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Questioning my lack of faith....

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posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 12:45 AM
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Hi all,

This started off as a diary entry to off-load and get my own thoughts in order, but as I wrote it, the subject got me to thinking about what I believe and why, and I decided to post it as I think it would be interesting if other members could share similar experiences, or just give their thoughts. I know religion is quite an emotive topic, so while I appreciate all replies, I am not really looking at this becoming an atheist v god debate or getting bogged down with doctrine.

OK - so here is a a bit of background. I am not at all religious, but I don't really like the word atheist any more, because personally, I think that atheism has become hijacked and turned into a religion of it's own, especially now Atheism has it's own pope in Richard Dawkins... but that's not what this is about. The problem I have with pure atheism is that if we go right back to basics, you, me and everybody else is a bag of chemicals in water; yet we are all so different and have these emotions and thoughts and amazing ability to question and problem solve, and recognise cause and effect. There has to be something more to us than just chemistry; and because we don't actually know what this is yet, and there is no word for this "missing piece" of our make-up, I am going to have to use the word soul.

Now to the story: On Wednesday night, I got a kitten. I did want to put a pic on, but don't know how to! If anybody wants to send me an idiot guide, I will put it up. Anyway, he was only about 7 weeks old, and spent most of Wednesday night hiding behind the washer hissing at everything that moved. I managed to coax him out with a bit of food on Thursday and he spent most of the day in the kitchen (behind the washer) or with my other cat, but not really behaving like I expected a kitten to. On Thursday night, I moved him into the lifving room and put him on the cat tree - one of those multi-scratch-posts with various beds and toys on them. He seemed happy enough on there, but when I came to bed time, I found he had urinated in the bed and laid in it. I thought this was very odd, but put it down to nervousness for being in the new house. On Friday morning he had done the same thing in his night time bed, so I was quite worried.

On Friday evening, I got home from work and found him laid in the middle of the living room floor, dead. I immediately took him to the vets because I have other cats, and was concerned that he had something that may be passed on, but the autopsy result showed that he had a lung problem and was just "one of those things".

I've had pets before, and they've aged and died, but it has never really affected me deeply. For example a few years ago, I had a doberman. When she was about 10 years old, and her legs gave out, and the vet suggested putting her to sleep. I felt (and still do to a point) that I had betrayed her, but rationally, could see how distressed that she was that she was not able to stand up, especially when it was for toiletting and she ended up in her own mess and unable to get out of it. Added to that, I had rescued her at about 6 months - 1 year old (this is why I don't know her exact age) from somebody who couldn't be bothered and just had her tied to a post in the garden. So I knew she'd had a normal life span for a dog that size, and I knew she'd had the best possible life I could give her. I never even considered an afterlife - that would be a bonus for her.

Now with this kitten, from what the vet said, it was like the lungs couldn't inflate properly. I am not medical by any means, but I can only imagine that this is not a quick and easy way to die - it must have been very slow and painful and probably explains why the kitten was not jumping about attacking everything that moved (as they do) and did not seem able to jump down from the tree or get out of the bed to reach the litter tray. And the more I thought about it, the more I feel that this cat was given 8 absolutely rubbish weeks and the last 2 - 3 days of his life were spent behind a washing machine or in a puddle of urine, fighting to breath. And now, finally getting to the point of my post, I find myself almost wanting to believe that there is a God who cares, and who will give this kitten the sort of happiness he never got in his short life.

Of course, I know that just wanting something doesn't make it true, and that not all religions consider that animals can have a soul anyway. And from a rational point of view, I can understand that, because at what complexity does the soul start? If a cat has one, would a mouse? If a mouse has one, would a spider? If a spider has one, would a worm? An amoeba? A bacteria?

But I think the issue I have is that this experience has automatically triggered the hope that there is something more to give some sort of point or reason to this cat's short life. And I am finding myself asking that - is this because I have seen people with faith and I am envious that they can find comfort in something which, to me, seems unbelievable, or is there something in the soul (referring to the "missing piece" in my opening comments) which is programmed to make us feel that and go looking for these answers, so we can find our way back to a creator God?

Thanks you for reading and I hope I've not bored you. It has helpoed get my thoughts in order a bit!

UK Lionheart




posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 12:50 AM
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Interesting. On the atheist bit. All atheists have more faith than anyone who believes in a creator. To have everything come from nothing and appear in time and space that didn't exist before requires more faith than I'll ever have.



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 12:56 AM
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reply to post by UKLionheart
 


A sad story OP. But I must ask, why do you feel that there must be more than "chemical bags?" Or do you only want there to be something more? The reason behind the cat's short life was his lung failure.


reply to post by pacifier2012
 





To have everything come from nothing and appear in time and space that didn't exist before requires more faith than I'll ever have.


