Hello everyone. Thank you for welcoming me to the group.

 

On Jan. 19 I started a discussion in the "Water Cooler" section of the forum here on atheistnexus.org. There haven't been any responses yet, and although it hasn't been a terribly long time, I thought I would inquire with the members of this group, since I was invited, with some questions.

 

What's the etiquette around these parts for "bumping" a message if it falls by the wayside? Is this acceptable at all? If so, is 11 days a sufficient enough wait time before one could feel okay commenting on his/her own message in order to bring it back in front of the community's eyes?

 

Maybe the questions I asked were too personal, uninteresting, or offensive. Maybe you could comment on this.

Here was the body of text:

 

Title: Emotional magnitude...

 

Among those of you who have at some point in your lives held religious beliefs to any extent, have you ever found the full acceptance of mortality since to bring with it a stronger emotional response? For instance, do you find the feeling of terror and sadness that accompanies watching a documentary about the holocaust, say, to be exceedingly more harsh since you've become disillusioned? Or do you feel a much greater need to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you? This is something that I'm experiencing, and at times it can be overwhelming. I'm not saying I remember these feelings being weak or short-lived when I was "a believer", but they feel orders of magnitude greater now. I'm curious if I'm not alone. Any comments are welcome.

 

As my own critic, I shouldn't have worded it in such a way that assumed the reader would have "fully accepted mortality". I'll state here now, though, that when my mind ventures down that extension of logic, I sometimes feel a heavier emotional weight, and that that was all I was trying to convey.

 

One final thing. Please tell me if this group is not the place for this type of discussion! =)

 

Anyone's comments on any of this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Views: 57

Replies to This Discussion

Yes, I enjoyed your tease. I also know I take up the sword easily.
You said: "it's always nice to know there are people out there who care". I get so much comfort in that realization.

In your original statement: "I'm not saying I remember these feelings being weak or short-lived when I was "a believer", but they feel orders of magnitude greater now. I'm curious if I'm not alone. Any comments are welcome."

I've given your question a lot of thought since you wrote it; your words generate at echo for me. I'm not sure what I think, but for me, perhaps it was "pray" and someone or thing will swoop down and take the burden off my shoulders. Without those magic words, I have to respond, even as the millions of suffering people are huge. To me, I can't respond millions of times but I can look at the institutions that maintain and perpetuate our comfort zone by a simple word of "pray". Life is more complex than that and a simple word is just not enough.

Good points.  Thanks for raising them, and others have certainly responded more eloquently than I will, I'm sure.  Currently I'm in a situation where I am likely to lose my wife to cancer at some point within the coming year, after a 'struggle' of some four years duration now.  As Christopher Hitchens has said regarding his own dilemma, are we to give up the convictions of a lifetime now simply because the wolf is actually at the door?  No.  And actually, having come out of a religious "quest" - let us say - of some thirty years duration, I can say for myself that I am feeling stronger and more honest about these realities as someone who has now confidently discarded the supernatural crutch.  A feeling of being more honest with myself, I would say ... more clear-minded and accepting of the plain facts of life.  We are disappointed, sure.  But that is life, as they say ... and I must admit that it focuses the mind and allows you to savour every moment, every day, every shared pleasure between the two of us over things that are understood between just us two in a common language.  Don Henley once said in a lyric that if you find somebody to love in this world you better hang on tooth and nail ... the wolf is always at the door.  A simple truth, sure; and once the hurdle has been crossed, I will always be grateful and appreciative of the life we shared together for that time period we had.  I feel strong in my anti-theist conviction now, grateful too, I really do ... and with a shared community I am also bolstered with the knowledge that it is okay, it WILL be alright in time, the healing hands of time.

These are just some musings off the top of my head. These realities of life do not frighten me any more.  In fact, I would say that a spiritual (as in theist) viewpoint in a situation like the one I am facing would probably bring an unspoken, underlying fear, or at least a feeling of less certainty to the suface.   It sounds contradictory perhaps, but I think I'd be less at ease about my impending future if I WAS a believer.

 

Hope this makes sense and is a contrbution to your topic and discussion.

 

Best regards,

 

Timothy Hitchner,

Vancouver, British Columbia.

 

Timothy, beautifully written, clearly from your heart, even as the future is unknown and unknowable: when? I hear your pain of pending loss, and I suspect a harrowing four years, filled with hope for full recovery, to realization that this disease is real and permanent. My sincere care to you and your wife. May each moment of each day be a treasure to you both.

