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Shit Happens.....


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Lately I've been struggling with an undo amount of anger at literalist thinking. It is probably the biggest reason I don' t post much - anymore. I'm trying to figure out why literalist thinking has triggered so much anger in me. The list is long....with the amount of violence in our world because of literalist thinking - topping the list.

 

Anyway - I've struggled to find some compassion for this type of thinking - and it occurred to me this morning that the compassion can be found in a literalist's understanding of reality. So.... now I have an honest question for all the current and former literalist Christians out there.

 

When bad things happen in your life, do you ever just let go and say, "Shit happens"?

 

or - does everything - even the smallest events in life - have to be attributed to either the "hands of God" or the "work of the devil"?

 

These are sincere questions......

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Lately I've been struggling with an undo amount of anger at literalist thinking. It is probably the biggest reason I don' t post much - anymore. I'm trying to figure out why literalist thinking has triggered so much anger in me. The list is long....with the amount of violence in our world because of literalist thinking - topping the list.

 

Anyway - I've struggled to find some compassion for this type of thinking - and it occurred to me this morning that the compassion can be found in a literalist's understanding of reality. So.... now I have an honest question for all the current and former literalist Christians out there.

 

When bad things happen in your life, do you ever just let go and say, "Shit happens"?

 

or - does everything - even the smallest events in life - have to be attributed to either the "hands of God" or the "work of the devil"?

 

These are sincere questions......

Let me be the first to respond. "Shit Happens" was the beginning of my finding peace with life. When I believed and was told how much God is available for us that honestly ruined it for me in no small part. It's called setting expectations. How much better it would have been to have viewed God as the Prime Mover, who simply went off to some other enterprise after starting this one for whatever reason. That way it left it up to us to make life what we can make life be. That is more consistent with the reality of living.

 

As far as a compassion for literalists, I guess having been one makes my ability to be patient with them remotely possible. I believe in all people reason is present. However some people can be so blocked from their own rational mind out of fear that they are so close to hopeless that to make any further efforts to communicate reasonably with them only serves to hurt myself. Very few people have I ever given up all hope for. Usually it's just letting them go to learn for themselves, if they will ever do so.

 

It's so funny to me that the Biblical injunctions of being blind, white-washed sepulchers full of dead bones, etc, applies the most to those who believe the most literally.

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Dang it O_M...

 

I hope I'm not preaching to the choir here, but "they know not what they do." That sometimes helps me, but it usually doesn't squelch my desire to slap them silly(er)!

 

Like Antlerman said, I was also there once. It was so nice to have the entire world exist inside a nice, clean little box....so I thought. I didn't realize how much that box was soiled until I stepped out of it and whiped the 'stuff' off my feet. :D

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Dang it O_M...

 

I hope I'm not preaching to the choir here, but "they know not what they do." That sometimes helps me, but it usually doesn't squelch my desire to slap them silly(er)!

 

Like Antlerman said, I was also there once. It was so nice to have the entire world exist inside a nice, clean little box....so I thought. I didn't realize how much that box was soiled until I stepped out of it and whiped the 'stuff' off my feet. :D

 

Sigh ... I know. Intellectually I know this ... but unlike you and Antlerman - I've never been there. So trying to be empathetic is very difficult. And then I read something like this....

 

... Also I'm constantly losing my keys, but I am very sharp in every other area of my life. I never forget phone numbers, names or faces. But I always forget where I put my keys. I have decided after many years of prayer that this is probably an act of God, to humble me as I attempt to rush about making my plans happen....There is a God. There is an afterlife. I am proof.

 

And it occurs to me that people really do think that - they don't just shrug their shoulders, tell themselves, "shit happens", look for the damn keys and get on with life. They actually do read "god" into every minor happening in life.

 

I just don't get that.... :shrug:

 

I'm trying to - trust me I'm trying to....

 

I don't like the anger I feel when I read some of the stuff that people post. I try to tell myself how utterly impossible life must be for people if they can't do something as simple as reminding themselves and those they love that, "shit happens". It must be impossible to just simply live life as it comes. :shrug:

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Sigh ... I know. Intellectually I know this ... but unlike you and Antlerman - I've never been there. So trying to be empathetic is very difficult. And then I read something like this....

