Author Topic: What I've come to appreciate  (Read 3021 times)

Amicale

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What I've come to appreciate
« on: May 18, 2012, 03:48:02 AM »
I thought I would start a list of things I really appreciate about being a skeptic. I understand that never-theists may not have anything to compare to, having never been religious, but I think all of us still have at least some of this is common. If anyone wants to add anything to this, please go right ahead.

1. I appreciate being able to think and make my own choices for my own life, without worrying about how my thoughts and actions will make a deity feel, and without worrying about whether or not I've fallen out of that deity's good graces.

2. I appreciate the world around me so much more: how intricate it is, how beautiful some parts of it are, and how valuable and precious, yet fleeting, all of it is. We walk a tightrope every day between being alive or not. Knowing that we have each and every day to live in makes me want to make the most of it, to the best of my ability.

3. I appreciate knowing for sure that when I love someone or do something kind for them, I'm feeling it or doing it out of my own volition, not because anything or anyone supernatural has asked me to, or required me to.

4. I appreciate each and every person I've come to care about even more, since becoming an atheist. It's funny how that worked out, but a huge part of me stopped taking any of them for granted because I realized that what we have now is it, so the communities and relationships I'm a part of take on a deeper meaning for me.

5. I appreciate the way I'm able to see how the world works. I can't even begin to understand all of the science, the history, the discoveries... but I really am in awe of it all, and I love learning about it. When I stopped assuming that God just put us here, that's when I started to realize how absolutely amazing it is that we're even here at all. It's like we won a cosmic lottery.

6. When I see hurting, pain and suffering, I appreciate knowing that humans alone are responsible for it; both for causing it, and being part of the solution to end it. I can deeply appreciate and take comfort in the fact that we're here for one another, to get through the best and worst days of our lives together, and to reach out to those in need. I appreciate the responsibility that brings, as well as the opportunities and the possibility of joy when I do something small to help a bit.

7. I appreciate finally having some of the pain go away. I no longer need to blame God, beg God, or question God. One of the biggest causes of pain in the life of a sincere theist is wondering why God does nothing to help those who need help the most. Understanding that there is nobody to blame, beg or question balances my perspective more than I thought was possible, and I appreciate that.

8. I appreciate joy, laughter, and all of the little ordinary moments that make life worth living. Sometimes they're rare moments, but since I started living my own life, taking responsibility for my own choices and thinking for myself, I've had more and more of those moments.

9. I appreciate not feeling alone. The more people and friends I speak to, the more I've come to appreciate sharing my ideas in common with them, and getting past a lot of the empty lonely feeling. I've been able to have fun, to exchange thoughts, to learn new things from the people I've come to meet as a skeptic who I may never have met, had I stayed a theist.

10. I appreciate how hard people work to take care of others, particularly our doctors, nurses, health care teams in general, teachers, caregivers, etc. It seems to me that when the incentive people have is to look after and care for people because it's the right thing to do, for its own sake... everyone benefits.


"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others. By every crime and act of kindness we birth our future." - Cloud Atlas

"To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is to never die." -Carl Sagan

Hector Valdez

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2012, 04:00:24 AM »
Well. I'm much more glad to be alive. Being terrified of death wouldn't quite describe it. But I want to live.

Stevil

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 06:19:19 AM »
but since I started living my own life, taking responsibility for my own choices and thinking for myself, I've had more and more of those moments.
This is an interesting one. Would you consider being a theist that you didn't do those things?
- That you were living a life god had destined for you
- That you had delegated responsibility to your spiritual advisors
- That you were dependant on others to do your thinking for you, or just simply did as you were told or expected to.

Look back your perspective must be much different to when you were there, living it.

I'm sure AD and Bruce would be offended if we told them they were doing this (those three bullet points I listed)

Amicale

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 12:09:08 PM »
but since I started living my own life, taking responsibility for my own choices and thinking for myself, I've had more and more of those moments.
This is an interesting one. Would you consider being a theist that you didn't do those things?
- That you were living a life god had destined for you
- That you had delegated responsibility to your spiritual advisors
- That you were dependant on others to do your thinking for you, or just simply did as you were told or expected to.

Look back your perspective must be much different to when you were there, living it.

I'm sure AD and Bruce would be offended if we told them they were doing this (those three bullet points I listed)

Sorry Stevil, not quite sure I follow yet :) but I chalk that up to my own tiredness.

