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About Evolution_beyond

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  • Birthday 07/30/1975

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    Manchester, England
  • Interests
    Buddhism, science fiction, fantasy, mythology, nature, evolution, South Park, Doctor Who, music
  • More About Me
    I believe that nature is mysterious and old and powerful. I think there is a 'presence' to nature - science is not the only way to understand it - and you can appreciate it as a spiritual force. It is not conscious however and has no concept of human morality. It provides but it is also uncaring - but I love its mystery and strangeness. I can also appreciate pagan gods as symbolic realities, even though they are not literally real. I read and write fantasy and science fiction - so I like myths and stories.

Previous Fields

  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    A divine presence exists in all things
  1. welcome Bhim. Varied experiences always make this site more interesting. I myself find Hinduism fascinating. I have prayed to Shiva occasionally. I've often felt that Eastern faiths have more to offer this world than Western faiths. Anyway, welcome and hope to see more of you on other threads
  2. I read Tomorrow's God and loved it.

  3. Some people say that hell is a godless place, a place where God is not present at all. The suffering comes from being cast out from God's presence. If that is the case - then who made this place called Hell? Presumably Satan did. But you see my point - how can a place exist that is outside of God's presence if God made everything? God can't make a place and yet not be there. If it is a place that God made specifically to punish unbelievers and sinners - then it is monstrous. The most obscene thing ever dreamed up by man's imagination. It is also completely impossible. Any entity capable of making the whole universe would be far too wise and all-knowing to think that such an arrangement could possibly serve any purpose. A creator would presumably feel some attachment to his creation. In fact, if there is a God he would fit Universalist beliefs or New Age beliefs far better than fundie beliefs. That is simple logic the way I see it. I don't know there is no God - although the evidence seems to point to there not being one. But one thing I do know - if he exists, he can't be the fundie God.
  4. No you say Malaysia. I thought that was in Africa. Apparently I was totally wrong. My apologies. I should have looked it up. Malaysia is near to Indonesia. It's also near to Thailand, Vietnam etc. Part of what is called 'South East Asia'
  5. It is a difficult one. No doubt there will be times in the future when I'll find it a little hard (I'm thinking when loved ones die or something). I did feel a vague sense of vertigo at first - "Oh no! Now what'll I do?" But it passed relatively quickly. I seem to have accepted death as the end far more calmly than I thought I would. I think I've gradually weaned myself off of that one anyway. I've long since rejected the idea of a personal soul - for a long time I believed in a kind of getting swallowed up by the One Consciousness thing. I had already started to believe that the individual person ceases to exist but that the consciousness continues on the level of the whole Universe - the best way to explain it is the belief that it is the Universe itself that is experiencing what it is like to be us. So I think that made it easier to shrug off the whole life after death thing. I think the hardest thing for me will be letting go of the idea that people close to me who I lose are not up there somewhere in some form looking down on me (even if only as a memory in the mind of the Universe).
  6. You're not alone. I've seen many make the same journey. Funnily enough you were one of the ones who helped open my eyes. And to my shame I was being a bit rude and defensive at the time. No offense meant, I was trying to cling onto something I had little evidence for - well you know how it is. Apologies
  7. A change has happened to me recently. After years of rationalising my way from theism to pantheism, I've finally dropped the magic talisman of spiritual belief and embraced atheism. Some of the people on this site helped me re-question my beliefs - then Dawkins 'The God Delusion' sealed it for me. My beliefs of course have always been liberal and by the time I reached my pantheistic understanding of a conscious presence in all things I was no longer prey to many of the non-sensical beliefs of the true theist. And I still don't think that there is anything wrong with pantheistic, monist, advaita vedanta types of belief either. They are relatively benign as spiritual beliefs go. Certainly the best alternative to atheism. However, I finally saw with the aid of the same ruthless rationalism that led me from religion to that pantheism in the first place - that my views weren't quite accurate of the reality of things. My philosophy of mind seemed valid on the surface - but I then realised that although ordinary chemical reactions may be all that is required to make a creature conscious (since consciousness is only a result of something in the universe being aware of something else in the universe), it really doesn't make sense to call it consciousness unless there is 'awareness' rather than just direct change. Information has to be processed in some way for it to be called consciousness. The seeds of consciousness maybe everywhere (though this means little more than "things tend to interact with each other") but consciousness only