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Antlerman

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About Antlerman

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    Universal Church of Humanity
  • Birthday 08/05/1959

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    Male
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    Minneapolis
  • Interests
    Music, philosophy, science, religion, life.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    What's God?

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  1. Quite insightful, and it is a path of my own you express so well here.
  2. Hey, I actually get what you're saying. You are right, I do have a lot more life experience, and tons and tons more experience in these areas than you at this point in your life. No one is saying your experiences aren't real. I'm not. But I will say my understanding of what these are goes a lot deeper at this point simply by virtue of having devoted close to 30 years of my life exploring them. I do not call myself an atheist, BTW, so any assumptions you make about atheists wouldn't apply. Besides, no two atheists are alike anyway, so you should never project your experiences as an atheist on them. That wasn't right for you, and that's all. It doesn't mean it isn't right for them, right? What you just described was an existential crisis and you found some symbol of God (which you call Satan) that gave an expression to that existential release. You had a peak experience surrounding this crisis. I know this because this is my story too. That God (or Satan if you prefer that name) you come to know as a real being is also understandable. It's more real that reality. I get that too. All I am advising is that you continue to look within, and not attach too much truth to the symbols of this inner truth. When the symbol becomes the truth itself, you no longer are looking where you should.
  3. You said you would devote your life to following Satan, didn't you? That's looking to an external god for answers, a.k.a., a savior. That may be for some, just as it may be for some in Christianity as well. Spirituality transcends religions. The real question is, is it authentic spirituality, meaning does it make you a more compassionate soul? Do you feel grounded and connected to yourself, others, and the world, that you do not pass judgment on others to tear them down to build yourself up, that you gain wisdom and insight, that you live Free, from all hindrances, such as being tied to any beliefs that you turn to to 'give you' a sense of purpose, meaning, and peace? You assume wrongly my friend. I've been out of fundamentalism longer than you've been alive. Ahh, I see your disconnect here. Christianity is a religion, that is a fact. What you are trying to say is there is a difference between religion and spirituality, and I definitely agree. Religion is just a set of external supporting symbolic structures and practices, whereas spirituality is an internal realization. Not everyone in a religion is spiritual, nor is everyone who is spiritual part of a religion. It really depends. If you wish to stretch your mind a little, I recommend you read this thread here I posted some time ago: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/42387-what-is-religion/ I think it may open your understanding a little more.
  4. As an actual ExChristian myself, I'll leave you with this wisdom. The true goal of any religion is to find Truth in yourself, not in some savior god out there. Satanism is simply Christianity upside down. If you understood Christianity, from both the inside as a Christian, and outside as a former Christian, that would become obvious to you. It's really still Christianity, only switching the symbols around; same god different hat. It was started historically by ex Catholic priests. P.S. If you are really fascinated by the Satan character, I'd recommend you read this book from Elan Pagels elucidating the historical evolution of Satan: http://www.amazon.com/Origin-Satan-Christians-Demonized-Heretics/dp/0679731180/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357222112&sr=1-3&keywords=history+of+satan You may see how your understanding is itself a product of cultural evolution, not a fact of the cosmos.
  5. Then you never were a Christian? You have never gone through the process of deconversion? You are not struggling with your Christian indoctrination, or understand what others who have would be going through in an effort to support them in that process? Why do you feel this site dedicated to that is the appropriate place for you? What do you feel you can bring us here?