What did God come from?






edit on 18-11-2012 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 01:03 AM
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In a real sense that is the story of all our lives. We live such relatively short lives full of pain and adversity only to die behind a washing machine in a puddle of our own urine.



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 01:08 AM
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Originally posted by pacifier2012
Interesting. On the atheist bit. All atheists have more faith than anyone who believes in a creator. To have everything come from nothing and appear in time and space that didn't exist before requires more faith than I'll ever have.


Not all atheists believe that. Just because physicists claim it, it doesn't make it any truer than a god creating something out of nothing. Truth is there has never been, nor could there ever be, a state of absolute nothing.



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 01:15 AM
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Originally posted by Tardacus
In a real sense that is the story of all our lives. We live such relatively short lives full of pain and adversity only to die behind a washing machine in a puddle of our own urine.


Through your eyes and by all appearances—and we know how deceptive appearances are—that seems to be the case. But in the eyes of the OP and perhaps the kitten itself, it was a different state of affairs.



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 01:22 AM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope

Originally posted by Tardacus
In a real sense that is the story of all our lives. We live such relatively short lives full of pain and adversity only to die behind a washing machine in a puddle of our own urine.


Through your eyes and by all appearances—and we know how deceptive appearances are—that seems to be the case. But in the eyes of the OP and perhaps the kitten itself, it was a different state of affairs.


I was thinking more along the lines of what a higher power might be seeing.
Looking down from utopia at us we must look like some retched creatures,with our bodily infirmaties and relatively short life spans compared to eternity.I think a higher power or powers look at our lives the same way we look at that kitten`s life.



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 01:28 AM
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Originally posted by Tardacus

Originally posted by LesMisanthrope

Originally posted by Tardacus
In a real sense that is the story of all our lives. We live such relatively short lives full of pain and adversity only to die behind a washing machine in a puddle of our own urine.


Through your eyes and by all appearances—and we know how deceptive appearances are—that seems to be the case. But in the eyes of the OP and perhaps the kitten itself, it was a different state of affairs.


I was thinking more along the lines of what a higher power might be seeing.
Looking down from utopia at us we must look like some retched creatures,with our bodily infirmaties and relatively short life spans compared to eternity.I think a higher power or powers look at our lives the same way we look at that kitten`s life.


Nicely put, I would have to agree. By now, I bet that with man's track record, they would surely see us as vermin.



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 01:36 AM
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Originally posted by pacifier2012
Interesting. On the atheist bit. All atheists have more faith than anyone who believes in a creator. To have everything come from nothing and appear in time and space that didn't exist before requires more faith than I'll ever have.


Science doesn't state that everything came from nothing. Educate yourself on a subject before slagging it off.

OP, you pretty much said what I was going to say yourself, wanting something doesn't make it true. There's nothing here in the way of a religious experience but religious people are going to run with it and try to convert you to their religion that's essentially just there to fill a gap in their knowledge of the universe. Watch Derren Brown's Fear and Faith Part 2, I think that it's quite related to what you feel.
edit on 18-11-2012 by SpearMint because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 03:06 AM
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This is not a rebuttal to your OP; I'm an agnostic.

Why isn't this your current best answer?


Of course, I know that just wanting something doesn't make it true, ... But I think the issue I have is that this experience has automatically triggered the hope that there is something more to give some sort of point or reason to this cat's short life.


Why would hope need any further justification? Or to put another way, who died and left Richard Dawkins in charge, to dictate whether hope and trust are valid stances?

Speaking personally, I don't envy believers. Even if I did, then that cannot be helped, since I cannot choose what I believe anyway. For what it is worth, if I could choose my beliefs, then I wouldn't choose any of the world religious belief-systems that I have been offered.

Any system of "spirituality" with this feature


not all religions consider that animals can have a soul anyway.


is a non-starter in my view. I do not have the answer to your "line drawing" questions, but the kitten is wherever I am, in my opinion. I could be wrong, but I am doing the best I can. My best guess is that there is a spectrum of conscious intention, or whatever quality it is that makes me meaningfully different today from the corpse I will eventually become. Then and only then will I will be that chemistry set Dawkinsians appear to be so fond of; in the meantime, not so much.

Any "line" drawn would seem to be arbitrary. Perhaps God is arbitrary, in which case, I cannot help but notice that the kitten is a hell of a lot closer to anything I might have going for me than a rock. If there is some "line," then my best guess is that the kitten and I are on the same side of it. That may not be good news for either of us. Maybe the line comes at some species yet to come.

In the meantime, I am sceptical that the line would fall exactly where sits the only species on Earth whose members indulge in drawing such lines. What an amazing coincidence that they reckon the line just there; what an even more amazing coincidence if God went along with that.

All in my opinion. S&F.



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 08:40 AM
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reply to post by UKLionheart
 





is there something in the soul (referring to the "missing piece" in my opening comments) which is programmed to make us feel that and go looking for these answers, so we can find our way back to a creator God?


