Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

The Varieties of ATS Religious Experience; or, Variations on a Theme

page: 2
31
<< 1    3  4  5 >>

log in

join

posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 03:32 PM
link   
reply to post by wildtimes
 


I was raised in an atheist / non religios household,

My parents have Catholic roots but were fallen from the Church and still are, and don't really believe in the Bible,

After some personal experiences I came to believe in the Christian God,

Although, honestly, the past few months I've been in a "dark night of my soul", I feel God has hid his face from me due to my wickedness, I have not been living in accordance with His will....

I feel much in common with Jeremiah the Prophet when he wrote his Lamentations;

3 I Am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.

2 He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light.

3 Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day.

4 My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones.

5 He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail.

6 He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old.

7 He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy.

8 Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.




posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 06:56 AM
link   
Oh my, that sounds difficult, I'm sorry you're having a hard time.

Thank you for sharing, I think it's a healthy thing to do. ... if you'd like to give more specifics about how you personally were "awakened", that would be appreciated. And, I'm wondering how you are coping with your current feeling...just waiting for things to get better? Are you in despair? What do you think would help you from a spiritual pov?
edit on 24-2-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 09:32 AM
link   
Thank you for this thread. It's a subject close to my heart.

It has inspired me to update my blog-ish writing endeavor. I've posted my experence there instead of making a huge post here:

Perhaps I Should Introduce Myself

And many thanks to those brave enough to share a part of their journey in this thread!



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 09:32 AM
link   
While I'm still hopeful that the "regulars" will participate, I'm going to bump this thread shamelessly, and add a bit of my story - a very recent bit.

At this point, my mother and I both are very interested in all things "faith" as a phenomenon. She outgrew the church, finally, when I was in my 30s and 40s, and now she does not go at all. She simply "lost interest". Still, we both being sociologists (having equivalent advanced degrees in the Behavioral Health field), find it a never-ending pursuit, because there's always something new to hear, read, investigate.

I've told the story of how she brought up me and my two younger brothers. She also had taken her youngest sister (13 years her junior) to church every week. My aunt is still very involved with the church in her small college community in Iowa.

My father died 2 and a half years ago, which was the catalyst for my current obsession with investigating faith as a phenomenon, and the materials produced by scholars, theologians, historians, and psychologists. I've posted links to my readings all along here on ATS; and share with my mom some of the discussions in which I've been involved.

I've discussed before how as a small girl I would kneel, head bent over pew in front of me, watching my mother. I was absolutely sure she believed what she was saying when we recited the Nicene Creed, and during the Eucharist recitation of the "crucifixion" story. Never entered my mind to ask her; it seemed apparent she really did believe it.

After I had left the church and entered my own adult life, and moved away, I would talk to my mom about my social circle, anxieties, behaviors that bothered me (my own behaviors that bothered me), and often she would suggest that I "go to church to make some friends." Eventually, in my 20s, I told her I would not, ever go to a church to find friends.

She was always supportive and interested as I made my way through Buddhism, Wicca, and back out again to agnostic distance. Anyway, now at this point, we share our thoughts and always evolving understanding with one another. I've told her often how the church experience affected me... and she always said she didn't understand why I felt shame and worthlessness rather than love and safety at church.

But day before yesterday, she dropped a bomb in my lap when she told me she'd NEVER BELIEVED the resurrection story. I am still thunderstruck by this revelation, and wish now that I had asked her when I was little to explain to me what she believed. You see, I went entirely by what I saw of her behavior, and deduced that she must really beleve it all, because she's not stupid or duplicitous ... and she was my mom, after all! Kids always at first accept their parents' theories, and later review and assess them; but it seemed so OBVIOUS to me that she'd not accept my disbelief.

Now I learn, at the age of 54, that she NEVER BELIEVED IT!
And she was surprised that I thought she HAD believed it!!
Oh, if only I'd known then, I wonder how I might have responded differently. But, what's done is done; I can only continue to talk with her, search my own soul, and keep growing toward something else.

