The bigger picture

by Freeandclear 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • Freeandclear

    I've been awake now for a good while. About a year. In that year I've done a lot of soul searching and thinking about God and religion etc.... as I'm sure most all of us have who've left this cult. Of course I check in here and have been quite frequently. Reading posts on here has really helped me and it's so great to know I'm by no means alone in the feelings and experiences I've had. We are all in the same boat. We all went from having literally ALL the answers and all the hope in the world to having nothing. No answers, no hope for our "eternal future", etc.... This can of course cause a lot of heartache, depression, mental confusion, etc....

    The question really comes down to God. Does he exist? This was always my fundamental approach when talking to someone at the door. First, do they believe in God, next do they believe in the Bible, then from there we could discuss doctrine etc.... So for me it has been the same. Do I believe in God? That was the question.

    Of course I wanted to believe in God. I wanted to believe that this life here on Earth is not all there is, and that there is something more out there after. But in the past year my thinking has slowly changed. I started to ask myself: Why do I want there to be something more? And the startling answer comes back to this; when we are unhappy or unwilling/unable to change something bad about our lives NOW we as humans tend to look to the future. Happiness is never a NOW thing, it's an "IF" thing. As in, IF I have lots of friends/money/free time/new TV/new car or whatever you think will make you happy....THEN I will be happy. This kind of thinking is rampant in life today, and most likely has been for all of human history. We are always striving as humans for more, for better, for an easier life. But the fact is we can not find happiness in the future, happiness is not a THING to be found. It's a condition of the mind. A naturally occurring state of being that comes when we are at peace with ourselves, and especially when we feel secure.

    When one does not feel secure and at peace happiness can seem very far away. As we all know, this life with it's typical worries and with our declining health as we age naturally brings us into a state of worry and insecurity and thus we start looking to a "future better time". This makes us all look for God, or as I like to refer to "him": the ultimate panacea. The ultimate cure for all our unhappiness.

    Recently I had a new realization. In order to have true peace and true happiness we need to have the facts and not be in some delusional state of mind about reality. And for us, there is only one reality. We all live now, and we will all die. That is truth. No one who has ever lived can deny that fact. So I started thinking hard about this and it was a funny and startling realization that Yes, I too will one day die. And not too far off either..... time goes by very fast. I'm 44, and each week now seems to feel like just a day or two, months now feel like weeks did back when I was in my 20's and 30's. A year....feels like just a few months. Most humans with good health make it to about 75 or so, so I've got about 30 years left. 30 years ago I was 14 and I remember exactly what I was like and how my life was then, and it doesn't feel very long ago at all, as I'm sure all of you can relate to.

    So how will I spend my remaining 30 years? Honestly, awake, and appreciative of the life I have NOW. No human can know if god really exists at all. No human can truly know if anything happens after death, or if it is really just the end. No one has ever known these answers.

    We as humans are simply animals with big brains that happen to be aware of the fact that we will die. Other animals do not know this, or are not consciously aware of this fact. Sure all animals have a life instinct to keep living, they eat, the flee from danger etc....but we as humans are apparently the only ones who can see in our minds into the future and know that our eventual deaths await us, and thus we as a species have created the idea of "God", something/someone higher than us who has all the answers (that we don't have) and who will "save" us from death. From an evolutionary perspective this is a very easy thing to understand. We NEEDED this idea to keep us all from just giving up. After all, this realization can be absolutely crippling. I know it has been for me at times, and my "spiritual side" still wants to desperately cling to the idea that "Maybe!" something does happen after death.

    As time has gone on I have gradually become more at peace with this idea, that god does not exist and that this life is all there is and that I will one day cease to exist. It has helped me to appreciate each day for what it is and to not be so concerned about the future, but has helped me be more in the now, more in the moment. Am I happier? Well again, happiness is a state of mind imo and I will say that yes, I am happier. The old JW fantasy was a great one. The ultimate fantasy in fact. Living forever in perfect health and youth surrounded by loved ones for all time in peace and security. But that is not reality. Reality is each day that we wake up and face our day. We can chose to live in a dream world of fantasy or we can live with the full knowledge that life is short and we have to make the most of each day.

    It still a good thing for me to check in here from time to time, and I can empathize with all of you, my real brothers and sisters, and it's nice to be able to share my own thoughts now and then, and to try and help others and offer my own insights but I can see that need lessening as I grow and move farther away from the mind control of this cult. Eventually I won't even need to come here and it will no longer be a thought in my mind. I'm growing, and for that I'm grateful.

    My only wish is that we could all, as a species, wake up. Not just us as former JW's have woken up to the fact that JW is a cult, but to the bigger picture that ALL religion is a cult, all religion is a delusion and worthless for us as a species. If we could all wake up to the fact that this life is what matters, that there is no God out there to save us, then maybe we could all put aside our prejudices and our hatred and make this world a better place. So much evil and so many atrocities have occurred because of the idea of God (and my God is the real God!). It's ruining our world, and it has from the beginning of human history. I think killing off the idea of God and waking up to "reality" will be the first step needed for all of us if we are going to continue on as a species on this planet.

    We as humans are very powerful beings. We can and literally are ruining our planet, in more ways that I care to discuss at this time. And most of it stems from the one idea of God.

    That to me is the bigger picture. God does not exist. We must save ourselves.

  • Quirky1

    Religion is a snare and a racket.... Get out there and enjoy this life because this is all there is...

