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About padhyde

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    A second world war baby from England.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
  1. Hi Christine Once in the grip of religion it's difficult to shake it off isn't it? Here in the UK an atheist doesn't feel so isolated. When you finally come to understand and believe that religion is based on mythology the world seems a very different place to the one you grew up in. It is both delightful and sad. Delightful when you know you truly are free. Free to make own your judgements about what is right or wrong. But also sad. Sad when you reflect on how many lives have been dominated by falsehoods. Of course religion has some benefit and has given much to many. But what a sad way to have spent your limited time! Your whole life based on mythology born from others minds. I wish you joy in your future life. You are a good person with much to give. Bon voyage! Regards
  2. I have just checked in for the first time for a while and seen where this had got to. A key question for me was to ask myself if it was possible that our universe was intentionally created by a being that knew what it was doing. I presume that an all powerful god would fit that description. I then reflected on creation. Just look at our physical world and contemplate the tragic indiscriminate premature loss of life it causes. Can you imagine the kind of death caused by an earthquake? Look at the differences in quality of life across the world according to the physical environment you are born into. Where is the justice and fairness? Look at the world of nature. Thousands of species can only exist by destroying other species for their own survival. Indeed over 90% of species that have existed are now extinct. That was not a very bright piece of creation was it? Think about the nature of humans. Look at history and what is happening today. Are we really the creation of a loving and compassionate ‘heavenly father’? Would you give your children ‘guidance’ that leads them to destroy each other because your ‘guidance’ was so confusing? Don’t you think that you might make yourself known in order to clear up the confusion? I concluded that our universe was the product of an incredible natural event the consequences of which are still unfolding. I’m glad I’ve had a chance to witness it for a few brief moments. For all its horrors, I’m lucky enough to have been able to enjoy it. Even more since I abandoned belief in any religion.
  3. Many people pose questions to help them to clarify their beliefs about the existence of god or christianity. What questions did you think helped you the most?
  4. Beautifully written. One of the amazing things about religion is the massive effort involved in breaking free from it. Countless people have gone through this. Books galore are read or consulted followed by endless hours of reflection. And yet as we all find, just one or two thoughtful questions seem to clarify the whole subject. You have found the right ones for you. Enjoy your freedom!
  5. Hi Andy I believe that there is a massive link between religion and mental health. To start with I believe it highly likely that many of the so called prophets experienced what we might now diagnose as a psychotic experience or delusion. Then it is likely that the teachings of the 'religions of the book' create feelings of guilt and fear that can lead to mental disturbance. Those with mental health problems often seek comfort within religious communities----- and so it goes on. Real inner peace was the consequence of my loss of belief. When that last flicker of religiousity left my mind an unshakeable inner calm arrived and I do not intend to let it go away. I wish you well and hope you find something of value on this site. Regards
  6. Hi Sal The person you most need to get you through this life is yourself. When you first realise that you have complete freedom to make all your own decisions and are absolute master of your own mind you will know what real joy is. Absolutely no one has the right to tell you what to believe or what to think. In my opinion there is no supernatural being watching over you judging your every thought and action. You are free! Be your own best friend and take good care of yourself. Good luck.
  7. Hi Chuck I live in the UK. Things are different here. My wife and I have known each other for 46 years, been married for 41 years and have a really happy marriage. Religion is a big issue for us. If you look at my first post you will see why. Ruth still believes in her idea of God but she refers to the bible as a fairy tale. During my 'deconversion' I drip fed my findings and changing viewpoint. Tension was always present because some of my intensive relgious studies had led to me having mental health problems. These days she knows I have no religious belief but does feel rather hurt when I occasionally show little respect for the beliefs of others. It is hard to keep religion off the agenda when you watch news on TV or read newspapers together in the same room. If you really love each other you will handle your religious differences. If there is a fundamental weakness in your relationship then the religious issue will be one more threat to your marriage. But first things first. I hope you clarify your thinking quite soon. The joy I have experienced since discovering that all religions were devised by men alone made the effort worthwhile. Many issues arise when you make that discovery. Relationships with other people is one of them. I'm still working on that.
