Friday, April 27, 2018

Reclaiming Your-Self After Religious Tyranny



Desiderata

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.


    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.


    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.


    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.


    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.


    Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

According to F. Nietzsche, life is a struggle. We must embrace the struggle, the ups and downs, including the pain, for that is what makes us stronger.

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful and inspiring in so many ways. Instead of coming away from reading posts and comments on this blog discouraged and upset at times, not this time! Thanks for posting!

Miller Jones said...

Dennis, I've said this before - You're a very spiritual guy! I find that my thinking is very often closer to yours than it is to many of my fellow theists!

Near_Earth_Object said...

Please, Dennis. I find this to be as irritating as "Footprints in the Sand" - that sermonette favorite.

DennisCDiehl said...

Ultimately one has to choose not to have the WCG/Splinter experience define you. It was an experience but it is not who I or you are. I drove that car for a time, but I am not the car as they say. Life is really short, even when long. I am not personally looking for something outside of myself to save, reward or even punish me. Those are mostly mythic tales and unfounded and unreasonable beliefs that we make up to address our fear of dying and "what's going to happen to me?" in my view.

We all labor under the idea that if we really really believe something that is the same as knowing it to be so. No one can show there is any truth to the beliefs of the Churches of God. It is all a game of assuming conclusions drawn by opinions and then asserting those convictions over and over ad naseum. Religion tends to argue that if you can't know everything then you don't know anything and of course this is ridiculous.

Science and religion as promoted by the Bible are not compatible not matter the argument that they are. Apologists thrive attempting to prove they are but again, the connections and "agreements" between them are contrived. It goes back to the "God is doing this..." problem when nothing of the kind can be shown to actually be true.

Atheism is not a religion too as apologists would like you to believe. It is the absence of religion. It is not taken on faith, which is hoping what you wish for is true based on absolutely no good or repeatable evidence. The discipline of inquiry does not work that way.

The WCG experience is not who I am. When younger, I wanted it to be true. I did believe it to be true. I found out in time that is was not true and never could be true. Now I simply wish that what I believe is verifiably true or undergoing honest inquiry and not the kind of "true" the like of a Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack or Ron Weinland can come up and which proves verifyably false time and time again and will even more so when they die...and they will.

Byker Bob said...

Desiderata was helpful to me on some levels back in 1975 as I was leaving a church which had not only failed to deliver, but which had also along the way doctrinally produced some mentally unstable and very abusive parents and other authority figures. I am all too familiar with all of the cliches about whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and if we didn’t experience the things which we did back then, we wouldn’t be the people we are today. These are collectively some of the lines of thought that we employ philosophically to deal with what was created by one man and cruelly inflicted upon us in the guise of spiritual guidance, superimposed artificially, when the larger, prevailing environment or conditions of the world around us were much less bad, much more ethical, much more hospitable to human growth and potential. Herbert W. Armstrong created a “solution” that we did not need, and would have been much better off had we not experienced it. It was a defective product which cannot deliver what it promises, and instead, leaves one with permanent damage.

There are certain patterns or qualities that can be killed, and once that has been done, it is difficult if not impossible to revive or rekindle them. Teaching people to treat outsiders (including family members) differently (or distrustfully) teaches a person to mistreat or separate oneself from all people, to look down upon others, to criticize them, question their motives, and consider them less than. It is not possible to do these things selectively. If you treat outsiders differently, soon you will get around to treating your own in the same ways, to call some of them “Laodicean”, to apply conditional love, and to expect bad things to happen to them. Long term, this produces permanent personality disorders, as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV Axis II disorders). Paranoia, schizoid, schizotypal, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, dependent, obsessive-compulsive, as well as intellectual disorders. All of these require intense work or counselling to overcome and recover, that is, provided that one is even aware that he or she has been affected, and is motivated to work towards recovery. Some accept and are quite comfortable with their Axis II disorders. The narcissistic, nonempathic minister, the dependent, obsessive-compulsive member, those who are only capable of superficial relationships. There are dozens of examples with which all of us are familiar. And, by all reports, the factors that produce these disorders are institutionalized within Armstrongism, and have existed throughout its entire dystopian history. Unlike some older doctrines or practices, they are not restricted to old school.

So, yes. Enjoy and derive comfort from Desiderata. Be uplifted by it. Let it become part of your recovery sound track. But also be conscious of the damages which have been done, and work on them. It is only through our strengths that we can become part of the solutuon and to impact our surrounding culture positively. A castrated and debillitated church membership would never have been able to have this level or type of impact.

