Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

An Atheist's Desperate Plea

page: 1
25
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join
+8 more 
posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 07:23 PM
link   
To Moderators: This is my first thread on ATS, please move this to the appropriate forum if necessary, thank you in advance.


I shall give some background about myself before I begin. I am a man in his mid-twenties. I was born in South Asia and was raised in a traditional Hindu home. My family immigrated to Canada during my early childhood. I was deeply religious for approximately the first fifteen years of my life (with about ten of those years spent in Canada). Suddenly, one day I came to the realization that unbeknownst to me I had now become an atheist. I was no longer that child who waited until his parents fell asleep, and prayed to God to publically reveal Himself for the betterment of mankind. I was no longer that innocent kid who wrote down a prayer for world peace and slipped it into a prayer box at Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, Canada. I ceased to be the child who frequently dreamt about God ridding the world of evil, sorrow, and suffering. I don’t know how it happened, much like a distant memory, my beliefs faded. Slowly but surely I drifted away from God and now find myself to be an atheist, or at the very least, an agnostic.

Being an atheist, I’ve come across countless individuals who believe that I view them in a condescending manner due to the fact that they believe in a god. This could not be further from the truth. In all honesty, I envy them. Those fortunate souls capable of wholeheartedly embracing something so pure; akin to a field blanketed by virgin snow, something unquantifiable; like finding true love, something much greater than one can ever hope to fathom -- God; it is they who are the envy of my life. I too wish I had something to believe in while enduring the hardships life throws my way. I long for a beacon of hope that I can grasp onto, both in times of joy and sorrow. I yearn for a light at the end of the tunnel while I struggle with my arduous journey through this seemingly endless darkness. I desire for a purpose greater than myself. Alas, to no avail. Only insignificance, meaninglessness and emptiness prevail.

Perhaps the hesitant approach towards the Almighty could be attributed to my science background. A vast majority of my high school and undergraduate academic career was spent hunched over various scholarly works at the local library. The solitarily north-east corner on the third floor was my domain; undisturbed, I spent hours at a time immersed in the works of scientific greats: Newton, Einstein, Darwin, Heisenberg, etc. I enjoyed and delved into all branches of Science; posters of Einstein, Newton and the periodic table adorned my bedroom walls. Monotonously living out a preordained plan, I majored in Biology, with a minor in Psychology, and now find myself in medical school. Habitually, I find myself reasoning that the simplest, most elegant answer is often the ‘correct’ solution to a problem. Science has instilled in me to believe in the null hypothesis as the default, prior to examining all of the evidence. The null hypothesis in this case would state that the universe can exist without the injection of God into the equation. I truly believe that all of creation could exist without the intervention of an almighty being.

Nevertheless, I don’t find immersion in science as a satisfactory excuse for banishing God from my life; I have many friends in medical school who are religious. These friends are devout practitioners of their respective religions, while maintaining sound, reasoning, scientific minds and achieving high grades. They too have learned the same material as me; they too have spent thousands of hours meticulously memorizing the finer points that science has to offer. Yet, somehow, they are able to put all of that aside and accept God without expressing any cognitive dissonance. Their ability to seamlessly disconnect the two perplexes me to no bounds. Perhaps I am looking at it too logically; maybe I need to simply “have some faith”. I am told that religion and science don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Both, prominent scientists and theologians have stated that religion and science can co-exist. Nonetheless, I am at a loss when attempting to find that elusive equilibrium towards maintaining this delicate balancing act. The more I ponder it, the more I am affirmed that the contradictions between the two far outweigh any congruencies. I don’t think I am capable of accepting and internalizing two conflicting viewpoints.

Despite my greatest efforts to try and believe, I can’t cast aside the belief of religion simply being a construct to give people peace of mind. It gives life meaning, in an otherwise purposeless existence. It eases the mind and soothes the soul by promising an eternal existence once we depart from this mortal plane, as opposed to unceremoniously becoming rotting, decaying flesh, destined to become worm food, with no greater purpose. Some may ask, “Is it so bad to find meaning in life?” By no means is that a negative attribute, but I simply cannot accept lying to myself for the sake of peace of mind. I find myself caught in an internal tug-of-war; I want to believe in a higher power in part due to the hope and positivity that religion has to offer. On the other hand, I can’t bring myself to do so; it’ll be an admission of yielding to my fears. I look at all of the suffering in the world; crime, famine, disease and wonder the reason behind it all. It leads me to ultimately question the purpose for the establishment of the institution I am desperately trying to embrace: was religion merely conjured up to distract us from the pointlessness that is life? I am at a complete loss. I feel like a wanderer trekking a vast desert in search of a treasure that may not even exist; even upon finding said treasure, he will forever wonder if it is merely a mirage.

