Why I Believe
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05-04-2017, 09:43 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 09:35 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  
(05-04-2017 09:22 AM)mordant Wrote:  If there was lots of screaming and anger, she might have had borderline personality disorder (BPD) instead of or in addition to bipolar. I'm surprised no one has considered this possibility. People with BPD wax hot and cold, and alternately idolize and demonize you. It is easy for an armchair diagnosis to overlook it or confuse it with bipolar.

Not that it really matters, your mother was toxic, that's the bottom line.
Well I have been diagnosed with BPD so I wouldn't be surprised if she had it too. She is dead now though so no way of knowing for sure.
That is most unfortunate. Increasingly I don't see your issues as religiously caused so much as religiously amplified. The demonstrably failed epistemology known as religious faith acts as a megaphone for the best and worst in humanity. Often, more for the worst than the best, I'm afraid.

It is not an accident that therapists most frequently encounter people with psychoses and delusions, that they are religious in nature. It's an open question whether this is because religion attracts people with these issues, or causes them, or both, and in what proportions. But at bottom, the answer is basically the opposite of religious faith.

Religious faith is accepting asserted truth without requiring substantiation of any kind. The opposite of that is establishing what is true based on what can be evidenced to be true in some reliable way. That way is, in large measure, the scientific method. Invisible gods, by definition, cannot be falsified and therefore no scientifically valid hypotheses may be advanced concerning them. Since no defensible knowledge position can be taken to either prove or disprove their existence, one must decide whether to afford belief to them. That which is worthy of belief is that for which the preponderance of actual evidence makes that thing likely to be true.

There is not just a paucity of evidence for invisible gods, there is a total ABSENCE of any SHRED of evidence. Therefore they are VERY UNLIKELY to be true, to the point that, practically speaking, there is no reason to behave any differently than if they do not exist. Therefore, they are not worthy of belief.

Everything hinges on this. If gods are not worthy of belief, neither are the doctrines associated with them, the faux "discipline" of theology, or the dogma and doctrine that arises from it. Including the concept of eternal perdition.
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05-04-2017, 09:55 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 05:48 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  I should probably add that I am in therapy and have been since 2010 due to my fears of eternal punishment. I have been diagnosed with Complex PTSD (due to an emotionally abusive childhood), Borderline Personality Disorder, Severe Anxiety (social focused) just missed out on a full diagnosis of o.c.d (so I have it, but it is not as severe as most people with o.c.d), and intrusive thoughts.

This alone should call into question everything you believe. I also had an emotionally abusive childhood and I can tell you that I never would have thought of eternal punishment. To tell a child about eternal punishment IS emotional abuse. You already have a problem but religion is just gasoline on the fire. I feel for you and I also can tell you that as one who shook off the yoke of faith, there is a much more beautiful and rewarding world out there beyond church.

(05-04-2017 05:40 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  Fear is the key. Not sure if anyone expected that answer, but it's true. For the most part fear is the key. I mean, it's not just fear, I do have a belief it is true.

I feel for you there. I appreciate that you acknowledge that fear is a component. You are already way ahead of a vast majority of christians out there.

(05-04-2017 05:40 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  But I am scared of being wrong. I have a real phobia about going to hell. I feel trapped and as I see it, there are only two ways out for me.

There are more than two actually. I had the fear of hell in me well into my twenties and it was the last thing to fall. That is the power of Pascal's Wager. It relies on the fear of the unknown, of the unknowable, and stuffs in a false sense of options. You also have the power to let go. It is extremely difficult (as a fellow sufferer of mental diseases, I get it) and I think that for everyone it is different, but it nonetheless is still an option. For me, education is the remedy for fear. When I was deathly scared of flying, I learned about the physics of flight, the way planes work, and how to fly them (sort of). When I had the fear of being killed by a meteor (yes, I really had this fear) I learned more about the cosmos. When I had a fear of being wrong about god, I decided I wanted to know all I could about it. In each case, it was education that got me through it. It ceased to be unknown.

With the fear of hell, it is more difficult though because our imaginations are so powerful. All I can tell you is that if you want to be at peace, you may need to learn all you can first to demystify it. I know that I am much more at peace with the world, myself, and my own mortality as an atheist than I ever was as a believer.

