15 Years Late

Hi, this is a re-introduction. I just finished The God Delusion. Hence the title. So this is where I’m at, at 67, having been in superposition of states for some years now, as I posted elsewhere (BioLogos): ‘…Rationality does not need God at all, cannot lead to God. It’s atheistic without having to be theistic in the first place, except in the evolution of the history of ideas. Theism comes before atheism in the record. Although obviously, even a thousand years before Christ, there were ‘fools’. Starting now, with rationality, one ends with nature, eternal, infinite nature. I’ve just finished Dawkins’ perfect The God Delusion. 15 years late. I wept at the terrible perfect beauty of it. I wouldn’t have been matured by suffering enough to be able to say that then. I’d have sneered at Dawkins’ courage. I spoke out loud to the Lord with tears in my eyes and said all that. It’s such a paradox as God has evolved in me to the best He can ever be this side of death, but as His image has refined, it has attenuated to the smile of the Cheshire cat. He doesn’t fill the void any more. There is no rational reason whatsoever for the physical, the natural, suffering, loss if there is the transcendent. Why does His smile remain? Jesus. The Jesus claim is so outrageous it distracts from the meaninglessness of existence. That has me in tears right now. More. Jesus is the Cheshire cat smile in the void.’

Have at me.

It’s such an abrupt change in the middle of this, from how perfect Dawkin’s book is to weeping about Jesus. It’s almost hard to tell, but this ends with the claim that the answer is “Jesus”.

I’m glad we go to that in one post. There’s really nothing to discuss after that.

Sorry if that’s how it comes across. I’m just being authentic. Hence the magic word superposition. I’m making no claims at all. Just saying how it feels. If you’ve never had the God delusion, you can’t understand : ) The loss of the tooth fairy or Father Xmas is an analogy I suppose. It doesn’t quite capture the 50+ years loss.

I was a Christian for 17 years. I don’t usually hear people refer to themselves as deluded

First off, let me say welcome to CFI forum.

If you’ve never had the God delusion, you can’t understand : )

I think there are many of us on CFI who had the God delusion and the God virus (see the book written by Darrel Ray) at one time. We each experience it in our own way or how we were told to experience it. Not everyone experiences it the same way, just as not everyone has a relationship with your human father as you do. Not everyone leaves religion in the same way either.

Welcome.

Human imagination is a double-edged sword.

We can imagine and create the most beautiful works of Science, Art, Literature, Architecture, and Philosophy. OTOH, we can also immerse ourselves in utter fantasy and hallucinatory creations of nightmarish proportions.

The trick is to discover where Imagination ends and Hallucination begins. It requires very sober introspection into one’s own mind and instead of asking the hard question, begin with hard facts and build a reasoned mental landscape, with the goal of reaching a functional Understanding of the way things work, without the necessity for an imaginary intentional (motivated) agency. Reality shows clearly that a God is a superfluous agent and that if the concept of God disappeared, nothing would change.

Thank you everyone.

I’ve been deluded all my life @lausten, it’s human after all. Who doesn’t believe things that aren’t true? Reason is… the slave of the passions after all. But I was given strong delusion for 50 odd years (very odd…), although it was edited along the way and went in to free fall 5 ago. I’ve documented the trajectory to some extent, but I’ll spare you.

Aye @mriana. I brainwashed myself in to the chiliast cult of Armstrongism from age 15 as a shallow, wee-wee end of the pool bright, lower middle class English child of The Bomb. The cult did the astounding thing of deconstructing itself 25 years later. Not far enough for our rich tastes obviously. 25 years on my deconstruction continues. Only in the last three, looking out the window, walking, looking at the scales of nature, feeling the Earth beneath my feet did I realise that it is utterly self-sufficient as @write4u says. In the decade before I still had a side bet on Eden in the midst of full on evolution. Can you believe that? That didn’t finally go until 2010 at the superb Musée d’Angoulême. I still felt that God had my back around that time. Emergent Christianity sustained me; Rob Bell, Henri Nouwen, Brian McLaren, Steve Chalke.

It still does. Along with the blessed St. Dickie.