Finally, my intentions for constructing this thread: I understand that one must find God for himself; no one can simply make you believe in a higher power. Yet, despite all of my internal efforts, I have failed, and now I seek your guidance in my quest to rediscover God. Some may view this as an attempt to turn to God in a time of need. While I admit that I am going through some difficulties in life at the moment; however, at the same time, I am aware that these trials and tribulations will too soon pass. Nevertheless, what these trying times have allowed me to do is to self-reflect upon my years on this planet and explore the dark, hidden crevices of my mind. Upon some soul-searching, I discovered that I want to believe in a power greater than myself; yet, despite my efforts, I can’t bring myself to do so. I know that I can’t force myself to believe in a god, perhaps I need to gain greater wisdom through many more years of life experiences before I can sincerely appreciate the intricacies of religion and spirituality. On the other hand, maybe the rift has manifested itself for too long and all attempts at amendment will be futile.

All in all, I kindly request the members of ATS to provide me with some helpful words of wisdom and/or advice towards seeking out God and embracing religion.


I apologize for the lengthy thread; I found it difficult to adequately express my innermost feelings on this delicate topic without writing in length. I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read this. Thank you in advance for any input or suggestions that you could provide me. May you have enduring happiness and health.




posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 07:36 PM
link   
reply to post by Pistoche
 


I've found your thread to be one of the more genuine "plea's" i've read from an atheist... S&F

Growing up in a religious environment sometimes has negative effects on certain personalities... Some can easily except belief in a higher power, yet the logical mind has serious issues with blind faith.

I would suggest a more practical approach in your search for God... IF that is what you truly seek...

Religion just doesn't cut it for some...

I've written a few threads for those who are looking to find their inner being....

Who am i?

I might also suggest meditation... Here's a decent outline

And IF you actually have a bit of time to read.... Take a look at the story of Chester and the Master

And feel free to message me if you have questions... always love a good chat

Good luck my friend

edit on 27-7-2013 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 07:45 PM
link   
reply to post by Akragon
 


Thank you for your time and your reply. I truly appreciate it. I will definitely look through your threads and the story you recommended. As for meditation, when I approached my parents (both of whom are deeply religious) with my dilemma, that was what they recommended. However, despite how hard I tried, I just couldn't do it. I have tried watching YouTube videos and reading countless articles to aid me in meditation as well, but to no avail. I attempted it for about 2 weeks with sessions of 30-60 minutes and had no success whatsoever. Did I give up too soon or do you think something else might be the matter?



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 07:47 PM
link   
reply to post by Pistoche
 





All in all, I kindly request the members of ATS to provide me with some helpful words of wisdom and/or advice towards seeking out God and embracing religion.


When people talk about God, the universe, consciousness, reality, being—they are essentially talking about the same thing, but using different terminology to define it. Once one realizes that religiona, gods, "science", or whatever metaphysical/physical viewpoint one chooses to agree with is simply a matter of taste and culture, one accepts it for what it is.

I've personally embraced religion by seeing how necessary it is to some people. People will die to have the right to believe what they want, as has been shown throughout history, and we should accept and defend that natural right with our own lives.
edit on 27-7-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 07:48 PM
link   
The more we learn about the world around us the more we learn how little we actually know.

There are two groups I never understand Militant Atheist and Fundamental hard line religious, to me both groups are as misguided as the other.

Belief in or not in a higher power is a deeply personal affair that often times comes from direct personal experiences, and its no ones business but your own.

A wise choice is admitting how much we don't know, and why Agnostics tend to be the more open minded of the bunch, what ever you do stay away from hard liners on any issue.

Usually truth lies somewhere in between.



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 07:52 PM
link   
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 



I've personally embraced religion by seeing how necessary it is to some people. People will die to have the right to believe what they want, as has been shown throughout history, and we should accept and defend that natural right with our own lives.


