Jesus said to them in reply, "Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do..
So he gave out the crutches to the weak and infirm.
I wonder if he meant for you to use them forever.
I'd like to point out that where you have arrived is very similar to what Christianity would teach us.
See? We're not so different =)
I actually admire how difficult it must be to arrive at these truths you have discovered without a beacon or shining light to guide you. At the same time I feel a little sorry for you. The analogy, and I hope it is not offensive, is of a guy who is limping along and obviously needs a crutch but he simply will not take it. I don't know why he won't accept the help and again you kind of admire the strength to say I want to do this on my own. However, since we arrive at the same place eventually and because not everyone is as determined and gifted as you, I really wish we as humans could be a little more humble and recognize that we need help, the help of each other, and divine assistance.
I thank you for the compliment, but let me go further with your analogy. I, as a crippled man, struggle along through life. You, as a loving Christian, offer me a "crutch". You explain what it is, how it has helped you and how it can help me, and direct me on how to reach you so that I may receive it. But when we meet, I find that the "crutch" is a typical crutch, and my disability is that I have no arms. It's not that I deny the outstretched hand, it's just that I'm being offered a gift I cannot use.
It makes your gesture no less appreciated, your intentions no less pure, but it simply cannot be of help to me because of the way I am. I think a lot of the problems we see when discussing or promoting religion with athiests is that some theists don't offer the crutch, they almost force it, and tell you that very, very bad things will become of you if you don't take it. That'd be like me sharing my beliefs with you, all the while reminding you that you're going to die and rot and all of your life's work is a complete waste of what little time you have. Both stances are hurtful and only serve to drive wedges between people.
Somehow, in all of these very long conversations with each other, we've avoided that. We were able to discuss unproven, opposing beliefs as fact and not get caught up in the b.s., and it turned into a nice, educating experience. Shouldn't that be the goal of all beliefs, regardless of their source or denomination?
And I thank you for your pity, but I assure you it is not needed. It would be no different than me feeling sorry for you for all that you have given up, for all your sacrifice, for all the work you do in your church. You probably look at your work with pride; it is no different for me. I've surely struggled in my journey, and I'm sure many of our admitted athieists here have as well, but we've found or are finding our way. Wouldn't you say you have struggled, as do the multitudes of your flock, in your search of, or desire to be like, Christ? We're much the same, only different in the hook in which we've decided to hang our hats.
I also do need to comment on the comment you made about someone who is limping and in need and how you offer him a crutch and yet he does not accept it. This, along with another comment you wrote somewhere before that comment, really struck me. I have to say that your crutch comment was extremely conceited. You're basically saying that you have the answer and that you give this answer or solution to someone in need and how stupid that it seems that someone could so easily pass up on the correct or right answer to his solutions. I'm surprised you would be so bold and so blunt to say something like that. And that's something that I've encountered in my 4 short years in the Christian church. The conceit that comes with thinking that this way, the Christian way, is the ONLY way. If you personally in your heart believe it's the truth then that's as far as it could ever go: being just YOUR belief. If others join you in that belief that's great but it is conceited to think that ANY belief is the correct belief, whether we're talking religion or anything for that matter. Your way is the right way FOR YOU, father. I have to say that when I left the Christian faith it was a hard transition. I remember crying in my therapist's office about it. It was scary on the one hand because I was facing the possibility that I could go to hell for my decision to not believe any more. It was also scary cuz there really IS a wonderful comfort in being a part of the church. To be a part of a community of people who have the same beliefs you have, people who you've come to know and even love. And in the other hand you're leaving the security that the church an it's doctrine gives you, from believing, as you've just demonstrated, that you have the answers and that you can sleep at night knowing that all is understood.
And actually in writing this I actually pat my self on the back and commend people like Face and others like him as well who pursue the truth of life in this pool of confusion that we live in on this planet.
I love Byron Katie. Until I found her 2 or more so years ago I was terribly confused and aimless. I find comfort in her teachings. In a nutshell she teaches about beliefs in general. If I am feeling strife or some sort of negative emotion it is only and always because I am BELIEVING a thought that isn't right for me. When you say that you've seen "God's" work in other people's lives (which I think is another conceited thing to say) could itbe possible that their BELIEF in God was what caused or contributed to the change you see in their lives? So maybe it wasn't god at all. If I believe Mickey Mouse will do good things in my life and then good things happen, was it really Mickey Mouse that made things happen or could it possibly have something to do with my belief that he had something to do with it? See, I could just as easily run to you and say, "See, father, Mickey Mouse really DOES exist! Look at what he's done in my life! See, that must mean that he really DOES exist!!" To say that God really does exist cuz you've seen what he's done in people's lives just a story. A nice one, but a fake one nonetheless.
By the way if you said Mickey Mouse had really changed your life I would first ask how? How does Mickey inspire you, make you feel secure, give your comfort, and help you sleep at night? If you came up with an answer I might then ask has anyone else been helped in the same way? Even if you said billions and billions of people have experienced the same help you have had with Mickey Mouse, it would remind me of Jesus, but I would not say then that this MUST mean he exists because that is a logical fallacy. If you really experienced something amazing with Mickey Mouse I imagine you would want to tell me about him, and I wouldn't blame you or get mad at you for doing so, you are just trying to help. Then if I believed you and looked into the thousands of years of history and into the rich traditons and teachings about Mickey Mouse I might want to find out if it is all true and attend services with you and meet your community or your friends. Eventually I may come to believe he exists but not because you told me so, not because of overwhelming testimony about him, not because of beautiful teachings, all these things would help, but ultimately because I experienced Mickey for myself. I say God exists cuz I've not only seen what He's done in people's lives, and all the other evidence and proof, but it is also and ultimately what He has done in my own. It is a nice story and it is true.
