Reddit reviews: The best religion & spirituality books

We found 14,855 Reddit comments discussing the best religion & spirituality books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 5,367 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

Top Reddit comments about Religion & Spirituality:

u/BlunderLikeARicochet · 33 pointsr/atheism

Trying to talk to believers about their belief is often frustrating and unproductive. Based on a great deal of practice and a deep interest in the best techniques to approach these difficult conversations, I think I can offer some constructive tips. I've written the following to help skeptics have productive conversations about religion. These techniques are heavily based on Peter Boghossian's "Street Epistemology" concept, and Anthony Magnabosco's work. (Anthony's videos are highly recommended to see these strategies in action)


  • You cannot convince someone else of anything — You can only provide new information, and if they accept it, they convince themselves. Sounds simple enough, but the problem is the backfire effect. This is the defensive tendency, upon hearing something contradictory, to reflexively reject it in order to preserve a belief. The result is an even stronger belief. Simply put, people like to be right, and they dislike being wrong, especially about something they consider important. So we are faced with the difficult task of getting someone to question their cherished beliefs, while we avoid being contradictory. Sounds impossible, but it's just tricky. The key is to ask questions and inspire empathy.

  • Establish at the outset that you are open to new evidence, that you are willing to change your mind. Religious people like to define atheism as a religion because it's easier to dismiss dogma than an honestly curious person. But atheism has no dogma, and as an atheist, you are unattached to anything except a commitment to finding the truth, whatever it may be. You are not certain or closed-minded. You are agnostic, open, and honest, and it is this attitude that you want to inspire within the believer as much as possible. The best way to do that is to lead by example.

  • Your entire discussion (and every future discussion) should primarily concern the investigation of one subject: "Why do you believe, and is it a good reason?" Instead of engaging in an argument, establish a teacher-student dynamic, with you as the student.

  • How do we determine what is most likely true? Does your proposed method work consistently for everyone, or only when you use it? It's so easy to get entangled with irrelevant details, but stay on point. We want to help the believer discover that their epistemological method is unreliable, because this is the foundation of belief.

  • Socratic method. Ask questions often and make assertions as sparingly as possible. I cannot overstate how important this is. Ask "why" enough, and you'll soon realize how comfortable the faithful are at describing "what" they believe, and how unprepared they are to explain the "why". And the "why" is what matters.

  • Frequently summarize, in your own words, what you've heard. Ask if your summary is accurate. This assures them that you are listening and sincerely want to understand, and helps them to consider their own ideas, which can sound much less convincing when expressed with different verbiage and coming from outside one's own head. (No, I don't mean to summarize Christian doctrine as ancient blood magic. Be charitable.)

  • When you hear the word, "faith", ask for a definition and don't continue until you get something reasonably coherent. Explore the reliability of faith. Ask about scenarios where faith leads to false conclusions. Listen carefully for when they use "faith" to mean something else, then return to asking what faith means. Believers often use "faith", "trust", "hope", and "belief" interchangeably. This is symptomatic of a circular belief structure — If all those words mean the same thing, then, "I have trust in my belief because I have faith" is really saying, "I have faith in my faith because I have faith".

  • Avoid counter-apologetics. There are logical answers to every theistic argument, but they always fall on deaf ears. Why is this? The backfire effect plays a role, but also important to note: Apologetics are typically post facto rationalizations, and not the core reason for belief. Nobody ever converted to theism upon hearing the cosmological argument. Trying to rebut these kinds of excuses is not only argumentative, but irrelevant. If forced to engage apologetics, a good question is, "Were you a believer before you learned about these arguments?" The honest answer is always yes, so try to explore those foundational reasons for belief.

  • The example of other religions should always be at the ready. When a spiritual revelation is mentioned, ask how the authenticity of one revelation can be established over another. When they talk about their holy book, ask how we can determine which holy book is most correct. When they appeal to faith, ask about people who have faith in a false god.

  • "If the Muslim / Hindu / Mormon is mistaken about their revelation / book / evidence / faith... how can they discover their mistake?" You won't believe how effective and incisive this question is until you try it. It's a simple question about falsifiability, and believers, though well experienced with confirmation, don't think much about falsifiability. Whatever the answer, explore the reliability of the method.

  • These kinds of questions tend to make believers uncomfortable because they rarely (if ever) consider their foundational reasoning. Expect responses of rhetorical tap-dancing which don't really answer the questions posed. Expect elaborations on "what" they believe, and not "why". Be patient and try not to interrupt. But...

  • Don't get sidetracked. If you're asking good questions, you'll often get answers to questions you didn't ask. These answers will often contain fallacies or absurdities you'll want to counter, but resist that urge! Stay on topic, but don't be argumentative. If your question isn't answered, listen respectfully, then ask again, as gently as possible. I mean, avoid saying, "You didn't answer the question!" This is an accusation of evasion, and adversarial. Repeat what you just heard, ask if that's a fair summary, say, "Hmm" thoughtfully and then say, "But I don't understand how that explains..." Do you see the difference? The first response is an accusation. The second establishes that you are listening, and accuses yourself of a failure to understand. This humble attitude is important. Lead by example.

  • Where appropriate, instead of saying, "I" or "You", say, "We". For example, "How can we tell the difference between something non-physical (supernatural) and something that doesn't exist?" This is a subtle but effective way to inspire empathy. You are inviting them to be your partner in an honest search for truth.

  • You want to follow the beliefs of the person who is most correct. There are many competing religions and the reasons for belief offered by members of most religions are strikingly similar. Illustrate these similarities in your questions. Can the believer demonstrate that their reasons are superior to what other religions can provide? The object is to inspire empathy and get them thinking about the issue from your open perspective, faced with a variety of god claims, rather than from a position of closed certainty. If you are successful, you won't need to ask why their god hides from an honest seeker of truth — If they trust your sincerity, they'll ask themselves.

    I cannot guarantee that these strategies will make atheists out of everyone you encounter. But I can assure with some confidence that your conversations will be more productive, and will better provoke honest self-reflection in the believer. And that's the first step.
u/aggie1391 · 10 pointsr/Judaism

Just to start off, its shabbos in much of the world so you won't get so many responses for a bit.


Lots and lots of people grew up with some Jewish identity, didn't do much, and later became religious. Seriously, its a whole movement. Of course everyone's situation is unique, but you aren't the first to struggle with this kinda thing. Thankfully, that has meant a ton of books and resources for people in your shoes, who want to learn more and do more but didn't grow up with it. Some of the biggest resources online are Aish and Chabad, I just found NJOP but it doesn't have as much on the site.


Now, as you know, the first step is to find a synagogue. I'd recommend looking for a Chabad or a young adults organization like a Young Jewish Professionals type of thing. They will have lots of classes for people from all sorts of backgrounds and will be super happy to help you find good resources, to teach you, etc. Chabad especially is everywhere, the joke is that only Coca-Cola and Chabad are worldwide. Next weekend is actually The Shabbos Project, which brings together people from all sorts of background to do a shabbos in a community. Actually one of these helped me really finalize my decision to become religious. And there are people here from all over who can recommend places.


So there are lots of basic books out there. One thing I would definitely recommend is to get a Chumash, I'd recommend the Stone Edition since its the most common but the Steinsaltz one also came out recently. A Chumash has the whole Torah and the Haftorot (the section from the Prophets read in synagogues every shabbos) with commentaries. Both the ones I linked have stuff from all sorts of commentators that help explain the text. One section of Torah is read every week on shabbos, so it makes for a great reading guide.


A good beginner book is To Be a Jew by Rabbi Hayim HeLevy Dovin. That one is absolutely classic. He also has another one, To Pray as a Jew, that's also excellent. Rabbi Joseph Telushkin also has a great one, Jewish Literacy, that goes through everything from Bible stories and characters to Jewish historical figures and writings. R' Teluskhin has tons of good stuff, I also have his A Code of Jewish Ethics, Jewish Wisdom, and a daily study book The Book of Jewish Values, they are all great learning resources. I'd also recommend Exploring Jewish Tradition, it really gets to the basics of Jewish practices. The 'Jewish Book of Why' set is also good, there are two volumes. There's no need to dive full on into halacha (Jewish law) and like books on Talmud right away, take the basics and then explore what is interesting to you. People sometimes burn out if they try too much too quick, but others love to just jump in full on and learn a bunch really quick (I'm the second but know people in the first category, both are totally ok ways to be).


If there is any specific thing you would like to read more about, I can recommend more stuff after shabbos. Its only been a year since I decided to become religious so I know the position you are in. And if you have any questions, there are lots of great resources online and lots of knowledgeable people here. Of course, as I'm sure your mother can attest, there are unhealthy Jewish communities. But I firmly believe for every bad one there are far more great ones. I'm pretty new to it but the couple places I have been are both very welcoming and I have made friends from most of the major areas. It does not have to be suffocating, and there's nothing wrong with learning and doing more at your own pace. If its ever too much, slow down and reassess before jumping in further. If you listen to what your neshama (soul) is saying it'll guide you right!

u/MagicOtter · 21 pointsr/Catholicism

Former fedora atheist here. For a long time, I felt like I belonged to the "skeptical, rational, atheist" tribe. But at one point I became disillusioned with the crowd, and realized that I no longer want to be part of it. I started looking for alternatives, groups I'd want to be a part of, and I settled upon Catholicism. I first approached it from a purely secular perspective, as a serious and reliable institution. But I ended up accepting the faith and God as well.

Here's my progression, what drew me in more and more:

I. The intellectual life. I was always fascinated by science. It was interactions with promoters of dishonest creationism (usually evangelicals) that originally pushed me towards rejecting religion and to become a militant atheist.

Then I read a book that changed how I view the relation between Church and science: God's Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science. I now follow @catholiclab and similar profiles on Twitter, which post interesting facts about Catholic scientists. It's simply astounding how this information is completely absent from contemporary popular culture.

II. Just on an emotional level, feeling "closer" to Catholics. It helped that my family is Catholic. On YouTube, I've watched many videos by Bishop Robert Barron, Fr. Mike. They are very lucid and reasonable in addressing contemporary issues. I'm sure there are many others.

I'm also reading biographies of martyrs who died persecuted in modernity by revolutionary ideologies. My TODO reading list includes books by Thomas Merton, Joseph Ratzinger, and the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

III. The aesthetics. I'm subscribed on Twitter to profiles like @Christian8Pics which post a lot of inspiring imagery. Familiarity breeds liking. I also listen to music on YouTube: liturgy, Medieval chants, Mozart's Requiem, Byzantine chants (usually Eastern Orthodox).

All these sideways might seem very strange to a Catholic convert or someone raised Catholic who stayed Catholic. But if someone is immersed in a materialistic, mechanistic and atheistic worldview, there's no available grammar or impulse to even take God or the life of the Church into consideration.

IV. Actually knowing what theism is all about. The "god" dismissed by popular atheist debaters is a caricature of God as understood by classical theism and the actual tradition of the Church. So is the "god" argued for by Intelligent Design proponents, biblical literalists, fundamentalists.

I read 2 books by Edward Feser (Catholic) and David Bentley Hart (Eastern Orthodox) to finally become comfortable with this very simple point. The books I read are, in order:

By Edward Feser:

  • The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism

  • Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide)

    By David Bentley Hart:

  • Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies

  • [The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss] (https://www.amazon.com/Experience-God-Being-Consciousness-Bliss/dp/0300209355)

    Each author has his own biases, which might trip the reader up at times (Hart is biased against evolutionary psychology for some reason). But these books produced in me a fresh view of where to begin seeking for God. They gave me the confidence to proceed.

    Atheism always addresses "god" as if it's simply one entity among others, part of the natural world, for which one ought to find physical traces and then one simply "believes in the existence of god" (much like you'd believe there's a car parked outside your house, once you look out the window and observe it's there -- meaning it could just as well NOT be there).

    Creationists just muddy the waters with "god of the gaps" and "Paley's watch" style theories, which simply postulate "god" as an explanation for why this or that aspect of the natural world is a certain way, a tinkerer god which molds the physical world into shape, or which created it at some point in the past.

    This has nothing to do with how God is presented by the authors I quoted, and they go to great lengths to make this point.

    I started by understanding that there needs to be an ultimate answer to certain metaphysical questions which, by definition, can't have a physical answer (e.g. "why does there exist a physical world in the first place?"). There's a qualitative difference between physical questions and metaphysical ones, and the gap simply can't be breached by adding more layers of physicality. Hart makes this point very well (he differentiates between the Demiurge that deists, atheists and creationists discuss, and God as the "necessary being" of classical theism).

    The ultimate metaphysical cause is "necessary" because it's simply a necessity for the physical world to have a non-physical cause which keeps it in existence. If the only thing that existed was a quantum field that didn't produce any particles, or a single proton that always existed and will always exist, the "necessity" would be exactly the same. Nothing would change even if it turned out our Universe is part of a Multiverse.

    Then, through reasoning, one can deduce certain characteristics of this ultimate answer, which ends up forming the classical theistic picture of God as a "necessary being" which continuously creates every aspect of the physical universe. Feser is very good at explaining this part and especially at underlining how tentative and feeble our understanding of the unfathomable is. He also explains why it has to be a "being" rather than an unknown impersonal cause. It's a humbling experience.

    But as Bishop Robert Barron stated in his interview on the Rubin Report, philosophy only takes you halfway there. Looking back, the existence of God simply makes sense and is a no-brainer. Faith doesn't have to do with "accepting that God exists with no evidence". Faith is about what you do once you realize that the existence of God is an inescapable conclusion of rational thought. What do you do once you realize that He exists and is conscious of us? You have to go beyond the impersonal, and engage, interact. Here's where prayer, the liturgical life and spiritual exercises come into play.

    Unlike conversion, faith isn't a one-time historical event, it's a daily effort on one's part to drive one's thoughts towards the infinite and the ultimate cause of everything. This requires individual effort, but it is not an individual venture. One has the entire tradition and life of the Church to guide you: selfless persons who dedicated their lives to help people like you and me.

    Here's how Feser, in his "Last Superstition" book, describes the various ways of conceiving of God:

    >To understand what serious religious thinkers do believe, we might usefully distinguish five gradations in one’s conception of God:

    >1. God is literally an old man with a white beard, a kind if stern wizard-like being with very human thoughts and motivations who lives in a place called Heaven, which is like the places we know except for being very far away and impossible to get to except through magical means.

    >2. God doesn’t really have a bodily form, and his thoughts and motivations are in many respects very different from ours. He is an immaterial object or substance which has existed forever, and (perhaps) pervades all space. Still, he is, somehow, a person like we are, only vastly more intelligent, powerful, and virtuous, and in particular without our physical and moral limitations. He made the world the way a carpenter builds a house, as an independent object that would carry on even if he were to “go away” from it, but he nevertheless may decide to intervene in its operations from time to time.

    >3. God is not an object or substance alongside other objects or substances in the world; rather, He is pure being or existence itself, utterly distinct from the world of time, space, and things, underlying and maintaining them in being at every moment, and apart from whose ongoing conserving action they would be instantly annihilated. The world is not an independent object in the sense of something that might carry on if God were to “go away”; it is more like the music produced by a musician, which exists only when he plays and vanishes the moment he stops. None of the concepts we apply to things in the world, including to ourselves, apply to God in anything but an analogous sense. Hence, for example, we may say that God is “personal” insofar as He is not less than a person, the way an animal is less than a person. But God is not literally “a person” in the sense of being one individual thing among others who reasons, chooses, has moral obligations, etc. Such concepts make no sense when literally applied to God.

    >4. God as understood by someone who has had a mystical experience of the sort Aquinas had.

    >5. God as Aquinas knows Him now, i.e. as known in the beatific vision attained by the blessed after death.

    What I've been talking about is at #3. Atheists and creationists are debating #1 and #2. #4 is a gift to be accorded by grace, and is what people strive for in their spiritual life. #5 is the ultimate goal of the Christian life.
u/_angel · 1 pointr/Psychonaut

This? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qigong

I've never heard of it before. Nifty!

You can start with mindfulness meditation. Try doing it constantly while you're doing your every day automated chores, like dressing, cleaning, teeth brushing, driving, shopping, and other tasks that don't take up much mental horsepower.

Lightly watch your breathing. Don't alter it, just try to concentrate on it without changing subjects in your mind. Watch what you're doing in the moment. Don't think about what you're going to do an hour from now, or tomorrow, or next week. Don't think about yesterday. Don't think at all, just be in the now. It is a pain in the ass to do and can take months to years of practice, but it will lower the ADHD type tendencies. The more you do it the more you'll be able to concentrate on one thing at a time without jumping around and losing track of what is going on.

The autism stuff can be more beneficial than it is not imho. However, it has to be coupled with the sponge personality type imho. When I say sponge personality type I mean the type of personality that loves to learn new things constantly. They are reading text books, studying new things, reading wikipedia, and doing a bunch of intellectual things all day. They have fun learning new things. People who are autistic tend to love to solve puzzles and figure things out, so that knowledge draw can turn into intellect and then intelligence if you try to figure out how something works. It isn't just pulling in knowledge but putting yourself in an imaginary real world situation where you'd have to use that knowledge. For me this means making programs which is puzzle solving, and recently a lot of psychology and neuroscience stuff. I love figuring out how my own brain works and how I can utilize it in ways the average person can't. I mentioned the book Prometheus Rising the other day as it is all about how to utilize the brain in ways the average person can't do without that unlocked mental horsepower from meditation, types of sex, yoga, tripping, or a near death experience. A friend of mine who is similar has been looking up a lot of crazy math and quantum physics stuff. I think he was reading GEB. A Strange Loop is like a non crazy math nerd explanation of the same thing. I haven't read it yet, but it is on my to do list. MIT has a class under it, but personally I'd rather just read the book. Another friend of mine has been doing a lot of random chemistry work as that is another form of puzzle solving I'd suspect.

The idea is to find a subject you really enjoy and chase it to its extreme. Start at the beginning, even elementary level stuff, and then keep going until the masters degree level, and then the research level, and just keep moving towards figuring more and more out about that type of subject.

The best part is adult ADD has a hole in it. It makes one super interested in something they would normally be interested in, and not much else. It allows for you to find a drive and carry it out beyond the average person. This often involves digging around a bunch of stuff that you wouldn't normally be interested in to see if you bump into something you end up being interested in but didn't realize.

If you want to try enjoying some of the stuff I like, I highly recommend checking out programming. It depends what you want to do, before you choose what to learn. Me, I enjoyed automating tasks in the past. I was tired of having to download all the TV shows and movies I watch, so I decided to write a program that automatically does it and goes above and beyond any previous made software I could download. Then I moved into AI coding and data organization when I started writing bots that collected information which I found fun. shrugs

My boyfriend who isn't crazy interested in figuring things out started playing with an Adriano a couple of weeks ago. He got an LCD and a bunch of stuff and made a little robot thing. I'm thinking about taking some of his stuff and making a system that detects the BPM in music, and then has rerecorded light patterns I can flick through and then I'm going to make a jacket with EL wire in it that lights up for stuff like Burning Man.

There is so much you can do. There is more information in one day on this planet than you can obtain in your entire life. There is an infinite level of things to play with. It really is fun.

So, I recommend trying things differently. Not finding things to do, just to do them, but finding things to figure out and discover like a puzzle. The world is a playground and your mind is the player. It is just how you choose to approach it.

However, I admit a personality change is extremely hard to do. You'd have to force yourself for months to years before falling into it. However, if you get good at meditation and learn how you can reprogram your subconscious in such a way that allows you to alter your personality without forcing it. Everything would come out natural as if you had always already been that way. Explaining that is a pain. Prometheus rising explains how it is possible and asks you to open your mind to it. I can tell you with absolute certainty it is possible, but learning what it is is the first step. Once you figure that out the next steps are much easier. Feel free to PM me in the future if you want help with this, but please start with the book, or some other knowledge gain.

u/oldmajar · 39 pointsr/AsianMasculinity

Sorry brotha, but I can't allow you to do this. I'm not going to sit here and drop the usual cliche on how you can improve your life. I'm sure you heard it all before. I can only tell you that I know how you feel. My whole life I have been battling with mental health problems because of a fucked up childhood. I was only a kid when I first tried to end my life. I could never dream of a day where things would have gotten better for me.. but it did. There's no cookie-cutter solution I can give you that would immediately improve your life. We are all different and your particular outlook on life is a product of your own life experiences.

I know though my own experiences and interacting with others who were contemplating suicide that the main source of our angst is our own toxic mindset and loneliness. There is nothing wrong with you. Just to put it into context, if you were the same person you are now, but surrounded by many who adored and loved you, your outlook on life and yourself would be drastically different. In a way your validation of yourself and your life comes externally instead of from within. Because your life is void of many elements that you believe is needed to constitute a satisfying life you have come to the conclusion that it is not worth living.

If you believe race is a major contributor to your misery than remove race as a factor. Move to an Asian enclave where you are the majority and no one would give a second thought about your race.

If your dead end job is reinforcing this perception of yourself of being a person of little value than find something that will give you fulfillment. It doesn't have to be something that brings you a shitload of money, but just something that you can be proud of or you enjoy doing. Heck, if you're seriously thinking about ending your life, go balls to the wall and start your own business on the side! It can be anything that you have interest in. With outsourcing (cheap labor), cloud, and the wealth of information online, you can start many businesses without much capital. At my gf's workplace there's this doctor who didn't become one until he was 45. It's never too late to pursue whatever you want if you have the drive and willingness.

If past failed dating experiences have jaded your views on relationship than replace it with new experiences. The truth is, most of us have had bad experiences at one time or another. Most people in general make shitty partners. But don't let a few rotten apples prevent you from hopping on the horse and trying again. Download every dating apps you can think of, go on those dating meetups, or do whatever you have to do get your tip wet or find that true love if that's what you're looking for. There are just as many women out there who are single and nearing middle age/30s+ that are in desperate need of loving. For women it's even more difficult being single when you start getting older. Worst comes to worst, tap into the divorcee pool and get yourself a heartbroken hunny looking for a rebound.

If you have few close friends than it's time to make some more by opening yourself up and actively seeking some. A solid homie is not just going to pop up in your life. Good friends are hard to come by and takes work like any relationship. What are your interests or hobbies? It's easier to make friends when you have a common interest. There's a meetup, convention, local chapter, etc. for everything you can possibly conceive of. If being Asian is a big part of your identity and life, go join an Asian org or asian club sports team at your local community center. There's leagues for every age range, so you can find others similar to yourself. Once you graduate college, it's difficult for most to make new meaningful friendship. You're going to have to put in the effort. Finding that bromance is no different than find a great woman.

Ultimately, you don't have to be different to belong. You just have to find your place. For some it comes easy and natural, for others we have to work for it. The moment you adopt a defeatist attitude is the day you pretty much accepted that life is unfair and hard but it's not within your control to dictate. We both know that's not true. Yes, your cards may be stacked against you. Yes, being Asian is like playing hardcore mode in America, but it's not impossible. All you have to do is get more skilled at playing the game of life.

Ask yourself what you really want out of life. Make a list of short term/long term goals, things you want do, see, accomplish however big or small. Having a direction in life and something to work towards is very important because it gives our lives meaning.

And all it really takes is one person to really change our lives around. Whether it is yourself after finding that self-empowerment or through another, don't lose hope until the very end. We become discontent with our lives when our lives become stagnant. Progress is important. Keep working on yourself, read and watch a shitload of self-help books and videos. Start caring less about what other people think. Put yourself out there. Open yourself up to the world. Take risks. And after all this if you still feel the same than at least you have the satisfaction knowing that you didn't leave one rock left unturned and you lived your life to the fullest.

