New Life

By Jon Morgan

It's a bit different from other posts featured here, but some might appreciate my latest post.  There's baptism, and discussion of building a new life after leaving religion - and lots of ducklings.

19 comments:

  1. Do you ever think.. well heads up ill win both ways.? If there is nothing there at the end of the day i wont know about it anyway.. if there is well i have a chance at something after this?

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    1. I used to know some Cds who described thinking "heads up I`ll win both ways" as having a doubt which brings faith in the Kingdom down to the level of an insurance policy.

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  2. No, I don't. I can't see any advantage from that. As far as I can tell, human consciousness is an emergent property of physical processes in the brain. When those physical processes stop working for long enough, we have no reason to believe they can ever be recovered. Hypothetically, yes, there could be some entity or process capturing the pattern and able in some way to restore it, but we've got no reason to believe it. And so I don't think I need to give it any more thought than, say, what I would do if the sun didn't rise tomorrow (hypothetically could happen, but I don't think we have a good reason to believe it will happen).

    But there's also more to it than that. Much of our subjective experience of the world is directly connected to our physical bodies (the senses, hunger, hormones, emotions, ...). Depending on what the "something after this" looks like, it may be very very different, to the extent of being a torment rather than a joy. Take something at least theoretically more possible in the future: Uploading brains to the cloud. Firstly, I think it might take a lot of faith to believe that the digital brain was really you, not just a very clever imitation of you. But even if that bar is met, we know that so much of our thinking and feeling is influenced by physical body stuff. What does that mean? Are we having to emulate that in some way, and if so are we getting it right? We're not going to, say, have phantom limb pain that we can't do anything about? Or feel frustrated that we can't control or interact with our new environment in the same way as we did the old?

    Incidentally, this is also a problem with the Christadelphian vision of the kingdom. In being changed to be "sinless", to be "perfect", it's not clear in what meaningful sense I'd still be me. Relatives talk about how good it is that they'll be free from sin and impulses to sin, but to me it sounds like they just won't be the same person. At all.

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  3. Fair comment. In everyday life there is no advantage as you say. I guess what im trying to say is it still worth hedging your bets just in case after you pass away.? Yes, ive heard the same thing,how great the Kingdom is going to be. Really no one has any clue about any of this. To be honest, the older i get the more i think, i have not seen that much kindness in religion in my life time.Alot of broken familys and tears. Many arguments, fights tears over profecy for one thing, who will be ressurected ? she will get this and he will get that..at the judgement seat.

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  4. That was the movie called "The Stepford Wives."

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  5. If you want an insurance policy then don't choose the CDs since their religion teaches that salvation is through faith, and faith is the same as belief (they say), so they say, one has to believe the right things at the point baptism, the policy is therefore invalid if one simple asserts a belief they dont have. This must be common since one of the beliefs is that Genesis is literal history - which is obviously not the case. Then the question arises of whether you want the payout, if on your deathbed you are offered a choice of being dead or alive for ever which would you take? The living for ever deal means just that - the deal is there is no way out, you cant ever leave the tiny planet you are on, there is no pain, no suffering, no challenges to overcome, no point surely ? I cant recall if CDs sing John Newton's classic Amazing Grace, probably not since they are down on grace, but I have often pondered the final verse:
    When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
    Bright shining as the sun,
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
    Than when we’d first begun.
    So ten thousand years is a tiny part of 'for ever', and it is almost possible to imagine a time span of that length - its well within the time that modern humans have been around, but what about 100 billion years? Do I really want to sing God's praise for that long, and still I would only have just begun?

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    1. Amazing Grace is in the "Praise the Lord" book, so if you went to an ecclesia that used that you might well have sung it (I have many times in Christadelphian services and youth groups). I've also heard pipers piping it in the Scotland, silhouetted against a peaceful loch. Much better :)

      Interesting the verse you quote, though, since the PtL book alters it for CD theological benefit (first line becomes "When we have reached the thousand years").

      You make an interesting point, though, and I agree: I'm not sure I want to live forever (even if I have control of what I'm doing - unlike in that kingdom view), though life always seems too short for everything I want to do. I'd like to see what the world looks like in a hundred, a thousand, a million, a billion years. But not necessarily to live through it all. And I'd also like to see it as it was at many different past times. So perhaps I really want a time machine ;)

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  6. "Hedging bets" sounds like it takes effort and has a cost - neither of which suit me if I have no reason to believe in an upside from the hedge. But I also don't know how to do it. If I have no idea of what an after-life might look like, or, say, who I might have to please to get it, or what they might want from me, then anything I do pursuing it might actually make it less likely, not more.