BB

Garner Ted Armstrong Loved The Ladies said...

Great poem. I will share this on Facebook if that will be okay.

Near_Earth_Object said...

Dennis wrote: "Science and religion as promoted by the Bible are not compatible not matter the argument that they are. Apologists thrive attempting to prove they are but again, the connections and "agreements" between them are contrived."

This is simply an opinion. There is a large body of writing by credentialed authorities that would assert the opposite.

Let me make an assertion of my own. Most atheists do not read theology and have no idea who he Christian God is. They erroneously and superficially believe that finding something inexplicable in the text of the Bible disproves God's existence. Or they believe that because evolution is true, there is no God. Like as not, they set about disproving the existence of a Demiurge - something that Christians do not believe in anyway.

Atheists like to claim that they are a not a religion because there is not God. But this begs the question. They assume what they are trying to prove. This assumption is a near approximation to faith.

Dennis Diehl said...

Seems you're in the minority NEO

Claire Voighent said...

It doesn't get said enough, so I'll go ahead and take what seems like an opportunity to say thank you, Dennis, for your continuing optimism and courage to continue posting your truth, in the face of, let's face it, meritless, unjustifiable, unnecessary, and frequently overly-harsh criticisms from delusional, misguided, and discombobulated people, as they perversely and hypocritically display the polar opposite of the values they claim to hold near and dear. What objective violating and trampling the values they say they uphold is rationally supposed to serve, I couldn't say. Don't they know their actions speak a thousand times louder than their words?

Noli nothis permittere te terere.

Keep on keeping on.

Anonymous said...

"Atheism is not a religion ... it is not taken on faith ..."

Only the first part is true.

Anonymous said...

"Atheists like to claim that they are a not a religion because there is not God."

As I understand it, Buddhism is a religion that does not believe in a God. That would make it non-theistic, or a-theistic, religion.

What is it that makes secular atheism non-religious? Because they assert (without proof by the way) that there is no after-life?

Anonymous said...

"Seems you're in the minority NEO"

Which proves absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

"Most atheists do not read theology and have no idea ...."

The typical atheist can't seem to see that there is a qualitative difference in belief in God and belief in the tooth fairy or in little green men on mars. How dumb is that? How many great philosophers, even atheists, would agree with that? Probably none.

Anonymous said...

"A castrated and debillitated church membership would never have been able to have this level or type of impact."

It takes one to know one ...

Anonymous said...

"It was a defective product which cannot deliver what it promises, and instead, leaves one with permanent damage."

So finally, you admit that you are permanently damaged.

RSK said...

That trench is where I dragged yo ass! lol

Claire Voighent said...

N_E_O wrote:

"Dennis wrote: 'Science and religion as promoted by the Bible are not compatible not matter the argument that they are. Apologists thrive attempting to prove they are but again, the connections and 'agreements' between them are contrived.' This is simply an opinion. There is a large body of writing by credentialed authorities that would assert the opposite."

Appeal to authority fallacy.

Sorry, the "authorities" to which you point are akin to the authorities on leprechauns. The fundamental problem here is that there are over 40,000 opinions with serious enough disagreements that they warrant having their own independent sect, and that's just within christianity, let alone what must be tens or hundreds of thousands of other disparate opinions promulgated by non-christians. And yet you appeal to a handful of cherrypicked religious "authorities" selected because they are of a similar enough opinion as you? As though this represented some kind of consensus among religious "authorities" in general? No, there is no general consensus on anything religious. Never has been, and never will be. Hidden within your statement is the unquestionable falsehood that there exists a religious consensus around your opinion of the bible which blows away the kind of consensus that forms within the scientific peerage, when the exact opposite is true.

This is why what Dennis stated is not merely an opinion and there exists no case to be brought against it. You can always assert fallacies and untruths, but then, that's not really a case, now is it.

Claire Voighent said...

N_E_O wrote:

"Let me make an assertion of my own. Most atheists do not read theology and have no idea who he Christian God is. They erroneously and superficially believe that finding something inexplicable in the text of the Bible disproves God's existence. Or they believe that because evolution is true, there is no God. Like as not, they set about disproving the existence of a Demiurge - something that Christians do not believe in anyway. Atheists like to claim that they are a not a religion because there is not God. But this begs the question. They assume what they are trying to prove. This assumption is a near approximation to faith."

