With the ever increasing number of people leaving Mormonism and joining this great site, coupled with reading the interesting posts on a regular basis and all with differing views, I thought it might be interesting to have a posting to see just where those that have left are in their "belief" structure (for lack of a better word) now.
Maybe a good idea would be to begin "Since leaving Mormonism this is what I now believe"....
Having said that, let us respect each person's opinion and try and not inflict our own beliefs on anyone else or criticise anyone for where they are now in their journey after leaving.
Over to you.....
Since leaving Mormonism, I believe that there is no objective, absolute morality. I believe that humanity does not need a savior and if anything good is to happen in the world it is up to mankind, not the supernatural. I believe that I don't need to beg a god for forgiveness for my misdeeds, just those I harmed. I believe that I am not inherently corrupt and neither is anyone else.
I just believe in being nice, charitable, love my family, and doing what is best for my family because I WANT TO. Not because I am being told not doing so will lead me to hell. I also believe in not talking about others without their consent or trying to help people that really don't want my help.
I don’t want to offend anyone that uses the word believe, but to me, it indicates accepting something without any evidence to back it up, and I can’t do that anymore. Now, to answer the question:
Since leaving Mormonism this is what I now believe: Nothing.
I do not believe in Santa Claus, Fairies, Bigfoot, crystal power, astrology, homeopathy, the Bermuda triangle, nor the teapot orbiting Mars. Not Thor, Zeus, Aphrodite, Quetzalcoatl, The Great Spirit, Allah, Jesus, nor any other God. Not Voodoo, ghosts, spiritual beings, life after death, Witches, magic, luck, nor anything supernatural.
However, I do enjoy fantasizing about things like Fairies in movies (can you say Tink?)
I also do not believe in science. However, I accept what science has proven beyond any reasonable doubt, like the earth is not flat and life came about through evolution.
I know that scientists are imperfect and often get things wrong, but I'm certain that nothing else comes even close to finding truth like science does, so why not stick with something that will eventually find the truth that can be proven to be true? I also conditionally accept what science has only found a little evidence for and am highly skeptical of any claims not derived from good scientific studies.
Scientists eventually do find the truth. One reason is that when a scientist gets carried away and prematurely announces that he has discovered something new (like cold fusion), other scientists start trying to reproduce his results. If they cannot, that hypothesis dies along with the reputation of the premature scientist. Sadly , many believers see science correcting itself as a negative instead of the great positive thing it is.
Scientists also often admit when they are wrong, which most believers never do.
Perhaps I’m being too picky in not using the word believe. After all, my favorite atheist Richard Dawkins uses it. For example, he says: “what I, as a scientist, believe (for example, evolution), I believe not because of reading a holy book but because I have studied the evidence. It really is a very different matter. Books about evolution are believed not because they are holy. They are believed because they present overwhelming quantities of mutually buttressed evidence. In principle, any reader can go and check that evidence. When a science book is wrong, somebody eventually discovers the mistake and it is corrected in subsequent books. That conspicuously doesn’t happen with holy books.”
Richard Dawkins tells a great story about a respected elder statesman that he knew. For years he had passionately believed and taught that the Golgi Apparatus (a microscopic feature of cells) was not real: an artifact, an illusion. One day, the Monday research talk at Oxford was given by an American cell biologist who presented completely convincing evidence that the Golgi was real. “At the end of the lecture, the old man strode to the front of the hall, shook the American by the hand and said -- with passion -- ‘My dear fellow, I wish to thank you. I have been wrong these fifteen years.’ We clapped our hands red. No fundamentalist would ever say that.” Dawkins goes on to say “The memory of the incident I have described still brings a lump to my throat.” It also brings tears to my eyes to know such honest, intelligent, genuine people exist.
Other things I believe (although I still prefer the word think):
I think we need to determine our own morality by using good evidence of what makes us happy. Not taking the easy way out and depending on philosophical or religious leaders/dictators to determine it for us. Even our own reasoning and logic can lead us astray if we don’t look for evidence to back it up. And don’t get me started on feelings and visions!
