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  1. #11
    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    there's people who can't be apologized to... people it's too late to apologize to and there's people who even if I grovel for forgiveness it won't be enough

    even if I go all My Name is Earl it won't set things right

    it just seems so unfair somehow in a way... I know people who CAN believe in things easily... people who just pray or confess or whatever and feel alright... at peace or something no matter how much I've ever wanted to believe in anything it doesn't seem to work... what sort of evil fucker of a deity would play favorites?
    what would you do if you found there is a God who plays favorites? It's God, he can do whatever he wants.
    ...
    06/13 10:51:03 five sounds: you!!!
    06/13 10:51:08 shortnsweet: no you!!
    06/13 10:51:12 shortnsweet: go do your things and my things too!
    06/13 10:51:23 five sounds: oh hell naw
    06/13 10:51:55 shortnsweet: !!!!
    06/13 10:51:57 shortnsweet: (cries)
    06/13 10:52:19 RiftsWRX: You two are like furbies stuck in a shoe box

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  2. #12
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    I've done a lot of shit that I SHOULD feel bad about... I've screwed over a lot of people in the past, I've let a lot of people down... I have no idea how I would even begin to go about fixing things... should I just move on forward and try to do good? that seems like the correct answer, but it doesn't feel right. I can't fix things and I'm disgusted with myself for being so impotent in setting wrongs right. I feel guilty and there's no way to go back and fix things. I'm pissed off at the idea of religion in general because it makes it seem so easy and it's not... things aren't as easy as just saying to some non-corporeal being that your sorry... you still know that you did it... how are you supposed to live with that?
    There's a lot of irony in what you write, because my experience within the church and even nowadays with my more conservative Christian friends is that they have the same experience that you do... they wrestle both with guilt over the wrong things they might have done as well as anger/hurt over being wronged... and they weren't really prepare for that nor know how to get past it easily. Usually it takes time and some personal growth and perspective before they can frame it in a way that they can work through it.

    Usually the people that get over that kind of thing immediately don't really feel a lot of guilt over it and/or don't really perceive how much wrong/hurt they caused someone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    The only religious cop-out I see is to think seeking forgiveness from God is a substitute for putting things right in the human world.
    Yup, totally.

    I also think that the legitimate "guilt experience" (rather than one where someone is just abusing themselves because they were't perfect) helps us keep a healthy expectation for ourselves as human beings. We're not perfect, and sometimes we even mess things up when we're trying to do right. So I'm reminded of my own mortality and my limitations as a person (my humanity), and it helps me be humble and not get an overblown perspective of myself.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    I'm pissed off at the idea of religion in general because it makes it seem so easy and it's not... things aren't as easy as just saying to some non-corporeal being that your sorry... you still know that you did it... how are you supposed to live with that?
    Han Kung, who I dont agree with 100% (dont agree with anyone 100%), does say in his semi-autobiographical book "what I believe" that he thinks early life is important in belief formation, so he probably would agree with you when you talk about a kind of belief function being broken.

    What do you mean religion is a cop out? Forgiveness isnt easy, it doesnt say so in the bible, its not simply about saying to no one in particular in a leafy glade by yourself "I'm sorry" and you're square with the world, there's a whole process of forgiving yourself, then forgiving others, then making it square discussed in the later part of the lives of the apostales. Its almost something like My Name Is Earl, I kid you not. Forgiving yourself is a big part of it but.

  4. #14
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    You cannot change the past. You can only act in the present to make a better future.

    ...

    The only religious cop-out I see is to think seeking forgiveness from God is a substitute for putting things right in the human world.
    Coriolis said it all. You can't change the past. And sometimes there are things that we do, and say, that we can't take back. Nothing you can do about that but try to make amends, or if that's not possible, learn from the experience (well, you can do that even if you can make amends).

    God and a religious context, for believers, can certainly be involved in that process, but that's not to say that for a nonbeliever, that something is "missing" from your effort to make amends/learn if you don't involve a religious mechanism. You have to do what *you* think is best.

    And a big to anyone who uses the "well, God forgives me, so it's okay" excuse in exchange for actually trying to put things right. I'm pretty sure that most religions expect more of people (as they should), but there are those who jump at the chance to be "forgiven" and use religion as a crutch.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #15
    Senior Member EvidenceOfRedemption's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    things aren't as easy as just saying to some non-corporeal being that your sorry... you still know that you did it... how are you supposed to live with that?
    I believe the question here is, how can I clear my conscience despite being reminded who I am by who I've been? How can I live with myself, how can I reconcile what my conscience knows? Your despair over the matter is your conscience's way of telling you you can't reconcile yourself. If you could, I believe you would have already. So what's left to do, then? Is there any way to live now? Is there any hope left?

    No, there isn't... not in you, anyways. Not in yourself.