Anyway, I think life really is as simple as the moment we're in. I'm learning about meditation and really learning the practice of being aware of the present moment. All else is commentary. It's simple stuff.
And even Byron Katie talks about God. But not God as the creator of everything, or this massively powerful force in the universe. She simply looks at God as reality. Here's and excerpt from her book "A Thousand Names For Joy", page 58:
"I have a word for God: reality. I call reality "God" because it rules. It is what it is, and it's so physical - it's a table, a chair, it's the shoe on your foot, it's your hair. I love God. It's so clear, so solid; it's completely dependable. You don't get a vote in what it does, and it doesn't wait for your opinion or your permission. You can trust it completely."
So to me when I identify myself as an atheist in my definition it is someone who does not believe in an image of God as in a way that most religions paint "him". The whole "God in the sky" image.
I hope the Wizard doesn't get mad at me for sharing a part of Katie's book but you can see I am giving full credit here to her. This is something she wrote in her same book "A Thousand Names For Joy", this is from pages 239-240:
Quote: Byron Katie
"A Christian asked me if I had ever met Jesus. I'm a lover of God - in other words, a lover of reality. I like to meet you there, which is here, now.
I don't know much about Jesus, except that he loved God. He was a man with a wonderful way that worked for him - someone who truly lived it. I know what that is. I found a wonderful way, too, and I live it. And, of course, that's not true. "I" didn't find the way, it found me, when there wasn't even a me to find. The way is simply what is. It doesn't bend to what anyone thinks it should be, it is its own integrity, it is infinitely intelligent and kind. To my mind, if Jesus is the way, I meet him in everyone, because the way is nothing more than a mirror image of my own thinking.
Christians say they love Jesus, but that's easy to believe when things are going your way. If Jesus walked into this room, everyone would love him, some would even fall at his feet and worship him, until he said something that threatened their religion, which is the concept they're attached to in the moment. Then he'd become an enemy. "He's a radical. He's not what I thought he'd be. He hangs out with the wrong people. A spiritual teacher shouldn't be political. He's contradicting the scriptures. His head's in the clouds. He doesn't understand." People will write off even the clearest, most loving person in the world when he opposes their belief system. They will invalidate him, negate him, obliterate him, prove that he's wrong, he's a fraud, he's dangerous to society, so that they can protect what they really believe is important. They'd rather be right than free.
When you revere a spiritual teacher, it's yourself that you're revering, because you can't project anything but yourself. And as long as there is something unhealed in you, you have to attach that to the teacher when you don't get your way or when your belief system is threatened. He says something, you put meaning onto it, you think that he's wrong or lacking, and you move out of reverence. What you're reacting to is not what he said, but what you heard. It's a fine thing to love Jesus, but until you can love the monster, the terrorist, the child molester, until you can meet your worst enemy without defense or justification, your reverence for Jesus isn't real, because each of these is just another of his forms. That's how you know when you are truly revering your spiritual teacher: when your reverence goes across the board.
If you think you're devoted to a spiritual teacher, that's a wonderful beginning; you get to see how your devotion could look when it's directed to all of us. Whatever disrespect, invalidation, or fear you project onto an enemy - sooner or later you'll project it onto your spiritual teacher. Everyone is your teacher, and the most powerful spiritual practice is to hang out with the people who criticize you. You don't even have to do that physically, since they live right here in your head. And when you think that you've grown beyond all your defensiveness and justifications, then hang out with your enemies physically, and see how lighthearted you are when they trash you. That's the real test.
To become aware without any spiritual teacher, without any scripture or tradition or authority, is to meet the teacher where you are. For me, the truth was right under my nose. Most amazing. It was sweet and simple, with nothing complicated about it. If it hadn't been so simple, I would never have found it."
I've viewed basically every single video she has online (and I'm talking about hours and hours of materials), I've seen her speak online and in person, I've read 3 of her books, and she seems to be a person who depicts true love and peace. Even looking at her picture, can you tell me that she looks like a woman who is supposed to go to hell? I mean honestly!
he hears and first runs it thru the Jesus Filter, which tells
him what his thoughts and opinions will be on any subject.
This is not uncommon for religious people. Many Muslims
do it for their religion. Zealotry in any religion requires a
filter be in place at all times, to stop you from being confused,
and to keep you on the straight and narrow. Its also called
'drinking the Koolaid'..
Similarly logically, the question can not exist without the answer. Eg, one of the basic tenets of Game Theory is to "assume your opponent(s) play(s) well" or optimally (, without any reliable history about them.) Ie, that that knowledge is available to every one. Including to some god as an actual entity; or even as a concept, or perspective, of one. What is available at that limit becomes embedded in how it is read.Quote: JB
The message being, how can good exist unless evil also exists.
Don't forget that this "magnificent existence" is slowly grinding each of us back to "dust". I prefer not to give up so easily, and to hope for something a bit more than magnificent.Quote: Mosca
I've never thought of a lack of belief in a god as an admission of banality; to me it's the exact opposite. A god is too simple an answer for such a magnificent existence.
There are as many, and levels, of infinities of religion, as finities of science?Quote: Mosca
Religion is about finite answers. Science is about infinite questions. The two will never reconcile.
... the Jesus Filter, which tells him what his thoughts and opinions will be on any subject.
Isn't that an example of a mixed metaphor? Doesn't make sense, and isn't worth the effort to sort it out.