Sunday, August 8, 2010

Some Problems

I have some issues with hell. God (if you believe in Christianity) created hell. I am often puzzled by popular portrayals of hell in which the devil is in charge. Hell is God's place. He conceived the idea.
The way I understand it is that a perfect and perfectly just God must judge the unrighteous and punish them. Hence hell.
According to the Bible, we are born sinners because of the fall of man thanks to Adam and Eve. That is one strike against us. Then we must believe in Jesus Christ as the Bible describes him and accept the Bible as truth, something that can be very very very difficult. Another strike against us.
Are we being judged fairly?
I'm not so sure.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Prayer and Meditation and Practicality

I have been all over the place, spiritually, lately. Sometimes I put out requests to the Universe expressed in the format of "I hope that..." Other times, I have acknowledged that I do still believe in Jesus Christ as a manifestation of the divine and I pray to him.
I have also been practicing some basic meditation...I sit quietly and as I am mindful of my breathing, thoughts come to my head, I perceive them and let them go.
These kinds of mental exercises are beneficial to me. They help me remove fear and anger. They give me hope and courage.
As a traditional Christian, I was an angry person. I was angry at God the father. I could get along with Jesus and the spirit but some of the things accredited to God angered me. I then became fearful that I would be chastised through adverse circumstances to become a more humble and obedient Christian. What's the point of praying about things in that kind of a setup?
Sometimes I still have these anger/fear thoughts, leftovers from a flawed system of belief.
The flaws are within me. Much of religion, or lack thereof, is filtered through my life experiences.
Organized religion is flawed too. Sometimes religion is good and sometimes bad but that is not my battle or my axe to grind.
I want to acknowledge the divine but I also firmly believe that my choices, what I do with the circumstances of my life, can decide the outcomes while I exist on this planet. Circumstances (health, parentage, etc.) are what they are. Find otherworldly reasons for them or not but find out what you can do to be reasonably content and successful.
I see that things are orderly, that there is cause and effect. I would like it if there were a few miracles in my life right now but I continue to work towards what I want out of this life and I also work towards being of service to others. That is a part of my ever-developing Code of finding meaning as a human. I hope for a balanced life and that is within my grasp.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Conversation and Some Trembling

I had a looooooong conversation with a Christian who is close to me about all of this and I have come to a couple of conclusions:
-I would tremble to deny that there is a higher power in this Universe. At a gut-level, it would feel like playing with fire...not so much in fear of divine retribution but that some sort of "just desserts" might be served to preserve cosmic balance and declare me a fool.
-Who am I to say that there is no higher power?

I have moved another notch in the rebuilding of my spiritual beliefs from atheist to agnostic.

I have been studying eastern religion for a few months now but I find my interest swaying back to Jesus Christ. Who was (is?) this man?
And what of the trinity, particularly the Holy Spirit? It hit me like lightning the other day-the idea that the Universe, chi, the collective, whatever that divine massive thing is may be also called the Holy Spirit.
Is this Spirit the creative force and the producer of the basis for our ideas of prophets and gods? Is this the divine spark that resides within all beings?
Is truth all-inclusive? Can the truth of one religion be the truth of another? Or are they set against each other?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Case of the Whys and Beyond

It's the Whys that undid most of my religious beliefs. None of them could stand up to that eternal, infernal question: "WHY?"
My main concern is the reconciliation of the idea of a loving, benevolent Father God (in other words, the Father God of the Christian trinity) with the things that happen in this world-the unspeakable crimes we human beings visit upon one another, the disasters, the infirmities, just the sheer bad luck that some people find themselves up against.
Now, I know I've been down this road before but I have one more question to heap onto the pile.
Why would this loving Father God reveal Himself through one man in one relatively small geographical area with only one way to be saved?
What of the millions who have not comprehended Christ in the past, in the present and maybe in the future? If I have studied the Bible correctly, those who have not accepted Christ as their savior are condemned to hell.
How does this concept of eternal torture line up with the concept of a God who gave us free will so that He would be truly loved? Why would he condemn perhaps over 3/4 of his creation, His children, if you will, to hell? And many having already lived a sort of hell on earth due to the general human condition would now be spending eternity in the hell created by "Father God."
I can conclude one of two things:
1. We are under the control of a God who truly is to be feared.
2. This concept of God is false or at least misguided.
I prefer the spiritual world described in the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is described as "roomy and all-inclusive." I prefer a religion that focuses upon the love that we as human beings can show one another. Love is not cornered by the Christian. I have met many loving Christians and they are some of the best people. I don't know a lot of people of other faiths because of my locale but I have read the loving words written by people of other belief systems and I know how kind and merciful some people who don't really have a big- deal belief system in place can be.
There is room for all of us, room for us to share and to journey together, to engage in mutual respect even if we don't always understand.
I have faith in the common person. the common person has a few people that he (or she) loves and he wants the best for them. He has a general goodwill towards others and maybe a few prejudices too. We are only human after all. He loves his country and wants to work towards his goals and secure things for future generations. I have faith in this common person.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Feeling Bruised

