Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

A Self-Centered World

19 Comments

Because I have, until this point, shunned much of the wisdom of the world I am only beginning to discover many things that have long been known by those who have had the courage to seek.  I am learning how conceited and arrogant much of religion is, putting the emphasis on mankind, as if we are somehow privileged just because we are.  We’ve convinced ourselves that we are made in the image of God.  It has been enlightening and liberating to learn that we are, in fact, no more privileged, no more special than any other thing in this universe.

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19 thoughts on “A Self-Centered World

  1. I love this clip of Sagan. The first time I saw it(about a year ago) I was just beginning to break free from the dogma that had fettered me for so long. I cried. What a fragile, wonderful, dot.

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  2. " we are, in fact, no more privileged, no more special than any other thing in this universe"- doesn't this depend entirely on what you mean by privilege and/or special? If, by simply taking away the "image of god" bit we suddenly iron out any privilege or specialty between Humans and any other "thing" then those words had such limited utility to render them almost pointless. Consciousness is special, complex society is too, so is abstract thinking, self awareness etc.. because that sort of complexity/distinction is exactly what we're trying to identify when we single things apart form each other as "special" anyways. Taking the "god" bit out of our identity only changes the scale, not our relative position along it.

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  3. I agree. When I left Christianity, a friend asked me a few years later, "Well, what have you gained?" I said, "Real friends and eyes to see the world and beauty."

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  4. @bklanyon said:What a fragile, wonderful, dot. Absolutely!==================================================@phil,Perhaps instead of special I should have said significant. We are special in the ways that you mention. So if by "special" you mean unique, certainly. But if by special you mean that we are necessary then I think that might be wrong. This planet survived and functioned for billions of years before we were civilized. If we died out tomorrow it would go on without us just fine, maybe even better.==================================================@Sabio,I've been too big of a chicken to "come out" to my friends as a doubter. Maybe if I were more certain of my position it would be easier. I know if I did it without being more firm they would just pile on and that might either drag me back into fundamentalism or sever the friendships completely. As for the "eyes to see the world and beauty", I definitely see the beauty in the people and the world around me in a different light.

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  5. @ D'MaIndeed, after "coming out", I lost all my Christian friends slowly over 2-3 years. The hanger-ons were just there because they hoped I'd come back. Our 'friendship' was based on salvation and worldview — not on being people.Thus, they were never 'real' friends. The new friends are much deeper.

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  6. Bollocks! I just wrote a really long reply and then went to sign in so it would post, but the sign-in failed and I lost all my text. Scheiße! Why didn't I copy to clipboard!!!Anyways it went something like this (but was more eloquent):1. I agree with you that “necessity” is better term to use. Although we should distinguish between physical/biological necessity and theological necessity2. The idea of not being necessary is marvelously humbling, but not really at odds with most religious thought3. Another question I like to think about is not whether we are necessary, but whether or not we were inevitable. This question is scientific, (in a way; given what we know about natural process reliability) philosophical (contingency), and theological.

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  7. phil,Where do you feel you're headed on your journey? Do you think you'll retain Christianity? Or do you think you're headed for more of a Deistic mindset?====================================================Sabio,I may be underestimating my friends, but I really don't think so. Even if I end up somewhere in a more moderate/progressive form of Christianity they won't regard that as "true" Christianity. I'll be a heretic. I can't see myself going back into fundamentalism.

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  8. @ D'MaSorry, I didn't follow you or didn't follow the connection.But I agree: Fundamentalists (the crowd I came from) will not consider anything but their own theology as "true" Christianity. So I wager the people you consider your friends now will leave you or try to convert you back to their fundamentalism. All to show that a large part of what they call "friendship" is a tribalism — not a relationship to someone called "D'ma".I think we agree.

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  9. D'ma, good question. I don't know where I'm headed – how's that for a little bit of zen. It's very doubtful I'll return to evagelicalism (let alone the fundy kind). I'm not going to jump rashly into throwing xtianity out altogether just because I've changed my mind on a bunch of doctrinal positions and I might loose some sleep over it. One thing I've learned is that the faith/tradition is much, much broader than what I thought as a teenager, and I haven't explored half of it yet.some days I'm an atheist, some days a theist and some days agnostic. I'm in no hurry to jump to final conclusions, and if I die half way through then never mind, the journey was pretty wild 😉

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  10. There's another option some some of your friends may take with you D'Ma. Here's a few comments I've had said to me after leaving Christianity: Not exact quotes but close.- You're not a non-Christian to me.- You're the kind of Christian we should all be.- Once saved always saved.- You think you are any more atheist than I was during my non-religious phase?I find such comments dismissive of my reality. None of them mean purposeful harm by saying these things but they registar in me as harmful. I feel invisible. I would no more say to them,- Oh your Christianity is just a phase.- You think you are any more religious than I was during my religious phase.- You're not really a Christian.- You'll always be an atheist to me.:-/

