What is your reality?

by Billygoat 16 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Billygoat

    I’m just kind of thinking out loud as I type this. For those of you patient enough to read through the whole thing you win a prize!

    This post has a threefold purpose:

    1. Clarify for me some things as I see them on a page. (A “journal” type of post…thinking out loud.)
    2. Help others think about where they are in their lives.
    3. Invite others to share their viewpoints or ask questions.

    This post does not have the following purposes:

    1. Cause divisions among board members or start flame wars.
    2. Get anyone to believe as I do. I’m not a bible-thumper.
    3. To make anyone think I have all the answers. I don’t. Far from it.

    So here goes…

    What is reality?

    According to Webster:

    REALITY: (re al’i te) noun, pl.
    1. the state of quality of being real
    2. resemblance to what is real
    3. a real thing or fact
    4. real things, facts or events taken as a whole

    What catches my eye is definition number 2. The word resemblance is pretty key in that definition.

    What is resemblance?

    Again, according to Webster:

    RESEMBLANCE: (ri zem’blens) noun
    1. the state or fact of resembling; similarity
    2. a degree, kind, or point of likeness
    3. a likeness, appearance, or semblance of something

    So with those two definitions I can gather that the word “reality” is relative to the person’s life. What is reality to me is not necessarily reality to another. The typical example is one of an accident with two cars at an intersection. The two drivers have their own version of what happened. Two spectators have a different story of what they saw. Who is right? All four? None? A combination of the four? Who knows for sure unless there was a camera recording the Big Picture? Only that would provide the answers necessary to make a completely accurate judgment.

    Why am I writing about this? Mostly because I’m inquisitive and am at a point in my life that I’m questioning my reality.

    For an example: I am a Christian. What does that mean? Basically, to me it means I try to live my life by the two main principles that Christ set out for his followers. Those being: 1. Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. I believe if you follow those two mandates, that you can overcome any personal difference regardless of background, religion, sex, age, or anything else for that matter.

    Now…please forgive me for putting people on the spot, but I’m going after two of my favorite characters here.

    COMF and Tina formerly of this board are not Christians. (I think they may lurk though, so I feel fairly comfortable mentioning them here.) COMF is agnostic and Tina is an atheist, both of which are about as opposite of my beliefs as you can get. But COMF, Tina, and I are very good friends. I’ve had the privilege of conversing with them via email outside of this board. About religion, philosophy and our personal Life details. How do we do it and not kill each other? Because we have the decency and maturity to appreciate our differences, not allow them to get in the way of a good friendship and enjoy each other’s company. I truly love and appreciate them both! They have good hearts and passions about them that are admirable and likable. So even though their “reality” of a spiritual life is totally different from mine, does that mean they’re wrong? Or does that mean I’m wrong? Who’s to say unless there is a way to look at the Big Picture? Unfortunately in this situation we don’t have a camera recording anything. We don’t have a Big Picture. In my mind, I answer that with “at least right now.” Perhaps in another person’s mind there will never be an answer. So in the meantime, who is right? Does it matter?

    For some people an answer right now is necessary in order for them to live their lives. For others, waiting to hear an answer in the future, but continuing to live a rich life is sufficient. I’m probably more like the latter. My life now is a good life, one I enjoy, one that sometimes gives enjoyment to others, and one that I believe will have a happy ending in heaven. If I don’t get the Biblical promise of Heaven, then what have I lost? Nothing. I have lived a great life that I’ve learned a lot from and one that I’m proud of. If COMF and Tina die not believing in God or Heaven and they get there, what have they lost? Nothing. I picture it like this…

    COMF and Tina coming through the Golden Gates of heaven together in awe and fascination.

    COMF: Wow. Look at this – we’re in heaven! Look at all that crawfish and sushi. And I bet there are some hot chicks up here too. *Saunters off to the nearest buffet table, but on his way he spots a pretty leggy redhead.* Hey there cutie – I’m new. Care to give me an orientation?

    Tina: *Peering into a side door and realizing it’s Heaven’s kitchen.* Look at all those pots and pans and brand new utensils! Spots some other new people and scurries over to them. They look like they don’t know anyone yet either. Come on huns. Ya look hungry! Lemme fix ya a bowl of my homemade tortellini. Puts her arms around them and guides them towards a warm and inviting kitchen.

    So it seems to me that either way, all three of us win. If there truly is a heavenly hope then none of us lose either. If you don’t get there, you’re not disappointed because you’re dead. If you actually get there, you’re happily surprised. But throughout all three lives our “reality” is totally different. I don’t think that makes any of the three of us bad or stubborn or a**holes or any other derogatory word. I’m sure the three of us have those qualities at times in our lives, but we’re human – we’re bound to be those descriptors at one time or another. But it’s not because of our spiritual beliefs. Just along with them.

    I’ve been called an idealist by many of you here and others in real life. Sometimes derogatorily and other times in a complimentary way. Either way, I always take it as a compliment. I think our board could use more idealists. I think Life could use more idealists.