I recommend this book to you. It can help you on adopting a new outlook on life and replacing it with your current toxic views: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Buddhas-Teaching-Transforming-Liberation/dp/0767903692/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1482592780&sr=8-3&keywords=buddhism

You deserve to be happy. You have to let yourself. Happiness is a state of mind. It truly is. Buddhist monks in Bhutan are considered the happiest in the world, yet they have none of the things you speak of. It's like if you took an exam for class that was hard af, and you just found out you aced it. Immediately, your whole day starts looking brighter and everything starts going your way. The exam itself did not give you the feeling of happiness or your newfound positive outlook on life, it's just a meaningless piece of paper.. you did. You created that sensation, that release of hormones, by perceiving things in a more positive lens. You have to become aware that your perception and reality is not actually reality. It is a sum of your own bias life experiences and exposures. Keep fighting for the life you want. We're all rooting for you brotha!

u/In1micus · 2 pointsr/stopdrinking

An old guy who lived in China has a great answer for this question:

>Meet the ancestral teachers, be familiar with their instruction

Song of the Grass-Roof Hermitage - translation by Daniel Leighton

Basically, learn from other people. The Zen teachings are based on the writings of masters going back to the 5th century. However, these writings aren't particularly accessible. Luckily, we are currently living through an explosion of Buddhism in the west and there are many teachers that explain these ancient concepts in a manner that westerners can understand easily.

Here are some recommendations for entry level, western-targeted Zen books:

>Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind - Shunryu Suzuki

Suzuki Roshi was one of the earliest Zen masters to immigrate to the United States back in the 1960's. His teachings are very simple and fundamental. He gets at the very heart of Zen in a concise, plain manner. This book is a collection of transcribed Dharma talks he gave in California during the 60's. It is likely the most well known book on Zen in the west. It is short and clearly written, making it one of the best places to start learning about Zen.

> The Miracle of Mindfulness - Tich Nhat Hanh

Tich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen monk. He has been a huge contributor to the spread of Zen in the west. He has established practice centers in France, New York, California, Mississippi, and Germany. This book is a practical guide to bringing Zen practice into your life. He offers a lot of analogies that make you take a step back and think about the way you live your life. Another short and accessible book.

> Inside the Grass Hut - Ben Connelly

Ben was my guitar teacher for many years before he introduced me to Zen. He is a Zen priest in the lineage of Dainin Katagiri, the founding abbot of the Minnesota Zen Mediation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This book is a study of the poem I have linked and quoted above, The Song of the Grass-Roof Hermitage by the 8th century Zen master Shitou. It was extremely useful book for me when I was at my darkest point. Ben distills Shitou's somewhat arcane parables into a simple, practical set of recommendations for living a life that will free you of suffering. Ben offers a lot of insight into incorporating Zen practice into a modern lifestyle. Like the other two, it also short and easy to read. This is a great introduction to what a lot of historic Zen writing is like. I think it is a particularly useful book for people struggling with addiction. Ben had some trouble with alcohol himself and I believe he is 10+ years sober.

Those are some great places to start, but you can read all the books you want about Zen and not get the picture if you don't meditate. Meditation is the foundation of Zen and all of Buddhist practice. The great thing about meditation is that you can do it on your own just about anywhere. The Miracle of Mindfulness gives a good description of how to meditate. There are also plenty of free resources available online. There are many ways to meditate and it is best to find one that works for you.

A daily mediation habit is not an easy thing to develop. Similar to abstinence, it takes discipline and commitment. I still struggle with it myself. It is, however, the best way to fully realize the benefits of Zen. Some things that might help with this is to find a Sangha to practice with or download an app like Headspace. Having a community to practice with has been the biggest help in getting me on the zafu. Doing something with other people makes it easier to do, a little bit like how this subreddit works. Headspace is really popular, although I have not used it myself. It can be used to track mediation sessions and work towards mediation goals. The app that I have found useful is MindBell, but really it's just a glorified timer. The last thing I would recommend are the guided meditations by Jon Kabat Zinn. JKZ is a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and has conducted many clinical studies on the benefits of mindfulness in medicine and healthcare. He is a long time practitioner of Zen and has written several books about his work. I haven't read much of his work, but I have utilized his guided meditations extensively. I particularly like this body scan one. Even when I was at my most depressed and couldn't find the strength to get out of bed, I was able to get myself to queue this video up and follow along. There are a lot of other guided meditations floating around the web. I also like this one by Sam Harris that's only 9 minutes.

Zen is not necessarily an easy thing to get involved in. It requires a commitment of time and it is not particularly fun or pleasurable. However, any level of Zen practice will produce concrete rewards. If you have any question, I am always available for answers.

u/Leemour · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

Welp, if you go on /r/Buddhism there are tons of resources and plenty of helpful folks there who don't judge and are really just there to help you with receiving teachings (either life advice, centers nearby, clarity of teachings).
>I've had a lot of past trauma, and I'm afraid of what my mind has in store for me if I let it go for just a second. :/

With the right practice these things will heal naturally. I mean if it's not serious and you believe you can overcome it yourself, meditation (when it's taught to you the right way) can help you as much as therapy, because they are the same thing in practice.

I'm not suggesting that you should try to cure, idk, schizophrenia with meditation, but it does alleviate a lot more than you expect.
>The closest Meditation Center is 3 hours away (and has one star fwiw). I have been to one I really liked, that it was still an hour and a half away and very expensive. There are meditation groups in my area, could you give me some keywords to look for?

Depending on the tradition there are many archives on the internet. Most of them are listed on /r/Buddhism and you can just leave a post there if you need advice from someone who lives in the area. I live in Europe, so I'm afraid I can't help.

Typically these are called meditation centers, dharmacenters or Buddhist centers (it really depends on the fantasy of those who run it); I'd actually encourage to also try to maybe just go on a retreat. On retreats you basically take vows that will limit your mundane interactions with the world and you'll spend about a week (10 days are the shortest AFAIK) just meditating and reading. That will give you the basics in the most auspicious way.
>Also, I've been researching Buddhism lately, and I'm quite interested. If you have any books or podcasts to recommend to a newbie, I would really appreciate it. :)

I think, What the Buddha Taught is a great starter book. You can probably get this free somewhere if you look hard enough. After reading the book any question you have can probably be only answer from the standpoint of one tradition, because many things are explained differently and the more popular traditions like Tibetan or Chinese or Japanese Buddhism (Mahayana and Vajrayana schools) also tend to introduce just a lot more concepts that IME has confused lots of people out there. I myself stick to the "orthodox" school, Theravada. It's often looked down upon because "it's bone dry" some might say, but IMO, you don't need more. It explains the basics and foundations clearly and gives you the freedom to find your own way in meditation.

With that being said, I can mostly just speak for my tradition. There are various great teachers out there, like Ajahn Brahm (he is very pleasant, humorous, engaging and carefree about his teachings), Bhikkhu Bodhi (technical, well-spoken, a bit rigid in his ways but he writes eloquent essays about the doctrines), Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu (mostly talks about meditation and its benefits when done regularly; lots of online guided meditations)

Make sure to ask on the sub for some centers and options in the area.

Also, don't be afraid of meditation. You'll realize eventually, that that is the only solid thing you have in this life and that the Buddha's "teachings" are essentially just insights gained from meditation and not some superficial doctrine.

Good luck and I sincerely hope you find happiness.

u/NukeThePope · 35 pointsr/atheism

Hi there, and thank you for your trust!

It sounds like your boyfriend is going about this a bit insensitively. Logical arguments are OK for debates, when both sides do it for the intellectual challenge. It's not humane to tear a person's world view out from under them when they're unprepared for it and a captive audience. I'm sure he means well and wants you to be closer to him, but he's being a bit of a caveman about it. Don't be mad at him, but tell him you think you'll be better off if you do your own information seeking, at your own pace. Ask him to have the patience and the trust to let you educate yourself. If he really cares for you, he should be fine with this: It may even be taking a burden off his shoulders.

I think there are some things you can consider and think about that will put things into focus and make this mess seem less of a problem.

Do you remember that song by Elton John Sting? "I hope the Russians love their children too."

Consider, first, some family in Tibet. Mom and dad live in a simple hut, doing some farming or whatever Tibetans do, and they have a bunch of children. They work hard to feed the family, and in the evening when they get together for supper they talk and smile and laugh a lot. They hug their children, they care for them when they're sick. They observe some kind of religious rituals, though they've probably never heard of Jesus. When a neighbor has a problem, they help them out. When someone dies, they mourn their passing and wish them a happy afterlife. Apart from the fact that they look Asian, they're people just like you, and they're good people. They have similar hopes and fears, they have stories to share and comfort them, and so forth. Two thirds of the world's people don't believe in Jesus, yet they're humans just like you and mostly decent people, just like your neighbors. Do you think they're all going to hell? Do you think they're paralyzed by their distance from your god, from their fear of death? No. Forget what religion these folks are, they're human.

Atheists are just a special case of those "other" humans. They believe in even less "other-worldly" stuff than the folks in Tibet do. Yet you probably meet atheists on the street every day. Some of them greet you and smile, most of them would help you if you had a problem and they were around. Atheists are not like vampires: They're not evil, they don't have to stay out of God's sunlight, and they don't burn up in churches and from contact with holy water ;)

Atheists have stories too, about the creation of the universe, which is really awesomely huge and inspiring. About the struggle of life to evolve to the fine humans we are today. About the many important achievements humans have made in their short time of being intelligent and basically masters of the world.

Rather than wrenching at your faith, I suggest you take a look at other cultures and religions for a bit. Consider that there humans out there who think other things than you, yet manage to be good people and lead happy lives. I'm almost embarrassed enough to delete my sappy paragraph about the Tibetan family, but I'll leave it in there to let you know what I'm getting at.

Then, inhale a bit of science. Go to church if you feel you need to, but also listen to videos by Carl Sagan. Get an appreciation for the wonders of the universe and of nature here on our planet. It's a rich and wonderful world out there. There is so much to see, to learn! Some people are in awe of God for producing all this; but you can just as easily be in awe of nature, of the intricate mechanisms that brought all this about without anyone taking a hand in it.

More stuff on nature and evolution can be learned, more or less gently, from Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth. Get your boyfriend to buy it for you! But stay away from The God Delusion. While Dawkins is thoughtful and sensible, you don't want him telling you about how bad your god is - at least not right away.

A thought from me about a metaphor for God. Training wheels! You know how you have those wheels on your bike to keep it from tipping over as you're starting out? And how, once you've learned to keep your cycle straight, those training wheels are no longer really doing anything any more? That's God. It's comforting to feel that God is behind you in everything you do, it gives you strength and confidence. But everything you've achieved... that was you! You're standing up straight and doing fine, God is the training wheels you don't really need. On the other hand, I'm not going to say he really, truly absolutely isn't there. If you want him to be there, let him be there. Your BF will just have to put up with him for a while longer as you outgrow your training wheels.

Finally, about death: The good news is, it's not nearly the problem you think it is. There's a statistic that says, devout Christians are more than three times as likely, in their final week, to demand aggressive life-extending treatment than atheists. In English: Christians are more scared of dying than atheists are. You'd think that with heaven waiting, they'd be anxious to go! Actually, their religion -your religion- is telling them a comforting lie, letting them stick their heads in the sand all their lives. At the end, they panic because they're not sure what they believe is true. And they struggle for every minute of life.

I was religious once, and I had the "fear of death" phase, as many other atheists here report. You know what? I got over it. I confronted the idea, wrapped my head around it, got over it... and I've been completely unworried about death ever since. You'll get other people quoting Mark Twain for you here: About death being the same as the state you were in before you were born, and that didn't inconvenience you either, did it? Seriously, while I worry that my death may be painful or unpleasant, being dead is something I almost look forward to. It's like the long vacation I've always been meaning to take.

Well, I don't know if that will convince you, but... other people have been there too, and it turns out not to be the horrible problem you think it is. Things will be fine! Just allow yourself some time, and remind your BF to not be pushy about things. You can keep a spare room for when God comes to visit, but don't be surprised if that room turns out to fill up with other junk you're throwing out ;)

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/exchristian

Let me first say this: you are an amazing and incredibly courageous woman! There are two things I have found to be the most important in life. A life without them is one stripped of its humanity and flavor. Indeed, people have died for them, fought for them and spent countless lifetimes seeking them;and rightly so for they are freedom and truth. I left my religion because I would not be a slave to any man, clergy or capricious deity. I left because I would not rest my entire existence on an iron age book that was obviously a lie. I valued my freedom and my quest for truth more than the love that my family had for me, more than my friends and my security. For finding the strength, the courage and above all the love of humanity to do the same...I want you to know that you deserve respect.

I can definitely sympathize with the non-christian culture problem. Think about it this way: you are on a great adventure. For the first time in your life, you have been given the chance to discover what it truly means to be YOU (free of cavemen superstitions and guilt of being human). As hardcore Christians we were taught that everything about us is just that-christian. That is not true! We still have our own personal preferences, personalities and tastes. The mistake that people make is to assume that, because they are no longer Christians, they are sorority material and going clubbing every weekend is their cup of tea. So be yourself, surround yourself with people who will love you for it and most importantly: don't be afraid to tell your story. Stories are the foundation of identity and having one is essential to being human. The next time you are completely lost in a conversation, don't be scared to say why. Doing so will not only help the other person connect with you on a deeper level, it will also help you gain more self acceptance. Sure, maybe the sexy quarterback won't want you anymore. But do you really want people in your life who would turn their backs on you, if only they knew ye? Don't worry about it too much though. In time, you will be surprised by how much of a non-christian you have become.

Your mother may no longer be with you but she lives on through your memories and her legacy to the family she cherished and to the world she lived in. I think it is more respectful and humane to celebrate who she was and what she accomplished than to constantly spend that time feeding the false hope of seeing her again. I am sorry if I sound too rude but I could not find a better way to say it. When all the chips are down, your family may no longer want you. I can feel the pain that brings as I write this. However, its would be their loss and not yours. You can surround your life with people who love you and support you despite not being blood relatives-isn't that what family is all about? And should you feel so inclined, you can make your own family and have children that you will "love no matter what (parenting 101)".

Lastly, you do not need to worry about burning in hell, trust me. Better still, don't trust me and pick up three books I strongly recommend: [Godless] (http://www.amazon.com/Godless-Evangelical-Preacher-Americas-Atheists/dp/1569756775) ,[Letter to a christian nation] (http://www.amazon.com/Letter-Christian-Nation-Sam-Harris/dp/0307278778/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427723744&sr=1-1&keywords=letter+to+a+christian+nation) and [God is not great] (http://www.amazon.com/God-Not-Great-Religion-Everything/dp/0446697966/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427723824&sr=1-1&keywords=god+is+not+great) . Before you do that ask yourself: if you went to heaven, would you trust yourself to have a good time knowing that good people are being tortured FOREVER? Why? Because they didn't believe in a god that did everything he could to hide from us. Or maybe they mistakenly believed in the wrong one?

As for my story. Well, I was raised in a christian fundamentalist cult. Being LGBT certainly didn't help and all in all, it would probably make you cry. You don't need to cry right now, you need to be happy because from now on you will forever be free of the superstitions of ancient cavemen (85% of the world still isn't). You are free to own your own mind, your body and your soul -just kidding, nobody has one-you are truly free (pause a moment and realize what that means) and the prototype for the next step in the evolution of the homo sapiens mindset. I am sure there are far more cheerful stories here on Reddit.

u/byrd_nick · 2 pointsr/philosophy

Overview of the Week's Blog Posts

>Skepticism about free will has become ever more prominent. If one browses the popular science section of any large bookshop or flicks through recent popular science magazines, one is likely to come across some books or articles arguing that free will is an illusion: a left-over from an outmoded, pre-scientific way of thinking that has no place in modern science. The authors typically cite some influential neuroscientific studies that appear to undermine the idea of free will by showing that human actions are caused not by our intentional mental states, but by physical processes in the brain and body. More broadly, if everything in the universe is governed by the laws of physics, and our actions are part of that universe, then how could those actions be free? This line of reasoning, in turn, puts pressure on our traditional notions of responsibility. How could it make sense to hold anyone responsible for their actions if those actions weren’t done out of this person’s own free will?
>Such skepticism about free will is not yet the mainstream view among the general public. Nor is it the mainstream view among academic philosophers, the majority of whom are “free-will compatibilists”: proponents of the thesis that free will – perhaps after some definitional tweaking – is compatible with a law-governed, even deterministic universe. But free-will skepticism is on the rise, as illustrated by Sam Harris’s best-selling book, Free Will (2012). Many free-will skeptics have a noble moral motive, alongside their scientific motivation: they find the present criminal justice systems in many countries unjust and wish to argue for criminal justice reform. But one can certainly agree on the need for an overhaul of our criminal justice systems and advocate a more rehabilitative and less retributivist approach, while still thinking that it is a philosophical mistake to throw the notion of free will out of the window. Moreover, the idea of free will is central to our human self-understanding as agents, independently of its relevance to criminal justice. How, for instance, could we genuinely deliberate about which course of action to take – say, when we choose a job, a partner, or a political cause we wish to endorse – if we didn’t take ourselves to be free in making this choice?
>In my book, Why Free Will is Real (Harvard University Press, 2019), I offer a new defence of free will against the growing skepticism. Crucially, I do not proceed by denying science or watering down the definition of free will. Rather, my aim is to show that if we understand the lessons of a scientific worldview correctly, the idea of free will – in a fairly robust sense – is not just consistent with such a worldview but supported by it. In short, I argue that there is a naturalistic case for free will.
>In this series of blog posts, I will first describe what I take to be the main challenges for free will from a scientifically informed perspective and then explain what my strategy is for answering those challenges. And I will illustrate this strategy by zooming in on the most widely discussed challenge, namely the challenge from determinism. Of course, I will only be able to sketch some key ideas relatively informally; more detailed and precise arguments can be found in the book itself, as well as in some of my earlier articles (available on my webpage).

The Rest of the Blog Post(s)

Use the link from the OP to find the rest of the blog post summarized above as well as the remaining blog posts from Christian List throughout the week.

The Podcast Version

You can listen to Christian List discuss their book Why Free Will Is Real on the New Books in Philosophy podcast here: https://newbooksnetwork.com/christian-list-why-free-will-is-real-harvard-up-2019/

u/Olliebobs · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

First off, great contest! This is making be realize how much there is in my life to be grateful for. I won't be TOO obnoxious, but I'll name a few.

  1. My parents: They are incredibly supportive and always there when I need them. I'm truly SO lucky to have them in my life.

  2. My dog: Because he makes me feel SO loved. It doesn't matter if I went outside for 5 minutes or if I have been gone for 3 months he always greets me like he hasn't seen me in years and is so glad that I returned. A dogs love is something everyone should experience, imo.

  3. My boyfriend (/u/pendragone01): Because he makes me feel like the prettiest girl in the world and puts up with my craziness even when I wouldn't want to be around me. True love!

  4. My best friend: Because even when we are miles apart, haven't seen each other in months, and haven't talked in days nothing changes between us we are still the best friends ever! I couldn't ask for a better friendship.

  5. Coffee: Because of that warm, happy feeling it gives me whenever I drink it.

  6. My nephew: Because he reminds me that anything is possible in life no matter if you are 2 or 22! And he makes me laugh because a 2 year old is A LOT like a drunk 22 year old.

    Under $15

    Under $10
u/NaveenMohamed · 2 pointsr/conspiracy

The Qu'ran says:

> "They are not [all] the same; among the People of the Scripture [Jews and Christians] is a community standing [in obedience], reciting the verses of Allah during periods of the night and prostrating [in prayer].

> "They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous.

> "And whatever good they do - never will it be removed from them. And Allah is Knowing of the righteous."

—Al-Qur'an Al-Kareem (The Noble Recitation), Surah (Chapter) 3, Ali 'Imran (The Family of 'Imran): ayat (verses) 113-115:

> "And there are, certainly, among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), those who believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah. They do not sell the Verses of Allah for a little price, for them is a reward with their Lord. Surely, Allah is Swift in account."

—Al-Qur'an Al-Kareem (The Noble Recitation), Surah (Chapter) 3, Ali 'Imran (The Family of 'Imran): ayah (verse) 199:

However, Allah ("the God [of the Prophet Abraham]") also warns in the Qur'an those who believe in a trinity, or who say that Jesus, upon whom there is peace, is the son of God, or who offer prayers to the Virgin Mary, may Allah be pleased with her, or who take saints as people to be worshipped:

> "O People of the Book! Do not go to extremes regarding your faith; say nothing about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was no more than a messenger of Allah and the fulfilment of His Word through Mary and a spirit created by a command from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers and do not say, 'Trinity.' Stop!—for your own good. Allah is only One God. Glory be to Him! He is far above having a son! To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And Allah is sufficient as a Trustee of Affairs."

—Surah (Chapter) 4 of al-Quran al-Kareem (the Noble Recitation) - An-Nisa (The Women), ayah (verse) 171

> "They have certainly disbelieved who say, 'Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary' while the Messiah has said, 'O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.' Indeed, he who associates others with Allah - Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers.

> "They have certainly disbelieved who say, 'Allah is the third of three.' And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.

> "So will they not repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

> "The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.

> "Say, 'Do you worship besides Allah that which holds for you no [power of] harm or benefit while it is Allah who is the Hearing, the Knowing?'

> "Say, 'O People of the Scripture, do not exceed limits in your religion beyond the truth and do not follow the inclinations of a people who had gone astray before and misled many and have strayed from the soundness of the way.'

> "Cursed were those who disbelieved among the Children of Israel by the tongue of David and of Jesus, the son of Mary. That was because they disobeyed and [habitually] transgressed.

> "They used not to prevent one another from wrongdoing that they did. How wretched was that which they were doing.

> "You see many of them becoming allies of those who disbelieved. How wretched is that which they have put forth for themselves in that Allah has become angry with them, and in the punishment they will abide eternally.

> And if they had believed in Allah and the Prophet and in what was revealed to him, they would not have taken them as allies; but many of them are defiantly disobedient.

> You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah ; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, 'We are Christians.' That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.

> "And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth. They say, 'Our Lord, we have believed, so register us among the witnesses.

> "'And why should we not believe in Allah and what has come to us of the truth? And we aspire that our Lord will admit us [to Paradise] with the righteous people.'

> "So Allah rewarded them for what they said with gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. And that is the reward of doers of good.

> "But those who disbelieved and denied Our signs - they are the companions of Hellfire."

—Surah (Chapter) 5 of the Noble Quran (Recitation) - Al-Ma'idah (The Table Spread), ayat (verses) 72-86

> "And they say, 'The Most Merciful has taken [for Himself] a son.'

> "You have done an atrocious thing.

> "The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation

> "That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son.

> "And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son.

> "There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant."

—Surah (Chapter) 19 of al-Quran al-Kareem (the Noble Recitation) - Maryam (The Virgin Mary), ayat (verses) 88-93

> "Indeed, the example of Jesus in the sight of Allah is like that of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him, 'Be!' And he was!"

—Surah (Chapter) 3 of the Noble Quran (Recitation) - Ali 'Imran (The Family of 'Imran), ayah (verse) 59

> "[All] praise is [due] to Allah, who has sent down upon His Servant the Book and has not made therein any deviance.

> "[He has made it] straight, to warn of severe punishment from Him and to give good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a good reward

> "In which they will remain forever

> "And to warn those who say, 'Allah has taken a son.'

> "They have no knowledge of it, nor had their fathers. Grave is the word that comes out of their mouths; they speak not except a lie."

—Surah (Chapter) 18 of the Noble Quran (Recitation) - Al-Kahf (The Cave), ayat (verses) 1-5

There are so many more instances of this topic being explained in the Qur'an. I suggest reading it for oneself and then deciding whether or not one believes it to truly be the word of God. This is the first one I ever purchased, and I found the footnotes it has that explain the historical context of some verses very beneficial: https://www.amazon.com/Quran-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/0199535957/

u/srosorcxisto · 31 pointsr/satanism

A good place to start is the sub’s sticky, followed by the Satanic Bible if you want to dig deeper. We are Egoists as well as atheists. Since we believe that all gods are the product of man’s mind, and that rational self-interest is the foundation of morality, it follows that if we are going to make up a fictitious god as a metaphor, the god that best serves that paradigm is ourselves. We do not believe that we are literal gods (as in the supernatural type), but rather use that symbolism as a tool to aid in decision making. If everyone puts themselves first, everyone is better off.

