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God Exists Apart From Religion?


Autumn girl
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I had a very long phone conversation with someone this morning. I told her about my current state of beliefs, which are that the bible seems to be written more by men than by anyone considered "divine", and that I don't know if Jesus existed or if I want to believe in him anymore. There was more, a lot more, but that's the just of what I shared.

 

She grew up Catholic, switched over to paganism, and then moved into Mormonism. She's a very individual thinker though. For instance, she doesn't believe the god of the old testament is the true god. She believes that one can have a wonderful relationship with Source/Godess/God/Heavenly parents (she uses those terms interchangably) apart from any bible, though she does read scriptures from many different faiths.

 

What she cautioned me against is closing myself off to the possibility that there is a God and that he can speak to me. She's concerned I'm throwing the baby out with the bathwater by seeming to lean towards atheism. She's sensing that I'm feeling alone and insecure in my current state of shock and some sadness/confusion about how wrong I was about Christianity for my whole life. In part, she's right about that. She also said that she believes that people have too many spiritual experiences and that this world is shouting out the truth of a creator for there to be no God. She believes that it's a lot more fun and interesting to go through life thinking that God exists than to be an atheist, and that all the atheists she's ever known have seemingly had a hole in their lives that they were always striving to fill with something. She's never met a content and happy one.

 

So, I would like to think that God exists, but how can I just pray and listen for the "still small voice" she's talking about when I have so much baggage from my past as a Christian? Is that even a good idea? Many of the books I'm reading are written by authors who have ended up as agnostic or atheist (Trusting Doubt, Leaving the Fold, Godless, etc.). I feel so unsure about things - do I really want to open myself up to a God who I'm not even sure exists and that I don't currently trust? She said to keep striving, seeking him, and that over time I will grow in my confidence that God/Source/Spirit exists and is actively involved in my life. I don't want to be duped yet again though. This is all new territory for me.

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I had a very long phone conversation with someone this morning. I told her about my current state of beliefs, which are that the bible seems to be written more by men than by anyone considered "divine", and that I don't know if Jesus existed or if I want to believe in him anymore. There was more, a lot more, but that's the just of what I shared.

 

She grew up Catholic, switched over to paganism, and then moved into Mormonism. She's a very individual thinker though. For instance, she doesn't believe the god of the old testament is the true god. She believes that one can have a wonderful relationship with Source/Godess/God/Heavenly parents (she uses those terms interchangably) apart from any bible, though she does read scriptures from many different faiths.

 

What she cautioned me against is closing myself off to the possibility that there is a God and that he can speak to me. She's concerned I'm throwing the baby out with the bathwater by seeming to lean towards atheism. She's sensing that I'm feeling alone and insecure in my current state of shock and some sadness/confusion about how wrong I was about Christianity for my whole life. In part, she's right about that. She also said that she believes that people have too many spiritual experiences and that this world is shouting out the truth of a creator for there to be no God. She believes that it's a lot more fun and interesting to go through life thinking that God exists than to be an atheist, and that all the atheists she's ever known have seemingly had a hole in their lives that they were always striving to fill with something. She's never met a content and happy one.

 

So, I would like to think that God exists, but how can I just pray and listen for the "still small voice" she's talking about when I have so much baggage from my past as a Christian? Is that even a good idea? Many of the books I'm reading are written by authors who have ended up as agnostic or atheist (Trusting Doubt, Leaving the Fold, Godless, etc.). I feel so unsure about things - do I really want to open myself up to a God who I'm not even sure exists and that I don't currently trust? She said to keep striving, seeking him, and that over time I will grow in my confidence that God/Source/Spirit exists and is actively involved in my life. I don't want to be duped yet again though. This is all new territory for me.

I hear behind all this good questions on your part. The first thing I would like to point out though is that what your friend says about atheists not being content or having a hole in their lives I would challenge as not much more than a projection of what it might be for her if she was one. I believe someone can be non-theistic and be wonderfully fulfilled in their lives. Theism is not a prerequisite to living a fulfilled life.