 

... Also I'm constantly losing my keys, but I am very sharp in every other area of my life. I never forget phone numbers, names or faces. But I always forget where I put my keys. I have decided after many years of prayer that this is probably an act of God, to humble me as I attempt to rush about making my plans happen....There is a God. There is an afterlife. I am proof.

 

And it occurs to me that people really do think that - they don't just shrug their shoulders, tell themselves, "shit happens", look for the damn keys and get on with life. They actually do read "god" into every minor happening in life.

 

I just don't get that.... :shrug:

 

I'm trying to - trust me I'm trying to....

 

I don't like the anger I feel when I read some of the stuff that people post. I try to tell myself how utterly impossible life must be for people if they can't do something as simple as reminding themselves and those they love that, "shit happens". It must be impossible to just simply live life as it comes. :shrug:

O_M,

 

What I'm about to say is going to cause a knee-jerk reaction in Antlerman that will probably shatter his jaw! (Hi, Antlerman...luv ya guy!) But, I think it will make sense to him also.

 

I also can see God in every minor thing that happens in life...and every major thing. (Are you okay Antlerman??? :D ) BUT (a big but), the difference lies in understanding God in a wholeness instead of a duality of good and evil. I believe that things do happen in relation to everything else. I cannot understand this relationship, but I feel that everything is ultimately one. The fundamentalist tries to apply cause and effect to this and comes up with a reason to God's action, like they would know...ha! Although it is not so much an action as just the nature of Life itself. It cannot be grasped by our minds, so we have to say, "shit happens!" This fundamental distinction is of utmost importance when trying to understand the bible (here I am again...preaching to the choir!) This is where the fundamentalist errs. They see cause and effect between good and evil when there is ultimately no distinction of the polarities at all. The illusion is in our mind. What seems evil at one point in time, may turn around and be the best thing that ever happened. Just think...if fundamentals didn't exist, we would never be able to step beyond that understanding. :D

 

This does not at all give credence to the stories of God doing the things the bible says in a literal sense, but it does on a deeper level. When the people of the bible wrote the stories, they were a warring people that had all kinds of heartache and gave out much heartache themselves. God did none of these things, but the people thought God was leading them and was on their side. Here is the polarity again. There are no sides that God is on. I feel Jesus was trying to show them the error of their ways. I'm speaking about the fundamentalists back then of course. There were probably people that weren't that way even then. Even though I'm sure those numbers were small. The people that put the bible into words more than likely understood God within the confines of dualities also. But, I think there are some enlightened people (or characters) that are in there and their words are there to understand outside the box that they were put into.

 

All there is is one Life and it doesn't operate within the dualities of our mind. Sound and silence are ultimately one; light and dark are ultimately one. One does not exist without the other.

 

Even though what I said above and what the fundamentals say appear to be the same on the surface, it can only be understood outside the confines of duality. The fundamentalist is still inside those confines by dividing God into two parts...one part good and the other part evil (Satan). They judge certain things to be good, therefore attribute those qualities to God. They judge other things to be evil and since God can't be evil, they attribute those qualities to Satan. How can we judge what is good and what is evil in the entire scheme of life? We can't...so what do we say? Say it with me everyone! SHIT HAPPENS! Life isn't split, only our understanding of it is. God...I hope that made sense!

 

When something good happens to the fundamentalist, they may say that it wasn't them, but God working through them, I have a completely different understanding of that than they do. I also think that the things I say sometimes comes from a source not of myself, but from the very source of Life itself. It wasn't God telling me what to say, it was me accessing the essence of God itself and the thoughts and words become very clear. That source is always there. I can say that it is God working through me, but that gives a false impression of what I mean. The same thing but fundamentally different.

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When bad things happen in your life, do you ever just let go and say, "Shit happens"?

 

or - does everything - even the smallest events in life - have to be attributed to either the "hands of God" or the "work of the devil"?

In my upbringing I was taught that old saying "god helps those who help themselves" so I never really relied on god like those who have the more evangelical views do. However, I had a boat load of fire and brimstone so I saw demons in the shadows so they were causing problems everywhere. This made life more of a game of "hot lava" (better watch where you step since god is only there as a last resort).