>“All religions of a spiritual nature are inventions of man. He has created an entire system of gods with nothing more than his carnal brain. Just because he has an ego, and cannot accept it, he has to externalize it into some great spiritual device which he calls ‘God.’

>God can do all the things man is forbidden to do—such as kill people, perform miracles to gratify his will, control without any apparent responsibility, etc. If man needs such a god and recognizes that god, then he is worshipping an entity that a human being invented. Therefore, HE IS WORSHIPPING BY PROXY THE MAN THAT INVENTED GOD. Is it not more sensible to worship a god that he, himself, has created, in accordance with his own emotional needs—one that best represents the very carnal and physical being that has the idea‐power to invent a god in the first place?” -- The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey

As far as ethics, we subscribe to the idea that each individual acting in their rational self-interests will also lead to the best outcomes on a societal scale. For more information on the ideas of rational egoism, I suggest the works of Stirner (or Rand if you want the pop-culture version).

It is also often missed that man is a social animal and empathy is part of the human condition. For most, in addition to the practical benefits of benevolent (but not altruistic) behavior, there is also happiness to be found in compassion towards the deserving.

As an example, I give to charities that I feel are helpful to the society (I just sent a donation to ProjectPrevention) which I live in (benevolence to others as a practical act) and to some specific causes simply because I derive pleasure from helping those causes like the Shire Free Churche’s Hope Project (compassion to satisfy my own ego). In both of these cases I am helping others for purely selfish reasons.

Likewise, inflicting harm on others (without their consent) usually does not bring happiness to most people. For those that do like to cause unnecessary harm, that behavior is tempered by the vast majority of people who do not want to live in that type of society. Morality is determined by the individual, but still subject to judgment by others; if someone believes they have a right to steal, they will not get far before running into a well-armed someone else that disagrees. We do believe in Law and Order as well as the individual’s right to self-defense and retribution. Criminal acts are not tolerated by Satanism.

Edit: Typos, sources, links and clarity

u/Darth_Face2021 · 2 pointsr/atheism

I find from reading the comments you seem to be getting a lot of flak for various things. I think part of it may be your insistence on labeling positions as worldviews. I don't think it is necessarily wrong, but the word carries some baggage that may be implying more than you intent, or more than others would wish to be labeled with. While labels can be useful for quickly describing a position you or someone else may hold, be certain to know of the variations and try to attach specific answers to specific questions that underly labels, and to make sure you have specific definitions as well (i.e. Q: Do you believe in God? A: Generally no, but it would help if you could define God, as I can't say if I believe in something that I can't define or describe).

>Atheism is not a stance, not really. Atheists do not believe in anything

I think I can see what you mean here but be really careful with -ists and -isms. Atheism being a stance or not a stance is very much in how someone views themselves. One can be a "strong atheist", as it has been put, and actively believe and assert that there is no God, god, gods, godesses or supernatural beings (which is the term I will stick with), or one can be a looser form of agnostic atheist. There are many who would even say that, regardless of what agnostics say, they are in fact atheists because atheism, being not the opposite but the negaitve of theism (a- theism) is the lack of belief in supreme supernatural beings (this includes Penn Jillette, as he mentions this view in his book "God No!). So I think the error you made here is saying Athiest do not believe in anything, as that is not true. I call myself an Atheist (or Real Big Atheist; mild or moderate anti-theist; Ignostic Agnostic Atheist; etc) but I believe in lots of things. I believe I am sitting in a chair while I write this. What I think you meant to say was Atheism does not imply a belief in something. Under any definition it is either the lack of belief or belief that another belief is false, it is not a statement on the existence of a thing.

>Anti-Theism, on the other hand, IS a worldview.

Again, worldview is a risky word to use as it suggests that there is larger over-arching position to it. I would call secular humanism a worldview, but I don't know if I would call anti-theism a worldview (and there are secular humanists who would see themselves as anti-theist and some who wouldn't). I would be more tempted to call it a position. Regardless of semantics, I think anti-theism is easier to define. Anti-theism is the opposition to theism. Simple. Theism being the belief in one or more gods (Theos), and thus being anti that.

On anti-theism, I agree with you, but I find anti-theism is subservient to a larger desire for truth. As has been argued below, theism can be used for good or bad. People could be motivated to work harder for Dear Leader, and improve life for us all. If theism is not true though, then can we truly consider that an appropriate course of action? In doing so we would subvert informed consent, and undermine the freedom of a person live their own lives and to choose their own beliefs. However, I have never been shown a case where theism was used where a non-supernatural alternative could be used. The teaching of philosophy to elementary students has shown be very useful for improving not just academic outcomes, but also social outcomes 1. Here is the group that published that document, there are many more on their resources page.

The above paragraph completely ignores any harm that may come from religion, and I do that intentionally. If a given religion is true, then extreme measures can be justifiable if you are preventing someone from enduring annihilation or eternal torture. Utilitarian defenses of religion can only be relevant if they are false. However, if they are false, then any harm that comes along is thus completely unjustifiable unless the benefits outweigh them AND you are willing to admit that truth is not intrinsically valuable. The first constraint is difficult to measure, and does not seem to add up, especially when considering that magical thinking can overlap into other areas, and thus a firm belief in the supernatural (as opposed to an allowance of the possibility, or a thought experiment) could be a hindrance to honest political or philosophical discourse, and technological progress. I prefer discussing religion and supernatural beliefs in an epistemological framework, epistemology being the philosophical study of knowledge, or how we know what we know. While I have enjoyed Hitchens, I find his arguments to fall short of compelling in terms of convincing me of the accuracy of atheism or value of anti-theism; his moral arguments work for a current common moral standard which I happen to agree to a fair degree, but they do not do much to convince me of any implicit truth, nor that the moral standard being used is necessarily correct and thus failing to adhere to it is truly as abhorrent as would naturally appear.

A book I recently listened to on audiobook (from audible.com) was "A Manual for Creating Atheists" by Peter Boghossian. I would strongly recommend this book, especially if you want to actively act as an anti-theist and atheist activist.

I would love to discuss any other aspects of atheism or anti-theism, especially if you disagree with any points I have made. I would also suggest looking into ignosticism (as it is a good additional label for getting people into discussion), the /r/philosophy subreddit and the /r/antitheism subreddit.

u/LBillings · 1 pointr/IAmA

Ugh, I just typed out a very long, nuanced reply that somehow got erased when I accidentally swiped the wrong way and navigated back a page. I'm not going to type it all out again right now. What you will see is the condensed and simplified version, which is inferior and incomplete but still should communicate my key points. Just keep that in mind as you read.

Suffice to say I agree with much of what you say, I do not discount the possibility of ETIs visiting the solar system, and I'm a big fan of Leslie Kean's book exploring some of these ideas.

Due to a combination of most observers generally being unreliable and a history of disinformation by various intelligence agencies (for whom UFO reports can be very useful for entirely mundane and earthbound reasons) most reports are simply not credible, and thus they are not subjected to rigorous followup investigation. Further, suitable research infrastructures do not presently exist within civilian/academic institutions to perform these investigations; there is very little impetus for established, well-regarded scientists (or those hoping to achieve that status someday) to devote any time at all to UFO investigations when there are so many other lines of inquiry that are so much more personally and professionally rewarding.

I do think, though, that most true believers in UFOs would do well to study up on and truly appreciate just how much energy appears to be required to send anything substantial traveling with any haste between the stars. There are, of course, various potential ways to get around that problem, and of course perhaps our conception of the physical limitations and underpinnings of our universe are so crude that we cannot presently see the full spectrum of possibilities for cosmic travel. But, assuming that our grasp of how the universe works is actually pretty good, if interstellar travel was as easy and common as many UFOs-as-ETIs folks suggest it is, then I think our night sky would look less like a dead and barren place and more like an industrial park. I think if interstellar travel were really that easy, and if other cosmic civilizations could so routinely marshal and control such large amounts of energy, we'd see much more abundant, clear, and irrefutable evidence of their activity than we presently do.

Anyway, I do want to believe. And as I said, I don't discount the possibility of ETIs in the solar system. It's something that is worth serious consideration -- the difficulty is in finding a good, robust way to meaningfully investigate it.

I talked a good bit about this on a recent edition of Coast to Coast AM. Maybe give that a listen just so I can save myself some typing! Very good question, thanks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDU211kMEPU

u/ehMove · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

One of the key tenants of learning and what often leads to atheism is simply asking questions. These questions often illustrate big problems in some beliefs and lead us away from certain conclusions, like a supernatural entity. It's what we mean when we say we're practicing skepticism and it can take on a variety of forms, but here are some suggestions I find compelling.

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins

Richard has excellent technical skill in how he discusses questions and ideas that make supernatural belief look very delusional, hence the title. His points on religious indoctrination of children being actual abuse are particularly potent.

Many others will suggest Hitchens' God is not Great and while I haven't read it I think he is a much better speaker than Dawkins, so it may be better. Though I think Dawkins has a more refined technical skill in tackling some more complex ideas.

Any sophisticated discussion on philosophy - Youtube

I really like Crashcourse and its different offerings to get introduced to different studies and find this is a good place to start finding interesting questions you might not have thought of. While much of its content is definitely not atheist in nature they do have a very honest discussion about different topics that practice real skepticism that can lead to atheism like I described earlier.

Sam Harris

The link is of a specific podcast of his, but notably one of the videos in the text called It is Always Now is wonderful. Lots of people have specific issues with Harris, often different, and all I would suggest is to not let something you dislike about him to allow you to dismiss ideas he might stumble upon. His ability to find questions, especially new ways to ask old questions, is really powerful.

I also think that Harris is a great introduction to the idea of what to believe while being a skeptic. This idea of what to believe is very complicated because being skeptical tends to suggest that you should never operate off belief and always be as objective as possible, so please be patient in exploring it. But basically after you use skepticism to get rid of toxic beliefs you need to find ways to build up helpful beliefs and I think Harris is helpful in finding those. A more effective person though is:

Jordan Peterson

He opens with stating he's "not an atheist anymore." So this is a little misleading because he does also say in other areas that he doesn't believe in a supernatural God as well, and he's not lying when he says either statement. Explaining how that can be would take a while and I'm still exploring it myself but I think he has some VERY powerful messages about what is worth believing even while valuing skepticism. Look up his Message to Millennials and Tragedy vs Evil lectures if you're interested, I found those videos very useful.

u/DukkhaTales · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Hmm, good question. I can't claim to have read a lot of Thay's work (because as you said, there's quite a bit), but my hunch based on what I have read is that where you should start depends on your current knowledge of Buddhism.

Thay seems to write two types of books: a "general audience" type book that draws on Buddhism, but only to the extent that the teachings can be practiced by anyone regardless of their background. The Miracle of Mindfulness might be an example of this, or his "one-word-title books" as I call them: Power, Savor, Fear, etc.

The other type of book he writes seems to be intended for readers who either are already Buddhist or interested in going more deeply into Buddhist teachings. To know where to start with these works, a lot depends on how familiar you already are with the Buddha's teachings. I can tell you the order I read them, which seemed to work quite well:

Started with: The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: This is Thay's overview of the core teachings of Buddhism. I see this book like this: if Buddhism was a country, this would be a map of it. It shows you all the major points of interest, and the roads connecting all of them together. After reading this, you'll have a good grasp of what the different pieces of Buddhism are and how they work together to help you toward awakening/enlightenment.

But if you've never read anything about Buddhism at all before, I'm personally not sure if this is a good first book as it's not exactly a light read. Don't get me wrong: it's written with Thay's usual elegance and clarity, but it's packed with a lot of stuff (in the best sense). I was already somewhat familiar with the basics of Buddhism, so for me it was easy to build on that; but for someone brand new, I think the "general audience" books would still be a better start.

After that first book: In the first book itself, Thay recommends three sutras every serious practitioner should study regularly: the Bhaddekaratta Sutra, the Anapatasati Sutra, and the Satipatthana Sutra. Thankfully, Thay has translated and written commentaries on all three sutras and my links go to his books on these sutras.

Not much more I can share given that I'm about halfway through Thay's book on the Anapanasati Sutra. What I can say is that I can see why he says these are sutras to be studied throughout your life. They have some really powerful teachings that I have no doubt will take me years to grasp and practice properly.

Hope that helps. I'm sure others have read far more of Thay's work than I have, and can either correct my attempt here or give better recommendations.

u/Loud_Volume · 2 pointsr/holofractal

Hey guys. Long time fan of this community and love the work and research. I hope this post is welcome here I felt it was applicable. This is from the streaming service Gaia, which is similar to netflix but for conscious information instead. This was a great episode and probably the best so far out of this series. I was motivated to share it here and in other sub-reddit's because of its message and deep impact. The reality we live in is inverted and we have been in a false state of perception for a long time as a collective species. This is rapidly changing as we re-disover and re-member who and what we truly are.

There is a lot that ties in with this but I really wanted to share the video. Here are some additional links and research on this as well as some books that I personally recommend. I hope this helps atleast one of you in some way, in that, I will be happy. This is my way of being service to others and I want us all to have a bright future.

Additional links & research:

Recommended books:





Recommended links:



A personal tribute to the holofractal community that I put together a while back:


Much love and light! I hope this helps in some way and I hope this post is alright here. Keep up the research guys and thank you! We are all one!

u/LIGHTNlNG · 1 pointr/islam



u/JustBeingZack · 2 pointsr/atheism

I feel like you bringing up
> Was it all the symbolism the Illuminati flashed before your eyes?

Is just proof that you're here to try and spark conflicts and upset people. If that is not the case then I do feel that this specific quote is disrespectful.

As I suggested, please go and read a satanic bible and also visit The Satanic Temple's website. Those should paint a pretty good picture of modern day Satanism. Alternatively, you can just ask me specific questions and I can provide answers. WARNING: I'm not trying to convert you or push a mindset on you! These are merely suggestions so that you may further your knowledge in these areas as you seem to know much about Christianity and Jesus but little about opposing views/arguments against that.

To answer this quote from you
> I wouldn't be so surprised if this was r/satanism, but it is r/atheism.

I agree that there are many different "sects", if you will, of satanism, but most of these sects are atheist in nature; hence, why I'm here and trying to educate you as best I can on the matter. Speaking as general as possible, Satanists don't believe in some great amazing sky God who created humanity as a bunch of worshipers, nor do satanists believe in many of the "holy texts" from other religions that have been mostly disproved by history.

Now let me go ahead and elaborate on this quote of mine because you keep coming back to it.
> Satan is perfect

You said something about how Satan symbolizes evil and corruption. Where does that definition come from, who taught you that, and why is this the case? When I read the satanic bible, that is not the impression I got. In fact, when you research Lucifer and many of the popular names of Satan, many of them have really amazing and beautiful origins. From what I've studied, these were mostly erased/twisted after the Christian church came into contact with the "pagans" who worshiped or new these Gods/"demons".

This is why I feel that Satan is a perfect counter in situations like the one from the original article. It makes people think. It makes people ask questions and many times the answers to those questions have to be found in something other than the religious text that they started in. Satanism doesn't have the "this is it, the only thing you're allowed to believe or you burn for eternity" clause that forces people to cower in fear about studying or believing anything other than what they started with. It encourages the opposite.

I'm happy to continue this discussion as long as you are and I apologize if you genuinely feel that this
> You people are not being very respectful at all.

is true. That isn't what I've intended in any of my discussion so far.

u/nearlynoon · 1 pointr/religion

Boy was that the wrong question to ask. Wall of text inbound.

Judaism is my least-studied religion, but as I understand it Rabbinic literature is basically all commentary. The Mishnah, Tosefta, various Talmuds etc, they're all commentaries on the Tanakh. Of course, they are so old as to basically need their own commentaries, but there you have it. why_nn_doesnt_study_judaism.jpg

We Christians have a really different view on the 'Old Testament', and inter-commentary is pretty common in our scriptures. The New Testament may come at the end of our Bible, but it's the key to our way of reading the old scriptures as well, so start there. William Barclay was not super-dee-duper orthodox in his views, but he was a good Biblical scholar and I still like his 'Daily Study Bible' New Testament commentary for beginners. Patristics is a study of the development of early Christian orthodox thought, and consists mostly of reading post-NT commentaries by the Church Fathers, but those books are a giant money-sink so I'll let you get into that in your own time. 'Dogmatik' may be a bit heavy, but it's a good summary of our thought on our whole religion, scripture and all.

Islam is tricky, because the Qur'an is taken much more literally than orthodox Christians and Jews treat their scriptures, i.e. it cannot be translated out of Arabic, only interpreted. Maybe one of our Muslim friends can chime in with a better suggestion, but the version of the Qur'an used by my classes (which has some light commentary) is the Oxford World's Classics version. Quran.com can also be pretty useful since you can hover over an Arabic word and get its direct translation.

As far as Buddhism goes, I think the BDK English Tripitaka has some big flaws (it's also way incomplete), but it's pretty academic and a lot of its texts are the only versions available in English. Individual sutras are around, I always appreciate the work of the Sanskrit scholar Red Pine, he's done the Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra and maybe some others, from a Japanese Zen perspective. Buddhist scripture is sorta endless.

The only other religious texts I've read extensively are the European esoteric stuff I hope to do my graduate work in, in which case all the texts are weird, and all the commentaries are as weird or weirder. It's religious studies on Hard Mode.

I hope that gives you some places to start! And I hope I haven't scared you off! Good luck!

u/multirachael · 8 pointsr/atheism

I went through a very similar experience in losing my faith; it was rough, and it was rocky. I had a lot of the same feelings--wanting to believe, just in case my doubts were wrong, feeling sad at losing what had been a huge part of my identity, but feeling relieved also...and then feeling really guilty about it. It's a real roller-coaster of emotions, and it's hard to go through; I sympathize!

I feel much better, having lost my belief entirely and let go of religion; those feelings of self-loathing, self-doubt, and fear that are given to those of us who grow up in religious settings are hard to let go of, but we are better off without them. They are not healthy, psychologically or emotionally. Someone else pointed out that the kind of relationship we're taught to have with god is very similar to the relationship you'd have with an abusive spouse; it's a connection I've made before, too, and making it gave me a lot of courage and strength, which is what it takes to walk away from an abusive relationship of any kind.

My advice? Give yourself some time to relax and breathe. It's not the devil making you have these thoughts; it's the exercise of your reason, and you should feel proud that you are intelligent and perceptive enough to see through the bullshit given to you by people whose real motive (whether they know it or not) is to control you.

Also, now is a great time to gather some information. If you've got $10, I recommend picking up Godless, by Dan Barker. It's a great book, and it made me feel a lot more comfortable with my own growing atheism; it addressed a lot of the concerns I had, and talked about some very similar experiences, and gave me a place to start looking for other information.

As for how to get to a place of being comfortable and not feeling guilty...that just takes time, as do all major adjustments. For me, it mostly consisted of examining what it was I was feeling guilty about, and then realizing that there was no objective reason to feel guilty--that I hadn't done anything wrong, and that the things I had been taught to hate about myself (doubt, questioning, curiosity, sexuality, etc.) weren't bad; all of those things are natural, and beneficial as well.

If you're having a really difficult time, I'd recommend spending some time with a support group or spending a few sessions with a counselor. There are lots of sites on the web that offer support and services for those going through the de-conversion process; do a search for "ex-Christian support group" or something along those lines and spend some time exploring, or try a place like Ex-Christian.net or Losing My Religion.

Above all, don't stop exercising your curiosity and your reason! I wish you good luck, support, and a good journey. :)

u/ethertrace · 1 pointr/atheism

I would go with Demon Haunted World over the God Delusion. Dawkins may be the polemicist du jour, but I think Sagan's approach is way more effective for situations like this. He's far more subtle about making you think, whereas Dawkins' brash rhetoric can just make people instinctively defensive and shut down honest introspection.

Also, might I suggest Godless by Dan Barker? He was an Evangelical preacher for almost two decades before becoming an atheist, so he knows all about Christianity and may have an approach to which your friend might be more sympathetic.

Do the lectures have to be in person? Where do you live? Skepticon 5 is coming up in Springfield, Missouri and there will be plenty of amazing talks there (though they will be primarily aimed at people who are already skeptics). They have many, many fantastic lectures already posted online from past conferences, so I highly suggest perusing them at your leisure.

If you do choose a lecture on evolution, make sure it's a good one. You can't debate science the same way you can debate philosophical or theological ideas that rest upon logic alone. Everything depends on the data. Make sure it explores what would need to be true if evolution were not true.

For example, if all species on Earth nearly perished in a global flood, they would all have an extreme population bottleneck at the exact same period which would show up very obviously in their genetic diversity. However, this is not true for the vast majority of species on Earth. Cheetahs, however, are so genetically similar due to a population bottleneck during the last ice age that they can accept skin transplants from any other cheetah without an immune response. But, they are still diverse enough that the mutation rate required to gain this diversity in the span of four thousand years would be so great that the species would have gone extinct simply from birth defects.

Anyway, Ken Miller might be a good place to start. He's a Christian as well, but is basically responsible for destroying Intelligent Design.

Also, just because I think so highly of this talk, you should check this out (and here's an updated version more oriented towards effective strategy that goes over some of the same material but expands on other areas). It has tons of valuable suggestions for how to be effective in getting people to question their beliefs and avoiding common pitfalls and red herrings.

u/SecretAgentMan_007 · 3 pointsr/Reincarnation

Hello, I am an engineer and am very analytic in my thinking as well. I had a series of life experiences a few years ago that opened me up to things like meditation, hypnosis, and past lives among others. After reading Dr. Michael Newton's books 'Journey of Souls' and 'Destiny of Souls' I decided that I wanted to do a past life regression and have my own personal experience. I did this because I wanted to know first hand what I would remember, how it would feel, and how it might all fit in with my issues I'm dealing with in life today. It was such an amazing experience that I recently decided to take a class to get certified in hypnosis.

After reading your post I realized I might have a perspective to offer that might assist you. This is my opinion based on what I've learned and what I've experienced, so take it for what it's worth. First of all, in my hypnosis class I learned that hypnosis is really just a term used to describe a state of mind that we all enter naturally without realizing it. When we work with a hypnotist, we are working with an individual who not only helps facilitate reaching this state, but they also help us utilize that state of mind to work towards accomplishing goals.

The hypnotic state of mind is basically where your brain waves slow down from the normal busy beta range to the slower and more relaxed alpha range. A deep trance state is even slower still where your brainwaves enter the theta range. Delta is where we go unconscious and dream/sleep. These brainwave states are natural and like I said, we go into them all the time without realizing it. When our brain waves slow down our conscious mind moves closer to the subconscious/unconscious mind where our habitual thought patterns originate as well as our intuition. With a focused effort you can consciously access these programs and insights to help you to accomplish your goals.

When we read a book or watch tv we tune out all the external noise going on around us. We immerse our imagination in the story being told. This can be categorized as a state of hypnosis. When you get into your car and drive on autopilot while deep in thought, this is a state of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a participatory event and although you become more suggestible in these states you are still you, and you are still very aware of who you are and what you are doing.

One of the reasons some people are less hypnosis friendly is because it requires a 'trust' in order for us to truly relax to this state with another person. There is also the factor that if we are overly analyzing everything that is going on we really aren't relaxing and letting our brain waves slow to the alpha state. There are many factors at play. My advice would be to learn how to let go and trust the process. Be more on board with doing it than you are in resistance to it. We can all be torn on certain decisions. Hypnosis only works when you truly are ready to move on and accomplish goal X. If part of you really doesn't want to accomplish goal X, then that part of yourself will sabotage the process. We can be incredibly conflicted creatures, especially those of us who overly analyze everything.