    Just writing my heart down and trying to figure it out in the process. Thanks for letting me get some stuff out. Anyone else care to share?

    Goat-y hugs,

  • larc

    OK, Andi,

    Now what's the question again? The tile is what is your reality, and part of your essay had to do with your guiding principles, so I will see if I can get my arms around this. I guess, I have to get into my own personal philosophy.

    1. Love yourself. Don't base your opinion of yourself by either your successes or your failures. They have nothing to do with it.

    2. Be nice to other people. If you offend them, promply admit you didn't mean to. Hell, I irritate enough people accidently, without even trying to be mean.

    3. Learn from your mistakes, and capitalized or your successes. When you have made a mistake, don't dwell on it.

    4. Don't worry about your weaknesses or work hard to overcome them if they are persistent and deeply ingrained. Find situations where they don't matter much. For example, if you hate math and you are not good at it, don't get a job as an accountant, even if it pays double what you are making, at present.

    5. Remember, no one knows what our batting average has to be to get into heaven, so don't worry about it. It is not up to us. It is up to the great baseball coach in the sky (not meant to be blashemous, just funny).

    Well, those are a coupla thoughts from your old uncle Larc. By the way, when are we going to take in a movie?

  • WildHorses

    Ok, I don't get the prize. I skimmed through the post but got the jist of it. LOL(Poor attentions span)

    Could you imagine how boring life would be if we all had the same views? Shall I say, Stepford wives? LOL

    My best friend Mattie is the total opposite of myself. That is why I love her so much. She helps me view things in a different light, and vise versa.


    I don't want someone in my life I can live with. I want someone in my life I can't live without.
  • COMF

    There's good sense in what you say, Andi. I disbelieve the bible, true, but I'm aware that I don't know what the reality is--the true reality, the way things are independently of anyone's perceptions. So I'm not much of one for arguing my points. I indulge a little irony or satire now and then to highlignt the obvious without saying it (because that's my favorite way of making a point) but I just flat don't care whether or not anybody else believes like I do.

    And... waddiamean, "former"? Owitch, that hurts!

    COMF... giving T the lusty eyeball and following her into the kitchen

  • Billygoat

    Okay I know the post was a bit rambly...but like I said, I was just kind thinking along as I typed.

    Larc - I love your principles! I think they are good, strong, beneficial rules to live by. Easier said than done (for me anyway) but good!

    Lilacs - I tried to warn you that it was long. LOL! One of my best friends Casey is a pretty black and white type of gal. She is passionate about her beliefs, some of which I totally disagree with. But I still love her...she is a wonderful, beautiful person! I think that's what God & Christ would do. As much as the JWs would have us believe this...they never said to limit our love to people who believe as us.

    Uncle COMF - my apologies. But to explain, I initially was using JanH's name, but didn't want to use two athiests in my story. He is a former member. I know you aren't an athiest AND you're also another wonderful friend of mine, so I changed the name to yours. Sorry! Will you forgive me if I tell ya that I was thinking of Debra when I wrote pretty redhead?


  • COMF

    She is leggy, all right. Mighty-fine behind, too. Aiee, caramba!

    You said:
    For some people an answer right now is necessary in order for them to live their lives. For others, waiting to hear an answer in the future, but continuing to live a rich life is sufficient. I’m probably more like the latter.

    This is very close to the wording I used about myself not too long ago. Maybe you saw that thread. Here's what I had to say.

    I don't believe in the biblical god, but I think there's too much order and complexity for it to have originated and grown to what we now see through a series of chance occurrences. I allow for the possibility of some form of higher intelligence. If it exists, though, I don't imagine it to be particularly benevolent, given the nature of life (eat other living things, or die).

    I've given up hope of ever knowing the answers, and contented myself with living a full, rewarding life while I'm alive. If it turns out there's life after death, kewl. If not, my present life won't have been spent waiting for the ever-not-present tomorrow.

    Yes, it's quite possible to be good friends and yet not share these core beliefs. All it takes is for each to allow the other person to be responsible for her/his own decisions. And how nice it is when that level of maturity is shared by both!


  • Billygoat


    I never did see that thread. What was the name of it? I'd like to read it.

    I've given up hope of ever knowing the answers, and contented myself with living a full, rewarding life while I'm alive.
    I haven't given up hope about finding answers. I still keep looking, but I don't base my life on having to know everything all the time. I too content myself on living a full, rewarding life. And if God is a loving Father (as I believe) then what more could he want from us, right? I think Heaven is a reward for those who invested in themselves here on earth. Perhaps it is those investments that prepare us for whatever we do in Heaven? *thinking aloud again*

    Funny...you and I share the same beliefs about some things. But personally I don't share your love of Deb's behind. thinking to myself - "Boy, wouldn't that make for an interesting apostofest?"


  • COMF
  • teejay

    Nice post. Just what I look for in the forum...

    You began by defining “reality.”

    You said definition #2 – “resemblance to what is real” – caught your eye, focusing on the word “resemblance.” What caught MY eye is the word “real.” To me, real is fact. Real is what actually happens, not our interpretation of what happens.

