It's hard to be an atheist dealing with this shit if for no other reason there's the lack of a built in, definitive support group. Even if you're not a body who goes to church there's still that idea that out there is some consciousness that understands your fucked up place in the universe and accepts you anyway.
I dunno about you but that is really fucking appealing. Following dday I wavered at the church doors a few times. I just wanted someone to tell me it would be okay. I didn't, cuz I didn't believe and it felt hypocritical, but I DID envy folks who can believe that stuff, for a little while at least.
Generally though I find a Terry Pratchett book to be a great substitute for supernatural connections during the bleak and brutal period of a purely secular personal crisis. It also has the added benefit of making you lol. I mean, Death is pretty fucking inspiring as people go in those books and if the fictional representation of the anthropomorphic personification of Death leaves you feeling like he's a swell guy despite the scythe and robes then it's hard not to think that shit's gonna be okay soon enough.
Truth is I really wish I had faith. It would be great. I am envious. Not just surrounding the A, but in general. Community, something to give reason (albeit poor ones sometimes) to a lot of life's questions. Just can't buy into it.
For a while I thought about the connection between my lack of faith in a God and my lack of faith in my W after the A. It's crap however. The A didn't change anything except my view of her. I can extend faith and trust to who ever I want.
take it easy...
I can not believe it, but it would be comforting. I know a lot of religious folks think athiests are these wild and crazy folks that don't want any moral boundaries, just want to do what ever it is they want, no consequenses, no morality, a
I can not believe it, but it would be comforting. I know a lot of religious folks think athiests are these wild and crazy folks that don't want any moral boundaries, just want to do what ever it is they want, no consequenses, no morality, a life with no boundaries.
Nothing could be further from the truth, at least the athiests that I know, and myself.
Interstingly enough, I am the athiest, my husband kinda on the fence, and he had the affair, not me. I have very strict boundaries of behavior, but they are boundaries that I set for myself. This, I do not cross those boundaries. Why would I set them if I wanted to cross them?? They are inviolate.
Great thread. It is tiresome to hear all of those platitudes when they don't help anything. One platitude that does ring true is the golden rule.
Treat others as you would want to be treated. Now I don't know about God, but Jesus was a very smart fellow and I respect him a lot. A radical liberal of his time. LOL.
I have been thinking about going to church on and off since ironically WH's Affairs started. But I just struggle with the concept that 'god has a plan' he's trying to test me etc etc
I've had a had a lot of disadvantages that I can only put down to karma. I sometimes think I must of been a horrible person in a 'previous life' I just don't get it.
But kids with aides/ horrific counties etc really? But yes i wish I could believe 'something' or 'someone' was looking over me. Furthermore, the support...
I also find the concept of a heaven rather unappealing. I donít want to live forever. I canít imagine anything more boring than eternity. I want to live a long life. As long human endurance will allow, but once done I will welcome the void. But I digress.
I take far more comfort in the earthly support I receive from family and friends. I donít need some nameless care taker. Besides, for support and caring to really take root within me there must be the opportunity for meaningful reciprocation. Talking to the sky just isnít going to cut it.
I actually prefer that there isnít someone watching over us.. guiding us.
The desire for faith does not negate the desire for independence from someone watching over us. That is just the incarnation of most faiths.
I was simply saying that faith and having answers would provide just that, answers. Not that a being would need to be involved or directive.
I was also saying that outside of the praying to invisible person thing, the sense of community (which can be garnered in many ways) is valuable.
I think the difficulty for me arises from the lack of societal structures for people who don't believe. I have many friends who don't believe in anything organize and they struggle with this as well.
Really? I canít relate to this. I actually prefer that there isnít someone watching over us.. guiding us. I prefer free will over divine influence, even if free will can result in pain. I find the concept of big brother be it from an earthy or divine individual(s) rather abhorrent. Thought crime anyone? No thank you.
I think that's sort of a false dichotomy. People want the comfort and reassurance, not the loss of personal responsibility and individuality. Likened to a dad who is always there if you need him, who can tell you with full assurance it will all be okay and kick everybody else's dads asses.
wrt free will, I feelthat an omniscient entity no more or less precludes the concept of free will than a fully mechanical universe with nested i -1 possibility iterations. In theory both of them are deterministic, but to comprehend the determinism behind either requires a nearly omniscient perspective of the universe, essentially rendering the entire thing moot because then, well, you're god anyway and that takes the entire thing to a new level of what free will is. I don't like the idea of some supernatural entity nudging my hands around either, but that's not necessarily every interpretation of gods and demons, and debating the free will of neural calcium signals is equally difficult in some ways, though coming from the other direction. So while there are some Calvinists out there, I think most folks are behind the idea that free will solves the problem of evil and are all about free will. It doesn't, as a logic problem anyway, but abdication of free will isn't something most people are interested in.
That's not really what everyone is missing, though, I think. The support network of other people who are in some way on the same playground you are. Like SI here. We all have something in common, and there's an unspoken acceptance of others based purely on that simple bias.
It's just a reflection on feeling lonely. Solipsism is a shitty place to be and it's a lot harder for the non-religious to connect in that way in many places.
I'm an ex- evangelical Christian, and I too missed the community experience of church that several other posters have mentioned. I've been visiting a local UU congregation and enjoying the 'church' experience but can be myself also (agnostic or atheist depending on the day).