 

The sentiment you express about baggage from the past I understand very well. In fact I considered myself atheist for a long time, and the reason was valid. It was to say I reject the definitions of God - which were largely anthropomorphic, literal, and mythological. I don't accept nor can incorporate into any practice a view that envisions God in that way. However, as you say in so many words, there is that existential pull to something beyond just our rational, scientific, critical, clinical view of the world that seeks expression and embrace in some other way for someone like me. I ultimately have come to a place of peace about my views that transcend the anthropomorphic deity and the stance that such a defined deity is to be not-believed in.

 

You could say, I freed God from religion, and in such a way as it lives comfortably with and is embraced with a rational mind. All arguments either for a specific definition of God or against that are mostly not about anything that has to do with how I incorporate it into my life and mind. I think it's an important key to unlocking it. It's not in reconciling these things on the same plane, but transcending them and integrating the beneficial aspects of them together into another. The mythological God has it's place, but I outgrew it, as it sounds you have as well. Your friend is still speaking in those terms, and even though existentially there is something appealing on that 'spiritual' level, to feel we have to violate reason in order to enjoy that, I believe we intuitively know will fail us and not fulfill.

 

Just a few thoughts to get the ball rolling.

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The first thing I would like to point out though is that what your friend says about atheists not being content or having a hole in their lives I would challenge as not much more than a projection of what it might be for her if she was one. I believe someone can be non-theistic and be wonderfully fulfilled in their lives. Theism is not a prerequisite to living a fulfilled life.

 

Yes, she may very well have been projecting in this situation. I've been thinking about that possibility ever since you wrote your post. Interestingly, she said that maybe God doesn't exist and it's all made up, but still...she would want to live her life full of prayer, believing in miracles and supernatural acts, etc. because life is a whole lot more fun that way. I was surprised to hear her say that, especially since that would mean that she'd spend her whole life believing something even if there was evidence to the contrary. Talk about holding on to one's system of belief! I considered that possibility for myself, and am leaning towards finding the truth no matter how "empty" I may feel (initially) due to the loss of my cherished belief system. It's kind of scary though, for sure.

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... she said that maybe God doesn't exist and it's all made up, but still...she would want to live her life full of prayer, believing in miracles and supernatural acts, etc. because life is a whole lot more fun that way. I was surprised to hear her say that, especially since that would mean that she'd spend her whole life believing something even if there was evidence to the contrary. Talk about holding on to one's system of belief! I considered that possibility for myself, and am leaning towards finding the truth no matter how "empty" I may feel (initially) due to the loss of my cherished belief system. It's kind of scary though, for sure.

Exactamundo. If holding on to particular forms works at this time for your friend, good for her. But I sense it won't do for you. You see too clearly.

 

I am on a continuum somewhere between you and AntlerMan. I intuit something more than meets the eye is going on but it's not to be found at a conventional religious level or perspective. AM has found something that clicks for him, and has a way into it. I believe that it's highly individual however and what works for him (or eventually for, say, you) may well not work for me.

 

Actually in some ways your friend's mind is partly open in that she is willing to question Christianity's particular interpretation of god but she is assuming, wrongly I think, that one of the other religions has the answer, or at least a better one. She is confining her inquiry to conventional prepackaged, predigested and predefined belief systems, in part it would seem because she values the mythical / mystical trappings -- she is just looking for better trappings. Some of us however find those trappings unappealing no matter where they come from or how familiar or comforting they can be at times in the short term perspective.

 

All I can say at this point is that I think you're on the right track. I'd go with it and be patient with it.

 

I've been reading Robert A. Johnson yet again -- this time his bio, Balancing Heaven and Earth. You may find that book of some use on your own journey, so long as you understand that when he uses the word "God" he is talking about something very different from the anthropomorphic god of any particular "ism", he is speaking more of a divine principle within each person. I don't buy all his ideas but he is a deep thinking person who has spent a lifetime pondering and living the great questions and much of what he says resonates with me, out here maybe three or four years ahead of you and, doubtless, a few years behind AM. For what it's worth.

