Author Topic: What I've come to appreciate  (Read 2993 times)

Amicale

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2012, 06:06:27 AM »
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. :)

OK, so without getting into much of a theological argument (not the scope of this thread, really) and without getting too personal (I'd just prefer not to), I'll say this:

When I was a Christian, I believed God had certain standards he held his followers to. Mostly avoiding sin of all types, being holy, denying yourself and following God, being unlike the world and being conformed to Christ, etc. More specifically, I believed that my faith as well as the Bible made it fairly clear that certain types of sin separated you from God. AD, I'm sure you can think of a list of the 'mortal' (ie, bigger) sins - who you choose to love, how you choose to act, etc.

I never had a problem helping others and trying to be a decent person, although I generally did that because I wanted to, not because I was commanded to. Where I always felt like I fell flat on my face was living up to the 'moral' and intellectual standards I believed at the time that God had set for his followers - the instructions in both the OT and the NT on how one was to conduct one's self, who someone was supposed to associate with, who someone was not to fall in love with, how you were to believe on faith but not sight, etc. I believe I sincerely made a steady, ongoing attempt to TRY to buy into what the Bible told me I had to do and be, but in reality, I never could buy into it. I was (and am) myself. And that's inherently a person who is different than what the Bible says someone ought to be.

I couldn't change, although for a long, long time, I tried. I had serious doubts and serious questions, but "good Christians" were supposed to silence their objections and try harder to have faith. I grew increasingly unhappy, the harder I tried to be someone I wasn't, and the harder I tried to ignore the doubt and disbelief I'd started to feel. It got to the point where I had serious concerns I was trying to live a lie, and I didn't respect myself for that, at all. I kept apologizing to God for being myself. Which I just see as sad, now, honestly. If you can't be yourself, who can you be?

So, that's about it, really. In the end, as a non-theist now, I can at least say that I am who I am and for the first time in my life, I'm entirely comfortable in my own skin. I know now that it's OK to doubt, to question, to think critically, to make my own moral and personal decisions, and to live my life in the way I know I need to live it. There's a sense of freedom I have now that I never had before.

Hope that helps, because I think that's all I've got. :)


"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

Sandra Craft

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2012, 07:15:09 AM »
I thought I would start a list of things I really appreciate about being a skeptic.

What I appreciate most is things making sense. 

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?

Not Ami, but I'll answer this one too because it's easy: I couldn't believe that the god being described to me was real.
Sandy

  

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Ali

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2012, 03:52:00 PM »
I kept apologizing to God for being myself. Which I just see as sad, now, honestly. If you can't be yourself, who can you be?


(((Ami)))  Even though I'm an atheist, one of my favorite colloquialisms is "If ______ had the good sense god gave a billy goat, he would __________"  Allow me to use that now.  If god had the good sense god gave a billy goat, he would see you for the treasure you are.  Assuming god were real, of course.

Sweetdeath

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2012, 04:35:14 PM »
Sorry you had to go through that, Ami.
There's nothing worse than people feeling that there is something wrong with them, because o f a dusty old fairy tale book. I'm glad  you're an ex-theist now.
Law 35- "You got to go with what works." - Robin Lefler

Wiggum:"You have that much faith in me, Homer?"
Homer:"No! Faith is what you have in things that don't exist. Your awesomeness is real."

“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.

Amicale

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2012, 04:47:04 PM »
Thanks, ladies. :) (((Ali and SD)))

It's funny, I've been a non-theist for a good long while now (the better part of a few years), and sometimes it still feels like someone invisible's watching my every move, judging what I do, think, and say.  :D I know that sounds odd and silly. I know that's not the case, and I'm happy about that. Theists would probably say that God IS doing those things, but I don't believe that to be the case. I've come to appreciate that there are very natural, explainable, scientific reasons for why I sometimes feel like I do. Most of all, I appreciate the fact that I was able to break the cycle and move on with my life, and appreciate it for what it is: a finite, unique, precious time (like we all have) that I'm going to make the most of. :)


"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

kitty

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2012, 08:20:42 AM »

sometimes it still feels like someone invisible's watching my every move, judging what I do, think, and say.  :D I know that sounds odd and silly. I know that's not the case, and I'm happy about that. Theists would probably say that God IS doing those things, but I don't believe that to be the case. I've come to appreciate that there are very natural, explainable, scientific reasons for why I sometimes feel like I do. Most of all, I appreciate the fact that I was able to break the cycle and move on with my life, and appreciate it for what it is: a finite, unique, precious time (like we all have) that I'm going to make the most of. :)

i totally understand, this is how i feel sometimes too, and it feels really odd to admit.
i've found becoming and atheist (as it were) really very freeing. the world is so much more intricate and fascinating now i'm not in with the 'intelligent designer' brigade.
it wasnt just all plonked here for fun.
awesome.

in the beginning i had worried that i, as a mere human being, would go a little off the rails with my new found freedom. i worried that without someone watching me from above i'd start doing what i want when i want, selfish things which affect other people. but i havent. in fact its made me (i think) kinder, more selfless and much more open to other people's opinions, because, lets face it, this is all the time we get.
so good to read someone's story and it make soooo much sense.
Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? (Douglas Adams)