Sometimes I feel so misunderstood and unappreciated. It feels like a betrayal when those closest to me don't seem to see me as I really am and assume the worst about me. It makes me want to run away and hide. It makes me want to find a cave to lick my wounds and be alone.
I try my best to be a decent human being but I am flawed.
So, these days, I keep many aspects of myself hidden. I don't share my feelings like I used to. I pour them into this blog. I am tired of being judged by the ones I love. It hurts. I think I need some new friends.

I don't want to be...

There are traps I don't want to fall into. I see these flaws in others and I see them in myself. As one AA old-timer put it, "I'd rather be nice than right."
Don't wanna be:
a busybody
"my way or the highway"

When it comes to discussing religion (or lack thereof), there is always danger of these character flaws. ..and then there is just plain old bad manners.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Benevolent Presence

I have been pondering this for awhile now and, although I cannot prove it, I believe that there is a benevolent presence in the Universe. I believe that, at times, a type of kismet or serendipity happens because of this "presence."
Sometimes, a person will say just the thing I needed to hear. Or a little gift comes to me, something to keep me going during the tough times.
Or I show up at just the right time to be able to help a's like circumstances aligned perfectly to bring that moment to fruition.
And friends are there for me too. Even bad circumstances can produce some good.
Things happen within a positive flow of energy if I go along with it and cease struggling for my own will to be done.
I'm not sure what this Presence is. I don't think that it is omniscient. I think that it views all with compassion and helps where possible and grieves when it is unable to help.
Sometimes I think it is the collective spirit of those who have passed on and whose hearts and kind spirits still linger.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Belief-O-Matic has an unscientific little test to determine your spiritual leanings. I took it and here's mine (noting this here so I can refer back and look this stuff up or draw one out of the hat or whatever)...
1. Mahayana Buddhism
2. Neo-Pagan
3. Unitarian Universalism
4. New Age
5. Liberal Quakers
6. Theravada Buddhism
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestant
8. Taoism
9. Baha'i Faith
10. Orthodox Quaker

#1 is the one I am most aligned with at 100% and #10 the least at 71%. There are seventeen more below the top 10 with the lowest being JWs at 20%. This is interesting since I was born and raised in the Jehovah's Witnesses. Hinduism is at #16 and Islam at #20. Roman Catholicism squeaks in at #26.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Look to the Future

I have been reading a book called Man's Search For Meaning. It is about the experiences of a man in the camps of the Holocaust and how he lived, day after day, month after month, with the horror inflicted on one human being by another.
He studied on the issue of human suffering. Is there a reason for suffering and can meaning be ascribed to suffering?
He seemed to think that suffering gives depth to a person's character and life. I have to reluctantly agree. I say reluctantly because I am a wimpy sort and would avoid suffering altogether if it were possible.
Deep down, I know that suffering has formed some of the deeper, better qualities of my character. I know that I would be shallow without the negative experiences in my life...and perhaps unable to enjoy the good times without the comparison of suffering.
He does not expound on religion so much as I had expected.
His will to survive seems to be based in his love for his wife (also imprisoned and of whom he had no knowledge-if she was alive or dead) and a view towards the potential future. I think that he is a religious person and that he admires faith but that did not seem to be the main focus (of course, I am only two-thirds of the way through the book)
I am going to try this view towards the future...I'll envision a probable future. I am starting school soon. I will think of when I have finished school (with excellent grades, hehe) and have a good job that provides the basics of life and a few extras. I will think of the meals I will cook in my kitchen when I own my own home (or rent a nice one, anyway). I will think of the day that my husband and I have ironed out a few of our major differences and can appreciate each other more.
I don't see this as escapism, just a new form of hope. I am shedding a couple of tears as I write this because it all seems so far away. But (borrowing from the 12-Step tradition) I know that if I do the footwork and allow the results to come to fruition in their own time, my hopes will probably come to pass.
But the present! Still gotta work on that!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Atheist Underachiever

