Payoff: A Personal Application

02Mar09

I recognize that my turning away from Christianity to an agnostic approach to things of faith are based on my own personal experiences.   That is to say, for example, I did not reach my conclusions after an exhaustive study of the traditional philosophical arguments for God.  Like most people who break away from a faith, I checked my personal experiences against what has been taught from the Bible and concluded, “bull hockey!”

I began the series of posts on the concept of payoff after I began to realize that a serious “turning away” had occurred.    On the one hand, there was me turning away from a long held belief system. On the other hand,  I realized over time that a turning away had occurred from me.

Except for my wife and son and a few of her friends to whom, I guess, I am a “tag along” friend, part of a “package” deal,  there is really no one else in my life.  Nobody calls.  Nobody checks to see what I’m up to or what I’m thinking.   I’m pretty much a loner – – not by choice,  it just ended up that way as a consequence of choices I made in the past  I suppose.

I’ve always considered myself a kind, compassionate, empathetic sort with a sense of humor that is silly and  not always fully appreciated.   From everything that I have read, I should be a friend maker.  But, still, there is  that “turning away” thing – – – like suddenly waking up one day in an empty town with no living person around.  I think of the actor Earl Holiman in that classic Twilight Zone episode – – – “Where is everybody?”

Earl Holiman on Twilight Zone - "Where is everybody?"

Earl Holiman - "Where is everybody?"

charlie_brown

I have begun to wonder.  Do people actually experience me as thoughtful, friendly, or  empathetic?

ostracize_by_claudio_munoz

Another reason, maybe?

OR,

do people REALLY experience me in a different way?

Maybe I am not the person I think I am.  Perhaps the perception others have of me is different and not as positive as I would like it to be.

I admit, I feel like my skills at anticipating  what others are feeling are often inadequate.   I often find myself at a loss for the “right” things to say to people.

I don’t feel like an interesting person.  But I try.   Not only do I often feel at a loss for words ,  I also say the wrong things, never knowing fully whether I annoy people too much or even offend them.  Although I try not to annoy or offend people.

“Wretched man that I am . . .”   I have committed the unpardonable sin of being displeasing to society!  I have become an outcast and a loner.  And these days, nobody likes a loner.

However, because of my awkward, isolated status, I have no social pressure on me to conform.  There is no social payoff in trying to see things that are wrong as things that are right.   Good sense in tow, what have I got to lose?

I certainly received no economic benefit from my faith, except arguably a solid work ethic about “getting there early and staying late.”    Since my parents really never pressured me with religion as a child, I have no neurotic nervousness about disappointing Mama or Daddy or some other imposing Patriarchal or Matriarchal figure.

The only residual effects I feel from time to time are a  few irrational  thought processes left over from the mind game that is Religion.

With no god “out there” really communicating with me and no people  saying to me, “C’mon . . .  just say it’s true.”   I became free to think for myself.  With no more payoff for trying to maintain the delusion of religion, I am free to pursue the things that are true and right.

Of course, at this time, it is still a bit of a sad and lonely journey.   There is a choice to be made in life :  happiness or truth.  The “blue pill” or the “red pill.”  I have taken the red pill.

2serious
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4 Responses to “Payoff: A Personal Application”

  1. “The only residual effects I feel from time to time are a few irrational thought processes left over from the mind game that is Religion.”

    There is another possibility — that you moved from theism to agnosticism too soon and without sufficient proof, so that your new position is objectively not tenable, and thus this doubt!!

    Johnson C. Philip, PhD (Physics)
    India

    • 2 2serious

      Dr. Philip,

      I see you’ve added a picture to your posts. It’s nice to see your face.

      The process of moving from theism to agnosticism took place over a decade. I guess I would ask “too soon” compared to what? Ten years is roughly 33% of the total time I spent in Christianity, about a quarter of my lifetime. I don’t think that qualifies as an impulse decision.

      ” . . . your new position is objectively not tenable . . . ”

      I’ve not encountered any objective information so far to lead me to believe that my position is untenable.

      ” . . . and thus this doubt!”

      I never used the word doubt. I did mention ” residual effects. . . thought processes left over from the mind game that is Religion.” What I meant by irrational thought processes was more in line with what I mentioned in a previous post, although there are other aspects that I didn’t cover in my posts.

      Thanks for stopping by again.

  2. Hi,

    Over at my blog a gentleman shared a pretty interesting article on the various stages of spiritual growth. You may find it interesting:

    http://www.hsuyun.org/Dharma/zbohy/Literature/Special/StagesOfSpiritualGrowth.html

    Although I didn’t have a chance to read it too carefully yet, I gave it a whirl and thought it was interesting. I wrote briefly about it in my comments.

    I’m also somewhat a loner and oftentimes I actually prefer it that way. Of course, there is a time and a place for friendship, love, and solitude.

    I wonder if you would have still written such thoughtful posts, had you been a social butterfly.

    By the way, you are very blessed to have a wife and child, your true and loving companions in your life.

    • 4 2serious

      That is a fascinating blog and I too was only able to skim the surface. The paragraph on the “much maligned mysticism” caught my eye, especially the concept “of unity, of an underlying connectedness between things.” I think this can be drawn from a rational and scientific point of view as well as a metaphysical standpoint.

      I have bookmarked the link. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      Since I began the blog because I had much I wanted to say and no one in particular in my life to safely say it to, I do not think I would have written the blog had I been a more socially connected person.

      I am glad that I have my wife and son in my life. It was one of the things that has gone right over the years. I try to let them know I feel this way as often as I can – – so much so I feel like I “gush” too much.

      I am also glad for your comments and insights. They are a source of great joy. Thanks to you, Jerry.


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