 

So I'd say in my life much of it was "shit happens" but if you wanted to analyze it then it was the work of demons and Satan since he was given dominion over this earth until jesus returns. God only intervenes when he "has to." If it's not god or Satan then it's just random, natural events (this would be most things since Satan can't whip up earthquakes, hurricanes or anything like that and god certainly wouldn't according to my old views) but Satan would take advantage of the aftermath of these events.

 

There was a time when my views were a bit more "mainstream" whacked-out familiar fundie but these are the views I probably carried the longest overall.

 

I think I get mad at fundies because I sort of picture myself arguing with myself, you know? What if I could go back in time and meet myself face to face? I think I'd hit younger me...that smug bastard (of course what else would an evil godless old me do?). :)

 

mwc

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I knew Christians that let Jesus pick the color of their sox in the morning. I only thought that slightly odd, but then I only bought white sox myself.

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When bad things happen in your life, do you ever just let go and say, "Shit happens"?

 

or - does everything - even the smallest events in life - have to be attributed to either the "hands of God" or the "work of the devil"?

I attributed it all to either God's work or the Devil's work, and it caused my incredible amounts of frustration, anger, raised blood pressure and conflicts in my family. I screamed and yelled at the Devil, and I laid quite a bit of my frustration on my kids and wife. To be honest (which I'm always is anyway ;) ), this was one of the serious reasons to my deconversion. Not until I could accept things for what they were, and that shit just happens, and it's all about how you try to make sure you're as safe as you can make it, and no interference of mystical superpowers, not until then I started to calm down and become a normal human being. I'm extremely glad I got out from it.

 

There were plenty of times when I went on a war-prayer session by myself to cast out and drive away demons that destroyed the plans I had for my family's future. Hours of speaking in tongues and "warring" the "spiritual powers".

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I attributed it all to either God's work or the Devil's work, and it caused my incredible amounts of frustration, anger, raised blood pressure and conflicts in my family. I screamed and yelled at the Devil, and I laid quite a bit of my frustration on my kids and wife. To be honest (which I'm always is anyway ;) ), this was one of the serious reasons to my deconversion. Not until I could accept things for what they were, and that shit just happens, and it's all about how you try to make sure you're as safe as you can make it, and no interference of mystical superpowers, not until then I started to calm down and become a normal human being. I'm extremely glad I got out from it.

 

There were plenty of times when I went on a war-prayer session by myself to cast out and drive away demons that destroyed the plans I had for my family's future. Hours of speaking in tongues and "warring" the "spiritual powers".

This is disturbingly familiar to me. Thanks for the memories. Yuk. Such misdirected energy! It's almost beyond belief I spent that much of my energies on that crap. It did nothing but frustrate me and anger me and cause nothing but grief. And they call this The Truth???

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A-man, you know the weirdest thing I did? I was casting out demons from a picture (painting) of a horse. I "felt" the Holy Spruce Goose (sorry, I mean Ghost) tell me it was evil. Somehow I never could "feel" the "demon" to be gone, so we ended up throwing out the picture instead... Damn! Such idiocy!!! :vent: Religion makes you crazy. That's a fact.

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A-man, you know the weirdest thing I did? I was casting out demons from a picture (painting) of a horse. I "felt" the Holy Spruce Goose (sorry, I mean Ghost) tell me it was evil. Somehow I never could "feel" the "demon" to be gone, so we ended up throwing out the picture instead... Damn! Such idiocy!!! :vent: Religion makes you crazy. That's a fact.

oh god this brings the days back. You know we all tried so hard to be tuned in to the forces of the spirit world that we saw such nonsense. It was such a waste of my energies. I can't say it enough. It was just so fucked up I can hardly believe today that I entertained any of that in my mind. I was desperate for answers in my life and naturally was drawn to those who claimed they had them. "When I was a child, I thought as a child..." Crap. This was an unexpectated flash back.