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Interestingly, she said that maybe God doesn't exist and it's all made up, but still...she would want to live her life full of prayer, believing in miracles and supernatural acts, etc. because life is a whole lot more fun that way. I was surprised to hear her say that, especially since that would mean that she'd spend her whole life believing something even if there was evidence to the contrary.

What this is in essence is what can be called an existential leap of faith. That is different than ordinary religious faith, where someone believes the symbols of their faith are literally real, not recognizing them as symbols, and faith becomes about holding those beliefs out and embracing them as the means to higher truth, or greater meaning as it were. What the existential leap of faith is in essence is that they rationally recognize the incongruity of the beliefs, the irrational nature of them, and yet for the sake of the benefit of that engagement with them, they will make a conscious choice to "believe" them. This is the nature of what Kierkegaard was saying in making an "upper story leap".

 

I started a thread on this here in the Spirituality forum two years ago or so called Irrationalism, and it talks more about this. It was recently resurrected and there are more current thoughts at the end of it, so what you read I'm saying from two years ago has doubtless evolved in my thoughts since then.

 

Today what I would say is that it is possible (and necessary in my case), to move beyond the symbols and embrace the underlying, higher nature of them directly, without the need to elevate or ignore the mythological symbols. Joseph Campbell was about talking about the underlying archetypes of these symbols, drawing heavily off Jungian archetypes, showing how that these are all touching on aspects of our nature, etc. Though embracing symbols on this level is to me an intellectuallizing of them, most people can't approach them as such, nor make a blind faith existential leap, holding the symbols irrationally without the benefit of intellectualizing them like Campbell. I couldn't do either, though Campbell's insights are indispensable in recognizing the existential nature of the symbols.

 

Talk about holding on to one's system of belief!

A way to look at it would be them holding on to what faith gives them, not knowing yet how to deal with the symbols. I look at what they embrace spiritually first, before looking at where they are at being able to process and incorporate these symbolic systems into their experiences.

 

I considered that possibility for myself, and am leaning towards finding the truth no matter how "empty" I may feel (initially) due to the loss of my cherished belief system. It's kind of scary though, for sure.

This I fully understand. It was necessary for me to be an atheist in order to reject what hold the prerational mythic god held over me, in order to free my mind to find my spirit beyond them. My spirit, to use that term, was unsatisfied with a strictly materialistic view of reality. As a good friend of mine said to me recently, a few days ago in fact, "I remember the days when you called yourself an atheist, and I would laugh. I thought, this guy has was too much soul to call himself an atheist." What she was referring to I believe was my vision of the depth of spirit and my expressions of life that were very atypical of what has become the face of modern neo-athiesm in hard-core materialist, scientism faiths (this stands in contrast of course to the deeper philosophical non-theists of the past such as the French philosophers - Richard Dawkins is outright laughable in contrast with the likes of Sartre and Camus for instance whom I very much do respect. No god in their world did not deny the higher in man, and they themselves rejected the materialists and positivists).

 

So it becomes a matter of listening to your heart, not being held to one group's truth versus another's (Christian or Atheist and those two extremes being your only choice). I say fully embrace what is in your heart, and fully embrace your rational mind. To deny either, to minimize or subject one to the other, such as saying "If I have no evidence, then it isn't real" which in essence says, "Heart, rational thought alone is now your true god, and you are not to be trusted!"; this is a rip down the middle of our soul, in my opinion. It's about being true to yourself, rationally and spiritually. Investigate, research, and be open from the heart and the mind. Life and reality is informed by such in the whole.

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I think the tricky part in what your friend told you is whatever you understand by "speaking" or "communication" with God. I honestly don't think that any sort of verbal interaction with any superior being is possible. On the other hand, I can tell you from my experience that observing nature and appreciating it has given me some personal insight on God (just to give it a name) and how "he" works. This, and my own intuition are as far as I'll go on claiming God speaks to me, I think you'll find that anything verbal or too specific will always have an origin in your own mind.

