Non-Traditional Views - A Conversation

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AmyJ
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Non-Traditional Views - A Conversation

Post by AmyJ » 09 Apr 2018, 07:49

My husband and I were driving home with our girls from a science expo we attended and wound up talking...

He mentioned that he was looking into seeing "God's Not Dead" because a friend had recommended it to him and from the reviews he thought it would be interesting. This was rather unexpected on my end because generally he does not branch out from non-LDS religious themed entertainment (mostly he does not mix religion and entertainment in general). (P.S. I'm the one with the Christian rock CDs - not him). So I was cautiously supportive and curious and ask a few questions...

It turns out that he does not understand the Atheist belief at all (which I can understand - he has had a belief in God his entire life - it is hard to relate to someone who hasn't with that background. It's like a fish incorporating into their narrative the concept of owls - a flying fish may be able to do on some levels, but it takes extraordinary circumstances to get there).

BUT he does recognize that there is a difference between Atheists and Agnostics.
And he does seem to have an understanding of Agnostics, and how they might get there. While it sounds like an intellectual understanding, there is a chance that there is an emotional part to it.

This is good news to me for the following reasons:
1) If I turn out to fit the description of an agnostic best when all is said and done, we may be able to have the foundation of respect to keep our marriage in place.
2) If he winds up going down the rabbit hole as well, he has the start of the foundation he would need to withstand it emotionally and I can help him connect to it (if needed).

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dande48
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Re: Non-Traditional Views - A Conversation

Post by dande48 » 09 Apr 2018, 09:38

This might be picking apart a small part of your story (thanks for sharing, Amy). What I think is interesting, is how often people take Nietzsche's "God is dead" quote out of context, both atheists and religious. Most people take it as almost an exclamation of joy! "God is dead; we are free from Christian morals, and can now do as we please and enjoy life to the fullest..." But that wasn't how Nietzsche meant it. In fact, the quote came from his "Parable of the Madman":
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us?
It was a lament. With the advancements in science, in communications, we've stripped away most of the "power and wonder" of God. We put claims of divine intervention under the microscope. We critique all revelation. We understand that earlier beliefs on the creation of man, the plants and animals, the planets and stars were absolutely false. We don't accept religious authority on face value. Compare that with the past, where we were lorded over by God chosen kings. All heresy and apostasy was met with torturous punishment. The only hope for the miserable life of the common man was in Christ. While many still profess to believe in God and hold to religious traditions, the God our ancestors knew is, in many ways, "dead".

Nietzsche predicted, and rightly so, that the killing of traditional faith would lead to many terrible societal problems. Nietzsche wasn't a fan of Christianity, but he did recognize it's importance in creating a sense of duty, morality, purpose. Nietzsche biggest questions were, "What do we do now?" and "How do we cope?". I think those are the most important questions for anyone to ask when going through a faith crisis. "What now?"
Last edited by dande48 on 09 Apr 2018, 10:27, edited 3 times in total.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

AmyJ
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Re: Non-Traditional Views - A Conversation

Post by AmyJ » 09 Apr 2018, 10:20

Thanks dande.

I was actually talking to my husband about why Atheists/Agnostics mourn the passing of God - that the disbelief in God it isn't usually being used to "sin" without guilt, but because that person got to that point in their narrative because something made them re-examine their relationship with God and the grief that accompanies that.

It is since my faith transition that I have begun to realize that all change, growth, development comes from me [God may or may not provide the Miracle-Gro to speed up my change/growth/development. I also may be enrolled in the school of hard knocks for some classes]. Because I stopped waiting on God to "fix/save/reveal" things, I have to do it myself or it doesn't get done (for me personally - I feel barely qualified to make that statement and cannot take it to other levels). It is my privilege and responsibility to gain the vision of the person I want to become, and then figure out realistic ways to get there. I have to internalize my individual sense of duty, morality, and purpose (in the sense what brings meaning to my life). I am still working on the basic framework - I figure I may have it in 3-5 years...

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LDS_Scoutmaster
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Re: Non-Traditional Views - A Conversation

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 09 Apr 2018, 11:13

AmyJ wrote:
09 Apr 2018, 10:20
I have to internalize my individual sense of duty, morality, and purpose (in the sense what brings meaning to my life).
That is a great place to be. I found much of my growth here in this place because many of my choices were more heartfelt than before, and I was working very personally within myself (rather than checklist mentality).
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

Roy
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Re: Non-Traditional Views - A Conversation

Post by Roy » 09 Apr 2018, 12:11

Be aware. In the movie, "God is not Dead" the atheist teacher is made out to be a jerk in every way (from the way he belittles Christianity and those around him that disagree, to the way that he sexually pursues female students). The protagonist eventually stumps the professor by declaring that if there is no God then there is no morality. Therefore why not lie, cheat, and steal to attain a good grade or university degree. I found it odd that this learned professor would have no response and would completely leave unchallenged the assertion that all morality and ethics hinges on the existence of God. I suppose it was important for the humble, unlearned, but bold christian to have the moment of triumph.

The movie presents a straw man or caricature of atheism and atheists.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

AmyJ
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Re: Non-Traditional Views - A Conversation

Post by AmyJ » 09 Apr 2018, 12:38

I agree about caution in watching the movie. I haven't looked into seeing it because it seemed a little too simple/single direction in its thinking - I guess more black/white then I felt comfortable with. My grandfather is atheist (technically agnostic I believe) and is one of the most ethical people I know. It helps that he taught philosophy for a living.

And parts of the BoM make the same claim - There were a couple of times while re-reading the Book of Mormon that I wanted to yell at Mormon for writing down specific parallels that he (or others) made and he wrote them down that I don't take for granted anymore. The "Define a sinning philosophy" chapters in Nephi, and Mosiah or Alma ("Eat, Drink and Be Merry for tomorrow we die" is the most notable example). For me, the luxury of defining a personal faith narrative meant that I needed to give others the same luxury.

I am pretty sure that if my husband gets around to seeing the movie, I will watch it with him. I am sure there will be at least "It's not so simple" moment. I can expect that I will bite my tongue at least once. But it might be worth it for the opportunities to present ideas for an alternative narrative for my husband so that if/when myself, himself, or one of our children goes through a developmental process in what we believe, we are more open to that.

Roy
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Re: Non-Traditional Views - A Conversation

Post by Roy » 09 Apr 2018, 12:41

AmyJ wrote:
09 Apr 2018, 12:38
I am sure there will be at least "It's not so simple" moment. I can expect that I will bite my tongue at least once. But it might be worth it for the opportunities to present ideas for an alternative narrative for my husband so that if/when myself, himself, or one of our children goes through a developmental process in what we believe, we are more open to that.
agreed :thumbup:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

AmyJ
Posts: 628
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Non-Traditional Views - A Conversation

Post by AmyJ » 09 Apr 2018, 13:33

Thanks for all the feedback so far.

I guess the reason I started this post was because I was floored that the subject came up, and that it was an opportunity to share a little bit of alternative faith narratives with my husband. He knows that tolerance and with holding judgement initially are not his thing innately, so when he said he could sort of understand about agnosticism, it was BIG to me.

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