  6. Welcome to the site! Happy to hear you have been able to rescue the baby from the bathwater of fundamentalism. Yes, I agree what we call God is impossible to be defined and confined within any religious doctrine. It's about discovering that in ourselves and in the world. I remember too as I embarked on my path out of fundamentalism, while still holding a more traditional theistic and anthropomorphic view of God I told myself something similar; that if what I feel compelled to question and reject if necessary, that God judges the heart and mine was true, for right or wrong. That was the first shackle broken of the chains fundamentalism in its threats of a displeased God held me within. From there it's all been about discovering the heights and breadth of that Freedom.
  7. I recently wrote about finding peace. My life took a turn in the road where I am now between jobs, looking forward to moving to a new phase in the unfolding of my life. In reorienting myself, I'm finding it an opportunity to further understand the nature of finding that inner peace, the center from which we are able to move outward into the world, how that who we are is not grounded in our sense of accomplishments, or shortcomings. They should not be. In a group I belong to of former members of my original church organization, one member posted some thoughts about God, how that imagining God seeing her through a microscope caused in her to feel a sense of envy from God, that she needed to appease him, rather than being reflective of a creative love force that brought her into being. I understand the heart behind such symbolic perspectives. This is what I shared in response: The shortcoming I see in envisioning God as external to us and evaluating us as doing this or not doing that in order to be 'obeying' him, is that that sort of mental image turns the focus upon ourselves. We are in effect judging ourselves, using some external idea. We are looking at our own ego, and not seeing who we are beyond that. Our inner peace is not a product of how we evaluate ourselves by some standard. The source of it does not come through telling ourselves we did something right, or in telling ourselves someone is pleased with us when they look at us as a person (be that God or anyone else). That sort of exercise only creates a temporary state of mind through 'thinking good thoughts'. That's important for some things as a temporary 'fix' to feeling bad or something, but it is not knowing Peace, which is unconditional, unlike these things. That Peace is known in our very Being, unconditionally. If we are to envision God in the meditations of the heart, than it is to see that unconditional Being that is within our very self. It does not come through the thumbs or or thumbs down approvals of some external or internal judge, but in releasing all judgement into that unconditional Being itself. From that center in ourselves then, that Peace, we see ourselves and the world without these valuations. We see ourselves, and others as we are, eternally. We become grace, we become compassion, because that is who we are. This very much reflects where I am at now. It is a hard place to hold at times as we fall into habits of mind, trying to judge ourselves as we try to present ourselves to the world as needs present. But if we rest in those things, we are dependent upon the things we tell ourselves, rather than in resting in that very Being, our center. As I move to open new doors, I have to be mindful to first rest in my center. From there, who am I can move without self imposed hindrance.
  8. I chose tonight to break with my norm, which is to avoid mainstream culture except where it benefits. Normally, I avoid the whole Halloween thing, but tonight I decided to break from my norm and open myself to culture in offering the whole "Happy Halloween" thing in buying bags of candy to feed the children with grotesquely sweet candies as they rove the streets in their costumes. I know it sounds strange, but I've generally avoided anything that supports the mainstream traditions, largely manipulated by our religion of consumerism. But tonight, fuck it!, it was great. Simply seeing children growing up within this stream of culture, like fish enjoying the currents that wash by them, comforted in their environment, belonging to the school, opening their eyes to the world they are moving into as the future of the world, was really great. How can we overlook the individual because we see the culture as some illusion? What is it worth? Of course, this 'reality' we assume as the world as it is is production of our culture driven by economics, fear, politics, and whatever neurotic thing we produce to keep us from facing the great Void, but what the hell? We are all wonderful, despite the illusions. Behind it all, we are jewels. From the smallest to the greatest, to the weakest to the most powerful. We are all those fish in that stream. And for what its worth to you in your journey, here, have a Butterfingers, and Happy Halloween!
  9. Antlerman

