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LifeCycle

The Most Difficult Transition For Me...

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Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t need a 100% ‘proof’.

I don't really see that as "lucky" or really a function of "luck" at all.

 

ww.......that wasn't a good word to use....You're absolutley right.....

 

'Open-minded' was what I meant....one who researches both sides.....

 

Yeah that's a better word.......

 

Hug!!

 

You know I love ya Margee, but I have to respond to this:

 

 

 

 

 

Vigile my friend. Thank you for this video this morning. If anyone knows me well on this board -you do. You know that I have been ‘deconverting’ for 2 years now. I am still new at this whole ‘thing’. I am searching my heart out. I feel like I have spent the last 2 years looking for anything that may make sense to me about the world and universe. I want to know about reincarnation. I want to know about energy and matter. I want to learn about evolution. I want to know everything I can about the big-bang. I have studied here on EX-c and hundreds of other sites, hungry to make a decision about what I finally believe. I am still a lost sheep in many ways. Am I an atheist or aren’t I? These are my questions.

 

Wasted years in the church - precious years that I could have been learning about all these truly amazing things were stolen from me by the church. I feel extremely ‘open-minded’ right now. I haven’t come to any conclusions yet. Maybe another year on here to drive you guys all up the wall may do it!!! rolleyes.gif

 

My question to you today is, (and maybe all the ‘true’ atheists on our site) if I choose to be comfortable with the concept of reincarnation, (for example) does that, in your eyes (and all other atheists)  make me a ‘close-minded’ person?

 

I’m not talking about magic and casting spells or anything like that - I am talking about a simple belief system that makes me comfortable on earth. Nothing that would hurt anybody.

 

Have you yourself done a lot of investigating into the concept of (example) the '11 dimensions' and all that other ‘stuff’? How do we know 100% that some of it isn’t going to be totally proved someday? And why would it be wrong to see some of these physics points of view...there not stupid people? Do you think they are stupid people? (I say this all in a ‘nice’ voice.) I am trying to be genuine.

 

Thanks my friend.....

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I haven’t come to any conclusions yet.

 

It's really great that you are slow to arriving at conclusions.  That makes me believe you really are open minded. smile.png

 

As I mentioned in another thread today, my own deconversion process lasted years.  5-6 that I was consciously aware of but probably even more. 

 

 

My question to you today is, (and maybe all the ‘true’ atheists on our site) if I choose to be comfortable with the concept of reincarnation, (for example) does that, in your eyes (and all other atheists)  make me a ‘close-minded’ person?

 

That's a really good question and I'll answer it as honestly as I can.  Because of my own years of study and the fact I haven't seen any evidence or reasons to believe in something like reincarnation that don't rely on the same logical errors or magical thinking that protects other fantastic beliefs like Christianity, it's really hard for me to not think those who believe in these things are not somehow engaging in errors of judgement of sorts.

 

At the same time, I really, really don't want to be that guy who has to have others believing certain things or believing in a certain way to meet his approval and worse, to be his friend.  There are other valid reasons for believing in things that I personally can't believe in (including, but perhaps not limited to emotional need) so I don't want to rain on my friend's parades.

 

So, I don't know where I land in my attempts to maintain my intellectual honesty, which I need for my own personal well-being and because it's how I'm wired and my desire to not be the wet towel in the room or the guy who makes his friends feel bad because he has to have things a certain way. 

 

That's the best I can do in terms of answering. 

 

 

 

How do we know 100% that some of it isn’t going to be totally proved someday?

 

We don't.  But I personally am not comfortable or able to believe something that we haven't yet discovered.  I don't deny that there will be many new discoveries even in our own lifetimes.  I haven't seen any yet that come close to anything we might see as supernatural, but I won't say nothing will be.  I'm personally convinced based on our current understanding of the world and the trend in science that there is a 99.99999% probability that nothing 'supernatural' is out there, but again...

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Thank you Vigile. I appreciate your post. I mean that..