Wow, I've never thought about it that way. It does bring about a new perspective of looking at things for me. In a sense, people view the right to believe as a basic human right, and that in itself is worth protecting and embracing. Thank you for that insight. I will jot down all of these helpful insight and ponder them at length later tonight.



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 07:53 PM
link   

Originally posted by Pistoche
reply to post by Akragon
 


Thank you for your time and your reply. I truly appreciate it. I will definitely look through your threads and the story you recommended. As for meditation, when I approached my parents (both of whom are deeply religious) with my dilemma, that was what they recommended. However, despite how hard I tried, I just couldn't do it. I have tried watching YouTube videos and reading countless articles to aid me in meditation as well, but to no avail. I attempted it for about 2 weeks with sessions of 30-60 minutes and had no success whatsoever. Did I give up too soon or do you think something else might be the matter?


Sounds like you're simply trying too hard... expecting some miraculous lightening bolt to strike your brain enlightening you... happens to lots of people... don't worry about it...

One must let things come naturally... don't expect results when meditating...

And I wouldn't suggest watching youtube for advice on it either... Just my opinion of course, for what its worth...

You have to remember we live in an age of distraction... Most people couldn't clear their mind for ten seconds let alone for a long period of time... but there are also various different styles of meditation as well... IF one doesn't suit you, try something else...

I would recommend Chakra meditation combined with some sort of mantra... it drowns out distraction...

OR

IF you can find a quiet place... which is damn near impossible anywhere close to modern society...

Same deal really.... there is no quiet place anywhere near cities...

I just got back from a camping trip in Algonquin park... I sat on the edge of Cannisbay lake... and the silence was literally deafening...

Many people never experience absolute silence

edit on 27-7-2013 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 07:55 PM
link   
reply to post by Akragon
 


In my teen age years my friend had a recording studio in his basement, we would (omitted due to TOS) go down there to meditate in complete silence...

Contemplate the universe and such...



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 08:00 PM
link   

Originally posted by benrl
reply to post by Akragon
 


In my teen age years my friend had a recording studio in his basement, we would (omitted due to TOS) go down there to meditate in complete silence...

Contemplate the universe and such...


that's awesome!

I haven't found a second of silence since I returned...

Makes me a little sick....



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 08:07 PM
link   
As an Atheist, I'm entirely puzzled by your desire to actually want to believe in some mythological figure.

From my perspective, life without invisible people in the sky, life without any after life, makes life, all life all the more precious.

It's somewhat Buddhist or Hindu in how I treat life such that I go out of my way to save even the wayward bug that may find its way inside my home, to gently capture it and release it back outside.
I'm no fanatic about it, but, for the most part, I treat life overall as a precious thing.
There is no heaven for bugs, kittens, birds, cows, mokeys, whales or people.
There's no cycle of reincarnation either.
We live. We die.
We should celebrate that and not concern ourselves with imaginary after lives, or invisible people in the sky that will save us from ourselves.

Fix your own problems, or get help from other actual real people.

There was no god to help or keep people from dying horrible deaths in the Japan Tsunami, or the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami, and those were "act of god" events. These people weren't so wicked they deserved such treatment. There's far more wicked people on the planet.
No god made the tsunamis.
No god was there for the victims.

Believe in yourself and recognize your limitations. Where your limitations are inadequate to realize what you desire, that's what other people are for. If they can't help, well, there's more other people, and other people's brains that might invent solutions.

Sometimes too, other people are the problem, in which case, get away.


On an amusing note, a quote I like from Christian mythology may be appropriate for your situation:

"When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things." I Cor. xiii. 11.

As a child, you had a god or gods. Now, as difficult and hard as it may be, it's time to be an adult. Play time is over. Work, Pay rent. Find a mate. Follow the path life offers and mold it how you may to your liking.




posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 08:07 PM
link   
reply to post by Akragon
 


I got the same feeling that I was trying way too hard when it came to both embracing religion and meditating. I find that my mind wanders and wavers too often. I can't focus for long enough to find that inner peace. There are always things on my mind, or problems in my life that I'm always trying to deconstruct or "solve" within my mind. I suppose even the slightest bit of disorder or discomfort in life makes me too agitated to be at peace. I suppose meditation could help with that, but my endless state of agitation doesn't allow me to meditate properly. It's a never ending circle I suppose.