Ugh. These tired, ignorant, tropes about atheists. Trot them out again? At least you have the self-reflection to acknowledge you're just making bare assertions.

But I get it. Really, I do. Because I've stood where you now stand, and I've thought those very same limited, ignorant, superficial and erroneous thoughts that you now express. I even remember the "reasons" why I thought those things had to be true. I remember how all those "reasons" got completely blown up as soon as I deconverted. And since I've also stood where you so obviously have never stood, and had to come to grips with how foolish and misguided I was when I stood in the place where you now stand, I had to *ahem*, pardon the turn of phrase, repent.

Most atheists are former true-blue 100%-sincerely-believing christians. We know the gods that christians worship, because we once worshiped them. We read the bible and theology through the same christian blinders that you read them, and again, without.

You have no idea what you don't know. Without ever having seen the bigger picture that can only be seen by removing those christian blinders, you're not even in a position to understand because most of the referents of the things of which atheists speak are outside of the limited domain that christian blinders permit you to see.

In general, we don't waste our time on impossible tasks like trying to prove the christian gods—or any other gods—don't exist. Evolution being true isn't even a reason to disbelieve.

What we can show is that the bible is not what devout christians need to believe it is. It's origins, textual criticism, the complete absence of archaeological support, and the fact that an apologetic case for it cannot be made without relying on falsehoods and fallacies, especially special pleading and shifting of the burden of proof, should give no one any assurances of reliablility.

Devout theists must first agree upon the reliable, verifiable evidence for gods, but there is none. Without that, all we have is bare assertions. It doesn’t matter how "authoritative" or "credentialed" the people are who try to make cases for these sorts of conclusions in the vacuum of the utter absence of data necessary to make such cases. Garbage in, garbage out, and the inputs are all garbage.

"Religion is supposed to answer the big questions that science can't handle...none of these questions have been answered by religion. They've offered answers, but they haven't been agreed on by other religions. As you know, every religion has a different set of answers for these questions, so it doesn't arrive at answers. It may be the business of religion to try to answer these questions, but it never provides any answers." —Jerry Coyne

Anonymous said...

of course atheism is a religion; religion arises from the human condition of being naturally ignorant, yet clinging to the belief in something, which, by virtue of our ignorance, we cannot prove exists...

all of us are born knowing nothing, and what little knowledge we acquire over the years comes through the filter of our own personal biases, i.e., we pick and choose what we tend to believe in, not based upon evidence, but what makes us feel good...

e.g., those what believe there is alien life in outer space dont do so based upon any evidence, but rather do so according to their faith, all while mocking they what believe in Jesus...

at the end of the day, the only sure thing is that we live a vain life and will, frankly, all end up little more than road kill...

c f ben yochanan

Byker Bob said...

@ 10:22 ~ Why don’t you go back and read some of my articles starting from 15 years ago at the Painful Truth website, Adolf? That ship sailed a long time ago. I’d rather have the Axis II disorders that I have rather than the ones you have. Can’t imagine what it must be like for you getting up every morning paranoid about the mainstream media, and Jews everywhere, looking for the latest conspiracy theory to explain everything around you, and worshipping Hitler. No, I’d much rather just have my detachment disorder, and an occasional small hint of narcissism. Also, I don’t advocate and feed my disorders and attempt to proselytize them like you do yours.

Whassamatter? Too ashamed and paranoid to even use a screen name? Typical!

BB

Claire Voighent said...

c f ben yochanan wrote:

"of course atheism is a religion..."

Atheism is a religion like:
-Bald is a hair style.
-Not collecting stamps is a hobby.
-Abstinence is a sex position.
-"Off" is a TV station.
-Barefoot is a type of shoe.
-Unemployed is a career.
-Transparent is a color.
-Healthy is a disease.
-Dead is a lifestyle.

Not collecting stamps is my favorite hobby. Not kidding, I've literally been doing it all my life. Without even so much as taking a break. At this point, I've totally lost count of how many stamps I have not collected.

"...religion arises from the human condition of being naturally ignorant, yet clinging to the belief in something, which, by virtue of our ignorance, we cannot prove exists..."

We are all naturally ignorant. Everyone. However, that doesn't mean everyone clings to one baseless belief or another. There are so many to choose from, I'm not even sure where I'd start trying to figure out another set of baseless beliefs to accept without any good reason.