Get the notion that you are a difficult case for hypnosis out of your head. You go to this natural state several times a day, every day of your life. The only difference is that in hypnosis or meditation you are actively working to accomplish a goal. Hypnosis is facilitated and guided by somebody else. Meditation is self guided. Repetition makes a difference too. This isn't magic. There is a reason why things work the way they do. The more you focus on your goal and work at it, the more likely you are to accomplish it.

I hope this helps. Sorry its so long. Let me know if you have any questions.

u/Holophonist · 1 pointr/dataisbeautiful

>I don't need to. The assertions is that a physical thing can't create another physical thing. That is demonstrably untrue. You're placing restricting characteristics, not me.

It's not that a physical thing can't create another physical thing (even though it would actually be a physical thing creating a physical thing out of nothing), it's that the werewolf, a physical thing, would have nowhere to be while creating the universe, and no time to do it in.

>If a wearwolf doesn't exist, it can be whatever definition I'd like. Just like your god.

No this is idiotic. The word werewolf has a definition. You can't just change the definition however you'd like. If you can, then the conversation is meaningless because you'll just change it to be exactly like god, and then we're not talking about werewolves anymore.

> I would need to know why you think anything is likely in order to demonstrate why my wearwolf is likely. You would have to present your argument for why god is likely to have created the universe. I can then replace god with anything, and the argument will probably not change, if it's any of the popular ones. To be clear. Any argument I present would be a straw man of whatever you actually believe God is. I don't know how else to explain this.

Wrong. What I have to do is show why a werewolf is less likely to have created the universe than god, and I have. You don't seem to have anything to say in response.

>It is informed. Not sure that infants have developed morals, but I'm sure you have a well thought out argument on why slavery and genocide are cool.

I never said slavery and genocide are cool, I said you have an infantile understanding of religion.

>They're equally likely within the context of an argument for the likelihood of any being creating a universe. I personally don't think the likelihood of either is even measurable. If you say god is likely, because of reasons. I could replace god with a wearwolf, and the reasons wouldn't need to change.

Yeah you keep saying this and it's not true. You get that you're supposed to be making an argument, right? All you're doing is repeating that they're same over and over, and not explaining how. Prove to me that they're the same likelihood. Why are you saying anything else? All you should be doing is proving that, or taking back what you said.

>If a being needs to be capable of creating a universe to create a universe, then that is the only characteristic necessary for creating a universe. Adding additional requirements only makes it harder to prove. My wearwolf can be both a wearwolf and have the ability to create a universe. That ability wouldn't make it less of a wearwolf. It could possibly be more likely, because the characteristics of a wearwolf can be found in nature. Whereas the common characteristics given to a god are found NOWHERE. So what seems like a bigger stretch? But again, if you assert that additional characteristics are required to be capable of creating a universe, the onus is on you to argue that assertion.

The fact that there were men and wolves in nature absolutely does not make it more likely that a werewolf created the universe, because NOTHING about men or wolves would indicate that they can create universes. In fact, we know so much about them that it makes it way less likely. God, being defined as an all-powerful metaphysical being is much more likely to have created the universe, because nothing about the nature of god, as is traditionally defined, prevents it from doing so.

>A omniscient god would know. Otherwise, we could start with any that is measurable and predictable, and work our way towards a reasonable conclusion.

An omniscient god would know what?

>I don't have an argument to present unless you give me your reason for believing a universe creating being is likely at all. Then we can discuss why a wearwolf is as equally as likely as a that being. I have no idea why you think what you think, and I'm not going to guess from a wiki page.

You're very confused. I'm not proving to you that god exists, I'm proving to you that it's more likely that god created the universe than a werewolf. The fact that there is a long line of argumentation for god is itself evidence, because there is no corresponding argumentation for a werewolf creating the universe. If you have some, feel free to present it. Since you flippantly dismissed the fact that I gave you a wikipedia page to introduce you to apologetics, here are some books:





u/losian · 4 pointsr/askscience

> I’ve heard that it snaps them out of it almost instantly but no one really knows why.

Time for further reading! This book is positively marvelous, and looks at the idiotic way we've avoided study of these exact sorts of substances for treating things like Anxiety/depression/etc. It's by a fellow involved in some of the original LDS/psilocybin research back when, who is by all means a well educated professional - all the folks in the book are as well. It's not a bunch of hippies, it's professionals in their respective fields testing what we can do, and being shut down abruptly for silly reasons. Even looking beyond the purely therapy-based uses there were some curious, but needing much further study, aspects about enhancing cognition, focus, creative thinking, etc. - I'm sure we've all heard of the many artists and such who are inspired by substances, but not as much about stuff like part of the discovery of DNA, math theorems, and so on.

Small studies have been down which have showed 80%+ success rates in "moderate to high improvement" with regards to depression and shit. That's HUGE. What's interesting is that a significantly massive part of the psychadelic+therapy benefit seems to come from setting the right expectations and making it a therapy, not a recreation. Preparation is key, as is setting up a space to do it in - pleasant music and lighting, calm and safe, not some clinical doctor's office or sterile testing area. Further, it helps to bring stuff to think about, questions you've written yourself, photos of family and other nostalgic things, that sort of deal.

It's amazingly fascinating that one single session for a drug that is out of your system completely in days can facilitate months if not years of progress by 'normal' therapy methods in a few days - and that's in the words of PhD types who are studying it.

There's a lot of unknown about these sorts of substances and how exactly they can facilitate such outcomes, because we only just recently have finally begun to research them again, as we should have been since the 60s.

I mean, the issue is that our antidepressents kinda suck. Many of them barely beat out placebo, and the best ones are only about twice as effective as placebo. Anything that hits 50-80% should be earth shattering, and some of the potential studies that were done and have been done recently again finally have showed that at the least, so it's just.. it boggles my mind that we will cling to an obviously unscientific mantra of stigma and ignorance for so long when peoples' lives could have been changed in the last four decades for the better.

u/astroNerf · 40 pointsr/atheism

A few pointers:

  • Get yourself a copy of Peter Boghossian's A Manual for Creating Atheists and read it yourself. It's a good manual for teaching people how to talk to people of faith about their faith in a non-confrontational way using the socratic method. I liked the audiobook version. Gently challenge him on things he learns at church. Try to get him to explain what he's learned in his own words. Ask him if that makes sense, and so on.
  • Science: get your kid interested in science, whether it be dinosaurs, astronomy, chemistry, electricity - something. If there's something he's already into, encourage it.
  • Supplement his church with other mythologies. Take him to a mosque or synagogue. Talk about how different people have different beliefs. Read him Norse and Greek mythology before bedtime. Get him a book like C. Scott Littleton's Anthology of Mythology. It's got lots of pictures.
  • Cosmos. If you have not seen it with him, you need to see it with him. Prepare to pause each episode when he has a question. Do your best to answer them and if you encounter something you don't know, be honest but follow up afterwards with a visit to wikipedia. You can get it on DVD as well as stream it on Hulu and Netflix, I think. If he likes science shows like that, there are plenty others folks here could recommend.

    One common theme here is this: teach him that it's important to value having as many true beliefs as possible. Instruct him on the importance of wanting to have good reasons or evidence for the things we believe. Part of this is the scientific method, but also a general desire for intellectual honesty comes into play here as well.

    You might also get some good suggestions are /r/atheistparents.

u/zeroJive · 5 pointsr/exchristian

I went through almost the exact same thing. After leaving our main church, my wife and I stopped going all together. Several years later, after we moved because of jobs, we started going again. Needless to say, that didn't last long.

My wife and I both come from very strong Christian backgrounds; my wife's father was a Southern-Baptist minister for decades, and my dad went to Dallas Theological Seminary and taught church classes most of his life. So let's just say that leaving wasn't an easy thing.

However, my own search led me to realize the truth. Since my wife and I are very close, I talked with her about these things but was very careful about what I said. I'm still careful. I approach the discussions from the standpoint of "searching for answers" rather than declaring that I've already decided.

My mantra over the last few years has been "If it were possible to know the truth, and one of the possibilities was that God didn't exist, would you really want to know?" Well, my answer is yes. I don't want to be a blind-follower Christian. If God is real, then I want to know for sure!

I recommend approaching it like that. It let's your spouse see that you are truly searching for answers. The truth is all we really want, and we can't use a 3000 year-old book to do it. We need real answers, not mythology.

Be sure to talk about it a lot, and be open minded to your spouse's point of view. Let them know you still care for them deeply.

This sub-reddit has been so helpful and caring, so good job starting here. Also grab some books or find some web-sites that discus these things. Here are a few I recommend:


u/KeepItCovered · 3 pointsr/zen

I would like eventually to be able to handle the non-secular Buddhism, part of the mess I got myself into was convincing myself there is no god. I like that Buddha didn't take a stance on it.

No. I saw your post; I saw your post history; I'm having a pretty good time with my understanding of Zen and Zen practice, but I'm only a month or so in. I was hoping for someone who appears to me to be critical of Zen, you could offer an alternative based on your understanding. I know I could disembowel a Buddhism tradition to create my own, but I felt ... you would be a good person to ask.

I've been to the local zendo, and the lay practitioner told my wife that the sutras they chant "they don't believe in the words." I mean, if you don't believe in the words, why bother saying them?

It seems hard to meet with the teacher, and ... I don't understand why you would want to. My understanding of Zen is everything comes from zazen, which seems to me to be the same kind of enlightenment the Buddha received. If that's true, what are the teachers for? If the teacher is important, how often should you talk to them to help your practice? The zendo near me, it looks like you need to spend 3 months of practice before formally meeting with the teacher. Is that reasonable?

Zen is very mapless. Meditate and you will arrive eventually. Do this one thing with a singular focus. Trust it.

Contrast that to .... Daniel Ingram (yes, I understand most everyone fucking hates this guy), ... who literally has a map of the terrain.

I have no interest in group study, other then maybe a circle of friends, of which, I'm the focal point.

I've never in my life learned well from other people talking to me, I'm more of a read the book, test it out, kind of person. I'm reading this currently

I like doing zazen, I'm starting to understand why it would be advantageous to focus single minded on breath and posture, asymmetry is nice, not being worried about perfection is nice, and being continuously in the now is nice.

Do you think I can get the above with Zen?

u/ABTechie · 2 pointsr/atheism

Define God. What is God to a Christian? What is it that they truly believe in? Love? Kindness? Slow to anger? Show your wife a list of things that you believe in and that she believes in. Show her that you still share belief in many things.

I have not read these books but they are from former Christians. Their logic and perspective maybe helpful.
Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists
Christian No More: On Leaving Christianity, Debunking Christianity, And Embracing Atheism And Freethinking

Give her time to adjust. And, if you truly love and want to be with your wife, PROVE IT. Be romantic. Tell her you love her. Tell her you want her to be your wife. Tell her you want to grow old with her. Tell her what a great friend she is. Love notes. Flowers. Phone messages. Text messages. Facebook messages. Do whatever it takes. Even give her control of the TV remote.

I don't know of the consequences but if you have to, you can bring up the Bible verses which say that it is good not to leave a non-believing spouse, not bring up the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against God.

Good luck to you. Be patient with her.

u/jespada1 · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

I've been reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Peaceful Action, Open Heart, which is wonderful, concurrently with A Guide to the Threefold Lotus Sutra, by Nikkyo Niwano, that gives a concise overview of each chapter. It also helps to have an introduction, in the form of a talk or short articles. There's a short chapter in Cultivating the Mind of Love on this Sutra.

I was at a retreat with TNH in the 1990's where he spoke about the Avatamsaka and Lotus Sutras, that's since been issued by Sounds True as The Ultimate Dimension.

Most of the talks were on the foundational practices for entering into the kinds of experiences described in these Sutras, and I found that his framing them in this way actually made them accessible. Remarkable!

These are good places to start.

As Thay said in his commentary, these are not so much works to be studied with the rational part of ourselves as they are to be received as inspired poetry, lived with and enjoyed. Then meaning of these sutras and the truth they speak of can reveal themselves to us gradually.

He says, in the beginning of The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching:

“When we hear a Dharma talk or study a sutra, our only job is to remain open. Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing. If we read or listen with an open mind and an open heart, the rain of the Dharma will penetrate the soil of our consciousness.

“The gentle spring rain permeates the soil of my soul.
A seed has lain deeply in the earth for many years just smiles.

“When reading or listening, don’t work too hard. Be like the earth. When the rain comes, the earth only has to open herself up to the rain. Allow the rain of the Dharma to come in and penetrate the seeds that are buried deep in your consciousness.

“A teacher cannot give you the truth. The truth is already in you. You only need to open yourself - body, mind, and heart - so that his or her teachings will penetrate your own seeds of understanding and enlightenment. If you let the words enter you, the soil and the seeds will do the rest of the work.”

Best wishes to you in your practice.

u/aquohn · 1 pointr/Catholicism

> What exactly is problematic with a normative paradigm that involves respect and civility?

There's nothing wrong with such a paradigm. There is something wrong with embracing and enforcing such a paradigm while disavowing normativity/morality as such. No-one's talking about religion here - the only thing we're discussing is morality. The point I'm trying to make here is that normativity just is morality - if you disagree, name one plausible difference between a normative paradigm and a moral paradigm - so a normative/moral paradigm that disavows morality/normativity is simply and plainly absurd.

>First and foremost only certain people are asking for your guidance on what is good for them in the temporal or eternal sense. I for one don't need or want it.

It doesn't matter who's asking for guidance. That does not make the matter any less true, nor divest one of his duty to convince others of the truth. If you see a man suffering the symptoms of a certain kind of poisoning and attempt to inform him so, him angrily telling you, "I didn't ask for your opinion!" doesn't change the fact that he is being poisoned, or make walking away and ignoring him the moral/"civil"/"respectful" thing to do.

>Religion is based on faith, which in itself is a beautiful thing, but can't be forced or imposed.

Wrong. First off, if by "faith" you mean "belief without justification" then I have no idea what you're talking about, since such a belief ought be called delusion. The justification for Catholicism is really quite simple:

P1 Jesus preached what he did, including claiming to be a divine messenger.

P2 Jesus performed miracles, witnessed by many.

P3 These miracles convinced many men to undergo great hardships and sufferings for comparatively little gain.

SC1 (P1, P2, P3) Jesus' miracles were divine, and acted as a divine stamp of approval for his teachings.

P4 The record of his teachings and miracles has been passed down through the generations by the Catholic Church, to which he has granted authority to interpret his teachings.

C Faith in the Catholic Church is justified.

Of course, for the intelligent and inquisitive, a deeper and stronger understanding can be had from the study of theology. Classical theology typically builds upon a metaphysical edifice that is quite foreign to modern minds. The Last Superstition is a good entry-level book that argues for an Aristo-Thomist metaphysics and shows how belief in the existence of a Supreme Being, and some of the moral conclusions you ridicule here, arise from it.

But as you can see here, belief in Catholicism - including the attendant moral beliefs - can be entirely reasonably and objectively justified. So I do not see the problem with believing and acting as though they were universally binding objective truths, since that is indeed what I think they are.

>You don't respect those disordered homosexuals. I get it.

No, you don't respect homosexuals. You reduce their identities entirely to their homosexual desires, so a condemnation of those desires is in your understanding equivalent to a condemnation of them as people.

I honestly cannot understand how such egregious doublethink can be maintained. One does not say that condemnation of a sociopath's desires and punishment of his resultant destructive behaviour is somehow fundamentally disrespectful to the sociopath.

>I personally think that a lot of those mental processes are disordered

The object of sexual intercourse is procreation. This is objectively the case, in the same way that the purpose of the heart is to pump blood or the purpose of the bladder is to store urine. Yes, you can pump a bladder with air and use it as a rugby ball but that doesn't change the fact that its purpose qua body part, objectively speaking, is to store urine. Likewise, the purpose of one's sexual faculties is procreation. To use them in such a way that this purpose is deliberately frustrated, such as using one's wife's hand to masturbate or attempting to ape sexual intercourse with a member of the same sex despite such activity being intrinsically non-procreative, is what we call "disordered", since it deliberately frustrates the purpose of the act.

I hope you realise by now that "disordered" is not just Catholic-speak for "wtf" or "ew gross".

In brief conclusion:

  • All normative paradigms are moral paradigms, and vice versa. Hence a normative paradigm disavowing morality is a normative paradigm disavowing normativity - a contradiction.
  • We hold our moral opinions to be objectively true and hence universally binding, regardless of other people's opinions on them.
  • (Irrelevant digression) Delusional "blind" faith is not the basis for religious belief, but rather an entirely justified chain of reasoning for most people, sometimes supported by a rich edifice of theology and philosophy in the case of theologians, apologists, and internet enthusiasts.
  • Condemnation of behaviour or desires is not equivalent to condemnation of people. Not an important point but bloody annoying when people keep making this claim.
  • There is an objective, philosophical reason for us to pronounce certain acts as disordered and hence sinful.

    I believe these points suffice for an answer to any you have raised in this post.
u/dreamUnraveler · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Hey! Please don't even consider prematurely taking your life... from all I've read the karmic situation you're in will need to be resolved either in this life, or after... and it's way harder after.

So, on a lighter note:

Why are humans afraid of dying? Maybe because they haven't read (or don't believe) "Journey of Souls"...

Yea... getting past the fear of dying, even welcoming it can really open up the opportunity to be thankful for and really wake up and enjoy the unfathomably amazing gift that living is.

I kind of see two primary divergent philosophical rivers here (of course many tributaries on each):

First: afterlife+karma+fate(+reincarnation?)

Second: death as final+no objective morality+we're all just random cosmic blobs.

I'm pretty firmly in the karma camp... I'm not sure what your life partner situation is, and I'm certainly not a counselor, but I do believe that letting someone else have such negative impact on your outlook on life requires your consent (very likely not conscious)... People do get divorced/separated, and do find happiness later... people also go to counselors and resolve issues... I'm certainly not saying that any path in front of you is easy, but I truly believe that picking a path to explore will bring you much more than ceasing forward motion... One odd piece of life-partner relationships is that much of the strength of the relationship is dependent upon the self-esteem of the individuals, and that self-esteem can't be dependent upon the partner... The more you find yourself... your true self... the you that you really love... that your sister and parents unconditionally love... the stronger your relationship will become... assuming your partner can keep up... (at least that's my opinion from my experience and from others I've known)...

Best wishes for pursuing your the best path for you! Thx for sharing!

u/Shoeshine-Boy · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Personal research, mostly. I'm a big history nerd with a slant toward religion and other macabre subject matter. I'm actually not as well read as I'd like to be on these subjects, and I basically blend different sources into a knowledge smoothie and pour it out onto a page and see what works for me and what doesn't.

I'll list a few books I've read that I enjoyed. There are certainly more here and there, but these are the "big ones" I was citing when writing all the comments in this thread. I typically know more about Christianity than the other major faiths because of the culture around me.

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years - Diarmaid MacCulloch

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam - Karen Armstrong

The next two balance each other out quite well. Hardline anti-theism contrasted with "You know, maybe we can make this work".

The Case for God - Karen Armstrong

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins

Lately, I have been reading the Stoics, which like Buddhism, I find to be one of the more personally palatable philosophies of mind I have come across, although I find rational contemplation a bit more accessible to my Westernized nature.

Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters - Translated by Moses Hadas

Discourses and Selected Writings (of Epictetus) - Translated by Robert Dobbin

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - Translated by George Long

I'm still waiting on Fed Ex to deliver this one:

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy - William B. Irvine

Also, if you're into history in general, a nice primer for what sorts of things to dive into when poking around history is this fun series on YouTube. I usually watch a video then spend a while reading more in depth about whatever subject is covered that week in order to fill the gaps. Plus, John and Hank are super awesome. The writing is superb and I think, most importantly, he presents an overall argument for why studying history is so important because of its relevance to current events.

Crash Course: World History - John Green

u/TheKingOfTheGame · 1 pointr/islam

Welcome to /r/Islam :)

About the basics of Islam, read this

Firstly, Praise to God. I am sure alot of other people will answer better than me, but I'll try. First off, for Muhammed (saw) in the bible, here is a very interesting video by a former Christan youth minister titled - "How the Bible Led me to Islam"

His story is so interesting because he figured out that a through read of bible itself made him realize something, and convinced him to study other religions in which he found finally found Islam, his story is something every typical Christian should hear.

Secondly, You said:

>I'd like recommendations for a quran translation.

I personally believe that people willing to learn about Islam should read the biography of Muhammed (saw) first to get a grasp of the message of Islam, how it spread, and how we come to respect this man as the greatest of all creation. The best book I recommend is Tariq Ramadan's Book about Muhammed and his life.

Once you've done that, I recommend an exegesis over a translation because your understanding is enhanced.

But a good translation is: http://quran.com
An exegesis (recommended) is: http://www.amazon.com/The-Quran-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/0199535957

Hope that helps.

u/ReasonOnFaith · 2 pointsr/exmuslim

A great resource that has taught me tons, is "The Atheist Debates Project" run by and featuring Matt Dillahunty. Watch the episodes for free on YouTube. I'm a patron to support the excellent work that Matt does.

Further, you can see these ideas in action, by listening/watching the podcast/YouTube/live stream of the Internet TV show, "The Atheist Experience". Some callers aren't interesting, but some exchanges are just gold.

I myself have written a primer on beliefs and labels to help introduce one to the landscape. Read that to understand the concepts. View the links in the green resource boxes to dive deeper into any subject. Watch the debates linked to, to see how others argue the material.

Just be a sponge for this. Prop up you iPhone in the bathroom and play debates while you brush your teeth or in the kitchen as you scramble your eggs. You'll get in an extra 30+ minutes a day of absorbing this content.

To learn about how best to get people to think without ever really arguing, but instead, using the socratic method to get them to think about their own positions, read the book (or listen to the excellent audiobook), A Manual for Creating Atheists. Based on these techniques, you can watch Anthony Magnabosco as he approaches people and politely asks them questions to get them to think. This technique is called Street Epistemology.

Finally, go through the Philosophy playlist on YouTube, from the channel Crash Course. They do an excellent job of introducing a lot of the concepts and terminology involved in philosophical argumentation--which is what all of this comes down to.

We need more people who educate themselves and can speak intelligently to the issues. So thank you for taking an interest. This is an awesome journey. Welcome.

u/dassitt · 23 pointsr/islam

The Qur'an can be a confusing text for beginners, especially its English translation. It isn't a "book" in the traditional sense. It's meant to be lived, interacted with, and recited out loud often. Hence, you'll find a lot of repetition, as repetition is one of the hallmarks of oral recitation; the best way to emphasize a point orally is to repeat it again and again. The Qur'an isn't a book that one is meant to simply read, and no translation can match up the majesty, eloquence, and utter elegance of its original Arabic.

I'd recommend keeping that in mind when approaching the Qur'an! It might seem daunting and inaccessible at first, and you might think, "OK, I get it," when you read the repetitive descriptions of warnings of hellfire, pleasures of paradise, mercy of Allah, etc again and again and again. Just remember: this isn't a traditional book, it's a lived, interactive text :)

Also, I'd highly recommend The Study Qur'an. It not only provides commentary and historical context to every single verse, but includes maps and many other useful tools. One of my favorite features of The Study Qur'an is its extensive collection of essays in the back of the book, ranging from topics such as Islamic art and architecture and medieval Islamic philosophy to women in Islam and Islamic eschatology. If you're in the US, it's available at most Barnes & Noble stores as well!

Most importantly, if you have any questions, come seek us! I am by no means an expert of the Qur'an, but a lot of things can be taken out of context and Islamophobes love to cherry pick certain verses that appear outwardly violent. This is a super handy infographic to explain some of them, and most English Qur'ans with commentary (including The Study Qur'an) will provide explanations and context as well!