    By profession, I’m a courier for a subsidiary of Federal Express. A marital counselor once told me that my job was important. She said this, I think, to help me to cope with what I knew was a fact of my life that I was less-than-totally-happy-with. Is my job “important”? In the scheme of things – rarely. Am I a courier? All the time – every day. That’s real. That’s fact. Nothing relative about it.

    About Comf and tina, you asked: So even though their “reality” of a spiritual life is totally different from mine, does that mean they’re wrong? Or does that mean I’m wrong?

    In having the mindset to even pose such a question you miss the entire point, imo. There is no wrong or right and one who thinks so is not dealing in what’s real. I can’t speak for either Comf or tina, but in the past, I gave my mind over to others that they might tell me what was important... what was real. No more. I know that my present religious/spiritual view works for me (even if it’s “wrong” to others). That’s all that matters. Like you said... “at least right now.”

    I think about it sometimes. Presently, I’m agnostic. In my life I’ve seen very little evidence (none, actually) to support a belief in a loving, caring god, but I don’t dismiss the possibility that maybe he’s playing the ultimate cosmic joke and has a plan up his sleeve to undo all the harm that comes to us in *this* life. Maybe, when I die, I will wake up in another... better... world. Maybe then me and god will have a good laugh. I’ll be stunned, but not for long.

    Then, I will deal with *that* reality.

    For now, religion (and all its accoutrements) have little meaning to me.

  • MegaDude

    Andi, whoa, deeeeeeeeeeeeep thoughts.

    I wish I knew more concretely what I believe than I do, but then there is this thing called "faith" you may have heard about. (Not a big fan of the old "faith")

    You said:

    So even though their “reality” of a spiritual life is totally different from mine, does that mean they’re wrong? Or does that mean I’m wrong?


    I can see as a Christian why you would pose this question. In the Bible study I attend at my job, it was one of the first topics I put on the table to get feedback on. If you ask your question to a typical Southern Baptist fundamentalist, the typical answer you will get is "Of course they are wrong. They don't profess to believe in Jesus. Therefore, they go to hell." I've heard this many times. I do not agree with it. However, I would bet dollars to doughnuts it is the prevailing opinion at your church.

    Of course, this opinion comes from organized religion which has a narrow view of what is professing belief in Christ. What's more important? Professing belief in Christ, or being a loving principled person? Actions speak louder than words. Even Paul recognized this when he said of non-Christians in Romans 2:14: "Indeed, when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do things by nature required by the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law since they show that the requirements of the law are written upon their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness"...

    You could just as easily reword the above Scripture and change Gentile to non-Christian. Paul says what is important isn't the law, it's the heart.

    The rest of that chapter of Romans is interesting because Paul bemoans the fact that the Jews, who bragged they had the law and were superior to the Gentiles around them, weren't keeping the law. And they were the cause of God being spoken of abusively by the Gentiles by their poor conduct. You could say the same thing about people who claim to be Christians today. (Re: Look at what the Catholic Church is in trouble for currently.)

    *My reality* is that any person, who professes Christ or not, who lives by the two principles (love God and your neighbor) is a Christian. Again, most Christians would argue against this, but that's because they have been taught otherwise. Taught by who, I say.

    Organized religion didn't work in the Bible. I mean, how many times did God allow the Jews to be destroyed by their neighbors? The ones who heeded Jesus' words of warning to "get out of Jerusalem" before the Romans destroyed it left all organized religion behind and scattered.

    I still remember what COMF said at the first apostofest: "I am open to believing in God. If he wants to call, I'll pick up the phone. Until then, I have a life to live." Which sounds a lot like what you said, Andi: "For some people an answer right now is necessary in order for them to live their lives. For others, waiting to hear an answer in the future, but continuing to live a rich life is sufficient. I’m probably more like the latter"

    Sounds like you're saying the same thing. I agree with you.

    I believe in the Bible because for me (and, yes, I know I'm in the minority here) it sounds completely logical in its *basic framework.* I don't know if the writers of the Bible got everything right. I don't know if it's all factually true. I do, however, agree with everything Jesus said, and I agree with you that you do have a life you can be proud of if you live by those standards he taught. I respect the principles that Christ layed down. I agree with them. It is "true" enough for me.

    But what would I like? I would like more confirmation of my faith.
    How will that come? A vision? Seeing a miracle? Speaking in tongues? Being stricken by a bright light while driving to work in Dallas? Hearing voices in my head? None of these things have happened to me. Oh, well, maybe the voices, but not much since the meds kicked in.

    All I can say is that my belief feels like a knowing. That's not much proof for a sceptic, but it is enough for me to believe. That is, of course, combined with my views on the Bible.

    My experience in the Watchtower was a bitter one. But I since I don't believe the Watchtower has any connection with Christ, I won't let them taint my view of him and steal *my truth* away from me just because they lied to me using Christ as their con. Jesus isn't organized religion. He was about being loving, fair, and rightious, no matter what the cost.

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