@write4u, talk of the Divil, the nightmare realities of Auschwitz and Hiroshima existentially unhinged me at age 10 and that was hijacked by the Armstrongism 5 years later. They told me I was right and didn’t know the half of it. Nobody else could tell me anything. My parents, school, peers, The Sunday Times, Vietnam, Ulster, Israel, the entire oeuvre of science fiction, Bernard Malamud, Michener, Solzhenitsyn, Gordon Rattray-Taylor. There was no headspace for sober introspection in that febrile second decade. Or the 3rd… 4th… 6th. Life you know? It’s an immense privilege to discover the trick. Few there be that find it.

So, does anyone else relate to the concept of superposition? The mental layering, perichoresis of paradoxes?

Answers on a postcard.

PS I studied biological sciences at Lancaster, '72-'75, The Selfish Gene was on my bookshelf but I was too shallow, too superficial, too distracted to deal with it. So near, yet so far eh?

Is superposition your term? Or could I find more info on it?

Emergent Christianity was interesting for a few years, but that well ran dry

Armstrongism, that’s a new one. Cults are a hobby of mine, thanks.

So, does anyone else relate to the concept of superposition? The mental layering, perichoresis of paradoxes?
Of course, the brain is a self-referential organ that only knows about its environment by second-hand data.

This type of triangular associative thinking is what Anil Seth calls “controlled hallucination”. I have posted this before, but this may be of interest to you. Anil Seth is a neuroscientist. Note that this is a very condensed lay oriented lecture. He also has several in-depth papers and lectures available on YouTube, but this is a wonderful short synopsis well worth viewing and contemplating the implications of his posits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyu7v7nWzfo

 

 

Aye @mriana. I brainwashed myself in to the chiliast cult of Armstrongism from age 15 as a shallow, wee-wee end of the pool bright, lower middle class English child of The Bomb. The cult did the astounding thing of deconstructing itself 25 years later. Not far enough for our rich tastes obviously. 25 years on my deconstruction continues. Only in the last three, looking out the window, walking, looking at the scales of nature, feeling the Earth beneath my feet did I realise that it is utterly self-sufficient as @write4u says. In the decade before I still had a side bet on Eden in the midst of full on evolution. Can you believe that? That didn’t finally go until 2010 at the superb Musée d’Angoulême. I still felt that God had my back around that time. Emergent Christianity sustained me; Rob Bell, Henri Nouwen, Brian McLaren, Steve Chalke.

It still does. Along with the blessed St. Dickie.

Children, including teens are easy to hook (I think this was also covered in The God Virus). Long story short: I was raised in the Free Methodist and Church of God (Anderson Indiana, not World) cults. My great uncle was a FM preacher and my grandfather was a preacher assistant in CoG, so I was a PC. I hated those churches and really didn’t want to be there, so when my mother was saved again, she took me to the Lutheran Church as a teen. When I left home at 19, but my mother demanded I must attend church even though I wasn’t living at home. I went to the Episcopal Church, first marriage was there, kids baptized there, had my marriage annulled by the church, and left when my oldest was 14 or 15. I like to say he led the way (And the children shall lead). I never looked back. Can’t say I miss much about it. When I told my mother a couple years out, I had just lost one of my cats. Not only was I going to hell, but I somehow condemned my late cat to hell too. My cat I guess was riding on the back of my “faith”? I don’t know, but there was a lot in between all of that, of course, and I’ve always found “communing” with other animals and nature far better than any neuro-stimulating church ritual and preacher shouting to the rafters.

@lausten: superpositioning, I use it metaphorically. The Cheshire Schrödinger God is such a usage. God exists and does not, grounds being and does not. And of course that is not a balanced dichotomy. There is no rational reason whatsoever to posit that He does. It’s a matter of desire, disposition. A well that can run dry as you have found. Although… all the infinities and reasons begin to obliterate reason do they not? Something is infinitely more complex than nothing for a start. The answer to Leibniz’ why is there anything lies to the north of the north pole, not in the quantum vacuum emerging above preveniently unstable nothingness. Existence is uncaused. That it might be intentional is only another absurdity on top of that one. Don’t worry. No apologetics work at all, the fourth rate William Lane Craig’s or the second rate Alvin Platinga’s. McGrath and McGrath’s The Dawkins DELUSION? awaits my derision in front of me. For all too many years I though that people who could do propositional logic in Latin knew something I didn’t. But desire… desire met by making the proposition of a decent God work in the text as the decent Chalke does has me in a spin, well two actually, superpositioned opposite ones.