Best of luck and a belated welcome to the forum.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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05-04-2017, 10:39 AM (This post was last modified: 05-04-2017 10:48 AM by TheBeardedDude.)
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 05:40 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  EDIT: Thanks all very much for the considered and (quick!) responses. I am sorry that I cannot reply to every one of them fully or even at all (I think I'd go mad Smile ) but I do appreciate them, and I read them. I also copy/paste posts and/or certain parts of posts into a word document too.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Hi all

Thanks again for the welcomes (from here: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...d1164883), it's much appreciated.

unfogged asked me why I believe there is a god and why it is the Christian God. I like that; straight to the point. I'll try and answer here (you might have encountered this post on another atheist website).

Fear is the key. Not sure if anyone expected that answer, but it's true. For the most part fear is the key. I mean, it's not just fear, I do have a belief it is true. But here's the situation:

I have major issues with Christianity, from slavery, brutality, misogynistic practices, the need for a human sacrifice, the threat of an eternal agonising afterlife for some, the need for any of this. But I am scared of being wrong. I have a real phobia about going to hell. I feel trapped and as I see it, there are only two ways out for me.

1. To be convinced there is no hell (not possible – as we cannot say either way for sure)

2. To, not believe. All I will say is that I have major doubts. I'm having a real crisis of faith.

I ask myself, if my thought processes were not inhibited by fear and anxiety, would I still believe? Well, having a Heavenly Father sounds great to me. Someone to love and care for you, and having the biggest and strongest Dad in the world is what every child inside us wants. Someone to pick you up every time you fall down, someone to tell you everything is going to be ok.

All that said, if I could push aside all concepts of Christianity and have a mind unfettered with Christian tradition and influences (all of them), would I still believe it was all true?

Truth is, I’m too anxious to even ask myself that, which in itself speaks volumes. I can relate to Pascal’s Wager.

I ask myself, why does an omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) creator, feel the need to create a torture chamber, where the wicked are sent to spend an eternity in unspeakable, unthinkable agony? Why not just utterly annihilate them? Not enough punishment? Ok, but why does there need to be any punishment in the first place? Surely an omnipotent and omniscient creator could just show us the error of our ways, teach us so we know why we did the things we did, and then we can all live in peace?

I see no point in it, but here is my problem:

Even if I do not see any point in it at all – it doesn’t mean it is not true. Sure it doesn't mean it is true, but that's where I am right now.

Do I only believe out of a fear of punishment? It’s probably not the ‘only’ reason, but it is a major part of it. Truth be told, I am not in a position to really answer that question yet.

I very probably will ask questions concerning biblical verses and such, but I assure you it is not to force my beliefs on anyone. As I always say, I really have no axe to grind and certainly have no agenda I want to push on anyone.

The reason for my questions (and questions to subsequent answers I may receive) is to really test what I believe, and why I believe. If my questions stand up to scrutiny, if I cannot have my faith torn down, then I will remain a Christian. Conversely, if I end up not believing because my beliefs cannot stand up to scrutiny, then I will seriously question what I believe, in fact, I may not have that option because regardless of what I want to believe, the truth is the truth.

Thanks all

"Fear is the key. Not sure if anyone expected that answer, but it's true."

Quite a few of us here are former believers, so I think we expect that this is a very common reason, but not that it is a commonly expressed reason by Christians who seem to want to hide the fact that fear plays such an integral role in their belief. There is something shameful, in a sense, for believing something out of fear. Maybe it is the recognition that people will believe and do a great many stupid and immoral things because of fear. Or maybe it is the recognition that fear-based beliefs don't lend themselves to rationality nor do they have a high probability of leading one to a belief that is more likely true than not. Fear is a real mother fucker is what I am saying.

"But I am scared of being wrong. I have a real phobia about going to hell."

I think we are all aware of the possibility of being wrong, but I don't know if I am scared of being wrong. I don't want to be wrong about my beliefs, but I am not scared of this prospect. I have tried long and hard and thought long and hard about my beliefs so as to become more confident that I am not wrong. And this includes listening to the opinions of others that are contra to my own.

The phobia of hell was a really big issue for me too, especially as I started questioning my core Christian beliefs. That is probably why a belief in a literal Hell was among the first beliefs to die. The Bible doesn't actually mention Hell as the place of eternal torment and fire and torture with a pitch fork-wielding Devil that has become a prevalent image of Hell in the last few centuries. Meaning that as I started learning about the history of this key concept in modern Christianity, the more I began to realize that there has never been any reason (religious or otherwise) to believe Hell is a real place; it certainly doesn't exist beneath our feet on this planet. We know enough about the internal structure of the Earth to definitively say that there is no place where souls are being tortured by the Devil.

