What was the moment (or series of moments) when you realized that you could never again be theist, and that god-belief was an irretrievable history for you?
For me, it was the moment when I could no longer deny that I'd been lied to by half a dozen people, several of whom had invoked me to pray about them...and I made the connection that the good feelings I'd had about them were indistinguishable from the good feelings I'd had about religion. That was the turning point.
I concluded that people believe what they want to believe, because it was all based on emotion. I spent a few weeks asking myself, "Is there anything that does not require me to believe already in order for it to be true?" When I looked for evidence, I found nothing that could survive the test.
I think it was sitting in the rear of a college course on Mythology. I had been reading about Freud in a film class, parsing out the ego and the super-ego, and while I was sitting there listening to the stories about the gods of the Greeks and Romans (and how most Greeks and Romans did NOT actually believe in the literal existence of their "gods"), I made a discovery about prayer. Prayer is me talking to the "god-vision" I have in my own head.
Then there was my thinking on evolution, parsimony, and the sociological word: epistemology. Education did it. It cured me of religion. Thank GOD! (-lessness)
I became an atheistic Buddhist, and now I meditate. It took me years to undo the bedtime prayer conditioning that Mormonism installed in my brain. Fucking cult.
But there are laws, Carrie, that you don't have to believe in for them to be true. Like gravity, or evolution, or E=MC(2). But yeah, I know what you mean. Supernatural stuff, yeah.
I've come to see truth less as a static absolute and more like a river. You can step in it, but you will never step in the same river twice. When you are moving with it, you can feel the rush and thrill of being alive and in motion, but the feeling is always fleeting. Truth is always in motion, always changing, just like life.
"But there are laws, Carrie, that you don't have to believe in for them to be true. Like gravity, or evolution, or E=MC(2). But yeah, I know what you mean. Supernatural stuff, yeah."
It seems that unless it clobbers people on the head, there is always someone who will believe something in contradiction to what's in front of them. I mean, who can disbelieve gravity? No one argues with that. But they do argue with evolution or conservation of mass and energy, because those require thinking.
PS I don't think I could ever bear to bother parsing out Freud.
For me, and it was not really too much different than being Mormon, as I grew up in a southern baptist, fire and brimstone, you'll go to hell if you don't accept Jezzus as your savior. Talking in tongues, falling in a swoon, that kind of stuff. Trying to believe and not being able to. Trying to feel the spirit, like those around me did, but I couldn't. It took years for me to gradually come to believe there is no God. So, for me it wasn't turning a corner, it was a journey and only in looking back, could I see the changes in me.
What I ponder now is my life comes to an end.. just that; brain dies, my
"self" dies. I become dust.
"What I ponder now is my life comes to an end.. just that; brain dies, my "self" dies. I become dust."
One of my favorite quotes now is from City of Angels (a ridiculous story in many ways because it's based on the idea of angels). After a death occurs, the main character asks an angel, "Did I do something wrong? Am I being punished?" The fellow angel delivers these memorable lines, "You know better than that. This is LIFE. You're LIVING now. And someday, YOU'RE gonna die."
In practical terms, no, as I believe this: We go through stages in life. An example is the unbounded enthusiasm of youth and the sense of invulnerability. I think I am at the stage that I know my life is finite; it is something that I ponder from time to time. Only knowing that changes some ways I think, often unconsciously. I have not approached that "ideal," of living One Day at a Time. I don't know what my next life stage will be. I barely remember how I was, I have no idea how I will be.
For me it came as I started deconstructing Christianity...how the Bible was put together, its history, etc. Also the problem of evil and human suffering. The Mormon God is atrocious and as I kept digging, so was the NT and the OT God, so was Allah. I came to realize that God was man-made not the other way around. And I'm comfortable saying I don't know, but I'm sure not going to base my life on some maybe god and if that god is at all like these gods well f--- them all, no thanks. So I just live my life like there isn't one because for all intents and purposes, in my life, there really isn't one.
My childhood teddy bear was the main trigger for my recognition of reality. I had a realization as a child, but once I was an adult and able to really think for myself, I recalled this experience, and I have to say it is the foundation of my non-belief.
I had a teddy bear that was the most special of all my toys. He was REAL. I believed that we had conversations telepathically and that he was the only one of my stuffed animals able to do this. He was my BEST friend.
One day it suddenly occurred to me that I had no proof that he was actually talking to me. I believed he was, but I had no actual reason to think it other than it was what I believed.
He never moved, blinked, spoke out loud...anything. Based on that, I had no actual reason to think he really was speaking to me. It was most likely my own mind!
Then, it occurred to me, quite frighteningly, that I had never seen, touched or heard God. Based on that, I had no actual reason to think God was actually speaking to me. It was probably my own mind.
After investigating the church on the internet I realized that I had been deceived about the church. If the only true church is false than what is left? I then went to university to study Biblical Studies. We started with the Old Testament and after analyzing Genesis chapter 1& 2 it was plain that it was all manmade. I learned the truth and it set me free. After 40+ years of paying tithing. If I had of invested it in the bank at only 4% interest I would have $800,000 extra in my retirement fund. Damn. But many like the idea of seeing the loved ones again. They cannot accept the fact that when we are dead we turn to dirt. So they continue believing.