 

On a God existing outside of Christianity, I guess it really boils down to whether you want him to or not. I don't think atheists are unhappy people, at least it doesn't seem as evident as your friend would like you to think. I for one, believe there is something. I like to call it God for the fun of it, but really I don't know what it is, and I admit that it could be just us, all of life in the universe, existing and recycling, rebirthing, evolving. There seems to be a certain signature or custom quality if you will in most of nature, have you ever noticed how symmetric everything in nature is? That's the kind of thing that makes me think there is a God, or a Force, or a Source, or something. But I choose to believe it, and I realize that I couldn't prove my case to anyone.

 

I would advice you follow your own intuition in your quest for God or spirituality, and that you be very autocritical before you go on believing anything as true. I hope I'm not breaking any forum rules, but if you feel desperate for making some sort of connection with "the divine", perhaps you could try entheogens, not without investigating first of course and deciding if it's what you want. Peace.

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Does god exist outside religion.

Like the monster in your closet, only until you actually look for him.

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I have to echo what AM has said - trust yourself, and your WHOLE self. Life is a journey, and if you find yourself an atheist, so be it. If that's what you stay for life, ok. If you move and grow past atheism, cool as well.

Don't let an "ism" define you completely, though. I am certainly theist, and several other descriptors, but I am baffled by your friend seeing atheists as discontented. I have many atheist friends, and they don't seem that way to me - at least not any more so than the theists I know! Theists aren't all perfectly happy either.

The most important thing in your life, right now, is to be you.

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I had a very long phone conversation with someone this morning. I told her about my current state of beliefs, which are that the bible seems to be written more by men than by anyone considered "divine", and that I don't know if Jesus existed or if I want to believe in him anymore. There was more, a lot more, but that's the just of what I shared.

 

She grew up Catholic, switched over to paganism, and then moved into Mormonism. She's a very individual thinker though. For instance, she doesn't believe the god of the old testament is the true god. She believes that one can have a wonderful relationship with Source/Godess/God/Heavenly parents (she uses those terms interchangably) apart from any bible, though she does read scriptures from many different faiths.

 

What she cautioned me against is closing myself off to the possibility that there is a God and that he can speak to me. She's concerned I'm throwing the baby out with the bathwater by seeming to lean towards atheism. She's sensing that I'm feeling alone and insecure in my current state of shock and some sadness/confusion about how wrong I was about Christianity for my whole life. In part, she's right about that. She also said that she believes that people have too many spiritual experiences and that this world is shouting out the truth of a creator for there to be no God. She believes that it's a lot more fun and interesting to go through life thinking that God exists than to be an atheist, and that all the atheists she's ever known have seemingly had a hole in their lives that they were always striving to fill with something. She's never met a content and happy one.

 

So, I would like to think that God exists, but how can I just pray and listen for the "still small voice" she's talking about when I have so much baggage from my past as a Christian? Is that even a good idea? Many of the books I'm reading are written by authors who have ended up as agnostic or atheist (Trusting Doubt, Leaving the Fold, Godless, etc.). I feel so unsure about things - do I really want to open myself up to a God who I'm not even sure exists and that I don't currently trust? She said to keep striving, seeking him, and that over time I will grow in my confidence that God/Source/Spirit exists and is actively involved in my life. I don't want to be duped yet again though. This is all new territory for me.

 

 

I think that I am like your friend in SOME aspects. I believe that there is Someone on the other side with whom we can communicate. And I do communicate. And it's been really wonderful. For me, it's much better to communicate, than to believe that there is no one. People try to say that I am just communicating with myself. But I am sure that I am not. I cannot explain it here, but I just know that I am not. Someone who knows me, and who doesn't believe, says: "I wish I could live in your world of fantasy". Why did he say that? Because he sees that my world is wonderful. But can't be in it because he can't believe in it.

 

It's like all those stories on tv, where there is a wonderful magic world that exists and only children can see it because they still have faith left to believe in it. So I am like that child. I believe and I am in it. And it's so magicly wonderful.

 

Believing or not (in God or anybody else, on the other side) is a matter of preference. What do YOU WANT? Do you want to believe that there is someone there? Then by all means, do it. There are PLENTY of stories on the internet of people's communicating with Beings from the other side. Just read them and you might believe.

