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Thread: When bad things happen

  1. #11
    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: When bad things happen

    Man. All those children raped and murdered must have been quite the assholes in their former life.
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    Supporter Jembru's Avatar
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    Re: When bad things happen

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    Man. All those children raped and murdered must have been quite the assholes in their former life.
    Exactly why I can't buy into the whole 'life's lessons' and 'bad in a past life' theory. Every member of a single family being monsters in a past life? Every child in a class? An entire villiage? A whole bus full of people? Almost an entire school year group on a field trip? Nah, can't buy it.

    Besides this then brings the next question... Why would humans only suffer because they did wrong in a past life, when aniimals have been dying in seemingly cruel and horrific ways since long before human beings even existed? What about species who which suffering is part of their natural life cycle? I just... No... Stop it. The 'because it happens' explanations seem closer to the truth for me.
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

  3. #13
    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: When bad things happen

    Man. All those children raped and murdered must have been quite the assholes in their former life.

    It's a matter of perspective. I understand the concept makes no sense if you have a vastly different worldview and set of experiences to back that up, and I didn't claim to represent the concept perfectly - I just answered the question.
    Last edited by Aeran; 04 Dec 2014 at 21:20.

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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: When bad things happen

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
    It's a question of perspective. I understand it makes no sense if you have a different worldview and set of experiences to back that up, and I didn't claim to represent the concept perfectly, I just answered the question.
    I totally get the reason to believe in this. Don't get me wrong. But if I follow the logic, this is what I get. How do you personally rationalize babies dying of Ebola at a few months old? What does your belief system say about this sort of thing? Not trying to criticism but just point out something I don't understand at all.
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    Re: When bad things happen

    Maybe our individual lives aren't as important as we'd like to think. Maybe we're each just a stitch in a huge, ongoing tapestry. Some stitches make up the light, some the dark. I dunno.

    Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: When bad things happen

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkfeathers View Post
    Maybe our individual lives aren't as important as we'd like to think. Maybe we're each just a stitch in a huge, ongoing tapestry. Some stitches make up the light, some the dark. I dunno.
    Eff that. I want a do over! Unstich this biatch!
    Satan is my spirit animal

  7. #17
    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: When bad things happen

    I totally get the reason to believe in this. Don't get me wrong. But if I follow the logic, this is what I get. How do you personally rationalize babies dying of Ebola at a few months old? What does your belief system say about this sort of thing? Not trying to criticism but just point out something I don't understand at all.
    Ok lets roll with your example.

    For starters, if you believe, truly believe in the depth of your being, that the human spirit is immortal, that it spends the time between incarnations in plane of existence every bit as real as this one (which is generally a pleasant place, unless you've been a special kind of asshole), that it will be reborn again and again and live out dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of lives, the ultimate purpose being to develop and grow closer to the Divine, and that, at least roughly, the details of an individuals life are planned out by them or a higher power prior to being born, then you lose a lot of that instinctive sense of horror (and in the case of a child or youth, waste) that thinking about death induces. Death isn't total oblivion, a capital "E" END, just a transition to a different state of being in the cyclical nature of our existence. If you can look at it from this perspective, you can understand that it's a very undesirable, but not horrible and final, event.

    Which isn't to say it doesn't suck, it does. Even if the child is too young to comprehend it, it sure as hell sucks for their family. This is a part where you have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. To someone like yourself, an atheist, there is nothing but our experience of this reality which starts at birth and ends at death, and so for a child to die means that child is robbed of most of their existence, and that their parents are robbed of the child they'd not only grown to loved and planned out a lifetime raising, but that was part of their legacy, more or less their only form of continued existence. To someone who believes the aforementioned, however, the child (and the parents - the karma could be as much theirs as the childs) is experiencing what they need to experience to continue to grow as an individual, even if it isn't remotely pleasant (and life's lessons rarely are), it also isn't permanent, and neither is the separation between child and parent.

    Likewise, if you believe the aforementioned, then nobody, not even a new born child, is a blank slate, everyone has lifetimes worth of deeds they've committed, good and bad - and part of why they've incarnated is to work out that karma, to reap the rewards for the good deeds and suffer the consequences of the bad ones (again, not as punishment or as revenge, but as a lesson). No matter how cute and innocent and unaware a baby looks, they've probably committed horrible deeds at some stage and deeds of staggering kindness, bravery, charity or love at others.

    Before I make my next point, it's worth mentioning that there's still a strong element of free will and chance involved - maybe the hypothetical child didn't die of ebola because they were a murderer in a past life, maybe they just died of ebola because someone was selfishly lazy and infected them (thus accumulating their own negative karma), or they just suffered plain bad luck (which is awful, but sometimes stuff just happens). Without that, there's no point to the whole thing.