Amicale

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2012, 02:23:45 PM »

sometimes it still feels like someone invisible's watching my every move, judging what I do, think, and say.  :D I know that sounds odd and silly. I know that's not the case, and I'm happy about that. Theists would probably say that God IS doing those things, but I don't believe that to be the case. I've come to appreciate that there are very natural, explainable, scientific reasons for why I sometimes feel like I do. Most of all, I appreciate the fact that I was able to break the cycle and move on with my life, and appreciate it for what it is: a finite, unique, precious time (like we all have) that I'm going to make the most of. :)

i totally understand, this is how i feel sometimes too, and it feels really odd to admit.
i've found becoming and atheist (as it were) really very freeing. the world is so much more intricate and fascinating now i'm not in with the 'intelligent designer' brigade.
it wasnt just all plonked here for fun.
awesome.

in the beginning i had worried that i, as a mere human being, would go a little off the rails with my new found freedom. i worried that without someone watching me from above i'd start doing what i want when i want, selfish things which affect other people. but i havent. in fact its made me (i think) kinder, more selfless and much more open to other people's opinions, because, lets face it, this is all the time we get.
so good to read someone's story and it make soooo much sense.

:) Thank you for this, it's great to hear from you regarding your own experiences! It's nice to know that other people 'get it', you know?

I'm in the same boat with you, too, when it comes to who I am as a person now. I think (or at least I'd like to think) that it's made me kinder in general, and I KNOW it's made me way more open to other opinions. Like you, I figure 'this is all the time we get. We need to look out for one another because nothing supernatural is going to step in and help, if we don't.'

When I was a theist, if I couldn't (or honestly didn't feel inclined to) help someone, I'd maybe pray for them, for God to help them and I at least hoped he would. I understand now that if another human didn't help them, then they never did get help, and they went through things alone. Looking back on my life, that's a hard pill to swallow. My security blanket back then assuaged my guilt because if I didn't step in and offer help and comfort, well, I assumed God would. There are many, many choices I made regarding people that as a non-theist now I simply wouldn't and couldn't make.


"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

kitty

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2012, 04:48:25 PM »

 We need to look out for one another because nothing supernatural is going to step in and help, if we don't.'

When I was a theist, if I couldn't (or honestly didn't feel inclined to) help someone, I'd maybe pray for them, for God to help them and I at least hoped he would. I understand now that if another human didn't help them, then they never did get help, and they went through things alone. Looking back on my life, that's a hard pill to swallow. My security blanket back then assuaged my guilt because if I didn't step in and offer help and comfort, well, I assumed God would. There are many, many choices I made regarding people that as a non-theist now I simply wouldn't and couldn't make.

oh i know what you mean. i always thought that god 'sent' people to help, like the right person, right time and all that. and if i didnt feel like that was me, i left it. (wow that sounds bad, but it didnt happen that often, i have this innate need to help everyone lol). but yes, if we dont help our fellow creatures, no one will. and the prescious time will run out.
however, i would like to say, i think there's a lot to be said about prayer, even if we're just talking to ourselves after all. its still a rather new idea in my head, but surely, spending time thinking about the people we care about, etc, that cant be a bad thing right? theres a lot more to this idea of mine, but its too new to explain in real sentences.
Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? (Douglas Adams)

Amicale

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Re: What I've come to appreciate
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2012, 10:39:25 PM »

 We need to look out for one another because nothing supernatural is going to step in and help, if we don't.'

When I was a theist, if I couldn't (or honestly didn't feel inclined to) help someone, I'd maybe pray for them, for God to help them and I at least hoped he would. I understand now that if another human didn't help them, then they never did get help, and they went through things alone. Looking back on my life, that's a hard pill to swallow. My security blanket back then assuaged my guilt because if I didn't step in and offer help and comfort, well, I assumed God would. There are many, many choices I made regarding people that as a non-theist now I simply wouldn't and couldn't make.

oh i know what you mean. i always thought that god 'sent' people to help, like the right person, right time and all that. and if i didnt feel like that was me, i left it. (wow that sounds bad, but it didnt happen that often, i have this innate need to help everyone lol). but yes, if we dont help our fellow creatures, no one will. and the prescious time will run out.
however, i would like to say, i think there's a lot to be said about prayer, even if we're just talking to ourselves after all. its still a rather new idea in my head, but surely, spending time thinking about the people we care about, etc, that cant be a bad thing right? theres a lot more to this idea of mine, but its too new to explain in real sentences.

:) I understand what you mean, and I agree that there's nothing wrong with thinking about people we care about. On the other hand, if someone's going through a rough time and there's any way we can help, even if it's just a phone call/letter/visit to let them know we're thinking of them... then it doesn't hurt to follow up the warm happy thoughts with the action, either. :)

Like you, I have an innate need to help people when I can. I suspect like me, you're either INFP or INFJ, INFPs in particular seem to feel the need to connect with others and help them, make sure they're safe and OK, etc... we're the 'mama bears' of our little groups...  ;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