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The God Illusion

Old 02-08-2007, 02:45 AM
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mjs
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The God Illusion

Has anyone read the current bestseller The God Illusion by Richard Dawkins. I read this book about 3 months ago and it totally turned my world upside down.In this book, one of the worlds top scientists proves how God almost surely does not exist.I am a Christian but after that book I was totally depressed and confused. I have searched for any sensible rebuttals to his book and have not found any. Now I am trying to get clean and sober and have made it 30 days but it has been very choppy. I have made 7 major attempts to get clean and sober. These lasted anywhere from 3 months to 18 months. I never reached a place in my sobriety where being clean became a more attractive option than returning to using. I am a 45 year old dad with two beautiful twin daughters 9 yrs old, a great wife, decent job,etc,etc...My drugs of choice are weed and alcohol.I am pretty much a binge drinker/smoker on weekends.In short a functioning alcoholic/addict. I am doing some things differently this time around. I am seeing a therapist once a week and slowly telling her my whole story. She thinks that until I come to terms with the emotional,physical, and sexual abuse I suffered when I was growing and stay sober I will never be free from it.She practices depth therapy and thinks that building relationships is the primary way to recover.Well the easiest way to build new relationships is going to na/aa. I am also building a meditation/yoga practice,exercising,etc. I want to incorporate 12 step work into my recovery but when i went to meetings in the past I kept seeing the same people telling the same stories. Its like in the movie groundhog day...I skip a couple years and when I go to a meeting its like yesterday.No one ever moves on or improves. Not a very compelling future to look forward to. I love the theory of the 12 steps but after reading that blasted book it is going to be even more problematic.At any rate I am moving forward with my recovery and trying to hold onto the belief that my quality of life is going to be so much better without using. That seems to be a universal truth. No matter that part of me is screaming for weed and a beer. No matter that my mind has me convinced that moderate use is preferable,its only weed,life is better when using, I will never ever think any thing differently, on and on and on. At any rate, I would greatly appreciate any feedback concerning my situation, esspecially any one else who has managed to get free from weed after abusing it for years and years.
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Old 02-08-2007, 03:04 AM
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hi, mjs;
And welcome to SR!

I quit smoking after 36 years. At my worst, I was smoking over 3 packs a day. I was/am totally addicted to nicotine. But, today, I am One year, two months, one week, two days, 23 hours, 51 minutes and 36 seconds nicotine free. That's 17439 cigarettes not smoked, saving $4,795.93. Life saved: 8 weeks, 4 days, 13 hours, 15 minutes. I did this using a behavioral approach.

I have not read the book. I have read exerpts and reviews of it, though. And I throuroughly respect the author, Richard Dawkins. However, please be aware that it is logically impossible to prove a negative. Dispite the hype, Dawkins cannot prove the non-existence of G*D.

But, dispite all this, when I quit smoking, I didn't count on G*D's help. G*D never made me pick up a butt; G*D won't stop me from doing so either. I made a decision; and made choices that supported that decision. Sounds easy; it wasn't. And sometimes, it still isn't. But, it's worth it for me. Except for a bout of pnemonia, and a lung infection I recently suffered, I am not coughing up a lung anymore. I have more energy. And, most importantly, I know that I am a free person; I am not a slave to nicotine and Phillip Morris. That's a blessing!

The things you are doing are wonderful alternatives to smoking weed and drinking. Meditation, yoga, exercise and seeing a therapist to work on past issues is a great idea. Remember that cravings may always exist; it's up to us to do things differently so that we don't cave.

I'm wishing you and your family the best in overcoming your addictions. You want to enjoy your life with your family instead of having blank memories. Those twins are only young once.

Shalom!
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Old 02-08-2007, 04:06 AM
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Hi Mjs , and welcome to SR.

Congrats on your 30 days!. That's quite an accomplishment.

It is possible to address addiction issues without involving any sort of higher power or spirituality. Many people have achieved quality recovery using alternate methods.

Here's a post with some listed :http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...-programs.html

It's good that you have a therapist. Addiction issues often go much deeper that just the abuse of the substance itself.

Personally I have achieved some success using the Smartrecovery tools, especially in early recovery. These tools can help you develop a whole new thought process and can really direct your power of positive thinking.

I have not read Dawkins' book, however, recovery is possible without involving any belief system. Your spiritual beliefs need not be involved with your recovery, and can be a whole seperate issue.

It seems to me that struggling with faith and trying to beat addiction combined makes it a bigger problem than it needs to be.

Good luck to you and keep well

Ron

Last edited by Mongo; 02-08-2007 at 04:08 AM. Reason: Typos really btoher me oops i dun it again
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Old 02-08-2007, 06:23 AM
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It seems to me that struggling with faith and trying to beat addiction combined makes it a bigger problem than it needs to be.
how true is that.

Welcome mjs! I feel in the mood to throw out a couple of Chinese proverbs today - first is

There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is just the same

Secondly, that old cliche from Lai Tzu - the longest journey begins with a single step.

