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"Say can I have some of your purple berries?"

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

"Wooden Ships" (CSNY reference)

Since the time I have been old enough to reason, let's say 40 years ago as I am now 54, I have been an agnostic, which is to say, not an unbeliever but an un-knower.

It is not something I am proud of, but it is also not something I am ashamed of. It simply is. I simply am, I guess I should say. Agnostics do not insist on much, generally. We do not, for example, insist that there is no god. We do not, on the other hand, insist that there is a god. We insist on one thing only: um, we don't know.

To be honest, it is not a great place to be. Having been raised a Roman Catholic, given the opportunity to bolt only when I reached some mysterious maturity in my father's mind at the age of 13, an opportunity I grabbed by the horns, pardon the seeming blaspheme, I have always had a sort of admiration for those of true belief, even a longing, to be honest. I think that life would be a lot more fun, a lot more hopeful, with a god in it. It would be more meaningful.

A life without a god is a life where one has to create one's own ethics, one's own morality, one's own MEANING. It can be troublesome if one is too thoughtful.

I am too thoughtful.

But this is not to describe nor lament agnosticism. It is what it is, after all.

No, this is about a thought that some of us who are agnostic have, wondering if, as we grow older, closer to the end, we will capitulate, if it can be called that, if we will suddenly 'believe' and if it can be called that, if it can then be called belief.

I bring it up because of late I have been considering. I read a lot. I read in a lot of disjointed places, some of them having to do with math or physics or astronomy. I read a lot. I may read too much, although I never thought that possible.

In my reading I find that I am amazed by the possibilities. It is becoming harder and harder for me to stay on this fence that I tiptoe along. I am certain that I will never fall on the side of atheism. It is unfathomable: the concept is illogical to the max, in so much as it pretty much declares the believer that there is no god to be god (you can only know there is no god if you know all, yourself, which makes you all-knowing, which is one of the traits of a god).

But I may fall on the other side. And here's the thing: I will likely never be a christian or a jew or a muslim or any other -ist, any more than I will be an atheist. It just doesn't hold holy water. But I may become a believer. I may come to believe in a higher power. Why? The more you know, the more it is simply not comprehensible. It is just too frigging much. Too large, too beautiful, too wonderful, too much.

Black holes? Parallel universes? Chaos theory? String theory? Wave/particle theory? Love? Life? Death? Music? Art? Thought? Too much.

What bothers me is that I have always been concerned that as I got older, or closer to death, as the case may be, I would perhaps succumb as others I have known have done, that I would 'decide' to jump over to the 'good' side at the last minute and this, though it also feels like revelation to me, has that feel, like I am bailing on some givens in the name of comfort. It is not comfortable.

I remain in the grey area. But I am teetering.

Just saying.

Take care.

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4606
Joined: Feb 2004

Okay Joe this is the third time I am trying to respond, something keeps happening and it disappears....GRRRR! I don't think waffling at anytime is a bad thing per say, it simply is a process, you are at a cross roads of sorts (which could take days, months or years to determine) there is no shame or dishonor to your agnostic stand should you decide to fall on the faith side of that fence. You know my stance on this I have felt God's presence in my life since I was a child, I have absolutely no doubt he exists and has been and will continue to be there for me. I know this was true for OG and Kimby as well and from that I draw great comfort. I think somewhere deep within you you have your answer Joe, you know your Bible better than most you just think too much, you over think something that is essentially a leap of faith. I also think it may be a bit of the guy thing, you have had this agnostic stance for a very long time and I suspect it is difficult to say yes Joe believes there is a higher power. My dad who I consider to be a quite macho, smart and a worldly man did not find his way to God till he was 60, he argued the point with many a preacher as well as with me, and it took my nearly dying and never losing my faith (in fact I grew in faith) for my husband to decide God was there for him and he could accept him. I think they both believed accepting God would mean they could not be themselves, they could not have a beer or two or three, they could not ride their motorcycles and be the men they are, that simply is not true. We are all different and God loves and appreciates our uniqueness we all have a place. Okay I am rambling I know, it is just that I am not good at the preachy thing, I desperately want you to know God but it is not something I can instill or force upon you you have to come to it on your own. Below is my preachy link that is my faith in a nutshell, knowing you I am betting you are already familiar with it as well. I wish only the best for you Joe.

Always your DCF,

RE

The Romans Road

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

As strange as this might sound (and please don't think me a stalker) I was very taken by your response, my sweet and sour friend, so much so that I had to take pause before responding. Rarely does one have the opportunity to say from an online post that one feels love, but I did, whether I should have or not. Not the erotic sort of love, of course (thus averting charges of stalking down the road :)), but, seriously, the love that projects from your faith.

It is an awesome thing, Re, and you are lucky to have it.

Take care, sweet and sour one,

Joe

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4606
Joined: Feb 2004

Hello Stalker Joe,

I am glad you responded as I was concerned when I penned it that I may offend you however it was straight from the religious portion of my heart and it appears that my message transcended the cyber space it was tossed through. I am much more than lucky Joe I truly feel I have been blessed. I value your friendship and would never push my faith upon you, but when asked I will gladly share it with you.

