As a current atheist who found god

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by rigadoog, Jan 13, 2014.

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  1. rigadoog

    rigadoog Active Member

    Here are some books that I will discuss that are very much worth reading:

    • Slaughterhouse-Five (it's not nearly as gruesome as it sounds)
    • Grendel

    Even if you have read these books, I think I have an interesting enough point of view that will make reading this worthwhile.

    Note: Keep in mind this is in many ways a philosophical/religious discussion, so there are no right or wrong answers. Everything I say here is my own opinion which I have no intent of imposing on others in any way.

    Obviously you can take anything you wish from these passages, but if you've already read either of these, the passages I could relate to most strongly and were most memorable for me from Slaughterhouse Five were when he is in the zoo on Tralfamadore and Billy Pilgrim is talking to the Tralfamadorians about how he thinks humans will destroy the world with nuclear weapons or other WMDs (btw, I think putting humans in a zoo was a BRILLIANT literary decision). And the Tralfamadorians just do a facepalm because they can see the entire fate of the universe, they are not bound by time. And they can see that the universe will eventually end because a Tralfamadorian will make some form of stupid mistake. BUT they don't really feel any regret or desire to cause it to not happen, because it already exists, we just haven't progressed through time far enough to understand it, and there's nothing they can do about it. This is where some serious mindfuck hit me. The past and future both currently exist. The past depends on the future just as much as the future depends upon the past. When Billy meets the Tralfamadorians, he points out what seems like an obvious counter-argument: I can change the future because I have the power of free will. The Tralfamadorians tell him that they have visited 15 other planets or something, and Earth is the only one where they have heard of the concept of free will. What they mean by this is that there is some kind of reason behind every decision we make. You can try to think of something completely random and meaningless to do, but there is always some kind of thought process or involuntary desire driving you towards deciding to do what you do.

    It can be a scary thought at first, but once you warm up to it, it is incredibly liberating. I've never believed in any religion, but I firmly believe that this is what people mean whenever they claim to have "found God". Its the thought process that leads to you accepting everything and anything you have done or will do in the future. I'm still depressed as fuck, but my outlook on things has become so incredibly brightened by this epiphany. It allowed me to face everything I have done in the past that I couldn't forgive myself for. Painlessly and without any stress. That is something truly magnificent. I don't live in fear of what stupid thing I might do or how I might fuck up a relationship. Because it already exists and I can't change it. All I can do is ride the roller coaster. If that brings me to happiness, great. If that brings me to suicide, well, that's the way it was meant to be, and it is what it is. I just do what I do and try to enjoy life. If I fail to enjoy life, I'll do whatever I determine is best in that moment. And that's all I can do.

    Along with allowing me to forgive myself and increasing my self-awareness, it has also helped me to deal with others. I was already a pretty non-judgmental person, but once you realize that everyone is just reacting to stimuli in the way that their brain decides is best, any petty preconceptions or generalized hate towards groups of people becomes immature and ignorant. I firmly believe that more advanced brain functioning/decision-making is the only thing separating humans from wild animals. You don't judge your dog for eating its own shit, it's just being a dog. You don't judge sharks for attacking humans, they're just hungry or pissed off or whatever.

    Think back to the human zoo analogy. In this same way, I don't like to throw murderers, pedophiles, etc. into a bin of "bad people". These are people who obviously knew what they were doing was at least considered by others to be wrong, if they didnt believe themselves that they were doing something wrong. BUT, just because I don't place all of the blame on them doesn't mean they shouldn't be punished. I do think that our justice system is currently pretty fucked up and sometimes punishments are overdone. However, this is only my personal opinion, and it doesnt mean any more than one person's input. I would consider my opinion equally as valuable as someone who would have all criminals hanged publicly for any crime. They have their own set of life experiences and knowledge that they are basing their decision on, and it would be arrogant of me to think mine are more important or somehow more true than theirs (obviously this doesnt prevent me from believing they might be wrong, but I don't know what they've been through or what they've seen so it is always prudent to value the opinions of others.) I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't blame people for blaming criminals.


    I want to write more but im tired and want to hear some responses so im just going to post this for now. didnt get to Grendel... ugh
     
  2. rigadoog

    rigadoog Active Member

    My favorite part was when Billy is talking to the man who decided to perform the bombing of Dresden, and Billy tells him that he was there and saw what happened. So the guy starts yelling at Billy saying how it was a necessary evil and Billy doesn't understand how he had no other choice. And Billy is just sitting there and is like, "yeah, i understand why you did it and i dont blame you" and the guy is still pissed off and trying to justify it, more to himself than anyone else. :lol:
     
  3. Daphna

    Daphna Well-Known Member

    Congrats on your new spiritual path. I encourage you to pray to Him for understanding. Getting to know Him will help you understand everything even further. Including yourself and your trials. My prayers are with you.

    Yahweh bless,
    NikkI
     
  4. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    Ditto

    trying to put some smileys in here but they don't make it :( !!
     
  5. Chargette

    Chargette Well-Known Member

    "The Naked Ape" by Desmond Morris, discusses human beings from a zoological point of view.
     
  6. Adam

    Adam SF Supporter

    I have not read the above books. But in my own limited perception further limited by human biological rules and built in psychological distortions. As well as goldfish not being able to pilot fighter jets and likely never being able to. Here is my opinion.

    There is only really causality and the perception of now. We live in the very moment. There are plenty of theories out there that imply all choices and actions play out in infinite off shoots. Rendering time itself as irrelevant as all that has been and will be has already been and so just is.

    There is nothing scary about this, it is called being alive. It is just psychology and biology working in concert. But you at some points make direct choices. You made a conscious decision to write this. You took the time to type the words letter by letter and hit 'Post.' In all of that was a choice. There is no biological incentive for you to write such a post. So that leaves psychology of the decision made. But just like I don't have to finish this reply you did not have to post this. In a way this is a good example of how free will does apply in a more direct grounded sense.

    Doubtful, the concept of God is often at odds with what you are saying. Should you ascribe to any of the various religions. You are forced to make a choice. You choose Deity/deities to be the author or agency in your life or you reject them. This is still a choice expected of you. If everything is destiny outside of choice then why are you asked to choose and why are there consequences to your choice, in this life or the hereafter? Most that tell me they have found god, have accepted an authority in their life beyond themselves. That is the opposite of destiny and is the opposite of not being able to change anything.

    This is actually what people consider destiny to be.

    Dictionary Definition of Destiny.
    The*predetermined,*usually*inevitable*or*irresistible,*course*of*events.

    It also comes under predeterminism.

    Is it meant to be? The second you move into the realms of 'the meant to be' it means that 9/11 was meant to be and the genocide of 70million people in chinas 'Great Move forward' was meant to be. It means my cousins rape was meant to be, along with the subsequent loss of her children and destroyed mental health. This can all better be explained by causality. Than the fatalism of everything being predetermined by some agency in the world. Because that leaves the question why is something 'meant to be?' This is my biggest issue with what you are saying.

    Even though you are a bag of chemicals and neural pathways, when you lift your arm it is you that sends those signals to have it move. The will behind that most simplistic of choices to move is not at all understood by science as yet. The mechanism is, but the origin point of the thought before action is not. If there is no free will then math should have conquered us already and be entirely predictive of what we will do, just like rocks.

    The true lesson is to realise what choices you do genuinely have within the context of your current existence and the areas where there is no choice at all. Then you can better target your energy. Pretending you have no choices though is purely a cop out and a way to avoid responsibility. Even the various gods demand you take responsibility for the actions you do have a choice over.

    In the end all we have is the now and the value judgements we place on things.
     
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