Finding Peace Without "God"

Posts tagged ‘church’

A Quote from a Fellow Atheist- On How to a Respond Bible-Passer-Outer

“It may help to step into his worldview for a moment.  He believes that the Bible comes from God and contains life and death information.  He has acted on that information himself and believes it to work in real life.  He believes that the Bible is similar to a cure for cancer, and that everyone – including himself has it.

 Therefore, when he hands out bibles, acting on what he completely believes, he does so out of compassion and love for his fellow man.  It’s possible that he is mistaken about it, and it’s possible that nobody wants one, but he sleeps better at night having offered.  Sleep better at night in the sense of loving people, not religious duty.

Entering his worldview at least helps us to think the best of people, which we should do whatever we think about God.”

I couldn’t agree more.  This is exactly how I feel but it’s so easy to get caught up in who’s right and who’s wrong and feel defensive.  I plan to read this several times a week to remind myself how I really feel without all the negativity that surrounds the atheist community.

 

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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.

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