Have a great day SJ,

RE

dasspears
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009

While raised Lutheran, I dislike organized religion and the insistence that it is this way or no way. I think curiosity and questioning is healthy. If you had never heard of God or were not raised in a relgion of any kind, at your time of death, would you even think of God or any other spiritual being. Probably not. I think that because you were inculcated in your youth about God and what happens if you don't believe and where you go when you die - you are now wondering. I don't have any answers - I feel the same as you - but I thought I would try to explain my view. Did I do that?

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Actually, dasspears, to get to the heart of the matter, I am not sure that an upbringing in a church of some sort is a requirement for believing in god at death. It makes for a wonderful debate, for sure, but I might suggest that we consider the origins of religion: was it a calculated move by some authority figure to make order of chaos? Was it a well-intended if flawed attempt to explain Being, to create Meaning? Was it, rather, an effort by some man (or woman, somewhere, to assuage his/her fears about the hereafter? Or some combination of the above?

Point being that perhaps a man would invent god to make the end easier to accept, and I guess that is one of the points of my original post.

And, since so many cultures have found fit to create or know a deity or deities, I think it at least possible that a person looking at end days would be able to do the same without previous guidance. Perhaps.

But I do appreciate YOUR point: religion is mainly a learned experience. True.

Take care,

Joe

dasspears
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009

You worded it so much better than me. I'm not a good wordsmith.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I'm the wordy one, after all.

Take care,

Joe

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
Posts: 2731
Joined: Jul 2006

Hi, Joe. You haven't posted in awhile. I don't think you should feel uncomfortable about changing your mind. We all go thru processes to become who we are today.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I have not posted here (or elsewhere for the most part) for some time, it is true. I occasionally feel a compelling need to vacate these premises, especially this particular board, as I sometimes find it more frustrating than provocative.

I do come back, and you are a reason that I do. While I have not posted in some time, I have had cause to speak about you with another participant of this board and others and it was to agree that we are enchanted with your honest, direct, and sometimes innocent perspective about matters.

With respect to your comment about processes, I would suggest (as you do, I think) that life is a process, and add that many of us are fortunate enough to realize this, while some, sadly, burrow in, hunker down, and live lives of quiet desperation, smothered by their fears as well as their 'certainties'.

On the other hand, as I tried to indicate in my original post, uncertainty can also be a pain in the butt :).

Take care, my friend,

Joe

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
Posts: 2731
Joined: Jul 2006

Thank you Joe. I was just thinking I was invisible and misunderstood all of the time. Like Rodney Dangerfield, "I don't get no respect!"

Yes, uncertainty can be a pain in the butt.

dasspears
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009

I think I understand what you are saying.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4659
Joined: May 2005

I have been reading more about religions as of late. Specifically, Joseph Campbell. I know, that's mostly who I read. I find that he makes sense (to me) as do many comparisons he points out. One thing he said that I like was that "Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning". There was also a comment from Sanskrit and is also in the Chinese Tao-te Ching about knowing the ultimate truth that goes something like this: "he who think he knows, doesn't know. He who knows that he doesn't know, knows."

And "God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that." I think once we put labels on God we lose the essence of God.

There truly are so many amazing things in the universe that go beyond explanation and comprehension.
-phil

PS: I may be wrong but I think you have until the VERY last second to join.
;-)

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

You crack me up, dude.

Take care,

Joe

PS, Campbell's thing is basically an existential one, is it not?

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4659
Joined: May 2005

and more too...What I've been reading is "The Power of Myth" which was the PBS interviews with Bill Moyers. He gives a lot of comparative examples of common themes in various faiths and he also touches on tribal rituals and junk like that.

This is a book about Heaven by Lisa Miller that looks interesting too. From what I heard about it, she discusses the way the idea of Heaven has transformed over the years from being a place where we are reunited with loved ones, to a place where we can eat all of the food we want and not get fat. So American I think! Yes, there is probably NASCAR and Rosanne re-runs on 24/7 and all of the corndogs and deep fried OREO cookies you can stand.

Be well Joe. Glad to see you posting again.
;-)
-phil

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Correct me if I'm wrong (as my wife does continually, so I'm used to it), but this sounds a lot like Jungian theory, the notion that we have within our minds primitive constructs that somehow pass on from generation to generation.

On references from you in the past I have done a bit of research on Campbell, not enough, I admit, and find him rather wanting in the end. I should probably get the Myth book.

Glad to be back, my friend. Have always enjoyed your company and am glad to see that you are well.

Take care,

Joe

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4606
Joined: Feb 2004

By the way I think I shall call you SJ from now on(aka stalker Joe) it has a nice ring to it don't you think.....chat with ya later!

Your sweet and sour friend and DCF, hahaha

RE

GerryS's picture
GerryS
Posts: 238
Joined: Aug 2010

"yes i've been eating them, for six or seven weeks now haven't got sick once............"

GerryS
age 57
on EC discussion board

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