October 25, 2016 at 6:42 pm #118919sherry sageParticipant
God is us.
Human beings are God.
This world is ours to look after.
I was not raised religiously though in the few times I have been inside a church or cathedral I have found them to be very comforting places. Never once felt afraid or like I didn’t belong. So I confidently believe in a type of God that makes sense to me.October 28, 2016 at 5:38 pm #119114Vesta HeraParticipant
I used to be a Christian. I tried turning to catholicism and I hated how their religion is all about guilt. I then got really into the New Age movement. I believed in reincarnation, karma, and all that stuff that new agers believe in.
A few years ago, I lost my spirituality. I stopped believing after I got involved with mormons. What they were teaching me was so preposterous. They found me while I was going through hard times and I agreed to join their church. What BS. Their teachings triggered something in me… anger, rage towards their teachings on how to be ashamed of myself and think less of others who are not of their faith.
I ended up resigning my membership from their church. It also caused me to become an Atheist.
I tried again and again to rekindle my spirituality with the new age. I can’t.
I don’t believe in God. Ever since I became an atheist, I’ve been very depressed, unhappy, and I feel very hopeless.
I wish I could believe in God. I would be so much happier. But, I can’t no matter how try. To me, it’s all a lie.October 29, 2016 at 6:58 am #119132
I am a Catholic and you are quite correct, it is ALL about guilt and shame. It’s a self-harmer’s club. I pity the unfortunate teenagers going through puberty within this rotten Church. They are made to hate themselves and their bodies. It seems there’s actually a group of people whom this church hates more than gays, and that’s masturbators. This group of people are made to feel thoroughly dirty and evil.
You say you are an atheist and you’re not happy. Well I ‘believe in God’ and I am not happy either. This God never speaks, and instead He/She/It or whatever the fuck it calls itself allows the Church to speak for Him/She/It through dogmas and doctrines. So God is obviously quite relaxed about impressionable young minds contemplating suicide through Catholic guilt and shame.
But I know when I WAS happy. It was in my younger days when I just enjoyed life and took it at face value. The days BEFORE I believed in God, and BEFORE the Catholic Church got its claws into me. I wish I could invent a time machine, go back to when I was a kid, and fucking stay there.
TannhauserOctober 29, 2016 at 9:12 am #119137
There’s a wonderful Indian story of a young man who was told by his guru, “You are Brahman. You are God.” What a thing to experience! “I am God.” So, deeply indrawn, this young man goes out for a walk. He walks through the village, goes out into the country. And coming down the road is a great elephant, with the howdah on top, and the driver on his head. And the young man, thinking “I am God. I am God,” does not get out of the way of the elephant. The mahout shouts, “Get out of the way, you lunatic!” The young man hears him and looks and sees the elephant, and he says to himself, “I am God and the elephant is God. Should God get out of the way of God?” And of course the moment of truth arrives when the elephant suddenly wraps his trunk around him and tosses him off the road.
The young man goes back to his guru in a disheveled condition – not physically hurt, but psychologically in shock. The guru sees him and asks, “Well, what happened to you?”
The young man tells him his story and then says, “You told me that I was God.”
“And so you are.”
“The elephant is God.”
“And so it is.”
“Well, then, should God get out of the way of God?”
“But why didn’t you listen to the voice of God shouting from the head of the elephant?”October 29, 2016 at 9:21 am #119141
Some interesting reading I came across
I think what we are looking for is a way of experiencing the world that will open to us the transcendent that informs it, and at the same time forms ourselves within it. That is what people want. That is what the soul asks for. – Joseph Campbell
From “An Open Life – Joseph Campbell in Conversation With Michael Toms”
TOMS: Human beings throughout history have been searching for their source. How do you see today’s search?
CAMPBELL: I think our search is somewhat encumbered by our concept of God.
God as a final term is a personality in our tradition, so that breaking past that “personality” into the transpersonal, whether within one’s self or in conceiving of the form beyond forms – although one can’t even say form – is blocked by our orthodox training.
This is so drummed into us that the word “God” refers to a personality.
Now, there have been very important mystics who have broken past that. For instance, there is Meister Eckhart, whose line I like to quote: “The ultimate leave-taking is the leaving of God for God.”