    Now from your perspective - death, or a horrible illness, or even something less dramatic but still pretty awful to go through like a divorce, or a drug addiction - all that might seem like a pretty excessive way to teach a lesson, but if you try to look at things from the described perspective, you'll see that they're fairly minor in the scheme of things. One day everyone will die, and then pass on until they're ready to reincarnate, and then be reborn. Everyone will go through these things dozens of times over (and the good things too, of course) or more, even if they can't see it at the time, and ultimately, they'll be the better for it.

    Remember when you were a kid, maybe a teenager, and you misbehaved somehow (maybe you got into a fight with a sibling, or didn't do your homework, etc etc), and your parents punished you? Maybe they grounded you and forced you to miss something you wanted to go to, or stuck you in your room with nothing to do but be bored, or deprived you of something (pocket money, a favorite snack, time spent doing things you enjoyed, whatever). Remember how huge it seemed? You didn't think about the fact that you had a whole life of social events ahead of you, or that the time being bored was only temporary, or that you'd get plenty of money/snacks/entertainment in the future. There was no big picture, no larger perspective, all you could think about is how someone could do something so horrible to you, and the punishment seemed to drag on forever (one whole weekend unable to go out?), and even after it ended you were sure you'd never make up for what you'd been deprived of or subjected to. You didn't think about the fact that your parents could see the big picture, that they could see that you needed to be taught to not fight with your siblings, or to do your homework, or whatever, and that they were just trying to do what was best for you in the long term to make you a better and a happier person, you just thought it was unfair that they could possibly do that to you. Because you only saw things from your own tiny, inexperienced, limited and (for most young kids, rather selfish) perspective.

    It's roughly the same thing. At least that's how I think of it. As an atheist, you obviously don't believe any of the aforementioned, so maybe you think I'm being monstrously heartless and blasé about something like the death of a child (I know I would have thought so if I'd had someone say this to me when I was an atheist), but I'm not. My worldview just differs so much from yours that we're perceiving what's happening as two totally different events.
    Last edited by Aeran; 04 Dec 2014 at 22:39.

  8. #18
    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: When bad things happen

    No. I don't think you are being heartless at all. In fact you explained your position extremely well. And I have a little more understanding in to how your view of reincarnation works. And I get it. The big picture. It makes small things like death..small..when you consider you get to just keep on going.

    My problem. How do you learn a lesson when you have no memory? I know it's going to involve a long explanation of how the soul works. Probably some kind of muscle memory explanation etc etc. But yeah, I'll be honest. I can understand it on a logical level because you explained it extremely well. And I thank you for that. I can see you have a lot of thought into this. Which is more than most can say.

    But in all honesty? That's a hell of a lot of rationalization to go through to explain something like Harlequin disease. Or crack addicted babies. I just won't ever ever..and I do mean ever...say that kid probably had some lesson to learn. Whatever universe thinks that's a way of teaching a human being who will probably only live months a lesson...no thanks. I call bunk personally on how I view reincarnation.

    Now that's not to be disrespectful of your belief system. But my belief system doesn't allow for sugar coating my opinions.

    (dis be why I'm an atheist!)

    but again thank you for the explanation.
    Satan is my spirit animal

  9. #19
    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: When bad things happen

    My problem. How do you learn a lesson when you have no memory? I know it's going to involve a long explanation of how the soul works. Probably some kind of muscle memory explanation etc etc. But yeah, I'll be honest. I can understand it on a logical level because you explained it extremely well. And I thank you for that. I can see you have a lot of thought into this. Which is more than most can say.
    It's complicated, and even if I thought anyone was interested enough to make writing up an explanation worth it, I'm too tired right now

    But yeah, I have put a lot of thought into it because it's something I've struggled with understanding and coming to terms with a great deal myself. I mean even if death isn't oblivion, it's still a pretty huge change/disruption, so while the existential aspect of the fear of death is gone, it's definitely not something I like the idea of doing before I've lived a long and full life and achieved my goals. It's a big change personally and a big transition environmentally, not to mention the whole idea of starting over, and over, and over... eternity can be almost as daunting as nothingness sometimes, which is part of my drive to dedicate myself to my practice.

    And of course, I don't have any hard evidence of most of this, it's just what I've been taught by teachers who I've found to be trustworthy in every case in which I could verify what they said, and what makes the most sense in my own worldview, research and experience (I've had experiences which have both made me certain that there is a soul and a spirit, that they exist at least somewhat independently of the body and that they are capable of leaving it and functioning outside of it, and I've had experiences which give me decent reason to believe that the soul and/or spirit continue to exist after the body dies, at least for a period of time).