"...all of us are born knowing nothing, and what little knowledge we acquire over the years comes through the filter of our own personal biases, i.e., we pick and choose what we tend to believe in, not based upon evidence, but what makes us feel good...e.g., those what believe there is alien life in outer space dont do so based upon any evidence, but rather do so according to their faith, all while mocking they what believe in Jesus..."

True, we all have biases, and we all make errors in terms of things we accept. The fact that people have biases and make some errors, is not a good argument for making other errors.

"...at the end of the day, the only sure thing is that we live a vain life and will, frankly, all end up little more than road kill..."

So, I hope you're not claiming that this the optimal way to look at the time we do have. That would be sad for you.

Claire Voighent said...

Anon10:09AM wrote:

"What is it that makes secular atheism non-religious? Because they assert (without proof by the way) that there is no after-life?"

No.

Don't get me wrong, I understand, really I do, because when I was a christian, I made the exact same mistake. But no.

I think it's funny the bias at work here, btw. Rightfully so, it's implied that asserting baseless claims against theism is problematic. Certainly I agree with that. However, it's also thought to be virtuous to assert similar baseless claims, just so long as they're for theism. No, asserting any baseless claim is problematic, regardless of the claim (with the sole exception of those that are properly basic.)

Accordingly, atheists, ones with integrity at least, reject baseless claims regarding the supernatural. That which has been asserted without proof requires providing nothing additional in order to support it's rejection.

We do not assert either that the supernatural, or any gods you can imagine, do not exist, nor do we assert that there is no afterlife. We simply reject specific, yet baseless, claims for such things.

There is a big difference between asserting positive claims as believers do, failure to accept these claims, which is what atheists do, and asserting the negative of those claims, which is what believers routinely, but erroneously think is the position of atheism and atheists. It is not.

What makes secular atheism non-religious is the fact that we REJECT the assertions of believers (assertions believers make without proof by the way) of the supernatural.

"But, but, but," believers say, breathlessly, "if you're an a-theist, doesn't that mean you CLAIM there is no god?"

No.

It means we are without a belief in theism. We fail to accept the idea. Atheism does not mean we BELIEVE there is no god, contrary to popular misconceptions among religious people.

"But, but, but," believers say, breathlessly, "isn't that agnosticism? Why don't you you call yourself an agnostic?"

Yes. It is agnosticism too.

But depending on how absurd you feel claims of the supernatural are, when you figure the probability of such things is sufficiently low, one label makes as much sense as the other. And the problem with the label of "agnostic," is that it's so common for people who use that label to believe in all sorts of other baseless "spiritual," "new age," woo-woo bullshit instead. If you don't buy into energy crystals, chakras, or universal consciousness, you might have reason to think twice about calling yourself an agnostic.

Also, see the Dawkins Scale

Byker Bob said...

I think atheists and theists can find a common bond in music. The thing is, there are eras in that, just like there are eras in Armstrongism. The young Armstrongites here who are probably trying to recapture the 2Pac and Kanye they missed might not care about this, but in using up the gigs on my ipad towards the end of April, I just found that there exists in Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam archives footage of Stevie Ray Vaughan jamming with the Lynyrd Skynyrd and Charlie Daniels Bands! He’s right there, jamming with Gary Rossington and Ed King!
I never knew. My two faves of all times, SRV and Lynyrd Skynyrd! How amazing is that?

BB

Near_Earth_Object said...

Atheism is a religion because its adherents believe in something that they cannot prove. In an odd way, they have faith. Dawkins is not an atheist. He is an agnostic. This is because he recognizes that he cannot disprove the existence of God.

On the other hand, I cannot prove the existence of God. There is evidence that convinces me but others do not find it so. I do like to see atheists, when they say there is no god, at least figure out which god they are talking about. Most of them, like HWA, think of god as a Demiurge and, hence, box with shadows.

Claire Voighent said...

N_E_O wrote:

"Atheism is a religion because its adherents believe in something that they cannot prove... On the other hand, I cannot prove the existence of God."

Oh geez! Here we go again. What is this, three times already in the same thread?

You say that we "believe in something." WRONG!

Atheism is NOT a religion because atheists DON'T BELIEVE. Get it? We're unbelievers. See the difference?

We don't believe that gods exist because, as you even concede, you can't prove they even exist. Nobody can.

We also don't don't believe that they don't exist That's right. We don't believe that either. Because nobody can prove that either.

