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4/14/05                                                                                       View Comments

My path to enlightenment

sent in by Ben Nilsson

(Please make a few allowances for coherency/comprehension, as this was written over an hour an a half period of time, doing other things as well, from midnight to 1:30 am. Also, the order is roughly chronological, in case that's not entirely evident. Thank you.)

My religiosity, I suppose, started with my birth. Of course, my parents claimed some religion previously, but never took it seriously. It was revived somewhat with me, the third child of five. I was born somewhat premature, and soon therafter, I developed an infection that required an extended stay at the hospital. I recuperated well enough, and was allowed to go home in good health.

During my infant-through-toddler stage, I'd had anther problem: I'd sleep so deeply that I'd stop breathing occassionally, requiring my mother/father to massage me back to respiration. I had, I was told, become blue a total of four different times thoughout my infancy.

I can only imagine what this did to my parents. As I was growing, their religious tendancies waxed and waned, and I became only more religious with each passing year. During early-elementary school, I remember telling a rather quiet jewish boy in my class that christianity was the only religion not disproven, as I had been told that sometime earlier by my older sister. (not one of my prouder moments)(She, BTW, is also no longer christian. I've never quite understood what she is now, but she enjoys [i]Freethought Today[/i] and we laugh together over Chick Tracts)

At one point, I tried to repeat a biblical experiment with a patch of rabbit fur and an area of land. I asked God on several successive nights to place dew all around but not on the fur, and then on but not around the fur. It was late summer, and neither of these experiments worked. Nevertheless, I continued with my faith, somewhat shaken, but I disregarded the results of my experiment.

As I aged, I can remember periods of time that I had ascended "levels" of intelligence and thought, as if each time before the current level I was not fully concious, always in a kind of fog. I fully expect I will look back on myself now as much the same.

During one particularly rough level of thought, (age 9-11 or so) I became significatly bipolar. I alternated between periods of time on which I fully believed in the greatness of life, understood that it felt better to be happy, and was energetic, with periods of severe depression in which I attempted suicide seriously twice. During these periods I'd often be physically ill, miss tremendous ammounts of school, and believe that life was folly, suffering, and meaningless. I'd cry and pray to God for an end to existance, believing that nothingness would be better then feeling like I was. God didn't seem to like to respond. It felt like I was two entirely different people during these two times.

Eventually, I got on Paxil. I did start to feel better, and after several months, I decided I didn't need it, and foolishly just stopped taking it. (I understand now that it was good that I got off of it. Paxil is known for developing hard-to-break dependancies. However, I suffered no ill effects that I can remember.)

It was around this point that I began to accept what I had been slowly realizing for years, that if god existed, he didn't care to keep my faith. And if he didn't care to keep my faith, I didn't care to give it. This idea branched out, and eventually I came to the conviction that religion (at least, western, organised religion) is detrimental as a whole to humanity.

That's about where my religious ties end, but I've had another path of progression through my secularism. I realised long a philosophy that I simply found better names for over the years. Essentally, what I had developed was Utilitarianism, under many different guises. At first, during my elementary years, It was that if what you did didn't hurt anyone, then it's your own buisness. It later manifested in the Wiccan philosophy of "An it harm none, do as ye will." Only months ago, I found the proper name for it.

As for my issue of agnosticism/athiesm, I am agnostic in belief, and athiest in principal. In that I mean that I believe that many entities that humans would recognise as gods probably have existed in some other universe (within the nothingness from which the uncaused cause was caused, all events would have a slim probability of occuring. When time does not exist, as when there is nothingness, all events have a probability of 1 of occuring. I'm sure this is a horrible way to phrase this, but the most accurate ways require maths that look like sanskrit to the avarage person.), and that it's possible that a god created us, that a religion is correct, that all others are doomed. However, it's rather unlikely, and it doesn't matter, as I believe that humanity would be better off with secularism as the norm.

As for my Bhuddist ties, I have, over the past months, come to realize more and more he trueness of many bhuddist philosophies, if not accepting the whole of the system. Or it may be that I'm delusional, however, I'm happier this way.

As of this point in my life, I'm happier then I've ever been. My mood is stable, I'm physically fit, exercising, attending collage soon (I'm 16) with no great physical or mental problems. (save somewhat poor eyesight and crooked teeth) (And, if I do say so myself, damned sexy!)

City: Anchorage
State: AK
Country: US of A
Became a Christian: Born into it
Ceased being a Christian: 12
Labels before: Catholic
Labels now: Agnostic, Athiest, Utilitarianist, Bhuddist
Why I joined: Born into it
Why I left: God did not feel it needful to keep my faith
Email Address: Xenoce at hotmail dot com