    But in all honesty? That's a hell of a lot of rationalization to go through to explain something like Harlequin disease. Or crack addicted babies. I just won't ever ever..and I do mean ever...say that kid probably had some lesson to learn. Whatever universe thinks that's a way of teaching a human being who will probably only live months a lesson...no thanks. I call bunk personally on how I view reincarnation.
    It's not rationalization, it's a worldview constructed from personal experience, the experience of trusted authorities and logical analysis. But yeah, it's something I struggled with, still do a bit (it helps to have good guidance), but mostly I've come to terms with. It helps to approach it from the opposite direction - to ask what would a world with no problems achieve? It would be like a school where the kids spend all day in the playground. Fun for the kids at the time, but they're fucked when they graduate and want to go to Uni. Or even if there is no graduation, they just hang out in the playground every day, non-stop, never growing, never advancing?

    Now that's not to be disrespectful of your belief system. But my belief system doesn't allow for sugar coating my opinions.
    And I wouldn't want you to, I always appreciate (polite) honesty.

    (dis be why I'm an atheist!)
    Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt I stuck with it strongly for years because at the time it was the only worldview that made sense given my life experiences and the understanding of reality I had gained through my official education (if only Phil101 had taught me what the ancient Greek philosophers really believed). Luckily I had some experiences which radically altered that understanding when I investigated them, and that investigation and some experimentation lead me where I am today (albeit by a rather windy road).

    You seem like someone who also appreciates honesty, so I'm going to be honest: I think that atheism possibly has the potential to be the most destructive major belief system (if you consider it a major belief system, or, if not, if it becomes one) short of the dogmatic branches of the Abrahamic religions. Besides the fact that it itself has many incredibly dogmatic elements fueled by the intellectual snobbery which is rampant in the movement (the irony being that most of them only became atheists because they had it spelt out to them by Dawkins or Hitchens in the first place - or because it's trendy), it's an incredibly isolating, separating, world shrinking, dehumanizing and depersonalizing belief system when taken to it's full extent.

    This isn't an attack on you personally so please don't take it that way, I've enjoyed this exchange and you seem like a smart woman, it's just what's on my mind right now as a result of this discussion (and quite possibly the fatigue) so I'm just putting it out there. That's just how I experienced it and how I see it, and I know others experience the same and see the same, because there are constant attempts to address this by adopting the social support structure of religious service without the religious aspect or mixing in humanistic philosophies of different varieties, but it never quite seems to work, and I don't think it will work, because ultimately, the logical end conclusion of what I'll term hard atheism (not just the rejection of a personified God, but the complete rejection of all of the spiritual - dictionary definition - aspects of reality) seems to me to be a nihilistic society of deterministic meat and bone robots suffering from the dysfunction of believing they're conscious.

    We aren't there yet because the momentum hasn't built up and, I believe, because many atheists, either consciously or subconsciously, refuse to take it to that logical conclusion or aren't as certain about their atheism as they claim. But I hope we never do get there, because I'm not sure that such a society would be a nicer place than the Medieval style theocracies men like Dawkins like to rip on, to be honest.

    That said, given my own experiences, I can hardly blame anyone in particular, and I'm certainly not blaming you, for adopting that particular belief system. It emerged as a backlash to societal, political and theological currents which have been brewing for centuries, if not millennia, and is now almost an inevitability for those born and raised in certain circumstances. Cause and effect. I just hope it rides itself out, and given the increasing access to and interest in spiritual training material over the last century (and especially since the rise of the internet), as well as the manner in which science has been butting up against mysticism for about the same period of time, I'm fairly confident it will happen sooner or later.

    Of course people like me (those who have an interest in science and spirituality, who approach their spirituality with a scientific mindset and who would like to see a merging of the two) have been saying that for the last century or so, so who knows? It'll be interesting either way. Let's just hope it's not interesting in the sense of the Chinese proverb.

    but again thank you for the explanation.
    Not a problem, it was fun (and laying out my views in these long posts is beneficial in deepening my own understanding, I feel).

  10. #20
    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: When bad things happen

    Always the bigger question looms...Why a tiny baby dies,and an OLD reprobate(Speaking personally) is pushing 68...What did the kid do to get that fate,while I a drinker and druggie and a bit more gets to be an old Man.?? Perhaps my living this long is my punishment for being who I was,and the kid gets out early without having to experience all the crappy stuff life hands you.

    There also looms the question as to just what we are,simple flesh and blood that aspires to claim a soul,or a divine spirit confined to this flesh prison.??

    perhaps none of the above is true,and we are just all naturally stoned and life is only a vivid fantasy......ponder that for a bit.
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