I guess I am not very good at being an atheist or an underachiever. I see so many on message boards, etc who are so full of conviction about it, so unperturbed by the lack of a deity.
Not me. I wish there were some divine person out there who could give me the extra edge to go on surviving in this upside-down world. Upside-down, back-assward world.
I reflect on my time as a Christian, how faith gradually turned into "Where the hell are You when I need You?" I was so certain that there was a god out there: whether he was good, bad or indifferent.
Mostly indifferent, it seems.
There seemed to be evidence but I think a lot of it was my emotions and perceptions leaning towards what I wanted to see.
I feel very depressed as I write this.
I guess I can just keep putting one foot in front of the other, taking action when I can and employing wu wei when the path is uncertain.
Once in awhile, I do pray "in case you are out there."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Reducing Suffering Through Understanding

I am in a Buddhist frame of mind today. Sometimes other people inflict suffering upon us through their actions. We cannot control other people so how do we reduce our suffering at their hands?
In seeking to understand the other person, his motives, maybe even his frustrations, I can view him with tolerance and equanimity.
In this case that I am describing, I am talking about minor irritations...perhaps someone is cruel or manipulative. I am not talking about situations involving abuse.
Understanding leads to less suffering in my life...and perhaps less suffering for others as well.

Buddhism and Two Poles

The reason this blog is called "View From Two Poles" is because I have bipolar disorder. So I see things from the high of (hypo)mania and the low of deep depression.
Perhaps this is the reason I am attracted to Buddhist thought.
Buddhism describes the ideal way of thought as the middle path. The middle path is neutral, unbiased(see below for reference link).
I am alternately irritable and pessimistic or overly bright. The middle ground does not come naturally to me.
I must school myself into right thinking by applying the principles of Buddhism. I must avoid extremes. As exhibited by my disorder, extremes are not good.
Eastern thought has much to recommend it, including the tools for a healthier way of thinking and being.

This article explains what I mention above, among other things.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spiritual Manifestations

I don't know (I've mentioned this several times already) if I could truly be called an atheist and I may be closer to an agnostic.
Could there be a positive force or energy in the universe? Could Christ and others such as Buddha be physical manifestations of this energy? Of course, none of this can be proven scientifically. My ideas are purely speculation based on (possibly faulty) observation.
I was a Christian for twenty years or so and I still find myself wondering about Jesus. Who was he? I believe that he was a real, historical figure but I wonder at the rest of it...the miracles and the peak of his career: crucifixion. The "earthly" reason he was crucified was because it was ordered as a punishment by the powers that be.
Let's say that Jesus is a manifestation of all that is good and holy in the universe. What of his teachings about sin and his sacrifice on the cross(according to Christianity)? Has a mythology been built around Christ over the centuries? Has he been misquoted to support this mythology? Does he still a part of the good energy?
Now that I am not a Christian, I find the whole thing confusing. I used to have faith that "God" would not steer us wrong by allowing falsehoods and mistakes in the Bible but since I don't believe in a god anymore, the Bible's inerrant nature is open to speculation.

More Wu Wei

I was trying to read Spong's book but my focus changed which it does a lot so I tossed it aside and I am now slowly reading through a great book: The Tao of Pooh.
The Pooh book explains Taoism in a very friendly funny way and is an enjoyable book to read. Let's face it: a lot of books on spiritual matters are very concerned with their own importance and weightiness.
Ok, onward to wu wei and its practical applications in my life. Wu wei can be simply termed as "go with the flow." You have heard of taking positive action? I see wu wei as positive inaction. When I struggle against the way things are unfolding, I create imbalance or a lack of harmony in my life and I become unhappy. I am taking action in a way that goes against the nature of things.
For example, I am living in someone elses home. I'm crashing in their living room, as a matter of fact...flopping here until I can get my own place.
So, someone elses home...things are done their way. Their way is not bad, just different from my way and I like to do things my way! So I find myself going against the nature of things by trying to get things done my way. This creates unhappiness for me because it just doesn't work out. There is conflict.
Applying the principle of wu wei, I cease the struggle, the uphill battle of forcing change. I just go with the flow...doing things or leaving things undone according to the "style" of the household. And guess what? Things happen as they should and I feel more peaceful because I have ceased the exhausting effort of trying to force things into a shape that is pleasing to me.
This seems to dovetail with the Buddhist concept of becoming ego-less. Branching into another thought system, that of the 12 Step Program, we could call this acceptance which brings to mind the serenity prayer. I don't pray but the serenity prayer is a good thing to contemplate, nevertheless.
If anyone is actually reading this blog and feeling a lack of peace, I encourage you to examine your expectations in life and embrace the concept of wu wei.