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A-man, you know the weirdest thing I did? I was casting out demons from a picture (painting) of a horse. I "felt" the Holy Spruce Goose (sorry, I mean Ghost) tell me it was evil. Somehow I never could "feel" the "demon" to be gone, so we ended up throwing out the picture instead... Damn! Such idiocy!!! :vent: Religion makes you crazy. That's a fact.

I didn't believe that I could cast out demons ("demon be gone" kind of thing)...so I just got rid of various things that were "evil" if copious amounts of prayer failed to do the trick (it always did). Movies like the Amityville Horror freaked me out since I could totally see any of that suddenly "being" my life. Sometimes it seemed like all I did was wait for it to be my turn.

 

mwc

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I say crap happens and that God is involved in helping and blessing me at times. I attribute little to Satan such as the bad things that happen in my life. If bad things do happen I try to find God in whatever happens, trying to learn and grow spiritually both in how I relate to God and others.

Do you believe God can spare you from whatever, but is choosing not to in order to teach you something?

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I also can see God in every minor thing that happens in life...and every major thing. (Are you okay Antlerman??? :D ) BUT (a big but), the difference lies in understanding God in a wholeness instead of a duality of good and evil. I believe that things do happen in relation to everything else. I cannot understand this relationship, but I feel that everything is ultimately one. The fundamentalist tries to apply cause and effect to this and comes up with a reason to God's action, like they would know...ha! Although it is not so much an action as just the nature of Life itself. It cannot be grasped by our minds, so we have to say, "shit happens!" This fundamental distinction is of utmost importance when trying to understand the bible (here I am again...preaching to the choir!) This is where the fundamentalist errs. They see cause and effect between good and evil when there is ultimately no distinction of the polarities at all. <snip>

 

All there is is one Life and it doesn't operate within the dualities of our mind. Sound and silence are ultimately one; light and dark are ultimately one. One does not exist without the other.

 

Even though what I said above and what the fundamentals say appear to be the same on the surface, it can only be understood outside the confines of duality. The fundamentalist is still inside those confines by dividing God into two parts...one part good and the other part evil (Satan). They judge certain things to be good, therefore attribute those qualities to God. They judge other things to be evil and since God can't be evil, they attribute those qualities to Satan. How can we judge what is good and what is evil in the entire scheme of life? We can't...so what do we say? Say it with me everyone! SHIT HAPPENS! Life isn't split, only our understanding of it is. God...I hope that made sense!<snip>

 

Thanks NotBlinded.... It makes perfect sense. Like you, I associate this ONENESS with God. And I agree with what you are saying above.

 

It has occurred to me in the last several weeks that the difference between the way I understand God and the way a literalist understands God is that I do not attribute an ego to God.

 

God is

 

There is a difference between

 

God is

and

God has

 

Saying.....

 

"God is love" is different than saying "God has love" or "God is Loving"

 

To me there is intent in creation - but it is intent without ego.

 

I think that is one reason literalist thinking drives me to anger - because literalist thinking assigns human attributes (human ego) to God. Anthropomorphism drives me nuts in general, but to assume that something that is suppose to be present everywhere, within all, through all, beyond all could be human-like in anyway - especially could carry ego - is beyond me.

 

A few days ago I saw this post by Alice.

 

http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?s=&a...st&p=215990

<snip>

I just wanted to ask you to think about the titles 'God the Father' and the 'son of God'.

 

I what way do you think God is Jesus' Father? and in the same way, how is Jesus his son?

 

As God is a non material spirit, without body, without genes, without form, without a brain, without hormonal responses - how can this function of 'father' manifest itself?

 

Can you not see that these phrases are metaphors that would have their authors cringing in agony if they had the slightest notion that generations later people would start to think these literal terms?

 

Do you believe that God has a right hand?

 

I'm hoping that you will recognise this one as metaphor ... but I won't hold my breath because I have met christians who insist he has ... for example - I once had this conversation with a warm hearted christian friend in a cozy little bistro (although not that warm hearted it turned out as she cut off our friendship when I finally fully deconverted)

 

Me: but surely you can see that when the bible speaks of 'the right hand of god' this is a metaphor

Old Friend: If the Bible says God has a right hand then I believe it.

Me: but the Bible is clear that God is a spirit, so what would this hand be made of?