Anyway, the point is that our most firmly held "beliefs" about what others think and believe can not ever be entirely accurate. And that with time, and study, and contemplation, and thought, we can continue our journey in awe and love for one another and the world and universe around us ....and strive to communicate and grow with open hearts and minds.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 09:39 AM
link   
reply to post by Wyeldfire
 

I'm going to take the liberty of posting the opening and ending of your story, Wyeldfire (nice handle!
) for the benefit of those who might not bother to go to your blog. Thanks so much for linking it in.




There’s nothing special about the beginning of my story. I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, third generation. The undertones of guilt and insufficiency (you can never do enough; your salvation is never sure; oh, poor thing, you were born female?) played on my propensities for depression and anxiety. By the age of 5, I was fantasizing about ways to kill myself. I would stand in front of the bathroom mirror on Saturday mornings and cry, psyching my introverted, painfully anxious self into going out in field service. My life was about submission to others, attempting to mind-read to satisfy their demands before they made them. I was an obedient child, and promised my parents I wouldn’t “go crazy” when I became a teenager. And I didn’t. I was a model daughter/student/Witness for the most part, though my many illnesses and sensitivities kept defeating my efforts to increases my hours in the door-to-door ministry. I was extremely serious about my life and my dedication to Jehovah and His Organization, so I didn’t have many friends among the Witnesses my age and never fit into the right cliques. My friends were few and far between and quite a bit older than I was.

There came a point when, for various reasons, I thought I was strong enough in my understanding of the blood transfusion issue. I wanted to be sure I could answer any objection and provide a solid, scriptural reason for our stance and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I figured the best way to do that, since I was shaky, was to start from scratch, approaching the issue as if I had no previous knowledge of it, and building my understanding from the ground up.


To readers: There is a bunch more about specific next-steps in the blog. Here is the conclusion:

But I thank them for giving me the key to freeing myself from my spiritual captivity. Unbeknownst to them, they are the reason I was able to *see* reason and leave. I am a monster of their own making. For they taught me the value of truth, of digging for facts, of not placing my hope in man. And those values are what guided me – regardless of the cost to my person, mind or feelings.

I had many amends to make once I was “out”. I approached the people I had seen only as prospective new JWs, people who considered themselves my friends, and told them my story. I offered my true friendship now. I addressed the wrongs I had committed against others in the name of religion. And I found these “worldly people” to be some of the kindest, most gracious people I had ever known. They have much goodness in their hearts – more than I ever thought I had in mine.

I am on the lowest dose of anti-anxiety and anti-depressive medication I have been on since 2002. I have a wife who gives me unconditional love and support and who challenges my mind and entertains my craziness. I have plans for the future, true friends and I define my purpose in life.

I am my own person. I own my own mind.

I am happy.

Brilliant. Thank you so much!
You are "special" -- we all are, and each of our stories is important for humankind . Thanks again - if you want me to unquote this stuff, let me know, but I hope you let me leave it here for purposes of the thread's content.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 10:03 AM
link   
reply to post by wildtimes
 



That's perfectly fine, wildtimes. Thank you for reading it.

That experience, among others, is the reason for my handle. Just when I think I've got something worked out, life - reality - comes through like an all-consuming flame to devour my worldview. In its place a new, open, fertile plane is left. And I begin again.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 10:05 AM
link   
I am young with an old soul. I'll start there.

Throughout my upbringing, I was always a pronlem child because I never took anything for granted. My mind operates on a level above anyone else's - I look at things differently, I react differently, and I process differently. As such, when it came to religion, I really wasn't all that into it. It seemed like a bunch of hubbub or nothing special. Like staging a ceremony every time you visit a wishing well or something, praying to the gods of chance to show you some leniency and maybe toss you a lucky number. Very much useless.

