I have difficulty listening to people who face a challenge, who give themselves permission to give it away, or to pass it on to someone else, or put in the lap of religious belief, i.e. "I give it to god". It gives one an excuse to stop thinking. Being willing to stop thinking guarantees helplessness, hopelessness and depression.

People who say, “I don't have to think about this any more because my religion says this is right, or this is wrong; it is clearly black-and-white. I don't have to think about this anymore. it's just a matter of faith.”

I do not honor people who stop thinking. I say to such people that their job, their duty, their responsibility is to think, explore options, ask questions, compare pro’s and con’s of each option, make decisions about which option has the highest probability of solving their problem and then put their decision into action.

Some may believe god told them this or that is right or wrong, but don’t expect me to honor such a response.


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Joan, you said it in spades.  To honor oneself or respect oneself, one of the first requirements is To Take Responsibility For Oneself.  Yeah, it means accepting the blame for the bloody noses and burnt fingers you get stuck with, but it also means taking credit for the first-place finishes and the assists which allow others you help to excel as well.  Giving one's will or choice over to some unseen deity amounts to one of the larger cop-outs I've ever heard of, a foolish and self-defeating exercise and one I have exactly ZERO desire to opt for.

I'm also reminded of the logo which the terrific atheist YouTuber, TheraminTrees has on his YouTube home-page:

Perfect! I shall share. Thanks 

I like that logo Loren.

"Prenez le temps de délibérer, mais quand le moment d'agir arrive, arrêter de penser et aller po"
Napoleon Bonaparte
Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in.

Napoleon, the pic looks like the retreat from Moscow, not the advance toward it. Irony?

Yes, I see the irony. This often used quote is also attributed to Andrew Jackson. It works in some situations like selling and sport but is inappropriate for professionals. Thanks for pointing that out.

Better than merely well said, Joan, and timely, too.

Right now I'm dealing with a once-active AmVets post whose members became dependent on prayer to open and close meetings and then on a workaholic leader who, in failing to delegate work also failed to develop future leaders.

Loren, I agree with your "...one of the first requirements is To Take Responsibility For Oneself." I saw its importance when, during my recovery from Catholicism, I encountered existentialism.

I'm puzzled by your "...accepting the blame for the bloody noses and burnt fingers...."

I would have written "...coping with the bloody noses and burnt fingers...."

I was a black & white thinker when I was religious, but I'm getting over it since I became atheist.

In general I agree with you, Joan. But we're human beings. I think people have the right to be regressed from time to time, when they feel overwhelmed by their problems. To give themselves a little vacation from adult responsibility. This isn't the same as shucking responsibility to think as a way of life. Some ways of not thinking for a while are more functional than others.

We can escape into books, movies, TV, needlepoint, gardening, running, or beer. Psychologically escaping from adult responsibility into religion is no doubt tempting for many who feel they can't handle life at that moment, but that's like escaping into drugs.

The problem is, Ruth, that religion might as well be a drug.  It is an addiction which is strong and persuasive, and going cold-turkey can result in severe withdrawal.  Worse, people see this particular drug not only as acceptable but necessary.  How would you feel if someone insisted that "sparking up" every day should be a mandatory part of your life?  We both know the answer to that one.

Certainly, sometimes temporary escape is necessary and can be an important safety valve to one's life, especially in the madhouse which is sometimes the 21st century.  But when escape amounts to abdicating personal responsibility in favor of a supernatural being which shows no sign of existence ... well, we passed the line about three parsecs ago.

Ruth, I agree with you wholeheartedly. In fact, I would go so far as to say anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, stress, guilt, shame, feeling helpless and hopeless are all signals our bodies give us to warn that something needs to be thought about and action taken. It also implies sitting in a quiet place, or doing one of the distractions you listed with the intent to get a clear mind and more effective thinking. The USArmy mandated R & R for my former husband and other military personnel. No such R & R is mandated for single heads of household mothers overwhelmed with lack of resources.  They really need it. And with the newly unemployed men and women who are used to working for wages, they often get stuck, unable to think or act. Time out is part of the process and I need to put more stress on that. Thanks for the heads up.

"I give it to God" reminded me of the often-used evangelists' plea to people they hope to convert..."Turn your life over to Jesus."  It makes me think of marionettes.  "Let someone else pull your strings." (Side note: I think that the word "marionette" comes from "Mary."  From the Dark Ages when all plays and entertainments had to be religion-based.  I read that somewhere a long, long time ago, but I'm not sure it's true.)

Another wierdness your topic reminded me of is the Catholic practice of "offering your pain up to help Jesus on the cross."  That was/is told to severely ill or injured patients...Agnes Bojaxhiu and her nuns used that as a mantra in their dreadful House for the Dying in India, but even Catholic parents in the Western world tell that to sick and/or injured children. 

The first time I heard it, I was struck speechless.  I wanted to ask, how does "giving" one's suffering to someone who is supposedly already suffering help anything?  Devout Catholics seem to think it's not intended to ease the patient, but as a precious GIFT to their imaginary friend up there in Whereverland.

I mean, if someone said to a real person, "Here, Josh.  I love you so much that I'm giving you this horrible pain in my broken leg."  What would a real person say?  "Oh, thank you very much. That extra pain really helps me endure hanging on these sticks up here."  Or, "You stupid twit, the last thing I need is more pain! Take your broken leg, and shove it!"

Another M. Teresa quote that enrages me was how the suffering of the poor was such a beautiful thing because it "helped the world."   I'm disgusted that nobody ever countered that bit of non-wisdom, and publicly asked her HOW???  Someone should have shot the crazy old witch.  Or at least stuffed a dirty old sock in her mouth.  She caused almost as much pain and death as Mary Baker Eddy.

Was she thinking about what she was saying, or just parroting what she had been taught as a child?

("Polly want a communion wafer!")

Excuse me; I'm feeling evil today.  I should be out somewhere helping my gay friends celebrate.  West Hollywood puts on a FAB-ulous Gay Pride Parade.  (But it's hotter than *bleep!* outside.)




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