Old Friend: God can do anything. He is all powerful.

Me: so (I place my hand on the table between us) imagine my hand is God's hand ... (I point to one finger) so in order for God to have a hand - this would be God ... (then I point to the space bwteen my fingers) and this not God. (I point to each finger in turn and to the spaces in between) God .... not God .... God ..... not God .... Right?

Old friend: yes.

Me: but God is omnipresent - where do the gaps between his fingers come from?

Old Friend: ummm. It says it in the bible, so I believe it.

Me: I think a second bottle is called for.

 

Now see .... I just don't get that. It goes beyond driving me to drink .... it drives me to want to choke the idiocy out of the poor bugger. ;)

 

How can a person think (and I use the word "think" intentionally) like that? :banghead:

 

And it gets worse - not only do people think of God as having fingers and toes - they think of God as having ego (their ego to be specific).

 

And if God has ego - then God can sit around pulling puppet strings - and we're right back to where this thread started. Shit doesn't just happen, but instead God makes it happen, or Satan makes it happen. :shrug:

 

_____________________________

 

Everyone else - really - thank you for your replies. I do appreciate them and will jump back in with more of my own thoughts when I have more time. :grin:

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O_M,

 

What I'm about to say is going to cause a knee-jerk reaction in Antlerman that will probably shatter his jaw! (Hi, Antlerman...luv ya guy!) But, I think it will make sense to him also.

 

I also can see God in every minor thing that happens in life...and every major thing. (Are you okay Antlerman??? :D ) BUT (a big but), the difference lies in understanding God in a wholeness instead of a duality of good and evil.

I never have knee jerk reactions. I am Mr. Calm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:liar:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:dead::eek::dead::vent::dead::eek::dead:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually what you are saying is much more palatable when understood in a non-dualistic sense. The God/Ego thing really is a massive contradictory mess that does nothing healthy for the individual. It's like trying to make something transcendent like a human parent, then naturally holding them to the same and even greater expectations than what you would of a human. When Dad fails you, then you have to find ways to excuse him or understand what you did wrong. It's maddening and unhealthy.

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HanSolo and Antlerman -

 

Thank you for such frank honesty. It was an eye-opener for me to read the things you both said.

 

I attributed it all to either God's work or the Devil's work, and it caused my incredible amounts of frustration, anger, raised blood pressure and conflicts in my family. I screamed and yelled at the Devil, and I laid quite a bit of my frustration on my kids and wife.

 

HanSolo - my husband works with a woman who divoriced several years ago. She and the kids will have nothing to do with her ex-husband.

 

The straw that broke the camels back - for her - was when he was arrested in the downtown (university area) of our local metropolitan city for "preaching".

 

Yours and Antlerman's descriptions of "warring" with the spirits come closest to describing what he was actually doing on campus. He was arrested because he was attempting to excise "demons" from unsuspecting students as they moved from one building on campus to another building.

 

My husband's co-worker truly believes her ex-husband is mentally ill and that it's not safe for her children to be with him. Knowing some of the things that he has done when he goes on a rampage - I agree with her.

 

But - now - after reading what you and Antlerman have written - I'm a bit less judgmental regarding his actions. Thank you.....

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Ah, walking around in the city and doing spiritual warfare... well, done that too.

 

Once our prayer group went out in the local town, late in the evening, and walked around school areas and parks and whatnot, and prayed and "casting" out the demons from the area. That was one of the times I actually did feel silly. Many times, doing these weird things, I didn't feel it was strange or odd, but actually that it was natural, so if someone would claim what we did (or I did) wasn't normal, I'd think they were antagonists trying to stop God's work.

 

Another funny little anecdote:

 

The Bible school/Church started, when still small (300-500 members) by having their meetings in an office building, second floor. During worship we were dancing and jumping (naturally :twitch: ), and the floor started to break up a bit. The company downstairs complained a lot to the owners of the building that they had dust and drywall fallen down on their desks in the morning. Did we care? Not a chance. We started to pray in tongues and warfare for God to save their souls!

