Finding Peace Without "God"

Posts tagged ‘believe’

This pretty much sums it up…

I don’t believe in god

I do believe in myself as well as you and everyone else

I don’t believe things happen for a reason or that they were meant to be

I do believe in working for what you want and that sometimes you don’t get it

I don’t believe in a master plan

I do believe in cause and effect

I don’t believe in salvation

I do believe in living a righteous life

I don’t believe in heaven

I do believe in living in peace; free from guilt and remorse

I don’t believe in the devil

I do believe that bad things happen

I don’t believe in hell

I do believe that living with guilt and a heavy conscience is not living at all

How I “Felt” Jesus

The following is actually from the comments section of my “How I Got Here” tab.  (top right of your screen) Since it will get lost in that portion of my blog, because that page isn’t visited regularly, I decided to post it as a blog.  I’d love to know your thoughts, so comment away!

Most, at least the way I learned in the Baptist church, Christians do not believe in ghosts/spirits because after we die we either go to heaven or hell and therefor ghost cannot exist.  Even people who don’t believe in ghosts can get spooked by the power of suggestion. For instance, even though I don’t believe in ghosts, if I was with someone who did and we were alone in an unfamiliar place and that person said to me, “I feel a presence here” and then elaborated on that, I could easily start to feel uneasy and perhaps even get caught up in what they were saying. If I let my imagination go, I could even begin to see shadows or “sense” something too. I could get spooked. So, my point is, that our minds are very powerful and our imaginations can take over- when I said that I “saw Jesus” what I meant was that my mind imagined it. I never actually SAW him, like I looked up and he was standing there, but I was able to “see” him in a spiritual way. I FELT him or at least what I thought was him. I FELT that warmth come over me. I was able to “see him work” in ways that I couldn’t explain. I “knew” that he was present and real. I don’t know how else to explain it. But I promise you that I HAD the “Christian experience”. The difference between me and continued-believers such as yourself, is that I realize now that those feelings were imagined. I doubt that I can convince of any of this because, at risk of sounding presumptuous, you are blind to any other possibility. You BELIEVE. I do not. But I believed at the time and it was real to me at that time.

Since that point, I have been on a journey. I have questioned. I am a natural skeptic, always have been, always will be. I am incapable of believing in god. Even though I had those experiences and at that point in time, I believed that it was real, I eventually began to question, just as I always have.

I wanted to believe. I wanted it to be true. But it isn’t. I couldn’t MAKE it my truth. You have made it your truth and unless your mind changes there is nothing that I can say that will make you understand.

You don’t need to feel sorry for me or try to convince me that your way is the truth. I am not afraid or scared of MY truth. I am at peace.

I believe in myself and others. That is enough for me.

Heaven on Earth

Heaven does not require “god” or “Jesus” or “salvation”.  However, heaven is real.

WHAT?  An atheist believes in heaven?

Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening here.  However, it’s neither god, nor Jesus nor salvation that will actually get you there- heaven is what you create for yourself during the time that you’re alive.  I think the best philosophy to back-up this claim is that of the Toltecs, as described in Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements.

You see, we as humans are capable of creating our very own heaven, right here on earth—this is the heaven we need to strive for, and I believe, this is the actual heaven that  the bible talks about.  It’s only due to our misinterpretations that make us credit god.  (But that’s an entirely different blog)  Additionally, we are equally capable of creating our own hell by not following the guidelines to achieving heaven on earth.

First off, heaven is an achievement.  It’s where we (or at least people who are believers) hope to go when they die.  In the biblical sense it’s an eternal life of peace, free from worry and pain and suffering, living forever with “god”.  The alternative is hell, where the sinner or unsaved, will live for eternity without that peace and will suffer forever knowing that they messed up.  At least that’s the gist of it, no?

Even when I was a Christian (and I really thought I was for a brief period of time) I never fully grasped the concept of the afterlife- it’s just too farfetched for me.

It wasn’t until I read Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements that the concept of the REAL heaven and hell made sense.  If you haven’t read The Four Agreements, I urge you to read it NOW!   No matter your religious beliefs, it is life changing and never once does he try to convert you to atheism- he himself is not atheist, it’s actually a very spiritual book.

http://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom/dp/1878424319  go!  NOW!

