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← Religion as "comfort" to people in distress: fact or myth?

Religion as "comfort" to people in distress: fact or myth? - Comments

yuriicide's Avatar Comment 1 by yuriicide

I must say I have no tolerance for such people. I don't necessarily look down on them but following a doctrine that clearly has no evidence to support its claims is somewhat blind and childish in my eyes. People are free to do that but I think it's evident that most (if not all of it) is wishful thinking easily compared to a child's fear of the dark. May sound bitter but that's my opinion.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 15:39:11 UTC | #937018

CJHefford's Avatar Comment 2 by CJHefford

I am constantly stunned by the arrogance of the religious to give advice that they are not qualified to give, to encourage the suffering of other human beings through their misguided religious teachings and their ability to turn a blind eye when it suits them.

I consider myself to be open minded but the more I read about religion failing people in incomprehensible ways the more I believe it is a blight on the human race.

I will gladly face the Christian wrath of burning in hell, because to fear it I would have to believe in it. I'll only believe in it when I am shown evidence of it.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 16:00:47 UTC | #937023

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 3 by crookedshoes

A person's religion can offer tremendous comfort to them in times of stress. It can and is a huge hinderance at the same time. Look, a person's belief system is something that they carry with them 24-7. They view the world through it and there is nothing that can be done externally to sway them from it.

You can expose them to alternatives, tell them the "truth".... all sorts of external stimuli can be offered to a person. They can and will summarily dismiss them UNLESS they are ready internally to change.

So, a belief system is a tool kit that a person carries and uses to surmount or at least confront the issues that present themselves on a given day or at a given moment. This tool kit may not be ideal but by the time a person gets to a certain age, they have used the tools so many times that it is all they know.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 16:17:33 UTC | #937026

yuriicide's Avatar Comment 4 by yuriicide

Well said.

Comment 2 by CJHefford :

I am constantly stunned by the arrogance of the religious to give advice that they are not qualified to give, to encourage the suffering of other human beings through their misguided religious teachings and their ability to turn a blind eye when it suits them.

I consider myself to be open minded but the more I read about religion failing people in incomprehensible ways the more I believe it is a blight on the human race.

I will gladly face the Christian wrath of burning in hell, because to fear it I would have to believe in it. I'll only believe in it when I am shown evidence of it.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 16:17:52 UTC | #937027

godzillatemple's Avatar Comment 5 by godzillatemple

As the father of a 7-year-old, this is something I find myself struggling with recently. My son has recently learned about death (or, at least, it has finally registered with him) and he regularly tells me that he doesn't want to die someday and he is worried about it. Sometimes he tells me about nightmares he has about dying, and I find myself at a loss for words.

As an atheist, all I can really tell him is that death is a part of life and that it's something all creatures on earth will experience someday. I can tell him that living forever would cause a lot of problems due to overpopulation and scarcity of resources (not to mention the inevitable boredom inherent in living for billions of years, let alone forever). I can also tell him that the fact that we will die someday is what makes our lives here on earth so special and that we should cherish every single moment and try to live the best life possible. And, in fact, this is exactly what I do tell him. So far, though, he hasn't found much comfort in my words and the temptation is to simply tell him that if he's good he will go to heaven and therefore there's no need to worry about it.

I have, of course, resisted the temptation and can only hope that eventually he will come to find comfort in reality instead of in fairy stories. And hopefully he will actually gain an appreciation of just how precious life is (not just his life but of every living creature) and live a fulfilling and moral life as a result. But, as I said, I can certainly appreciate the allure of being able to lean on religion and provide a quick comfort fix.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 16:40:47 UTC | #937033

Silverthorn's Avatar Comment 6 by Silverthorn

If someone is at a stage where they feel that they have no options but to commit suicide they should not be made to feel guilty or made to fear any repercussions but helped to see that there are plenty of other options. This whole view of punishment for making a choice is not only ridiculous but very immoral in my eyes. If that person is talking to someone else then they are obviously reaching out for help and any decent person should do exactly that help them feel better about themselves and the situation they are in.

Also to give them options so that they can help themselves get out of the bad situation and create a better life for themselve

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 16:55:05 UTC | #937038

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 7 by rrh1306

I have a kid sister that I'm around a lot and she went through a faze like that at around 6 . I gave her all kinds of philosophical angle about life and death but the thing that worked the best was simply telling her she was very young and had a long, long life ahead of her. That seemed to work better than everything else. After that she would still lament every once and a while about the facts of life but she's 8 now and she hasn't brought it up in a long time. But I do know how you feel. The idea of death does seem a pretty bitter pill for a child to have to swallow but I guess there's no way around it.