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  11. zoe, people are dicks, religious or not ;)I know people who joined christian environments and were shunned by all their urban-cool "educated" atheist mates, even ones that were previously very close to them. Just the same as I know others who couldn't remain in the faith and were seeingly "swept under the carpet" by the zealous.We need to be aware that some fundy types are terrified that it might happen to them. Shunning you, or providing cheap excuses is, in part, a way to protect themselves.I, on the other hand, would like to stick up for all the deeply religious people who stood by me and offered themselves simply to listen as I've doubted and rejected much of the doctrine that we previously shared. I would also add that since leaving university I've lost many friends. Does that mean they never were friends? No. simply that the things we had in common (our shared experience), that bound us socially, no longer exist. I don't blame university for being a false environment, or call them out as false friends because of that.It's hard to avoid slighting the character and calling into question the motivations of former friends, but we must think the best of people – it's not like I continued invested relentlessly in the friendship with them; only to be rejected. I let things slip over time too, in some cases actively.

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  12. Wow fill. Did you just give me a lecture? Yes, I do know that all sorts of people (including myself) regardless of beliefs can be and are "dicks." 🙂

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  13. zoe, oops, sorry mate! i'm just trying to contribute my perspective to the discussion… i didn't mean to lecture or offend, so sorry if it read that way

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  14. Zoe, meet phil.phil, meet Zoe.phil, Zoe has come through quite a bit of fundamentalism and has a few triggers. I'm not sure what your story is, phil, but many of the people who have come through fundamentalism here have experienced varying levels of spiritual abuse.If I may interject:It has been my experience that Brits are much more accepting of others beliefs and traditions. They have very much a live and let live attitude. Though they might come across as opinionated, they mean no harm in it. They word things much more strongly than we Americans do. I've had to overcome that cultural difference in speaking with the Tour Guide. 🙂 You can correct me if I'm wrong, phil.

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  15. hey zoe 😉 sorry to hear that you got burned by the broadly-bad, bible bashing bastards.D'ma, you're right, over here in the UK, the whole religious landscape is, it seems, quite different to the USA. i'm actually from NZ, where some of the american-style evangelical tendencies and mega-churches have established a semi-foothold. But I moved to the UK about 4 years ago. People here will (generally) happily talk, and disagree about matters "faithy" without subjecting each other to the all-too-painfully felt fires of face to face hellfire.I'm lucky to be tentatively (cautiously) getting familiar with a small community in London that is happy to explore spiritual/faith issues from within a historically Christian setting (the CofE). They a nice bunch, some of whom are former evangs themselves, others who are not-theistic at all. http://www.moot.uk.net/about/ – not a plug, by the way.

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  16. LOL! Hi Phil. Thank you for the introduction D'Ma. Rats. I was hoping he gave me a lecture. Might have jump-started my brain and caused me to come out fighting. Notice how brain-dead I am. I called him "fill." ROTFLOL and almost PMP (damn where did I put my Depends?).I've got more than a few triggers. *big grin* I suffered a few traumtic injuries in my life before the age of 13. Then I was born-again and well, in hindsight, on one hand, it too was likely a traumatic injury, while at the same time, saving my life. How do you like that dichotomy? Later in life, more trauma and one of those was spiritual abuse from church and friends and I was in youth ministry with my husband at the time. Lots of fun, eh? This sent me into a spiral that nearly cut short my life. Yet at the same time, was the catalyst for me to study even more than I had before (if that was even possible and I found out it was) and of course, this added to the already established traumatic dichotomy of life (Zoe) … and eventually to leaving the faith for intellectual reasons. Short story. Now you don't need to read my blog. :-)I just wanted to add for clarification, I don't consider my "friends" above as dicks. They don't mean any harm. And, I use to be a Bible-bashing-bastard myself. Others tell me I wasn't, but I still live with the guilt from my past evangelistic life. So, daily, I work at waking-up. It's quite the ride I must say.No harm done Phil … just watch your step. Just kidding. 🙂 (I've got a fair bit of the Brit in me.) *grin*

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  17. I am a well educated student of the Bible and theology. However my professors did not think worldly subjects like science to be important.As a result,I have huge holes in my knowledge base.Since God is out of the picture for me I find it delightful to be able to read what I want, to fill in the holes in my knowledge base.

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  18. This universe is wonderful and awe inspiring, eh Bruce?

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  19. I love this clip of Sagan. The first time I saw it(about a year ago) I was just beginning to break free from the dogma that had fettered me for so long. I cried. What a fragile, wonderful, dot.

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