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Missing God - Comments

robaylesbury's Avatar Comment 1 by robaylesbury

My initial thoughts are that how could a falsehood give you comfort? I understand the grieving process that comes from losing faith, yet my suspicion is that now the cat is out of the bag no construct of your own making can ever suffice.

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 20:47:45 UTC | #869956

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 2 by ZenDruid

Once you understand that the light of "god" shines in the eyes of happy young children, maybe you'll be more at ease.

For the record, the god I propose has more foresight and self-respect than Yahweh, as 'he' implanted the important principles into the fetus' neural wiring, both as instincts and as mirror neurons. 'He' has been with us all along, evolving with the species. I must note that this god is not of a specific gender, but both and neither [I couldn't resist the pseudo-mystical ineffable ambiguity here...]. I would render this god concept as more of a subset of 'racial memory' which serves to identify the potential, and limitations, of the species. In that vein, can we imagine that dogs and cats may recognize some type of archetype of their own species?

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 21:17:49 UTC | #869969

Ulven's Avatar Comment 3 by Ulven

I have, as a result been trying to force myself to believe in God again. This is not the former God of the Bible, that I used to believe in, but one, which is not based on any religion, but on my own creation. Blockquote

Every believer believes in a "god" of his own creation. If you have caught a glimpse of reality but find that you can't handle the truth, then by all means, go back to being a believer.

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 21:46:03 UTC | #869995

mjs31's Avatar Comment 4 by mjs31

Maybe you should just give it some time. I remember when I gave up on god it took years before I finally gave up on all of the habits and patterns and psychological nonsense I'd developed because of religion. It's difficult to deal with at first but eventually you come to accept that you never did need god for hope, you just convinced yourself that you did.

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 22:39:22 UTC | #870020

Jay G's Avatar Comment 5 by Jay G

Let your eyes read what you've written. You are trying to force yourself to believe in a God of your own making? Oh, wait a minute. I guess that's what religious people do every day.

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 22:40:39 UTC | #870021

Mignostic's Avatar Comment 6 by Mignostic

Do you think it will ever be possible to believe again, once you realized it plainly makes no sense? My understanding is, belief cannot be created by an act of will.

In any case, maybe you'd be interested in Buddhism or a similar atheist religion?

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 23:08:25 UTC | #870033

Michael Austin's Avatar Comment 7 by Michael Austin

When I first left religion, I was very happy with my discovery, but now I have lost a lot of friends for it, and miss 'having God there.' I know that it was all in my head, but having someone there to talk to at the end of the day, or just anytime when I was alone. I'm am going to start journaling to get that sort of retrospective part of my mind back, and I hope that this helps.

But, yes, I miss those feelings too, but I miss my old friends more. :(

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 23:19:37 UTC | #870036

ShesTheBeth's Avatar Comment 8 by ShesTheBeth

My suggestion to you is don't stop looking for a 'real' substitute for your god. Your feeling of hopelessness is not something that can be filled by a faith - obviously jumping from one religion to another hasn't done it for you in the past. What makes you think it will satisfy you this time?

There is so much in nature and reality to awe inspire even the most desperately restless mind, so I would encourage you to read and watch documentaries about what ever field of study interests you. Inspiration can come from reality too, you know. And it will last a lifetime because there are no limits to learning, such as those imposed by religiosity.

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 23:23:26 UTC | #870037

robaylesbury's Avatar Comment 9 by robaylesbury

The missing of good friends is a tough one. I've felt that acutely. My worldview is like acid to a believer, eroding everything they have built their lives upon. Some have been fantastic, yet things can never be truly the same. I'm yet to forge new relationships that have the depth of the one's I left behind. Perhaps in time.

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 23:26:44 UTC | #870041

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 10 by Schrodinger's Cat

Am I doing the right thing, or should I try to accept reality, no matter that it provides me with no hope?

I think a lot of people have switched from belief in 'God' to belief in 'something'. Despite what other atheists may say...this really doesn't surprise me. The basic problems of existence, good and evil, etc etc, really haven't been answered.........and personally I find ( on a much deeper level of thought ) the cold indifferent universe every bit as problematic as any white bearded guy in the sky.