"1. To be convinced there is no hell (not possible – as we cannot say either way for sure)"

Sure we can say there is no Hell. There is no evidence of a Hell and the key characteristics of Hell are incompatible with what we know about the Earth and the Universe. Maybe what you mean to say is that we can't know what happens after we die? Well, even here we can definitively say that a lot happens after you die, but none of it includes you. After I realized Hell wasn't real, I scrambled to fill the afterlife void because if Hell wasn't real, Heaven wasn't any more plausible. So I started experimenting with other belief systems to see if their ideas of an afterlife were any better. While I found the concepts of reincarnation and "becoming one with the Universe" to be intriguing, I found the same paucity of evidence I found when looking at the concepts of Heaven and Hell. So, what is life after death like? The same as life before life, which is to say: nonexistence. The Universe existed before you and will exist after you. So for each of us, there is no pain or suffering or anything to experience after death because we no longer have any consciousness to experience these things with.

I wasn't exactly thrilled about this at first when I realized it because I secretly wanted me (or some portion of me) to be immortal. I didn't want to die and become nonexistent when it certainly seemed like there were other immortal options out there. But these immortal options are an illusion, a fantasy, a false promise. I began to think of it like this
Imagine that you are walking down a very wide corridor that is lined with doors. Behind one door, there is a very long line of people waiting. You go to the end of the line and ask the person what is going on and they reply "Well, if you wait your turn in this line, then you get a present on the other side of the door and it will be a present you've always wanted!" That sounds pretty fucking awesome actually, so why not wait in line? What is the harm? So, you wait in line because of this claim/promise from the person in front of you, but it eventually questions begin to eat away at you, so you start asking the same guy these questions:
Where, when, and from whom did you hear about the present thing?
From the guy in front of me when I saw everyone standing in line.
Has anyone ever seen the present being received by the person in front of them?
No, you have to believe it will be there
So no one has ever come back to confirm that they got their present?
Well, some people claim to have had visions or heard from people that got their present, but no one has ever been able to show that these things were literally true.
How is the person/thing giving the present aware of what you really want?
You pray to it and it hears you!
But the only people around to hear me are standing in this line, how does it hear me?
It just does
What is "it?"
The thing that gives you the present
That seems circular?
You can't think about it, you just have to believe
What happens if I get out of line?
It will punish you and you won't get your reward
Wait, so if I don't stay in line to get my present, I will be punished? Why?
Yes, you will be punished for not having enough faith to get your reward
That sounds like extortion
It only does it because it loves you and wants to give you the present
It loves me but will torture me if I don't accept its present when there is no evidence I will even get a present? This sounds like an abusive relationship.

In the above example, what is the harm in waiting in line? I mean, you're spending your time how you want, right? Well, not really. You are spending your time because of a selfish interest in getting a present and a self-preservationist interest in not being tortured. Not much of a choice there if those are the only two options. But eventually you realize that there is a third option, there is no present and there is no torture. Now at first this is probably pretty depressing because you REALLY want that present. After all, it has been promised to you and you've been told you are worthy enough to receive it. But the present is a lie to keep in you in line. No one can show you their present. No one comes back to show you that they were tortured. No one can see beyond the door and while some claim to have peered beyond it, their experiences are better described as hallucinations and/or dreams. So, what is the harm in waiting in the line? Well, you are literally wasting your one and only life if you are waiting in a line that won't deliver any of the promises it makes. If you only get one life and spend it waiting for another, you're wasting this life. I am infinitely more afraid of wasting my life waiting on another than I am of anything humans have conjured up about an afterlife.

"2. To, not believe. All I will say is that I have major doubts. I'm having a real crisis of faith. "

A lot of us had major doubts, it's reasonable and understandable. And it is especially frightening to have these doubts when you've been surrounded by people who sincerely believe the things you are doubting. They all believe the promises wholeheartedly or have enough faith to push their doubts away. How do they do that? How do they just wait in line like that? What if they are wasting their lives? What will they think if I get out of the line? They will probably be afraid of the implications and in their fear, they will probably get mad and focus that anger on me. Is that rational? No, but none of their beliefs are rational, so that won't stop them. Will they ostracize me? Some of them probably will, but probably not all of them. Ultimately, only you get to live your life and only you get to make decisions about it. So living your life based on the beliefs of others seems rather foolish. And even more foolish if you think that they don't have doubts. The only conceivable way that they don't have doubts, is if they aren't thinking about their beliefs, which seems impractical if their faith-based beliefs are the basis of how they live their life. So if they say that they don't have any serious doubts, they are lying. If they say that their doubts don't scare them, they are lying. Just because they tell you that they don't have doubts or don't have serious doubts or aren't scared by their doubts (and may even tell you this with a smile), doesn't mean that they are being honest with you. And if they are sincere that they don't have doubts or doubts that scare them, then they sound positively brain-washed. How could any sane and rational thinking person not be scared of the implications of these faith-based reward/punishment systems?

