If one doesn’t find enjoyment or pleasure out of trying to eliminate injustices or right wrongs, one should find something else to do that he or she enjoys.
And why does happiness matter? Well, if Heaven is so great, what does that really mean unless it brings one complete joy?
Is Heaven sitting around griping about the gays? Is it a never-ending Bible read? Do they sit around, constantly complaining about how corrupt the young people in Hell are?
The idea that happiness on Earth doesn’t matter spits in the face of the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was a perfect paradise. Doesn’t that mean that Adam and Eve had to be happy? Of course, if they were perfectly content, why did they eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Well, to use an analogy, is it not the case that one can be having a great time, but make a grave mistake that directly affects his or her life negatively forever? Can’t a man, driving to the beach to go on vacation, accidentally strike and kill a child with his car, and thus, spend significant time behind bars?
Of course, Adam and Eve disobeyed a direct commandment. But they did not know just how negatively it was going to affect them, and the rest of the world (for the entirety of its existence). This does not mean that they should not have been punished. One, of course, can lament about “why they [we] were ever doomed to failure”, much like one can lament “why the child ever ran out in front of the car”. But what happened happened. Nothing can change it.
In saying all of this, I am very thankful that I am [no longer] like most religious conservatives. To the religious conservatives, the entire world is a lost cause. All of us sinners are going to Hell (except for the 30 or so that meet in this specific building every Sunday). The rules and regulations to live by to avoid Hell are simply impossible to live by. It is the equivalent of a government with hundreds of thousands of various laws, most of which no citizen really understands (or is even aware of), and many of the rules are so nonsensical that it truly takes a fear of punishment to make one ever even consider abiding by them. You live in constant fear of violating even one of the countless laws, and the government of God will have no mercy on a law-breaker after one dies (which one is never sure of, so this anxiety continues in perpetuity). But the difference between government and God is that, at least to many, an unjust government is possible. But the idea of an unjust GOD is NOT possible to Christians and conservatives.
I am ashamed to admit that I used to BE one of those religious conservatives. My life was anxious and Puritanical seemingly constantly (I was lucky enough to get minor breaks from my own self-torture every now and then). It truly was Hell on Earth. I know you probably won’t believe me, but I was fucking MISERABLE. More miserable that I can describe in this piece (but I discuss it a lot here). But by divine intervention, my life changed completely, and forever. I know how that sounds, because I know how typical conservatives use it. But I can only say that I am being genuine, and it is up to you whether or not you believe me. I understand skepticism. It is warranted (thanks to religious conservatism that I used to be a part of).
It is only by the grace of God that I value my happiness here on Earth. (I understand many will say “Well, I’m not religious, and I value my happiness”, or “But you never would’ve gone through that had you never been introduced to religion in the first place.” I’m not going to debate it here. Agree to disagree? Call me a “dumbass believer” on your own blog?) I may never know why He saved me that Hell, of believing that my suffering somehow created my path to Heaven (thus making me purposefully torture myself psychologically), but I am eternally grateful for it. Clearly, there is a difference between the paradise that Eden was and what happened to the world after the fruit was eaten; a difference between me driving to the beach, and me killing a child with my car accidentally. Me killing a child with the car didn’t create the happiness that I had when I envisioned what the beach was going to be like. Clearly.
I get to experience the goodness of God, without EVER being ABLE to “repay” Him in any way, shape, or form. There is no gift that I can give to the Almighty. I was merely given the gift of eternal life through Christ. And it wasn’t because of anything I did: it was merely because God cares about me.
I think this will, ultimately, be the only thing that keeps me from pulling my hair out when I notice government becoming more and more tyrannical, with, seemingly, not enough people realizing it. I think this will be the only thing to keep me sane if I am unfortunate enough to live through a revolutionary war, or if I am kidnapped by my government. Thankfully, if they kill me, they will have only freed me.
My life’s work will revolve around explaining the reality that occurs when people say “How do you know you are right and they are wrong?” I GREATLY want to be able to explain this to people.
However, the experience of people using my own words to justify their positions is going to trouble me because of any objective truths that I may, in fact, discover that they believe the exact opposite of.
Their language is a dangerous weapon that only drives people away from the truth if I DO ever in fact find any of it, and it is this phenomenon of using my words against me to argue the opposite of my position if my position is in fact correct that troubles me most.
Therefore, I must do my best to explain the difference between what is correct and what isn’t, knowing that those that AREN’T correct are going to use the EXACT same language as me, and this is most troubling.
I can only hope and pray that we all figure out what the truth is, although I know this will not happen.
It’s an incredibly difficult phenomenon to experience when your words are used against you for ignorant and deceitful purposes, as no doubt these very same words will be.