I lined up Anil Seth to go yesterday @write4u, thanks. Look forward to it, to adding it to my TED favourites along with David Steindl-Rast.

@mriana. Thanks. Nice. I believed such… dung. Useless dung at that. Toxic waste. I sure was hooked. If the WCG hadn’t deconstructed itself I’d still be in it. Even after leaving it, I ‘felt the hand of God upon me’, propelling me in to charismatic evangelicalism, the Anglican i.e. Episcopalian variety. Sigh. I’m a fanatical plant spotter. The park on the hill. The river. Love art (the D’Orsay!). And more, which can ignite my Stendhal’s syndrome in tears of bliss. And no, church ritual doesn’t do it. Well the concert interrupted by a lecture doesn’t. Except in St. Paul’s. And I love, miss communion. I’ve been Zooming to Steve Chalke’s Oasis. And I’ll be going to my former char-evo’s soup kitchen tonight. Longest serving volunteer. Habit. Including the doubt of doubt. I never say anything disruptive. Well, once every 10 years. So I did three weeks ago when some poor know-nuthin guy was proclaiming healing and I questioned what statistical surface had been broken. Won’t do that again! : ) We’ve taken mentally ill street addicts to the great outdoors. The old school vicar made me extra strength beer monitor for the alcoholics. I’m addicted to their love.

Oasis is as good as it gets. Better than any religion you or even @lausten have experienced I’ll wager.

@martin peter clarke

If the WCG hadn’t deconstructed itself I’d still be in it.

Another World, I’m sorry. That was worse than the CoG Anderson, Indiana. No b-days, no Xmas, no holidays period.

Nah, I couldn’t lean Anglican- too restrictive, especially for women (and other groups I’m not part of). Although, my younger son was informally excommunicated by the Episcopal Church, which also helped to lead us out of the Church and belief. At one time (teens to before we left), I truly believed that Mother Mary and St. Francis were my patron saints. I still think St. Francis is cool, but only in a historical sense. The Episcopal Church not only had their share of “penguins” but also female priests- far more liberal than the Anglican, which was even more Catholic. Of course, let’s not talk about the Anglicans and LGBT, unless you want to mention how the Episcopal Church, U.S.A. had a split to have both Anglican and Episcopalians in the U.S.

Now back to my younger son- he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (ASD, high functioning), ADHD, basically an alphabet soup of behavioural disorders at a very early age (autism at 1 1/2 years rest followed after that). Since he couldn’t behave, he was kicked out at the age of 13, never to come back until he learned how to behave properly. I’m not sure which was worse- how my mother and I were treated, forced to stay in an abusive relationship with my sire, due to religion, OR a child excommunicated for behaviour disorders, with him standing right there hearing it all. To this day, my younger son, now 30, says, “That was really F***ed up!” You know what, even at 13, I let the language slide on that one. None of us go to church to this day. The whole idea of all that crap is nothing more than a human creation, mostly made up by men (most of whom are white) to control others. Bishop Spong has the idea of hell correct. Too bad he didn’t take the rest to the same point.

Sorry, I know I’ve shared this video a million times, but it’s my favourite of all of Bishop Spong’s video clips, because it is the truth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF6I5VSZVqc&t=21s

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Thanks for the link to David Steindl-Rast.

I played “Be grateful” and found I could relate very much to that mindscape and realized that I have lived in that mode for most of my life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtBsl3j0YRQ

People have called me “inately happy” and it seems that is due to my gratefulness for being one of the few who have the privilege of just being alive.

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Thanks MPC. I’m still not sure what you’re saying but I like the way you interact. Hope you hang around.

