Why I am such an asshole - actual conversation with a thiest I hope I helped

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Why I am such an asshole - actual conversation with a thiest I hope I helped

Here is an actual dialog I had on another board I am on - it is a reunion site for a high school I went to that I posted a bunch of the same anti-religious crap I do here , the point is for every person you piss off there is someone waithing to hear the message :

faith is just the opposite of paranoia


i have been experiencing a "dark night of the soul", that is, a questioning of my beliefs, and not just due to your threads.

may i have a private dialogue with you? i swear i'm not gonna flame you or anything, i just need to talk this out with someone and having read your stuff i think you're that someone.__________________
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. ~Lewis Carroll

Van wrote:
sure - I'm always open to honest dialog - It's always a little surprising when I realize people actually read the stuff I post and even more when it has an effect other than anger.

How were you hoping I could help?

ok, hmmmm. where to begin? i guess by first throwing out a disclaimer that any terms i use that you do not understand will be explained upon request. well, up until 4 years ago, i was the sort of atheist who told people there's no god, and lived like there was no tomorrow. i was also engaged in all sorts of self destructive behavior. i met someone who said "wow, you're really f'd up!" and took me to church- the cathedral of st. paul, actually. now, from '89 thru about '98 i was catholic and had chosen as my patron saint therese of the child jesus, who sends roses to people as signs of answered prayer. i had even received roses from her. well, at the cathedral they have a statue of her and when confronted by it i felt as though she was right there talking to me, saying "it's ok, come back and everything will be allright" with that moment, and another moment i call my "saul by the side of the road" moment, in which i literally saw the eye of god staring at me with understanding and acceptance, i came back to the faith soooooo forcefully. i pledged to god i would serve him and give him my life, because mine had just been saved. literally, the things i was doing were going to wind up with me dying. so. i'm a 3rd order carmelite, which is as close to being a nun as you can be without actually becoming a nun. it means i am preparing to take vows to live according to the rules of the order. however, for the past several months i have begun to question the existence of god again. and i feel like an agnostic atheist. i'm afraid my mystical religious experiences were the product of drug and stress related hysteria. but my life has been so much better since converting. how can i reconcile all of this? how can i lead other people to live better and experience the rebirth i have without showing them god? can i come out as an agnostic? i know you don't have all the answers. maybe i just needed to tell one other person about these feelings. even teresa of calcutta felt the absense of god, throughout most of her life. maybe i'll wind up closing my eyes to the emptiness of my faith, just so i don't have do deal with the contradiction. what say you? __________________
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. ~Lewis Carroll

Re: faith is just the opposite of paranoia
Wow - well first things first - I'm glad you are feeling better and you deserve credit for straightening out your life whether or not your faith helped you, and from what you are telling me it seems like it definitely did. My father is an alcoholic and when he got involved in AA it kind of irked me at first - I personally believe its clearly a thinly veiled religion and a sneaky way for the courts to force religion on people. The fact remains that I know many people who have been helped in getting sober by the program. I can acknowledge that something works with out believing what it says - if you follow. Now that my dad has been sober a decade he no longer goes to meetings or church, but he has other things in his life - marriage, children, career that he values enough to keep straight. I think it was krishnamuerti that said (I'm probably butchering this) many beliefs should be used like a boat used to get across a stream - once you are across to pick up the boat and carry it with you would no longer help your journey it would make it more difficult - anyway I hope you take my meaning. The fact is however that I don't know you or if you live somewhere where you need a boat to get around. If you think that without your faith you would be less happy/healthy then I say stick with it. If on the other hand you are starting to find teachings or practices in your faith that are contrary to your "moral instinct" then you should not be afraid to question them. As for taking vows and joining an order - you should definitely be certain first - I honestly don't think very highly of (I'm not sure of the proper term -whats the feminine of monastic?) women's monastic orders - the whole Idea of a convent was originally just a way for people to warehouse their un-married daughters if they couldn't afford a dowry -the whole "married to jesus" thing just seems sad and more than a little creepy (I'm sorry but you asked my opinion). You may have already done this but if you read the recent letters published by Mother Theresa they reveal a Church that basically exploited her suffering to raise money and grab headlines. But again I have no direct experience with the Carmelite order and they may very well do good work - the best teachers I ever had were Jesuits so I do know that religious orders do many good things.

The most important thing to realize is that even if there is no god that does not make life meaningless - In my opinion the teaching that this is all some sort of dress rehearsal and we should live this live for the next one is far more nihilistic than my understanding of the amazing diversity of experience and joy that this life has to offer. If this is the only world there is, the only life we get, it makes everything we do, how we treat our neighbors and family that much more important.

Anyway I'm all over the place here - if you have having issues with depression,suicidal thoughts or anything like that I 100% recommend you seek the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist - I have have suffered with depression in the past and it make deciding to get out of bed a challenge, much less picking a life path. If you looking for philosophy and meaning without god then I can recommend some great writers - "River out of Eden"http://www.amazon.com/River-Out-Eden-Darwinian-View/dp/0297815407/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200517725&sr= 8-2
a good easy start - its short and more about the philosophical implications of Darwinian Evolution than explaining evolution or bashing religion like his other works - I would also recommend "The Selfish Gene" if you want to really understand natural selection.

Anyway I hope this was of some use to you - just my 2cents and in the end you must listen to your conscience - thats the best advice I can offer anyone -

please stay in touch


Re: faith is just the opposite of paranoia
That's it, I'm strongly considering leaving the boat behind!

No worries, not depressed.

I've got some mulling to do...
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. ~Lewis Carroll

Technically faith is just the opposite of paranoia - the irrational belief that someone is out to help you ~ The Vandingo