But I never really looked at it until college. I tried, I really did. And you know, I think it was the belonging, the acceptance, that really drew me in. But then I asked myself - is acceptance worth living a lie? And at that point, I backed out. Ever since then, it's been a very rough ride. A few years ago, I discovered the Ra Material through a friend on a chat site, and I pored over the texts, immersing myself. It was a fantastic experience. Everything became so much clearer. Ever since then, I've studied esoteric documents, using my finely honed sense of critical intuition - I could just feel when something made sense. If on some level there was something missing, I would know. And throughout the entire process, I've always looked between the materials I've studied, the world, and the cosmos. As above, so below. I can see the music in the spheres, and I can see how everything on earth corresponds to it.

It's a very complicated story, much of which I don't precisely recall because I've never though I would need to. And honestly, it doesn't make much of a difference because I doubt I will ever be called upon to teach my methods to other people. Even if I tried, it might not work. As a Life Path 11 (look it up) I am able to see things from a rather widespread perspective. I can see things from different points of view. Without the blinders of the average human, I am able to objectively observe the workings of the universe and make comparisons that very much awe me.

I don't believe in a god. but I am not an atheist. I believe in a root code written in the very fabric of the cosmos that promotes preservation as a means to craft order from chaos. I compare it to a Gaelic Rose. A conscious entity would be too tempted on a wide variety of levels, and I just don't see pure chaos creating this world. If I am proven wrong, I will graciously concede the point. So far, no one has.

That's my piece on the subject.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 10:15 AM
link   
reply to post by AfterInfinity
 



Thanks so much! These responses are really helping me to "get" more of what you and others are all about. Puts a lot into perspective...Don't you think so?



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 10:42 AM
link   
reply to post by wildtimes
 

As you know, I did a thread on my journey some time back. I shortened it a lot to keep from boring people to tears, but it encompasses my life as a whole. I'll paste it here with a little expurgation of the non-essentials...


"I was raised by my aunt and uncle, because my mother died when I was a baby. My father couldn't handle it on his own, so his sister took the responsibility on. My aunt and uncle, hereafter referred to as my parents, were politically conservative, and though they were believers in God and the bible, they were not church goers. So growing up, I had an awareness of the biblical god and Christianity, and my parents had plenty of discussions about it around me, but they didn't push me into it. They felt that was a decision I would have to make when I was old enough...

By the time I was 21, I had already lived a hard and self destructive life. I grew up in a ghetto, and was filled with hatred, rage, and violence. I was a drinker, a drug user, a womanizer, and no one you'd want to know personally. My parents were good people, and they did their best, but the outside influences were more than they could overcome.

To digress a little, I have always been an avid reader from the time I could. I liked ancient history, science and science fiction, genealogy, metaphysics, paganism, religious history, and even read the bible through as a teen(Not that it helped me at the time). I also read all of Von Daniken's books as they came out, as well as The Golden Bough, and Drawing Down The Moon. So I'm old.

Some months after I turned 21, I literally looked in the mirror one day, and said, "Enough is enough!". And started trying to straighten myself, and my life out as best I could. I quit drinking, drugs, et al. and by the time I was 22, I was back to reading the bible through again. During this time, some things really jumped out at me in scripture, and I had a girlfriend who believed in God, but wasn't pushy about it. So she was easy to talk to.

For the next 27-28 years, I was a zealous, hardcore, unapologetic, fundamentalist Christian. I read the bible through several times. I studied it word for word, and sentence for sentence. I used lexicons, concordances, commentaries, and so on. I prayed day and night for understanding, wisdom, and revelation. I also kept up with biblical archaeology, and the latest finds and critiques of original manuscripts, and early church writings.

I attended church every time the doors were open. I witnessed to many people on the streets, and anywhere else I felt led to do so. I taught and preached from the pulpit, I served as an elder(deacon) in my church, and was 100% committed to serving God. I have met many in Christian ministries who shall remain nameless, and have had numerous "prophecies" said over me. I have seen instantaneous healings, and other amazing things come from prayer, and the laying on of hands.

As an elder, I was privy to things the congregation wasn't. And the longer I was an elder, the more I was privy to. I found myself counseling and praying for people with problems I didn't think existed among Christians. I knew the churches business, and everyone's dirty laundry that I didn't want to know, but kept it to myself. I didn't even tell my wife. I could live with peoples problems, because I had had plenty in my own life.

