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At war with myself again, please help!

5941 Views 24 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Dren
Though I'm a godless man, I still wonder who, what, and where the one true is. In the progression of my life I first believed in (followed) the Christian god because of my upbringing. As early as age 8-9, I was already debating with my Sunday school teacher about the events of the bible and what appeared to me to be inconsistencies. I didn't think that anyone could build an ark big enough to hold 2 of each species of all land animals. I didn't believe that people could live to be 600 years old. Most distinctly, I remember the frustrating debate with said Sunday school teacher about free will not being free if God could reveal the future to a select few who could in turn tell the people who were sinning against God.

Much later in my life I resigned myself to the belief that the bible was written by smart desert men who had but good intentions for their readers. I respect these men a great deal for their righteousness, dignity, and good will towards men but I just don't believe that Jesus sacrificed his life for us or that God gave his only begotten son. See, if God created us in his image then we should not only look but also think like him. He should then understand why I believe that when you give something away, it is no longer yours. God gave his only begotten son but now that son is reunited with him in Heaven? And Jesus sacrificed his life but now has ever lasting life in Heaven? Know what, I think I'd spend a dollar to win the lottery jackpot too. Please don't be disgusted with me for saying that. I think the idea of someone dying for his people is extremely nobel. At the same time, I think it's just also very romantic.

I know someone can't help but think that I'm mocking Jesus' ultimate sacrifice and therefore should perish because I had my chance to believe and did but turned away. Understand I don't mock, but rather simply don't believe. For the record, if God is keeping track, if I knew for a fact that he and his son were my creators and had "never ending love" for me, I'd hit my knees in an instant and offer my own never ending devotion. However, I just don't think "never ending love" lives up to its name if most of us will be tossed like vegies into the lake of fire. I lead a decent life, am a man of my word, give when I can, help when I can't, but I will be subjected to the same fate as a serial killer? At the same time another serial killer on death roll who murdered and ate dozens of people but professes and confesses 2 minutes before execution gets to go to Heaven? It's all circular logic and pretty much just jibberish to me!

Now to my point- Later yet in my life I tried to make sense of this all. I arrived at my own conclusion that our souls live numerous lifetimes and with each lifetime, we learn and mature. Like in school, if we don't learn what we're supposed to that year, we aren't moved up a grade and are bound to repeat that grade. In the context of this topic, we didn't learn so aren't promoted to the next life and must relive this one as many times as it takes until we do. Analogously speaking, when we graduate there are rewards to reap. So in this lifetime I have to learn patience, understanding, and to help my fellow man. I have to give and not expect back. I have to do and not keep score. I have to love although I'm not loved. I have to forgive and turn the other cheek.

Wait a minute, this is starting to sound like the teachings of the Christian bible! So... if there is a system of a maturing of the soul and you move forward with the good that you learn to do, why not just re-adopt Christianity? If I simply lead a good life and have a positive effect on the lives of others I move forward. If I congregate with others in a place of worship and refine the being within me I move forward. Even if the Father and the Son aren't the true masters of the universe, living my life according to their bible still moves me forward. And if the scriptures are right, I will have been saved anyway. Either way you don't lose right?

So what's stopping me you ask? See, one of the things I hate most is fake ess mf's. I can't profess with my mouth and not confess with my heart. According to the bible you can't fool God, and I don't want to try. An entity as great as he deserves more than what I have to offer. I am unworthy. While others' are out of the fear of dying, my following would only be out of faith that isn't real. Well, faith isn't real to begin with but I'd be forcing myself to be faithful which is doubly fake.

I do not mean to offend anyone with this thread. I'd like to hear your thoughts please. Perhaps it can help end the war in my head.

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BoostX said:
Tim, that's really an incomplete thought. :wink: Tell me what you're thinking.

Everyone's got their own demons to battle. This is mine.
I have never had religion as part of my life. I think my father dragged me to church once when I was 13 just to show me what it was all about, and I couldn't believe just how utterly stupid the experience was. It could have been just that particular church, as one bad experience isn't enough for me to paint all churches with the same brush. But still, I wasn't brought up with it, so I've never felt a desire to pursue it further.

I don't envy your position. Conflicting positions and/or ideologies are cause for a major shift in the actualization of your self. Right now you are vulnerable...and religious groups love to capitalize on this. Don't take the easy way out and let others "guide" you into doing something that you might not otherwise do.