 

I have forgotten most of these things, and more stories are coming back now. These events were not unique or unusual, but quite common in the sect we were part of. I probably, if I spend time on it, could remember enough of these stories to fill a book.

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Ick! Curse you, O_M, for beginning this thread! (J/K! I wub you! :wub: ) I'm going to add my 2 cents and then dive back out, because the memories of my psycho fundy days are too painful to revisit. (I'm trying to forget, not remember!)

 

When shit happened in my life, while I was a "Christian", I attributed it to God seeking my attention, or trying to teach me a lesson. (Maybe even an attack from Satan, because I allowed him a "foothold".) Every flat tire, lost item, rebuke from a superior at work, sickness or DEATH was seen as god working on me. Of course, then I would run myself ragged trying to figure out WHAT lesson god was trying to teach me so I could get back on his "good" side.

 

I was living a life of terror, as I strived to keep "pure" things in my life so as to keep god off my back with any new "lessons". This insane behavior came close to ruining my marriage and screwing up my kids as I was always on a rampage to keep "worldly" things (the devil?) out of our lives.

 

But now that I'm free from believing in and obeying the Great Bogey Man in the sky, I'm perfectly fine. Everyone around here is free to enjoy life and not fret about shit happening. It's just life. Move along people, there's nothing more to see here. :woohoo:

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Ick! Curse you, O_M, for beginning this thread! (J/K! I wub you! :wub: )
Thanks, Mr. Grinch :grin:

 

And I truly am sorry if this thread has brought up some unpleasant memories for all of you. But, rest assured - it is an education for me. I really have had no way to empathize with the literalists who come in here. Then I find myself going into attack mode - when I should be stepping back and seeing their behavior in the light of their brainwashing.

 

I doubt this will fully stop me from going on the attack - I hate ignorance in general. But, hopefully this increased knowledge will help me keep things in perspective and not become so angry.

 

I was living a life of terror, as I strived to keep "pure" things in my life so as to keep god off my back with any new "lessons". This insane behavior came close to ruining my marriage and screwing up my kids as I was always on a rampage to keep "worldly" things (the devil?) out of our lives.

 

See.... this is what I've been wondering about. It seems (and I could be wrong) that the literalists all fear chaos in their lives. They cling to their understanding of God because - to them - this idea of God means order and control in an unpredictable world. (Please do correct me if I'm wrong - because I have no way of knowing except by what I see around me.)

 

Anyway - if they cling to God because it means order and control in an unpredictable - then how does the life style you described above make any sense?

 

I mean - they take an attitude with anyone that does not believe in their version of God - that says, "how can you have peace in your life"? And yet, the lifestyle you all are describing is anything BUT peaceful. :shrug:

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Open_Minded, that's just it...there is NO peace in the life/mind of a Fundy/literalist Christian. It's a nightmare. And like you, I WANT to take it easy on people like Amy Marie (esp. since I KNOW first hand where she's coming from), but they make it hard. Such people are nutjobs. And they've done it to themselves!

 

I think you've got a pretty good grasp now of the psycho mentality you're dealing with. NOW you understand what gets US so riled up when the Fundies show up. These people are NOT healthy.

 

However, I doubt that this knowledge will prevent you from going off on them. (Understanding hasn't helped me any. :wicked: ) Stupidity pisses me off and makes me want to strangle someone.

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O_M,

 

Glad you had read my account of the 'where do the gaps between the fingers on the right hand of the omnipresent God come from' conversation, as it didn't prompt as much as a squeak from Scott!

 

So you already know I share your frustration ....

 

When I'm struggling I try to keep an understanding that everyone is simply the product of their genes, experience and knowledge - close to the front of my mind (although occasionally opening a second bottle is the only thing that helps!!).

 

I recently shared this with a friend - the extent of the fundamentalist we-have- the monopoly-on-truth-and-love-and-the-rest-of-the-world-is-of-the-devil was so far reaching in my childhood I can remember having a bit of a shock at about the age of 11years, to realise that people outside of the one true faith could love.

 

This made the friend I was talking to both cry and seethe with rage that a religion could have done this to a child. I didn't go on to tell her that when I shared my discovery (that most people outside of the faith also love their partners and children) with some fundamentalist relatives, I was told that this wasn't 'true love' - but something else masquerading as love.