I think we can create just as great and emotionally satisfying music without religion, even though religion has a large head-start in that area.
I think we can enjoy the wonder and beauty of life and the universe without religion. My scientific understanding has caused me to enjoy beauty and experience wonder and awe much more than Mormonism ever did, and much more than any other philosophy or religion I’ve read about. I just wish my command of the language (or lack thereof) allowed me to express it better than I do.
One thing that my logic and reasoning indicates to me is that it’s extremely likely that many other groups of intelligent beings exist in the universe, and it’s very likely many of them have lived millions of years longer than us, and have the ability to use their advanced scientific understanding to do mind-blowing things that most humans would call miracles. I’m sure we will find-out that they are not supernatural. Just advanced.
If they reach our planet before religion dies, I suspect most religious people will think they are sent from the God they believe in to give us further light and knowledge. Or, perhaps punish us for our sins. Who knows what crazy things they will believe. I think it would dramatically shake-up religious and superstitious people, and those beings from another planet would have a difficult time convincing believers that they are just scientists. And, once they did, a lot of the believers would still believe in their God, and not be persuaded by the alien scientists evidence to the contrary.
I think we will, in the near future, overcome disease and improve our bodies to the point that we will live forever. We will also do what other more advanced beings have already done: We will create natural and artificial intelligent beings that will also evolve, perhaps becoming our equals.
I think we have slowly been improving our ability to get-along with each other through the years and the improvements will come faster as religion dies. I think we have a good chance of eventually developing a pleasant society where everyone gets pleasure from helping each other. A society without war, anger, fear, guilt, or anyone in need.
Do I hear an Amen?
W O W! That is some posting there Idaho Spud!
Thanks for your input - it really made for VERY interesting reading and I appreciate the time you took, emoticons included.
I have to agree with you about the word believe......it DOES sound, as you say that it indicates accepting something without any evidence to back it up,- so may I ask you then with all you have written can you say "I know"? I "know" only a few things, but I do "believe" a lot of things. Maybe I should just stick to "I think" - it sounds a lot safer.
Thanks again - lots of food for thought there but I will not give an "Amen" to this one
I don't know anything with absolute certainty, but I do know quite a few things beyond any reasonable doubt.
If the odds against a belief or hypothesis being true is a quadrillion to one, or even only a thousand to one, I'm not going to waste my energy, time, or resources concerning myself with it. There's just too many more beneficial and enjoyable things to be spend my energy on.
That's my story and I'm sticking with it (until I'm proven wrong).
Thanks for the compliments Enlightened. I need all I can get. And thanks for the opportunity to put a lot of my thoughts down in one place. Something I've been wanting to do for some time.
I didn't really expect anyone to give me an Amen to everything I said in that verbose post (just be glad I didn't say everything I wanted to ). I know I dwell too much on the negative, so I just thought some could agree to my last positive sentence. Maybe I should have asked for specific Amens.
think we have slowly been improving our ability to get-along with each other through the years and the improvements will come faster as religion dies. I wish I could agree with this....I think basically we have all become more selfish through the years in a cut throat world....I personally would not blame this on religion.
I think we have a good chance of eventually developing a pleasant society where everyone gets pleasure from helping each other. A society without war, anger, fear, guilt, or anyone in need I will say Amen to the hopes of a society without war...etc., - about the good chance of eventually developing a pleasant society.....and I am not a negative person...I just think it is going to take more than just wishful thinking. But yes, would love that!
Now it is going on 1am this side of the world and it is an early rising too.....nite nite
I see one of my statements that needs a correction. I said: " Even our own reasoning and logic can lead us astray if we don’t look for evidence to back it up." My correction is that we need to not only look for evidence to back-up our reasoning, we need to be open to all evidence, even if it disproves our logic and reasoning.
Bar, congratulations on finishing my tome, and thanks for the Amen.
I believe deferring joy for an imagined second life is a tragedy; despite the cosmologically impossible odds against it, I'm alive (!) and this single slice of brilliance is all I'll ever have.
I also believe in Epictetus' words to "act on every generous impulse."