More importantly than any of this, be good to yourself and to others. It is always better to be faithless than to be false. And by false, I am refering to those who live their life pretentiously under the guise of a faith, but really take nothing from it or contribute to it.
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Religion is the codified organization of cooperative societies.
Philosophy is the art of creating answers to life's unknowable questions.
Science is observable knowledge.

Religion=Accpetance of dogma in exchange for social acceptance.
Philosophy=Seeking rational explinations for the unobservable.
Science=Observation of repeatable events.

Humans are social animals that thrive upon community acceptance. To achieve accpetance some people subscribe to a "brand" of philosophy. Philosophy does not have to meet scientific criteria.

Faith is being able to accept non-scientific philosophy.

As for me, I draw from the teachings of all the world's philosophers. Largely they tell us to be kind, honest and fair.

From my own observations: Life is short and precious. Enjoy the very short time we have on this planet. Do not delay happiness.

Accept cultural diversity.

I am not so concerned with invisible sky buddies. Mine is just as good as yours. Yours is just as good as mine.

I know some religions require members to spread the word of their faith. I accept that. All I ask is that you accept that I may not be interested.

"God if you approve of my religious practices, make no sign what so ever." Homer Simpson

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Where does right and wrong come from? What's the definition of good and evil?

I am a Christian. I know where I believe it comes from. But I want to know where non-Christians get their definition. What is it that makes us cringe when we hear about someone who canibalizes other human beings, or rapes a 9-year old girl, or mass murders 6 million people?

And what is it that makes us think and reason intillectually? Where does the soul end and the body begin? There are a lot of questions. What is conciousness? There are a lot of questions that won't be answered.

I also think it's ridiculous to say that people are into "religion" or "faith" because of our social need for acceptance. If anything, I'm an outcast because I'm a Christian. I go to church every Sunday and I spend time with my Christian friends every once in a while. But I'm at work a LOT more often than I'm in church. I hang out with a lot more people who aren't Christians, who don't share my beliefs, who I really DON'T fit in with at all. And I'm not one of those people who do whatever just to fit in. I'm myself no matter where I am or who I'm with. And how you guys see me on this board is how I am in person, except that I talk MUCH less in person. I'd much rather sit by myself with no social interaction with anybody. I have severe social fears. I don't really care if I fit in or not. Maybe I'm one of the strange few. But I really don't care. I must be the most secure, insecure person in the world.

I have a really tough time trying to convince anybody of anything, and it's not my job to. All I can really do is be who I am, practice my beliefs, and if anybody finds that appealing and asks questions why I am the way I am, I can tell them. I don't go "cramming my religion down anyone's throat" but I certainly stand there while many people "cram their sports or politics or opinions down my throat." Bah, I'm just rambling. :roll:
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crxfisher said:
If anything, I'm an outcast because I'm a Christian.
Yep, you and all the other 900 million Christians are outcasts. Christianity has been marketing itself as the religion of outcasts from the begining. You may feel like an outcast in your micro-community, but in the larger scope of things you have plenty of company

Back when I was a Hippie, I wanted to be a non-conformist... just like everyone else.

You and your Christianity and my non-conformity are both methods to subscribe to an ethos that will define us as an individuals and allow accpetance by others at the same time. Ironic, isn't it?

Jay, oh trust me, no one can lure me into anything regarding religion. A Jehovah's witness or two never rang my door bell again because I talked them into a corner. (not bragging, just to make a point)

Scott, yep I know all too well that Church is most times just a social gathering for many people. It's where all their friends or family are so might as well go to hang out and catch up on the gossip. It's obviously much easier to say "I believe" than it is for me to type this. Some sin all week then repent on Sunday and the cycle is endlessly perpetual. Some actually do believe but could it just be out of the fear of Hell? And what if there was no promise of ever lasting life? What if God is just hopeful that you will serve him because he gave you life and for that gift you will offer your service out of the kindness of your heart? Will people still serve?

Sometimes I think religion is evil's greatest guise. Everyone knows about the catholic priests and have heard about money scams involving men holding high positions in the church. Heck, I've got stories (and they're not just stories) of my own about a rape taking place in the actual house of the Lord and money disappearing from the treasury. I will give no further detail other than that the church's membership broke up and that pastor is no longer the pastor.

