Thursday, February 08, 2007

"It's time for me"

Here is an email discussing the implications of new views.

I've been engulfed in your website, it is amazing. I'm on a journey in my life to find if what I've known my whole life is true, that being Christianity..It's been very hard for me, but everything on your site makes perfect sense. Everyone I'm around blindly believes the religion and never questions girlfriend of 4 years has said if I come to the conclusion that atheism is what I believe, then she will leave me. She wants a Christian family, etc. So I have this burden on me, and knowing how crushed my parents would be if they found out I was atheist, keeps me holding on to Christianity. But I'm tired of thinking about other people, it's time for me.

Yes, I agree, it is time for you. I do not mean that in a selfish way. For when you honestly admit what is going on in your mind, only then will you experience the joy of setting your mind free.

I think that many people continue through life as zombies, not believing the things they say they believe, but scared of what people will say if they admit their doubts. Is it like the fairy tale, where many can see that the emperor has no clothes, but nobody wants to face the social consequences of saying so. One can only spend so much time admiring the emperor's clothes when he can see that the man has no clothes. If you and I can see that the emperor has no clothes, then our minds will never really be free until we say what we see. If your faith has "no clothes", then you may well want to say so.

I wish you well, and hope you truly experience the joy of the mind set free.


Noogatiger said...

The Great Awakening

I have reached a point in my life where I finally get it. A lot of people before me have experienced it, and if you live long enough you probably will do the same some day. It is not a religious experience. It is instead the acceptance of reality, redefining your worldview, and the putting off of all mystical unrealistic beliefs and ideals, those which we have been trying to live up to or even understand and reconcile, against the harsh reality of the real world, all of them of course except honesty and integrity, and not just with others but with yourself. You finally see that those last two are really the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You realize that it is time to stop waiting for some miracle, or for happiness, safety or security to come galloping over the next horizon. You learn that you do not know everything, and you learn that those who think they do, know even less. You can finally be honest with yourself, and others, by simply saying, “I don’t know”, rather than making up elaborate reasons to explain the views you held of yourself, and the world around you, as a result of all the messages which were ingrained into your psyche since childhood. You realize that you can’t save the world, or make a silk purse from a pigs ear.

You have come to realize that in order to be really happy you need to readjust your world view closer to the reality you see around you. You have found that there is a way of thinking that is better than relying on authority, intuition, or prayer-induced thoughts. It is the process of critical thinking. It involves careful observation, and the use of reason to determine the truth. To think critically, you must ask questions, which people will not like, and you must be open to all views. You seek to understand different sides of an argument. You try to be fair-minded in appraisal of the facts. Then you suspend judgement until you have time to look at the available facts, and you find out that you actually can then make a conclusion based on those facts, and not on some warped world view ingrained into you from the past.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, nor will you ever be, and that not everyone will love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are…….and that is OK. You stop bitching and complaining about the things other people did to you, and you learn that the only thing you can count on is the unexpected. You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process a new sense of confidence is born of self approval. You also are keenly aware that this was just the opposite of the world view so ingrained into you since childhood, and that it was not an easy transition.

You stop judging and pointing fingers, and you begin to be able to accept people as they are. Oh, the irony is thick, because you realize that while your old world view taught this principle, nobody actually practiced it. So now you begin to sift through all the crap you have been fed about how you should believe, what you should have faith in, how you should dress, how you should act, how you should think, how much you should weigh, where you should and should not go, who you should marry, where you should live and even what to expect in marriage. However you learn to open up to new points of view, to new world views, and different opinions. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for, and you realize finally just how much crap you were force fed.

You begin to look at relationships as they truly are, and not as you would have them to be. You stop trying to control people, situations or outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change so it is with love. You come to realize that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity, and respect, and you won’t settle for less.

You learn that God if he is even really even there at all, is not punishing you for some unknown infraction, nor is he failing to answer your prayers, nor will any of your prayers fix the situation either, and in fact God is not even controlling the situation or bringing this crap into your life. It is just life happening.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy or resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you, and poison the universe around you. You learn to quickly admit when you are wrong, and start building bridges instead of walls.

Slowly you begin to take responsibility for yourself, by yourself, and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself again, and to never ever settle for less than honesty and integrity within yourself and in others, and your faith, and from this moment forward you will always think for yourself, and know that you have this ability for a reason.

This is the Great Awakening.

Will said...

Perception is everything. I have walked the opposite path. I once completely beleived the darwinist approach. I attended the university of michigan engineering school for my undergraduate degree and spent time with professors that took evolution for granted (as I did). But time brought quesitons. The biggest and most looming question that I experienced was 'is it really possible that this is all random?' That question was a huge hurdle for me. But the more I studied and the more I learned I could not answer that question in the affirmative.

When I attended business school (at Michigan, go blue!) I learned how culture can affect our outlooks. It struck me that we live in a world that assumes two things:
1) Science is a monolithic and singular movement that is devoid of subjectivity.
2) This monolithic movement is authoritative and should be beleived and followed by "rational people"

These two cultural assumptions are not held by the overwhelming majority of the world and they have not been held by much of the world historically. But there is a certain cross section of America that considers disagreeing with these assumptions to be heresy.

Long story short, I came to beleive that Christianity is the only way to understand the world and to make sense of all that we see and know. It was not a transitio that was pleasant for me (i enjoyed my non-Christian ways to some degree) but I have found true happiness and peace since converting.

I would encourage all of your readers to understand that there are plenty of brilliant scholars in the Christian camp and that your arguments are hardly origional. Christianty is the one worldview that has survived 300 centuries of enlightenment critique and still stands strong.

Noogatiger said...

Ok Will, You said:
"Christianty is the one worldview that has survived 300 centuries of enlightenment critique and still stands strong."

You know, I heard this the other day from a true believer. "He said the Bible has stood the test of time."

I don't know what you guys mean by that exactly except that, sure the Bible is still around, and sure Christianity is still around, but so is Islam, and Hinduism, and a lot of even older religions, like paganism. So what does this prove, nothing. They have all stood the test of time. Hell, for that matter so have witches and voo-doo, and wonderful little institutions like prostetution. They have all stood the test of time, and are still around.

Has the Bible withstood critical rational analysis, NO. Has Christianity withstood the same analysis, NO. That doesn't mean that true believers no longer believe, they do, no matter the religion.

The Bible has been shown to be full of errors, contradictions, and even outright falsehoods. It is wrong in science, and wrong in history.

Also, how does Christianity help us make sense of the world and what we see and know. The Bible taught a flat earth, with a rotating sun, and little stars hung on some kind of firmament out in space. The Bible taught that all animals were created in one or two days, instead of millions of years which the geologic record clearly shows. The Bible taught that a world wide flood covered the earth and killed every living thing, but again the geologic record proves this as wrong. The Bible teaches that insects had four legs.

So how is it exactly that the Bible helps you make sense of what you see and know? I just don't get it.

"It is only by the exercise of reason, that man can discover the truth. Take away that reason, and he would be as incapable of understanding the truth as a horse. How then is it that those people who claim the Bible as the truth pretend to reject human reasoning?" Thomas Paine

LorMar said...

What I think he meant is that the bible has faced and still faces criticism from strong atheism but still appears to attract millions if not billions. The bible appears to attract more criticism than other world views and religions. Personally, I believe in taking the term "freethought" to a whole new level. People are free to reject the bible as they are free to reject secular assessments of it. It all boils down to what each individual believes sets the standard. To some people, secular reasoning doesn't meet the standard.