The problems really began with church leadership. Misappropriation of money, lying to the congregation, and non-Christian behavior among the leadership. Then to find out there were those in leadership who didn't even believe what they were pretending to live topped it off. I began confronting what I saw head on, and finally wound up leaving, only to find myself in another church with worse problems.

After leaving the church completely, I wasn't going to blame God where humans were obviously responsible. I had my ups and downs, but I never turned completely away from God. Finally, at one point in my life, I began praying for answers. I prayed vehemently for a very long time for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the church, Christianity, and God himself. And I never mentioned it to a soul. It seemed fruitless for a while, but then...

Things I had read many years ago started coming back to me. Things I had glossed over and rationalized as being lies from the Devil came to my remembrance. I started researching intensely. I continued to pray for truth, and dammit, I was going to find some truth. It was during this time that I realized the world did not conform to my paradigm. And God didn’t either. I had been living a consensus reality for so long, I didn’t even realize it. I knew about some of the things we talk about at ATS, but my perspective on them was “inspired” by Christianity.

I looked at all the religions again.
I looked at parallels and timelines between them.
I compared biblical archaeology, mainstream archaeology, and alternative archaeology.
I looked at contradictions in the bible.
I looked at scientific problems with the bible. (The sun standing still, and so on.)
I looked at alternative theories on Christianity, and the bibles origins. I still do.
And so much more. I did my best to be objective in my research, and to give all sides a fair listen and rebuttal. I talked with Christian and unbeliever alike...

But honestly, I think the final blow to my faith was my understanding of hypnosis, the subconscious, and the collective unconscious, which I do believe exists in some way or form. I had quit practicing meditation and hypnosis when I got “saved”. But I knew and know from experience what humans are capable of all on their own. Belief, faith, and prayer are all powerful whether you believe in a god or not. But my own cognitive dissonance wouldn’t let me connect the dots for many years.

Add to that, the other evidence that I felt weighed heavily against my faith, and I made a decision to walk away and never look back. However, it wasn’t quite that easy. It took a lot of work to deprogram myself, and the way of thinking I had become accustomed to. I had doubts and fears in both directions for a long time. As I said in a post recently, I would never want to fight that inner battle again.


In hindsight, I definitely did the right thing for me. Turning back is no longer an option. Although I use the label of atheist, it's a very narrow definition for me. I don't believe in gods or deities, but I don't rule out the idea of an entity, or entities existing that are beyond the physical realm we live in. I also don't rule out the idea of intervention as a possibility for human existence being what it is today.

Spirituality is something I'm coming to terms with. At this point, all I can say with conviction is, we are greater than the sum of our parts as individuals. And we are greater than the sum of our numbers, as a species.

Now that I truly believe.
edit on 2/24/2013 by Klassified because: more corrections



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 10:49 AM
link   
reply to post by Klassified
 


Drawing Down The Moon.

Yep, that was one of my investigations after reading "The Mists of Avalon," and is what got me into Wicca. An excellent study of modern neo-paganism, written by Margot Adler of NPR fame.

Thanks for contributing, Klassified! Very much!



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 10:54 AM
link   
reply to post by wildtimes
 

I'll try to add a few thoughts to that in a bit.

I've been trying to find a color I like for quoting text. But it isn't easy to find one that's muted, but readable.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 11:51 AM
link   
reply to post by Klassified
 

Ah, I see you settled on using the quote bars.....(I rather liked the green!
)
but thanks for the addendum. I hope others will go back and read your extended version of your post!!

Indeed, I like the idea that as a species we are a phenomenon that belies "individual existence".



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 11:53 AM
link   
reply to post by Klassified
 



Spirituality is something I'm coming to terms with. At this point, all I can say with conviction is, we are greater than the sum of our parts as individuals. And we are greater than the sum of our numbers, as a species.

Now that I truly believe.