Finally,

Sometimes it is bette to travel hopefully than to arrive


Lots of us admire the mountain from the bottom. We may even think that, attractive as the mountain is, it's beyond us to actually climb it. So we'll sit here and admire it. Or we'll walk around the bottom. But it sounds like, with thirty days under your belt, maybe you've made the first step to actually climb it! Believe me, it's worth it, just to be climbing the mountain! From the bottom, the top looks like the purpose of climbing. When we're actually climbing, we realise it was this that we needed. The process of leaving the bottom behind.

The only way to climb a mountain is to climb a mountain.

As for Richard Dawkins, well, this atheist thinks that RD is so far up himself he hasn't seen daylight in decades. But if it weren't for the dangerously loopy creationists he wouldn't have to write such polemic rebuttals, would he?

Message to creationists - no matter how plausible and even rational intelligent design might seem to be, it does not and can not lead one to the conclusion that Jesus was the son of G*d!

Have a good one mjs! Clean and sober, just for today!
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Old 02-08-2007, 09:45 AM
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Hi, I work SMART because I just was never into the HP controls my destiny part of the 12 steps. I am religious though. As for Dawkins, I consider his work propoganda against the ID theory. For that, we need more like him. For him to write that he can prove a negative, we need to get rid of him

Please don't take anything he wrote seriously. Remember he is coming in with a giant bias. For example, he finds major flaws with St. Thomas Aquinas yet Aquinas had some very valid points we apply to this day. In fact, he was required reading in my political thinking class. BTW, unlike Dawkins I know that the correct title is Saint no matter what religion you are...just ask my Islamic/Buddhist teacher
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Old 02-08-2007, 04:53 PM
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hate to defend dawkins but...

the guy can really write. He really overstates his case as far as he damage that Christians do but to me this is a sideshow. He admits that there is always a theoritical possibility that some type of God exists but the evidence and logic that he uses to refute that possibility is overwhelming. I wish I could seperate my recovery from my belief...I have tried smart/rr/rebt and it never provided me with any relief from my craving for weed/alcohol/etc.Now I feel foolish/childish asking for help from a Higher Power.
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Old 02-08-2007, 07:17 PM
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Hi. The book is called "the god Delusion"

I have read it twice now and i love it. It is a well written book. His other books are as good or better too. If you want to check out some more of his stuff go to youtube or googlevideo and search richard dawkins.

Remember, you dont need a god to stay sober. Also, it was said that it is impossible to prove the nonexistance of god, this is true.....also it is impossible to prove the non exesistance of Zeus, or my favorite goddess Venus. Or for that matter the flying spagetti monster who i joke about being my hp sometimes.

I'm glad to see that book made an impression on you. I just wish more pple would read it.
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Old 02-08-2007, 07:22 PM
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ohh, just a thought, but....if you ask a higher power for help in getting sober than i guess he would get all the credit when u succeed. You might wanna take back that request next time you talk to the man upstairs. Don't wanna cheat yourself out of a sense of accomplishment once u do stay sober. You deserve the credit for makeing the right choices in your life! You deserve to be proud of the things you accomplish!
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Old 02-09-2007, 12:40 AM
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Hi mjs, congratulations on your sober time so far. Hope your doing ok.

It seems to me that whatever you do or don't come to believe, your behavior and your experience is more important. I haven't read the Dawkins book but judging from reviews it does seem to miss some points about religion in its rush to say "its not scientifically true". It's not about whether its 100% true or not, but what belief can inspire people to do. Belief has inspired some awful things (war etc.) but it can be useful and profound too. If Dawkins is right, does that mean we should no longer listen to Bach or John Coltrane? Freud, who coined the term "the future of an illusion" from which Dawkins takes his title, was an atheist, but had a complex and balanced view of religion.

So even if you are going through a crisis of belief, don't dismiss your own experience and knowledge, or think of yourself as foolish or childish. It's not all black and white, in spite of what some might say. Just don't drink or use, one day at a time,
peace, nl
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Old 02-09-2007, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mjs View Post
Has anyone read the current bestseller The God Illusion by Richard Dawkins. ....In this book, one of the worlds top scientists proves how God almost surely does not exist.
I would tend to say that dawkins tries to theorize that God "almost" surely doesn't exist. Can't prove a half negative.

Albert Einstein Who is known as one of the greatest and top scientists also theorized his thoughts about the existance of God.
Einstein seeing how perfect everything fit together theorized that such could not happen by mistake and there must be some unknown who brought things into being as they are. Einstein's own personal feelings on the matter said that he, though not a believer, was left with many questions inside that all pointed to a HP.
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Old 02-09-2007, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Alera View Post
he finds major flaws with St. Thomas Aquinas yet Aquinas had some very valid points we apply to this day.
A lot of people do *LOL*

We just need remember that ole St Tom was human just like the rest of us...
Take what works and leave the rest.

