DarkBishop

Contemplating the cosmos

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Dear Friends,

     As you all know I consider myself an ....... I dunno agnostic or more accurately in my own mind an Agnostic Pantheist. I am so glad that I found this site and that I deconverted from Christianity. While I may not have given up all of my thoughts of the supernatural I am so glad that I no longer believe in the rubbish that the bible portrays about whatever may be out there. I've been experimenting lately. My wife is still a believer and to help with the situation that we now find ourselves in Post deconversion I have been attending church with her from time to time. If you had told me last year that I would be "happy" to attend a church again I would have probably laughed you to scorn. But I go with a different perspective now that I know the truth of the bible and it's origins. In my mind now these ancient people were just doing what they could in most cases to explain the cosmos and the environment around them. I can now sit in a church service and dismiss all the rubbish that comes from the pastors sermon and glean some useful thoughts that I can apply to my life. I see all religions now as just mans way to connect to whatever it is that connects us all to the universe.

       I have grown somewhat in my Karate experience and am enjoying developing a meditation process with the forms that I am learning. I find that it clears my mind focusing on the various moves I need to make and as they become more second nature I am able to let my mind drift. I plan on taking Tia Chi after I "hopefully" get to black belt b/c the move in it are more fluid than in Karate. But even now if I slow it down it helps. I've been contemplating things lately. I considered for awhile just being fully atheist but can't bring myself to do it. There are still so many questions in my mind that science isn't able to fully answer. There will always be the nagging question of, " well how did that come to be"?  The big bang was the start of the universe? Ok well where did the materials for the big bang come from? Or if you believe in multiple big bangs how long has this been happening? Or one of my favorites, if panspermia is possible where did those life forms come from? The list could go on and on in my mind so being atheist isn't an option for me. I feel like we are all connected to the universe in some weird way. Maybe I'm wrong I don't know. Science will never be able to tell me for sure. If we could time travel then I suppose that it could but I believe that is beyond our capabilities. 

    So what is it out there in the cosmos that connects us all or is it just all of us that are somehow connected to each other? I don't believe in one deity or another as those are just man made and full of mans flaws. We created God's after our image. Not the other way around. I don't know what it is but I can say that I am glad that I can feel connected to all of you. Maybe we don't all agree at times. (especially on politics) But you are all my brothers and sisters and I hope you all have wonderful life experiences while we live on this little spec of cosmic dust we call earth. And if this all was a random chain of events than I am glad I had the opportunity to have the plethora of experiences that come with life on earth. What is after this life I wander? Nothing? reincarnation? some type of other dimension? I don't know and I will never pretend to have the answers to those questions. Just a hope for what May be. 

 

best wishes to you all,

Dark Bishop

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Hey Dark Bishop,
 
Glad to hear that you're happy with your deconversion and with this community.  I too am very glad I made the journey away from faith and also that I found this group of fellow-apostates. I do feel a special kinship with the people here, which is one reason I generally stay away from the TOT section and the outright hostility that flares up there.  There are plenty of platforms to fight over politics and culture (although I’ve been avoiding those too lately), but not many where I can hang out with Ex-Christians!
 
I've also been going to church with my wife - we go most weeks - and I actually enjoy it, even as I have become more comfortable with my unbelief (I am an agnostic atheist) than I ever was in the faith.  Sound strange?  Maybe, but there are a few things I should clarify...
 
We attend Catholic Mass now, not the fundamentalist Church of Christ where we were members for more than twenty years. We were both raised (indoctrinated) Catholic, so I guess there is that comforting familiarity.  There is something moving and calming about the sheer beauty of this particular church, with the paintings, stained-glass windows, statues and organ music.  Just stepping inside the building has a soothing effect on me.  I do recite the prayers along with everybody else, and I like to sing the hymns.  When it comes time to recite the Creed though, I stay silent throughout since I don't believe a word of it - it's my personal, semi-private, profession of my unbelief.  I also don't go forward for Communion, and I notice a few other husbands/boyfriends who never go either.  I wonder what their stories are - are they atheists, theists or just Protestants? (The Catholic Church asks that only Catholics take Communion).
 
