Timeline Timing

Sooo… traipsing through my Facebook timeline after work today, I found these two pictures next to each other:

First:

walkswater

And then:

drownsus

I found this a very amusing contrast.

Well into my second year of non-faith, I find myself still navigating the waters of reason rather erratically.  For instance, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted at this blog.  I began this blog for the purpose of sorting out my own thoughts and feelings.  Once I’d made the decision that Christianity was not the truth I thought it was, I still had (have) many things to sort out for myself.

I needed to figure out what I believe, if anything.  My friend Zen commented once that I needed some sort of religion, amused as he was by my new and ongoing forays into Buddhism.  He may be right.  I tend to glom on to a position and entrench myself once I’m satisfied with my level of understanding, whether or not that level is really adequate.  I’m very emotional and very sentimental.  I’m easily driven about by hyperbole and platitude, and make as much use of them as they do of me.

I also needed to figure out what my altered worldview meant in terms of the real world around me.  Realizing there is no god, that there is no magic rescue coming, no cracking of the Mount of Olives in the near future – realizing that this is all there is, that it’s up to us to take care of our world, to take care of each other – well, that’s a political shift as well as a spiritual one.  And in the same way I tend to let my passion outstrip my purpose.

So after a time of considering all of these things, of dealing with the aftermath of my leaving the faith and having to deal with myself with no magic help, I thought about just leaving this blog behind, and the whole issue.  I thought about just focusing on myself and my loved ones, of pursuing a philosophical brand of Buddhism and leaving behind the argument.  Let others come to it in their own time, or not at all.

I’m probably not wired that way, really.  For instance, I believe there is significant injustice in the world.  I believe we shouldn’t be quiet about it.  I believe there is too much violence in the world, and that we too quickly choose violence as a solution rather than recognize it as part of the problem.  I believe I can be a positive, compassionate person, and I believe that doesn’t take place in a personal vacuum.

So I guess I’ll still be blogging, here and there anyway.  And I guess platitudes will still fascinate me, despite my efforts to be more thoughtful.  I’ll try to learn from the people who challenge me, and try to deal compassionately with those I think propagate the worst problems in our society.

At least that’s what I think today…

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18 responses to “Timeline Timing

  1. I think it’s different to be a new “rejectivist” than someone who has basically been an atheist for decades if not a lifetime. For me, I don’t really feel I’m rejecting anything in my day to day life, nor did I ever really, unless someone was bugging me. There was just nothing “there” for me to reject. There was never anything. My parents didn’t push any religion on me, since they had none (they weren’t atheists, just non-religious and dgaffers, basically). So, unless I get trolled into an argument, the whole thing’s a non-issue. But that’s not the case with you, and I can see how this is an active issue, something that’s in the forefront of your mind, not something that comes up only when someone else bugs you about it. This is new to you and you need to work it through to feel wholly comfortable with your new badass godless heathen self. :)

    • I’m sure you’re right – It all stands out for me because it’s still fresh and I’ve a lot to sort out.

      I do appreciate being called “badass” – as much as it’s probably far from the case :)

  2. I was a Christian my whole life and even attended Bible college with an intent to become a pastor. I left Christianity almost a year ago and have also embraced Buddhism. I am absolutely floored by the impact the teaching is having in my life. One problem though, the wife is still a Christian. Yeah, its been rough. We’re happily married on our 7th year with two babies and are working through this, but it has been tough. Looking deeply into myself and all around me, I just can’t imagine this is a “fully automatic Universe” as Alan Watts described the atheist view. Everything is too fucking amazing:). Wish I had time to explain more about myself and where I’m going but don’t at this time. Thank you for your blogs.

    • Andy – Obviously I’m remiss, waiting so long to respond to you.

      As someone who’s been on the opposite side – I still believed when my wife gave up her belief – I can tell you that it can and does work out, in many ways. In another post on this blog I talk about how the need to love each other when our worldviews diverged actually helped us get closer together. Eventually I came around myself, for my own reasons. Maybe she’ll keep believing, and maybe she’ll change her mind, but if you two can love each other with compassion and understanding, your babies will be better off for it, and you two will appreciate each other all the more. Good luck and thanks so much for visiting :)

    • Andy, I agree the universe is amazing, and instinctively we seem wired (probably by our evolution) to seen meaning in it. The problem I have is that 1. I see no convincing evidence that there is a personal God who cares about people. Aside from things like the holocaust and tsunamis, there are countless daily injustices and horrors that just make no sense if there is any kind of loving, personal God. and 2. I don’t see how I could respect let alone worship a God who would cause or allow all that. So if there’s something more than the material universe, it seems like it would be at most some kind of impersonal background entity or or deistic force, and since that would be hard to know or find relevant (for me) it seems somewhat moot.

  3. I went through a buddhist phase too after leaving Christianity. I came to realise, that it was sort of a half way house… no God belting out rules and creeds like Christianity, but the same fundamental denial of everyday reality, that we have bodies that need resources which are scarce and competed for. It took me ages to start embracing reality. I made a start watching London School of Economics public lectures and podcasts… what would bring about peace on earth? Jesus’s second coming? Or being moral and being reincarnated again and again until you can reach Nirvana, leaving the shitty earth behind for ever? Or a cheap, universal source of energy, and a political situation that allows for fair distribution?

    One if the biggest things Christianity did for me was to provide a model of the world, why it existed, how it works, why there is suffering, how to effect solutions to increase happiness. There are scientists, politicians, ngos and all manner of people working through the same issues in a practical, systemic way that doesnt involve supernatural intervention. There is a lot of direction and satisfaction to be had trying to understand, and help solve these problems, directly, rather than relying on pat answers involving sin / faith and so forth… real solutions and real answers unsurprisingly takes a lot more effort.

