's heart (Exodus 7:3) before any of this started.

After 7:3, this is the next relevant verse:

Exodus 7:13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Pharaoh here hardens his heart, but it looks to me like it was because God hardened it (verse 3)

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09-04-2017, 12:51 PM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2017 01:03 PM by Vera.)
RE: Why I Believe
SeaJay, I stopped believing in hell even before I stopped believing in god. Seriously, it was one of the main reasons why I couldn't pretend it made sense anymore.

I think Ingersoll put it best. Just read and reread this and think about it. How does it make sense for a supposedly good god to torture eternally anyone, for whatever their transgression might be (least of all for the "heinous" crime of not grovelling in front of this supposedly loving god?). If the mere idea of this revolts you, congratulations - you're better than your god. And if you're better than your god, what kind of a god is it anyway?

"Infinite punishment is infinite cruelty, endless injustice, immortal meanness. To worship an eternal gaoler hardens, debases, and pollutes even the vilest soul. While there is one sad and breaking heart in the universe, no good being can be perfectly happy.

Against the heartlessness of the Christian religion every grand and tender soul should enter solemn protest. The God of Hell should be held in loathing, contempt and scorn. A God who threatens eternal pain should be hated, not loved – cursed, not worshiped. A heaven presided over by such a God must be below the lowest hell. I want no part in any heaven in which the saved, the ransomed and redeemed will drown with shouts of joy the cries and sobs of hell – in which happiness will forget misery, where the tears of the lost only increase laughter and double bliss.

The idea of hell was born of ignorance, brutality, fear cowardice, and revenge. This idea testifies that our remote ancestors were the lowest beasts. Only from dens, lairs, and caves, only from mouths filled with cruel fangs, only from hearts of fear and hatred, only from the conscience of hunger and lust, only from the lowest and most debased could come this most cruel, heartless and bestial of all dogmas.”"

"All the meanness, all the revenge, all the selfishness, all the cruelty, all the hatred, all the infamy of which the heart of man is capable, grew, blossomed and bore fruit in this one word, Hell."


As for not knowing how to let go, I honestly believe once a person starts on that road - and isn't fighting it tooth and nail (and sometimes even if they are) - it just happens. Like, I would pray to god to no let me lose my religion (not proud of it, but...) and one day I realised I didn't believe any of it. And I've never looked back or been happier (even when really depressed ;-))

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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