"I ask myself, if my thought processes were not inhibited by fear and anxiety, would I still believe? Well, having a Heavenly Father sounds great to me. Someone to love and care for you, and having the biggest and strongest Dad in the world is what every child inside us wants. Someone to pick you up every time you fall down, someone to tell you everything is going to be ok."

I agree that at first approximation it seems comforting to have a celestial parent watching out for you. But think about the implications, it means you are never actually on your own. It means that your successes and your failures are not yours but are instead the will of your celestial parent. You don't actually get credit for any of the things you do, it's all just part of your god's plan. This idea of being a perpetual child is belittling and demeaning. I can think for myself. I can take responsibility for myself. I don't need a celestial parent to pawn excuses off onto when I make a mistake, I am an adult and take responsibility for my mistakes. I don't need a perpetual excuse. When I succeed, it was me who succeeded because of my efforts and intellect and not because some celestial parent allowed me to succeed. How fucking demeaning is that? It is like playing a board game with your 5 year old kid and letting them win. What glory or honor is there in winning because you were allowed to win?

"Truth is, I’m too anxious to even ask myself that, which in itself speaks volumes. I can relate to Pascal’s Wager."

I am sure a lot of us can related. For me, the straw that broke the Camel's back to get me over that hump (punny) was the realization that I didn't agree with a youth minister in the church I was attending at the time who said that suicide was a one-way ticket to hell. I realized I didn't agree with him at all nor with a literal reading of the Bible, because no loving god would send people to Hell because they were in too much emotional and/or physical pain to continue to endure their own existence. A loving god wouldn't let people suffer like that. So after that, I started questioning my beliefs, but still from the stand-point of a theist. Shortly after that the idea of a literal tortuous Hell went away as I applied similar logic. A loving god wouldn't send people it loves to be tortured for any period of time, let alone eternity. So if I believed in a loving god, then I didn't believe in a Hell, simple as that.

"Even if I do not see any point in it at all – it doesn’t mean it is not true. Sure it doesn't mean it is true, but that's where I am right now."

It doesn't mean it isn't true, but there are no reasons to believe any of it actually is true. Having been indoctrinated in the belief it is true for so long, makes it very difficult to consider the option of it not being true. If I won't make seemingly mundane everyday decisions based on faith (like buying a used car from a stranger without seeing it and driving it first), why the hell would I base my life on similar logic? This isn't just irrational, it is stupid. If I only get one life, then I need to live it. If a loving god is real, it will know why I did what I did and if it chooses to punish me then it doesn't truly love me. If it doesn't love me, it isn't worth my worship. If it isn't worth my worship, then I don't want its reward.

The more I thought about it, the more god seemed like an immature human. A flawed celestial dictator. An egotistical and vengeful being who teases rewards to get what they want. "God" sounded more and more like a human invention, and considering that I already knew of gods created by humans (with clearly human qualities), what stretch would it be to accept that the Christian God was a human construct too? All the evidence is there, you just have to look.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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05-04-2017, 10:43 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 07:42 AM)mordant Wrote:  ---
It also may be productive to ask yourself, why would you be more likely to fear eternal punishment, than to look forward to eternal reward? Many, arguably most, do the latter. Many like myself do exclusively the latter while they are in the faith, because they believe their salvation to be a "done deal". Why can some people feel one way, some the other? It is certainly not down to anything associated with reality. It is just what emotions and beliefs you are personally predisposed to believe.

Not necessarily. One might (especially a child) associate (and confuse) very real experiences with prospective experiences - no matter how irrational those future experiences might appear to be.

If mummy & daddy used shame & guilt as tools to make certain tiny Tim didn't shit the bed every night, chances are Timmy will be nervous at bedtime ... and then, pre-bedtime ... possibly coming up with eating issues ... a need to control all aspects of the body, ect.,.

In short, in order to grapple with some long forgotten fear, adult Tim is going to be possibly anorexic, bulimic, and at the very least, one constipated grown-up.

Irrational fear is irrational but it's developmental foundations may have been very real, with external and internal reinforcement.

Internal reinforcement is difficult to diffuse and get rid of because somewhere along the way, the internal took over for the external in meting out praise & punishment.