So, are you asking, would I consider being a theist if I didn't appreciate joy, laughter, and all of the little ordinary moments that make life worth living? Or, would I be a theist if I wasn't living a life god destined for me, if I didn't delegate authority, etc? Also, not sure what AD and Bruce would be offended at, yet. My apologies. I'll check back here later, maybe it'll make more sense then.  :D (in this case when I say 'it's not you, it's me', I'm pretty sure I mean it!)


"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others. By every crime and act of kindness we birth our future." - Cloud Atlas

"To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is to never die." -Carl Sagan

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 01:17:37 PM »
I appreciate all those points, Amicale, and then some.

I appreciate being born from my mother and father. Experiences; they  molded me, not a diety, not fate, not a zodiac animal.


I appreciate not being susperstisious. That i can be worry free from ridiculous guilt. I can know that even though i really miss my mom,  she isnt looking down at me from some cloud .

I can seriously appreciate science, and look in awe at how far humankind has come, without the help of a diety. :)
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Amicale

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 05:04:35 PM »
but since I started living my own life, taking responsibility for my own choices and thinking for myself, I've had more and more of those moments.
This is an interesting one. Would you consider being a theist that you didn't do those things?
- That you were living a life god had destined for you
- That you had delegated responsibility to your spiritual advisors
- That you were dependant on others to do your thinking for you, or just simply did as you were told or expected to.

Look back your perspective must be much different to when you were there, living it.

I'm sure AD and Bruce would be offended if we told them they were doing this (those three bullet points I listed)

As I suspected, reading it again later once I was less tired helped.  ;D

When I was a theist, I did appreciate joy, laughter, and the little moments that make life worth living, sure. But now, I enjoy them even more than I did back then. :) And while as a theist to some degree I did take responsibility for my choices and thought for myself to some degree, it was limited. I can't speak for Bruce or AD, I'm sure their experiences as theists are different than mine was.

The Church I used to subscribe to was about as traditional as you can get. Obedience to the Pope, to the Magisterium (Church law basically), to 'Tradition', to scripture, and to all sorts of random customs was expected. Anything you said or did was 'your choice', provided that it agreed with Church teaching or at least accepted the Church as the ultimate authority even if you privately disagreed. It was a 'father knows best' mentality in all senses of the word.

So yes, when I was Christian, I did believe I was living to the best of my ability the way God wanted me to, but I also believed I was a horrible failure at it. I was caught in a vicious circle of trying so hard to conform to what I thought I needed to be, and then falling off that wagon, just for asking questions or being myself. Then coming back, repentant, again and again, only to fall off again. It was awful. Who I was wasn't allowed. Who I loved wasn't allowed. The questions I asked weren't allowed.

So, while I certainly tried as hard as I could to be what I thought I needed to be... I sucked at it.  ;) Nobody can tell me I didn't try hard enough, though.

Later, when I was out of the entire thing, and looking back on it from the outside for the first time... I thought to myself "how much effort did I utterly WASTE on this?  :o "

Now though, I am much happier. There's a certain freedom to be had when you know that nobody's looking over your shoulder, nobody's throwing you into a state of mortal sin, nobody's threatening excommunication, nobody's after you because you failed them, simply by being yourself. I can enjoy life day to day with my friends and loved ones. The choices I make are mine. I really appreciate that.


"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others. By every crime and act of kindness we birth our future." - Cloud Atlas

"To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is to never die." -Carl Sagan

Amicale

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 05:07:34 PM »
I appreciate all those points, Amicale, and then some.

I appreciate being born from my mother and father. Experiences; they  molded me, not a diety, not fate, not a zodiac animal.


I appreciate not being susperstisious. That i can be worry free from ridiculous guilt. I can know that even though i really miss my mom,  she isnt looking down at me from some cloud .

I can seriously appreciate science, and look in awe at how far humankind has come, without the help of a diety. :)

Very well put, SD. :)

I especially understand the being worry-free from ridiculous guilt, although in all honesty I still have some of that lingering that I've tried to get rid of for years. But it took over a decade to build, I know it can't just be undone in the matter of a couple years.

And about the science... man, I'm growing to love it more and more. I'd even go so far as to say that humankind's come this far without the help of a deity, and despite the insistence people have on bringing the idea of one into the field of science.