I was in that kind of space a decade ago, so I can relate, I think

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@write4u, Anil Seth, worth every second. Short and sweet and hopeful. Thank you. Glad you like David.

@mriana, superb all round, thanks again. John Shelby was one of my bêtes noires, like Richard. No more. Beautiful. The WCG was cunning in that there were holidays. Especially the massively indulgent Feast of Tabernacles. Even my three 30+ kids have positive memories of that. But I woke up this morning cringing with shame over not acknowledging my grandmother’s birthday.

@lausten (JD!), you’re very kind. I should be shot in the face of course for missing the generous edit window, of which I was not aware, but ignorance is no excuse, for this of course: ‘I though[T] that people who could do propositional logic in Latin knew something’. As for my rambling to no coherent effect, no punchline, sorry! In my minority Hum[e]an reason I completely defer to the enlightened, humane rationalism epitomized by Richard. But. At the age of 14 I read James Michener’s The Source and it made the God of the Bible yearningly, mystically credible. The rest is history. Ian M. Banks’ (how DARE the bastard DIE on us!) Excession is still on that trajectory, as is his final, literally sublime, The Hydrogen Sonata, and the film of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010: Odyssey Two, superbly blown away in 3001: The Final Odyssey (God DAMN! how could I have missed 2061: Odyssey Three! I was so far up the cultic colon). Arthur and Richard would have got on fine. J.B.S. did. Sorry, ramble, ramble, ramble. In my disordered passions I want the God I can no longer rationally believe in to be the immanent ground of eternal, infinite natural and transcendent being.

In 10 years I look forward to being as positive as you three. Arthritis and intrusive thinking willing…

MPC said: So, does anyone else relate to the concept of superposition? The mental layering, perichoresis of paradoxes?
I have not heard the term used in context of thoughts themselves, but there is current research in the area of quantum superposition processes in the neural network of the brain. If this would have any relationship to the actualization of thoughts is beyond my expertise.

Stuart Hameroff (anesthesiologist) and Roger Penrose (quantum physicist) are currently exploring the proposition of ORCH OR (orchestrated objective reduction) in the brain and the quantum processes in billions of microtubules and their synaptic connections inside the neural network of the brain that result in conscious thought.

Orchestrated objective reduction (Orch OR) is a controversial hypothesis that postulates that consciousness originates at the quantum level inside neurons, rather than the conventional view that it is a product of connections between neurons.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchestrated_objective_reduction#

This is more oriented to the physical processes rather than any underlying spiritualism, but your use of “superposition” brought this to mind

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At the age of 14 I read James Michener’s The Source and it made the God of the Bible yearningly, mystically credible. The rest is history. Ian M. Banks’ (how DARE the bastard DIE on us!) Excession is still on that trajectory, as is his final, literally sublime, The Hydrogen Sonata, and the film of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010: Odyssey Two, superbly blown away in 3001: The Final Odyssey (God DAMN! how could I have missed 2061: Odyssey Three! I was so far up the cultic colon). Arthur and Richard would have got on fine. J.B.S. did.
I don't follow this. I saw 2001 and 2010 but never heard of the others. I don't know how they relate to this thread.
At the age of 14 I read James Michener’s The Source and it made the God of the Bible yearningly, mystically credible. The rest is history. Ian M. Banks’ (how DARE the bastard DIE on us!) Excession is still on that trajectory, as is his final, literally sublime, The Hydrogen Sonata, and the film of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010: Odyssey Two, superbly blown away in 3001: The Final Odyssey (God DAMN! how could I have missed 2061: Odyssey Three! I was so far up the cultic colon). Arthur and Richard would have got on fine. J.B.S. did.
I don't follow this. I saw 2001 and 2010 but never heard of the others. I don't know how they relate to this thread.

Maybe in terms of unnecessary accumulation of material wealth but the gratefulness meme does to me comes across with an element of defeatism. No need to fight or resist , be grateful. Something the peasants and slaves heard often from thier landlords and masters as the next life will be better. Be grateful for this one.

 

To me happiness encompasses the feeling of being in control of ones life for a secure future. Once this is lost, uncertainty, worry and depression fill the spaces happiness once occupied.