    But God sent His only son Jesus, so that if you believe in Him by accepting that it is about what He did for you rather than what you do, you will get His life, which is ever-lasting and doesn't get wrecked like the life we try to live apart from God. I agree with you... religion is a cop-out! It's not nearly good enough for you. God wants more than that with you--something personal, a freedom that fills your entire being... a beneficial relationship where pain can end and you can get a new conscience that isn't continually plagued by the past. This is possible because of what Jesus did for you already, it's not based on what you've done. And it is personal... very, very personal, because Jesus made your very conscience and knows you well.

    Now Jesus lives... now, in the present moment, not in the past where you are powerless to absolve yourself. So die to an existence centered on self by accepting what happened on the cross is fact and was for you. Then, live for Him, for He is eternally living. The way is made already. Religion doesn't know that... religion tries to make it's own way, just like everyone else, except that it seems "good" because it's based on good deeds. Unfortunately for the religious kind, only God is good, and they are no closer to heaven than the worst of the worst... or perhaps they're even further away considering they are more unlikely to realize this than those who misbehave. The only way is Jesus, and the way has already been made for you if you believe.

  6. #16
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvidenceOfRedemption View Post
    I believe the question here is, how can I clear my conscience despite being reminded who I am by who I've been? How can I live with myself, how can I reconcile what my conscience knows? Your despair over the matter is your conscience's way of telling you you can't reconcile yourself. If you could, I believe you would have already. So what's left to do, then? Is there any way to live now? Is there any hope left?

    Absolutely, yes. God sent His only son Jesus, so that if you put faith in Jesus (accept that it is about what He did for you rather than what you've done) you will get His life, which is ever-lasting and doesn't get wrecked like the life we try to live apart from God. I agree with you... religion is a cop-out! It's not nearly good enough for you. God wants more than that with you--something personal, a freedom that fills your entire being... a beneficial relationship where pain can end and you can get a new conscience that isn't continually plagued by the past. This is possible because of what Jesus did for you already, it's not based on what you've done. That's why, while religion is a cop out, a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is not. It's fairly bought with Jesus' death on the cross, and restored by the power of God which resurrected Jesus from the dead.


    Whoever thinks Christianity is a religion, or an empty ideology that suggests things are set right by unfair means only doesn't know the truth yet. Jesus never did wrong, being in His very nature God too, so He is a worthy sacrifice by which any person can be forgiven of wrongdoing.
    You're a Jehovah's Witness aren't you?
    EDIT: Nevermind.. I misinterpreted your av.

  7. #17
    Senior Member wildflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    we got in a bit of a debate earlier about whether we thought that religion was a positive or negative influence on our lives and I started thinking...

    my mom is the 70s variety of folk music listening christian who believes that jesus loves everyone- I think that I disappointed her by refusing to go through confirmation or get baptized when the time came... I didn't really see a point to it since I didn't really believe in anything
    i think you did the right thing by being honest rather than if you'd done it just to please your mom.

    nonetheless, because she believed that we should definitely attend church and sunday school (she even read us bedtime stories from the picture bible as kids) I ended up learning plenty about religion and at least having certain bits influence me even though I could never manage to believe on my own- I think that I was born with a broken belief mechanism... I never even believed in Santa Claus as a kid
    some people are more skeptical than others. that's okay. hey, i just want to say that i've read some of your posts where you've shared some really personal things and i have a lot of respect for you for working so hard to change and grow with some horrid circumstances you've been through. actually, i think God has probably been behind the scenes helping you with all that and chances are your family has even been praying for you too. it's ok to rely for awhile on the faith of others until we have more of our own. it's also okay to ask God for the faith to believe too. sometimes we have to ask and keep asking though. answers don't always come quickly.

    somehow the idea of an all loving deity never caught on... the idea that there is anyone who cares about me who doesn't know me personally just never clicked... the idea that I should feel guilty whenever I do something wrong certainly did. my mother's tendency to punish by informing me that she was so disappointed in me and then starting to cry probably didn't help. I doubt that she ever meant for things to turn out so that I would eventually end up feeling guilty.
    it may not seem sometimes like God is personal or knows you personally but he does. just look at how jesus interacted with people in the gospels. that is how he is with us too. the distant, far off and uninvolved god is a god of deism which has crept into the church some, but it is not the God of the bible.

    if you struggle with feeling forgiven it may be more what jennifer mentioned about perfectionism and undue burdens placed on you inadvertently by your mom. i've had the same experience and don't tend to feel forgiven much of the time even though i know i am. that is more about shame rather than guilt.