I think the 'pendulum effect'......swinging back some way towards 'belief', and so on back to atheism, is an inevitable part of the utterly stark contrast between belief and atheism. Some of it is ( certainly in my case ) due to a truly deep struggle to get to grips with issues that neither side really resolve.

None of which should be a problem to anyone. It's the established religions, with their dogma and creed, that are the major problem.

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 23:29:16 UTC | #870044

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 11 by Tyler Durden

Comment 7 by Michael Austin :

When I first left religion, I was very happy with my discovery, but now I have lost a lot of friends for it... I miss those feelings too, but I miss my old friends more. :(

@Michael - did you lose them as friends because of your change of mind regading religion/god, if so, you need to ask were they really friends at all.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:01:25 UTC | #870059

ajs261's Avatar Comment 12 by ajs261

This is very interesting. I have never properly believed in a deity, although I have thought about it like anyone else. I feel no such longing for belief whatsoever. I guess, if it has been a major part of your life for years, you might feel like you are "losing" something if you no longer believe.

Nonetheless, I have always found that a universe with a deity (at least of the powerful creator form) would be a far worse universe to be in - little more than a plaything, who suffers, succeeds and fails on the whims of someone far beyond yourself.

More importantly though, I actually suffered hugely when I tried to consider supernatural beliefs as reality - simply because I knew I couldn't back it up with any evidence or reason. The doubt would have torn me apart.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:23:29 UTC | #870065

JHJEFFERY's Avatar Comment 13 by JHJEFFERY

Comment 6 by Mignostic

Just a thought without an opinion:

The subject matter, of course, smacks of Pascal's Wager. I have been an atheist for a long time now, before I even heard of the Wager. I had always assumed, as you do, that whether or not to believe is not optional and that therefore the Wager was a nonsequitur.

When I finally got around to reading Pascal's Penses, I found that he had foreseen this problem. His solution was to literally "go through the motions." That is, to attend church, perform the rites, and be duly diligent as if you were religious--the belief would follow.

Oddly enough, there are some psychological studies that support this methodological approach. In fact, just submitting yourself to peer pressure and social intercourse with believers can improve your odds of getting religion, or getting it back.

So if you really think you need it, go for it. I won't be there . . .

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 01:10:22 UTC | #870079

kenkoskinen's Avatar Comment 14 by kenkoskinen

Muldanian Realize there is a distinction between reason and emotions. I think this is the source of your current tension and anxiety. I went through the process many years ago and I can only say what worked for me. I also do not believe in mythological or anthropomorphic gods but look around you. You, others and all things exist within "all that is" i.e. ATI. What were the odds that life would emerge and evolve and result in you and me, others? It is a marvel and the beauty all around us is inspiring. ATI to me is the real and only "god." ATI has all power, is everywhere, and changes within it long ago have resulted in our lives. We are lucky beings.

I watched the full moon this evening on the sky. It was magnificent and felt I was somehow part of it. It was a beautiful thing to behold. Peak experiences like that continue to add something mystical in my life and I do not need the gods of religion. ATI is greater than them. It is real and you do not have to believe it, just open your eyes and see.

I love science and physics and I write articles on themes that interest me. At the same time the book of physics is not complete. We have made strides in understanding the origin of life and its evolution but in my opinion it is also incomplete. ATI's chance factors and physics gave us this life ... maybe some other such unknown factors might give us more. Maybe not, but hope does not have to die. In the meantime what is here is well worth the human walk and explorations on the trail are also interesting. The things that get our attention beckon our study. Everyone will not agree with me but it doesn't matter. I have found a balance between the inner scientist (reason & observation) and mystic (intuition and emotion) within.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 04:06:54 UTC | #870120

decius's Avatar Comment 15 by decius

Why stopping at god, Muldanian? Surely, also the belief in Santa Claus used to bring you comfort in your early years. Think how truly happy you could be if you embraced both beliefs again.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 07:30:40 UTC | #870169

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 16 by Stevehill

I can't help thinking that I would be glad to return to a belief in God, no matter how false this idea might be. Even a false hope may be better than no hope at all.

Sounds like you're a perfect candidate for the Church of England.

Or possibly more helpfully, why did you leave the Quakers? I've got quite a lot of time for them (all that peace and love stuff) and they actually have a group for atheist Quakers.