  Kind of you to say.  Appreciated.  I did have a sense this morning that ultimately everything will still be alright somewhere down the line.  I had (and to some extent still do) this feeling that for this to be happening now takes the natural flow of things, the proper timeline, and turns it upside down.  Its all screwed up, having to in a sense 'start over' again at this late stage in life when we should be gradually slowing down together, growing old together.  Now that can't happen for this particular couple (as I talk about myself in the third person) and for me to basically be having a clean slate handed to me again does not feel in any way correct or proper.  If I was in my 20s, say, it wouldn't be as disconcerting or disruptive, or at least not presenting a problem that was upsetting the natural flow of life and the ageing process so much.  Another example of what I mean by that is the fact that my wife's family are Gujarati Indian merchants who settled in Fiji, and have a large, extended family in those small islands, although now many have re-settled in Australia, NZ, and parts of the U.S. and Canada too.  She has a couple older brothers who have since passed away recently as well under health-related circumstances, and her nearing ninety-year-old mother has had the displeasure of now seeing herself outliving some of her children.  This is what I mean by saying that everything seems to be to some extent now getting viewed through the wrong end of the telescope. 

 

  Having said that, I do feel that my atheistic worldview provides me with the tools I need to not only 'cope' but in fact to take it beyond merely coping.  I gives a wide-awake and honest opportunity to refuse the solace of illusions.  I come back to Christopher Hitchens again, who said something recently to the effect that one has to be able to choose their future regrets.  I think we are able to face these situations like sober adults, using the tools that are right there for us; the company of good like-minded friends, literature that discusses, dissects and gives, if not answers directly, then a platform where we work amongst ourselves to understand our predicament ... what we call life in all its many shades of color and nuance.

 

  Nobody said it was going to be easy ... at least not to me anyway, and even though the pill is a bitter one to swallow, you know what? I really do have a feeling that community and thought and tools like literature, art, music, science, reason and probably several other things I can't think of right now are all there to be ingested and exploited ... but in a good sort of way.

 

  Thanks for your support.

 

  Timothy Hitchner,

  Vancouver, British Columbia.

One of the reasons I like to read Buddhist material is because there are simple teachings that make sense to me and they work when I try them. "Live in the moment" is one.

Facing hardships, such as you and your wife face, although grim and serious, provide treasures you would not recognize otherwise. May you find joy, peace and comfort in the small things.

Timothy,

 

Your words have definitely contributed uniquely. I'm going to need to take a little extra time to reread your posts because you're giving accounts of feelings as they're unfolding. I didn't expect to hear from someone in a situation like this.

 

Thank you, and I wish for you, your wife, and both your families and friends, the best possible.

Well, for what it's worth I have seen ghosts. Several of my friends have. I don't have to be religious (and unless your deffinition of the term religion can do a cartwheel through a strip club I'm not) I am a very scientific individual. I have seen ghosts. Not a religious experience. Simply a phenomena. There is 'something' that goes down with your consiousness post corps. I would suggest that you are being emo and weak hearted to so embrace the null post life equation. Ten thousand religions and growing scientific evidence cannot be wrong post life continuance is a reality.

:cough: 'full acceptance of morality' *thats what the post was about? :uh: right?

cool, no. I consider giving my peeple the strait skinny a superior moral answer to crying for dead spartans, jews, or niponese. The vast majority of those that have ever lived are dead and is it more dreadful or tragic to say that someone died from an incurable illness or that they were cut down in a dirty street for insulting a noble person. Casualties of war wrench my heart less than the imagery of the callous slaughter of peasants. Thank (its a vapid expresion) god we as a society of earth have at least moved past believing that simply because one is landed we have the right to execute anyone who is not.

But to really answer you 'Emotional Magnitude' question.

Nah. I may be a terrible example, but I have never been terribly religious. I used to pander myself as an anti-christ cause I thought it was funny. I eat prok, and I don't go to church less I'm bored, it's a wedding, or I'm on a date. People being cruel to each other is wrong. All the way from beating a dog to bombing a city.

As far as "fully accepted morality" is concerned.. I thing Bill and Ted said it best..

"Be Excellent to each other" and anything less ..well ..nuf said.
I love the story of Sequoia, the Cherokee Indian who, during the civil war, observed men receiving leaves that made them laugh or cry or tell stories. Sequoia called these "talking leaves". By watching the soldiers and looking at the leaves he began to recognize that this was written language. He developed an alphabet and words that he and his daughter could write and read. He claimed he could write ... no one believed him, so he and his daughter set up a demonstration with the soldiers and either Sequoia or his daughter taking down what amounts to dictation of a story. The other was brought in to decipher the text. He then became known as the creator of a written language.