At any rate, I know that if I went to church it should only be for me and God and no one else. And as I mentioned in my novel above, because I believe in this system of the maturing of the soul, would re-adopting the religion both serve the purpose of that maturation theory yet at the same time save my behind in case the scriptures are right?
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dohcrxl said:
Sometimes I think religion is evil's greatest guise.
You are onto something with that, Heu. I remember some quote to the effect that "good people will do good things, evil people will do evil things, but to get good people to do evil things, you need religion."

Non-religious people can have a moral compass. We don't get our morality from a holy book, or from someone's interpretation of one, or from a demagogue. We get it from looking at the nature of man and of the world, and thinking about what kind of world we want to live in. Here I've got to say the Golden Rule is a big part of that idea. It's only logical to generalize how you want to be treated, and treat others the same way.

Some people follow the Christian religion in order to "be on the safe side" in case there is a God. Well, how safe is that? We don't have any firsthand knowledge of what God wants; what if Christianity actually pisses him off? I think the best approach to being on the safe side is just to live a good life. That way, if there's no God, you have had a good life, if there's a just God, he will reward you with eternal life, and if there's an unjust God, well it probably doesn't matter much since he'll do whatever he's going to do!
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"The meaning of life" Is undoubtedly the hardest question to try and answer. There are a few ideas that I have though that I don't see many people confronting. Whether it's Christianity, Islam, Budism, Athiesm, or anything else you put in there. From a strictly "scientific" point of view there can only be only one ultimate truth. Even if that "ultimate truth" is that "all roads lead to Rome". I can't get it out of my head that the equation has a finite answer.

At some point whether it's on your death bed or at the moment you realize you aren't the center of the universe when you were a child, you will have made a choice. It's hard to talk about these things without sounding like a song lyric I know but we all wrestle with it at some point and some of us wrestle with it more than others.

Myself it has been a long struggle. I was raised with no religion whatsoever, but when I was introduced to the choice of heaven and hell at the furtile age of 13 I chose to repeat those words that the baptist told me would guarantee my name in the "book of life" and escape the nashing of teeth in hell. But during those years in high school where social acceptance involved many things that did NOT involve going to church or talking about God (at least not in my school) I had all but forgotten about it. Then when I was 20 or so I found myself asking the question again. I found that just about every album I had talked about this ultimate question no matter how miniscule. I started seeing it more and more. Of course now I realize that the age old question is everywhere.

But it was one night during that time in my early twenties that I had a dream. It was a reinactment of Gearge Burns in "Oh God You Devil" when the lead character looks out to the horizon and says "God if you're out there and you can do anything, then make the sun shine in the middle of the night" . In the movie he did. I woke at that moment and thought to myself that it was pretty strange and extremely vivid. I was wide awake now and couldn't sleep. So I opened the blinds on the large bedroom window and to this day I still find it profound that as I looked out in the middle of the night to the largest full moon and moon ring that I have ever seen, a jet airliner with perfect trails peirced that glowing orb and my heart at the same time.

Call it what you will. Subconcience guiding my 3rd eye to have the dream ect. or divine, it is moments like these that so many people describe as turning points in their lives (from all different "religions" too) . God seems to answer prayers for sinners and jihadist alike, then not answering prayers of the innocent. All that makes it all the more confusing. So unless you can turn that confusion into a positive, such as looking at it more like an adventure than a catastrophe, there will be no inner peace.

People often have a misrepresentation of the Christian God. Even if I am still "searching" you could say, I get irratated by misconceptions. Same way I would roll my eyes if I hear that a CRX will beat all Mustangs in a drag. If you want to make the most important decision in your life why would you educate yourself on the subject from a source clearly trying to oppose the belief in the first place? (as so many do) The only place I personally think is the clearest and most appropiate to base the possible future of your possible eternal soul would be the person supposedly reponsible for it in the first place. The bible says seek and you will find. Well if that is true then if a person spends enough time seeking God, that means one on one IMO, then you will find him at the end of the road. Even if you end up in Rome.
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Thanks to everyone who contributed or even just simply read my rambling allowing me to vent. A few more thoughts I'd like to share:

In a PM to someone here I wrote:

Thanks for taking the time and energy to compose that PM. I really do appreciate the extra effort. Just to give you a quick background reference on me, I spent 14 years in a Baptist church. Let me reassure you that my dilemma is not over whether there is a creator or not. I know there is one. Man did not come to be out of spontaneous mutation or generation. The intricacies in the human body simply cannot be traced back to single celled organisms no matter what any scientist says. We have a designer somewhere in this vast universe.

