Message 167 of 172 (822009)
10-17-2017 12:06 PM
Specifics lost when leaving Christianity - An Article
I recently read an article on Cracked called 4 Specific Things You Lose When You Leave Christianity
Hopefully that link will stay around for a while. Cracked has a habit of altering the title's of their articles. And, since they refer to their URL by title, doing so would make my link defunct. Ah well, I do what I can.
The article was written by one Kristi Harrison.
This link to her profile says her name is "hereinidaho."
I don't know how useful that profile is, but it was linked by the article, so I linked it here as well.
This is just going to be a long, rambling post because I feel like it.
I should note that Cracked is a humour website.
Although it does sometimes try to write about serious topics, with just a bit of humour added in.
It is up to the reader to decide if this article was meant to be serious or not. I'm going to take it's themes as serious, because it's what I like to have serious talks about.
I'm going to list the 4 things the article talks about, summarize what I think they're trying to say about them, and then talk about why I think the thing can be obtained just fine without Christianity.
What the article says: Kristi was a devout Christian, it was a very ingrained part of her life. She went to church more than once a week on many occasions and attended a Baptist College for school. Kristi recounts a memory about losing her belief later in life during a Bible Study on Revelations when it gets to a place describing angels and dragons. She identifies that she doesn't actually believe in angels or dragons, then reflects more on her beliefs and describes a "domino effect" of eventually losing all belief. The following specifics are things Kristi misses about believing when now she's unable to honestly believe.
What I think about it: Kristi lost a very deep, encompassing part of her life as a believer. This is going to come with some sadness and regret. Perhaps Kristi is unable to fill these voids without anything other than belief. Maybe belief in something else, or maybe she will regrettably have a huge void/hole in herself for the rest of her life. Perhaps not. I'm not going to discuss much about Kristi's personal ability to acquire a healthy spiritual life without believing in Christianity... my ramblings will be more focused on the general idea of obtaining spiritual advantages while not believing in religion. I hope that they would be applicable for Kristi, but that's up to her and her alone.
In her article, Kristi is talking about how things affected her personally. To do so is a perfectly valid and serious idea to talk about. She discusses how things are difficult for her, personally, to obtain without religion after leaving a religion that was extremely ingrained into her personal life. My response to that basically condenses down to a "well, duh..." My rambling here, however, will be more focused on how the things she brings up are easily obtainable without religion in general, because that's what I like to talk about.
4. You Miss Getting High on Worship
What the article says: Going to church was an addictive, engaging and exciting experience for Kristi. She hasn't been able to replicate this feeling anywhere else.
What I think about it: If you can't find addictive, engaging, exciting activities without religion... you're simply looking in the wrong places. What interests you? Look up some local groups that do the same thing. Get involved and go to them. This basically seems to me that Kristi hasn't been able to get friends who are supportive and loving to her as she had when she was in church.
Depending on how ingrained she was with church, this can be entirely understandable. It's hard to make new friends and new contacts as an adult with responsibilities in the current work-life of 2017. But "hard" doesn't mean "unattainable." You simply have to put some effort in.
Church had meeting times and a specific place to congregate. Many activities have these same things. The only catch is... the activity has to speak to you personally. You can't join some sports team if you don't like sports. You can't join a video-game group of people who play every night together if you don't like the video game. You have to find something that speaks to you, then find others who like the same thing. Then join in with the agreed upon times of congregation. The internet is a big place, make use of it.
Addictive, engaging, exciting activities certainly exist and are certainly attainable without religion.
If they weren't... all non-church-going people would be dull and boring. This is factually (and easily verifiably) untrue. Therefore... this is a problem of motivation, not that religion is the only place to get a socially-acceptable high.
3. You Miss Your Culture and Community
What the article says: Kristi describes how many people in her old church helped her and her family out in times of need. Money, and effort and all sorts of things.
What I think about it: People help each other all the time. With money and effort and all sorts of things. This doesn't take religion. The only point here is regarding Kristi specifically... her entire life had close friends within the church. She's now outside the church and away from those close friends and hasn't found another group of close friends yet. This dilemma is serious and devastating. But, again, just because something can be difficult to obtain for a few specific people without religion doesn't mean it can't be obtained (sometimes easily for others in other situations) without religion.
2. You Miss Magic
What the article says: Here Kristi talks about how God is "in control" of all things, has "a plan" and always there for everyone and how this takes your worries away.
What I think about it: There are 2 ways to go on this one. First, you can keep the "magic" be believing in something else... "the universe provides" is just as powerful as "God provides" if you believe in it. Of course, what if you don't believe in any such thing? Then, the result usually comes down to something like this: Second, get away from taking solace in magic, and start taking solace in non-magic.