Is it God you miss, or the sense of community from belonging to a religion, I wonder? I'd probably miss the fun of Christmas with my young kids, but I don't actually have to believe in Santa Claus to participate.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 08:03:34 UTC | #870181

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 17 by irate_atheist

I have, as a result been trying to force myself to believe in God again. This is not the former God of the Bible, that I used to believe in, but one, which is not based on any religion, but on my own creation.

That's just nuts and you know it is. Rather silly, in fact. But you know that also.

Grow some vegetables in the garden or something. Try doing The Times crossword or whatever. But don't deliberately lie to yourself knowing that you're lying to yourself. That's just plain dumb. Time to leave the nonsense behind.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 11:12:07 UTC | #870222

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 18 by Tyler Durden

I have, as a result been trying to force myself to believe in God again. This is not the former God of the Bible, that I used to believe in, but one, which is not based on any religion, but of my own creation.

An imaginary god of your own creation is still imaginary, no matter how hard you try to believe.

Am I doing the right thing, or should I try to accept reality, no matter that it provides me with no hope?

It is not the responsibility of reality to offer hope, just reality. Harsh, but true. Hope is a human emotion based on a myriad of experiences, memories, and expectations. If you're lacking hope in your life, do something real about it, as opposed to living in fantasy.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 11:33:59 UTC | #870229

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 19 by SaganTheCat

it took me many months to get over the discovery that santa wasn't real. come christmas when i found presents from my parents waiting for me under the tree i got over it

excuse my crass response but therein lies the truth. it's people that matter, the people who love you enough to buy your presents at christmas, look after you when you're sick and listen to your thoughts/problems/dreams.

forget the creator aspect, that's a religious red-herring. the god you had was a comfort and when my roof leaks in the rain I have no desire to be hugged by the builder. the god you miss is an emotional support, look up and around you. there are as many gods as you could possibly imagine inhabiting the equally insecure and uncertain minds of everyone else.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 11:57:34 UTC | #870241

StephenH's Avatar Comment 20 by StephenH

Very good points Tyler, and hit the nail on the head there.

People do have a choice here, harsh blunt but true reality, or fantasy.

People need to do some re-thinking if they are disapointed that reality does not offer them any hope

Instead of expecting hope, it's time to make things happen

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 11:57:47 UTC | #870242

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 21 by Alan4discussion

Am I doing the right thing, or should I try to accept reality, no matter that it provides me with no hope?

No hope of what? Eternal life in some celestial choir? I hope to have the rest of my life seeming my family and friends live well, live long, and prosper - in a caring community, which I am prepared to make an effort to support. Is there something else people want?

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:39:53 UTC | #870267

davedotcom's Avatar Comment 22 by davedotcom

This is something I also struggle with. I've been a confirmed, open non believer for about 18 months but still attended church for a few months. Catholic church too, but fairly liberal if that's possible! I then got to a point where I couldn't do it anymore, it was a lie to everyone there and myself.

I get yearnings for belief at times. When I look at my 7 month old daughter it isn't nice to think that actually, when I die I won't still be able to see her and she won't come and meet me in heaven. My father died just over a year ago and it's not nice to know I'll not see him up there when I go. My wife still attends church and thinks I'll have a re-awakening when the time is right!

But, just because aspects of reality aren't palateable doesn't mean they aren't real.

I have discovered beauty in the world and if anything, it has made me all the more determined to enjoy and maximise my limited time on this rock. I am starting a part time degree in Natural Sciences - I neraly did a Theology degree a few years ago!

Embrace the truth.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:48:24 UTC | #870275

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 23 by nancynancy

Since you've posted your question on an atheist message board, I'm sure you're prepared to hear that reality is infinitely better than a bunch of made up fairytales. But I don't see how anyone who's clever enough to have realized the Sky God is complete nonsense could derive any real or lasting comfort from religion anyway.

Also I don't understand why it is you say you have no "hope." Is there nothing in your life that makes you happy -- no hobbies, pets, friends, family, work, interests, treasured possessions? These things don't depend on the existence of the Sky God to add pleasure and meaning to your life.

But if you need a way to neutralize the terror of death which everyone at some point feels, remember the only thing you will ever be conscious of is life itself. Just as you have no experience of the time before you were born, you will never be aware of the time after you die. In that particular sense, you like everyone else will never actually be dead.