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That's a really good question and I'll answer it as honestly as I can.  Because of my own years of study and the fact I haven't seen any evidence or reasons to believe in something like reincarnation that don't rely on the same logical errors or magical thinking that protects other fantastic beliefs like Christianity, it's really hard for me to not think those who believe in these things are not somehow engaging in errors of judgement of sorts.

 

At the same time, I really, really don't want to be that guy who has to have others believing certain things or believing in a certain way to meet his approval and worse, to be his friend.  There are other valid reasons for believing in things that I personally can't believe in (including, but perhaps not limited to emotional need) so I don't want to rain on my friend's parades.

 

So, I don't know where I land in my attempts to maintain my intellectual honesty, which I need for my own personal well-being and because it's how I'm wired and my desire to not be the wet towel in the room or the guy who makes his friends feel bad because he has to have things a certain way. 

 

That's the best I can do in terms of answering. 

 

Nicely put. That expresses my position as well, Vig.

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Mine too Vigil!!

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My question to you today is, (and maybe all the ‘true’ atheists on our site) if I choose to be comfortable with the concept of reincarnation, (for example) does that, in your eyes (and all other atheists)  make me a ‘close-minded’ person?

 

I’m not talking about magic and casting spells or anything like that - I am talking about a simple belief system that makes me comfortable on earth. Nothing that would hurt anybody.

 

Have you yourself done a lot of investigating into the concept of (example) the '11 dimensions' and all that other ‘stuff’? How do we know 100% that some of it isn’t going to be totally proved someday? And why would it be wrong to see some of these physics points of view...there not stupid people? Do you think they are stupid people? (I say this all in a ‘nice’ voice.) I am trying to be genuine.

 

If you choose to believe something, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how unimaginably close-minded, no matter how horrifying to me as a rational being... and you DO NOT pressure ANYONE ELSE to believe the same - by all means, believe what you wish, it's really not my concern. I personally think some horrible things about specific groups of people and believe that they should all be exterminated for the good of the human race. I don't act on those beliefs though and I'll never explain them in their entirety to another person.

 

Do I personally think reincarnation is possible? No.

 

Do I think you close-minded for believing it despite there being no evidence? Meh. Not really, I don't care.

 

However, your beliefs will inform your actions no matter how hard you try to keep them separate. If you at some point decide that "past-life regression therapy" should be government-funded, I'll fight you tooth and nail to the bitter end and still be your pal, but I have no responsibility to respect beliefs I see as foolish.

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My question to you today is, (and maybe all the ‘true’ atheists on our site) if I choose to be comfortable with the concept of reincarnation, (for example) does that, in your eyes (and all other atheists)  make me a ‘close-minded’ person?

 

I’m not talking about magic and casting spells or anything like that - I am talking about a simple belief system that makes me comfortable on earth. Nothing that would hurt anybody.

 

Have you yourself done a lot of investigating into the concept of (example) the '11 dimensions' and all that other ‘stuff’? How do we know 100% that some of it isn’t going to be totally proved someday? And why would it be wrong to see some of these physics points of view...there not stupid people? Do you think they are stupid people? (I say this all in a ‘nice’ voice.) I am trying to be genuine.

 

Hi Margee,

 

Since you asked for an atheist's perspective, I thought i'd give you mine.  I will admit, I probably "judge" somebody on some level when they believe in something supernatural, whether it be a god, ghosts, the afterlife, demons, magic, or you name it (honesly it's all different degrees of the same thing to me).  But I try to keep my judgment to just an observation about that person's personality.  For instance, if they have such a belief then I know they are a person who can suspend critical thinking and skepticism in order to accept a belief.  Also, depending on what the belief is, I come to think that the person is gullable to a certain degree. 