Best of luck! Let us know if you need anything at all and what your honest thoughts are!

u/Doc_Strangeluv · 1 pointr/AskReddit

You can reformat your hard drive! It sounds like you have some real positive motivators in your life, too.

I think you're looking for some form of re-imprint/cognitive behavioral therapy to help set your mind on the right track, much like the brainwashing the army likely put you through, but to your own advantage. Many recovering alcoholics find this refuge in religion. A church might actually be a good bet for you, but as an avid redditor, you may be more geared towards finding your own solution. Counseling is helpful, but it sounds as if you want to set your own direction.

In the meantime, you want to avoid stress and lower your cortisol levels. A few ways to do this besides prescription drugs would be:

  • restful nights' sleep (8 hours is just a guess)

  • maintain a nutritious diet

  • Omega 3s (eat fish)

  • daily exercise (to a certain level)

  • massage

  • pranayama yoga (this is, in my opinion, the best technique you can learn to reduce stress)

    the mind is a powerful tool, but for many of us, (especially those predisposed to addiction and depression) it can be a challenge to control.

    Maybe try some self help books for some good mind control techniques. I don't particularly agree with the philosophies of all of these, but there are good things to be gleaned from each; (Tony Robbins, Deepak Choprah, Richard Warren, Christopher Hyatt, Viktor Frankl, Feeling Good, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Art of War, Tao of Pooh, 48 Laws of Power, The Secret, Prometheus Rising).

    However you DECIDE TO PROGRESS, have fun!
u/ethicsengine · 1 pointr/atheism

Oh man, you've hit on a really hard topic.

First off, before I get into any of the juicy topics, let me say this: Consider where your parents are coming from based on their views. An analogy: If you were evacuating a building on fire and saw someone who didn't know they are in danger, would you try to notify them? For the sake of argument, let's say yes (I expect so). They see this world as a building burning down and they view themselves as trying to warn us of the danger we are supposedly in. Expand this to the fact that they are your parents and as their kid, you told them you are walking back into a burning building. They are literally scared for you. Irrationally scared, but still scared non the less. I am not sure if your short term situation or plans, but in the long term you need to accept that they are not going to share your views and may not accept you. Don't let them abuse you! They have to independently accept you for who you are or you need to distance yourself if they don't. Take care of yourself, maintain your dignity and self respect, and make decisions that make you happy and lead you towards living a happy and fulfilled life.

Some information on their reaction:

> I tried to be gentle about it and not criticize her but she kept telling me to defend why I didn't believe in God, and then when I answered she was like "you're trying to disprove God and attack my beliefs" . she later said I was being rude, (I was being as respectful as possible) when I explained that she said I was being "politely rude"???? But because of my beliefs I obviously thought she was a moron and I reject her values. (I never called her a moron and I said that I respected her faith and I didn't want this to be a source of contention for us)

Let's step back and parse this. Typically, strongly religious people follow a form of ethics called "Theological Ethics." The theological ethics system may incorporate other forms of ethics such as utilitarian, kant or phenomenological, but it is ultimately rooted in theology. Do [Action] because god demands it in or through [insert religious book, prophet, etc...]. In their view, all ethics and morality flow only from god. If god says give to the poor, you give to the poor. If god says kill that tribe, you kill that tribe. All ethics and morals are literally rooted in their version of god.

So, when you say "I don't believe in god," many people will imply "therefore I am not a moral person" OR "you think I am an idiot because I need god to work out what is right or wrong." In some cases, a person "without god" is seen as downright evil. However, we know that people can be moral and develop an ethics system without attributing it to or believing in god. We often follow heuristics such as the golden rule, informed consent or "no person is a means to an end."

Some theologians argue that this is only by the grace of god that he has allowed us to be a tool for good despite disbelieving, never mind that in many religions we are still considered doomed to eternal torment no matter how much good we do in the world and that an immoral or amoral person who believes in god has a higher chance into being accepted into paradise over an atheist who genuinely wanted to help others.

A few things you can do is work out why you can continue being a good person without needing to believe in a god. I personally see value in both society and individuals. I want the world to be a better place so that I can enjoy less violence, longer healthier lives. I want to see people individually succeed because it betters our society. Society is made up of individuals. Because life is precious, and this is our one life, we must make the most of it but not at the expense of others because their life is precious too. Informed consent is incredibly important. A society following informed consent reduces or prevents rape, murder, irresponsible or malicious human testing, robberies, etc...

Anyways, if you are interested in ethics and morality in the context of atheism and why reason will likely lead to a more just society, you should pick up a copy of The Moral Arc by Michael Shermer. http://www.amazon.com/Moral-Arc-Science-Better-People/dp/0805096914

If you're interested in why atheism and why you don't need religion to be moral, you should pick up a copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (who is giving an AMA this may 27). https://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins-ebook/dp/B003JTHWJQ

I personally think you will have a hard time converting your family to atheism, but if you want to shore up some of your arguments about why atheism, you should pick up a copy of A Manual for Creating Atheists by Peter Boghassian. I don't recommend you actively seek out these conversations with your family at this point, but they can help give you a better grounding about your belief system (yes, atheism is a belief system). http://www.amazon.com/Manual-Creating-Atheists-Peter-Boghossian/dp/1939578094

To conclude, don't stop loving your parents but don't let them abuse you either.

[edits for minor typos and formatting]

u/barefootsocks · 1 pointr/zen

This is the last place you'll find any sort of helpful information on zen. Ewk and a few other ideologs have pretty much hijacked the forum. /r/zendo is good, but its not nearly as active. You're not wrong for assuming zen can be peaceful and elegant, its what you want it to be. A lot of what you see here is westerners confusing zen with nihilism. If I were to mention the Two Truths Doctrine here, many wouldn't really know what I was talking about. Things like this getting over looked is why you seen so much arguing here. Its mostly due to lack of understanding of buddhist doctrine by westerners that are new to the religion.

With that said, Suzuki Roshi's Zen Mind Beginner's Mind was a great starting point for myself. If you want tot just download it for free, Heres a link to the pdf. Also this website gives rough details into soto zen practice and forms. http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp
Last book, this isn't zen, but Zen is considered Mahayana Buddhism and shares many of the same teaching as Tibetan Buddhsim. The Dalai Lama give a wonder discourse of some of the core beliefs of Mahayana Buddhism. Essential Teachings Dalai Lama

I started around when I was your age, and that was along time ago :) Hope you find what you are looking for. Good luck!

disclaimer: ewk please don't reply to my comment. thank you.

u/meowmixmotherfucker · 1 pointr/relationship_advice

Damn man, this sucks. But you know, there are plenty more fish in the sea... also, insert multiplying fish joke here.

Faith isn't a thing you can choose to have or to be given. It's deeply rooted and by definition stands in the face logical thought processes. It's a feeling in your gut that can slip away despite the most sincere efforts to hold onto it. Likewise no amount of her relating miracles will make it take root. She's trying to connivence you to have a feeling, and inherently non-cognative thing. You can't control feelings, at least not with that degree of control. Faith has to creep into your consciousness like all other superstitions. Usually this happens as a child grows, it's easier to indoctrinate the young. In adults, all intents and purposes, faith spreads like a virus. That's why you tend to get preached to when someone dies or before big life events - it's easier to manipulate someones thinking when they're distraught or distracted. Constantly trying to persuade you isn't going to work for her, which will cause frustration at best but most likely a great deal of resentment. It's going to drive a wedge between you. And really, do you even want the faith? Remembering that side effects may include faulty epistemological claims, poor reasoning and a willingness to indoctrinate others, especially children, in a sick self loathing misogynistic homophobic middle eastern blood cult. Not worth it man.

hmm, apparently I woke up on the grumpy side of the bed. But still...

Luckily there's a cure. It's called logic and it's easy to administer. Engage the discussion sincerely and ask good questions. You might find A manual for creating Atheists by Peter Boghossian useful.

Alternatively you could take her up on her offer to read the Bible, but on the condition that you read it cover to cover. No pull quotes or 'special readings' from her paster. Just cover to cover. After all, it's the authoritative word of God, how could reading it all be a bad thing? By the end of the book god will be a lot less important to her life. Because he's a fucking monster, never-mind all the internally inconsistent nonsense and outlandish claims about the world that we know to be false.

But all of this assumes that the relationship it worth your time and energy because helping someone out of a faith-based delusion is a long shitty road.

Some others have commented that they have successful inter-faith relationships and that's great. Good on them. If you can do that too awesome, but given that she's so desperate to push it on you and you're already annoyed but it... seems like 'live and let live' isn't going to be the solution. Besides, even it does work out eventually it will be time to indoctrinate, or not, your kids. Never-mind religion's constant medaling in, and association with, politics and culture. There are going to be more large issues. It might be a better call to acknowledge that you have different world views and will likely grow in different directions. Finding someone with your value set or outlook on life might be the better path.

u/trees916 · 24 pointsr/Catholicism

> I want to start going again, but dealing with his anti Catholicism and New Atheist Facebook posts, etc as a practicing Catholic just sounds emotionally exhausting. Plus I'd have to attend church alone with our toddler, who tries to make a break for the altar every time she's set loose.

Going to mass without your husband is better than not going at all. Moreover, other people should not inhibit your ability to practice the Faith. Concerning the New Atheist Facebook posts, if your husband finds that kind of material even remotely convincing, I would recommend he read Edward Feser's The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism.

> Then I start wondering what the point even is because she will probably just end up being an atheist because of his example.

Set a better example than your husband and make an effort to show your child that there are good reasons to be a Catholic. Read and study apologetic books like William Lane Craig's On Guard and/or Trent Horn's Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love so that you are better equipped to defend the Faith. When your daughter is old enough, she can read these books and other apologetics books for herself. Also, it wouldn't be a bad idea for your husband to read these same books. Although, William Lane Craig's On Guard for Students was written specifically for non-Christians; so it might be a better option than On Guard, which is intended for Christians.

> You can only pray for the same thing over and over so many times with no change before it starts feeling hopeless.

Keep praying. If you are not already doing so, pray the Rosary. Even if God is not granting you the request(s) made in your prayers, know that there is a good reason for doing so. The reason(s) may never be known during your time on earth, but do not allow this to damage your relationship with God.

> The prospect of returning just feels so lonely. Our parish is huge and no one ever says a word to me. Does anyone have any advice or encouragement?

Many parishes have bible studies or meetups of some kind that would give you the opportunity to meet other Catholics. It is better to feel lonely and do what is right than not feel lonely and fail to do what is right.

u/brennanfee · 2 pointsr/PoliticalOpinions

Firstly by not using labels. Labels suck anyway.

> perhaps part of the reason people fall in line with all the positions of a particular party is that it's just easier that way

That's partly the reason, the other reason is that we only have two parties. So, in essence you aren't making a "positive" choice but a "negative" one instead. One may not agree with everything Blue but are certainly against Red for instance.

Funny clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7E9SS-X4YY

If we had a greater variety of parties you would find people gravitating to ones that believe more of what they believe. That, however, is a pipe dream given our current electoral system so no sense talking about it.

I'm not going to talk about any of your other beliefs or points as we could be here all day (both those I agree with and those I don't). But instead stay with your philosophical angst.

> And yet, l have a low opinion of the modern left.

My only advice is this. Don't do what labels are intended to do... box people in. When confronted with someone who claims to be a Liberal, or a Libertarian, Conservative, Democrat, Republican, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, or whatever... don't foist your understanding of what they then should believe onto them. For every person, in every instance, and on every topic you have to ask.

Learn to ask open questions rather than closed questions. Questions like, "Do you believe X" are ok, but even better is "What do you believe?" Rather than, "Do you believe X about immigration", "What do you believe regarding immigration?". The open questions will always produce better results. Often times you will "catch" them in a contradiction, and that's ok. Don't rub it in their face, simply ask them about it as kindly and gently as you can. Make them consider their position through your questions. Don't try and change their mind but instead reconsider... to think. Providing them data sometimes help although a lot less than you might think. The mistake many, including myself, make is that we feel that the person we are talking to is merely ignorant of the facts. But it turns out that when it comes to beliefs, especially personal beliefs, facts are much less important than you might think.

Your goal should be to get to know the person, not the label. This technique is called Street Epistemology and you should look it up if you are interested. It can be done with varying degrees of success, I am still struggling with some aspects of it myself. Here is one of the books that founded the technique: https://www.amazon.com/Manual-Creating-Atheists-Peter-Boghossian/dp/1939578094


u/professional_giraffe · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

Not long after I went off to college. I'd heard and read all the terrible things in the bible, but my loss of faith actually had to do with really studying the history of religion for the first time, and understanding how humanity's changing understanding of the world and growing sense of morality had influenced every major and minor change in dogma along the way. (Very similar to how I was able to dismiss creation when I learned about evolution in school.) I had already started to become more like a "deist" rather than a "theist" without realizing it, but I also had plenty of "religious experiences" that made me feel a personal relationship with god and kept me from dismissing it completely.

My first real challenge to my belief didn't happen until I investigated a church other than the non-denominational type I'd always been taken to growing up. I did this because my very serious boyfriend at the time was mormon (Who is now my atheist husband ;) and of course wanted to give it an honest look. But naturally I was skeptical. I looked on the internet for information, and to make a looong story short, I knew that it was untrue. (Like, literally plagiarized. Heh, literally...) But in researching one religion, I unknowingly started studying them all, and I encountered a lot of new arguments because of this (and just from being on the internet everyday helped with that too. Reddit was a big influence) and I remember deciding that I could not dismiss his religion or any other without truly looking into my own. So I decided to read arguments against everything I'd been taught, like a scientifically minded person is supposed to want to do.

Like you, I made a reddit post around this time, asking for sources and wanting others to tell me why they made the decision. Still identifying as christian, I didn't even know what information was out there, and what sources would be a best place to start. On that post I was given a link to this video series (edit: also linked by someone else) and when I had finished it I was an atheist. My "official" transition happened in just two hours, but really it made me realize how much I already didn't believe and taught me about a lot of other things about the bible I'd never heard such as the Documentary Hypothesis and the origins of Judaism. It was just my "last straw."

What you should look into next really depends on what might interest you the most or have the biggest impact. Here's a site that lists a ton of relevant books by category. Two I personally would highly recommend: "The God Delusion" which is fairly popular and a great place to start for a comprehensive understanding of the main issues, and "A History of God" is absolutely amazing for understanding the natural evolution of religion.

u/illogician · 1 pointr/philosophy

>I feel like we've been approaching God incorrectly the whole time.

Humanity has mapped out a hell of a lot of territory on the God issue, from a priori arguments to a posteriori arguments, arguments from mystical experience, pragmatic arguments, appeals to faith. Are you familiar with this body of literature? If so, where is there to go from here? At this point in our cultural evolution, I find it difficult to come up with anything worth saying that hasn't already been said.

>(I come from a Christian background, and I have had to dissent with everyone who taught me the things that I know).

That must have been difficult. A lot of people go through a similar experience. I was raised in a non-religious household - it's not that my parents were atheists - the subject just never really came up. So I never got religious, but I found the subject interesting so I've done a fair bit of studying on comparative religion and arguments for and against God. If you want to look at a very readable case for atheism, Dawkins' book The God Delusion is about as good a starting place as any. Though if the idea of atheism is depressing to you, you might give it a miss. The world doesn't need more depressed people. =) I think there is wisdom in Robert Anton Wilson's quip that in order to do good, you have to feel good."

>I don't know, because I don't necessarily believe that God does exist, just that he could.

So would it be fair to call you an agnostic? I was agnostic for years.

>It is in this regard different than science, where I fully trust those who came before me, because they accepted that they could have been wrong.

I wonder if you're putting too much trust in science. Scientific conclusions get overturned all the time - that's part of what makes science awesome. To use an evolutionary analogy, science is like natural selection, forever weeding out ideas that don't live up to the evidence, whereas religion is like genetic drift, floating along unable to improve itself because it is unwilling to admit that it might have been wrong.

u/not_yet_named · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Describe the Four Noble Truths? I sometimes like looking at Wikipedia's simple english version of pages to get good, short overviews of things. I don't think that description of the first step of the Eightfold Path is very good though. The normal english article is better for that one, but other than that it's a good summery.

Many Zen teachers express things differently. They might not go into a lot of detail or focus on lists and texts as much. There are also some differences. For example under Right Action, some Japanese Zen lineages allow monks to marry and have families. In general though all that page will still apply to Zen.

Zen is pretty hard to learn on your own. Koans, which are things you might call spiritual questions, make up a lot of the practice in a lot of Zen, and to practice them you pretty much need to be working with a teacher. I don't know of any good resources that I'd recommend for learning to practice Zen on your own.

If you'd like a good book to learn about Zen from an scholarly point of view this is a good one. It's only going to teach you about Zen, like things you'd learn about the subject if you took a college class. It won't teach you how to practice Zen. If you'd like a book that isn't from an academic point of view this is a nice one, but still, it's not really going to teach you how to practice Zen.

u/gamyak · 1 pointr/shrooms

Night trips are fun. The darkness leaves stuff to your imagination although you can't appreciate the beauty of nature as much. Also, star gazing is amazing. The shrooms dialate your pupils so they let more light in and all of the stars look super vivid.

You can do a lot of things while you trip but I think it is best to just sit and talk. If you want to go for a walk, that would also be nice. I don't think there is really much of a point in planning out activities since you'll find something fun to do while tripping.

It's hard to say how your recent breakup could effect your trip. It sounds like you have a good mindset regarding what happened so I think you'll be fine but no one can really say for sure.

A half eighth is a rather small dose (which is why it is recommended to beginners), and your weight doesn't matter, so you probably shouldn't expect anything mind blowing. You might see a bit of visual distortion but not much and you'll have slightly different thought patterns. It's hard to describe how the thought patterns are different but your mind sort of jumps between topics and makes connections that it normally wouldn't. You also forget a lot of your biases and preconceptions about things. It also seems pretty common for people to cry a lot while on shrooms. It's not exactly a sad crying but more of your eyes just produce a lot of tears while you are very emotional.

And finally, I don't think you should look for something spiritual from your first trip. I think you should figure out what psychedelics are like before you start seeking to use them as a spiritual aid. If you want to use them to have a spiritual experience after your first trip though, I highly recommend this book. It's written by a Ph.D. level psychologist that had a job monitoring people on LSD in therapeutic settings while he was in grad school. He knew a lot of the other prominent psychologist in the psychedelic community such as Tim Leary and Richard Alpert. He's definitely a very smart guy with a lot of experience in the world of psychedelics and the mind.

u/Regina_Phalange26 · 2 pointsr/atheism

I'm a little late to the party, but I just thought I'd add my voice.

There are a couple things I would like to say. I'm sure none of it hasn't already been said somewhere here, but I'll just repeat for emphasis.

First of all, hi! And welcome. I'm sure you are feeling so confused and overwhelmed right now. That's okay. There's a lot to take in and consider. Take your time, go at your own pace, and make sure that wherever you end up is a place that is right for you. It's important to always consider what others have to say but that doesn't mean you have to follow what they say. You make your decisions and you determine your path.

If this road you are taking brings you to atheism (or anything unacceptable to your family and/or friends) you do not have to come out before you are ready. Depending on your situation it could be very detrimental to do so before the time is right. If someone will do wrong by you if they know the truth, then you are by no means obligated to give them the truth. And when the right time is, only you can say. Others may be able to help you with it, but when it comes down to it, it is your life and your decision.

And, again, if you eventually begin to identify as an atheist it is possible, and maybe even probable that you will feel angry. Many of us have been through it, or still are going through it. Angry about things that are happening around the world today and angry about things from your upbringing. That is okay too. There are many things we should be angry about. Just don't let that anger consume you. And be sure to still be reasonable. Anger can be a good thing when placed appropriately and if it's kept in perspective. It's a hard field to navigate but you'll figure it out with time and experience.

Don't get so caught up in one worldview that you are stuck in an echo chamber, never exposed to differing thoughts and opinions. Keep an open mind and don't shut things out simply because you don't want to change your opinion or are so convinced of something that you think there's no chance you could ever be wrong. This really applies to everything in life...not just religious beliefs or lack thereof.

I wanted to address you personally, rather than discuss the beliefs because I'm sure you have been given so much to consider and read already. It is likely that everything I have to suggest has already been mentioned, but:

  • There are so many good videos at The Atheist Experience

  • Greta Christina's blog has many wonderful and thought provoking writings

  • "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins is incredible (as is most of his work)

  • Just about any Christopher Hitchens debate on YouTube is fascinating. I also loved his book "God Is Not Great" but if you aren't a reader it may be tiresome and difficult to get through.

  • PZ Myers blog, Pharyngula is excellent as well.

    I could go on, but this post is already so much longer than I intended. So I'll just end on this note: things might look pretty frightening and overwhelming right now, but don't let it scare you off. There is no better feeling than learning and coming to your own conclusions about who you are and what you believe. Especially if you've had those things decided for you your entire life. If you ever need help or have questions, come here. There are many of us who are more than willing to do what we can to help.

    Good luck! :)
u/Exxec71 · 3 pointsr/islam

You'll have to forgive me I'm neither the most knowledgeable, intelligent or even the best choice as a role model. I am only someone who wants to help even if its weighted in terms of an atom.

In the name of the most gracious, the most merciful.

You won't turn into an imam overnight unfortunately however we are humans and intended to err. It is by design we commit sin, the only difference is those that ask for forgiveness afterwards. You seem to intend well and fortunately you have a goal which is miles ahead of some of your peers. In my experience (yes I have highs and lows) starting with the simplest thing than work your way up. First and foremost should be porn. That's a abyss without end so be extra careful. Try to quit slowly and inshallah days turn to weeks and on. As in try to maintain yourself for a bit then if you err your err but double your efforts next time. Fast if you have to until you succeed one day so on and so on. Second Start praying just the morning prayer than work your way gradually up but don't drag your feet and don't push too hard. Allah may give you a hard time now but thats only to lesson any punishment and possibly reward you. Your young and inshallah have a long and prosperous life ahead of you. Your fear of Allah probably stems from a lack of knowledge however you wanting him to be happy is something to think about. I say spend some time reading the Quran. A easy translation like oxfords MAS abdel haleem. If its okay with you I'll buy you a kindle copy. Educate yourself by reading some of the background info on chapters in the Quran then work your way up. There are free online courses or you can consider applying to the Zaytuna institue. Only You can hold yourself back. May Allah forgive us both and grant us patience, knowledge and save us from even the mere warmth of hellfire.

Edit: Typos and some wording.

u/Manfred1816 · 5 pointsr/books

The only one I can help you with is religion. For Christianity, I always suggest The Bible. I know this is obvious, but it seems that very few people read it from cover to cover. This may be going away from what you want, though. Personally, I read The Bible as literature, so that does, for me, place it in fiction. If you want an atheist perspective, I highly recommend The God Delusion; for some shorter pieces, I think one should look at Existentialism is a Humanism (if you like this read, it is basically taken from his book Being and Nothingness). If you want to get into some Asian faith, maybe get a copy of the Tao Te Ching to better understand Taoism. Just to add another, and this is one of my favorites; look at Food of the Gods. This is a really interesting read about how substances have affected cultures and their beliefs. It ranges from different foods to the most illicit intoxicants. For me, it really gave me a greater perspective of the uses and benefits to "drugs" that go beyond taking them simply for a good time. If any of these interest you, I can list more for what specifically interests you. It's not much, but I minor in religious studies, so I guess I have a decent grasp on what is worth one's time.

u/dangling_participles · 4 pointsr/exmormon

Perhaps it's time to move away from LDS specific arguments, and start questioning the God concept in general; especially as it relates to morality.

One argument I've always liked, is that even if there is a god, by far the strongest test of morality it could ask for is if a person will be moral while believing there is no such being, and no promise of reward or punishment.