We're agnostic about BOTH of these things.

We don't say we know. We admit we don't know! We're critical of believers for pretending to know things they don't know. Believers often concede, as you do, that they don't have good reasons for pretending as though they know that gods exist.

What?What?What?

Atheists are agnostic about the existence or lack thereof of gods?

Bingo!

"Dawkins is not an atheist. He is an agnostic. This is because he recognizes that he cannot disprove the existence of God."

Yes, Dawkins is an agnostic. He's also an atheist.

What?What?What?

Yes!

Because the way in which Dawkins is, as you say, an agnostic, um, how do I put this, um, THAT'S WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ATHEIST! Yes, genius, atheists recognize that nobody can disprove the existence of gods.

Disproving the existence of gods has NOTHING to do with atheism.

Atheist isn't about having proof of anything. It's about recognizing that there isn't any proof one way or the other, and being honest about what that means. And what it means is that there's no good reasons to believe.

To be an atheist only means one does not accept the claim that there are gods. It DOES NOT MEAN one accepts the claim that there aren't any gods. VERY DIFFERENT THINGS! Can you see the difference?

Get it? Will the penny drop anytime soon?

One could hope...

This is not splitting hairs or straining at gnats. Failure to see this difference is swallowing camels.

Anonymous said...

10.22 AM
Everyone who attended WWCG or its splinters for any length of time is permanently damaged. Some don't even know it since they are not aware of what constitutes normalcy.

Buddhisms 'god' is their set of religious beliefs. Just like the Pharisees whose god was the 'traditions of men.'

The biggest church and false god today is left wing liberalism. The MSM are their priests. Note the strong reaction from a worshipper recently on this blog. When protestors were accused of behaving demonic, he/she rushed forward to defend the faith.

Byker Bob said...

Atheism/theism is a recurring discussion always bubbling just below the surface on Armstrong related sites. The basic details brought out each time remain the same, so you could literally play one of the past “tapes” and have the same discussion.

What is interesting is that during Roman times, both the Jews and Christians were considered by Romans to be atheists, because they did not believe in all of the Roman gods and goddesses. Mankind somehow always seems to develop criteria to level others. Most of the time, this criteria just ends up being labels used by binary thinkers to stereotype people, and to place them into convenient boxes so that they can be dismissed or handled. That way, you don’t have to treat them as if they were unique individuals. They become part of a contrived monolith.

BB

Anonymous said...

atheist: in the same breath they assert that we are animals, yet talk in terms looking at life in an optimal way...

i guess we have indeed evolved above the rest of the animals in that we have developed delusion, thinking our lives are any more meaningful and superior than any other animal, despite the fact that we will ulitmately end up like, uh, road kill...

at least those who believe in Jesus have hope; all an atheist can hope for is avoiding premature death; ironically, the great tortoise has a much smaller brain, little if any reasoning power, no substantive recreational appreciation, yet it out lives us by at least 100 years, through no will of its own...

the highly evolved atheist, with its optimism, in all its superior intellect, has absolutely no hope of ever outliving a tortoise, yet is always pondering ways to extend its lifespan, despite the fact that it has little more control over length of days than a dumb tortoise...

so, i, as a Christian may be foolish, but an atheist is not only just as foolish, but, despite being highly evolved, doesnt even have the ability to live the lifespan of a tortoise, hence his religion of self worship, faith in his obviously limited ability to perceive and reason, and trust in his itellectual prowess, is vanity...

c f ben yochanan

Anonymous said...

The typical atheist has faith in men of science that he has never met, and science that he knows little about.

Anonymous said...

"I think atheists and theists can find a common bond in music."

A common superficial bond. That is what holds diverse societies together, superficial junk like entertainment, PC lies, pretense, and the suppression of divergent views. Superficial societies can only survive in good times. If the economy ever hits a serious bump, it's all over.

Anonymous said...

Even IF most atheists are former Christians, they still don't know much about Christianity, because most Christians don't know much about Christianity and rarely read the bible.

Anonymous said...

Where were you in the aftermath of 9-11, during Hurricane Katrina, and in 2,008? Hard times and disaster are just like music, 6:46. They cause people to bond. Diverse people. So, looks like another one of your cherished Armstrongite theories bites the dust there Bubba. Real history that everyone recently witnessed and remembers, that is, unless the brainwashers did a real wipe on you. They’re good at that.