    I've done a lot of shit that I SHOULD feel bad about... I've screwed over a lot of people in the past, I've let a lot of people down... I have no idea how I would even begin to go about fixing things... should I just move on forward and try to do good? that seems like the correct answer, but it doesn't feel right. I can't fix things and I'm disgusted with myself for being so impotent in setting wrongs right. I feel guilty and there's no way to go back and fix things. I'm pissed off at the idea of religion in general because it makes it seem so easy and it's not... things aren't as easy as just saying to some non-corporeal being that your sorry... you still know that you did it... how are you supposed to live with that?
    i do think God wants us to fix things where we can. say if we steal something i think God expects us to own up to it and return what we've stolen or provide financial recompense. some things can't be undone though and i think once we've truly apologized and changed our behavior then we have to rest in our forgiveness despite our present feelings. sometimes the feeling comes later. it's confusing i know. we think we should be able to pray and confess and then feel this big relief. that does happen sometimes and other times it doesn't. there may be more to work through or it's the shame thing or something else. i certainly don't have all the answers. in a way it is easy for us but it sure wasn't easy for jesus. so, in that sense it is in no way a cop out and that is why we repent (turn) and don't do those things anymore. we're human and can only do so much. i remind myself a lot of this 12-step saying: God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. you don't need to carry what he's already taken. that is grace (undeserved kindness) and why we love and follow him.

    eta: God does not play favorites in regards to love and forgiveness and salvation. he loves us unconditionally and offers forgiveness to all (now some christians--a rather loud but small minority--don't believe that but they are just wrong imnsho). as for blessings those are determined by our circumstances and the actions of others in addition to our responses and actions. free will really sucks sometimes when we are on the receiving end of others' horrid choices.

  8. #18
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    @Rasofy... no, I never killed anyone but I betrayed a lot of trust and took advantage of a lot of people and I pushed people away who I shouldn't have, which are all pretty horrible

    I've changed my ways pretty dramatically, but it doesn't set things right and a lot of those people can never be apologized to... moving forward is necessary, but forgiving yourself is necessary in order to keep living with yourself

    @_Poki_ and why isn't it a fun boat with jolly rogers and gangplanks and such?

    @Nerd Girl the problem there is the fact that no matter what I've tried I just don't believe... in which case any god who would condemn me for that is an asshole who I don't believe is worth having any faith in

    @Coriolis I've learned, I've changed, I've apologized to those who I could apologize to but it can't change the past... I grew up in the rural midwest and have seen some spectacular abuses of religion by people almost akin to the mob bosses on tv who go to confession and consider themselves to be good people because they said a few prayers about the fact that they had someone killed... I still feel guilty though

    @shortnsweet I will cut him

    @Jennifer it's funny how universal the human experience is... religious people and non religious people can fall on either side of the guilt divide... despite popular belief religion has no monopoly on guilt or forgiveness I suppose

    it shouldn't effect so many aspects of life if humans are meant to keep sane though should it? how do people even get through the time period after pulling things together from being a bad person?

    @Lark perhaps believing things even may have a biological basis in a way?

    the idea that a deity would forgive you if you were genuinely sorry seems to give people some feeling of relief though, which seems unfair

    @kelric if I knew what was best for me I wouldn't be in such a quandary!

    @EvidenceOfRedemption believing just doesn't click with me despite being raised within a religion...
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  9. #19
    violaine
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    It sounds as though your awareness has expanded in some way, (gah, really don't mean for this to sound new-agey). I think it often precedes/accompanies big changes in our approach to life... It's like we have to disintegrate in certain respects to build something more fitting. That comes with all kinds of pangs. I think a lot of people who believe in a God or who are on the cusp of belief often are catalyzed into becoming firm believers by such events... But for those of us who feel we only really have ourselves to rely on... Well, it can hit us harder and for longer. I'm not you, but when I've been in a situation before where I deeply regretted something I did which caused someone I cared about a lot of pain, it somehow became enough for me to know that I'd never do that thing again. I could never take this thing back, and in fact not even a god could take it back... So what to do? I just know that I learned from it and it taught me something about standing up for myself before I got pushed to the point of no return, which I had thought did not exist for me. (In my own situation I felt pushed beyond all ability to cope as I normally would have. Which usually involved a lot of detaching and repressing). I needed to have this one experience in particular to round me out as a person and to stop me from causing future pain. Pain and suffering is unavoidable IMO. But it's what one does about it upon becoming aware of how we might be causing pain that can salve things a little.

    I'm not justifying regrettable incidents... I really think all anyone can ever do is learn from them and realize that many people have done things that they deeply regret. To me, this is to be expected. What you feel and do upon becoming aware is part of the experience. It might only ever be something that could be known to you, but I think that is a valid recourse.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Lightyear's Avatar
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    Whatever, a friend of mine just posted this on Facebook and though it's not about the subject of guilt I think it somehow fits into the conversation in this thread. The author is wondering why some people in therapy seem to get better after leaving their religious faith while others find emotional healing through entering into a religious faith:

    http://notreligious.typepad.com/notr...e-4-faith.html

    I can relate a lot to that. After turning overnight from an atheist into a Christian at that age of 19 I went for several years to a very rules based church but at some point became very disillusioned, thought "F*ck that." and started going to churches I considered more open-minded and travelled a lot. Finally I settled for religious environments where people still have a strong faith in God but allow themselves to question and live in the real world with all its beauty, confusions and idiosyncrasies instead of living in some Christian bubble.

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