"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others. By every crime and act of kindness we birth our future." - Cloud Atlas

"To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is to never die." -Carl Sagan

Crow

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2012, 05:22:08 PM »
Must be an interesting experience going from a theist to an atheist. Many of the points I just can't relate to because they require a a prerequisite of a belief in a god of some sort before arriving at atheism.
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Amicale

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2012, 05:26:02 PM »
Must be an interesting experience going from a theist to an atheist. Many of the points I just can't relate to because they require a a prerequisite of a belief in a god of some sort before arriving at atheism.

Must be an equally interesting experience, never becoming a theist and never having that as a central reference point in your life. :)

It really does turn your thought process into a confusing mess.

If we're all dead wrong about an afterlife existing and we can come back as something else, remind me to come back as something entirely non-complicated yet serene, like an eagle or a tree.  :D


"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others. By every crime and act of kindness we birth our future." - Cloud Atlas

"To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is to never die." -Carl Sagan

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 05:27:16 PM »
Must be an interesting experience going from a theist to an atheist. Many of the points I just can't relate to because they require a a prerequisite of a belief in a god of some sort before arriving at atheism.

Yes, I suspect it's hard to appreciate the sincere fear and guilt that often accompany a religious upbringing, or the relief of casting it off, if you've never had that.

Mostly, I appreciate that my life is my own.  Taking responsibility for it makes me want to do a better job of it.

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2012, 05:28:12 PM »
So yes, when I was Christian, I did believe I was living to the best of my ability the way God wanted me to, but I also believed I was a horrible failure at it. I was caught in a vicious circle of trying so hard to conform to what I thought I needed to be, and then falling off that wagon, just for asking questions or being myself. Then coming back, repentant, again and again, only to fall off again. It was awful. Who I was wasn't allowed. Who I loved wasn't allowed. The questions I asked weren't allowed.

So, while I certainly tried as hard as I could to be what I thought I needed to be... I sucked at it.  ;) Nobody can tell me I didn't try hard enough, though.

I'm curious...may I ask for an example (or examples if you don't mind) of what you were working hard at doing but couldn't...asked of God?

Amicale

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2012, 05:31:18 PM »
So yes, when I was Christian, I did believe I was living to the best of my ability the way God wanted me to, but I also believed I was a horrible failure at it. I was caught in a vicious circle of trying so hard to conform to what I thought I needed to be, and then falling off that wagon, just for asking questions or being myself. Then coming back, repentant, again and again, only to fall off again. It was awful. Who I was wasn't allowed. Who I loved wasn't allowed. The questions I asked weren't allowed.

So, while I certainly tried as hard as I could to be what I thought I needed to be... I sucked at it.  ;) Nobody can tell me I didn't try hard enough, though.

I'm curious...may I ask for an example (or examples if you don't mind) of what you were working hard at doing but couldn't...asked of God?

Sure, you can ask. :) I'll get back to you either in this thread or in a PM later, when I have a bit more time. I hesitate to share too much on an open board, really. It's not that I did anything horrible, but my personal life being personal, and all that. :)


"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others. By every crime and act of kindness we birth our future." - Cloud Atlas

"To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is to never die." -Carl Sagan

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 05:34:00 PM »
Sure, you can ask. :) I'll get back to you either in this thread or in a PM later, when I have a bit more time. I hesitate to share too much on an open board, really. It's not that I did anything horrible, but my personal life being personal, and all that. :)

Got it.  :)

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2012, 05:57:11 PM »
Must be an equally interesting experience, never becoming a theist and never having that as a central reference point in your life. :)

It really does turn your thought process into a confusing mess.

If we're all dead wrong about an afterlife existing and we can come back as something else, remind me to come back as something entirely non-complicated yet serene, like an eagle or a tree.  :D

Even the idea of a god is a peculiar idea to me, it's why I'm so interested in religion because it's (Preemptive warning:no offense anyone) totally mental, and the more I read about the subject the crazier I think it is, the only type I don't consider to be nuts is the deistic concept.

I was about 14 when I realised people actually believed the bible and in a god, I had always thought they were more moral stories such as those by brothers grim and other various fairy tails but not as good, and I never had the "god says you must do this" people around me growing up or even heard anybody say that they believed in a god prior to that.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 03:18:09 AM by Crow »
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Sweetdeath

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2012, 08:01:22 PM »
Grimm fairy tales kick the bible's ass. :)
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Wiggum:"You have that much faith in me, Homer?"
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“I was thinking that perhaps this thing called God does not exist. Because He cannot save any one of us. No matter how we pray, He doesn’t mend our wounds.