For example: Think about how often "the magic" fails (even though it's not acknowledged in church):
God is in control and has a plan... but sometimes that plan means you get cancer and die. Or you get mugged and shot. Or you get kidnapped and placed into sexual slavery while on vacation. These are all things that actually happen to actual people. The solace of the magic isn't much solace for those people.
Then, think about what we do know:
We may not be in control of everything, but we are in control of many things. Think about what you can control, what you understand is controlled around you (by others or by nature) and how that all works to your advantage. Think about taking precautions, but also being fun and reckless in the proper situations. Feel free to go out, investigate, and learn even more.
Also, for things that don't have an answer, find solace in the community that exists because no one has the answer.
Think about it.
If we don't know what happens when we die... because there's no answer... then we all don't have that same answer.
Your boss? Doesn't know.
That guy who won 40 episodes of Jeopardy? Doesn't know.
Stephen Hawking? Doesn't know.
Sheldon from TV? Doesn't know.
Those hundreds of people in traffic with you? All don't know.
Those people right outside your office or house? All don't know.
You can't be expected to know, prepare, or be responsible for something that's completely impossible for you to know. So take solace in that. It's very helpful for me, anyway.
This part of the article, though, I really wanted to comment on specifically:
|Kristi Harrison in the article writes:|
This is a warning: If you're a lukewarm believer considering calling it a day on your faith, know that the warm, gooshy feeling you get after asking God to take care of your problems is irreplaceable.
I just want to point out that this is absolutely, unequivocally false.
That warm, gooshy feeling most certainly is replaceable without God. I've personally replaced it.
Is it replaceable for everyone and anyway? I don't know, I like to think so, though.
Is feeling that it is irreplaceable valid even if others can replace it? Absolutely yes. Feelings are always valid. They can be wrong... but they're always valid.
I've seen many people get frustrated and flip out when they feel they've lost this warm, gooshy feeling.
I've seen many people get completely content, satisfied and blissful when they get this warm, gooshy feeling.
I've never been witness to any description or experience that comes close to the warm, gooshy feeling I get when I take solace in the ideas I've described above in this section.
Do I have the best warm, gooshy feeling? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. How do you compare such a thing?
All I can say is that, again, it is absolutely, unequivocally false that this warm, gooshy feeling from God taking care of things is irreplaceable without God (or religion at all). I was religious, and now I have no religion at all... and I've replaced it with an even better warm, gooshy feeling (for me, anyway).
1. You Miss Your Best Friend
What the article says: Kristi talks about how God is always there, and believers are never alone.
What I think about it: My wife is my best friend. Even if she were to die, I'd always have the memories of our time together. She is always there with me, and I am never alone. On top of that, she's actually real, and I can try her food too when she orders something different for dinner.
Besides the fact that anyone can have a best friend without religion, there are other things going on here as well:
1 - Some people can find it creepy that God is always there, and you're "never alone." When you don't believe in religion, this creepy-factor disappears because you understand that it doesn't exist.
2 - If you feel comfort in the idea of having "someone else" know your deepest, darkest secrets or anything-and-everything about you and still love you... well, I really have found such a "someone else" in my wife. And I agree that such a person is extremely powerful and good to have around. I'd recommend finding such a person to anyone interested in such comforts.
Perhaps one day my wife will not be around and I still will be... Best friends come in all shapes and sizes though. More best friends can be found and connected with without replacing or dishonouring a previous best friend. It can be more difficult for some folks or situations with actual people involved... but, again, "difficult" does not equal "impossible."
3 - An idea of "God knowing" about certain things actually making a difference to your decisions or the way you are can be equally attained with "I honestly know." If you can be honest with yourself, and with personal reflection, it is quite possible to equal or surpass any advantages to thinking that "God knows" certain things.
What the article says: Kristi has a very frank paragraph about not being able to (currently) find comfort in science or reason and that things are very uncomfortable and weird for her in her journey of non-belief.
What I think about it: Kristi is at the very beginning of her journey of non-belief. Such serious worries and concerns as she expresses are expected and acknowledged as devastating. These facts, however daunting, do not indicate that her journey is over, or that such devastating issues cannot be overcome. The fact that many, many others have had similar, easier and harder journeys... and that many have built a foundation for a fulfilling spiritual life without religion or God is proof that such things are not impossible. They do, however, require focus and effort... as most of life's largest tasks require.
Edited by Stile, : Structure and organization
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