Would I still go to Mass if my wife didn't want to go? Probably not, maybe once in a great while.  In spite of everything I've said, there is a part of me that would like to go an extended period, a year at the very least, with no contact with religion whatsoever, just to further cement and affirm my deconversion.  But this works for me, it works for my wife, so it's good.  If I had young kids, would I take them to Church on any kind of regular basis?  No way: I would want them to learn about the many gods and religions - all the better to be skeptical - and maybe experience some religious rituals, but no more than that.
 
I know that attending Church like this could be an occasion for serious Cognitive Dissonance, which most of us Exes are familiar with.  But for me, at this advanced stage of my deconversion, there is none: I don't believe: period, end of story, case closed.  Which leaves me free to enjoy this religious ritual in much the same way that I might appreciate a Buddhist or Hindu ceremony or the beauty of the mosques of Istanbul or Isfahan.  I mentioned reciting the ritualized prayers; for me these are more like familiar mantras than prayers.  In fact I have been very satisfied to see that even in my most stressful times, I no longer have any desire to pray.  It's not that prayer is such a bad thing: I know that even without anything supernatural going on, prayer can have benefits.  It's just that it’s important to me that my religious indoctrination be reversed completely, and losing all desire to pray to a deity is an important part of that.  So outside of that one hour each week, my life is happily godless.  
 
So is my churchgoing a spiritual experience? Not the way most people think of 'spiritual'. It's more like how it feels listening to beautiful music, or how I feel being in the great outdoors, or maybe even a bit like sex. I wish there was a better word for something-like-spiritual-but-with-no-supernatural-aspects. Maybe 'transcendent'?
 
It's good for those who may fear leaving gods and religion behind to know that practices like martial arts, Tai-Chi and meditation can enrich an ex-Christian life, as they do yours, DB.  I've been learning and trying to practice Stoicism and meditation myself.
 
I feel like I've discovered my true self since leaving Christianity. Looks like you have too, DB, and I hope many others follow.
 
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15 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

Maybe we don't all agree at times. (especially on politics) But you are all my brothers and sisters and I hope you all have wonderful life experiences while we live on this little spec of cosmic dust we call earth. And if this all was a random chain of events than I am glad I had the opportunity to have the plethora of experiences that come with life on earth.

 

Is this a drunken, "I love you man!" 

 

😂

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42 minutes ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

I know that attending Church like this could be an occasion for serious Cognitive Dissonance, which most of us Exes are familiar with.  But for me, at this advanced stage of my deconversion, there is none: I don't believe: period, end of story, case closed.  Which leaves me free to enjoy this religious ritual in much the same way that I might appreciate a Buddhist or Hindu ceremony or the beauty of the mosques of Istanbul or Isfahan

 

Then you've become immune to christianity. That's probably one of the best ways of knowing, to be honest. Like a drunk gone sober being able to walk into a bar and appreciate the scenery, without risk of being sucked back into alcoholism. 

 

I hear you on the ToT issue, Mark and I had a discussion about not getting into politics due to it distracting from the task at hand of helping deconverts. And he was probably right. I'll likely honor that discussion by backing out of it completely myself, as Mark suggested. What the hell. Thinking about this more, I'm just going to do it. I'm going back to completely apolitical again starting now. I'm more interested in science and religion anyways....

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17 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Is this a drunken, "I love you man!" 

 

😂

LMAO!!! No actually that was a 100 % sober I love you man 🙂 

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17 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

Then you've become immune to christianity. That's probably one of the best ways of knowing, to be honest. Like a drunk gone sober being able to walk into a bar and appreciate the scenery, without risk of being sucked back into alcoholism.

 

This is exactly how I feel when I've gone with my wife lately. Christianity no longer has a hold over my mind anymore. I usually don't even bow my head during the prayers. I will look around at the others with all their heads bowed. I got caught last time. The pastors daughter was looking around as well. I couldn't help but wonder why she wasn't praying....... 