This is what in Sanskrit is so easily expressed in Saguna and Nirguna Brahman – Brahman with qualities and Brahman without qualities. And when people would go to Ramakrishna, he would ask them how they would like to talk about God, with qualities or without? You see, that’s inherent in their tradition, but it’s blocked in ours (Christianity)
TOMS: Many people seem to be coming to the search for God.
CAMPBELL: Well, that’s the great thing about it. As soon as you smash the local provincial god-form, God comes back. And that’s what Nietzsche meant when he wrote that God is dead. Nietzsche was himself not an atheist in the crude sense; he was a man of enormous religious spirit and power.
What he meant was that the God who’s fixed and defined in terms appropriate for 2,000 years ago is no longer so today. And of course the words of Meister Eckhart give an earlier variation of Nietzsche’s remark. So the concept of God beyond God is in our tradition.
TOMS: You have to go beyond traditional concepts, don’t you?
CAMPBELL: Indeed you do. Not only for your own life, but because life is different from the way it was and the rules of the past are restrictive of the life process. The moment the life process stops, it starts drying up; and the whole sense of myth is finding the courage to follow the process. In order to have something new, something old has to be broken; and if you’re too heavily fixed on the old, you’re going to get stuck. That’s what hell is: the place of people who could not yield their ego system to allow the grace of a transpersonal power to move them.
TOMS: So it’s like coming in touch with the deeper part of life and being willing to let go.
CAMPBELL: And if you understand the spiritual aspect of your religious tradition, it will encourage you to do that. But if you interpret it in terms of hard fact, it’s going to hinder you.
Heinrich Zimmer once said, “The best things can’t be told; the second best are misunderstood; the third best have to do with history.” Now, the vocabulary through which the best things are told as second best is the vocabulary of history, but it doesn’t refer to history; it refers through this to the transcendent. Deities have to become, as one great German scholar said, “transparent to the transcendent.” The transcendent must show and shine through those deities. But it must shine through us, too, and through the spiritual things we are talking about. And as long as you keep pinning it down to concrete fact, and declare something isn’t true because it didn’t happen, you’re wrong. We don’t say that about fairy tales, and so we get the truth of them. We should read our religions that way.
CAMPBELL: I think contemporary religion is in a very bad spot. And I think it is because it has taken the symbols as the referents. Religion is the constellation of metaphors, and the metaphor points to connotations that are of the spirit, not of history, as I said before. And in our religions, we’re accenting the historical image that carries the message, but we stay with the image.
TOMS: The literal interpretation, in other words…
CAMPBELL: Yes, and you lose these messages. The thing about Jesus is not that he died and was resurrected, but that his death and resurrection must tell us something about our own spirit.
TOMS: Why do you think we tend to a literal interpretation of Christ in myth?
CAMPBELL: I think it’s the result of a strong institutional emphasis in our religions in the West, and a fear of the mystical experience. In fact, the experience of the divine within you is regarded as blasphemy. I remember having given a lecture once on this problem of becoming transparent to transcendence, so that your life becomes a transparency through which light shines.
I spoke of it as “the god in you, coming out through your life.” A couple of months later, I met a young woman at another talk who had happened to be present at the first one; and she told me that when I had said “The Christ in you asks you to live,” a priest sitting next to her had said, “That’s blasphemy!” So, in institutional religion, all the spirit is out there somewhere, not in you.
But what’s the meaning of the saying, “The kingdom of heaven is within you,” if you can’t say, “It’s within me”? Then who’s in heaven?
TOMS: And, “I and the Father are one.”
CAMPBELL: All of that. Jesus was crucified because he said, “I and the Father are one.” Well, the ultimate mystical experience is of one’s identity with the divine power. That’s the sense of the Chandogya Upanishad saying which says “You are It.” That divinity which you seek outside, and which you first become aware of because you recognize it outside, is actually your inmost being. Now, it’s not a nice thing to say, but it’s not good for institutions if people find that it’s all within themselves. So there may be some point there about our particular situation in the West where religious institutions have been able to dominate a society.
TOMS: In some sense, we create our own gods.
CAMPBELL: Yes, that’s exactly what we do. No matter what name we give it, the God we have is the one we’re capable of having. That’s something people don’t realize. Simply because they’re all saying the same name for God, that doesn’t mean they have the same relationship to That, or the same concept of what It is. And the concept of God is only a foreground of the experience.