Comment 5 by godzillatemple :

As the father of a 7-year-old, this is something I find myself struggling with recently. My son has recently learned about death (or, at least, it has finally registered with him) and he regularly tells me that he doesn't want to die someday and he is worried about it. Sometimes he tells me about nightmares he has about dying, and I find myself at a loss for words.

As an atheist, all I can really tell him is that death is a part of life and that it's something all creatures on earth will experience someday. I can tell him that living forever would cause a lot of problems due to overpopulation and scarcity of resources (not to mention the inevitable boredom inherent in living for billions of years, let alone forever). I can also tell him that the fact that we will die someday is what makes our lives here on earth so special and that we should cherish every single moment and try to live the best life possible. And, in fact, this is exactly what I do tell him. So far, though, he hasn't found much comfort in my words and the temptation is to simply tell him that if he's good he will go to heaven and therefore there's no need to worry about it.

I have, of course, resisted the temptation and can only hope that eventually he will come to find comfort in reality instead of in fairy stories. And hopefully he will actually gain an appreciation of just how precious life is (not just his life but of every living creature) and live a fulfilling and moral life as a result. But, as I said, I can certainly appreciate the allure of being able to lean on religion and provide a quick comfort fix.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 17:17:20 UTC | #937044

DavidXanaos's Avatar Comment 8 by DavidXanaos

Comment 5 by godzillatemple :

As an atheist, all I can really tell him is that death is a part of life and that it's something all creatures on earth will experience someday. I can tell him that living forever would cause a lot of problems due to overpopulation and scarcity of resources (not to mention the inevitable boredom inherent in living for billions of years, let alone forever).

You could tel him that due to advances in medicine he has a good shot on leaving long enough to live in a time where his live can be prolonged by technology so long that he will be so bored to death that he at some day will want to die.

Or may be, we will just downlaod the minds af all old people into the google cloud where they will exist until out run blows up and the system gets blasted alway with the earth.

imho. this are possibilities that are possible during the next 100 years or so.

David X.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 17:32:02 UTC | #937050

papa lazaru's Avatar Comment 9 by papa lazaru

I'd tell him that no one really knows what happens after death, and it's up to him to make up his mind.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 19:12:37 UTC | #937064

virag.padalkar's Avatar Comment 10 by virag.padalkar

Hi Firstly, let me congratulate you on not choosing the easy path and advocating the cause of "psuedo-karma" in going to heaven; or some such fictional support.

It is a testimony to your rationality that you refuse to give your progeny easy answers. I have maintained that as proponents of the race (if such a thing exists), we should promote critical and rational thinking in our progeny in order to avoid the mistakes our and previous generations made.

Secondly, they found it easier to explain things using a good-bad duality and using a creation-destruction theory. Thirdly, once we appease a power higher than ourselves, our questions stop - since its a matter of faith - this was a convenience to many. And ultimately, it is the social pressure of being accepted that prevents us from promoting critical thinking related to the two premises above.

Once again, kudos on not bowing down to the easy answers.

However, I do have a note to make on your comment about Islam Vs Christianity. Islam may look fundamentalist now - Christianity looked pretty much the same way some time back, Look at the crusades. Look at all the bloodshed in the name of religion. I agree that Christianity has been able to modernize itself faster, but the roots are the same. Lack of education and up-bringing is preventing the Moslem world from getting the same exposure and a similar learning curve.

Would like to end with the same comment - kudos on not giving the easy answer!! And best of luck for the rest of the journey!!

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 20:05:17 UTC | #937071

magster2's Avatar Comment 11 by magster2

Re: Comment 5 by godzillatemple

I confess: I punted when my younger daughter (now 16) went through the same phase at about age 6. (I don't remember this coming up with my older daughter.) I went the "Well, some people believe in heaven" route without explicitly stating what I personally thought the truth was, and just waited it out. (I don't remember her asking me point blank what I myself believed, but I would have answered truthfully if she had.) It absolutely broke my heart to watch what she was going through emotionally.

Like papa lazaru in comment 9, I always left it up to my children to make up their own minds about such things, while being completely forthright in expressing my own beliefs. While they both turned out atheists, it wasn't that long ago that my younger daughter expressed sadness about this life being all that she has.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 20:15:51 UTC | #937073

Kurt Unwise's Avatar Comment 12 by Kurt Unwise

Fear is THE overarching, disempowering emotion! And I guess, there's no need to discuss the evolutionary reasons for fear being perhaps, this most important , overarching emotion.

