On becoming atheist - the tug of war

by Nickolas 207 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • AGuest

    Greetings, dear Nick, and peace to you! An interesting OP.

    I would like to comment on the subject of the fear of death/oblivion, first, if I may. Personally, I don't have a fear of either. Coming from where I have, I've seen a lot of it and starting at a very early age. Lots of death in my community. And occurring at very young ages. At one time, death was our "dinner" - it could occur simply for looking at someone "wrong" or being in the wrong place at the wrong time (your front lawn). We still have the highest rate of infant mortality in the western world... and our African cousins, in the entire world. We have the highest rate of death due to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes... and illnesses related to these. Today, we even have death due to local violence. Say nothing of those who die in battle, prisons, car accidents, etc. For many years, and most of my young years... death was just another part of life. Actually, for my generation and those before, it was our legacy, death was... by one means or another. And so I heard comments like the one from dear Unschackled's dad (peace to you!)... LONG before I ever knew what a Jehovah's Witness was.

    I don't look forward to death, though, as some "christians" apparently [say they] do... and/or believe they are supposed to. But that's because, as others stated... I would be concerned for my children. I know what it's like to be without [a] parent(s). Also, neither have children, yet, and I barely knew my grandparents. My son did not know his at all and my daughter only knew my father for a few brief years. This is because all died at relatively young ages (I lost my own mother when she was 42 on my 18th birthday' my father, 11 years later, when he was 52. Both had lived somewhat "hard" lives - well, they choose to view them as "hard"... and so often spoke of "going home to rest", as many in my community did and do). I almost lost my son 6 years after that, when he was 10 years old... and could have lost my own due to post-surgery complications just this past February. Yet, that didn't stop me from having another recent one - you do what you gotta do. Death isn't as big a deal in my culture.

    [Wait... before anyone starts to hyperventilate - it is a big deal, indeed a huge deal. But NOT as big as it is in, say, YOUR culture. YOUR culture perhspd expects folks to live long, relatively "happy" lives. It is how "you" can plan for the future. My culture hasn't even entertained the thought of, much less enjoyed, such a privilege for more than, say, the past 20 years or so. Of course, there are exceptions - SA winks at Miz Josie - peace to you, as well! But long life, prosperity, ambition, aspiration... such hopes are relatively recent for those in my culture. NOT because they didn't have them; because they were denied them. I digress.]

    That I don't fear death isn't because I have a hope of life "on the other side", though. To the contrary, I realize, as dear Tams stated (the greatest of love and peace to you, dear one!), that there's no guarantee. Most who do, serve "God"... because they either want to ultimately be "with" Him... or because they want to live... and forever. And/or want to see loved ones again. And I get all of that, truly. But they are not what motivates ME. My belief is not based on what God can/will do for me. Because He already did it. Rather, it is based on my love for HIM... and for His Son... for what they've done... and continue to do. Which love exists... not as an abstract... but because I KNOW the Ones I love. I know the PERSONS they are... by what they tell and show me NOW.

    If I die, will I sleep, only to wake up at some future time? I truly think so. But I have no problem with death being my ultimate end. I mean, if it is, what can I do about it after I die? Not a thing. Why, then, get upset NOW... if what I HOPE may not be realized THEN? So long as, while I have my hope... I do good to my fellowman, don't oppress anyone, exercise justice... and mercy... and show the love that I claim these are teaching me... then, what difference does it make?

    I think the problem arises... from both poles... when, rather than just putting out there what we believe to be true (based on whatever we base truth on)... we try to MAKE others believe... or disbelieve... as we do. By direct force... by brainwashing... by insinuations designed to chip away at their own self-awareness, being, and self-esteem... whatever. So long as the END is that they eventually BELIEVE that they have NO OTHER CHOICE but to believe as you do... whatever it is you believe (or don't believe). Right OR wrong.

    But... we DO have a choice. Where we fail, as a species... is when we let others take that choice away from us.

    People who DOUBT their beliefs... and their gods... absolutely SHOULD consider discarding them. What benefit is there in putting one's faith in a god one doubts exists? Or beliefs one is not sure of? Or a religion one is not sure of... or completely committed to? That is not faith.

    But people who DON'T doubt... who DO have faith... should hold onto that. Because they won't be disappointed. Even if others believe them fools.

    Again, peace to you... and may JAH bless...

    YOUR servant and a slave of Christ,


  • AGuest

    My sincere condolences, dear SBC (peace to you!), on the loss of your dear mother. And kudos to you, dear Nick (again, peace to you!)... for doing what you did. Not everyone could have done what you did, although I'm sure we all would like to think we could. And dear PSacto (the greatest of love and peace to you!)... thank you, as well, for your "service" - I do appreciate those who put themselves on the line so that others' freedoms aren't impinged upon. Freedom of religion... well, for me, the freedom to believe what I choose... is one of those.

    Unfortunately, that particular freedom will go, at some point, and not all that far in the future. I believe, however, that just as those who built the A-bomb came to regret it, due to the misuse of the technology, those who wish to see all "faith" go... are going to experience the same regret. Because of what will follow. Truly. So, no one should make any mistakes: I will do all I can to enjoy the freedom I have... now... while I still have it.

    Again, peace to you all!

    A slave of Christ,


  • talesin

    Replace my selfish, with self-abosrbed then. Babies don't have the capacity to even be aware of the needs of others around them, much less care about those needs. We learn that as we become aware of them.