Although I feel you really need to read the entire (very short) book to fully understand the concept, the four agreements (principles) that he shares are:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

While I completely agree with these four principles, there are a few others that I would add:

  • Be kind and respectful of other’s self and property
  • Live in the moment- make the right decision for you right now and know that if it doesn’t work, you can always change your mind
  • Acknowledge your faults but don’t dwell on them and always recognize your strengths  use them to your advantage
  • Be forgiving of others

I’m not telling you anything that you haven’t heard before.  We all know that we need to do these things no matter our religious beliefs, but the most important principle that I would add- the one that matters most is:

  • Accept that this is your only life, that you will die- appreciate that knowledge.  Don’t waste your life- embrace it, make it what you want it to be.  The thought of dying shouldn’t make you sad or scared; knowing that you’re living should make you feel empowered.

I actually believe that this is the basis behind the bible’s teachings.

I believe that the whole point of salvation is to surrender to life.  It has nothing to do with a deity or going to some magical place when we die; it has only to do with life.  The only true heaven is “heaven on earth” and that can only be achieved by surrendering to life and the principles listed above- only then will you truly live a life free from worry, pain and suffering.

The Hypocrisy of Sunday Afternoon

Going to lunch on Sunday, after church– This is a concept I have never been able to grasp and always made me feel guilty any time I went to lunch with fellow church members after Sunday service.  According to the bible, Sunday is the Sabbath day, right?  And we’re not supposed to work on the Sabbath, we’re supposed to go to church to worship “god” and then rest.  So why is it okay for people to go out to lunch  after church?  So they don’t have to go home and cook or clean (work)?  And instead  go to restaurants and make other people do it?  Does that strike anyone else as WRONG?

I live in a small town where a lot of businesses are closed on Sundays, including restaurants.  While it is an inconvenience for me I respect these business owner’s beliefs enough to not make a stink about it.  At least they aren’t making their employees work on what they presumably believe is a holy day.  But as for the rest of church-going population, this is just one of many hypocrisies that I will never understand.  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  If it’s not okay for you to work, it’s not okay for the people who serve you either.

Accepting that bad things happen…

To believe “god” allows children to be abused, neglected or abandoned for a reason is absurd!  I don’t care how you coat it.  Children are innocent, even the bible says that (and yes, I believe there is a lot of valuable information in the bible) so why? WHY would it ever be okay for someone to harm a child?  Or worse, kill a child?  It’s NOT!  We all know that!  So why then, when it does happen, why do people say “’god’ will use this for good?”  Really?  I mean, R.E.A.L.L.Y?  I’m left with no other reason than to believe that it just makes them feel “better” about the ugliness in the world.

If “god” is so powerful, why doesn’t he just stop the acts all together?  I realize this is a common question when someone is struggling with their faith, but somehow it gets glossed over and eventually forgotten.  We convince ourselves that somehow, these despicable acts will be redeemed for “god’s glory”.   For instance, when someone loses a child and then starts a new organization to advocate for missing and exploited children in honor of the child who was kidnapped, abused, raped and murdered, it suddenly becomes a way for “god” to find a way to use it for “good”

Where’s the logic in that?  I’m not saying that founding a new organization to help for the better good isn’t a good plan or that it isn’t an excellent way to heal, but why does it have to be because of “god’s plan”?  I mean, come on!  How can that be “his” plan?   I just cannot for the life of me understand how ANYONE can justify any of this as “god’s plan”—

Unfortunately, no matter how many child welfare advocacy groups are established these disgusting acts will continue to happen because there are sick people in this world and sick people do sick things:  Cause and Effect.  It’s not a lost cause but it’s also not in “god’s” plan, so let’s be logical about this- instead of praying about it, or asking “god” why he lets this kind of thing happen,  let’s educate children how to stay safe and get the psychos off the streets as best we can.  And when something so heinous happens again, let’s allow ourselves to grieve and be angry and hopefully accept that what happened, happened and not look for an excuse for “why” but eventually be able to move on.

Why?

I do not understand why, we as humans can’t just accept things the way they are.  Does everything have to happen for a reason?

When I think about all of the terrible things that happen in this world:  People starving, children dying, mothers being killed in car accidents, and worse, we tend  to ask “why?”