Religion is based on fear, even if it is not explicit, but only subconscious fear! That is why, I think, there are so many religious aplogists. That's also why there are so many agnostics (50/50 type) and also a large number of people claiming that "the question of God's existence is not an interesting one; what is more important is that one is a good person."

Fear conditioning must involve parts of the brain - Amygdala, Hippocampus etc.... I don't really know exactly. But, such conditioning must be progressive, cumulative.

Similarly, conditioning the brain to shun fear can only be achieved gradually as the mind becomes progressively more confident. That is why, only repeated exposure to atheists, their arguments and their healthy and successful lives can convert middle of the road, fence sitting religionists into staunch atheists! Neuro-science will also tell why exactly it is so difficult to convert the dyed-in-the-wool religionists!

Fear, I suppose, is the emotion that negatively affects quality of life more than any other emotion. That is why telling a child that she'll go to hell is child-abuse!

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 22:06:18 UTC | #937090

Ted Foureagles's Avatar Comment 13 by Ted Foureagles

Dear Ex and I ran a hospice in our home, and so I have been with several people as they died. Largely, but not exclusively, those who were most devout were most terrified of death if they were conscious when it came. They often did, however, seem to take comfort prior to death in the notion that something better awaited.

My dearest friend is a Christian fundamentalist (we invest quite a bit of intellectual energy and no small amount of temporary rancor in discussing this). He has recently experienced some very difficult situations (home foreclosure, etc., etc.). When times are tough for him I back off my criticism of his faith and note that he is greatly comforted by his Christian friends promising to pray for him (whether they actually do anything real or not).

Those examples describe real benefit of religion to real people. They may not advance understanding of reality, but they do sometimes provide comfort. I'd argue that the overall balance of a life lived in such delusion accounts on the negative, but that's the perspective of someone who has never believed.

Dear Nephew Case is 8 years old and is a precious to me as if he were my own child. He lives next door with Mom who is my Li'l Dear Sis, and knows nothing of his father (who was a sperm donor, is a great guy, and just a favoirte "Uncle" by his choice. They spend at least a week together each year, and the true nature of their relationship will eventually have to be broached). Sis is a thoughtful agnostic active in the Unitarian church. Case, who is strikingly brilliant, attends a private Christian school because local (South Carolina) public schools are depressingly grim and arguably more religiously dogmatic.

Case has had two encounters with the specter of death just this year. He had a big cancer scare (doctors were talking of 6-month survivability) that turned out to be misdiagnosis (actually cat scratch fever), and a few weeks later had half his face torn off by a dog (no important pieces were swallowed, and it all now looks pretty good, considering). In both instances he bravely but quiveringly told us that he didn't want to die. Oh, I should mention that his twin was stillborn, and he's always been aware of that. We have a little birthday ceremony each year down in the woods where the ashes were scattered. Point is, this kid is more familiar with death than most of us in "first world" societies are until we actually buy the farm.

Case's shrink says that he's a high-functioning, high level sufferer of PTSD -- understandable. He comes home from his Christian school talking about the literal historical account of Noah and the flood, and crying because it seems so cruel. I imagine that he imagines that his beloved kitten (who gave him cat scratch fever) would have drowned if another kitten had been chosen first, I tell him that these are stories made up by people a long time ago who didn't have science and were just trying to figure out how things worked, and needn't be taken as true. That seems to calm him for now, but we're sure to soon get to the point of discussing whether the comforting bits as well as the horrifying bits are likewise unreliable. In the meantime, I've bought him Dawkin's "The Magic Of Reality", and hope to read it with him.

}}}}

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 23:30:20 UTC | #937099

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 14 by VrijVlinder

@Comment 5 by godzillatemple :

I remember asking the same question to my father when I was a child. I actually asked several people but my father gave me the best answer even though I did not like it.

He told me just what you said that life is like that. All beings are born, live reproduce, then die. I asked why? He said every thing has a lifespan. Like a pair of shoes, you buy them new you use them after they wear out they are discarded. Lifespan is something we can't control but we can help ourselves live longer by living healthy lives.

I understood the concept as a fact, but the emotional attachment to the living, like my father was what was difficult to accept that he would someday die during my lifetime.

Even though as children we understand the concept of death, it something we don't want to accept it to be true. Telling a child they will go to heaven is not comforting either. Children are not stupid. I was told that and I did not believe it.