 

For me the politics are hard not to jump in on. But since I'm pretty sure I am not going to convince anyone to change their way of thinking I may should just start leaving it alone as well. It reminds me of some of the churches I went to. There were some big blow ups over church politics and doctrine that even ripped one church apart. and in the other we always lost members when it happened. One time it happened at the Christmas service with visitors in attendance. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that they probably never came back. 

 

DB

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Glad you're enjoying meditation and Thai Chi, DB. It's nice to become part of something like that.

 

Whether spirituality is a 'real' thing or some imaginary construct, if it gives you some sort of fullfillment then that's a good thing.

 

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5 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

 

This is exactly how I feel when I've gone with my wife lately. Christianity no longer has a hold over my mind anymore. I usually don't even bow my head during the prayers. I will look around at the others with all their heads bowed. I got caught last time. The pastors daughter was looking around as well. I couldn't help but wonder why she wasn't praying....... 

 

For me the politics are hard not to jump in on. But since I'm pretty sure I am not going to convince anyone to change their way of thinking I may should just start leaving it alone as well. It reminds me of some of the churches I went to. There were some big blow ups over church politics and doctrine that even ripped one church apart. and in the other we always lost members when it happened. One time it happened at the Christmas service with visitors in attendance. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that they probably never came back. 

 

DB

 

The last time I was in a church was for my ex wife's grandmothers funeral. 

 

When they prayed I literally went into a relaxed breathing meditation. They were doing their thing, I was doing mine. And I often have a sort of," forgive them, for they know not what they do," attitude when I'm in the midst of them. I realize that everyone there is ignorant about what the bible is, and the god they think they're worshiping. 

 

We very likely have lost members here do to politics and even strong atheism bulldozing everyone. I miss a lot of members that used to post here. There's a pattern to it. It's the pantheists and spiritual minded atheists who have left for the most part. It's not too different than what happens in these churches over big blow ups. I'll continue to argue strong in the area's of religion and science, but I'm officially apolitical from here on out. 

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@Joshpantera

Maybe you can help me out with one of the things I've been questioning about scientific theories of origin. Basically as far as I can tell after earth was a molten rock and started to cool down it should have been pretty well sterile but with all of the elements in the periodic table.... that we know of. present correct? How did life spontaneously begin in a sterile environment and can the scenerio be repeated in science? Like I said there are questions that I haven't seen the answer to that keep me agnostic. And another thing is that it seems to me the whole universe would have been sterile if the accepted big bang theory is true. 

 

Not really looking for a debate or anything just a link to a study so I can read it. You've been deconverted longer than I have and i'm sure you have read way more studies. I would like to be able to answer some of my questions. And that's a big one.

 

thanks,

DB

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I don't believe life emerged while the earth was sterile according to these theories. It's all speculation based, so something like life emerging on the sea floor from interaction with hydrothermal sea vents would have happened at much later stages in earths development, with somewhat developed oceans. 

 

https://www.space.com/19439-origin-life-earth-hydrothermal-vents.html

 

Chemosynthesis is the biological conversion of carbon molecules and nutrients into organic matter — the stuff of life. Whereas photosynthesis uses energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into that organic matter, giving off oxygen as a byproduct, chemosynthesis uses inorganic molecules (such as hydrogen sulfide) or methane and combines them with an oxygen source (in this case seawater) to create simple sugars.

 

2 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

Like I said there are questions that I haven't seen the answer to that keep me agnostic.

 

You and I are both agnostic, with respect to knowledge about the existence of god. This is something I'm in the middle of addressing in rants and replies. I'm agnostic about knowledge of gods existence, but atheistic when it comes to believing that a god exists. Most atheists are agnostic atheists, addressing the two categories of knowledge and belief. Now the reason I'm atheist is because I don't believe that a god exists. I don't claim to know that I have knowledge that god doesn't exist, I just don't see compelling evidence to believe that one does. So I'm an agnostic atheist. 