 

But if you prefer believing that there is nobody out there, read atheists websites and that might help you to believe that there is nobody out there.

 

It's like: a one-sided information can help convince a person to believe either way.

 

If in our world, there was NO atheists writings (if they were not allowed for example) people would all believe in God, or even consider that there is somebody. But because there are both kinds exist: about existence and against existence - you have a dilemma, you have to choose.

 

One thing is for sure: people are in two camps: some believe and tell stories of interventions and a magical way of life, and others don't believe.

 

Where do you want to be? You have to follow your heart.

 

Just do yourself a favor and don't believe in something bad. That would definitely be a bad choice. Nonbelieving is preferrable to believing something bad. But if you believe something good, you will be happy. And if you choose to believe that there is no-one, and THAT makes you happy, then do that...

 

And if someone says: it's not about searching for what makes you happy, it's about searching for what is true, I would say to that: good luck. There is no such things as the truth. There are only different "fakes" and we simply have to choose one "to play with" until we exit this strange reality of existence.

 

It's like our life is a virtual game. And we can't exit it until we did our part, until it played out. Nothing in it is really real or true. But we have the choice to choose the things it gives temporarily, in order to accomplish what it is we have to accomplish in this game. Once we accomplish it, we are out. And we exit to the real world. To the real reality. It's like it's a board game and you have to choose a character to play with. It's like you are going on a trip and you have to choose a car in which you will get there. But this all is temporary. But choose well. It you choose a bad car, you will have a bumpy ride.

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Believing or not (in God or anybody else, on the other side) is a matter of preference. What do YOU WANT? Do you want to believe that there is someone there? Then by all means, do it. There are PLENTY of stories on the internet of people's communicating with Beings from the other side. Just read them and you might believe.

 

But if you prefer believing that there is nobody out there, read atheists websites and that might help you to believe that there is nobody out there.

 

It's like: a one-sided information can help convince a person to believe either way.

 

Your whole post has given me much to think about. I am reading lots of books lately from people who consider themselves atheists or agnostics. I hear what you are saying - reading things about a certain viewpoint can definitely influence me to go that route, but at the same time I have to learn to really listen to what I feel is best for my life. It's that thinking for myself thing again, which Christianity kind of stole from me these past 33 years. Lots to work on there.

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What she cautioned me against is closing myself off to the possibility that there is a God and that he can speak to me. She's concerned I'm throwing the baby out with the bathwater by seeming to lean towards atheism. She's sensing that I'm feeling alone and insecure in my current state of shock and some sadness/confusion about how wrong I was about Christianity for my whole life. In part, she's right about that. She also said that she believes that people have too many spiritual experiences and that this world is shouting out the truth of a creator for there to be no God. She believes that it's a lot more fun and interesting to go through life thinking that God exists than to be an atheist, and that all the atheists she's ever known have seemingly had a hole in their lives that they were always striving to fill with something. She's never met a content and happy one.

 

Hi Sarah,

Your friend's experiences aren't the same as yours. So what can she offer you, but her own perspectives that are lacking what you've experienced. Since she was never an atheist, what can she possibly help you with? If happiness and contentment is subjugation, then why did you leave the fold? People who embrace established religion do so because they were taught to believe, or are willing to sacrifice thinking for a sense of community, or feel a "hole" inside themselves,etc. They have not thought through they big questions of life. They would rather have answers handed to them.

 

The results of accepting what others say about "religion" or "spirituality" are all over this site, and it isn't pretty! We suffer(ed) because religious institutions demand conformity. Organized religion is about keeping believers under control and getting at their money. If you want to "find God", reading pro and con helps, but only you can resolve your own thoughts and feelings about it. What resolved it for me was learning about and being in nature, and the realization that everything is interconnected and made of the same "stuff". The desire for God to be outside or over-and-above you is really about power and parenting.

 

Where did life come from? Why are we alive? Why do we die? Religions have failed to answer these questions without harming humanity and all other life in the process. They expect us to live for certainty in an ambiguous life. Certainty is for the immature and spiteful. My two cents is, ask your questions and observe for yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

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Guest Valk0010

Wouldn't any sort of dealing with any kind of god be a religion. Or better yet any kind of god belief be a religion. You could even just be a monotheist or a polytheist without any uniform dogma hypothetically, that would mean you still have a religion.

