The Attractiveness of God: A Dream Review

Last night, I had a vivid dream. It was an emotional dream, and I could feel the effects of the dream when I woke up in the morning. My dream was about the attractiveness, the longing even, to believe in God. It is an incredibly emotional response, and something I know to be the result of so many years of indoctrination that my mind and body still react to.

In my dream, I was attending a funeral for someone — I’m not sure who — and my friends and family were surrounding me at the event. Everyone who was there was all filled with such emotion, such grief, pain, and angst. I was reaching out to hug and console some of them and I could genuinely feel their pain in my chest and heart. My acknowledgement of their pain didn’t seem to suffice, though. My head was telling me that what I was saying wasn’t good enough.There has to be more after death, I said to myself.

I thought to myself that the attendees who were telling my friends and family that this person was in a better place now or that the person was with God must be right — and they must know something that I don’t. I just can’t see it! Why can’t I believe anymore like they do? I so genuinely wanted to believe that this dead person moved on to some mystical and magical place called heaven. It just had to be true. It is an extraordinarily attractive thought, and one that Bible-believers play on constantly. There is more to life. One day, you will join God in Heaven and it is a beautiful place.

Some of you — particularly those who came from religion — might be able to relate to what I am saying. Despite having no concrete evidence aside from overwhelming feelings (appeal to emotion) and a lot believers (appeal to popularity), billions on our planet believe in this stuff. I think this speaks to the level of indoctrination and emotional pull these beliefs have. I am an emotional creature. I love to be loved and give love to others. I still struggle with the emotional pull and attractiveness of these thoughts.

Original post: http://www.logicalizer.com/the-attractiveness-of-god-a-dream-review/

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Comment by Luara on April 27, 2014 at 3:52pm

The Mark Twain story Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven has an appealing picture of Heaven.  It's very well done.

Comment by Mike Mitchell on April 27, 2014 at 10:58am

Thanks for the comments. I appreciate the feedback.

I'm not syaing that I want to believe in the concept of heaven. I don't. What I'm saying is that, having come from a religious background, there is still quite an emotional pull for me to believe it, regardless of how irrational and illogical it is. I have dreams about it from time to time, and it takes me back to a place in my life when I didn't question this stuff, a place where I could be blissfully ignorant, believing it was all true without much thought at all.

I think this speaks to two things: 1) the fact that we are highly emotional creatures and 2) that religious indoctrination can run deep in the psyche and can...to put it mildly...interfere with rational thought development in children. This is what happened to me. Regardless of how much I know it's all made up, I still deal with the psychological after-effects from time to time.

In my opinion what's worse is that the religious institutions know this and exploit the vulnerability of children without so much as a second thought. Teaching kids this bullshit quite simply interferes with normal cognitive and rational thought development. So my overall point is that I find it quite amazing that -- despite the fact that it is made up fairy tale stuff -- I still have these thoughts.

My overall hope is that the skeptical, rational, logical community grows larger than the religious and can save future generations of children from the same type of psychological damage. Once the damage is done to a developing mind, there is no permanent reversal, only mitigation.

I have personally sought out a therapist through the Secular Therapist Project, and have been working through these thoughts, which has been very helpful. For those of you who may be in a similar situation, I highly recommend this great service to help deal with the after-effects of religion.

Comment by Vincent on April 24, 2014 at 5:42pm

Phew. Powerful stuff. But I can't relate to this concept/concern in specific as I never wanted to believe in a personal God necessarily. Nonetheless I can relate to the yearning for something more.

Comment by Future on April 23, 2014 at 2:05pm
So deep down inside you want to believe in the concept of heaven? Have you thought this desire out to its logical conclusions yet? Theists fail to do so, instead they just like to wallow around in the sweet goodness of the thought of arriving in a beautiful afterlife upon demise from earth.

Such a place would be wonderful, on day one, and day ten, and day 500. What about on day 5,000? Is it still the paradise it was on day one? What about on day 5,000,000? How about day 5,000,000,000,000,000? That's like over thirteen hundred trillion years into the afterlife future, and it's still only a drop in the bucket in comparison to eternity, which, if you were to believe what theists claim, is how long your journey in heaven will last.

Be careful what you wish for. I wouldn't wish eternal existence on my worst enemy, I don't care how nice the accommodations are. If there is a reward for souls of virtuous people upon their death, it should involve the opposite of what heaven is touted to be - the opportunity to come back as someone or something else, not to remain locked into your own mind with no ability to end your own existence.
Comment by Craig on April 23, 2014 at 10:08am

Attending college I usually entertained several friends well into the night. They tended to start leaving by ten but my best friend and I could chill all night. A lot of times he slept on the bed roll I kept under my bed cause he lived so far away and the commute was killing him. Well one night he gets a call from work, they need him to fill in or something. I did not catch the whole reason and never will. He never made it home that night, my buddy was found in his truck at the bottom of a hill on it's top. Though I would never demand him to do anything I thought that if I had insisted that he stay he would still be alive. Wishing and wishful thinking I can assume is part of the process, but no matter how I tried I continued to blame myself. I was the last person to see him alive. I hear of a Doors song close my eyes and can imagine that he is right there. However he's not, my old friend is dead and there will never be a replacement or copy that could ever fill fill his place. 

Life is not pretty or nice. It's as grey as a NY sky and we must take the good with the bad. I cannot identify with your theism issue but I tell you that if such a thing happens to you, your brain will attempt to reconcile whatever happened with all the tools and wishful thinking that you have provided it.

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