Anyway, I'm in a predicament where I don't know which way to go. To be honest with you, this is all a part of my grieving process over the loss of my son Justin. I'm telling myself that if there is anyway I can find some way to him again whether it's in the afterlife of any religion or simply by continuing being who I am, I have to find that way. The difficulty lies in my disbelief and distrust for all religions. I can't believe in something that does not fall in line with logic and reasoning and only requires faith.

While I'm being honest, let me also say that most times I really don't think there's a fair and just and ever-loving god. Like caged mice running a preset course, I feel we are an experiment with what now appears to be a crash course. Our designers made us a certain way and put us here on this Earth to see if we'd survive ourselves. -meaning if we could save us from us. And I don't think we will.

I also think that when we die it's like when you unplug the PC you're reading this on - it just goes dead and doesn't know that it is dead or that it once lived. Sad when you apply logic and reasoning to existence.

However, by the nature programmed into me, I persist in my quest for answers I know can't be. It's funny, sometimes I think the creators are concerned that I'm catching on to them. :lol: and :roll:
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Sometimes I think to myself about it like this...

We are all energy.. energy cannot be created or destroyed.. it only changes forms.. I am here now.. and I will be here later.. and when my physical shell cannot hold my energy any longer.. I will take another form and I will continue on.. I might not have the same conscience... I might not even know I existed in any other form.. But whatever becomes of me.. I know that In one shape or another I will continue.


All this serious talk is killing me!

But, I'll put my two cents in...

I've struggled with religion myself, but as I see it, I have some urge to be a good person, and I know right from wrong. So I'll do right to the best of my ability. The golden rule definitely applies.
Here is how I see things in my world.

Yes I call it my world, because this is my life and nobody else can live it. We all have a world of our own and each world is entertwined with everyone else's. I belive that all this was created by one divine being and that we were given the right to choose what path we walk in this gift that has been given to us. Be it becoming a man of the cloth, a downright crooked person, a martr, or like most of just the average joe.

Me I was raised in a Catholic home and raised on Catholic morals.(Thanks to my mom and dad) I went to Catholic schools and practiced the Catholic faith. While I still practice my faith, be it minimally. I do not think that organized religion was the way our creator intended things to be. As I catholic I am considered a cristian but so are methodists, baptists, and even quakers. By very defintion cristianity is just the belife in christ.

I don't think I need to go to church on sunday to be faithful. I simply just need to belive. I need only to lead my life the way god intended and pass along my belifes to my children. I Devote some of myself to those less fortunate than I.

In my opinion there is a differance in being religous and what I for lack of a better word will call spiritual.

A religious person in my opinion goes to church on sundays just to keep up apperances. And then goes home from work on monday nite and knocks around his wife and kids. I feel that the term religous is what people call them selves in order to make them look good when they put on their sunday charade.

Spiritual in my opinion is someone who lives the life as it was ment to be.(Walks the walk and Talks the talk) They know that life was a gift that was given to us and they cherish every minute of it. Good or bad.

I myself would consider my self to be a spiritual person. I belive in god, I teach my children to do the same. I have my flaws as anyone would, such as I like to drink but I'm not an alcoholic, I smoke and I know it's bad, and at times I can be vein. However I have accepted theese thing to be part of who I am and I don't let them define me by any means. I also give to charity, love my family, and work hard to succeed in this life and those are the things that define the person I am and the life I've led.