*update: I have edited my links to more generalized sites that I enjoy. Life is about balance.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Groundlessness and Wu Wei

In my study of Buddhism, I learned of a concept called groundlessness. This means that there is no solid ground to stand on and we must become comfortable with that fact. The reason we must become comfortable with it is to reduce suffering in our lives.
I do know that suffering in my life comes from insisting that things are not as they should be.
In many ways, I am a bitter, angry person. I feel that life has dealt with me harshly even though I know that some have it far worse. I have turned away from the Christian concept of "God" because of these feelings. I can't reconcile the concept of a loving heavenly father with what has happened to me and the far far worse things that happen to other people in the world.
By becoming an atheist, I defused that anger towards this god who masquerades as something he is not and as a result, I have more peace in my heart than I did as a Christian.
I do not stand on the solid rock of Christ because that is a false concept. I stand with the fact that this world is uncertain or groundless.
Wu wei, as described in taoism, is going with nature as a stream might flow over and around rocks and stones. When I go against the nature of things, I am not in harmony and I don't feel at peace. More about this later.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reading A Book

I have set the study of Tao aside for awhile to return to the study of what I know best: Christianity. I purchased a book by Spong called Jesus For the Non-Religious. The idea in the book is that the miracles of Jesus do not line up with history or with common sense. He claims that after tearing down these false notions, he will show a new way to look at Jesus as an inspiration without the mythology attached.
I want to find out what this new way is but it's been hard reading. The book is alternately condescending and bombastic and it sometimes has the feeling of a conspiracy theory. It's hard to slog through but I am going to stick with it for awhile.
I do still admire Jesus as a person and would like to continue learning from his example. Christianity, in spite of its flaws, helped me develop into a more mature and less self-centered person. Nothing is purely good and nothing is purely evil. There is balance to be found. I want to have balance in my viewpoints as well.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Eternal Reward

I am feeling badly for myself today. I am having many difficulties in life. When I was a Christian, I had that hope of reward, the hope of the Celestial Parent giving me a hug and saying "Hey, sorry about all that. I'm here to make it better" at the end of my life.
What is it called? Validation. Yes, validation is what I'd hoped for in the afterlife. It was comforting.
Now I have no comfort. I haven't come up with a replacement security blanket. My life just seems pointless, the suffering I've endured, all the crazy shit that happens in the world. It doesn't have any rhyme or reason for me. I don't have a reference point.
One can learn from painful experiences but how many lessons are there? How much redundant crap does one have to go through? I don't buy that whole thing either.
I feel empty. I feel powerless.
Should I return to Christianity, to something I've always had a hard time with? To the fear of hell and the burden of heaven? Should I return to belief in a god who, at best, is somewhat impotent, and, at worst, willingly allows evil?
I've got nothin'.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Faith and Helplessness

When I think back on the twenty years I spent as a Christian, I wonder if "accepting God's will" is an acceptable form of helplessness. It seems akin to believing in fate.
I made a momentous decision one time, one that went against Christian thinking, one that people told me put me "outside of God's will."
What they meant by that was that God could not bless the life decision I had made and that it would have lasting consequences. It makes me think of one of the furies leaning over to weave the threads of my life into further turmoil. It puts me in mind of superstition.
They really believed it but I...I made my decision and accepted the consequences.
I just don't believe in fate and helplessness. I have a more personal approach. I decide, what, if anything, should be done in a situation. I decide and I live by my decisions. That is the essence of being a free human being. You'd think that's obvious, that it's a given but it's not. We comb through so much debris while trying to make decisions.
I don't contain that much learned female helplessness either.
It is said among Christians that your earthly father helps form your concept of God or your heavenly father. My earthly father was, for the most part, not present in my life. There was no strong male presence. Since childhood, I have stood alone, made my own decisions, faced down fear and had a total lack of respect for most authority figures, especially males.
No wonder I made such a lousy Christian!