The language will be exactly the same that I am using, but the arguments completely different, and it’s troubling because I need to be able to explain how it is exactly that we know what is truthful, but the liars and the deceivers will never stop using my words to defend the opposite positions.
Once again, I’m saying that if an argument is truthful, this is STILL going to be the case, and it troubles me because it is hard enough to figure out truths when you’re looking in honest places, but when liars and ignorant people start stealing your words to lie and be ignorant, discovering truth and spreading that message becomes almost impossible because people do not know who to believe when two people are saying two different things in the exact same way, and that is why truth itself is so desperately important, and it is my greatest wish that I figure it out and that someday, truth triumphs over the liars and it becomes revealed to all of those that couldn’t understand it before.
This is going to be an incredibly difficult process, and I have no earthly idea how this is all going to play out, but I have to do this because it is what I enjoy doing.
I’m going to face SO many mirrors that are showing the exact opposite of what I’m showing in the exact same way, and if I DO happen to figure out something that is true, disseminating this information to others and having it stick is going to prove hard because of these people using the same language as me.
I can think of an instance where someone says “How do you know you are correct?” that has an opposite position of me, but yet they could not give me an answer as to why they think they are, or even if you tried to explain a position of their argument, they can lie or just say ignorant words to fool fools, so truth becoming a majority idea is just almost impossible.
So if anyone CAN ever figure out the truth in any instance, what do they do with it? Can they REALLY get majorities to understand it? I’m highly skeptical of that. I can’t help but think that the liars and ignorance is just going to have their way with the majority of the people, and anyone that DOES understand the truth (thankfully) is just going to have to get out and let the destruction run its course.
It is not a pretty picture, and the only thing to solve it is to be able to explain the difference between truth and lies, and that just isn’t easy when liars use the same words as truth-tellers.
It’s not a very good-looking future from my point of view.
There are simply too many ignorant and deceitful ideas out there for me to believe that truth is going to take hold on any majority scale.
It’s not a good looking picture from where I see it.
My conscience will not let me go.
I had nothing to do with tragedies that have occurred to people in the past, but my heart still feels sad.
It’s really a losing battle to feel guilt for things that occurred before you were born (and even some things that occurred after you were born, and that continue to go on).
The best thing to do is to move on. Religion might teach you that you are uncaring and that it is your moral duty to feel constant guilt for those that have had worse (in some cases, immeasurably worse) situations than you have, but bringing multiple people down doesn’t lift anyone up.
I think that is my next biggest life lesson that I must continue to strive to learn so that I can let go of unnecessary guilt for things such as people being born with certain conditions that either I or they or both of us feel are unfortunate, or feeling guilty for not living with an abusive family when other people have suffered so much, etc.
Guilt can’t be the best response in these situations, no matter what religion taught me about humbling myself around my Heavenly gifts.
Just because I’m happy that I wasn’t abused doesn’t mean that I don’t at least on some level realize that it is “bad.”
Something doesn’t make sense here, and I promise you that I am going to get to the bottom of it and write about it or die trying because this matter is incredibly too pressing to ignore for me.
I don’t want anyone to feel guilty for anything because this battle is so hard for me personally, and I cannot rest until I do more work in these regards.
I’ve got a long way as far as personality growth, letting this go, getting my financial house in order, maintaining a sense of individuality that will grant me happiness, such as learning about science when people that I encounter don’t understand why I do what I do, and the same thing with philosophy.
These things are not easy for me, and in fact, I fight these things every goddamn day, but letting go of this guilt will help me in the fact that even if other people don’t do things that I consider valuable or that would be valuable to them, it honestly is not my problem and I do not have a duty to give this to them.
Life comes with a lot of freedom, and if something makes you unhappy, there’s probably something existentially incorrect in this picture.
I don’t think that life is supposed to make you miserable on any level (even though this is unavoidable), meaning that I don’t think that the purpose of life is suffering, so I’m going to do my DAMNDEST to ignore this religious idea that as imparted in me through a combination of messages that I pieced together that I don’t remember verbatim as well as my own hyper-active conscience which was both genetic and fueled by my religious past.
I sincerely don’t mean the religious part as an attack on anybody, but I do not want to sit back and continue to let people impart religious guilt on themselves when it doesn’t make any sense to me anymore.
This is the biggest hurdle that I currently have to face, and I hope that I can come to a conclusion to it in a way that works best for me, and this is the indefinably difficult task that I currently have to face.
I hope I can do all that I need to do to achieve what I desperately want to achieve, and I hope that God grants me the ability to deal with the inevitable hurdles that I already know I am going to face on this peaceful purpose.
Often, one person’s guilt is fueled by another person’s envy (although sometimes, guilt is fueled by intrinsic existential fear).
But gifts are not exchanges: meaning, they aren’t conditional.
Gifts are received by humans because of the love of God.
May 25, 2014.