  • Crazyguy

    I totally agree, the sooner man puts away this god concept the sooner we can live life to its fullest. We can also solve a lot more problems in the world because we would realize it's all on us to do so and not just kick the can down the road thinking God will fix it. One last thing how many people have died in the name of a god or in the belief they would be rewarded for dying in the fight by being resurrected into a afterlife. People would be a lot less willing to fight if they new that if they died that was it. This idea of God has really held mankind back.

  • just fine
    just fine

    I totally agree, it was scary to realize that back when I was untangling myself from this cult. I am going to die and so is everyone I know, so I try, like you to make each day the best it can be. 🍻to life.

  • David_Jay

    The paradigm of God created by the Jehovah's Witnesses, however, is quite foreign to many other people who accept the existence of God.

    Judaism and Christianity, unlike the Witnesses, did not begin with a set of Scriptures upon which their religions developed. Judaism composed its text gradually and assembled the canon of the Hebrew Bible only after their return from Babylonian captivity. Christianity had no New Testament until the Gnostic Marcion of Sinope created his heretical canon of an edited form of Luke and some of the Pauline epistles, claiming for the first time that doctrine had to based on "inspired texts."

    Neither of those religious systems are based on the Scriptures. Instead, they composed and assembled Scriptures that reflected what they already accepted and practiced. That is very different from the Witnesses who follow in the path of Marcion.

    Many Jews don't believe in life after death. Their religion teaches them to be grateful for the life they have now and to work to bring healing into the world to people of all races. And while many of them and most of Christianity holds some sort of hope in a future life, they are taught never to live only for then. "If you aren't happy with and focused upon the life God gives you now," my Catholic friend Carlos is fond of saying, "God is certainly not going to give you more tomorrow."

    While I am all for applauding your choice of rejecting religion and God, and I will always defend the right of conscience of anyone who chooses to freely do so, I am merely saying that we should not be so quick to think other religions hold the views we were taught they do by our former education in the Watchtower. They don't all believe or hope in another life after this one or think all you have to do is believe and be saved. Some have no concept of salvation, like Judaism. And while some people do base their beliefs solely on Scripture, the majority belong to religion that composed Scripture, having beliefs and doctrines and practices that are far older than what is written.

    We can still reject God and religion without jumping to the conclusion that we know what everyone believes and hopes and where they get their beliefs. We can be atheist without being judgmental like some religions, like the JWs, and condemn the rest of humanity as being in a cult.

    After all, didn't we just come out of a group that taught us to think like that? Why do we want to imitate their judgmental and intolerant ways? I am sure you don't.

  • MarkofCane

    Thanks for sharing that, I really enjoyed reading it. I agree with everything you said and I'm in the same state of mind. Being happy is about being content with who you are and what you have regardless of your situation. Improving your lifestyle and economic situation is important but should not be paramount to your happiness. Otherwise you might be miserable your entire life. I know people who cannot be happy until they have the latest and best things on the market, their convinced that this will make them happy. Then later this cycle begins again with a new trendy product, never happy.

    As far as God, well the proof is in the pudding. Religious people live in a constructed reality, believing that this is not the real life that we are just foreigners passing through a desolate place a wicked world. That our real life is in the future a Utopian fantasy, were our every desire will be fulfilled. Our life is thus postponed, nothing really matters, God will take care of it. We can shun or discard our loved ones, not to worry, God will bless us like Job and give us 10 time what we lost. If we die a martyr because of blood, neutrality or whatever the case it doesn't matter because this life is worthless and god will grant you a perfect everlasting life. What a waste!

    Thinking about my mortality, this last week reading and watching the news about the passing of Muhammad Ali and prince, forced me to consider my own mortality. No one has ever escaped death, no one and I shall be no exception. No matter how strong, rich, beautiful you are or intelligent, we shall all return to the inescapable state of nothing that we came from. So I consider this life a one time gift to be, to exist and be part of this cosmic symphony, happening regardless of my presence. That to me is poetry, that to me is life.


  • kairos

    Coming up on three years away from the JWs for me.
    No regrets in that department.

    We all wonder what's next.
    Certainly, the WT portrayal of 'paradise' is NOT attractive.
    Can you even imagine living in the endless loop of 'listening, obeying and being blessed?'

    It would become everlasting boredom.


    I remember back about 25 years ago, I was trying to witness to my own father. I remember what he said to me.

    "I'd rather just grow old and die".


    So yes, make your own way in life, do your best.

    If there is "something", I suppose it will be nothing as we expected.


    Until then, "nobody gets out of here alive"...

  • TheLiberator

    What you said is in perfect harmony with the Bible.

    "If the dead are not raised, then "let us eat and drink, for tommorrow we shall die." - 1 Corinthians: 15: 32

  • cofty
    Recently I had a new realization. In order to have true peace and true happiness we need to have the facts and not be in some delusional state of mind about reality. - F&C

    Well said.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Freeandclear, very well said brother...and welcome to the rational world!

    The beautifulful things of life are already heavenly.

    Today has been like paradise in southern England very warm and sunny, the garden glowing in its early summer fullness. I have been elevated to the Elysian fields listening to Brahms Alto Rhapsody, drunk delicious wine and eaten a supremely good lightly smoked barbequed fillet with dried tomatoes and salad (special treat for sharing with friends). The preciousness of life is savoured in the knowledge that it does not last forever. We make way for our offspring to enjoy life as we have done or to better it.

    As we were born; then we also die. The whole conceit of religion is that it is possible to cheat death...we simply can't.

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