Just my opinions. So take them for what their worth
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:shock: an i thought it was just a place to chat bout the best shox or how to add 20 break to my crx.
Dohcrxl, (soz don't know your name) why are you at war with the things in your head? Why do you feel the need to offer anything? why should you? your contribution to the world is your enthusiasm for cars, which you share with others. Why should this have to be put into the context of religion. If you choose to believe in a high being, then do, if you choose not to, then do. Which ever path you choose to follow will be the right one for you because that is the decision that you have made. There is no right or wrong answer. If you choose to follow the christian faith then god will see that you have done so and think you wise and worthy. If you then continue to be kind to you fellow neighbour etc, then you will surely earn a place in heaven.
If on the other hand you choose to not follow the faith but continue to live your life in the same way then surely you will still be happy within yourself and be content with your lot, but in the end will simply die, be buried and become food for the worms and insects that live underground and give nutirants to the soil so that the trees and grasses may grow and produce oxygen for those still alive, your children perhaps,to breathe.

I personaly think that the question you are asking goes deeper. I think, if you are having a serious head issue then you need to sit down and ask yourself some questions about what it is you want from life, with or without god. Does a life without faith scare you? Do you feel the need to believe in god in order to live you life. Do you need that reasurence that when you die you will go to heaven and live forever?
Or is life more simple than that? Is it simply a case of you are born, you grow up wishing you were older than you are, cursing adults who know nothing about what its like to be a child, ranting about the injustice of life and how unfair it is to go to bed at 8. Then you hit 22-25 and wish that you were young and carefree, that you were at school with your mates, getting muddy in the fields or parks, trying to avoid the girls cos they are gross!! wasn't life so much simpler when you were younger? now you have bills and worries, now the youth of today is rude, obnoxious and knows nothing.
And then you grow old, you get wrinkly, you forget things, you wish you hadn't smoke so much pot behind the bike shed, or drank all that vodka. Now your retired and your main worry is getting to the toilet in time. And guess what the youth is still rude and obnoxious and know nothing. but one day they will be old and wrinkly just like you.

Every day people worry bout things that they consider to be important, do i have enough to pay the electicity bill this month, or do i have enough to get that induction kit i want. Do you really think that it matters to anyone else, these trivial things. I was lucky enough to be able to go traveling last year, whilst in Bali, Indonesia i witnessed children, of about 4 - 10 selling whistles over the new year period to celerbrate 2005. as they wandered down the street stoping the white people asking for money they parents wandered behind swigging beer and laughing. Now this raises and interestion question, is this right or wrong. They have found out that a small child is more likely to sell stuff than they are, that is human nature for you, we are a sucker for the cute stuff. So they sell these trinkets just so that they can put food on the table, or clothe they children. So are they right or wrong to use their children like this? it is child labour, should they not be running around, playing ball, swiming in the sea? but they need to eat right?
So while you sit there in your modified CRX, the cost of which could feed a family for a year or more, with your new induction kit that could pay for education for a child for a year, perhaps. just think, does it really matter that much whether there is a god or not. At the end of the day, you will die, you will be put in the ground to rot, and you will nourish the earth. So instead of worrying bout whether there is a higher deity out there. Why not do something that matters. donate to charity, help that old lady cross the road, what ever it is just make sure it makes a difference.

Cos there is only one certainty in life. how you get there and how much fun you have is totaly up to you.

If this doesn't make a lot of sense i'm sorry, but maybe it will to someone an maybe it will make a differene to the way they think and how they percieve the world. its huge, go see it and realise how lucky you are.

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My take on that is this:

If the whole purpose of life in this world is to begin, grow old, then die... Why should I care about helping old ladies cross the road? Why should I care about starving children? Why should I care about doing the right thing? If there is no God watching me, and there is no true purpose, then I should just do what I want to do, not care about anybody else, do what makes me "happy" and just live my life without thinking of anybody else but me.

Of course that's not at all how I live my life, partly because I do believe in something higher, a larger purpose. But I question why anybody who doesn't believe that, why do they care about anything other than themselves?
well said mark. you see my point, i think, if there was one.

If that were your purpose Tom then would you not be a very lonely and sad indevidual? Surely by helping the old lady accross the road you will feel something that you can only get from doing so. Call it what you will, that warm content feeling of knowing that you have helped someone, satisfaction, or quite simply, happiness. Part of being human is a need to feel, to see, to touch, to learn, that is what makes us human in the begining. My point is that i don't need to believe in a higher being in order to find happiness. I go through my life, hurting as few people as possible, helping as many as i can, and enjoying the feeling that i get from doing so. But whilst i do this i also know that when i was young i used to think that adults were stupid, and now that i am old enough to know better i wish i was young and carefree again, an i dread the day that i have to worry bout whether i will reach the toilet in time. But i don't need to believe in a god to do this. That is my point.