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Wouldn't any sort of dealing with any kind of god be a religion. Or better yet any kind of god belief be a religion. You could even just be a monotheist or a polytheist without any uniform dogma hypothetically, that would mean you still have a religion.

 

In the strictest sense, yes. "Religion" comes from a Latin word meaning "to bind together." Anything that "binds" us to a god, or spiritual concept, can be called a religion.

I think what's being expressed here is that there is no "one religion" that encompasses God/the Divine. And I know I can be called "religious", but I am certainly not dogmatic.

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Guest Valk0010

Wouldn't any sort of dealing with any kind of god be a religion. Or better yet any kind of god belief be a religion. You could even just be a monotheist or a polytheist without any uniform dogma hypothetically, that would mean you still have a religion.

 

In the strictest sense, yes. "Religion" comes from a Latin word meaning "to bind together." Anything that "binds" us to a god, or spiritual concept, can be called a religion.

I think what's being expressed here is that there is no "one religion" that encompasses God/the Divine. And I know I can be called "religious", but I am certainly not dogmatic.

I guess we are saying the same thing but in different ways, to me if your just say a monotheist(believing in a personal god of no particular specific sort or revelation) to me your religious And monotheism is a religion.

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Sarah: From where I have come from and what I have seen of different religions and spirituality, your friend still seems to be locked into certain restrictive ways of thinking. I would not accept what someone else has said in these areas without a thorough personal investigation.

 

"Spirituality" or the "divine" or whatever you want to call it - covers a vast amount of territory and there are an amazing number of different approaches. I don't think belief in any god is necessary, and certainly there is no necessity to believe in a creator god to reach the core of what spirituality is. We are all different, we all have a different psychology.

 

I was watching an interesting film of the great Indian advaita teacher Nisargadatta Maharaj this morning. He was saying that he had never seen God or Brahman but was only interested in who he was. He said the knowledge of God would not help you. He would constantly ask people "do you know who you are?" He said if one realizes the self than that is all that is necessary. Here is the link and the relevant part comes in at about the 4 minute mark.

 

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Sarah first off let me say this. I think you have been brave here to make yourself as vulnerable as you have. I feel duty bound to treat your vulnerability with great care.

 

I am a relatively happy and content person. I also happen to be, for all practical purposes, an atheist. But then again I also think I am a fairly spiritual atheist and I think experience itself is an terrifyingly awesome thing. But I can't with good conscience tell you what you should believe about god/gods, because I think this is deeply personal.

 

You seem to me to be a genuine seeker. And I am thrilled you are among us. Welcome to ex-C.

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Sarah first off let me say this. I think you have been brave here to make yourself as vulnerable as you have. I feel duty bound to treat your vulnerability with great care.

 

I am a relatively happy and content person. I also happen to be, for all practical purposes, an atheist. But then again I also think I am a fairly spiritual atheist and I think experience itself is an terrifyingly awesome thing. But I can't with good conscience tell you what you should believe about god/gods, because I think this is deeply personal.

 

You seem to me to be a genuine seeker. And I am thrilled you are among us. Welcome to ex-C.

 

So kind of you to write all of this. Thank you.

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She believes that it's a lot more fun and interesting to go through life thinking that God exists than to be an atheist, and that all the atheists she's ever known have seemingly had a hole in their lives that they were always striving to fill with something. She's never met a content and happy one.

 

So, I would like to think that God exists, but how can I just pray and listen for the "still small voice" she's talking about when I have so much baggage from my past as a Christian? Is that even a good idea?

 

My last prayer before becoming an atheist was begging God, if He existed, to show Himself to me clearly. I have had conversations with God, with a... golden presence in my mind that was, unlike the rest of the voices in my head, not mine. But then, as I started to deconvert, I discovered that I could use my will to bring up that feeling, and that despite how it all felt to me, that voice truly was one of mine. It was just buried so deep in my subconscious that I didn't recognise myself.