Visits From the Dead

I have many different recurring dreams.
One type of recurring dream I have is that dead friends and relatives come to chat with me in various settings.
This has been a profoundly difficult, heartbreaking year or so and my dreams reflect this I guess.
Last night, two friends appeared in my dreams-two dear friends who have been dead 5-10 years now, side-by-side, dressed up in evening finery, dresses covered with sequins.
And we had a brief conversation about how sad I feel. I forgot to ask them how they are doing, come to think of it.
They were totally understanding as they were in life.
I was going to ponder spiritual beliefs versus the depths of the human mind but I don't think I will. I think I will just let it go here and work on a another draft that may never get published for my two readers to see. ;)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Beyond Blame and Further Still

There was one nice thing about believing in a god with a face (or human-like persona). I had someone to blame, someone to be angry at. It was an unpleasant little luxury.
"Why are 'You' letting this happen to me?!"
"What did those third-world kids do that 'You' allow their suffering?!"
"Answer meeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Ceasing to believe in an almighty god removed a lot of anger for me. I had to apply reason, I had to accept cause and effect. There is more beyond cause and effect though. Sometimes there are things that escape my knowledge or my ability to understand.
I will not make a new religion of reason. I like a universe with a little mystery to it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is There A Replacement?

For obvious reasons, I no longer pray.
A family member has been recently hospitalized. I don't know what to do with myself. When I think of him, all I can come up with is "I hope he gets better." It seems paltry in comparison to calling upon the Almighty for some divine favor.
I have to apply logic to this: he will recover depending on his body's strength and proper medical care.
It would be nice if there were some divine person in my corner but, let's face facts, people pass on at the worst times: leaving their families in turmoil or destitute. Or sometimes they pass on with wills and all that stuff in order. Sometimes they die and no one cares. It's random.
There's no divine mystery behind it, no favor meted out to the faithful.
Some say we don't understand "God's" ways. This is just a cover for when someone who is really needed, who should really be here longer, dies.
There is no answer. There is no replacement for prayer. I just keep my eyes open and my feet on the ground.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Statistics-Religion and Non-Religion

After examining several links (in the interest of finding one that is unbiased), I found some interesting statistics here:
In addition to showing percentages of people who follow a certain religion, it also shows if that religion's rate is rising or dropping. Please go to the page for the full study.
Here are some basic facts:
Christianity: 32% and dropping
Islam: 19% and growing
Hinduism: 13% and stable
No Religion: 12% and dropping
Atheism: 2% (no comment included)

They also add that the "no religion" category is dropping because even though people are becoming non-religious in many places, the fall of Communism in the USSR is countering that.* I wonder if this means that religion(or its lack) is susceptible to trends and fads.
Many religious people seem to believe that humanity is "hard-wired" to believe in a power greater than itself. These statistics would seem to prove that is possible. If I wanted to look at it another way, I could say that most people are delusional (if I was feeling snarky).
At this point, I'm not sure what to say. Sometimes I feel very confused. I think my ideas closely resemble Taoism although I identify myself as an atheist.
There is definitely a hole in the heart of mankind. Whether it's god-shaped, I don't know.

*There is much more to it of course. I just picked out the bits that interest me.
See the actual site for validation of their sources.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Doubts, Confirmation

Last night I was channel surfing and I came across a religious show. What the preacher was doing didn't interest me. I was watching the congregation.
There were people of many ages in what looked like sincere worship. There were men and their wives (I assume) praying together. There were older people praying...perhaps faith had sustained them through life?
At least some of these people had to be sincere. I know I was when I was a christian. Looking at them, I thought that I might be wrong to have become an atheist. When I think of how many believers (in a god) there are worldwide...could I be seriously wrong?
Then that unfeeling analytical part of my brain kicked in.
First, many people may sincerely believe something to be true. That doesn't make it true.
Second, who are they worshiping? I have studied the Biblical god and I don't understand him-the mix of fury and love and punishment and forgiveness. I don't like dysfunctional relationships.
Third, I have my own spiritual journey-I have read and researched, soul-searched to get where I am today. That has value.
Finally, there are things that the religious and non-religious may never comprehend about this universe...let alone what might be beyond it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Buddhist Atheism