    Finding Peace

    Hard to describe the place I have come to in my life. I am finding peace. It's nothing based in some belief, knowing some facts, or holding some faith. It's finding my own center. It's opening myself to who I am behind all the masks I wear to myself as part of a culture and human world of conventions and norms. It's setting those down and seeing that essence that is not defined by anything we normally judge the world or ourselves by. It is seeing, knowing, and being within that raw, pure essence of my own being in this world. In these moments of pure sight the world becomes a different entity. It radiates pure being in all things, all matter. There is no judgment except within how we define good and bad in human conventions. All there is simply is. It is no escape from reality, but rather is reality beyond the masks we place upon it in our daily lives. To see the pure face is to see yourself beyond the world. To know that is to know yourself and the world as it is beyond the masks. As we come to know this more intimately, it becomes our center. And though we still function 'in the body' or put another way, within the conventions of the world we call reality, we are not embedded within it, seated within it, and borne about with it as it blows us from side to side. We experience the world, but are not defined by it. We are defined by our being. And knowing that, in knowing ourselves, we exist in peace. Every action, every moment, every event radiates from that center and the world becomes alive and full of that peace.
  10. Well, yes. As an atheist I would consider myself somehow as a hypocrite, saying on the one hand that this imagined God of Christianity was so obviously a mythological being what with science and all so clearly showing such a being can't exist, but in moments of quite, sitting within nature and the world opening to my very being, beyond thoughts, concepts, and ideas where I would simply breathe life into the core of my being and see "God" as I once saw "Him" in my personal experiences within the mythic systems of Christianity. How can this be?, I would ask myself. It must be just some fondness of the past, a habit, a spot of bad cheese. Long story short, I think there are other homes you can find for that deep sense you describe where you don't have to throw out that baby with the bathwater. It's not a choice of being a rationalist and rejecting all things that smell "spiritual", or embracing that part of yourself and abandoning reason and go backwards into a home that probably didn't satisfy spirituality either. There are many other ways to 'grow God up', so to speak, that is not incompatible with reason. I actually think those that say you can't have both take folks like you and tell them they have no choice but to return to Christianity if that's what you want, and actually put them at risk of going back, simply because if you have that in you, you have to reject it for reason. I suspect that's what you fear, going back because there is no other home for this you know of, and you're being told there isn't. Trust me, I know your dilemma.
  11. I just looked at a summary of it on Amazon to find this comment in it, "But now that these psychological illusions have outlasted their evolutionary purpose, Bering draws our attention to a whole new challenge: escaping them." I would enjoy discussing that point with you over some coffee/tea sometime in the near future here (I quit coffee). I'll bet his points about the advantages to belief structures is valid, but I'm not so sure I'd agree that they have outlasted evolutionary purpose. That seems to presuppose we are no longer evolving. . We're just shifting the objects of this belief, not changing its nature or role. I see God "belief", as some call it, to operate much more deeply as well, depending on the objective (you can see that expressed briefly in this post here: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/53847-belief-in-a-god/page__st__20#entry810338 ). I can go in depth on this here, but it would go way outside the purpose of your topic, which is to talk about this stage in your shifting away from Christianity and dealing with family members. I'll PM you my contact info and I'd like to maybe see if some upcoming Saturday (or Sunday) to meet somewhere convenient for us. I know this Sunday is another meetup of FF over in St. Paul, not sure I'll go our not. If you do, I might if I attend if I stay in town (at the Coffee Bean). I love plumbing the depths of these areas. So much to be gained in insight and perspectives.
  12. Hey! What a pleasant surprise to see you here and to read all you wrote! At first I was thinking as I read this that this is someone I need to talk more with, and it turns out I've already met you in person! Yes, I remember. It was at the Dunn Brother's coffee house, and you were sitting I believe to my left and I was at the end of the table. I would definitely like to hook up with you for some one on one discussions sometime. Do you work downtown per chance? In any case we can PM each other info where we could enjoy going deep into these areas outside of a larger group setting. I haven't been to one of their meetups for a while with summer and all. Great to hear you got value out of those two Ken Wilber books I recommended. It helps put things in perspective for where those like you and I are at, without having to compromise one aspect of ourselves for another when it comes to the intellect and the spiritual. Not to mention just philosophically having to favor one philosophy (materialism) in our pursuit of our general knowledge and worldviews. I find the Integral approach much more where we are ready, and needing to head into. It also helps in how we understand where others are at, and better to temper our own understanding of them in how we choose to communicate with them. Enjoyed reading your 'testimony' above, and I hope you enjoy looking around and participating as you are able to in the various forums here on the site. I'm hanging out mostly in the Spirituality forum lately fleshing out thoughts into the contemplative areas. Feel free to jump in if you wish. Welcome again!
  13. It is the strangest of things. Today as I meditated, of all things came to mind "the Lord's Prayer". Abruptly the words of it took on a new illumination that made sense, in no way ever repeated in Christianity's traditions I know of. The focus, intent, heart, and meaning had frankly little to do with your traditional Christian reduction of it to some paternal petition. It was a devotion to a liberation of souls from the illusion of our self-imposed prisons of our minds and hearts, into true self-realization. I can scarcely put it in words, but my impression was almost as if any real meaning of it had been lost for 2000 years, though I'm sure some few souls here and there 'got it'. Quite interesting. So much of what you say is just that. They speak the words, and the meaning isn't even close.
  14. What's funny about this is that what one experiences in how we are free to choose love and our beliefs from within, without the external 'thou shalt' pressures of religious dogma, rightly can be called a true salvation. I too am surprised at how much of what the lingo Christianity uses in quoting Jesus means something rather constricting to them, rather than freeing. It's ironic that on the outside of the chains of that religion prison, the there is real actual meaning in many of these sayings, rather than a twisted imprisoning rule. I honestly believe the early Christian movement was originally about breaking religion's hold on the human soul, but like all else that humans do, they took it in its popularity and made another religion out of it, imprisoning God and themselves within it. And now here we are, too, breaking that yoke and finding true salvation.
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