One beats one's self up for controlling and/or not controlling oneself and then is ashamed about it... and feels guilty about the shame and the beating so, one beats up the self again ... and ... on and on. It becomes a continual internal struggle.

Humans ... why do you always gotta be so fucking complex? Dodgy
****

Somewhere around here, I recently posted a thing about irrational fear which someone wrote that impressed me immensely. It's a mnemonic device:
Fantasy
Experiences
Appearing
Real

It seems so simple but explains so much. I think it's brilliant.
I'd never thought of it in such a clear manner before. It has actually helped me to understand and deal with a friend caught in the grip of a completely irrational fear.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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05-04-2017, 12:21 PM (This post was last modified: 06-04-2017 01:38 AM by SeaJay.)
RE: Why I Believe
I'm extremely impressed by what's been posted here today, truly I am. Some real wise words here.

Thank you very much indeed. I am going to chill out now and take a break (I've been researching almost non stop).

Tomorrow if I get the chance, I will post what really put me into therapy. It's about the 'stuff' that went on inside my head (thoughts, images and the like).

Actually, I will post it now and come back to it tomorrow.

Again though, thank you very much to everyone who has replied today. It means an incredible amount to me and for the first time in years, I see hope.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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05-04-2017, 12:22 PM
RE: Why I Believe
I’ve just copy and pasted the stuff below from a word document I have. I give it to new therapists so I can sort of ‘crash course’ them as to why I need to see them. Some of it as a result might not flow narratively. Quick note, I sometimes mix up hell and the lake of fire but it’s all the same in the end.

I am a Christian but do not belong to any Christian church and haven’t done so for years. I have an extreme fear I might be going to hell, because I think I blasphemed the Holy Spirit (this is known as the ‘unforgivable sin’). This is how it all occurred:

1. I used to study the Bible, and in November 2010 I was studying the Book of Revelation, and I came across something called the “lake of fire”. I believe hell is just the grave but the ‘lake of fire’ was new to me. Don’t know how I missed it in the past as I’ve read the bible twice and studied it a lot.

2. I then remembered something called the unforgivable sin. Now I was anxious as there was an unforgivable sin and a lake of fire where sinners were sent to spend eternity in agony. I was worried and had to find out more.

3. When I found out what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was, I then believe I committed that act in my mind. Why I did this I don’t know, but I became extremely anxious to the point I was having panic attacks.

This fear has taken over my life. It is gnawing fear by day, interspersed with spikes of great anxiety and bouts of depression.

Thoughts and Images: When on the edge of falling asleep or on the edge of waking up, I would see images of myself burning in fire or see others burning and falling into fire. I even had thoughts (that I will call ‘messages’) come into my mind telling me I was “destined for hell’ and “you are going to hell”. I never literally hear voices – they are thoughts that, I have to stress, I do not place these thoughts in my mind; they seem to arise out of thin air.

Things get worse: I started worrying these messages (i.e. “destined for hell”) weren’t originating from my own mind (as I said, I didn’t put them there, at least not consciously). I asked myself, if I never placed them in my mind, where did they come from? I started worrying that Heaven was telling me I was going to this lake of fire.

Random Thoughts: I now became aware of random thoughts popping into my mind. These thoughts were different, from the messages (i.e. “Destined for hell”), they were more, random. Again, I don’t consciously place either types of thought (i.e. the messages, “Destined for hell” or the random thoughts) in my mind, and this is what makes them so worrying.

Example: I’m sitting in silence and suddenly the word ‘water’, or ‘trombone’, or ‘Arizona’, or shovel (literally anything) just pops into my mind.

Intrusive Thoughts?
So I have two types of worrying thoughts (i) message types about me “Destined for hell” and (ii) seemingly random words that pop into my mind.

I’m not sure if these fulfil the criteria of ‘intrusive thoughts’ (though I’ve been told I get them) because as far as I know, people with intrusive thoughts deliberately place them in their minds – but I don’t. They seem to arrive with no conscious part on my behalf.

Evidence I am Going to Hell: I worry, these random thoughts are evidence I am going to hell. Much less frequently, I get fleeting images in my mind’s eye. To be fair, the images are extremely rare and in over six years, I have had about three of them (none are clear, nor last more than a milisecond ((or so it feels like)) and I don’t get them anymore.

Why it is evidence: it is evidence I am going to hell, because I cannot predict the future, but Heaven can. So if I encounter these random words or fleeting images in the future, it is because they are predicting the future.