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 08:12 PM
link   
reply to post by Druscilla
 


Ugh... couldn't you at least quote Jesus?

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.




posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 08:18 PM
link   

Originally posted by Pistoche
reply to post by Akragon
 


I got the same feeling that I was trying way too hard when it came to both embracing religion and meditating. I find that my mind wanders and wavers too often. I can't focus for long enough to find that inner peace. There are always things on my mind, or problems in my life that I'm always trying to deconstruct or "solve" within my mind. I suppose even the slightest bit of disorder or discomfort in life makes me too agitated to be at peace. I suppose meditation could help with that, but my endless state of agitation doesn't allow me to meditate properly. It's a never ending circle I suppose.


You should really read my "Who am I" series in my first reply...

Realise all your problems are either in the past or in the future.... Neither of which exist

The past is only memories, or regrets... things you can't change...

The future hasn't happened yet... so worrying about what is to come is pointless... Things always work out exactly how they're supposed to believe it or not... "Designed" (if you will) to teach you what you're here to learn...

Everything that has happened in your life has brought you here... Now... What you do with the information you receive on a daily basis is up to you...

On a personal note... the gospels are a huge help in realising the spirit...

Im not even Christian but that is a fact...




posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 08:46 PM
link   
All I can leave you with is the riddle of your consciousness...arising as it has, in this
particular place, and at this particular time.

You are a strange little biological machine, made up of trillions of different parts. All of these
parts working in symbiosis--the individuals cells, the billions of parasites, the virus's, the bacteria--
---all of it.

And somewhere in the midst of this wholly unnerving conglomeration of bio-mechanistic matter

....there you are....your consciousness

An utter singularity of awareness...alone...an island unconnected...amidst a literal sea of life,
and a vast universe of matter so small, and yet so large it cannot be comprehended...

...but there you are...

I do not know if there is a God....

But I do know that all around me the life I can perceive changes and evolves and better
something better or more diverse...

I can only extrapolate from what I witness, that the inner essence of life that resides in me and in
all living animate matter most also evolve, change and somehow become better...

That is all I can offer you



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 09:26 PM
link   
I would advise you to turn away from religion if you are seeking God, because you will not find it there.

If you want to find God, you will need to look within yourself. God is light, and it is something we all share in common. To find the light is to find God, and it's not that far from you, it's actually right in front of you. Pure light, right at your disposal.


S&F for truly wanting to seek. If you seek, you will find.



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 09:34 PM
link   
reply to post by Druscilla
 


You make it sound like all of those things that you appreciate, you appreciate because you are an atheist. The qualities in life that you listed are celebrated by people across all faiths. It is not unique to atheism.

People have instinctual desires to find spirituality and to define "god". If you are comfortable without it then that's fine but it's not silly or "childish" to follow your human nature and let that journey lead you to a faith.



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 09:48 PM
link   
reply to post by Cuervo
 


I think you hit it.
You need no god to appreciate and experience all that those who do have gods do.

If OP wants a god, there's the entire history of mankind and his mythologies to choose from.
There's dead gods from Sumeria, Egypt, Greece, and places sundry.
There's the nature gods of sun, wind, sea, and earth.
There's tribal, native, indigenous, primitive traditions available to follow.
There's those beleifs currently followed, including new ones invented in the last 200 years.

OP is more than welcome to pick and choose, or make up their own should they choose.
OR, as a claimed self-described Atheist, learn to appreciate life as they are without the requirement for fantasies, and invisible people.

I only offered a perspective that may give more value to a person of NON-faith from a person of NON-faith.

I'm not trying to convert them over to any belief. I'm just offering perspective on a position they already observe.





edit on 27-7-2013 by Druscilla because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 10:12 PM
link   

Originally posted by benrl
The more we learn about the world around us the more we learn how little we actually know.

There are two groups I never understand Militant Atheist and Fundamental hard line religious, to me both groups are as misguided as the other.

Belief in or not in a higher power is a deeply personal affair that often times comes from direct personal experiences, and its no ones business but your own.

A wise choice is admitting how much we don't know, and why Agnostics tend to be the more open minded of the bunch, what ever you do stay away from hard liners on any issue.

Usually truth lies somewhere in between.


It takes a certain type of courage to admit that you do not know...

It also takes a certain type of intelligence to understand how admitting this ignorance is a strength
and not a weakness...