happens when the interaction carries 'awareness' or 'information'. I realise that convoluted (and admittedly vague) philosophy like that might go over people's heads but it is how I have been rationalising the belief in an ever-present consciousness to the Universe and also the possibility of life-after-death for quite some time now. But now I have seen the flaws in my reasoning. So - no God, and no afterlife. It's wonderfully freeing actually. And I've noticed some positive effects already that I didn't expect at all. Far from being terrified at the prospect of death meaning a total end to my own consciousness - I am actually a lot less bothered by death than I was when I believed in an afterlife. I'm not talking about hell here, because I haven't believed in that for years. But there would be periods when I experienced doubt about an afterlife - a "what if I'm wrong" thing - and it used to terrify me and cause me anxiety. Bizarrely, now that I've accepted that death is the end it doesn't bother me at all. I am totally calm and at ease about it. Go figure! Another surprise positive effect is that I seem to be thinking far more pragmatically and realistically about my life aims. No more fluffy hanging on to pipe dreams (presumably because of a feeling that luck or God is on my side and that I have a really important message to preach to the world) - I am now able to leave things alone and concentrate on thinking of more practical ideas about what to do with my life. I'm considering giving up on ideas of a 'creative career' and seriously considering studying biology or something (I'm still fascinated by the animal world) - a subject that has a myriad applications in the world of work and is thus a far more practical career choice. Finally I am finding that I am less melodramatic about my life dramas, and more prone to be stoically calm about it all. It's like I'm no longer trying to save or heal the world and so I'm not putting so much pressure on myself. As a result I am less likely to beat myself up over being less than perfect. I feel happier, freer and stronger as a person. This can only be good. I still have a sense of awe and wonder about the mystery of the Universe. I still have a very powerful sense of affection for the natural world. I still respect non-theistic ethical philosophies such as Buddhism and Taoism. I still love India and all the culture that comes from that wonderful country. I still can respect myths and metaphors for what they are - human attempts to understand and symbolise things. I'm just an atheist about it now, that's all. And I've never been happier. The irony is that I feel more 'born again' now than ever before!
  8. Thanks for sharing that. It was very long - but it was fascinating. You've really seen and experienced a lot! I feel for your pain. I wish you luck in freeing your mind from those religious head-games. Spiritual or atheist - the main thing is to follow your own path of seeking the truth. Avoid 'religions' like the plague. That's my advice anyway.
  9. And this is where I turn agnostic. I just don't know if there is a superior intelligence in the universe. But if there is, I would have to believe that it is natural rather than supernatural. IMO, the "supernatural" is an invention of the human mind that attempts to explain the seemingly unexplainable. There can be no such thing as 'supernatural', because if something existed in the universe then it would be natural and not supernatural.
  10. Being an Agnostic means being honest about the need to be continually searching for new truths because you might be wrong about what you previously thought. This is a good thing and more people should adopt that attitude. And Brahmanical Hinduism is one theological position that makes a lot of sense I think. Happy seeking
  11. And I made a couple of errors... That should be 'believing that Jesus was more than an ordinary man' of course And that should read "what I believe in creates both impersonal forces and objects, and also people - and so could be considered an impersonal force or a god"
  12. I'm new here. Hi. I stumbled across this site quite by accident and I think it's great to have somewhere to share experiences with other ex-christians and to debate about the views and beliefs of Christianity (which I view to be faulty). Here's the brief story of my spiritual evolution: I was brought up in the Salvation Army and despite the negative attitudes towards drinking and smoking and the sexually repressive nature of my parents, I was lucky that the brand of Christianity I was brought up was at least intellectually liberal. My father was quite interested in science and there were a lot of books in our house, so I grew up with a healthy respect for the findings of science. As a teenager I was already re-interpreting some of the teachings of Christianity. I decided that the Devil was not a literal person but was instead metaphorical for the ways that human beings rebel against God. I also started to wonder whether the things that Jesus said about heaven and hell could not also be interpreted in terms of reincarnation. In any case I started to view God as the force behind nature and the Devil as symbolic of man-made misery and so heaven and hell would likely be states of being that corresponded to that. Another thing that interested me as a teenager was Greek and Egyptian mythology. Partly this was because I was heavily into Fighting Fantasy at the time (a British thing - choose your own adventure books set in a world rather similar to the Dungeons and Dragons world). Later in my teens I became alarmed at the growing influence of