A Rough History of Disbelief… 1

I no longer attend any church, haven’t for many years now, but Sunday morning still feels like a time set apart from the rest of the week… a time for taking stock of my life, reading about religion, history and philosophy, writing about my ideas, finding a way to file or save what I want to come back to later.

If you have been following my blog, you already know a little about my loss of faith, about my painful experience of confusion and alienation, about my disappointment and anger at religious hypocrisy and abuse of influence and power.

Coming out as an atheist was a huge decision, especially for a reluctant atheist who finally had to admit that the search was over.  Defeat. Atheism is lonely. No more congregational friends and activities. No more beautiful music and ceremony.  No more reassurance of blessings and answered prayers.

I could no longer convince myself that it was all just metaphor and myth, and yet say “I believe.”  I could no longer recite the Apostles’ Creed without, quite literally, gagging on the words. How could all these fine, intelligent people all around me continue to do so, smiling? How could I be right, and everyone else wrong?  Or vice versa.

It didn’t matter. I had come to a dead end, and it was time to explore life outside that comfortably smothering and smug cocoon.

So here I am on Sunday morning, reading online instead of going to church. Here is my first selection… part one of the excellent BBC series by Jonathan Miller on A Brief History of Disbelief.

Make a cup of coffee and join me!

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2 Responses to A Rough History of Disbelief… 1

  1. Sufiya says:

    So you threw over God because you couldn’t stomach the hash of concocted lies and fables that exoteric Christianity consists of? Kinda like throwing out the baby with the bath water, don’t you think? Just because you fell out with RELIGION does not negate in any way the existence of GOD!

    An Indian friend told me of an incident that happened to her: She was at a dinner party, seated next to a Jesuit. They fell into religious discussion; nothing out of the ordinary, she said; just the ordinary Hindu philosophy common to any practicing devout Hindu, when suddenly he jumped up from the table and started SCREAMING! “Where did you learn this stuff! How did you learn it! These are the most secret teachings of the Church!” She was completely taken aback at his fury, needless to say! But his overreaction to the most trivial exposure to basic Hindu religious doctrine clearly reveals the HUGE yawning ignorance at the heart of those who purport to be ‘God’s messengers on earth” and the “keepers of the truth” is, and that the most ordinary devout Hindu is more spiritually advanced in the understanding of the true nature of the Divine than the most arrogantly “knowledgeable” officialdom of the Catholic church! Plus , it shows that they , being so convinced of their ‘rightness”, they see no need to examine OTHER creeds and see if maybe, just maybe , they might be able to LEARN SOMETHING.

    Hindu philosophy recognizes two types of religious belief: Jnana, meaning “knowledge”, which is “rational”, and “bhakti”, which is “devotional”. Christianity is a ‘devotional” type religion, so those that want it to ‘make sense” and who want questions answered will have a very hard time. There really is no “jnana” path in the West other than that of being initiated into an esoteric Order. The end of the Jnana path is dissolution into the “impersonal” and transcendental aspect of God, and the end of the Path of Bhakti is union with a personal form of Deity, such as Krishna or Rama. While the Hindu doctrines are pretty much as corrupt in their way, with any number of self-seeking priesthood and self-styled ‘gurus” who seek to profit from the gullible, if one wants to make spiritual progress, the Indian way works VERY well. One WILL get results; I can personally attest to this! And, it is entirely possible to do it on one’s own! The Bhagavad-Gita (“Song of God”), f’r instance, is a brilliant little Hindu scripture, easily understandable and only 18 chapters long, and it reveals EVERYTHING you need to know about God. Simply reading it is a devotional act. When Dr. Robert Oppenheimer witnessed the first atomic blast, the first lines that jumped into his mind was Chapter 11, v. 12 of the Bhagavad-Gita: “If a thousand suns all rose at once into the sky, that glory would somewhat resemble that of the Supreme” I recommend the Juan Mascaro translation from Penguin, but there are many of them out there. The Hare Krishna version with commentary by Prabhupada is much too loaded with “partisanal religious agenda” for my taste, but I like the fact that it includes a direct translation of each of the Sanskrit.words.

  2. motleydragon says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful and interesting reply. I read the Bhagavad-Gita many years ago, as part of a course on comparative religion, and should look at it again. Sometimes I think education is wasted on the very young who lack the life experience truly to understand. The courses I took at university in religion and philosophy would probably be much more meaningful now, and perhaps even have different meanings to me.

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