 

But does having such a belief indicate that they are stupid?  No (well at least not necessarily).  Being wrong and being stupid are definitely not the same thing.  And I make a very huge effort in my life to not hold it against people when they are wrong about certain things.  Even when dealing with "common sense" or "common knowledge" mistakes, I think it's very uncalled for to just call somebody stupid.  Most knowledge is completely trivial in my opinion, and everybody has to learn something to know it.  So holding it against somebody that they haven't learned something yet...well to me THAT is closed-minded.

 

I'd say 99% of the people in my life have some sort of supernatural belief.  They are great, happy, intelligent, and wonderful people.  I don't really care if they believe in ghosts, or think a god is guiding them through life.  It's just part of them (at the moment).  I can't make every person like me.  Wouldn't that just be boring?  haha. 

 

But I don't think it makes them a closed-minded person.  It might make them closed-minded on that subject.  But there are thousands of other subjects where they may be extremely open-minded and curious about.  I try to be empathetic, because I do understand the desire to believe such things.  I think it is just part of being human to let your imagination run wild and inject fantastic thoughts into reality.  Sometimes those thoughts become actual beliefs.  I accept that more likely than not, any random person I speak to in the world probably has injected fantasy into their concept of reality and come to believe in something supernatural.  So I don't argue with people (unless a conversation about it opens up), and I don't try to persuade people.  Mostly because I want to respect them as an individual who has their own truths.  Me trying to persuade them would be the exact same thing as them trying to persuade me away from my truths.  Because as far as any individual is concerned, the truth is completely subjective.  What I will try to do though, is ask them questions, and try to explain my point of view and why I believe it. 

 

I also try to consider the emotional reasons behind the fantastic belief.  Especially concerning the afterlife.  People want so...so..so desparetely for THIS to not be it.  For there to be more.  For there to not be an end.  They will cling to beliefs because they can't cope with mortality, or a material existence.  They will heavily read into the smallest things for their evidence.  People do what they need to do to find their own place and be happy.  For the most part, I will just let them.

 

I don't even think of all of this as "science" vs "spiritualism/religion".  Scientific studies have informed me of several things yes, but when it comes down to it, I base how I live my life and what I believe off of my experiences in life, and how I have perceived the world.

I would love it if several things were true....but I can't just tell myself that somehow thnigs are happening that are impossible for me to experience (or see what I consider credible evidence of)....but I should still believe them, for some reason?  Why?  Because I don't know everything?  Well, I'm fine not knowing, and not making guesses. 

 

Hope that wasn't too lengthy, I know I tend to ramble.

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Yeah sure.  But some people actually 'believe' in things they have no valid support for, not just wonder about it.  That leaves them vulnerable to virtually any charlatan who can sound convincing enough. 

 

I agree you have to use your noggin.

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Actor/Magician Harry Anderson: ``The idea is to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.``

 

That's all I'm trying to convey. After decades of honest study yielding negative results and alternative explanations, we just need to stop, pay hommage to Occam, and consider the case closed. Harry Houdini wanted nothing more than for communication with the dead to be possible, but years of investigation into mediums finally turned him into a skeptic - even a cynic. Still, he left a final coded message his wife was to look for him to send after his passing. Hope springs eternal, even after we may know better.

 

Even after the Fox sisters admitted faking the mysterious "taps" that started the Spiritualism craze and religion, people still believe to this day. This is a case of open minds with brains falling out. Sadly, it isn't the only example.

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Margee asked this question:

 

 

 

My question to you today is, (and maybe all the ‘true’ atheists on our site) if I choose to be comfortable with the concept of reincarnation, (for example) does that, in your eyes (and all other atheists)  make me a ‘close-minded’ person?

 

I wouldn't say I am a "true atheist" if your definition of such is a person who dismisses even the notion of some sort of creator.  I am probably closer to being an agnostic.  But, with that understanding, I will give you my thoughts on this subject.

 

A closed minded person is someone who either is unwilling to examine the evidence, or, having examined it, refuses to venture where it leads.  You have proven yourself not to be a closed minded person because, though you were steeped in Christianity, you have carefully examined the evidence and, despite the emotional difficulties involved, followed where the evidence inevitably led you and you are no longer a Christian.