If she is willing to read, I recommend the following:

u/PacificTwins · 7 pointsr/Drugs

As a tool for personal and professional success. I use MDMA, cannabis and psychedelics as tools for personal and professional success. I treat them like any other food supplement and use them judiciously as enhancers for meditation, business, creative pursuits, accelerated learning, networking, goal planning, visualization, yoga, exercise, sex, general mindfulness, guided meditations and visualizations, examining habits to break bad ones and form new ones, breaking out of routine ways of doing and thinking, connecting with people, nature, animals, wildlife and all that is. Now and then I do let loose and party like an animal - gotta nurture the hedonist and binge on the beauty and pleasures all around us.

I am currently experimenting with using these experiences to quickly make my first million. For example, a few months ago I dosed 50mg of MDMA at an important networking event and I made more substantive, meaningful connections that day than I ever have in similar events, and that has led to some incredible working relationships that I credit to the heart-opening presence I had with people. I always work on capturing the feelings and states during those experiences so I can access them during my sober times and make it a part of who I am.

Some resources:

Micro-Dosing: The Revolutionary Way of Using Psychedelics

Using Psychedelics Wisely: A veteran researcher explains how psychedelics can be used to give beneficial results

Cannabis Shamanism (free monthly video-streamed cannabis-guided journeys by an Ayahuasca shaman)

u/HunterIV4 · 1 pointr/atheism

I glanced at the thread, and it seems like you were very unprepared for this sort of discussion. If you just wanted to dispel myths about a secular lifestyle, I would have made that clear from the outset. Frankly, you were unprepared to make arguments supporting atheism as a philosophical position.

Part of the reason you got trolled so hard is that you made assumptions about theists and they noticed. Your own prejudices got in the way. Theists are not stupid; I personally was a theist until late into college, and I learned Christian apologetics in detail. I don't consider myself stupid, and I still believed the Christian side of things. It's not like I've suddenly become smarter as an atheist...I've just abandoned some unjustified beliefs based on new evidence that convinced me those arguments were false.

Unfortunately for you, it seems you aren't familiar with these arguments...you've either only had to deal with the most straightforward of religious beliefs ("I believe because it's so!") or you never really examined your own beliefs. This is OK...you don't need a master's degree in philosophy or natural sciences to be an atheist. If you're going to argue those positions, though, it helps to be prepared for what the opposition is going to bring. You weren't. You naively assumed they wouldn't have good reasons for believing what they believe, and they wielded it against you.

Some general things that could have helped you:

  1. Asking you random questions that are unrelated to the subject is common and acceptable in an AMA. This is not (necessarily) trolling, and if your original goal was to dispel myths that you are some sort of strange person, answering these in a straightforward manner would have helped, not hurt, your position. Also, people are going to assume when you do an AMA that you have a good understanding of the subject (frankly, and I'm not trying to offend...you don't).
  2. It's always risky to assume what other people believe. If you aren't sure, ask. There were many "gotcha" moments where people pointed out your own straw-men regarding the Christian worldview. There are many Christians who are highly educated and have a deep understanding of their beliefs, and these beliefs may not conform to the Bible-belt anti-science faith healing shenanigans (stereotypes intended). You confronted their beliefs with an assumption that they lacked reason yet showed an incredible lack of interest and knowledge in science and philosophy. Again, you don't need these things, but if you're going to argue they support your position you should damn well know what they are.
  3. I found it odd that you came from a position of doxatic closure (in plain terms, close-mindedness). Several times you mentioned that nothing would change your mind. This is a terrible place to begin a debate from, and isn't a very intellectually honest one. You invite comparisons to religion by doing so, because such closure is usually associated with strong dogmatic belief. I recommend saying coming from a position of doxatic openness, as you are more likely to get honest responses and discussions, not to mention it's generally a good idea. One of the key differences between most atheists and theists is around this axis...as an atheist, I am willing and able to adjust my beliefs based on evidence, and theists generally are not. If God were proved by solid, scientific data that could not be explained any other way, I would change my mind. If you're going to have a rational position, you need to be able to accept "Reason 101"...all hypothesis must be falsifiable (in other words, all your beliefs must have criteria that would disprove them, or they cannot be justified beliefs as there would be no way to discern truth from fiction). At one point you tell someone they weren't "devoted" enough to atheism, which is an extremely strange statement, and negates other statements you made about how atheism isn't a religion.
  4. Finally, you really need to learn some philosophy. I know, I know, for some reason many atheists (especially young atheists) have this thing against philosophy, thinking it's some anti-scientific nonsense about mystical caves and pretending that nothing can be true or known. This couldn't be further from the truth. Philosophy is all about logic and conclusions, and science is heavily based on philosophy. In fact, physics used to be called "natural philosophy", and you could argue that science is a specific form of philosophy in regards to reality. Is there bad philosophy? Absolutely. Is there practically meaningless philosophy? Oh, definitely. The same is true of virtually any area of human knowledge, but if you really want to get involved in learning about atheism you can't really do it without a basis in philosophical thought. The fact is you're using philosophy whether you think you are or not, but without a solid base you were running into issues when people brought up common arguments against your philosophical position. While learning general philosophy will be useful, if you want something specific, I recommend A Manual for Creating Atheists by Peter Boghossian. It really gets to the essence of epistemology and would have greatly helped you in your discussion. It appears you came to the conclusion of atheism because you experienced a situation where you had to deal with a lot of asshole Christians. While this may be your reason, it's not going to be something that will convince anyone of anything. I highly recommend finding out why you believe the way you believe.

    Hope that helps. Good luck on your journey.
u/modern_quill · 1 pointr/satanism

So... I'm writing up another post in notepad with a lot of Reddit comment formatting code and whatnot as a starter for creating quality stickies. Here's what I'm working with currently. There will be more to come. Feedback is welcome:


Link to previous Q&A sticky: Sticky 1, Sticky 2

Unlike many other subreddits, we at /r/Satanism enjoy nearly complete freedom of speech. The tradeoff for that free speech is that sometimes you will be exposed to ideas or opinions that you don't agree with. Keep in mind that bad behavior and not bad ideas will get people banned from this subreddit. As Satanists most often believe in stratification, the voting buttons in /r/Satanism can be used to that end. Because of this, moderators like myself likely will not remove links to sites that you would expect to be removed from other subreddits.



Note: This FAQ is written by moderator of /r/Satanism and member of the Church of Satan, /u/modern_quill. I am trying to remain unbiased and fact-based in these Q&A responses, so if you feel that I have somehow misrepresented your organization or philosophy, please let me know and we can work together to make the appropriate corrections.

Q: What is Satanism?

A: This is a simple question, but it has a complex answer because it depends on who you ask. Satanism as a philosophy and religion was first codified by Anton Szandor LaVey in his 1969 publication of The Satanic Bible. Some people refer to this secular Satanism as "LaVeyan Satanism" as a nod to Anton LaVey. The Satanic Bible borrows from the works of Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard, Ayn Rand's Objectivism, and Frederich Nietzche's Der Wille zur Macht. This is the most widely practiced form of Satanism and is championed by the Church of Satan (CoS) to this day. At its most basic definition, "LaVeyan Satanism" is about living the best life that
you want to live, and bending the world around you to your will to achieve that goal. A Satanist sees themselves as their own God. There is, of course, much more to Satanism than that very basic definition, but we expect people to do their own research as well. Most LaVeyan Satanists will simply call it Satanism, as there is only one form of Satanism from the Church of Satan's perspective. Members of the recently formed secular organization called The Satanic Temple (TST), by comparison, see Satanism as political activism. The Satanic Temple often makes news headlines with their efforts to establish a separation of church and state and do not include The Satanic Bible as part of their organization's canon, but rather The Revolt of the Angels by Anatole France. There are also theistic Satanists, some believe in a literal Satan and some do not. Ask a theist like /u/Ave_Melchom what they believe and they'll likely share their thoughts with you, but you probably won't find very many theists that share the same philosophy. There are also more esoteric organizations such as the Temple of Set (ToS), which was formed by former Church of Satan member Michael Aquino after infighting within the organization in 1975 caused many theistic members to split away and become Setians. /u/Three_Scarabs and /u/CodeReaper moderate /r/Setianism subreddit and are a wealth of information on the subject. There are also organizations that fall into a more neo-nazi ideology such as the now defunct Order of Nine Angles (ONA or O9A) and self-stylized "Spiritual Satanists" of the Joy of Satan (JoS), which are often not tolerated by other members of this subreddit. The words, "Fuck off, Nazi!" have become somewhat of a meme on /r/Satanism.

Q: If Satanists don't believe in Satan, why call it Satanism at all? Why not Humanism?

LaVeyan A: Modern secular Satanists see humans as just another animal within the greater animal kingdom, no better than our avian, reptilian, or mammalian friends. Our technology and our intellectual advancements may have placed us at the top of the food chain, but it has merely encouraged humans to be the most vicious animals of all. To us, Satan is a metaphor that represents our strength, our pride, our intellect, our carnality, and all of the so-called sins as they lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification. The Hebrew word Satan simply means adversary, and Satanists take that adversarial stance to a great many things in their lives; the way we approach an issue, the way we tackle a problem, the way we overcome an obstacle. While Humanists may try to live like Bill & Ted and be excellent to eachother, a Satanist recognizes that emotions like anger, even hate are natural to the human animal and we shouldn't feel guilty for such natural inclinations. While Christians may turn the other cheek when wronged, you can be sure that a Satanist will have their revenge, with interest.


Q: Do you sacrifice or molest children/animals? Do you drink blood?*

LaVeyan A: No. Sacrifice is a
Christian concept that was projected on to innocent Satanists during the "Satanic Panic" of the 80's and early 90's by charlatan law enforcement "consultants" and Christian religious "experts". One trait common to Satanists is their love of life as Satanists view life as the greatest of indulgences; children and animals represent the purest forms of life and imagination that there are. In fact, the abuse of children and animals is forbidden by the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth. Also, why would we want to drink blood? Christians* are the ones that (symbolically) eat the flesh and drink the blood of their savior. I'd rather enjoy a nice scotch.

Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth

  1. Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.

  2. Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.

  3. When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.

  4. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.

  5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.

  6. Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and he cries out to be relieved.

  7. Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.

  8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.

  9. Do not harm little children.

  10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.

  11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.


    More FAQ Below - (10,000 character maximum per post.)

u/Johnny10toes · 1 pointr/TheRedPill

It's interesting that you point this out at this time. I'm currently going through some lessons at https://www.khanacademy.org/ and some apps brushing up on Algebra because I want to learn Calculus and Calculus because I want to learn Physics. Now... I wasn't good in math. I'm still not but Algebra I was decent at and have forgotten tons of stuff. But the reason for learning is maps, models, realities, ideas, etc.

> When you're a hammer everything is a nail.

We are in a bit of a Hammer/Nail situation here on /r/TheRedPill and this place was where my first version of reality dropped. You see TRP is our hammer and sluts/feminism/beta is our nails. We see the confirmation of our theories everywhere, but we're looking for them. If you're a feminist that's your hammer and the patriarchy is your nail, the evidence is everywhere. If you think you're beautiful then you'll find evidence of that.

My second drop in reality was from reading The Gervais Principle.

Then we have a conglomerate of things that started making me change how I view things in quick succession. Prometheus Rising, Be Slightly Evil, Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The Art Of War and I'm sure there were a few more in there. Texts from John Boyd prove useful and tie into the other books and brings us back to models of our reality.

OODA Loop and at Art of Manliness -- At it's basic you may already be doing this. But at it's most complex you're probably not. It's not just about building a snowmobile either but that's a good way to explain it. And while we're on the subject of snowmobile this is the reason I want to learn Calculus and Physics and Transactional Analysis and Psychology and ... you get the point. I may find pieces of my snowmobile in one that I can use in another. Ideas that I can rip apart from Physics and use in Psychology or whatever.

This can be useful in that maybe a hammer is not the best tool for the job. Maybe you need a ruler. Which brings me to my point.


> Intelligence has been defined in many different ways such as in terms of one's capacity for logic, abstract thought, understanding, self-awareness, communication, learning, emotional knowledge, memory, planning, creativity and problem solving. It can also be more generally described as the ability to perceive and/or retain knowledge or information and apply it to itself or other instances of knowledge or information creating referable understanding models of any size, density, or complexity, due to any conscious or subconscious imposed will or instruction to do so.

It's not so much that you know more about what is being debated it's that you can use information about things you do know to refute the debater. For this you're going to use all of your intelligence. Emotional, Academic, Social and whatever else. Sometimes having Social Intelligence means just shutting up and not debating.

u/pater_familias · 6 pointsr/exmormon

I was this missionary. Not really, but I could rationalize with the best of them. Logic just did not enter my way of thinking. This missionary is SMART. You have to be smart to maneuver a conversation the way he did.

Looking back on it, I'm not sure if one conversation could change my mind. My mind was changed very, very slowly and by many, many conversations. With that said, I think you should just debate one topic and stick to it. Don't change...don't let him change. The reason to select just one topic is because five years from now, that's all he'll remember.

I had a conversation 10 years before I left the church with a guy. He said "Is the world more righteous now than it was 50 years ago?" I said "NO! We are more wicked now than ever!"

Then he said, "We're curing cancer, providing insulin, creating artificial limbs, and generally healing more people with more technology and medicine than in the history of the world. Surely God wouldn't bless us with such longevity for no reason? We're SUPER righteous!"

That stuck with me for a long time. It made no sense to me. Why would God do that? If God wasn't doing that, then why would Satan bless us with long, happy lives?

I guess what I'm saying is that this conversation might have been a major victory for you, but we won't know for years to come. People need lots of time to abandon their delusions.

Personally, I think you were on the right track when you attacked faith. Everyone feels the spirit. Everyone thinks it tells them what is true. Everyone believes in really different things. Therefore, faith and the spirit must be an unreliable way at arriving at truth. His central message is that faith is the ONLY reliable method for arriving at truth. He's using a method that is deeply flawed at finding ANY truth.

This is directly from Peter Boghassian's book, A Manual For Creating Atheists

u/austex_mike · 3 pointsr/islam

OK, in the interest of full disclosure I am not Muslim. However I have a degree in Islamic studies, studied Arabic in the Middle East, and have weekly Quran studies in my home.

So, first of all it is important to know that the original Qur'an is in Arabic, and many Muslims believe that in order to truly be able to understand the message of the Qur'an, you must read it in Arabic. That said, there are countless translations (some refer to them as "interpretations") of the Qur'an.

Two things to know about the Qur'an before you start. 1) As far as we know, the text of the Qur'an we have today is believed to be the same as the one recited during the life of the Prophet Muhammed. (PBUH). Unlike the Bible, the Qur'an is not a collection of stories from various sources of hundreds of years. The Qur'an as it is today is as far as we know exactly the same now as it was during the life of Muhammad. 2) The Qur'an itself is organized more or less in order from the longest chapter to the shortest. So for someone unfamiliar with the Qur'an it can be a little intimidating to start reading from beginning to end.

So, since I have lots of experience with the Qur'an, both in Arabic and English, and I have lots of experience with teaching others about it, I have learned a couple things to make it easier for people who are reading it for the first time that you might find helpful.

First, rather than read the Qur'an in the order it is traditionally arranged in, I find that it is better to read it in chronological order that the chapters were revealed in, meaning you will read it in the order that the Prophet Muhammad received the chapters from Allah. Just imagine yourself as a Arab in the 7th century who was used to hearing about pagan religion, so this on God concept is new to you. So if you look at this list you will see in the column on the far right the number of the chapters, 96 being the first one, 68 being the second one, etc.. So you will pick up your Qur'an and turn to chapter 96, then go to chapter 68 and so forth.

Second, you need to decide on a translation. Everyone has an opinion in this matter as to which translation is the best. Honestly no translation is perfect, and if you want to really understand the Qur'an you will need to read it several times. But based on my experience I have found Western English speakers do best with is the Haleem translation. The Haleem English is easy to understand, and the notes are just enough to give you some context for each chapter. So my advice is to pick up that translation and begin reading it in chronological order. I literally own dozens of translations, and have tested them all with English speakers and people new to the Qur'an, Haleem's really stands out as the easiest to understand for people new to the Qur'an.

For an idea of what your journey will be like reading the Qur'an, check out this video from Lesley Hazelton.

Did you find a place to ask a similar question about the Bible? I would be interested to know what people tell you.

u/ThePsylosopher · 8 pointsr/shrooms

Glad to hear things went okay and thanks for posting a follow-up!

>I am a little sad for him because he didn't find what he was looking for. Any advice on this?

Where to start? There are so many differing approaches and ideas on how best to use mushrooms for self-improvement that it's difficult to offer proper advice. I guess the best general advice I could offer is to learn as much as you can and then experiment with techniques to find what works best for you and your husband but also don't become too attached to any technique; it's best to remain fluid.

To be more specific, consider some of the following ideas...

Work on setting specific intentions beforehand. What do you want to get out of this trip? What are your emotional intentions? Write it down, talk about it, just put some energy into forming and understanding your intentions before the trip.

During the trip, let go of your intentions. Your conscious mind does not now how to achieve your intentions otherwise you wouldn't need mushrooms. Often times during a trip I come to the realization that my compulsion to label, understand and rationalize are what is inhibiting me from progress. To that end meditation is quite useful for quieting the compulsions of the mind.

After the trip journaling is again useful. The ineffable lessons learned are best assimilated by attempting to articulate those lessons, whether that means talking about them or writing it does not matter.

But, as many will say, mushrooms won't always give you what you seek but they do tend to give you what you need. I deeply understand the desire for results but gaining a handle on tripping is essential otherwise it's just brainfuck masterbation (sorry for the crude wording.) In that sense, it's probably best that your husband didn't get as deep as he felt necessary. The brain's ability to deceive us is uncanny so it's important to begin to recognize the self deception before going too deep.

Personally I believe mushrooms only suspend your mental barriers; the hallucinations are a product of your mind's inability to fully comprehend your personal truths and see through the deception. Everything you encounter in a trip is nothing more than you, whether you see a hideous monster or yourself as a scared, crying, vulnerable child (for example) depends on your ability to recognize your mind's deception. Your mind deceives you in this way to protect you from something you were unable to cope with at the time you experienced it.

On a side note, check out The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide and also consider looking into a practice known as holotropic breathwork, it can produce very similar effects to mushrooms and works incredibly well as an adjuvant to tripping. I found this article in particular rather compelling.

If there are any ideas I can expand upon, don't hesitate to ask. Good luck to you and your husband on future travels!

u/to55r · 1 pointr/Soulnexus

Yeah you did! Soon you'll be in wonderland!

One of the first hallucinations I ever had -- and one of the strongest, even to this day -- was of a wolf face. It was out of nowhere: one moment it was the normal tone of eigengrau you'd expect behind your eyelids, the next, a wolf was inches from my face. It was beyond clear, more real than real life. I could see every hair. Its eyes, bright yellow and full of some unearthly knowing, stared right into mine. Not just at, but into.

Naturally, I shot up in bed, gasping and punching. I was just certain that a wolf had somehow gotten into my bedroom and had come to gobble me up, and I wasn't going down easily. My mother had been sleeping next to me that night, and I woke her up with all my thrashing about. She eventually convinced me that there wasn't a wolf in the room, and I eventually went back to sleep.

I obsessed about it for months. I was a kid back then, and the internet wasn't a thing (nor were computers or cell phones or any of that stuff), so I couldn't just google around for answers. After some heavy pondering, I assumed that I had just seen a picture of a wolf in a book somewhere, that it somehow stuck in my head, and had just popped up during some kind of weird, half-awake dream. I didn't know about hypnagogia back then.

So, being the little detective that I was, I proceeded to go through every single book and magazine we owned, looking for that specific image. I knew the eyes, I knew the coat patterns, and I knew that I would know both when I saw them again. When that failed, I begged my mom to take me to the library. And then kept begging until I had been enough times to go through all of their related material. All of their natural history books, all of their National Geographics, and anything else the card catalog hinted might have a wolf in it.

As you might expect, I found no match. I did find a mention of totem animals, though, which was a new concept for a kid who had only been taught about spirituality through the (very narrow, I now feel) lens of Southern Baptist faith. Fortunately, my family has native ancestry, or my search might have ended right there.

I started bringing home library books about Native American spirituality. Acceptable, even to my very conservative father. It was "Indian stuff", so it was fine. Those were exhausted pretty quickly. Eventually there was nothing left to read, and I begrudgingly gave up the search.

Some years later, when I was a teenager, my mother took me to a bookstore in a neighboring city, and left me to my own devices while she wandered off to get a coffee (and to meet her boyfriend, I realized much later, lol). I don't know what little internal thing pushed me in that direction, but after a few minutes of wandering, I started looking for more totem animal books. I ended up finding the new age section, and everything changed.

Now, I still believed back then that everything that had been printed in a book was true, or was at least valuable in some way. I understood the difference between fiction and nonfiction, but I thought that it had to be good fiction in order to be printable, because of course agents and editors and publishers had gone over it with a fine-toothed comb. It cost money to publish things, after all, and surely a business wouldn't invest in wasteful nonsense. And the non-fiction? Well, all of that had been equally well researched, of course. They were basically textbooks.

So imagine coming from this point of view, and being suddenly surrounded by things like Taoism, Eckankar, shamanism, tarot, mysticism, and Wicca. I was in the non-fiction section -- just one long shelf over from the Bibles! The Bibles!

Magic was real? Meditation wasn't just something monks in documentaries did? These were topics that our backwoods little library hadn't even hinted existed. It was like a portal to an entirely different world had suddenly been opened up to me, a world that I had no real way of knowing about until then. Dial-up internet was only just beginning to be installed in some homes, and mine wasn't one of them. And this stuff certainly wasn't highlighted on VH1.

I wanted to learn as much as possible, but I realized that the stuff I was reading had to be innocuous enough that I wouldn't get in trouble if my mother came back and caught me with it. Also, I didn't want to go to hell, and willfully touching something like this seemed like a pretty good foot in the door. So I grabbed a book about meditation, one about tarot (though I didn't understand what the hell it was talking about and ended up discarding it pretty quickly), and a sort of borderline acceptable one about candle magic. I found an overstuffed chair nearby, as I wasn't about to be caught dead in that aisle, and spent the next fifteen or so minutes soaking my little teenage brain in this whole new paradigm.

Mom returned not long after I had gotten really into the candle magic book. Maybe she was in a good mood, maybe she was feeling guilty for the tryst, maybe the stars aligned and some cosmic finger guided her, or maybe she was just more of a hippie than I gave her credit for. Likely a little of all of those. Whatever the case, she bought me this book, with the explicit instruction that I was to hide it from my father.

This is a pretty standard beginner's book, I now realize. Nothing in it is revolutionary, and many of the things I now have enough of an understanding of to disagree with the authors' interpretations, or to disregard it entirely. But back then, I thought it was gospel. It became my new Bible -- it certainly made a lot more sense than my old one. I carried it with me everywhere, for fear of leaving it somewhere at home and having my father discover it. It became not just reference material, but also a place where I could jot down everything that I was learning. My very first Book of Shadows. When Mom went back to the bookstore for more secret infidelities, she often dragged me along, and I always dragged the book along, and copied down things from other books into its pages (they all look like this, more or less, including the inside covers on both ends).

It grew from there. I went to college, got a job, bought a house, and proceeded to fill the library with books on whatever the hell I wanted. As a result, I am fairly well-versed in the histories and beliefs of many religions (most of the modern ones, some of the ancient ones), and extremely well-versed in a select few. I have also developed a strong interest in physics, which I believe will eventually become the bridge between science and spirituality. My shelves have plenty of those books, too.

I like to think that none of this would have happened quite like it has, had it not been for that wolf. Over the years, it has been something I have returned to, some unsolved mystery that "Oh, just hypnagogia" never quite felt like the right answer to. So not too long ago, during my QHHT session, I asked about it:

> What about the vision of the wolf face?