This “why?” question is part of what led me to accept that there’s no such thing as god and solidifies my confidence in knowing that to be true.  There’s no master plan.  There’s no spiritual reason for anything to happen or not to happen other than cause and effect.

Baby cubs don’t go through life wondering why “god” let that hunter take his mama; they just go on eating berries and hunting fish- they move on and survive.

Supposedly, “god” made us different from the animals.  Supposedly, we are the only species on the planet to have a soul, we are the only species who know who “god” is and can make the choice between believing or not believing- that’s why WE get to go to heaven, right?   Supposedly this is “god’s” doing; he gave us free-will so that we could decide whether or not to accept Jesus as our savior in order to enter the pearly gates when we die.

BUT!   If you ask me, “god” had nothing to do with this because…there is no god.  We, as humans made up the whole god-thing and have been doing so for a LONG, LONG time.  Since even before the Greek, Roman and Egyptian gods- we’ve been looking for something to explain everything rather than just accepting things the way they are, THIS is what separates us from animals.  Faith is not about our choice to believe in god; it’s our ABILITY to make one up in the first place.

Acceptance:

Once you move to acceptance, just like the last stage of grief, you’re able to deal with life as it comes to you.  Cause and effect becomes the expected and you no longer have to wonder, “why?”  This sounds like a harsh reality, but it really isn’t.  It’s…life.  Life is hard, with or without “god”.  But when you let go of the illusion that an omnipotent being is in control you can grab the reigns and feel empowered.  You stop asking “why” and just like that cub, you can move on and survive.

Making a Decision Sans “God”

I am contemplating a new job.  I have become somewhat apathetic with my current position and I am not feeling confident that things will get better.  For the first time in a long time, I am feeling angst.  In the past I would have turned to “god” for guidance- asked for a sign of some sort so I would know what “he” wanted me to do.  But since realizing that there is no actual god with an imaginary neon light that will ever flash brightly in front of me with the answer, I’m left to figure it out for myself.

I realize that this is one of the reasons people “believe” in an all-knowing eight-ball in the sky; it’s much easier to ask someone else to make your decisions for you.   It’s easier to look for a sign to show you what you’re supposed to do.  It’s easier to dismiss one’s own hard work, networking capabilities, right-place-right-time happenchance as “God’s” way of telling us what to do next.  And it’s much easier to assume that the “god” has some noble plan for us when things don’t work out.

So here I am, trying to make this decision without the false-god-confidence and I’m forced to choose between two options, not knowing which one is better.

As I think about my current job versus this potential job, I’m left thinking, if I had to choose one or the other, which one would I choose.  In the past I would have turned to prayer, these days I turn to logic and then ultimately I think about which would make me happier.  This requires a great deal of honesty with myself.  Do I stay with the job I have because it’s easier job and even though I will make less money I’ll be able to maintain the freedom that I currently have?  Plus I know that I will have a guaranteed paycheck every month and I feel emotionally attached to this company since I worked there for the past five years.   Or, do I go for the new one, not knowing for sure if I will like it at all and even though the income potential is greater, I will not have a regular salary because it is commission-only sales and I’ll have to give up working from home and go into an office every day? Plus I’m going to have to work harder than I do now–This is where personal values come in; values that only we can define.  Values which ultimately determine the choices we make.

I remember when I was a believer and I had a big decision to make, I’d pray and pray and pray, asking for a sign, any sign!  “Please God, just give me a sign! One that I can see or hear or feel!  Just one so I will know that I am doing what You want me to do.”  But I never seemed to get a response.

When I would ask my other believer-friends how they know what God wanted them to do, they would tell me they knew they were making the right decision when they felt, “a peace come over them”.

So here I am wondering what I’m going to do realizing that I am the only one responsible for this decision.  What will I do?

***

Two days after writing the above, I was asked to come in for a second interview.  Without hesitation I declined.  I realized that even though there was more money to be made with the new company, the job itself did not appeal to me and I knew that I would not be happy if I took the position.  I am not unhappy in my current position I’ve just become bored and it’s up to me to step it up a notch.  So I did.  And this past week as been more productive than the several weeks prior.  I am happy with my decision and I made it all by myself.

Turns out, you don’t need “god” to feel at peace with a good decision you just have to make the one that’s right for you.

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