 

If I understand it, at this point, you are looking into several things with reincarnation being but one of them.  Though I am sure many on this board would vigorously dispute this, in my view there is some evidence in favor of reincarnation.  The question is, of course, whether the evidence is convincing and I give no opinion on that because I have not yet looked into it carefully enough to form an opinion. 

 

You are definitely not alone in looking into this area.  For example, the University of Virginia's Division of Perceptual Studies which is a unit of the Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences is studying the phenomenon.  Of particular interest to these scientists are children who claim past lives.  Here is the website:

 

http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinical/departments/psychiatry/sections/cspp/dops/home-page

 

Whether or not these children actually had past lives, I do not know.  However, they do claim it and these people are studying it to try to make a determination of whether there is anything to it.  To me, closed minded would be for me, without having examined the evidence, simply to declare that it is all bunk. 

 

Let's assume that after you finish looking over the evidence you come to the conclusion that, based on the evidence you reviewed, it is more likely than not that reincarnation is true.  That would not be a closed minded conclusion in my view.  It would be your opinion based on your examination and understanding of the evidence.  If, however, the evidence on which you based your conclusions were later proven to be untrue, perhaps manipulated or made up, and you refused to then take that into account, that would tend towards being closed minded insofar as the evidence is concerned.

 

So, my answer to you is, no, you would not be closed minded if, after reviewing the evidence, you concluded that it is more probable than not that reincarnation is true.

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Margee asked this question:

 

 

 

My question to you today is, (and maybe all the ‘true’ atheists on our site) if I choose to be comfortable with the concept of reincarnation, (for example) does that, in your eyes (and all other atheists)  make me a ‘close-minded’ person?

 

I wouldn't say I am a "true atheist" if your definition of such is a person who dismisses even the notion of some sort of creator.  I am probably closer to being an agnostic.  But, with that understanding, I will give you my thoughts on this subject.

 

A closed minded person is someone who either is unwilling to examine the evidence, or, having examined it, refuses to venture where it leads.  You have proven yourself not to be a closed minded person because, though you were steeped in Christianity, you have carefully examined the evidence and, despite the emotional difficulties involved, followed where the evidence inevitably led you and you are no longer a Christian.

 

If I understand it, at this point, you are looking into several things with reincarnation being but one of them.  Though I am sure many on this board would vigorously dispute this, in my view there is some evidence in favor of reincarnation.  The question is, of course, whether the evidence is convincing and I give no opinion on that because I have not yet looked into it carefully enough to form an opinion. 

 

You are definitely not alone in looking into this area.  For example, the University of Virginia's Division of Perceptual Studies which is a unit of the Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences is studying the phenomenon.  Of particular interest to these scientists are children who claim past lives.  Here is the website:

 

http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinical/departments/psychiatry/sections/cspp/dops/home-page

 

Whether or not these children actually had past lives, I do not know.  However, they do claim it and these people are studying it to try to make a determination of whether there is anything to it.  To me, closed minded would be for me, without having examined the evidence, simply to declare that it is all bunk. 

 

Let's assume that after you finish looking over the evidence you come to the conclusion that, based on the evidence you reviewed, it is more likely than not that reincarnation is true.  That would not be a closed minded conclusion in my view.  It would be your opinion based on your examination and understanding of the evidence.  If, however, the evidence on which you based your conclusions were later proven to be untrue, perhaps manipulated or made up, and you refused to then take that into account, that would tend towards being closed minded insofar as the evidence is concerned.

 

So, my answer to you is, no, you would not be closed minded if, after reviewing the evidence, you concluded that it is more probable than not that reincarnation is true.

 

 

Thank you Overcame Faith. Very much. That was a great comfort to me tonight. smile.png

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People can believe whatever they want, if I look down on them for their beliefs it makes me no better than christians who do the same thing. I don't know everything, hell some days I don't know anything. I haven't experienced everything that other people have,and I don't live inside their heads or live their lives. The universe and the earth and particularly people make no sense to me any way you explain them, but they don't really have to.