 

I love that Antlerman never gives up hope - but I think that there are some elements of 'fundamentalism' that cut aross religious/secular boundaries. I think some people actually have brains that cannot function except in very black/white ways ... some people are not able to think in abstract terms and everything is very concrete to them. It would be hardest for this type of person to leave fundamentalist christianity. I see this clearest in my sister - who actually has a form of learning difficulty that sadly lends itself to belief in hard and fast rules.

 

I'm not sure that these people are ever able to reason themselves out.

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Anyway - if they cling to God because it means order and control in an unpredictable - then how does the life style you described above make any sense?

 

I mean - they take an attitude with anyone that does not believe in their version of God - that says, "how can you have peace in your life"? And yet, the lifestyle you all are describing is anything BUT peaceful. :shrug:

Because in our minds it was all justified as the price paid in a spiritual war. If you weren't feeling peace, it was because you were not letting God take control of your life, or some other such nonsense. When these sorts of Christians speak about having peace, it is one of a few things:

 

- a state of euphoria through some form of self-hypnosis

 

-just simply stating it because its the ideal you were supposed to feel if you were really walking with God. They might say it, but it was really more a lie to oneself through denial, a facade.

 

- a peace at times that seemed great because of the stark contrast to the average emotional conflicts that came through believing in such superstitious nonsense

 

Taking the whole experience from day one till the end, on a scale of 1 - 10, I would say the overall average "peace" experience was about a 2 or maybe 3 at best. There were moments of a 7 or 8 maybe, but it was really artifical compared to living in reality. Outside of believing faith nonsense, I would rate my overall peace experience average now as about a 7. Go figure!

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During my recent illness I encountered several 'christian' attitudes. Some people were genuinely loving and supportive - but I did get the following responses ...

 

God has let this happen to you so that he can draw you back to him .....

 

God is punishing you for your rebellion....

 

All things work for the good of those who love God.

 

All three of these responses made me feel like slapping people and possibly I would have done if I'd been able to raise myself off the bed and move my arm without agonising pain.

 

I do think that the people who said one and two were desperately trying to make sense of the world and now that I'm over feeling pissed off with them - I truly hope they don't succomb to illness because they will be in torment if they do.

 

However - statement number three I kind of suscribe to now. Not that I believe in a personality God, but I learnt useful life lessons while I was unwell and now see my illness as a sort of 'blessing', so I now understand that last phrase as one about attitude to the 'shit' that happens.

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You know, it was taking the literalist view all the way through to it's wacked out logical end that turned me into an atheist.

I realised what a total dickhead god must be if he actually existed at all. If he has total control, then he either does the bad things himself, lets them happen, lets satan do them, or works in tandem with satan, like in the book of Job.

 

I absolutely believed there was no such thing as coincidence...ever...period. Ask a magic 8 ball a question and a demon would show up with an answer to fuck up your life every time.

For some reason, I thought coin tossing might get you an answer from either God or the devil. Hmmm...

 

I swear I'm not really an idiot!

 

OM, are you, like...a Deist+Jesus?

Like, basically a Deist who believe there was something very, very unique about Jesus?

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I recently shared this with a friend - the extent of the fundamentalist we-have- the monopoly-on-truth-and-love-and-the-rest-of-the-world-is-of-the-devil was so far reaching in my childhood I can remember having a bit of a shock at about the age of 11years, to realise that people outside of the one true faith could love.

 

This made the friend I was talking to both cry and seethe with rage that a religion could have done this to a child. I didn't go on to tell her that when I shared my discovery (that most people outside of the faith also love their partners and children) with some fundamentalist relatives, I was told that this wasn't 'true love' - but something else masquerading as love.

 

This is new information for me, Alice. To think that a "religion" could brainwash people to the degree that they do not even allow for love outside their belief system. (sigh) .... (deep sigh)

 

And - if one takes this to it's logical conclusion - then it would be very easy to look at people outside your own belief system and see them as not really "human" at all ... not really "god's child"... Which makes it much easier to understand all the violence in humanity between people of different religions.