  8. Hi It took me about 20 minutes to read your post. It was time well spent. I started looking at this website a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have spent about half an hour a day reading these stories. One thing that strikes me is how much suffering has been caused to people who have had religious doubts. This website is the tip of an iceberg. I suspect that for everyone who makes the effort that leads to their deconversion, millions linger on in their 'faith' too frightened or too lazy to resolve their doubts. Another thing I notice is how people rush to say they respect other people's religions and their right to their beliefs. Stepping over backwards to avoid causing offence? I wrestle with this problem. I do not respect religions based on a belief in God. I believe them to be false. I believe them to have originated from people's minds when in a state of altered consciousness often in a state that today would be regarded as mentally ill. The 'comfort ' that religion gives to some is overwhelmingly outweighed by the damage caused by false religious belief. Damage to a person's mind, and damage we still see every day as people lose their lives because of the actions of religious fanatics. I hope one day that someone will come along, who with the power of their words can eradicate for ever this cancer that eats away at the free and independent mind. I wish you well. Regards
  9. It is so sad to be reminded of how many people have suffered through religion. Our lives should not be that way. Personally I was comforted by the opinions of some of the great minds who openly rejected religion. Bertrand Russell was pretty convincing. I also think it is reassuring to read the testimonies of former pastors like Dan Baker. For me, I just asked myself if this universe was made by a truly loving conscious being. I came up with only one possible answer. Hope you find peace soon. Regards
  10. Hi Bluescreen It's a lonely path towards understanding. Only you know the best way to approach it. I am as certain of the non existence of the Christian God as I am of my own existence. I don't have a word to describe the force which created and sustains us. I am at peace with myself and take great delight that in all matters I am my own master. The peace and joy I feel at present surpasses anything I experienced as a Christian before I thought for myself. So my journey towards understanding has been worthwhile. I hope yours is too. Regards
  11. Since my previous post I have read 'Psychosis and Spirituality' Edited by Isabel Clarke. It is pretty heavy reading by a group of psychologists and psychiatrists. Nothing has changed my opinion. There is a synopsis of the book on Amazon and I commend it to anyone who wants to explore this subject.
  12. I am delighted that this thread was sparked off by my first post! These are my opinions. Religion and mental heath sit rightly in the same sentence. Religion can improve mental health. Reigion can destroy mental health. Religion is a mental disorder. It has emerged from the human mind. All those religious experiences which form the basis of religious belief occurred while human minds were disturbed. To those who have them, visions and messages from 'God' are very real. They may not have lied when they told of them. The tragedy of religion is that it took root at a time when people knew little about mental illness. Religion is like a virus that works on the human mind. Once it gets in it is remarkably difficult to get rid of it. The only cure is a good dose of reason coupled with a deep commitment to search for the truth. That so many people still believe is due to the fact that they are not prepared to make the effort towards understanding. And it is an effort. More needs to be known about the relationship between religion and mental health. I hope some bright psychologists read this website!
  13. Hi Dave I am new to this website. I made my first post yesterday which briefly describes my position. I reflect often now on my attitude to religion. Do I just keep my thoughts to myself or share them in the hope that they might help someone else? You have most clearly made that choice. The time and effort you have made represents a real contribution to some people's lives. If just one person feels better having come here it's all been worth it. I will contribute what I can from now on. Regards
  14. This is my first post, so this is why I am here. I have had spells in my life when I believed I was God. Each time the experience was overwhelming. My mind felt it had been taken over by an exterior force which to me was utterly real. For the moment without me fully explaining in any more detail just accept that I had irrefutable reasons for believing that God had taken possession of my mind and body. I decided to share my experience with my wife. I was then 23 and she was 20. She was frightened, thought that I was unwell and got me to see a Doctor. I was immediately given powerful medication that knocked me out for days. I was thought to be suffering from hypomania. I was off work for 4 weeks. I returned to work. The thoughts and feelings had faded. In my early 30s I had the same experience. This time I told my wife and a Vicar. Same result. I was off work for 2 weeks. A few years later it happened again. This time I told no one, took no medication and just lived with the knowledge that God was finally figuring out how to use me. After a few weeks the thoughts faded. I have had no recurrence of these experiences for a few years now. I am now 63. I was brought up as a Roman Catholic. I left the Church when I was 16 and regarded myself as a non denominational christian for many years. Like many, I placed religion at the back of my mind during my career. My religious experiences rekindled my interest and I sought to understand why they were happening to me. I retired in my early 50s and devoted a lot of time to a study of history, philosophy, science and religion. I gradually came to realise that God and religion are concepts of mankind. I do not believe there is any supernatural deity. Religions are the product of the human mind. I now believe that my own religious experiences were psychotic disorders. I also believe that these experiences were the kind of things that happened to many of the great names in the Bible and to Mohamed. The problem is that in those days, people believed them. As soon as anyone today talks about visions and experiences like mine they are taken off to the Doctor for medication. Thank goodness! Now that's enough from me right now. Later I will talk about other issues arising from my experiences. Suffice it now to say, I am a very happy man. I have had a great life. I retired from a Chief Executive's job when I was 52 because I could afford to and wanted to live a life of freedom to do things I enjoyed. I have done a lot of voluntary work but now concentrate on a few particular interests. Religion is one of them.
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