When I first started studying Buddhism, I had assumed that it was a purely atheisitc set of teachings. I read a "life of Buddha" book which stated that the Buddha didn't believ in a god-that there was no outside savior. We must work to reduce our own suffering.
On further research, I discovered that many Buddhists do believe in deities and spirits. The missing idea is one of A God who creates and judges. There is no god comparative to the Christian god.
Things are never simple when it comes to what people believe.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Ok, here are some day-to-day problems:

1. What do I say when someone sneezes? I can't say "Bless you" anymore, can I?

2. "Godammit" is a very handy curse that I use a lot. In light of recent events, it doesn't really apply anymore. Should I say "Science dammit?"
Unfortunately, my parrot also says "Godammit." I swear (to whom??), he only heard me once and now it's one of his favorite words. Should I try to retrain him? Or it may be that I should respect his beliefs. I'm not sure where he stands on the god issue.

3. "Hell" has also been very useful, especially "All hell broke loose." Because all hell breaks loose quite frequently in my life. I also enjoy "Hell to pay."

*sigh* My life is so difficult.

Big Deal?

Since I became an atheist, I have been regarding it as a Very Big Deal. I've been reading, researching, blogging, visiting forums. Maybe this is all a bit much. I mean, it's not like I have a newly-diagnosed disease.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just Feeling Strange

Feeling kind of squirrely the last couple of days: sleeping four hours a night, taking naps full of nightmares and over-analyzing everything. Like what is my purpose in putting my deep thoughts in such a public place?
Some of these thoughts are such that I don't share them with people close to me but I post them for any stranger to read and even comment on.
Maybe I enjoy the freedom that comes with a large amount of anonymity.
It's kind of a strange human behavior thing I guess.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mental Disorders and Religion

please note: everything in this post is my opinion. I am not a doctor.
When I was a christian, there was one thing that I felt a lot: guilt. Christianity is about guilt and pardon (or parole, in some sects). Also, a belief has arisen in demons, demon possession, demon oppression and measures one can use to banish them. Then there is religious experience. For example, feeling that you are in a higher state of consciousness as you sing repetitive religious songs with a crowd of other believers. There is also the idea that you have received some special insight from god, the idea to pray for someone or even marry someone!
If you have an undiagnosed (or even diagnosed) mental illness, these concepts can really get out of control.
I felt so very guilty, Jesus had to die terribly for me after all. However, since I also suffered from major depression (the official diagnosis), excessive guilt happened to be a prominent symptom. See how these two things dovetail into a hellish frame of mind?
I am not schizophrenic or psychotic but I remember meeting a nice young man at church. Let's call him Doug. Doug had major demonic experiences. They appeared to him and spoke to him. We well-meaning young christians prayed for him intensively, advised him on items to remove from his home that may be attracting the demons. We meant well but that wasn't good enough.
I see now that he needed medical help and should have been advised to go to a psychiatrist. I deeply regret that.
Later on, I was diagnosed as bipolar 2 (the milder form). With bipolar disorder, a person can get grandiose ideas in his head(during the manic phase) and interpret them as truth. This can come with a feeling of euphoria. So I have a "revelation" about something related to god or some religious experience that seems so true. I am encouraged in these beliefs by other christians. There's another dovetail from hell (which I don't believe in, haha).
This next example is written in a spirit of deep wounding and anger: most christians are terrible about responding to depression. They tend to see it as a lack of faith, deliberate wrong-thinking or spiritual deficiency. Worse, they can decide that you are oppressed by the devil. Oh shit!
I have been in situations with this kind of ignorance when reaching out while depressed to the point that I kept my depressions secret. And if you hide a part of yourself, how can you get truly close to others. Because we are supposed to "fellowship" with other christians, no?
Fortunately for me, I had a friend in the 12-Step program who was very practical and said "Maybe you should see a doctor." Not all are so fortunate.

Prefixes, Unofficial Words, Clarifications

var. of an-
1 before a consonant, meaning “not,” “without”

As in "atheist."

a prefix meaning “not,” freely used as an English formative, usually with a simple negative force as implying mere negation or absence of something (rather than the opposite or reverse of it, as often expressed by un- provided no definition for "nontheist." Guess it isn't an official word so I Googled it. I was directed to Wikipedia:

Nontheism is a term that covers a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of — or the rejection of - theism or any belief in a personal god or gods.