It is as if I am being told: “We have told you, you are destined for hell for blaspheming the Holy Spirit. In case you think ‘destined for hell’ is a product of your own mind, we will send you glimpses of the future by placing words into your mind. You will know these words are from Heaven, because they will be predicting the future and that is something you cannot do.”

Fearful Conclusion: The random thoughts and “Destined for hell” thoughts, all come from the same source: Heaven.

Example: I am in the bathroom and the random thought “white horse” pops into my mind from nowhere. A few minutes or an hour or a day later, I turn the t.v. on, and see a white horse. Or perhaps I go for a drive and see a white horse in a field, or the next day I turn a page in a magazine and see a picture of a white horse, or someone mentions white horse in conversation. All this I see as glimpses of the future coming true, and therefore evidence that I am going to hell.

This is extremely worrying for me and I have to walk around with earphones, listening to podcasts. The reason being, any sort of “chatter/dialogue” prevents these words from coming into my mind. I cannot stay in silence without my earphones for very long, for fear of my having some kind of random thought.

About 99% of these random words are just that: random. But now and then I’ll have a word that might be construed as a command of sorts. For example, “Listen.” I once had the word “Listen” pop into my mind. The radio was on so I thought it was an instruction to listen to the lyrics of the song that was playing. Usually though, the thoughts are just word salad with no pattern.

I no longer pray like I used to, or go to church, or study the bible, and I feel anxious when I’m around most things to do with Christianity. I have removed all religious books from my home.

Bad Thoughts
For about the last year I have started having terrible sinful thoughts about the Holy Spirit and they cause me a lot of distress and anxiety. The difference between the random thoughts, message thoughts, and these sinful thoughts, is that I do (deliberately) place these thoughts in my mind. I have no idea why I would do this.

Worrying about the Past: Also, I worry I might have said something bad about the Holy Spirit in the past. I have a lot of anxiety about this because I cannot resolve anything because I just cannot remember if I did actually say something. I’m literally just worrying because I am not sure if I did say anything.

Recap:

- Random thoughts popping into my mind: I don’t place them there
- Images in my mind when falling asleep or waking up
- Messages telling me I am going to hell (thought I do not consciously place in my mind)
- Bad thoughts about the Holy Spirit (these I do consciously place in my mind for reasons unknown to me)
- Worrying about things I might have said in the past.

On two different occasions, things got so bad; I considered becoming a voluntary patient at a mental hospital.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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05-04-2017, 12:31 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 12:22 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  - Random thoughts popping into my mind: I don’t place them there
- Images in my mind when falling asleep or waking up
- Messages telling me I am going to hell (thought I do not consciously place in my mind)

This reminds me of my wife's experiences. She is a remarkably reasonable and level-headed person, yet she sees and hears some odd things from time to time. For instance, we were once taking pictures in a historical graveyard in downtown Philadelphia when she heard a voice say, "No one can see you here." Of course she didn't take it literally as a ghost speaking to her. Her mother had the same problems, seeing people and animals in her bedroom at night or in the hallway when she was half asleep. Some people just have borderline experiences.
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05-04-2017, 01:15 PM
RE: Why I Believe
You might also ask yourself this question when it comes to a fear of dying or questions about an afterlife.

You are about to enter into a surgery room and be put under anesthesia. You are put under and now unconscious. The surgery is very tricky.
There are three options that could happen.

1. You could die.
2. You could end up living in a coma unconscious for the rest of your life and then die.
3. Surgery went well and you awaken 8 hours later.

While you are unconscious, how can you determine if you died in surgery or if you are in a coma ?

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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05-04-2017, 01:20 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 12:21 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  I'm extremely impressed by what's been posted here today, truly I am. Some real wise words here.

You and me both.

The quality of the responses you have received on this thread demonstrate the intellectual depth, kindness and quality of the people here.

I am awed by it all. Bowing

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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05-04-2017, 01:28 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 10:43 AM)kim Wrote:  
(05-04-2017 07:42 AM)mordant Wrote:  Why can some people feel one way, some the other? It is certainly not down to anything associated with reality. It is just what emotions and beliefs you are personally predisposed to believe.

Not necessarily. One might (especially a child) associate (and confuse) very real experiences with prospective experiences - no matter how irrational those future experiences might appear to be.
Oh sure, which is why I said it's what you're predisposed to believe, mainly by your experiences. And of course your experiences are very real, and it is super difficult not to assume that any strong emotional content (positive or negative) attached to those experiences shouldn't determine your beliefs and actions.
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