You are a synergist.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 12:39 PM
link   

Originally posted by Klassified
…I was a zealous, hardcore, unapologetic, fundamentalist Christian. I read the bible through several times. I studied it word for word, and sentence for sentence. I used lexicons, concordances, commentaries, and so on. I prayed day and night for understanding, wisdom, and revelation…
…attended church every time the doors were open….taught and preached from the pulpit…served as an elder(deacon) in my church, and was 100% committed to serving God…have met many in Christian ministries who shall remain nameless, and have had numerous "prophecies" said over me…
…seen instantaneous healings, and other amazing things come from prayer, and the laying on of hands.
…The problems really began with church leadership…lying to the congregation, and non-Christian behavior among the leadership. Then to find out there were those in leadership who didn't even believe what they were pretending to live topped it off. I began confronting what I saw head on, and finally wound up leaving, only to find myself in another church with worse problems…
…Things I had read many years ago started coming back to me. Things I had glossed over and rationalized as being lies from the Devil came to my remembrance. I started researching intensely. I continued to pray for truth, and dammit, I was going to find some truth. It was during this time that I realized the world did not conform to my paradigm. And God didn’t either. I had been living a consensus reality for so long, I didn’t even realize it. I knew about some of the things we talk about at ATS, but my perspective on them was “inspired” by Christianity…
… … …I would never want to fight that inner battle again.

Thanks for the insight, Klassified.
Your journey within the church –(elder, pulpit, prophecies, miracles, etc)– and witnessing up-close-&-personal “no difference between saved & sinner” is very like my own.
I didn’t part ways with Christianity, though, on account of what I witnessed in others.
My indoctrination was far more engrained (virtually from the time I was born)… I just figured – “it was up to me, to get my relationship right with God…before I could help anyone-else”.
Skipping past how and why my lifelong beliefs were discarded…As you – “Turning back is no longer an option” for me.
It would be so easy (if I didn’t have to wrestle with the unatheistic idea of honesty/integrity) to go back to what I’ve always relied upon for direction, hope, comfort, etc… But, if there are such things as mortal sins, I would think that living in direct opposition to what one believes, might be near the top of the list. (and even then – there are probably exceptions to the rule)
I can see, now, why I generally appreciate your contributions.
Mixed-path = Well Seasoned



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 12:45 PM
link   
reply to post by WanDash
 

Thanks for chiming in, WanDash!
Would you care to give a bit more specifics? I'm so curious how all of us traveled and arrived at this little corner of the web...
anyway, thanks again. Insider knowledge is always quite impressive, in my view.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 12:55 PM
link   
reply to post by WanDash
 

It's always nice to meet someone who has walked a similar path, and experienced some of the same things. You know they understand certain facets of the journey that can't be described with language.


Thanks for the kind words...



Mixed-path = Well Seasoned

You might add tenderized to that. Sometimes I feel like I've been beaten with one of those wooden mallets.



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 12:58 PM
link   

Originally posted by wildtimes
Thanks for chiming in, WanDash!
Would you care to give a bit more specifics? I'm so curious how all of us traveled and arrived at this little corner of the web...
anyway, thanks again. Insider knowledge is always quite impressive, in my view.

Honestly - No...
But, since I've tainted your thread with some of my history...here are two links in another thread, where the history is expanded considerably.
www.abovetopsecret.com...
www.abovetopsecret.com...
Sorry - don't want to waste a lot of space, here (and sorry - don't want to send you somewhere-else to read what might be a rather uninteresting tale).
Thanks for your interest, though.
Most always enjoy your comments & posts!



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 01:00 PM
link   
reply to post by WanDash
 

Fair enough! Thanks for the links!



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 01:06 PM
link   

Originally posted by Klassified
It's always nice to meet someone who has walked a similar path, and experienced some of the same things. You know they understand certain facets of the journey that can't be described with language.

...Thanks for the kind words...
...You might add tenderized to that. Sometimes I feel like I've been beaten with one of those wooden mallets.