Even as adults the concept of death and dying is a difficult one to accept. Acceptance is all there is to be done because it is a fact it will happen.

It is best to talk about what does the child think death is like. The moment of death you don't realize what is happening. In most cases. Maybe visiting a children's hospital with cancer patients or elderly home.

It is important that the most important thing you can do is tell the child that there is an entire life ahead and to make the best of it. It is ok to tell them you only get one chance. That is all we know for a fact.

It doesn't get rid of the anxiety of death and dying but knowing you are being told the truth is comforting in itself.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 23:51:06 UTC | #937103

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 15 by VrijVlinder

@Comment 13 by Ted Foureagles

Dear Ex and I ran a hospice in our home, and so I have been with several people as they died. Largely, but not exclusively, those who were most devout were most terrified of death if they were conscious when it came. They often did, however, seem to take comfort prior to death in the notion that something better awaited.

I struggled with this issue. I will not know until I am at death door what will comfort me. I realize people who have lived a very devoted life to god are convinced this is the case. In which case they should not be afraid right? Or possibly they falter in faith and need reinforcement? There are other credences which also promise a "better place" .

Grief over the dead and dying is where I might find reason to need religious or any kind of comfort. It is where I found myself desperate to believe in something that would take my grief away.

I even hoped that there was reincarnation and that my father would be born elsewhere to a good family and have a better life than he had. I wished I could communicate with the dead. I can say I was insane with grief. I must be impervious to religion and gods and all that . Everyone and their religion tried to give comfort. But I found myself comforting them.

I can't understand this kind of comfort . How can a bunch of lies give comfort? it must be related to the level of education or specific knowledge of the person. Maybe I already know it's a magic trick and can't be hypnotized or comforted by fiction.

I still think the truth is the best comfort.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 00:13:20 UTC | #937107

Ted Foureagles's Avatar Comment 16 by Ted Foureagles

@comment 15 by VrijVlinder

I agree that truth is the best comfort, but sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good. If a dying person cries ,"Take my hand Jesus" and you take their hand and then they say, "Oh, thank you Jesus", you have done them good, if not perfect. I struggled with this while dealing with old, dying people (being an old dying person myself). I wanted to think that truth is paramount, and that if there was ever a time not to lie to someone it was while they were dying. I eventually understood that if ever there was a time when truth didn't matter to someone it was while they were dying, since nothing mattered after that anyway. Telling them "the truth" was something I wanted, and the thing at hand was what they needed. I'm not at all comfortable with it, but accept it.

}}}}

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 00:40:36 UTC | #937109

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 17 by VrijVlinder

@Comment 16 by Ted Foureagles

I eventually understood that if ever there was a time when truth didn't matter to someone it was while they were dying, since nothing mattered after that anyway.

I wish I had that resolve when my father was dying. He was jewish so he never asked for jesus or acted afraid of dying. He was suffering with pain and that is what kept his mind busy, he wanted to die. But we seem to have more mercy for suffering animals. It wasn't so much telling him that god was waiting he would not have believed me. But that problems we were going through . I wanted to tell him it was all over and everything was fine. So he could die in peace thinking I was going to be ok.

A friend told me it would not be a good idea because if there is something after death he will know I lied. Seemed to make sense at the time, I was not thinking straight. I never told him. Or comforted him. My petty attempt was to tell him to let go and stop fighting , thanked him for everything and fibbed that he would be with grandma and grandpa and my baby brother. It was weak I could tell he did not believe me and he knew I was full of shit. Then instead of me comforting him he is the one who comforted me.

I think it varies with every person and the relationship you form with people who are dying.

Thanks for helping me see things another way.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 01:02:01 UTC | #937111

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 18 by Schrodinger's Cat

Personally I don't subscribe to the 'truth at all costs' stance of some atheists. One cannot subscribe to the alleviation of suffering......and fail to grasp that people's unsubstantiated myths may in fact provide just such alleviation. The universe is not exactly keeping tabs on who believed what......and if the truth is oblivion then you're not going to some day be patted on some ethereal back for having believed it.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 02:34:21 UTC | #937117

BloodywombatTSI's Avatar Comment 19 by BloodywombatTSI

Fear is what drove me away from religion. This idea in religion that we are inherintly sinful, that god and a christian life are the cure, and the fact that I had no interest in any of it, caused me great fear. I thought me and my entire family, whom all believed but had long stopped practicing the religious teachings (seventh day adventism), were all going to be tossed into the lake of fire.