 

I mean - on one level I've always understood that literalism leads to de-humanizing people of different belief systems. But to honestly belief that someone from a different belief system could not LOVE - that I've never even considered. LOVE seems too basic a human experience to me, to think that a people couldn't attribute it's existence to a universal human experience is beyond me. :( How sad... how utterly sad.....

 

 

And yet.....

 

My inclination would still be to get horribly angry and go after that kind of thinking. To point out that that kind of thinking allows me to treat you as sub-human. It gives me permission to wage war, to kill, to do all sorts of unholy acts in the name of "god".

__________________________

 

Taking the whole experience from day one till the end, on a scale of 1 - 10, I would say the overall average "peace" experience was about a 2 or maybe 3 at best. There were moments of a 7 or 8 maybe, but it was really artifical compared to living in reality. Outside of believing faith nonsense, I would rate my overall peace experience average now as about a 7. Go figure!

 

Antlerman - thank you for your explanation. It now makes more sense to me why people hang on as they do. I'm happy you broke loose and now rate your overall peace experience as 7 and hope it rises daily. :grin:

 

_________________________________

 

I do think that the people who said one and two were desperately trying to make sense of the world and now that I'm over feeling pissed off with them - I truly hope they don't succomb to illness because they will be in torment if they do.

 

However - statement number three I kind of suscribe to now. Not that I believe in a personality God, but I learnt useful life lessons while I was unwell and now see my illness as a sort of 'blessing', so I now understand that last phrase as one about attitude to the 'shit' that happens.

 

Yes, people can say the dumbest things under stress. Sometimes I don't even think they know what they are saying - it's just something that's been said to them so many times it's become their pat answer for life's chaos.

 

And - like you - "All things work for the good of those who love God." makes a certain amount of sense to me - although not in a literal way. But, I do know what you mean.

 

When I was a very young child I had an illness which almost killed me. The damage it did to my nervous system is life-long. During my childhood years and teen years I had to learn how to live with this issue (it is THEE reason I learned meditation).

 

My childhood years and teen years were quite challenging because of this issue - I didn't feel normal. My body would do things (like go into the shakes - anytime I became the least stressed). Social situations easily overloaded my system - so I couldn't do many of the social things that teens take for granted.

 

As a teen - if someone had offered to take that whole situation away from me, I'd have gladly allowed them. Now, I look back on what kind of a person I am because of that part of me, and well - it's part of me. I still deal with it, but meditation has helped to the degree that 99% of the people who know me don't even know that I have this medical issue. And the few that do know it (my family and closest friends) - only see physical symptoms when I am very stressed. Meditation has really brought it under control.

 

In addition, meditation has opened a whole world to me that I would never have discovered had I not meditated. It's my music, my art, the way to my soul and my soul's way to the infinite. And to think that had I never had this childhood illness, had I never had to deal with all the physical implications, I would never have had the spiritual experiences of my life. So, I do know what you mean.

 

I wouldn't wish that illness on anyone and yet.... I know what it gave me. :shrug:

 

_____________________________

 

Mr. Grinch ;)

 

However, I doubt that this knowledge will prevent you from going off on them. (Understanding hasn't helped me any. ) Stupidity pisses me off and makes me want to strangle someone.

 

(Sigh)

 

I hope this knowledge at least keeps me more in check. Like you - I don't expect it to completely stop my way of dealing with it. In general - I'm known to go full force when picking apart someone else's thought processes. But, hopefully now, I'll think through my responses more. ;)

 

_________________________________

 

KellyB

 

OM, are you, like...a Deist+Jesus?

Like, basically a Deist who believe there was something very, very unique about Jesus?

 

It's odd that you should phrase your question like that. I've never really thought of my views in this way before. But, it makes perfect sense.

 

For many years of my life I did consider myself a Deist. My mother has been a Deist for over 35 years and she has strongly influenced me.

 

But, yes Jesus has become very important to me as well and so has the concept of the trinity. Hence my return to Christianity.

 

There are many Christians who can affirm Jesus in their own lives - in their own spiritual journeys - but not feel the that everyone else must do so as well. Thank you for seeing that, I appreciate it more than you know.

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