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Newfish said:
If you choose to follow the christian faith then god will see that you have done so and think you wise and worthy. If you then continue to be kind to you fellow neighbour etc, then you will surely earn a place in heaven.
It's not about Heaven or Hell because I don't believe in any of that. I cannot believe that a fair and just God would put me in a world of a hundred different gods then roast me for choosing the wrong god. An all powerful, ever loving, all knowing God wouldn't enforce such an incompetently devised system.

Does a life without faith scare you?
No, but an eternity without a reunion with my son does. Most of me believes when I die, I just become unplugged. Some of me believes there's a possibility there is something, an afterlife if you will, waiting. And if there's any chance I can get there, I must for my son might be there. Understand, as great of a father that I honestly think I was to Justin, I failed him miserably as a daddy for the second half of his decade long life. I cannot fail to see a way to him now. I think I've said this at one time but sometimes I feel like Justin is screaming at the top of his lungs "daddy daddy, I'm over here, you're going the wrong way, Jesus is the way to me." Then logic kicks in and tells me that Jesus wouldn't put Justin in a sound proof room then punish the both of us because I can't hear him.

Do you feel the need to believe in god in order to live you life. Do you need that reasurence that when you die you will go to heaven and live forever?
No, I don't need the promise of reward in order to do for God or anyone. This doesn't mean I will do for just anyone or that I've done for God, but of the few people that I have, I've told even fewer this: "Just because I help you today doesn't mean you are under any obligation to help me tomorrow. What I give you now is given to you from my heart. I will never hold it over your head and remind you in the future of it for any reason. If I do, you will know that my gift was impure at the time." (I will give no specific examples of who and how much for obvious reasons)... and believe it or not, this scares some people away. I don't know if it's because they think they could never feel the same way and thus are unworthy of my friendship, or that they take the true meaning of my words and flip it around to be, hey remember this day because you owe me. Regardless, I try not to go beyond that in explaining stuff like this to people. If they understand me, it will show in the end. If not, I'm still content with myself that at one time I helped ease someone's trouble and though it didn't fall back on me, perhaps it will be remembered later on in their life and fall on someone else. This isn't orchestric poetry. I didn't get it from a good book. I'm not regurgitating someone else's thoughts. It's just how I feel, believe or not if you will.

does it really matter that much whether there is a god or not. If this doesn't make a lot of sense i'm sorry, but maybe it will to someone an maybe it will make a differene to the way they think and how they percieve the world. its huge, go see it and realise how lucky you are.
I think that I do realize how lucky I am. I don't have to go see the world to know it. I have 10 fingers, 10 toes, no disabilities(besides frequent brain farts), a decent paying job, a side drive full of junk cars(still treasure to me), a wonderful girlfriend, a loving family, and my 2.9 year old son Joshua. Other things that tell me I'm a lucky man: I can see snow falling from the sky in 20/25 vision, when I press > on my cd player my eardrums are serenaded, I'm not being wheel around so I can go climb any tree in the state forest I want and sit there like a retard in single digit temps clutching my bow.
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Mark and Newfish, you both just demonstrated something I implied in my post. You both say you do good because it's the right thing to do. My point is, if there is no creator, there is no right or wrong, good or bad. Oh yeah, and I don't try to do good because I think God is watching me all the time. Usually I never think about it. Ok, I'm done with this post. Flame at will.
but why does there need to be a creator for there to be good or bad? I don't believe there is a good or a bad, only ones perception of what you think it to be. A murderer gains satisfaction and joy from murdering, does he think it is good or bad? I am merely saying that i don't need a god or higher being to know what it is in the world that makes me feel good about myself. Sometimes i am selfish, and that upsets people, i know this to be percieved as a bad thing by some, others probly don't care, but i don't need to be a christian to understand this.

Anyhow, this could go on forever, nice to have a slightly deeper thread though.

Dohcrxl, If i had known the reason for your brain fart, as you so aptly put it, i probly wouldn't have said anything. :?
i'm not a philosipher or someone who is really into the whole religion thing, these are mearly thoughts that appear as i read things, if that makes sense. I hope you find what you are looking for.

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