I hope these words help.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 13:44:30 UTC | #870316

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 24 by Stevezar

I have been religion free and happy now for just over 3 decades.

But, I am going to try to believe in religion again. "Arrgghhmmmm..." (I am grunting and my face is turning red. Think constipation.). Nope, didn't work. I just cant seem to make myself believe.

Ok, now I am going to try with 2+2=5. "Arrgghhmmmm..."

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 14:53:15 UTC | #870343

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 25 by The Jersey Devil

I can relate to this article. I have at times experienced anxiety over my disillusionment, as I call it.

I guess I'm lucky because my 'religion' is a 12 step program (Alcoholics Anonymous). I have recently returned to AA meetings because I want to stop drinking again (I was dry for 11 years at one point) and I enjoy the people (well, most of them) and perhaps I was institutionalized to a certain extant (I was 20 when I attended my first meeting).

Anyway, one of the 'Traditions' of AA - or rule of AA, if you will - is that membership is not dependent on conformity. (See Tradition 3 - Long Form). Conformity in this case explicity means belief in God. Which means I can (and have been) open about my beliefs and they can't kick me out.

To get back to the point of the article, I'm working with the theory now that there are positive, value added aspects to living a 'spiritual' life and that a belief in a super-natural being is not required to experience it.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:26:21 UTC | #870358

wolfhoundGrowl's Avatar Comment 26 by wolfhoundGrowl

I understand you problem.

I was not only a Christian but am a graduate of an Evangelical Bble College and a Theological Seminary.

I used to preach, teach Sunday school and have unfortunately 'led people to Christ.'

Jesus literally WAS my life, and religion IS my biggest interest.

But, if it doesn't appear to be true, then it doesn't appear to be true.

Now I'm a Humanist.

This is my SUGGESTION:

You remeber the teaching about being 'content with what God has given you' or 'being content in Christ' (?)

Re-apply it, be content with what God hasn't given you, be content that he failed to exist or provide good answers. Be content that religion is something other than truth.

Once you're content with what religion is not, you'll be able to figure out what place if any it will retain in your life.

Here are a couple of links you MAY like http://nontheistfriends.org & http://www.sofn.org.uk

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:44:05 UTC | #870362

helena!'s Avatar Comment 27 by helena!

Good luck with your self delusion! LOL.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 17:19:59 UTC | #870400

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 28 by Sjoerd Westenborg

But there is hope? The universe may not care the slightest bit about your well being, but your friends and family do. The complexity of life and the fact that such a beautiful world emerged from a heap of stardust should fill you with awe and admiration, just like your God was supposed to do. For every loss when losing religion there is at least one gain.

I know I sound like I had some special brownies, but I'm trying to make a point here.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 18:15:50 UTC | #870428

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 29 by Stevehill

davedtcom

When I look at my 7 month old daughter it isn't nice to think that actually, when I die I won't still be able to see her and she won't come and meet me in heaven.

When I look at my 3- and 4-year old kids, I rejoice in the fact that they are not going to ultimately have to join me in heaven watching me agonise about whether to spend the rest of eternity with their mother, or with my first wife, of 27 years, who died of cancer, too young.

But hey, maybe god has some special way of managing these things. Alternate weekends or something?

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 20:50:22 UTC | #870505

The Signal's Avatar Comment 30 by The Signal

I don't know if similar has already been said but I offer this:


  1. Determine what things that you got out of your belief in a god that were so compelling.

  2. Assess which of these things you can honestly live happily without.

  3. Of the things remaining, you'll find that all of them, save a sense of certainty, can be had without the supernatural baggage inherent in any fictional belief.

Confidence can replace certainty well enough. Community can be had rather easily; hell, you've found one here! The advances in science and the countless secular projects being advanced for the good of all mankind can give you hope for the future, and for immortality if you're bold enough to consider longevity research or even cryonics, a la Alcor. And devoting yourself to one of these projects, or your own, can give you a sense of purpose more real than any deific calling. Anyone on these forums can help you find more to love about life, if you ask.

Proximate meaning may seem faintly-hued in the shadow of discarded ultimate meaning, but it shines with a light of truth that brightens as the falsehoods which obscured it fade away in time.

Sorry. Waxed poetic there for a moment.

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 22:31:46 UTC | #870551