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  7. I had a friend in CDLand who was an alcoholic, and belonged to Alcoholics Anonymous. She saw an alcoholic under every bush and every bed, probably because she was in search of companions to attend her AA meetings with her.

    She proceeded to try to convince me that I had an alcoholism problem. With my brain half addled already from many years of sojourning in Christadelphianism, she half convinced me, and I began going to her AA meetings as her guest. Upon arriving, they told me I needed to attend 90 meetings in order to make an evaluation of whether or not I belonged in AA. Ninety meetings, preferably in 90 days.

    I attended the 90 meetings, though not in the requested three months. At the end of my attendance, I decided that in the very unlikely event that I was an alcoholic, I'd rather die face down in a gutter, suffocating in my own vomit, than attend even one more AA meeting with its whining, interminable drivel and its professional cripples. (My apologies to anyone in recovery that this offends.)

    In a similar vein, after a ten year absence from the Christadelphians, I had occasion to attend a service -- because there was no way I could avoid attending it. After five minutes of listening to their droning, flatulent, primitive nonsense about why they are the true "Chosen People," I found myself having the same reaction that I had had to AA.

    Do not let those uninspired nitwits waste a lovely Sunday morning for you. Do not let them waste even one Sunday morning of your life. You have a limited number of Sunday mornings in a lifetime -- far less than you're inclined to believe. Do you remember anything from five Sundays ago, when you were sitting in the midst of the zombies in some "ecclesia?" Neither do they. Neither is it worth remembering.

    Dump it like any other rubbish, and live the Sundays you've got left.

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    1. A big amen to that! And your post reminds me that we have lived experiences of coercive control and cult-like behaviour, so it’s good to listen to our gut. I ignored warning signs and got entangled in a couple of culty things since. Living and learning and loving my Sundays too.

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  8. Amanda, your last paragraph just about sums up what I say on the rare occasions I'm asked why I walked away from the CDs. We only have one life, so why waste it away chasing after a future fantasy world, just because our parents do. What a waste of a Sunday to sit listening to the droning of the latest speaker who has spent the past week poring over his Bible, trying to make it relevant to modern events.
    On the rare occasions I make an appearance at an ecclesia (weddings, funerals of cd acquaintances etc.) I am astounded at the open mouthed acceptance of pseudo science, and the mental gymnastics required to believe all they are told.

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  9. They are prisoners of their own making. In the search for "meaning" and "purpose" in this existence, many become similarly lost. And they become countless, these tragic figures.

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  10. Christadelphian here for nearly 48 years. 50 years ago I read Russia, Israel Christ and you by Percy Bilton. I was more into cricket and tv back then! It majored on Russia and power to the North invading Israel and resistance from UK, USA and some Saudi Arabs in south culminating in Christ's return. Surprisingly, 50 years later it is much more certain and realistic than it was then!!!!!!!

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    1. Um, no. Russia is bogged down in Ukraine, and isn't looking like having either a purpose or sufficient force to move onto Israel.

      (and Russia invading Israel is terrible prophecy interpretation anyway...)

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    2. Modern Scholars agree.

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  11. I am new to this site i was a cd 50 years ago and since i left by my choice have no regrets ive seen the word through new eyes done things. seen things.tried.things i Never would have had i still been in fellowship.i agree if i had not been born into a cd family. I would not have taken the step to my baptisim.

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    1. This is something I once raised with a Cd when I was a Cd, "If I had not been born into a Cd family and into another family would I have been a Catholic/Mormon/Methodist etc." The reply was always, "Ah, but we have been `Called`."

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  12. I found grappling with questions about mortality one of the challenges too. Also, we had all our time taken up with meetings and readings so it’s challenging to build an ‘after life’ in the here and now. I have found it helps to read about other people’s expeiences leaving other religions or churches. It helps me remember that so many people are told they are in ‘the truth’ … but how can they all be right? Here are some memoirs that I think other ex-christadelphians might enjoy as we explore ‘the after life’ after leaving. Any other recommendations? https://medium.com/@NomeBee/8-good-reads-about-cults-in-australia-b3b939ba62a1

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  13. I’ve found it helped me to read other people’s memoirs of being born into beliefs that they were told was ‘the truth’. Here are some of my faves so far https://medium.com/@NomeBee/8-good-reads-about-cults-in-australia-b3b939ba62a1?source=friends_link&sk=cbd952ef4c859fd4fac71e8edbfedf48

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