 

Another reason I'm an agnostic atheist is because I don't think it's necessary for a god to exist in order to explain existence. Rather I see existence as completely natural and explainable in those terms. And existence itself may contain the element of fundamental and primitive types of awareness throughout it's expanse, in a natural way. Whereas some one may be looking for an external designer, via evidence of design, I look at it completely different. I don't look without, beyond the universe, instead I look within. What if the universe designs itself, as it goes along, by way of process of trail and error? Some things work, some things don't. But if there's any hint of awareness taking place along the way, I'd see it as evidence that nature itself works that way. There's no reason to look for supernatural assertions. 

 

Let's contrast that with the other opinion of an external creator god creating things within the universe, and within the matter of the universe, intelligently designing from afar. 

 

Something outside of the universe, somehow magically manipulating all of these micro organisms and features of life inside of everything, deep inside of everything, somehow, from way out there. How does this work? How does an intelligent being of some type, way out there, do all of this creating work inside of here? Deep, down inside of everything within the universe?

 

I'm more inclined to speculate based on any potential awareness involved in the evolutionary processes coming from 'within' everything, where all of the action is actually taking place. And if so, it's clearly not all knowing. If there's design, rest assured it's more of an unintelligent design that often fails as it's pushes forward, more so than an all knowing intelligent designer. Mistakes are constantly made along the way. It seems like a fundamental sense of awareness may exist within everything, all the way down to the sub atomic, which could be behind all of the interaction taking place within everything. But this primitive level awareness only leads to interactions, not intelligently designing, not contemplative consciousness, and not all knowing. Something doesn't work, it tries again. It seems persistent. And can eventually make gains and advances through persistence depending on what eventually works.

 

This is just speculation in an alternative direction to what most people are familiar with. But renders a naturalistic based alternative to supernatural speculation. This clearly isn't a god in the traditional sense of some creative being, or fixed entity exist out there, far away somewhere. It's not speculation based on god belief at all. It's more the case of letting god belief go and pursuing other avenues for answers to the hard questions, avenues which all break down to natural processes that can explain reality. They have spiritual flare in naturalist pantheistic ways, and yet they are not based on theistic god belief at all. 

 

 

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Thank you sir. Damn good answer as always.

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On 4/19/2018 at 5:17 PM, Joshpantera said:

 

Then you've become immune to christianity. That's probably one of the best ways of knowing, to be honest. Like a drunk gone sober being able to walk into a bar and appreciate the scenery, without risk of being sucked back into alcoholism. 

 

I hear you on the ToT issue, Mark and I had a discussion about not getting into politics due to it distracting from the task at hand of helping deconverts. And he was probably right. I'll likely honor that discussion by backing out of it completely myself, as Mark suggested. What the hell. Thinking about this more, I'm just going to do it. I'm going back to completely apolitical again starting now. I'm more interested in science and religion anyways....

 

Yes, I believe I have become immune to Christianity, and I think this community played a big part in reaching that point.  When I first showed up here, I was tentatively ex-Christian, but for a while I could have slipped back into an unstable kind of semi-belief.  I’m so glad that the people of this community and the information and resources available here helped me to first accept and then embrace my agnostic atheism. 

 

We don’t go looking for True Believers to deconvert - that would be both unwelcome and futile - but when people come here, their faith is somewhere in the process of disintegrating. Our mission then, as I see it, is to help them get through the process so they can move forward with their lives without religious faith, deities or dogmas.  It worked for me and I look forward to seeing others make the journey, and to helping wherever I can. 

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Well well, I disappear for a while (life can be busy sometimes) and come back to find lots of people just getting on with their deconverted lives as normal.

 

Good.

 

Anyhow, DarkBishop, it's good to know you have managed to get passed the stress of contact with Christianity.  I find I'm utterly indifferent to the ideas but still can get angered by some of the prejudiced crap that they spout.  But then, I'm not sure that isn't a good thing, at least for me.

 

As to spirituality, do what you like, believe or don't believe as it makes sense to you to do so and remember your views tomorrow may be very different to those of today.  Above all, be at peace with yourself and don't worry about finding all the answers.  As I tend to say, certainty is over-rated.  Or, as it was said, I think in the original series of "The Prisoner" decades ago, "Questions are a burden for others, answers a prison for oneself".

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