 

For a while the loss of my ever-present friend was a bad blow, and I suppose I was one of those unfulfilled atheists your friend described. But it's been a while now, and I miss that sense of... whatever it was. I don't think it was anything supernatural, but the experience was real. The way I interpreted how I felt was not accurate, but the sense of being loved, of healing, that came with it... I miss that. So I guess now I'm leaning more towards the idea of "finding god with yourself". If I was able to get that much help and comfort from inside myself when I didn't know what was going on, shouldn't I now be much better at drawing that sort of support from inside myself now that I have a better understanding? I see it more as listening to my subconscious; it's like my conscious mind has such a tiny narrow view of things, like a weak flashlight in a giant warehouse. I want to be better at drawing on all the resource that exist inside me. So I guess I'd encourage you to go ahead and listen for that "still small voice", but don't be surprised if it is your own voice. And if you do find yourself feeling compelled to read something into your experiences that you know is not true (I had a horrible time when I tried to read the bible with an open mind, i could feel myself editing my own thoughts to make them "right"), it's quite alright to give it a break until you've healed enough to approach it as yourself.

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  • 3 weeks later...

If you decide you believe, I suggest approaching it from the standpoint of seeking truth. You want to know all you can about this god you believe is out there, butg you are going to seek out each piece of his/her/its nature yourself rather than take another mans word for it. If you do this, then you aren't shackled by what others are telling you to believe.

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I think that basic clear thinking and common sense should prevail here. What if one day the clouds departed and a personage of some kind descended on the earth, claiming themselves to be god, and that they are there to carry out all of the threats and promises noted by many religions. If that happened, would that be proof? Of course not. All that would be is some being coming down and making threats and promises. We cannot know if they are our creators, if anything they claim about us is true or should be trusted. So, why on earth would we behave as if we can discern these things from a book? Or, from "inner guidance"?

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If god is there, he really is doing a piss poor job

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Believing or not (in God or anybody else, on the other side) is a matter of preference. What do YOU WANT? Do you want to believe that there is someone there? Then by all means, do it. There are PLENTY of stories on the internet of people's communicating with Beings from the other side. Just read them and you might believe.

 

But if you prefer believing that there is nobody out there, read atheists websites and that might help you to believe that there is nobody out there.

 

It's like: a one-sided information can help convince a person to believe either way.

 

If in our world, there was NO atheists writings (if they were not allowed for example) people would all believe in God, or even consider that there is somebody. But because there are both kinds exist: about existence and against existence - you have a dilemma, you have to choose.

 

One thing is for sure: people are in two camps: some believe and tell stories of interventions and a magical way of life, and others don't believe.

 

Where do you want to be? You have to follow your heart.

 

Just do yourself a favor and don't believe in something bad. That would definitely be a bad choice. Nonbelieving is preferrable to believing something bad. But if you believe something good, you will be happy. And if you choose to believe that there is no-one, and THAT makes you happy, then do that...

 

And if someone says: it's not about searching for what makes you happy, it's about searching for what is true, I would say to that: good luck. There is no such things as the truth. There are only different "fakes" and we simply have to choose one "to play with" until we exit this strange reality of existence.

 

It's like our life is a virtual game. And we can't exit it until we did our part, until it played out. Nothing in it is really real or true. But we have the choice to choose the things it gives temporarily, in order to accomplish what it is we have to accomplish in this game. Once we accomplish it, we are out. And we exit to the real world. To the real reality. It's like it's a board game and you have to choose a character to play with. It's like you are going on a trip and you have to choose a car in which you will get there. But this all is temporary. But choose well. It you choose a bad car, you will have a bumpy ride.

 

I used to be in the "search for truth" camp, but in spiritual matters I decided to come around to a view of the whole matter very similar to what Daylight is describing here. I still look at the preponderance of evidence to support one view over another - its extremely unlikely to me that Bible God exists - but more and more I do agree that we get what we want and we have the right to pursue it as long as it doesn't hurt others. It is important to think about this question - what do you want?

 

Good sense in this post.