  4. Thank you for having this blog. I am sure that it will help many people trying to get out of fundamentalism. Here is my question: re: “realize there is no god.” how does one do this? That is, “realize there is no god”? I have a perspective that as humans we do not know what there is and, reciprocally, what there is not. If we say we know, then it is ego. What we know is what may reported through science. And still then, it is from our human perspective.

    • SL – thanks for commenting.

      I was probably too glib, and speaking out of my personal experience rather than on a more holistic level. It might have been more accurate to say “Realizing there is no YHWH and no eternal Christ,” which then of course matches more readily with the rest of the paragraph.

      That said, there is a level on which, by your own perspective, it’s not an unreasonable statement. The word “god” would connote to most people a sense of a supreme being with an individual personality, with some awareness of us as beings, and who at some level interacts with the universe and therefore with us as beings. A god for whom there is no evidence, whom one cannot see, and who is for all intents and purposes not there in any way we can perceive, is no god by any human standard or understanding.

      And so in that personal sense, it’s probably not unreasonable to say. But like Dawkins and so many others, one really can’t be a “7” on the Dawkins scale because we don’t know absolutely everything.

      Thanks again for stopping in :)

  5. I have read a few of your post (and maybe there are more that better explain you reasoning) but from what I have read I do not see a clear reason as to why you decided your faith no longer had weight. I am sure that you have reasons which, to you, are clear. However, I think that if you truelly want to intelligently discuss the absence of a god, you need to be able to state your point and reason, and these should prove what you now believe.

    In saying this, I simply mean that if you want to blog about it and share your story, not only for yourself but for your readers, you need to be able to refute evidence that proves Christianity, Jesus Christ, and the Bible if your statement is that God does not exist.

    I encourage you to build your knowledge in this area. You stated that you were a Christian for 26 years and that you suddenly came to the conclusion that God is not real. So my question for you is what did your 26 years in the faith look like? Did you know God during this time or did you simply attended church without pursuing personal relationship with God?

    I am in no way seeking to throw judgement upon you or to call you out. More so I am existed for you because (from what I assume) you want to discover truth. For you, I recommend digging into the facts and deciding for yourself if you want to oppose them or support them. To be an atheist, to be anything, you must be able to stand for what you believe and back it up with evidence so that you can communicate it to others.

    Why I Believe by Chip Ingram was the most factual, historical, insightful and intellectual lecture I have ever witnessed.

    I, like yourself, fell from the faith. The church I was attending did not encourage me in the ways I needed. I asked the question, “Is this all there is? Because if so, it’s not fulfilling enough for me.” I began to dig and dig deep. For me, God guided me to see that I did not know Him- that my preconceived notions of Him were not all sound or based on truth.

    I recommend Chip Ingram’s Why I Believe because it’s designed and created for a scientific/ fact seeking mind set. There are plenty of lectures, books, and videos out there, but of all the ones I have heard, Why I Believe is the best. I am not recommending it to you because I want you to become a Christian again, I am recommending it to you because Chip discusses facts- the whole audio set is loaded with historical evidence and factual information. Those facts will either build up your cause or tear it down. If you can take the facts and refute them or show them to not be true- if you can find fault in them- then you can truly claim to be a none believer.

    I do not claim to be all knowing. I do not claim to know what is truth and what is not truth. How can anyone say to the masses, my religion (of the millions of religions) is the one truth. Truth is, for the individual, what you want it to be. I hope that in your search, you find your truth. But if you want to find truth, don’t seek to be comfortable- to please or satisfy yourself- seek truth.

    • Audrey:

      Thanks for commenting. I’ll confess that at first I was tempted to simply blow you off, if only because saying things such as:

      In saying this, I simply mean that if you want to blog about it and share your story, not only for yourself but for your readers, you need to be able to refute evidence that proves Christianity, Jesus Christ, and the Bible if your statement is that God does not exist.

      It’s, well, let’s just say it doesn’t come off well.

      Instead of commenting here, I’m going to make you comment the subject of my next post, so please check back.

      One thing I’m curious about – why did you specifically mention Chip’s book?

      • I agree, the words were rather salty, but not intended to be rude.

        I was referred to Chip Ingram when seeking to know more about the Christian view of creation. Each year in science I was retold and retold the evolutionist theory of man’s take on how the world came into existence. It seemed that my faith only held weight outside of school, and more often- only at church. So, I decided to do some investigating.

        I have listened to numerous apologist and Christian speakers- most notable was Chip’s 6 CD series called ‘Why I Believe’. I was blown away by how the facts of science, history, and nature point directly to the Christian God Yahweh.

        True, following God is about faith, but the world proves His very existence.

        I’ll keep an eye out for your next post.

      • I asked about Chip because it was odd that he’s the one teacher you referred. I’m sure you didn’t know that I sat under his teaching for about 10-11 years in Santa Cruz, until my wife and I moved away (a couple years before he went back east to take over Walk Through the Bible.)

        I’ll go into more detail in the post I’m working on, but I’ll say this much now. I have a lot of respect for Chip, and I know how sincere he is. I ran several ministries as a lay leader during those years and had a lot of opportunity to interface with him in addition to Sunday services. Reviewing the syllabus to the CD set, I recognize most of what it contains as material I learned from him, other pastors, and guest speakers, and for a long time perpetuated myself.

        Anyway, more to come. Cheers.

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