Since I figured I was going to hell anyway, I figured I might as well start questioning it's validity, it's morality, the contradictions, the fact that I've never been shown anything that demonstrates in a reliable way that it' true, and that faith in the bible as the word of God is used as it's only justification when even that didn't have any justifiable evidence indicating it as a valid source of information. No, it was a book written by people, like any other, but like any other holy book, was claimed to be prophetic and absolutely true. Since I already knew faith was a bad reason to believe things (cults and all that), I jettisoned it and took on a fuzzy "I don't know" attitude, yet the fear was still there.

Science is what finally freed my mind. I had been trained to ignore certain things like evolution and cosmology, but I realized there was an inherent hypocrisy there for obvious reasons and decided to give it a try. I found since the evidence for a naturally evolving universe was overwhelming (and absolutely amazing and exciting by the way), God wasn't needed and seemed superfluous. I now think God almost certainly doesn't exist.

I think this may have caused a lot of psychological damage though that's still with me. Even though I know the stuff was rubbish, I'm incredibly anti-social, and I think that since I had a fundamentalist upbringing in a small christian school as a CHILD, I was in some sense programmed to constantly feel inadequate both at school (where I was also teased about my lack of intellect and especially sheltered nature by my small class) and at home. I am actually baffled in some sense that people can find comfort in religion. I think it's incredibly demeaning and then throws hell in your f'ing face whereas the people around me still believe that God gives humanity dignity and hope. I just don't get it, especially for people I know who aren't doing the things they believe they should be doing in order to get right with God. Nothing I say seems to break through. Most aren't interested in science, and those that are, dismiss the stuff that contradicts their beliefs out of hand. Because the contradictory evidence to their beliefs is so strong, this baffles me. But then, my dad for example hopes to see his mom again in heaven, so there's that. But still, he's not living the christian life style, so I'm still confused. I could really go on forever, but I really resent being taught that I was sinful, needed god, and that I was constantly instilled with fear because my parents were so sure of their god, and now I have trouble functioning as a normal human being.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 04:03:52 UTC | #937127

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 20 by VrijVlinder

It sounds like you were in a mental prison and got out. You will function like a normal human being once you break free completely by shedding the shame and self hatred religion's ultimate goal, to need them so you can function after they messed up your head.

Based on what many people hope is to see their loved ones once again. It is the most powerful desire. It is not going to happen because so far none have come back to tell the story. But out of all the lies one would be willing to tell those dying, that they will see their parents and loved ones when they die, is not a bad option if they strongly believe that will be the case.

Where will they see them? we don't know, that is when it gets sticky. Then you have to say heaven, or some similar place, paradise. Where all the souls go, one can spin it anyway needed I suppose. But one lie needs another. Best wait for the last moment to have to lie.

Nothing I say seems to break through. Most aren't interested in science, and those that are, dismiss the stuff that contradicts their beliefs out of hand.

yes most of us feel that way about some theists , no matter how much evidence is presented, their last move is simply to ignore it .

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 05:58:30 UTC | #937134

akhalid's Avatar Comment 21 by akhalid

So I have a friend who is atheist. She is going through a significant amount of loss. Our differing views have never been an issue. We mostly joke back and forth however, lately, I find myself struggling for how to support her. I mostly stay quiet and listen....still I wish I knew what to say. What "should" I say? How can I offer support without being as offensive as you mention in this discussion?

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 06:37:39 UTC | #937138

ccw95005's Avatar Comment 22 by ccw95005

Of course some people receive comfort from their religion. Just because many of us here feel that a belief in any religion is ridiculous, we don't have to pretend that religion is 100% bad - that it offers no benefit to its followers. I think that religion, played in the background as believers go through their lives, makes it easier for some of them to get through the night. Of course it's those who are most frightened by death and by an impersonal universe who are susceptible to the solace of religion, because they need that reassurance to calm their fears.

What's interesting to me is to consider what must go through their minds as the end actually approaches and they know that their death is imminent. Belief in the possibility of heaven must offer some comfort, but at the same time they must wonder 1) if they've made the cut - if they had lived a good enough life to make it through the pearly gates, and 2) how real all that stuff about eternal life really is. No matter how many people assure them that heaven awaits, no matter how they try to reassure themselves, it must seem awfully dicey - this idea that your soul goes to heaven to be with God when you die.

That's why I suspect that atheists die with greater calm and dignity than the faithful. But I'm only guessing about that.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 06:51:13 UTC | #937139

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 23 by susanlatimer

Comment 21 by akhalid

What a lovely thing that you've come here looking for answers, for her sake. I wish I had some advice but I don't know your friend. It sounds like you know her pretty well and care deeply about her.

lately, I find myself struggling for how to support her. I mostly stay quiet and listen....still I wish I knew what to say.