TOMS: Isn’t it important to respect our own uniqueness?
CAMPBELL: I think that’s the most important thing of all. That’s why, as l said, you really can’t follow a guru. You can’t ask somebody to give The Reason, but you can find one for yourself; you decide what the meaning of your life is to be. People talk about the meaning of life; there is no meaning of life – there are lots of meanings of different lives, and you must decide what you want your own to be.October 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm #119158
I think us humans will only start to live happy contented lives when we ditch God. It’s thanks to God that people like me have been inducted into the doctrine of self-hate. We must hate our own bodies. My own particular brand of God insanity, Catholicism, teaches us to avoid pleasure at all costs whilst revelling and delighting in suffering.
God causes mental illness and self-harm. God does not produce happy, well-adjusted humans, but instead creates self-hating introverts with painfully low social skills. I have NEVER felt that God loved me, I always saw Him/It as an abusive father ready to lash out with the belt. I always feared It/Him. I suspect the same is true with many Catholics, except perhaps those poor deluded individuals who think they are Jesus’s girlfriend.October 29, 2016 at 2:46 pm #119164
I think that when religion views God as a alien being that exists out their as a watcher and judge they have missed the target – (the word sin is a old archery term to miss the target to sin then in this regard is anything that keeps us from our becoming)
Others also mistake the organization and religious teaching as being God. They mistake the map for the territory. You could argue that such organization worship a book as a idol that prevents them from seeing the forest.
Tannhauser your experience of religion has hurt you greatly.
The problem with being so angry at a God you don’t experience as existing is that you’re shaking your fist at empty air.
Believe me I relate to your experience. There is a part of me that so badly wanted to belong to the community I was raised in but unable to experience this God they claimed was so loving, just and worthy of praise. All I felt and saw was injustice and pain all of which left me feeling I must have failed and didn’t belong.
Yet no matter how hard I tried I have never been able to deny G_d’s existence and like you in a way that had me shaking my fist.
One day I got tired of shaking my fist and fighting this something that I apparently didn’t believe in. If I was shaking my fist I was shaking it at something so I set out to workout what this something was. I began a long journey of separating my experience of G_d from my experience of family, community, church, religion…
I began to look past the words, allowing the words to be transparent to transcendence and when I did began to feel that there was a something that “binds us all”. A definition of religion is that which binds us, not the rules not the words but something greater than the sum of all parts, that transcends the rules and words that can only point.
We tend to use the word God when we talk about this experience but the word God is not God.October 30, 2016 at 9:14 am #119189
Thanks for your input,
As I said earlier, I don’t believe God ever loved me. It seems to me that He/It actively punished me with chronic illnesses all through my life. He/It also cursed me with infertility, hypopituitarism and an inability to feel love. As stated in the Fisher King story, such a malaise is a fate worse than death. And now that all these illnesses crowd in upon me and grow ever stronger, as I begin to experience the bitter regrets of all the things I have missed out on in life, I realise that God only really existed in my mind. I realise that the God I had created in my mind is not going to help. It was all a lie they told us.
“And I believed in father christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
’till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise”
I have nothing but hate in my heart for this ‘God’ you speak of. It’s the worst type of promise, a false one.
Tannhauser.October 30, 2016 at 10:54 am #119195
You are correct this God you created in your mind is not going to help you.
To be clear this god of promises is not the idea of ‘G_d’ I was pointing to.
I’m sorry life has not been kinder to you
December 20, 2016 at 1:15 pm #123123GregKParticipant
- This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by Peter.
I believe in god but not God. I am probably closest to being a Christian (or maybe a Taoist), but I have a hard time with the way Christians think of God. For example, you are not supposed to use God’s name in vain, meanwhile the God of the Bible explicitly wishes to go unnamed, most of the words we have for God are ways of getting around having a name for god.(not using God’s name in vain then becomes not using the essence of what god is for your own personal gain, which to me makes a lot more sense)
People ask how Taoism and Christianity can be the same. Well, Taoism mean Way, the the Christian God also say “I am the Way”. God then becomes purpose. A path for us to follow. The thing that gives meaning to our consciousness. If you read the Tao Te Ching (which is amazing and only like 30 pages) you will start to see that this purpose is the same between both religions.