    Yes, true, true! Babies are completely self-absorbed. Me! Me! Me! and as it should be. :) Then, I think as we grow we need to find a healthy balance between 'selfish' and 'selflessness' (or I would prefer 'caring about other's needs' and putting that into appropriate action). No offense, but 'selfless' kinda gives me the shudders (too many years of trying to figure out who my real self is!).

    As a child, yes. I wasn't brought up religiously, so I can't say what I might have felt if I had been.

    Well, we are kinda opposite sides of a coin, then, which is kinda cool. The JW indoctrination in my family was quite harsh, so throwing it off (took a bit of work, to say the least) was like returning to that age of around 10 or 12, you know, before life in general begins to stifle a gurl's real self. They used to call me 'Spock',, hahaha,, quite a label for a gurl. But I got back that connection to the earth and woods and animules.

    Interesting, I'm thinking, spirituality with / without belief in G*d can have common ground. eg, I believe in the power of prayer.

    and peace to you :)


  • talesin

    It's a shame, too, if someone is so eager to move on to next life that they give up on this one too quickly, whereas if they valued this life more, they might put up a greater fight to live. I believe this about my mother.

    Yes, agreed. And giving up on living!, when you have decades left, is just not acceptable. I'm sorry your mom is gone, though she will always be 'with' you, in your memories and your heart.

    I don't fear death, it's the dyin' part I'm a teeny bit concerned with.

    will it be oblivion? nothingness? most likely ... but we're all matter and energy ... it's amazing to think of where that may end up ... possibilities are endless and I feel countless sci-fi ideas forming in my head .. my ex and I pledged each other that the survivor would cremate the other, mix the ashes with soil, grow some weed, and have a smoke ... still sharing good times together. ah! young, morbid love ...


  • PSacramento
    It sounds like your Bosnian experience gave you faith, rather than testing what faith you had, Paul.

    I saw the faith and hope in others that I didn't have and didn't understand.

    Looking back it was a foundation for the faith I have now, but I didn't know it then.

    I served in the early 90's and when I met my wife in 98, the issues were still there.

    I recall on night, when I parked by a church to drop her off at home ( the church was a small independant one close to her house), we were talking for a bit and I looke up at the church and a whole bunch of anger just came flowing out and I accused God of things that, looking back now, IF God was as bad as the OT makes him out to be ( in the eyes of some), he would have lighting bolts me ass to oblivion !!
    LOL !

    Even them my wife ( to-be at that time) just heard what I had to say, heared my venting and just held me....

    I owe her more than she'll ever know...

  • Nickolas

    I believe, however, that just as those who built the A-bomb came to regret it, due to the misuse of the technology, those who wish to see all "faith" go... are going to experience the same regret. Because of what will follow. Truly.

    Perhaps, Shelby, but thinking along those lines is an abstraction in the present context. The end of faith is not upon us yet and there are those who believe, amongst them some of the leading atheist thinkers of our time, that the end of faith will never arrive because it is an integral part of the human condition. None of us wishes for the end of faith, per se, but only the end of evil things done in the name of faith. The problem is that those evil things are to a large measure woven into the fabric of faith, at least generally, and that makes them inseparable.

    It is interesting, however, that you tied faith and nuclear technology together, because they are volatile components when mingled. There are common themes running through the Abrahamic faiths and one of them is the annihilation of those who do not believe or who fail to worship in a certain way. Iran looks upon the United States and Israel as the Great Satan that must be destroyed while it quietly builds up its nuclear weapon production capabilities. While recently set back by the brilliantly executed destruction of all its centrifuges, Iran hasn't resigned to defeat. Once it has build a nuclear explosive device it will focus on delivery systems, if only in the form of an ocean container or a cargo truck. And Iran is not alone. Other governments, who like the USA blend faith and politics together in a dangerous cocktail, are developing or already have nuclear weapon capability. Still others have ballistic capability. There are many, many people in the world who would rejoice over the sight on their televisions of a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv or New York City, among them Americans, because to them it would be interpreted as the beginning of the fulfillment of prophesy. But to your comment above, I am much more concerned about what will follow in the world because of faith than what will follow in the world as it sheds it.

  • PSacramento

    I think that the world is far too "smart" to shed faith AND the morals and since of "right and wrong" that came from the various fairh based belief systems.

    The post-moderen world tends to view things like a salad bar or buffet - Take what you like, leave the rest.

    The world will take the parts of "faith" they like and need and disregard what they believe to not be needed.

    History will decide if they were correct in doing so.

  • Nickolas

    Question for you, Paul, on reading your comment above. What to you are superior, secular morals or religious morals?

  • PSacramento
    Question for you, Paul, on reading your comment above. What to you are superior, secular morals or religious morals?

    The only difference, to me, between secular and religious morals are their supposed origin ( Divine in the case of religion, innate in the case of secular).

    As for superiour morals, I would say those that advocate being unselffish, and doing what is right without notion of recompense ( do what is right because it is right).

  • tec

    The problem is that those evil things are to a large measure woven into the fabric of faith, at least generally, and that makes them inseperable.

    I would submit that those evil things are to a large measure woven into the fabric of mankind.

    Do you think, Nickolas, that all the wars - past, present and future - are all about faith? Or rather land, or power, or money, or oil, etc, etc?

    If faith comes into it, then I think it comes into it for morality reasons - which can happen with or without faith, as I think we both agree. If a country was enslaving one race, torturing them and all, then one could say that it was morality that guided others to their defense.

    So same with the rest of the wars.



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