When you admit that you do not know, it compels you to continue the search...

Some questions are too hard to fathom and that is why we have provided ourselves with the neat
and easy answer of organized religion. For most people the luxury or burden of seeking these
answers on their own is too much of a burden to bear...going to a place of worship a few times
a year is less work, and there is always safety in numbers for those who c think and act like sheep



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 11:35 PM
link   


I am aware that these trials and tribulations will too soon pass. Nevertheless, what these trying times have allowed me to do is to self-reflect upon my years on this planet and explore the dark, hidden crevices of my mind. Upon some soul-searching, I discovered that I want to believe in a power greater than myself; yet, despite my efforts, I can’t bring myself to do so. I know that I can’t force myself to believe in a god, perhaps I need to gain greater wisdom through many more years of life experiences before I can sincerely appreciate the intricacies of religion and spirituality. On the other hand, maybe the rift has manifested itself for too long and all attempts at amendment will be futile.
reply to post by Pistoche
 


Do not seek a power greater than yourself, but BECOME a power greater than yourself. This world, this human race, needs heroes and we need them now more than ever.

We don't need an invisible god threatening us with hell and damnation. We need people like you to stand up for what is right and just and good in THIS life. We don't need to worry about an afterlife, but this planet certainly needs worrying about right NOW. A god isn't going to fix anything; only we can do that.

Don't seek love from an absentee father, but spread YOUR love to as many lives as YOU can touch.

Do not ask what good you can do in the name of god, but rather, ask what good you can do in the name of humanity. And if there is a god, what more could he ask of you?



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 12:01 AM
link   
reply to post by Pistoche
 


Hi, OP.

First, you're on you own once you're seeking God with a rational scientific mind. Its a wide open frontier, and the first prerequisite for stepping into it is the realization that human knowledge is very, very limited. So humility is the first key in getting what you want - not just for yourself, but also for the thinkers you admire most. We are ALL limited in our understanding.

That said, the fact that you are a rational thinker means you know certain things. For instance, the fact that a rational system of thought proceeds from certain axioms, and stands so long as it remains logically consistent, which is to say, no logical contradictions occur. The normal thinking is that such a system of reasoning is the truth, as evidenced by its logical consistency, but in fact its not the absolute truth: It can be demonstrated that many, logically consistent systems of thought co-exist. For instance, consider Russell's paradox, which became the of the efforts of Principia Mathematica so long ago.

Does the set of all sets which do not contain themselves contain itself?

If it does, than it doesn't. If it doesn't, than it does. Its a classic paradox: neither assumption leads to a logically consistent system. But now, look at a similar but opposite question:

Does the set of all sets which contain themselves contain itself?

If you assume it does, than it does. If you assume it doesn't, than it doesn't. BOTH ASSUMPTIONS LEAD TO LOGICALLY CONSISTENT SYSTEMS.

So really, take the time to think this through, until you see that things as fundamental to reason as the foundations of mathematics depend on our assumptions, on our choice of axioms, our choice of what to believe. See through your own research the way this is echoed through quantum mechanics, the foundation of our world: We cannot know all things, because the world as we observe it is a function of our own actions, our own assumptions, our own axioms, our own beliefs, our own faith.

And then decide in what to believe. Do you want Jesus? Do you want a loving Lord? Is that what you thirst for? Then read Hebrews 11:1, and understand the meaning of this word "faith" as it relates to what I say, and believe in Him, as something which transcends reason. Do you want power? Do you want to be a magician? Than believe in yourself. Don't think of it in terms of creating your own reality, think of it in terms of navigating a multiverse of possible realities. Each thing you believe leads you to you own space. There is a heaven, a hell, a realm of sovereign magicians. Where do you belong?

Once you see all this, you can let the abandonment of reason by religious folks go. They may have silly ideas, but their attempts to navigate to heaven aren't ill informed. Your attempts shouldn't be either.

But you must start by understanding that the power to create your destiny is within you. Go ahead, be a scientist. Test it: Decide you are going to believe some wacky thing for a period of time, and record your experiences after waking up every morning and practising a ritual toward that wacky idea. You'll see.

These words I posted here sound wacky, but they are fundamentally true. All it takes is time, patience, and an open mind. Please, just for a few weeks. test it.





new topics

top topics



 
25
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join