And my higher self responded:

> That is meant to be a guide. And she has followed, in her way. It has made her ask the questions that needed to be asked.

I think it served its purpose well.

u/GarethRWhite · 2 pointsr/psychology

I really like Coolcrowe's explanation.

Personally I found The Myth a good starting point for approaching some of my existential problems, but it is a very slim book. The ideas raised there are dealt with in more detail and in a more practical or immediate way through Buddhism. In particular, formlessness, suffering, and peace are all central, and have been extensively studied and practiced for about two and a half thousand years...

Well worth a look at http://www.reddit.com/r/buddhism

I began my study with Stephen Batchelor's "Buddhism without Beliefs" which is an accessible and secular introduction,

As a scientist and agnostic/atheist/"pastafarian" (Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster :-) I found Buddhism useful as a down to earth, non-religious tool for philosophical and existential inquiry.
If you want a hardcore scientific examination of how it may work, the sky's the limit with Dr. James Austin's "Zen and the Brain", written by a neuroscientist and zen meditator. Be warned though, it's a massive volume (~800 pages) which includes heaps of really dry stuff on neurotransmitters and the anatomy of the brain,

I love studying, but you may find that cognitive understanding only takes you so far (an insight which it sounds like you've already come to by yourself) - and sometimes just causes more problems. I'd definitely recommend joining a meditation group to explore in a more immediate way what goes on inside your experience. My local Buddhist centre offers fantastic meditation drop-in classes. You may be able to find a local group on their website,

I also recommend a couple of podcasts,

Have a great journey!

u/aboughdee · 1 pointr/atheism

Not every Verse in the Qur'an will have a Hadith assigned to it. However, the Study Qur'an was just released, and it will provide you 'tafsir' on every single verse. I have yet to purchase it, otherwise I would have shared with you here the exact explanation specified in that book.

> I don't know how to respond when what it is clearly stating in English is that slaves are exempt from 4:24

My friend, Verse 4:24 clearly states in English "those your right hands possess". In Verse 4:25, it clearly states in English "And whoever among you cannot [find] the means to marry free, believing women, then [he may marry] from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls.".

Let's review this one more time, for my English speaking friend.

The second verse tells you, if you do not have the means to marry the women specified in the earlier verses (including "those your right hands possess" as specified in Verse 4:24), then you may marry from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls. Gasp! A distinction was made! Didn't you present me with a distinction in the other post? Surely you understand this concept.

> Do you not accept that slavery exists in the Koran?

The Qur'an accepts that slavery was an institution and fabric of society. The Qur'an was revealed during a time when slavery existed. Yet, not once in the Qur'an is the believer commanded to beat the slave, or to force conversion on the slave.

And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. (24:33)

Instead the Qur'an consistently reminds you that God is watching, and promises a heavenly reward for the freeing of slaves.

C'mon, it's so obvious man! I'm trying to help you out here. I want you to understand the truth! I know you don't think you need what I have to offer, but I am sharing this all with you for the sake of my Lord, and for your sake, out of the love I have for you—even if you perceive it to be a fruitless effort. The Prophet Muhammad used to cry for those who would declare themselves as his enemies, and he prayed that they would be guided. One of the Prophet's first companions was a HUGE dude, who initially wanted to kill the Prophet when he discovered that Muhammad was preaching of God different from what the Meccans worshiped (until he heard the Qur'an for the first time and began to weep, then instantly submitted to Allah).

> In any case, I'm glad that you don't support slavery. Alas, I wish all Muslims of humanity shared your sentiment.

Most Muslims around the world already do share my sentiment, my friend. Muslims believe all humans will be judged for every single little thing, and can be punished for every little thing, if we are not forgiven through God's mercy. Many Muslims are hesitant to even kill a fly in their home.

Nonetheless, we will agree to disagree. You are reluctant to share my understanding of Islam, as your mind has already generated a negative perception of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. I would not follow a religion which I knew was inherently evil. I am confident that your interpretations of the Qur'an false, but if you are sincere with your understanding of Islam, and if you are sincere to know the truth, then there is no judgement upon you.

Lastly, if you are sincere about wanting to learn the truth, it couldn't hurt to listen for five minutes or so. You should at least be presented with what we believe is divine language. Just 5 minutes :D

u/LarryBills · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Sorry you are having a hard time. Maybe you can start small. It's very common for people to give themselves a dream or goal that's so big, they feel that even if the fall a bit short they would still be amazingly successful. However, as you are seeing here, this is unskillful and most often leads to a cycle of disappointment, self-doubt and recrimination.

Quite often, some big dreams are achievable but it takes time to really understand what goes in to making it real. So you might want to adopt a pragmatic approach here and say, "Ok, my previous approach didn't work. That's no problem. We all come up short sometimes." But it's important to not to repeat mistakes that you know don't work and wallow. Do something different and do it now.

So start small. What do you think you could want in a year or two's time? For example: do you want to be enrolled in a degree program for Therapy? That seems doable. Not easy, but doable. You'll need to start researching programs and determine what prerequisites and requirements are needed. Then see where you might be short and reach out to a few programs to speak to their admissions or advising departments. They will be happy to help as they have enrollment considerations top of mind. Then you put together a schedule for your application, get your transcripts in order or finish whatever prereq's you need. Especially in CA, there are a TON of places other than Berkeley to apply. How about the College of the Pacific? Davis? Does Chapman have a program? You can check out the programs here on MFT California.

On that note, are you aware that many/most folks working as Therapists don't have PHDs for instance? Be clear with the requirements for the role. Here's what I found with a little Googling https://www.bbs.ca.gov/applicants/lmft.html

This avenue seems most critical right now. You need to get out of your head and out of the self-recrimination game. Grandiose plans and self-hatred are together in an unhelpful cycle here so drop all of it.

On the Buddhism side, forget all that you thought you knew. Start a daily meditation habit. 10 minutes a day and build up from there. Do it every day without fail. Read What the Buddha Taught. Buy the book. It's better than reading online.

Finally, you didn't state it in your note but if you'll allow some advice from someone who used to be young: if the following are in your life, drop them while you get things on track (and hopefully beyond):

Weed, booze, video games, porn and other wastes of your time that dissipate your energy and erode your mind. You'll save a lot of time if you nip this garbage in the proverbial bud.

The good news is you can forgive yourself. None of us are perfect and you have plenty of time to get on track. Now get to it!

u/EvilVegan · 1 pointr/atheism

Ah man, good luck. Let me see if I can add anything... probably already been said.

  1. He doesn't "reject" your belief so much as not accept it (just as you don't accept Islam). Some amount of reasonable evidence (to him) has convinced him that Christianity is false. This happens quite a bit and is becoming more common as people become more educated and have less trouble feeding themselves. People don't need a God if they're already comfortable, religion is comfort. I could provide numerous skeptical lists that show Christianity to be false, but that won't help you do anything if you aren't looking to change your mind. Approach it like this: do you need proof that Thor doesn't exist? Having a list of proofs of the non-existence of Thor will not help you reason with someone who doesn't believe in Thor. My main reason for being atheist isn't evidence against god, but lack of evidence for a Specifically-Christian god. Nothing in the Bible is believable to me and many parts of Christian theology completely clash with my moral compass. Devout Christians usually have a block that prevents them from thinking about the parts that are icky; he apparently lost his block.

  2. This sounds like typical teenagery stuff combined with a new antitheist mindset. Like anything new, it becomes very important until the charm/novelty wears off. I'd say it's normal as long as he's not looking at bombs and stuff. A lot of antitheists are mad at the religious organizations more than the belief structure. You can try to guide it towards more reasonable outlets of antitheism. Like, since he hates religious hypocrisy, try to find a secular charity (Habitat for Humanity or something) and get him involved in activities that prove he's not a hypocrite like the religious people he despises. It will help develop social networking skills that he'll miss out on if he doesn't have any extra curricular social activities like church.

  3. I would give up on trying to convince him of absolute moral truths and instead approach it from a position of logic and reason. If he's really turned his back on your religion, you really don't have a moral framework to approach him from; the Bible is moot, he'll pretty much have to rely on the conscience you've hopefully instilled in him as a decent parent. Morality is usually ingrained by this age, so you're probably safe from him becoming a psychopath. As an atheist I abhor drugs because they severely limit one's ability to maintain a rational mind and this is contrary to the things I hold dear: intelligence, reason, etc; but many atheists are nihilists and view drugs as beneficial. This is going to come down to peer-groups and his moral. It's hard to break conditioning. He's a boy, you shouldn't have to worry about abortion too much, but you're going to have almost no common ground on this topic. There is no reason to not have sex before marriage outside of unexpected pregnancy, STDs, and emotional scarring; you kind of have to work with that. Teach him caution and self-protection. Abstinence does have it's physical and mental benefits, but good luck convincing a teenage boy of that. Look up things on social contract. He's a teenager, he'd like the books of Sam Harris because they're just controversial enough to be edgy, but he argues for secular objective morality.

    Basically, like all teenagers, you're just in a holding pattern until he gets into his mid 20s and becomes the man he probably would have regardless of belief structure. Give him structure, maybe stop spying on him, let him know you're there to help him and that you love him even if he's going to hell.

    If he's a reader:

u/PsychedelicFrontier · 4 pointsr/RationalPsychonaut

Not really a guide but I love The Joyous Cosmology by Watts. Has a bit more woo than a materialist might like, but Watts' brand of woo is palatable and non-dogmatic -- more of a try "try THIS on for size" than a "so THIS is this the way the universe is."

You may also find The Secret Chief Revealed insightful in terms of the therapeutic benefits to tripping, and how to approach psychedelics seriously.

Prometheus Rising, while more of an owner's manual to the human mind than a tripping guide, can help with recognizing your own biases and trying new perspectives -- highly relevant to the psychedelic experience and beloved by many psychonauts.

u/yawa_throw · 3 pointsr/psychology

I can identify with many of the replies to this post, so I wanted to share some personal insights that have helped me tremendously with these existential anxieties/depression (although I still struggle with them). Please excuse me if I'm not as well-spoken as others here, but I'm not a native speaker and... even worse, I'm an engineer.

First, you have to realize that this kind of existential anxiety has been recognized as part of the human condition by many philosophers and thinkers from almost the beginning of our recorded history. So, even though it is true that it can be hard to find peers to whom you can talk openly about these problems, and who will understand you from personal experience, this is not true if you count the experiences of the thousands of persons who had exactly the same feelings and have written about them. Of course they all had their own experiences, insights and solutions which may not apply to you, but it would be stupid to think that there is not some valuable wisdom to be gained from these thousands of years of tradition of thinking about these issues.

I don't want to elaborate too long about all the things out there, neither do I want to force my own opinions on others, but here are some personal recommendations:

  • Albert Camus (as mentioned numerous times in this thread)
  • Herman Hesse - Siddhartha
  • I recommend reading any good book on the history of philosophy that sticks to a few pages per school/person to get a good overview of how people have been approaching these issues throughout history. You can just skip all the guys who where thinking about irrelevant shite that has long become obsolete because of modern science. I have used Joachim Storig's excellent book for this, although I think it is only available in German, Dutch and Spanish.
  • If you consider yourself more of a deep physical/metaphysical thinker and you think these practical philosophies are not relevant to your issues or too superficial, try the following approach:
    • get at least a limited understanding of the following fields of science: quantum physics, systems theory/cybernetics, some neuroscience, the problems of mathematics (i recommend the graphic novel logicomix as an easy to read and interesting introduction)
    • read about Buddha's (Siddhartha Gautama's) life and how he developed his philosophy/doctrine. This guy is extra relevant because he made existential anxiety the core of his practical philosophy (This is often misunderstood because 'dukkha' is somewhat misleadingly translated as just 'suffering'). I highly recommend Osamu Tezuka's graphic novel, Wikipedia's Buddhism template, Alan Watts talks on Buddhist philosophy, or any basic introduction to buddhist concepts such as this one. While doing this keep in mind that he was just a regular spoiled-ass prince who was really smart, had too much time on his hands and was suffering from the same existential anxieties as you are. Try to really understand his philosophy (especially non-self, impermanence and nirvana) in the context of modern science, and be amazed at how well it holds up (hence the interest in Buddhist thought among physicists and neuroscientists).
    • ???
    • Profit!

      Peace and good luck y'all.
u/topaz420 · 4 pointsr/LifeProTips

I am 15 months into my ongoing healing process from the greatest loss of my life, so I'd like to share some things I've learned:

Rushing into another relationship is unsound advice, and most likely to hurt you and the next person you prematurely involve yourself with.

The best thing I can tell you is that healing from a loss is not like getting a cut on your flesh, where there is consistent and predictable healing. If healing from a physical wound is a straight line, then healing from an emotional loss is a jagged, swirling journey, where you sometimes take one step forward and 10 steps back. Don't get frustrated by these setbacks--just understand that the timetable for healing is not set, and trust in the heart's ability to heal:

"When an emotional injury takes place, the body begins a process as natural as the healing of a physical wound. Let the process happen. Trust the process. Surrender to it." --from "How to Survive the Loss of a Love"

Don't make any rash life-altering decisions, don't turn to drugs or alcohol (which only postpone or subvert healing), give to those who are less fortunate than you, and surround yourself with family and friends that love you unconditionally.

Here is a link to the book quoted above, which I wholeheartedly recommend:

And another I'm in the midst of reading, which, so far, is also exceptional:

This is a beautiful recounting of the Buddha's journey to understanding suffering:

And this is a pocket book available for free from the Amida Society:

For me, feeling her "fade away" from my memory was so hurtful that I would hold on to the pain to keep the memories fresh. That is not conducive to healing. What helped me was creating a document (I used Google Docs so I could update from anywhere), and whenever a sweet memory surfaced of something she did, said, or was, I would write it down. It provided a catharsis--like a treasure chest of everything she was. I no longer compulsively read it, but it is comforting to know it's there, and has definitely helped my healing process.

For the first six months of my loss, I could barely leave the house. Since I love movies, I started trying to find ones that contained people being kind to one another (they are very rare). They helped me in reconnecting to and believing in kindness again, and I found myself watching some of my favorites just to get myself to sleep at night. I compiled a few into an IMDb list:

Take care of yourself

Source: Losing my dear wife--the sweetest, kindest person I've ever known.

u/midnightgiraffe · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

>free will by definition requires the possibility of choosing the wrong thing or making a bad choice. and those people who always choose good of their own free will, they exist, but they all live in heaven.

There are many things that human beings cannot do. We cannot fly unassisted or travel faster than the speed of light. However, we are never tempted to say that this restrictions on our ability somehow infringe upon our free will. Even though our possible actions are restricted by a set of parameters, we are still free within those parameters - free will does not require infinite choice.

Given this, it is logically possible that God could have created beings that such that they would always freely choose the good. That is, that these beings would have only innocent inclinations - what Kant called holy will.

>if he interfered then he has compromised our freedom to choose the wrong thing and thus we would not have free will.

Why does having free will necessarily require the ability to harm others? Couldn't God, being omnipotent, have created a world in which people who chose evil harmed only themselves through their actions, and not been able to cause innocents to suffer. I fail to see how this would in any way impinge on those agents' free will.

Clearly, this is not the world we live in. We live in a world in which those who choose evil can inflict harm on others, which seems to suggest that either God does not have the capacity to do this (in which case he is not omnipotent) or does not have the inclination to (in which case he is not omnibenevolent).

>if we choose to live in the material world, suffering and death are unavoidable. it is our choice to live in this world that is the bad choice we have made.

In what way do we choose to live in this world? I'm sorry, but this seems utterly nonsensical to me. We are simply born into the material world; there is no choice involved.

>if you choose to jump off a building, is gravity responsible for your injuries?

Of course not. In that case it is your choice that caused the suffering. However, there are plenty of cases where the free choice of moral agents is in no way responsible for the suffering caused. This is the definition of natural evil.

For example, in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, rescue efforts were hampered by rain. If not for that rain, it is surely possible that a few more people might have been pulled from the wreckage. Even assuming that the WTC attacks happened because of the perpetrators exercising their free will, there's no reason for God to have made the situation worse by hampering rescue efforts. Surely God could have simply not sent this rain, or made it not rain, without infringing on anyone's free will.

>wasn't sure of your exact argument for libertarian free will so haven't replied to that.

I certainly don't have an argument for libertarian free will. I do have an argument against it, but it's not really something I can sum up in a short reddit post. If you're interested, I'd encourage you to read Sam Harris' excellent book Free Will. As I said in my first post, the free will defense does require libertarian free will and that's not something I think exists, so for me the argument really does stop there.

u/ggliddy357 · 1 pointr/Christianity

Thanks for the response. I hoped for a little repartee.

>But there's also a difference between, say, the example you gave of a dragon and these Christian accounts.

No, alas, they are exactly the same. They rely on eye witness (personal anecdote) testimony and have no evidence. Again, if there WAS evidence you (they) would be the first in history to show it. Additionally, you might want to theologically think about your stance on evidence and whether or not there is any. If a god provided evidence of its existence, wouldn't that remove our free will that christians so desperately defend by compelling us to believe? (By the way, you might want to hear what Sam has to say about Free Will)

>you can look at those who have been willing to die for their faith

This doesn't make a thing true. Those who follow Allah say this exact same thing before they blow themselves up on the crowed Israeli bus. The stronger you say your faith is, the faster I walk the other way in fear for my safety. There's no telling where ardent faith leads. Oh yeah, the Crusades for one. 9/11 for another. I'm pretty sure the female genital mutilation crowd is willing to die for their faith too. How about those parents who let their children die of easily cured maladies because they'd rather pray for help to come? I'll bet they're pretty strong in their faith.

Which leads me to...

> insincere or just deluded?

I think the majority of those who profess a belief in supernatural woo-woo actually believe it. True charlatans are rare but exist nonetheless. The easy way to spot a charlatan is the request for money. "God made the universe but you need to give 'til it hurts 'cause he's out of money." Therefore, to answer your either/or question, woo-woo believers are deluded. You know there's a famous book with a title you might recognize, The God Delusion. The clue is in the title.

Since you finished with a question, allow me the same privilege.

Do you care if your beliefs are true?

*Edit: Hyperlinked to The God Delusion by Sir Richard Dawkins. Thought for sure you'd want more details.

u/47themessenger14 · 2 pointsr/Drugs

Lol, yeah. I'm apparently a glutton for psychological punishment. I had another unresolved BPM II type experience about a two years later, again completely by accident, lost my marbles while laughing at my cat. I discovered the BPM model a few months after that and suddenly a million light bulbs went off in my head. I tried to replicate Stan Grof's experiment's a year and a half after learning about it and AGAIN, unresolved BPM II experience, and that one was probably the worst because 1) I had taken a HUGE dose that time thinking it would help [IT DOES NOT, --just enough-- is perfect ~200µ] and 2) I fully allowed the LSD to work me over because that was my intention. Neither I nor my guides fully understood what we were doing and I experienced the most harrowing six hours (read: one million trillion years) lying on my bedroom floor. One of my guides claimed she could see my carotid artery just about jumping out of my neck quite rapidly.

Eventually I was able to bring an LSD session to resolution, but I used the Psychedelic Explorer's Guide by James Fadiman as the guide book. Stan Grof's work is excellent and provides a good model for interpreting the experience but is really written from the interior of the trip. The 6-stage model used by Dr. Fadiman is much more written for the guide and extremely easy to follow. The guide is 90% of the trip, only 10% the voyager.

Resolution of a high dose experience is more than worth it if you don't have a risk of serious mental health problems and have the balls to carry it out. Since I did it feels like the wheels of life have been greased. I'm much less liable to be angry, it's much much much easier to build rapport with people who believe differently than I, enjoying and staying in the present moment is much easier, and I feel like I understand my purpose in life.

Thank you so much for your interest. I think learning about the theoretical models used for psychedelic experience can vastly improve one's psychedelic experiences.

u/User-31f64a4e · 1 pointr/TheRedPill

> Meditation and prayer can be used to develop and impose calmness.

Yes, and no. From viewonbuddism.org:

>The Tibetan word for meditation, "gom" can be translated as familiarising, habituating. In short, it means to familiarise with a positive state of mind, which actually refers to training the mind. Meditation is not just relaxing, rather it is trying to develop a highly concentrated and clear state of mind which one can use for clear analysis, and which can be blissful to be in.

So the point is to get used to your mind. If you do this, you learn that thoughts arise, exist, and pass away. Watching this over time, you learn that thoughts don't have to capture you. You don't have to believe them. You learn that desires and aversions are actually not so important, and that you can still be happy if you ignore them instead of indulging them.

As you gain the ability to distance yourself from your thoughts, and assuming a certain natural curiosity, you begin to unravel the hidden mechanisms at work. You begin to see the thoughts behind your thoughts. This is known as insight, or Vipassana. With it, you move from being a robot who is simplistically triggered by environmental stimuli, to someone with the ability not to 'bite the hook.'

A lot of what I know about meditation came from various Buddhist traditions. That's great and all, but they spend far too much time and energy on unprovable ideas like karma, reincarnation, storehouse consciousness, gods and mystical beings, etc. Some traditions are also very hierarchical and very ritualistic. There is also a lot of woo in all the traditions, which is why I don't identify with any.

For me, investigating the traditions without drinking the kool-aid is the key. I highly recommend Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor and especially Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabbatt Zinn; they teach the valuable parts of Buddhist thoughts, without the woo woo and supernatural beliefs. For mediation itself, many books on Buddhism have instructions. You can also find a lot of meditation instruction online. Unlearning Meditation: What to do when the Instructions Get In The Way by Jason Siff is also pretty good.

u/drinkmorecoffee · 7 pointsr/exchristian

If by 'lacking' you mean 'nonexistent', then yes.

I went to public school but with heavy influence from my folks and church, all of whom seem to be involved in some sort of Fundamentalism competition. I learned exactly as much as I had to in order to pass the test, but I was always convinced it was a lie because scientists are all "out to get" Christianity.

I'm still wrapping my head around just how unhealthy this worldview can be.

I'll echo /u/Cognizant_Psyche - kudos on taking that first step and deciding to get smart on this topic.

I talked to my church pastor, who passed me off to his wife (who has apologetics degrees out the ass). She recommended The Language of God, a tactic which soundly backfired on her. That book was fantastic. It explains evolution from a DNA perspective but then tries to tell me I can still believe in God if I want to. For me, from such a fundamentalist, literalist background, the bible had to be true word-for-word, yet this book flew in the face of the entire Genesis account of creation. If that wasn't real, how could I trust any of the rest?

Once I was 'cleared' to learn about Evolution, I grabbed Dawkins' The God Delusion. I watched the Ham-Nye debate. I grabbed Who Wrote The New Testament, and Misquoting Jesus. That pretty much did it for me.

u/amdgph · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Alright here are some of the best resources I know as a Catholic. Hope they help!

Edward Feser's blog as well as his The Last Superstition and 5 Proofs of the Existence of God

Stephen Barr's Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

Francis Collin's The Language of God

Anthony Flew's There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

Thomas Wood's How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

Brant Pitre's The Case For Jesus

Tim O Neill on the Church and science, the Inquisition and the Galileo affair

Jenny Hawkins on Jesus and God, early Christianity and form criticism

Al Moritz on the Fine Tuning Argument

>There is a reason someone should believe in the supernatural and mystical aspects of Christianity. This is a large issue for me. Solely based on supernatural and mystical ideas, from an outsider perspective, Christianity is no different than animism or Buddhism. I can't have faith alone.