more fundamentalist/evangelical interpretations of Christianity among some of the young people. Their weird way of praying, their taking of obviously metaphorical passages of the Bible literally and their rejection of evolutionary theory in favour of creationism - all of these things set off alarm bells in me and caused some discomfort. I had already come to believe that some of nature's forces operated independently of God's direct intervention and I became attracted to the idea that natural forces might be sentient and that lesser gods might operate under the dominion of one big God. I also came to the notion that I would be better off serving God if I followed in Jesus' footsteps and went into the world "among the sinners" to continue to preach his word there, free from being associated with an organisation that people don't trust and free from the kind of separation created between people of the church and the ordinary layman (remember the Salvation Army and those barmy uniforms) I wriggled out of the Salvation Army (oh, how they persuaded me to stay - even when I'd tasted my first alcoholic drink!) and after going to Baptist Church for a little while I eventually stopped going to church altogether. I then embraced paganism (although I invented my own strange combination of Greek and Egyptian paganisms) and astrology. It took some time for me to shake off the idea that Jesus was God. I guess I was scared that I'd go to Hell if I doubted that. But in the end I became convinced that Jesus was just a highly enlightened man - like the Buddha or something. Later I rejected polytheism and astrology, seeing them as superstitious and with no evidence to support them (although I still believe that astrology can be a useful language for talking about personality - but I no longer believe that what sign you were born under will affect your actual personality) I began to become interested in Hinduism and Buddhism and I started formulating an idea that all religions are God-breathed but that they all have huge faults as well. Believing that Jesus was more than an ordinary but still only a man allowed me to believe that Judaism, Islam and Christianity could all be right in different ways and all be wrong in different ways. I also was increasingly seeing Hindu and Buddhist ways of looking at the world to be more accurate. However during this time I was in a relationship with a lapsed evangelical type of christian - and we argued over spiritual matters a lot. In the end she did a lot of damage to my confidence in my own ideas. Eventually I went back to education and studied Philosophy and History at University and I got a 2.1 I also split up with the evangelical type girlfriend. During this period I started learning more about science, and found out more about the evidence backing up evolutionary theory. I also rejected the idea of a personal soul, since philosophical thinking helped me to realise that most things about a person's inner workings can be explained by the physical brain. Only consciousness it seemed could not be fully explained (why are we not merely very complex automata - why do we have subjective experience at all?). I came to a belief about this time that there is a conscious energy that exists in all things and that human consciousness is an illusion created by this universal consciousness experiencing through a creature with a strong awareness of self. I realised then that there was no heaven or hell, merely a blending with the One Consciousness when we die. I came across Neale Donald Walsch's 'Conversations with God' books, where he seemed to explain far better than I ever could the very ideas that I had started to formulate myself. Most important among these is that God would not give us Free Will and then judge us for how we used it. The whole purpose of Free Will is to make mistakes and learn from them, I think. This learning is the purpose of Free Will itself and God would not thwart the process by judging us. In a sense it is crazy to suggest that God could judge us for disobeying him while also giving us Free Will to disobey him if we want to. And God would have given us all our instincts and urges - everything that exists would have to come from God so how could he be angry or disgusted by any of it. Only a crazy God would judge himself, be angry with himself or be disgusted with himself. Even the ideas I hadn't come up with myself, seemed to follow on logically from those that I had come up with myself. So I believed what I read in 'Conversations with God', even though I would say it is debatable whether you can call my idea of Universal Consciousness a god or not. I no longer agree with everything in those books but my basic beliefs about the One Consciousness live on. Basically, this is a non-judgemental, universally loving entity because it is purely consciousness, experiencing itself through the world it is manifesting itself through for the mere purpose of experiencing and learning. But anyway, that is my story. I don't know whether to call myself theist or atheist because what I believe in creates both impersonal forces and objects, and could be considered an impersonal force or a god. But I am an ex-christian - and when there are so many christians around who like to bash their version of reality over your head and emotionally blackmail you into agreeing with them, I find it reassuring to be able to get support from those who also disagree with Christian nonsense. Christians can be such bullies sometimes that even though I don't always agree with atheists, I like having them around :-D
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