Hopefullly (
) - barbeque isn't in your/our future/s...
But, as they say - "Eat Mor Chikin".



posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 01:22 PM
link   
reply to post by wildtimes
 


When I was young, I attended a Baptist church with my family, as well as a yearly summer camp. I had my spiritual experiences early in life, but none of the inward experiences were as meaningful to me as the time I spent running away from God later in my life. With all of it, God was both pushing me away and bringing me back. I can compare this to the swing of a pendulum. At times, I was moving away from God in doubt. At other times, those experiences then drew me back again. If we are honest with our walk in this life, we can each see this same process unfolding from our ability to master the laws of nature.

Mastery is the key to good instructional design. Any teacher will tell you that students do not learn until they are involved in the process. You can either be a passenger or participant. From God's point of view, he takes the role of both Sage on the Stage and Guide on the Side. The same sun that melts wax also hardens clay. Within this process, God provides the water to keep the clay moldable.

Examine these two words:

Mold - A hollow form or matrix (WOMB) for shaping a fluid or plastic substance. 2. A frame or model around or on which something is formed or shaped.

Able - The abilities used by both the potter and the clay.

We do two things in this life. We think and we move. God provides the environment for these two things to prosper. Water is the key to knowing how this takes place. Water is the additive that allows the elements to accomplish both tasks at one time.

An ancient Zen Koan asks the question, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" The answer is that it takes two hands to clap. One strikes the other. One hand clapping is the sound it makes as it hits the other. In physics, this is Newton's laws of motion.

1. First law: If an object experiences no net force, then its velocity is constant: the object is either at rest (if its velocity is zero), or it moves in a straight line with constant speed (if its velocity is nonzero).

Apart from God, the world around me is the unbalanced force moving me. Without the world, I am an object at rest or moving in one constant motion. In this view, I can neither be mastered or show mastery over anything. I simply am what I am.

2. Second law: The acceleration a of a body is parallel and directly proportional to the net force F acting on the body, is in the direction of the net force, and is inversely proportional to the mass m of the body, i.e., F = ma.

Between the immovable object and that which is moved, there are laws and forces set into our environment. Although I do not have control over these forces, I do have the ability to think and move around them. Impenetrability is the state in which two objects cannot occupy the same space. Since God is an immovable force, my pride cannot move what is unmoved. I can try, but the law brakes me when I try. I can pout about it, but what I do not master masters me. I cannot master God.

3. Third law: When a first body exerts a force F1 on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force F2 = −F1 on the first body. This means that F1 and F2 are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

God is that unbalanced force that exerts pressure on my own movement in the environment of this world. I can either work with or against this movement of the pendulum as it swings. Either way, I will eventually come to rest. I have no choice in this. The place I stop is not nearly as important as the path I take to get there. The nature of living life is hidden within the force I exert on others. In this life, we either light the fire we burn by or we use that light to assist others through the path of darkness before us. In the end, my relationship to God is what I make of the resources he gives me. The quality of those thoughts and movements can either help or hinder the result, but God cannot be moved out of my way. I can seek to work with the process and master my path, or that path can master me. Does God deserve blame in this? Do I?

Water is the key to the final shape of the clay. This is as much my work as it is God's in me. I am both INSIDE the image He creates and I am His image. My movement forward always seeks to allow God to move me by His will and not my own. Either way, the law governs the process and I am simply along for the ride.

How do I fit Christ into this closed system? The Son is the first primordial soul that sacrificed Himself that I might live (Colossians 1:15-20). We, who are many, are ONE loaf (1 Corinthians 10). The Son is raised in the wilderness and I am that Son, just as we are all many from one. We cannot take Christ out of this image unless we take ourselves out of what is unmoved. We can make this choice, but I choose to stay in the body of Christ. Christ will rise again; the rock will be rolled away.

The way to the Father is on the path with Christ. I can love it or hate it, but I cannot move past it.


edit on 24-2-2013 by EnochWasRight because: (no reason given)





new topics

top topics



 
31
<< 1    3  4  5 >>

log in

join