I like one of his prayers *LOL*

Lord, give me chastity but not just yet.
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Old 02-09-2007, 02:23 AM
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hey all.thanks for posting.I guess whats really bothering me is no afterlife...Who wouldn't want to live on and on and on. At any rate I think my addictive self is using this as cover for a reason to go back to using. My sober self believes that even though part of me is screaming for weed and beer the real truth is that a clean and sober life is going to provide me with a much higher quality of life. Just as no one has a better quality of life with arthritis,the only true way is to abstain. thnks
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Old 02-09-2007, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mjs View Post
I am a Christian but after that book I was totally depressed and confused. I have searched for any sensible rebuttals to his book and have not found any.
Try the bible and prayer.
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Old 02-09-2007, 03:54 AM
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best
Einstein's own personal feelings on the matter said that he, though not a believer, was left with many questions inside that all pointed to a HP.
... Einstein was also the man that said... "Time is a measure of change"...

and that what recovery means to me...

whatever it takes to bring it on...

good wishes mjs...

xxoo, rz
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:08 PM
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Best...Before I read the book that threw me into mind chaos I prayed and prayed and prayed to help me stay sober...I ended up using again...Did I do it the wrong way? Same with AA. I want these methods to work for me but after reading Dawkins book I am starting to wonder if maybe its the medicine that needs to change and not the sick person...
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Old 02-28-2007, 02:13 PM
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Sam Harris anyone? He wrote (and I own)...Letter to a Christian Nation and The End of Faith.

Faith is much like sobriety. Boiled down, it's a simply a choice to believe in something, whatever one you think offers the best chance for your survival you put your money on.

As someone who spent years in the scientific field I can tell you this for certain...NOTHING is certain. I was a Christian, then converted to atheism, and then back to Chrisitanity (thank God for that too).

Philosophy can really help you make a decision on religion and I think it was Francis Bacon that said and I paraphrase..."A little philosophy inclineth a man to atheism, depth in philosophy inclineth a man to religion."

I blended a little science and phiosophy to come up with my own thoughts on "proof."
How do you know you are sitting in that chair?
Well, in layman's terms, your butt's nerves send signals to your brain and your brain interprets these electrical impulses/action potentials.

Kant, a philosopher heavy on metaphysics and the blank slate idea, suggested, "what if our senses deceive us?" So, how do we know our sense are interpreting things correctly? How do you prove what you see, smell, hear, taste, and touch are real?

You certainly can't come up with a device to measure it, because as a human being - subject to error, such a device would already carry your own sensory delusions with it.

So we are left with patterns, that if I do x, y will happen. But that's really just statistics, which have confidence intervals and powers to take into account for error. So Hsubone and Hsubzero are useless to us in this case.

Now we have come full circle, to say we don't believe in God is to say that we do believe in our senses being correct, and neither can be proven to be true to 1.00 (100%) CI.

So we are left with nothing more than a choice, cleverly called by God as "free will."

Best of luck in your sobriety my friend.

PR
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:12 PM
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PR;
Nice post!
My psychology prof in college told us that, statistically, scientists were the professionals who most believed in G*D.
And that historians were the professionals LEAST likely to!

Plato also questioned the idea that the senses can be trusted. Take a straight stick, he instructed his students, (including Aristotle), and stick it into the water. What does that straight stick look like as you are holding the end? Yep, looks like a bent stick due to the refraction of the water! So, our senses can indeed deceive us. To Plato, introspection is the only thing that can lead to truth.

I do find it interesting though, that so many different religious beliefs, Eastern and Western; cult and mainstream, have all stated the idea expressed in the Golden Rule.

Anyway, whatever works for you to stay straight, clean and sober is what is needed to be done. I hope we can all agree with that proposition!

Shalom!
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Old 02-28-2007, 06:17 PM
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HT,
Very interesting about the whole science/history correlation, never heard that before.

Yeah, we can most certainly agree that what works, is just that, what works.

I'm certainly not here to Bible thump, it only turns people away anyhow, but I sure to love getting into debates with science people because they think they've cracked some code because they understand biochemistry.

PR
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Old 02-28-2007, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by PurpleReign View Post
HT,
Very interesting about the whole science/history correlation, never heard that before.

Yeah, we can most certainly agree that what works, is just that, what works.

I'm certainly not here to Bible thump, it only turns people away anyhow, but I sure to love getting into debates with science people because they think they've cracked some code because they understand biochemistry.

PR
Reminds me of a friend, he is agnostic (or so he claims) yet married an Israeli wife, still attends synagogue when he feels like it (although she doesn't) and prays. It is from him that I have come to question and accept my beliefs on both secular and religious levels. BTW, this man has an MD, Ph.D in a bioscience, and holds several specialized board certifications.
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Old 02-28-2007, 07:49 PM
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Alera,
1. Thanks for the Canon Law piece on the "forum-in-which-we-don't-say-the-name-of", really cool and interesting.

2. You have to make your own journey, don't let anyone make if for you...ie let others influence what you think is correct. Words are very powerful and placed in wrong hands, they change nations - so follow what you feel when it comes to realization.

3. The man who converted me I like to call "Jack." Jack has written so many things and was such a master of logic and the written word. He was an atheist too at one point, but after some introspection he found his way to truth. Anything he's written mainstream is great, so pick up a copy - most people know that stubborn atheist as C.S. Lewis.

PR
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