"Look, as sentient meat, however illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by making value judgments. Everybody judges, all the time. Now, you got a problem with that, youíre living wrong."
wrt punishment, is that about a desire to see some kind of justice justice or personal satisfaction at his deserved misfortune?
[This message edited by StillGoing at 2:45 PM, March 10th (Sunday)]
Eh, probably both. Don't get me wrong, the injustice of the entire situation irks me.....the fact that he may get away from all this pretty much scott-free is more than annoying. At the same time I'd be lying if I didn't say that I would personally feel better if I knew bad things were/are happening to him on an hourly basis.
Does anyone else feel like being an Atheist makes them desire tangible revenge a LOT more? Because I am an atheist(duh.), and due to that fact, I have zero belief that the POSOM will ever be punished, in any capacity, ever. No karma, no facing judgement, etc. This is it...and if he doesn't pay now, he won't.
Iíve been given to revenge fantasies, but would never want to lower myself to execute any. Iím a firm believer in consequences having actions. You donít need divine intervention; everyone has to answer to themselves.
My WXH had some mixed up values. He treated others callously, behaved recklessly, and fancied himself a victim of otherís actions. He might not end up alone and penniless, but he is depriving himself of meaningful connections and really missing out on the sovereignty provided by accountability.
There are people who are atheist or agnostic or even a deist, but pine for a caring god within the context Judaism or Christianity. I think those that do havenít really considered the implications. Now.. all things being fair.. if we get to create our own idea of a caring god and toss all existing concepts away.. well then, I may change my tune, but I certainly donít care for the current choices.
As for a greater desire for revenge. My position would remain the same were I a theist or an atheist (since I have been both). Basically thoughts or revenge are a waste of time. I have had many a revenge fantasy Iíll grant you. However, we do not live in a vacuum. Our actions on a smaller or grander scale impact others. The grander our revenge the more risk that we hurt innocents or even those closet to us. If I have learned anything through my own measure of revenge is that I really donít have it in me to hurt someone. Yes I did do it, but I simply could not do it again. Not only for what I did to my wife, but what I did to myself in the process. I am really not that guy. I HATE being that guy.
I have also come to learn that there is just no getting even. Sure it isnít fair. But life isnít fair. Iíll not waste my time worrying about the general apathy of the universe and make the most of my life. We have a limited amount of time in this universe and I simply will not spend that time worrying about things and people I really have no control over. Nor will I waste my time considering how to get one-up on anyone who has hurt me.
I know the main OM in my situation carries on as if nothing had happened. I truly donít care. The only power that OM has over me is the power I give him. I refuse to allow that to happen. His is truly nothing.
Sage words, my friend. I try to keep stuff like that in mind when I'm at the height of my mind movies and ragefests. The blowback is just NOT worth it.
I am an atheist too, but I'm not sure I feel that it has made my experience with infidelity any harder (or easier). I don't believe in fate and I don't believe in some guiding purpose from above, so these thoughts offer no comfort. But nor do they trouble me. They just don't seem relevant.
As for revenge - sure I wanted revenge on OM - who didn't? But it was my morality that stopped me taking action and not any religious teaching. Just like it is my character and effort that pulls me through to self improvement, and not God's will.
Forgiveness is another one - those that believe seem to think that forgiveness is somehow the sole preserve of the believer. Its not - it is again within our human and moral capacity to forgive regardless of faith or lack of it.
These are also the reasons that I dislike the AA 12 step programme and its application to so many situations - precisely because it encourages those with the power to help themselves to abdicate that power to a 'higher being'. NO. We all need to be in control of our own actions and the consequences thereof. Otherwise we're all fucked.
Rant over. Good thread.
I'm happy for people that can lean on their God to help them in crisis. I just don't have that. It never felt right. I am not accountable to a God. I am accountable to myself. And I have HIGH expectations of myself.
MrKOKO and I have differed in our opinions on faith. I say to each their own. It is their own path to follow. He is a non-practicing Catholic. Known the man 23 years and the only time he attended a church service was at my parent's vow renewal. At one point we were talking about how to discuss a recent death to DS when he was young. The conversation lead to discussing faith, MrKOKO had the nerve to say athesits have no morals. He had not started an A yet but it was soon coming. He just this week threw out in MC that I wouldn't help plan to baptist DS. I plan EVERYTHING. I would support him and be there but I was not planning it. And that I would not go to church w/him and DS. Again, I have no interest in going but encouraged him to take DS if he wanted. I did my time in church growing up. I will add that I love to travel and enjoy visiting places of worship as a traveler but just not during service.
OW and MrKOKO had so many morals though.
[This message edited by keeponkeepingon at 11:50 AM, March 22nd (Friday)]
The first thing my mother told me when I said that MrKOKO and I were separatung was, "A couple that prays together, stays together." She is fully aware that I am an atheist.
Damn that's cold. Thanks mom, not an "Oh honey are you okay" or anything? Sounds like my family.
MrKOKO had the nerve to say athesits have no morals.
Well, I guess that's an easy target to aim for when it comes to shitting on your BS so you can feel good about being an asshole. I mean I've seen that one on a billboard on the NJ turnpike before in giant letters so it's not like it's even that original.