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I think that basic clear thinking and common sense should prevail here... So, why on earth would we behave as if we can discern these things... from "inner guidance"?

Because "common sense" does not always present what appears to us to be in fact reality. It is "common sense" that sun revolves around the earth. It is common sense that the earth is stationary. It is common sense that there must be a god. It is common sense that there must not be a god. And so forth.

 

So my question is, does it make good common sense to think not listening to your gut, your intuitions, your instincts, in other words you "inner guidance" is advisable? Does it make good common sense to deny or completely distrust your instincts, your inner guidance, and navigate life by only what you think you can make sense of through common sense?

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She believes that it's a lot more fun and interesting to go through life thinking that God exists than to be an atheist, and that all the atheists she's ever known have seemingly had a hole in their lives that they were always striving to fill with something. She's never met a content and happy one.

 

Please don't believe this just because your friend says so. When I accepted that I was an atheist, I felt like a hole in my life had been filled. I was miserable as a believer. I've been open to myself and others about my atheism for three years now, and my life is more content, more fun and more happy.

 

I'm not saying that to try to convince you to share my (lack of) beliefs. There are people of all different beliefs who would tell you that their life was better after they came to their beliefs. And it is common for people who hold specific beliefs to try to convince themselves that people who don't share their beliefs are less happy. You shouldn't accept or reject a set of beliefs based on these kind of anecdotal stories.

 

IMO, believing something because it's fun and interesting is a shallow way to go through life. Can you really believe something because it's interesting, even if you perceive the truth to be something different? It would be fun to believe that when I die, I will go to a place made out of cotton candy and rainbows. But deep inside, I know that's something I made up and that isn't really what I think happens after I die.

 

What helped me was letting go of my fear of being wrong and my panic to get all my beliefs correct in a very short amount of time. I think that when you start to settle on your own beliefs, whether you think that any god exists in any way, you will make sense of it for yourself and all these other things will just be noise. If you want to, talk to yourself. Tell yourself "I believe that there is a god. He's outside religion. He cares about me". Then see if that makes sense to you. Are you nodding your head and feeling that the statement reflects something you already "knew"? Or are you shaking your head and saying - that kind of sounds like bullshit? Tell yourself other things "I don't believe there is a god"... "I believe that god is inside me"... "I don't think it's possible to know if there's a god"..."I don't like the word god, I'm going to call my spiritual belief the universe"... Don't feel pressure to accept anything or to force yourself in any way. Just say these things to think about what makes sense and what doesn't.

 

ETA: And I don't mean that figuring out your gut instincts should end your openness to exploring your beliefs. Just because one thing makes sense to you now, you may learn new things or experience new things that make you start to believe differently in the future. But it sounds like you are having trouble sorting out what you think right now from things that a lot of other people are telling you, and IMO, it would be good to figure out what your own thoughts are.

 

Believing or not (in God or anybody else, on the other side) is a matter of preference. What do YOU WANT? Do you want to believe that there is someone there? Then by all means, do it. There are PLENTY of stories on the internet of people's communicating with Beings from the other side. Just read them and you might believe.

 

But if you prefer believing that there is nobody out there, read atheists websites and that might help you to believe that there is nobody out there.

 

It's like: a one-sided information can help convince a person to believe either way.

 

If in our world, there was NO atheists writings (if they were not allowed for example) people would all believe in God, or even consider that there is somebody. But because there are both kinds exist: about existence and against existence - you have a dilemma, you have to choose.

 

My own experience has not been like this at all. I was taught that there was a god from childhood. I wanted to believe that there was a god. I had no access to any atheist's writings or websites, nor did I know any atheists personally. It was my own examination of the Bible and the church and my own feelings that led me to disbelieve in god. How could you possibly know whether people would believe in god or not if there were no atheist's writings?

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My best friend of 14 years has started to question her faith and she said something similar. She said that it's too depressing a thought to think of going through life without there being a god. So she doesn't pray anymore and questions, but still clings to her beliefs because she doesn't want to be a miserable atheist. I keep telling her that the position she is in is far more miserable. I'm so glad I crossed over.

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