Staying quiet and listening is often what people really need. It's hard when we don't know what to say but the fact that we listen and are trying to understand what to say is often much more valuable than "having the right thing to say". The worst thing you can do is tosay something to make yourself feel better. It sounds like you already understand that.

I wish you luck. It sounds like she has a very good friend in you and she probably knows it. If you really get stuck, tell her you don't know what to say. She might give you some hints. Between you, you'll probably come up with some good strategies.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 06:51:36 UTC | #937140

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 24 by ZenDruid

Comment 21 by akhalid

So I have a friend who is atheist. She is going through a significant amount of loss. Our differing views have never been an issue. We mostly joke back and forth however, lately, I find myself struggling for how to support her. I mostly stay quiet and listen....still I wish I knew what to say. What "should" I say? How can I offer support without being as offensive as you mention in this discussion?

First of all, she knows she has a sympathetic friend in you. That is significant.

I'll reveal a little concept that works for me: the Eternal Inner Child. I've sustained myself in troubled times by recalling the unfettered, clean, strong and positive[ly naive] outlook that prevailed in my larval days. I feel this resonates a bit deeper than the 'while there's life there's hope' type cliche... even if it is of the same general nature.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 07:03:09 UTC | #937142

akhalid's Avatar Comment 25 by akhalid

Can anyone refer me to a website, guidebook or "bible" (that's a joke....) on the grieving process? I am honestly unsure what to do. Is there a process that most atheists go through? I'm thinking something comparable to "Death and Dying" by Elizabeth Kubler Ross. I recognize that this is far more complex than can be addressed in any one book but I''d appreciate a starting point.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 07:06:04 UTC | #937144

akhalid's Avatar Comment 26 by akhalid

Sorry...the Eternal Inner Child...Is that a book or just something you've coined for your own purpose. I'm wondering about how I could learn more...

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 07:12:22 UTC | #937146

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 27 by ZenDruid

Comment 26 by akhalid :

Sorry...the Eternal Inner Child...Is that a book or just something you've coined for your own purpose. I'm wondering about how I could learn more...

You were a child once, correct? ... I don't presume to have anything to teach you about your childhood, or your friend's. However, I will proclaim from a humanist point of faith, that this "Eternal Inner Child" [my coinage, yes] is underappreciated for its instinct to survive.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 07:36:20 UTC | #937149

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 28 by Alan4discussion

Comment 3 by crookedshoes

So, a belief system is a tool kit that a person carries and uses to surmount or at least confront the issues that present themselves on a given day or at a given moment. This tool kit may not be ideal but by the time a person gets to a certain age, they have used the tools so many times that it is all they know.

Very true! That is why those who have been told "doubt is sin", and have been discouraged from investigating wider ideas, have such a narrow limited view and nothing to build on beyond this.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 10:31:20 UTC | #937170

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 29 by Alan4discussion

Comment 14 by VrijVlinder

He told me just what you said that life is like that. All beings are born, live reproduce, then die. I asked why? He said every thing has a lifespan. Like a pair of shoes, you buy them new you use them after they wear out they are discarded. Lifespan is something we can't control but we can help ourselves live longer by living healthy lives.

I think children should learn this fairly young.

Pet hamsters and gerbils only live a couple of years or so. Cats 15+.

Genes determine the range of a lifespan (barring accidents), so planning based on reality is a good idea. Unrealistic expectations will cause stress and disappointment.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 10:38:18 UTC | #937172

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 30 by Ignorant Amos

I'm I the only person that see's religion as a vice? It is an addiction with all the baggage any addiction carries.

It gives comfort, but at a greater overall cost.

It is hard to break.

It is bad for the health.

It is a drain on the addicts resources.

An addict of any vice gets comfort from that vice, should that comfort be the buzz of the win of a gambler. The buzz from the high of the drug. Even a chocolate addict gets their comfort at a cost.

We don't say to a heroin addict, "As long as you get comfort for it, blast away". We look at the effect on society as a whole and decide that heroin addicts are detrimental to the overall good and we address the addiction as a major problem.

The UK is going through an issue with alcohol at the moment. No one can tell me that alcohol while being imbibed is not a source of comfort, I'm an expert, but the overall effect on society is detrimental. Society is not concerned with my wee moment of comfort, it must look at the bigger picture.

And so should it be with religion.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 11:04:38 UTC | #937178