So what I believe is Not Theism under the umbrella of The Absence of Theism.
Glad I cleared that up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Being a nerd, I used to read the dictionary for fun.
But at this time, it is important to understand a few key words that keep coming up.
So I got these definitions at

1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

1. The doctrine that certainty about first principles or absolute truth is unattainable and that only perceptual phenomena are objects of exact knowledge.
2. The belief that there can be no proof either that God exists or that God does not exist.

n. Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in a personal God as creator and ruler of the world.

1. belief in the existence of a God on the evidence of reason and nature only, with rejection of supernatural revelation .
2. belief in a God who created the world but has since remained indifferent to it.
(huh-had no clue...)

Educational! Couple more:
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.

1. the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
2. the Supreme Being considered with reference to a particular attribute: the God of Islam.
3. (lowercase) one of several deities, esp. a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.
4. (often lowercase) a supreme being according to some particular conception: the god of mercy.
5. Christian Science. the Supreme Being, understood as Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle.
6. (lowercase) an image of a deity; an idol.
7. (lowercase) any deified person or object.
8. (often lowercase) Gods, Theater.
a. the upper balcony in a theater.
b. the spectators in this part of the balcony.(who knew?!)

more definitions as I think of them...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spiritual Atheism?

I sometimes wonder if "atheist" is an accurate description for me. I really need to study that word and other similar words because I'm not sure.
I have stated that I don't believe in a god or gods however I do have a belief that all is not only evolution, chemicals and hormones.
There seems to be some extra spark to things, some sense of an intricate machine that works beautifully, something crafted by a creative force. What the force is, I don't know. I have a tendency to lean towards the idea of a life force or energy running through everything. The idea of "chi" comes close to this.
I have also been considering the idea of the yin-yang symbol: action and non-action, light and dark, warm and cool. Balance.
Happenings seem to go on as a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to another but spending a lot of time somewhere in the middle. All is ever-changing and yet patterns repeat themselves. Is there a sort of energy recycling going on? It happens with nature: clouds become rain becomes water and over again, plants turn to mulch which grows more plants...can this concept be applied to an energetic force running through everything? Is this the way an afterlife may happen? The recycling of a person's inner spark to rejoin the greater energy and then to be distributed into a person again? Or another type of being?
I cannot say that all is purely meaningless. I can not.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Those First Days

During the first few days that I had really really (really!) decided I was sure that I was an atheist, I went through many feelings. My first feelings were of fear. I was afraid of being on my own. For so many years, I had believed that there was some divine being watching over me, giving me some kind of "edge" over the godless, providing that extra boost that would improve things for me.
Another fear was that I was seriously wrong and that there was a demon set aside just for me in hell.
I also had a feeling of freedom. There was the freedom from worrying about loved ones who weren't Christians, that if they never converted, they would go to hell. There was the freedom from someone being inside my head, knowing my every thought, judging me.
The world opened wide, spilling out knowledge I wasn't free to learn (I plan to read Origin of Species soon, see what all the hub bub is about), tons of viewpoints I had dismissed, alternate religions and philosophies to learn even if I do not believe.
When I looked outside myself, outside my own culture and personal history, I found that there are many ways to think and to live and that was the downfall of my narrow, limiting religion.
And, yes, I feel a small amount of guilt for writing that statement, as if I am a turncoat of some kind. I hope that feeling will pass.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Introduction and History

"The existence of a world without God seems to me less absurd than the presence of a God, existing in all his perfection, creating an imperfect man in order to make him run the risk of Hell." [Armand Salacrou, "Certitudes et incertitudes," 1943]

Hello, I am an atheist. I wasn't always an atheist. It was a long journey to arrive at this much-maligned belief (or lack of belief?). When I was a child, I was in a cult until I was 11 years old. Then my family turned to Catholicism, which I did not. I turned to alcohol.
At age 19, I got sober through a Twelve-Step organization. A month later, I became a "born-again" Christian.
It was easy to get involved in the church since I had a friend there who introduced me to others. I threw my whole heart into belief. As Carl Jung has described, I focused on the things that upheld my beliefs and ignored those that did not.
I sampled several types of Christianity-I've been involved with a fundamentalist church, I have cast out "demons", I have believed in prophesies, I studied the Bible and prayed earnestly, trusting (as a child would-that's the ideal, right?) that God was in control.
I discussed Christianity with my family and boyfriend (later to be my husband), wanting them to believe as I did, wanting them to go to heaven rather than hell.
Original sin made sense to me. Bad things that happened to me were God's will to discipline me or the fault of the devil.
This went on for twenty years.
Then I began to see things differently.