Absolutely!

Titus 2:11

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 09:11 AM
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Originally posted by pacifier2012
Interesting. On the atheist bit. All atheists have more faith than anyone who believes in a creator. To have everything come from nothing and appear in time and space that didn't exist before requires more faith than I'll ever have.

This shows how little you understand atheism. A lack of belief in a deity does not equate to nothingness, or an automatic agreement with scientific consensus. Atheists are like anyone else, we are individuals, and therefore have our own individual perspective on origins. The one common trait we share is a lack of belief in a god.



posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 01:43 PM
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reply to post by UKLionheart
 



But I think the issue I have is that this experience has automatically triggered the hope that there is something more to give some sort of point or reason to this cat's short life. And I am finding myself asking that - is this because I have seen people with faith and I am envious that they can find comfort in something which, to me, seems unbelievable, or is there something in the soul (referring to the "missing piece" in my opening comments) which is programmed to make us feel that and go looking for these answers, so we can find our way back to a creator God?


From what you are saying, I am assuming this kitten kind of jump started your pondering of what is deemed the sacred dimension or unconventional reality by mankind's standards, correct me if I am wrong.

John 10:10-18

10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

I will tell you now that I don't think you can find your way back to God, but you can hear the calls of the good shepherd. Do you know why? BECAUSE THE GOOD SHEPHERD CALLS OUT WHEN HE IS COMING TO THE LOST ONES; it is impossible for the lost sheep to find the good shepherd because the good shepherd will lay everything down for the lost. Yet still, I think you still have to be of the sheep to know the voice, and I think you do. Lots of figurative and metaphorical speech going on here. If I am right about assuming the life of your kitten jump started your pondering, then I am going to go on to think that the reflection you have done surrounding the life of your kitten is one of many calls.

When Jesus Christ refers to himself as the gate, I think he is saying that the gate is the way in which one lives, sees, and conduct oneself which is to love your neighbors, enemies included, do good, and believe in God (Love, hope, and faith.) You can see how to love, do good, and know Father as Jesus Christ did not judge and hung out with what is deemed as the lowliest of society by mankind; Jesus Christ broke away from conventional norms. The gate keeper is Father. Whoever lives the way of the gate, which to me is to live like Jesus Christ, is called as the shepherd because Father, just like He did with Jesus Christ in the flesh because the gate can only be opened by the gatekeeper, will speak for the shepherd.

The hired help, I think, is to be interpreted the people who are given money to preach, aka the organized churches today, and who don't really care about the sheep. They have knowledge, but lack love to understand.

The thiefs and robbers, I think, are the ones who have the knowledge, but lack wisdom and twist the knowledge to fit what they think how one can enter into Heaven.

edit on 18-11-2012 by DelayedChristmas because: (no reason given)
edit on 18-11-2012 by DelayedChristmas because: (no reason given)
edit on 18-11-2012 by DelayedChristmas because: (no reason given)
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posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 01:02 PM
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HI all,

Thank you for your comments and understanding. It was reallyhelpful on a personal level to read such a diverse range of opinion and beliefs, all of which I respect, even if I don't always agree.

Just a couple of replies to some points raised:

LesMisanthrope: The reason I think there is something missing is that we are all the same and variations of the same chemical reactions and electrical impulses, and yet we are all so different. The whole thing about scientific method is that repeated experiments produce repeated results - but clearly this doesn't happen with living beings. If we accept the current view that emotions are simply chemical balances changing in our brain, then the same chemistry produces different results. Or something within us is guiding the chemistry to be different. We don't all find the same things funny or sad, so that is why I think there is something more that science hasn't dsicovered yet, so I used the word "soul" as there wasn't another word I could think of. I do like Eight Bits description as a "spectrum of consciousness" which is maybe a better way of putting it.

Eight Bits: The envy I spoke of was more that they have faith in something which I lack; not specifically envcy of their belief system, but the fact they they can happily think "this sucks, but will get better" as opposed to "This sucks, and then we die." :-(

Delayed Christmas: Lawks! That was a lot to digest, but in a strange way, I am not worried about myself. I was more questionning the wish I had that there was an afterlife that the cat gets something more. He'd had such a rubbish existence, whereas I am 40, have had kids, done my best with what I have and have had good days and bad days like all of us. I can't really say I've not had opportunities in life. This ties it to the comment to Eight Bits above in a way. The faith I envy is the belief that there will be some sort of moral justice in the universe and the cat will be given something good becasue his life was so naff. Whereas for me, any problems I've had have been, at least partially, down to my own choices and actions, so I don;t ask for any special treatment. I hope that makes sense.

UK Lionheart.
edit on 19/11/12 by UKLionheart because: Wrote the longest sentence in the world.





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