 

I think it is important just to live and let live, not to look down on people for any reason really, and not think people are stupid because they have a more spiritual element to their personality, or believe in things you find ludicrous. I thought as a christian, and still think now that the way we treat other people is what is most important about us, not what we believe.

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Wow, this thread has gotten HUGE!

I've been deconverted for 6 years and death never fails to terrify me.

Personally, I look to NDE's to calm myself down. The vast majority of people who have had an NDE have no fear of death afterwards. I take that as a good sign. 

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Overcame Faith:

 

I am glad that the University of Virginia is continuing Ian Stevenson's work.  I say the evidence for reincarnation is very suggestive, and enough to persuade me, although I do understand there are some problems.  I firmly believe that one day they will be overcome.

 

  Its very hard to design an experiment to prove reincarnation!

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Overcame Faith:

 

I am glad that the University of Virginia is continuing Ian Stevenson's work.  I say the evidence for reincarnation is very suggestive, and enough to persuade me, although I do understand there are some problems.  I firmly believe that one day they will be overcome.

 

  Its very hard to design an experiment to prove reincarnation!

 

Ian Stevenson's successor wrote a book that may be worth reading (I am considering reading it).  It is entitled, "Life before Life" and is available on Amazon.

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Overcame Faith:

 

I am glad that the University of Virginia is continuing Ian Stevenson's work.  I say the evidence for reincarnation is very suggestive, and enough to persuade me, although I do understand there are some problems.  I firmly believe that one day they will be overcome.

 

  Its very hard to design an experiment to prove reincarnation!

 

Ian Stevenson's successor wrote a book that may be worth reading (I am considering reading it).  It is entitled, "Life before Life" and is available on Amazon.

 

I am looking at the website you gave above Overcame...It's amazing!! thank you again!! I am also going to order that book.

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Overcame Faith:

 

I am glad that the University of Virginia is continuing Ian Stevenson's work.  I say the evidence for reincarnation is very suggestive, and enough to persuade me, although I do understand there are some problems.  I firmly believe that one day they will be overcome.

 

  Its very hard to design an experiment to prove reincarnation!

 

Ian Stevenson's successor wrote a book that may be worth reading (I am considering reading it).  It is entitled, "Life before Life" and is available on Amazon.

 

Now I know my credit card bill is going to be sky high!!  Especially after I just purchased Rupert Sheldrake's new book, "Science Set Free."

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Overcame Faith:

 

I am glad that the University of Virginia is continuing Ian Stevenson's work.  I say the evidence for reincarnation is very suggestive, and enough to persuade me, although I do understand there are some problems.  I firmly believe that one day they will be overcome.

 

  Its very hard to design an experiment to prove reincarnation!

 

Ian Stevenson's successor wrote a book that may be worth reading (I am considering reading it).  It is entitled, "Life before Life" and is available on Amazon.

 

I am looking at the website you gave above Overcame...It's amazing!! thank you again!! I am also going to order that book.

 

Happy to be of service.  smile.png  As I said in a post above, I am considering reading the book, too.  I think it's available on Kindle which is how I like reading books now.

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Actor/Magician Harry Anderson: ``The idea is to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.``

 

That's all I'm trying to convey. After decades of honest study yielding negative results and alternative explanations, we just need to stop, pay hommage to Occam, and consider the case closed. Harry Houdini wanted nothing more than for communication with the dead to be possible, but years of investigation into mediums finally turned him into a skeptic - even a cynic. Still, he left a final coded message his wife was to look for him to send after his passing. Hope springs eternal, even after we may know better.

 

Even after the Fox sisters admitted faking the mysterious "taps" that started the Spiritualism craze and religion, people still believe to this day. This is a case of open minds with brains falling out. Sadly, it isn't the only example.

 

 

I still have decades of honest study to go...though I'm ADHD so I may never get that far. :-)

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