I, too, have seen what one could call "ghosts". I have also had premonitions that came true. Are these imagination? or a parallel universe? I don't know, and it really doesn't matter because there are a lot of things in this universe that I do not understand. Electric power is one example; people didn't know the energy was there until someone developed the technology. I love stories of the paranormal and perceive them as entertainment. Perhaps one day I will see evidence that is compelling.

I very much like your statement, "Be Excellent to each other". Go for it.

I would suggest that you are being emo and weak hearted to so embrace the null post life equation. Ten thousand religions and growing scientific evidence cannot be wrong post life continuance is a reality.

 

I would suggest you refrain from ad hominem or else consider yourself unworthy of discourse in my mind.

 

"Ten thousand religions" could be, and probably are, wrong about many things. This "growing scientific evidence" I would be interested to see.

 

:cough: 'full acceptance of morality' *thats what the post was about? :uh: right?

 

That's mor[t]ality.

 

Would you like a cough drop?

 

 

I'll take that :erp::blink: well, managed to stumble onto the right topic :ha:

I refer to the 'paranormal' shows that are becoming common. Ghost Hunter's comes to mind. Now, before you jump directly the suggestion that I am falling into a trap of major TV and such, 'its all entertainment' and all that Jazz I have seen these things. That's all the science, I need.

Well then, the James Randi Foundation has a million dollars for you then, as long as you can get someone to confirm it for you.

 

I have been with people who have saw ghosts. While I was there. They were simply wrong. It was not ghosts...spirits, whatever you want to call it. Sorry. And I realize I won't be able to convince you otherwise any more than I would one claiming "god" talked to them. They too really believe it. And that's fine. Just saying, this may not be the site for you then. In fact, to prove my point, try starting a specific discussion here on Origins, for those not following this particular thread, and see what the consensus is on the "after life". 

Rudy :roll: you really expect to be able to come to a consensus regarding the afterlife with nothing more than a gang of forum trolls? Our egos regenerate and we are never shy on words to support them! Gahh! I, ya know, joined this community so I could have frank conversations that are not going to be sidelined with 'no, yur wrong go somewhere else stupid..stupid..stupid head!' or the like. I stated my experiences. I stated my conclusions based on my experiences. That conclusion is 'there is something that happens to your self post corpse. Did I say Jehovah was going to harvest your soul like the grim? Did I say you were going to be condemned to hell? No, I said.. Something, is most likely going to happen based on my seeing things. I have seen ghosts four times. Each situation was a bit different. You wound my nonthiest sensibilities claiming that you cannot with the full excellence of your rational mind convey to me at the very least the idea of what you think I should understand. I have by the by sat with a friend and talked to them about my 'god doesn't talk' assertion. I don't think a being that is better described as 'the universal all' talks to anyone.

I am not resorting to some strange mystacism. I have never performed strange rituals to summon down beings from the ether (wait, scratch that I have but didn't work, and that's not what I'm talking about .. Fun party though) what I am getting here is the flipside of regular religiosity. Religious folk have no doubts that ghosts/afterlife exist. They say 'go to church' and on more than one occasion tried to banish/excersize the ..whatever.. off of me. Apparently me+churchies=10000€ … somebody call James Randi and tell him I'm the guy he is looking fo.

The 'no discussion your a delusional crackpot' sentiment is no less religious in nature. It's not scientific to say ghosts don't exist. It's scienntific to say 'I don't know' you saying 'they were simply wrong' tells me that you refuse to believe in ghosts. Your worldview doesn't allow it Rudy, because ghosts…spirits are part of the 'religious world' and you, are not. To be honest, I consider that equvalent to fanatasism. Without rational grounds or scientific evidence to support your predetermined claim.. You assert it with greater vigor than Einstien did that time and space are one.

ithat is anti-thiesm, not atheism. I am nothing more than a man being told what his failings are. 'I cannot be learned' … 'I must be a psycho who is also delussional' … try me?

hell start a thread if you want to. Call it 'why ghosts arnt real' and I will join the discussion. I am not 100% certain of what goes on when the electrical field generated by your corpse ceases to support your larger energetic state. I do however feel reasonably certain that something happens. Finally, considering my actual faith I was raised in says that 'the dead' are a, in heaven b, in hell or c, locked in their bodies until the one true lord and savior shows up to collect them.. I have a hard time understanding how my religious upbringing brainwashed me into seeing a ghost sharing a bottle of whiskey with a homeless person. When I say ghost I mean dead person. If I see a dragon or a pixie tomorrow, I'll let you know.

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