Well when you look at the world's religions, Christianity has a clear and impressive advantage in the miracles/mystical department. Historically, in Christianity, there have been numerous cases of Eucharistic miracles, Marian apparitions, miraculous healings and the spiritual gifts and religious experiences of countless Christian saints -- men and women of great virtue whose admirable character only add to the credibility of their testimony. Examples of these include Paul, Benedict of Nursia, Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Hildegard of Bingen, Anthony of Padua, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Vincent Ferrer, Joan of Arc, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Catherine Emmerich, John Vianney, Anna Maria Taigi, Genma Galangi, Faustina Kowalska and Padre Pio. We also have a pair of impressive relics, the shroud of Turin and the sudarium of Orvieto. I'll also throw in Catholic exorcisms.

And these Eucharistic miracles, Marian apparitions and religious/mystical experiences continue to happen today.

What do Buddhism and animism have in comparison?

>Anything that discusses and argues against some common tropes from atheists such as Mother Teresa being a vile, sadistic person.

Honestly, I'm quite stunned at the portrait atheists have painted of her. At worst, she wasn't perfect and made mistakes. She cannot be a vile monster like Hitchens claims she was, that's ridiculous. Here are some articles that defend Mother Teresa -- here, here, here and here.

Check out any of Mother Teresa's personal writings (e.g. No Greater Love, A Simple Path, Come Be Thy Light) to see what she believed in, what she valued and how she saw the world. Check out books written by people who actually knew her such as that of Malcolm Muggeridge, an agnostic BBC reporter who ended up converting to Catholicism because of Teresa and ended up becoming a lifelong friend of hers. Or that of her priest, friend and confessor, Leo Maasburg, who was able to recall 50 inspiring stories of Mother Teresa. Or that of Conroy, a person who actually worked with her. Or any biography of hers. Find out what she was like according to the people around her. Then afterwards, determine for yourself if she resembles Hitchen's "monster" or the Catholic Church's "saint".

u/TooManyInLitter · 8 pointsr/atheism

> Every time I talk to them, they tell me to go to church or pray or read the bible or some other nonsense.

Agree to their request - IF they do the same for you. You will read the bible and discuss what you find in it with them if they will read something you suggest and they discuss it with you.

Here is a couple of suggestions for reading in the bible:

Luke 19:11-27 The Parable of the Ten Minas - What is the meaning behind this parable? When are your parents gearing up for the slaughter?

Ok, I am too lazy to list other examples - so here is a link - A Book of Blood: Biblical atrocities :D

As for reading material for your parents - check the FAQ for a good list. The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, is a popular choice.

Or you can work with your parents to investigate the foundations of the Catholic religion together. The primary most basic foundation to Catholics , and all the Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) is the belief in one and only one monotheistic deity, Yahweh/YHWH/Allah. All of these religions also have established the precedent of accepting the revealed and religious literature/oral history of previous cultures regarding Yahweh/Allah. A fun and informative activity that any good adherent to Yahwehism should undertake is to investigate the origin story for Yahweh. Where did Yahweh come from? Yahweh did not just pop up fully revealed to the early Israelites (as documented in the Torah). SPOLIER: Yahweh started out as a second tier fertility/rain/warrior local desert God under the El, Father God, Pantheon.

Online evidential sources related to the development and growth of Allahism/Yahwehism:

u/Didyekenit · 3 pointsr/islam

"The Study Qur'an" cites multiple tafsir, which I quite like.

The problem is that many of the more readily available tafsir are more conservative, or have a wahabi bend to them, which can give you a false impression that all Muslims agree with certain statements. The Hilali-Khan translation/tafsir is just a summarized version of Ibn Kathir, which is a Salafist interpretation. (Again, I urge that anyone study tafsir from multiple schools of thought, and I am not bashing any one sect, it's just that there are many, many, many interpretations of the text and a knowledge of more than one is beneficial.)

Yusuf Ali's commentary is good, and in fact his Qur'an was the gold standard for the last 100 years in English. It's probably a bit old fashioned for most, though.

Muhammad Assad's is very good. Extremely good, and the one 90% of people would reccomend, and one you should just get anyway. Though some of his commentary is not inline with Islamic thought (his views on Jesus, for example, are controversial in general), but you should read any tafsir with a grain of salt.

Ma'ariful Qur'an is an excellent modern tafsir. Usmani was a Hanbali or Hanafi, I believe, but manages to be neutral and quite moderate in his commentary. The cost of the full 8 volume set is a bit much, but you can get a cheap version from India for a low price if you don't mind imperfect binding (I found all 8 volumes in a local shop for around 60$ CAD, which is awesome.).

If you want to read an AMAZING Shi'a commentary (you likely are not Shi'a, but still.....people should understand multiple views on any topic whether or not you agree), then Tafsir al-Mizan is incredible. It's not 100% translated into English yet, but it is available for free online. Whether Shi'a or Sunni, I think it can be agreed that Muhammad Husayn at-Tabataba'i was a great scholar.

The only work in English which includes multiple tafsir from multiple schools and multiple writers is the Study Qur'an, and it is insanely exhaustive, listing all of the sources and even telling the reader where to go and read most of the tafsir cited on the internet. It's amazing. Spend the money and also buy some "Bible highlighters" (the kind that work on thin pages). (I have been using a regular Staples brand "Hype!" highlighter and it doesn't bleed through, though, so the pages are quite tough despite being thin. Pen doesn't go through either, as I have been underlining quite a lot and have had no problems, but I would still recommend a .005 fine line marker just in case.]

If you are a cheapskate, go to altafsir.org, which is what "The Study Qur'an" advises also. You can either search for individual verses and pull up different classical tafsir for that verse, or just download/read a PDF of an entire tafsir if you prefer. Tafsir al-Jalalayn is, as I understand, the most universally used in teaching Qur'an because it is short, and only provides the context of revelation for verses. You may want more in-depth tafsir, but al-Jalalayn has been the jumping off point for Muslims for 500 years. And is available on altafsir.

tl;dr - "The Study Qur'an"

u/DKowalsky2 · 1 pointr/IAmA

The original question didn't request a philosophical premise for God's existence. It questioned the definition of faith, and those are the two links I provided. The analogy of "knowing" someone through rationality vs. experience isn't Bishop Barron's proof for God's existence. For better discussion on that from him, you'll want to look here:

u/eternityisreal · 6 pointsr/UFOs

Please don't judge by this sub, it does no justice to the genuine mass of sightings and phenomenon that has occurred all over the world for all of recorded human history. Check out Leslie Kean and her work, she does a great job gathering some of the credible more credible testimonies all together and presenting them.

Also check out the disclosure project conference:

And Fingerprint of the Gods by Graham Hancock, available in full for free here: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/egipto/fingerprintgods/fingerprintgods.htm

Despite its sensationalist name it's actually quite factually based and makes no bold claims but rather only shows the reader where traditional historical accounts do not match with historical evidence and record.

Another great one by Hancock sort of but not entirely related to this sub is "Supernatural" which you can also easily find in full for free online. Again, stupid title but amazing book on the history of human beings use of psychedelics, the potential existence of other dimensions, and exploring how it relates to folklore spanning human history including modern ufos and abductions. It retains a fairly academic tone throughout which I appreciate. It never makes any assertions but rather presents the reader with the strange evidence to draw ones own conclusions. Granted the "evidence" is often circumstantial, hearsay, or anecdotal but it's still compelling.

One of my favorite chapters was his analysis of DNA, his problems with the current explanation of its evolution, and Walter Cricks psychoactive drug experience to discover it. I've never read a 400+ page book so fast in my life! (except for Harry potter)

I have my own theories and believe it to be a spiritual/trans dimensional as well as physical phenomenon and that the true identity of these beings can be found in the book of Genesis of the Bible/ Torah. No I'm not one of those crazy religious nuts I'm normal I promise! If you're ever interested in more on that aspect of it I've got lots of resources and references.

But yah, I agree this sub isn't strong in presenting the compelling evidence. But that can change! Everyone who complains about it sucking let's all just start posting all our favorite, quality stuff ;)

u/not_thrilled · 6 pointsr/TrueAtheism

> Where do atheists and non-Christians get their sense of morality? I’ve been taught that without God there would be no basis for human morality. However, I’ve met non-Christians who are subjectively (and perhaps objectively) more moral than some Christians. I’m asking, philosophically speaking, where morality “comes from”.

The way I see it, treating others how you wish to be treated is both in your own self-interest and in the interest of others. When writ large, it's simple morality. Do you want to be killed? Raped? Your stuff taken away? Then don't treat others that way either. You can take the thought process further or more abstract, in which case you get philosophy. I'm not smart enough for that, or just don't have the patience for it, take your pick. I just do what I'd want others to do, and on most days, I'd rather someone didn't kill me, thank you.

> Where do I start looking for the science behind evolution? I’ve been told that there is a massive amount of science, research, and evidence behind evolution that I’m inclining to believe is true. I know what evolution is and how it works, but I personally need more hard evidence. I’d love some resources if anyone here has any recommendations.

To be honest, I've never taken the time to truly dive into this. Someone else can probably answer better than me.

> From the outside looking at Christians, what are some of the biggest flaws in our arguments for God’s existence?

Most arguments I see involve one or both of two things. First is the Bible. It claims to be the word of God, and is really old, and people have said it's proof of God, so that's basically enough. Spoiler alert: It's not. If I found a 2000 year old Spider-Man comic, would that be proof that he existed? You're taking the oral traditions of primitive people, written down centuries after the alleged events, or in the case of Jesus, third-hand accounts written down decades later, and then centuries after that culled into a canonical document by someone looking to rule his empire with a single religion, as an accurate representation. Second, the concept of "god of the gaps," where anything not sufficiently understood is assumed to be proof of God. Or, the "look around, it's so beautiful/amazing, this couldn't have happened by chance" argument. The realm of things that hasn't been explained by science is rapidly dwindling, and at this point basically all religious people can do is reject the science. Don't be one of those people. I will say, it's impossible to say there is no god, but what is more likely? That there is a being that runs counter to every known tenet of science, that existed before anything else, that is all-seeing and all-knowing, yet gives no concrete proof of its existence, or that there...simply isn't? At this point, I'd accept the whackadoodle ancient alien explanations of the Bible over the supernatural, because at least those are plausible.

One book I'd recommend is Dan Barker's "Godless." He was an extremely passionate Christian, who had the same doubts, followed them to their logical conclusion, and left the faith. He's now actively involved in the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

u/BearJew13 · 23 pointsr/Buddhism

I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder a few years ago. Buddhism helps with my anxiety in many ways:

  • meditation: learning how to meditate is not easy for many people. I meditated on and off for a few years before I starting doing it as a consistent habit every day. All I can say here is that once you learn how to meditate (either via books, online guided meditations or visiting a meditation center/sangha), the science is very, very convincing about the plethora of health benefits meditation will bring you. In particular, I find basic breath meditation and visualization meditations once a day helps me handle my stress and anxiety better, it just gives me an overall increased sense of well being

  • combat negative thoughts with positive thoughts: whenever you catch yourself having negative, anxious thoughts, simply recognize them, then combat them with positive thoughts. This simple exercise, if done habitually, will literally rewire your brain to start thinking more positively. Many psychologists and counselors will teach you this exercise

  • It gives my life meaning. People get anxiety for different reasons, mine was usually existential: worrying that everything is pointless and meaningless, etc. Studying and practicing Buddhism has given great meaning to my life. The Buddha was interested in the happiness of all people, and he taught people from a wide variety of walks of life, and showed them how to imbue meaning into their lives, no matter where they were at spiritually. There's such a rich variety of teachings attributable to the Buddha: teachings to husbands, wives, children, employeers, employees, politicians, monks, etc. It's exciting. My goal is to one day become a Buddha: someone who has discovered the path to obtaining an unshakable liberation of heart and mind, and who shares this path with others. Definitely not an easy goal, but an interesting, meaningful one nontheless :)

  • EDIT: here are some resources: I recommend Mindfulness in Plain English for learning how to meditate and practice mindfulness; and Taking the Leap for learning how to deal with negative emotions. Then I recommend What the Buddha Taught for the best introduction to Buddhism I've found yet. This book even includes an entire chapter about how what the Buddha taught relates to the world today. The author includes several suttas that specifically teach how the dharma applies to the ordinary lay life. Highly recommend.
u/NolanVoid · 1 pointr/occult

I'm not sure that this is a forum that specializes in issues of this nature, though we may be able to provide support in related areas of subject matter. I would assume that many of us have been in the business of confronting and dealing with our various pains, sufferings, and other shadows in the dark night of the soul.

History and myth are ripe with tales beings of ambiguous or crossed genders. They have played an important part of many traditions as symbols and sacred figures representing alchemical principles and equanimity of the soul, an androgyny that forms a balanced human being comprised of both masculine and feminine principles.

It is my opinion that if you face this conflict within you earnestly and seek to understand it that you will begin to unravel the knot of your pain and come to a better understanding of what is going on within you. Learn self-reflection and seek to understand yourself. Helpful tools include meditation and consumption of as much relevant literature on any related subjects.

Possible starting points:




For a compassionate guide to practicing self-reflection and meditation I cannot recommend a better starting point than The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh. I would make the case to you that it will help you do the real hard work of refining yourself as a human being. And if you do decide to delve further into occult practice and study, a good foundation in meditation, mindfulness, and present moment awareness can be invaluable, particularly on chemognostic psychedelic voyages into other realms of reality.

I apologize if this is not the sort of thing that you are looking for. Magic and occult practice isn't necessarily about quick fixes and easy solutions. But I can almost guarantee that if you work at it sincerely it will be transformative of who you are in unexpected and most often beneficial ways. Good luck and feel free to message if there is anything I can do to further assist you.

u/DJSpook · 1 pointr/AskAChristian

You can't just assume that you don't have the sufficient means for coming to an intellectually satisfied faith in Christ by the time you die and then hold that against God. I commend you to read The Last Superstition by Edward Feser (one of the eminent analytical philosophers of religion today) for an excellent academic response to the "New Atheism" championed by secular figures such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris in recent years.

The essay therein is an incisive exposition of their arguments and his attempted refutations--a piece of analytic philosophy worthy of anyone's consideration, especially if they want to honestly pursue an informed opinion on the matter of whether belief in God is rationally justified or not and take God up on His promise to reveal Himself to those who will seek Him.

Additionally, I believe you would find the following resources helpful in your pursuit of truth:

The Absurdity of Life Without God

Archeology and the Historical Reliability of the new Testament

Another great article on the historicity of the New Testament by analytic philosopher J.P. Moreland

Audio resources by Dr. Timothy McGrew

An essay on the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, explicated with the Bayesian Theorem of probabilities

All other religions can be dismissed as nonfalsifiable or for lacking an equally strong case, as analytic philosopher and NT Scholar William Lane Craig has said.

u/MrsSpice · 1 pointr/selfhelp

I see a therapist when I know something isn't right, but I am unsure what. Sometimes having someone to ask the right questions (with no vested interest) helps me come to realizations I wouldn't have otherwise.

I was terrified of going at first, but I am so happy I did! If you want to go but are scared, feel free to ask me questions.

I also enjoy guided journals. Right now I am doing one called "Design The Life You Love"

Zen/Buddhism/mindfulness books help me when I am stuck in my head, feeling as though my existence has no meaning. This book is the first one I read along those lines, and here is a popular Buddhist author whose books I find easy, relatable, and enjoyable to read. If you enjoy challenging books, there are plenty of those too - here is a hugely popular one.

Lastly, is there anyone close to you who you trust with this concern? Could you share your observations with this person, ask if they have noticed it as well, and ask what suggestions they might have?

u/CivilBrocedure · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

A great primer for the core tenets and historical context is "What The Buddha Taught" by Walpola Pahula. It provides a wonderful explanation of the thought process and is very clearly written; a lot of colleges use it in their comparative religion courses.

I also think that reading the "Dhammapada" is particularly vital. I prefer the Eknath Easwaran translation; I feel like he did an excellent job translating it into modern laguage while retaining the meaning of the text and providing excellent discussions of each sutra without being to neurotically overbearing, like so many religious commentaries can be. He also did excellent versions of the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads if you are interested in broader Indian spirituality.

u/tooz8 · 1 pointr/Jewish

Find a rabbi you are comfortable with, and don't be shy to meet with a few before moving forward.

I had met with two rabbis before choosing the one who made me feel the most comfortable with my decision. The first two I met with were orthodox, quite conservative and I didn't click with either and the process seemed a bit too intense for what my fiance and I were looking for. Then we came across a reform synagogue and we fell in love with the rabbi there and we're completing our first round of classes in a couple of weeks.

It's been a beautiful process so far and it's exciting! There are several books I too found good, some of them were provided with our classes as well:

u/wanyekest99 · 23 pointsr/microdosing

I'm blown away by how LSD seems to be able to actually get down to the core of our issues. I had my first trip two days ago but I had the exact opposite outcome - I had a rather small dose (approx 75-80ug) but had a wonderful time. The "message" I got is that I worry too much about work, and life in general, and that just need to I relax and that everything is okay. However, my issue is that I work up to 60-80 hours a week 9-10 months of the year. Weed on the other hand made me feel pretty much worthless and made me even more anxious and self-critical and even less motivated to get out of bed. My absolute biggest fear about doing LSD was what if I would find out that I'm an asshole? How the hell do I cope with that? Fortunately this relatively small dose helped me to step outside myself just enough to realize that I'm a much more decent human being than I give myself credit for.

Now, I'm obviously not an expert, and I still haven't had time to fully reflect on the trip and integrate the things I experienced but now that I've dipped my toes in psychedelics for the first time I've begun understand a little bit how it works, and it's no miracle cure for sure (and I don't know if anybody has ever claimed that, but it's easy to get that impression from all of the experiences people share).

From the information and stories I've gathered from other people (and it seems to be true from my short experience too) is that it can bring you immense clarity, but I won't fix your problems. There's a very interesting podcast I listened to last night, where Neal Goldsmith talks about the importance of the work that comes after the trip. If you don't do anything with what you experienced during the trip, he argues, it can create even more damage. https://psychedelicsalon.com/podcast-499-psycheology-psychedelics-and-the-study-of-the-soul/

If I were you in your shoes (I once was, so I can relate to your situation and how you feel), I'd start with digging a little bit deeper about your past and history and try to find out why you can't muster any will-power to worry about life.

Just to give you an example from my own life, I used to care about nothing except partying and music. I wanted to become a rockstar (hah!) and/or a nightclub owner, even though I had no idea of what it takes to get there. I wanted to become successful (whatever that meant at that time) without doing all the hard work. Basically all my dreams (mostly just empty shallow daydreams) revolved around the nightlife (this was from when I was 20 until I was 30). I had some part time jobs here and there, but nothing that could support me 100%. Fortunately, a few years ago I had a little bit of luck and got some freelancing gigs which just grew and blew up, and within 2-3 years I went from my parents paying my rent and being $20.000 in debt to driving a nice car and earning within the top 10% However, and this is the moral of the story, I'm absolutely not happier now than I was before. If anything, I'm more anxious and scared and I haven't really felt pure joy in years. And what I've learned about myself, mostly by reading books and meditating, is that everything in my life has been driven out of fear. 5-10 years ago I was doing nothing to get out of the bed because I was scared of the world and everything and everybody. Rejection in my world view has always been such a hard thing to cope with, that I'd rather not even try. Fast-forward 10 years and to anybody on the outside world I'm probably considered successful, but I feel nothing like that. I'm still struggling every dingle day with the exact same fears as I did back then, but they manifest in a different way. I now work 80 hours a week because I'm scared to turn down work. What if I turn down a project and they'll find somebody else? I haven't had a proper vacation in 3 years. Do you see the irony? I used the be scared to get out and look for work, now I'm scared to say no to work. It's not really a fun way to live.

If I were you, I'd take a break from drugs completely, and spend some time (a LOT of time) reading some books. Start with psychology and spice it up with some business (or whatever it is you want to do). You actually seem to have the luxury of time to be able to do that, so make use of it. Try to find out what fears inhibit you from going to where you want.

Here's a book that I'd recommend you starting with: https://www.amazon.com/Drama-Gifted-Child-Search-Revised/dp/0465016901

It's a relatively short read (less than 150 pages), and when I first picked it up, it spoke to me already in the first pages and gave me the motivation to start digging deeper within myself. I'm not sure if it's available on kindle, but I'm sure you can find it on PDF or audiobook if you know where to look. If not, let me know and I'll dig it up for you. If that book resonates with you I'd be happy to share some more with you.

Sorry for the long rant - I hope it helps. Good luck!

edit: Also, if you haven't already and you for whatever reason won't decide to stay off drugs for a while, at least read Fadiman's book on psychedelics before proceeding. There are lots of valuable information in there on how to conduct a safe practice: https://www.amazon.com/Psychedelic-Explorers-Guide-Therapeutic-Journeys/dp/1594774021/ref=sr_1_1/166-4346259-0867716?ie=UTF8&qid=1484133871&sr=8-1&keywords=james+fadiman

u/redchris18 · 1 pointr/KotakuInAction

> You're telling me to accept it on faith again.

Not true at all. I cited sources and directly quoted them as pointing out the difference between the various professors and lecturers. I even pointed you directly to the fact that gaining promotion from Boghossian's current position is based on contributing original research.

And this is all on top of the fact that I have previously referred you to Boghossian's publication histosy. If he was required to meet mandatory publication criteria then he'd surely have been fired by now, because he's averaging well under a paper per year. He's producing some useful work, like presentations, letters, etc., but nothing that would be counted towards bringing in grant funding (which is what these scholarly targets are all about).

In fact, if you recall, my original reason for directing you towards his publication history - which you are now trying to submit in its entirety without having to quote any part that backs up your claims - was to outline how little there is for someone whom you claim to be unduly affected by a temporary halt in sponsorship for such work. I count no more than five total publications since he joined PSU, and that includes maximum of two submissions that would qualify. One of them is literally less than a single page in length.

Like I said, scholarship evidently isn't his primary concern, which is why he likely appreciates a role in which it is not required.

>Your own source said they either contribute significantly with academic research and become professors or they're asked ot leave the position in 5-7 years.

So? In what way does that invalidate anything I said? He's only just reaching the lower bound of that range now, so are you trying to claim that he should have been fired early in order to fit that same data?

Incidentally, I suggest you look up the word "generally". Then I suggest you re-read those sources that you so disparaged while consipcuously failing to properly comprehend them.

>your sources do not say that it is the default position for assistant professors

One of them explicitly states that promotion to a tenured position requires that Assistant professors should demonstrate an aptitude for regular and/or noteworthy scholarly contributions. In other words, it clearly states that promotion is for those who show an ability to produce research that goes beyond the typical.

Note that not a single one of those sources states that such research is a mandatory aspect of that position, which has been your claim this entire time. You are trying to shift the burden of proof again.

>the default position isn't that Assistant professors do no research infact to reach the next level of the job

So you've noted - as I myself pointed out - that promotion to a tenured position requires some degree of scholarly contribution. And why is this relevant? For this to be valid you would first have to demonstrate that Boghossian wants a promotion and that he's actively working towards it.

>YOU have to prove that Boghossian either doesn't have research requirements to advance or that he wants to have his position terminated under that set of criteria.

Heh, no, I really don't. You have to demonstrate that he wants tenure, or that his department will fire him if he fails to do so. After all, it's not a legal requirement that they do so, nor that he should be aiming for promotion.

What a hilarious misapplication of logic, and you can bet your life that I'm archiving that little gem.

>under the UK criteria you have to prove Boghossian

He's at PSU. why would I have to prove anything related to the UK system. I only included that as a supplement to the US system, because they both work in the same way.

It is, however, highly useful as a demonstration of your innate dishonesty. You grab at a single word or number, twist it out of all context, apply it to whatever context you think you can use to fabricate a case, then switch it in for the original point. All of a sudden you go from a position which "generally" lasts for 5-7 years to a situation in which Boghossian must be fired or promoted right now, and - for some reason - you get to assume that he's working on the former rather than awaiting the latter, and without even considering the possibility that they'd simply retain him for longer than the typical period out of convenience for all.

Answer me this - assuming you're even capable of answering simple questions if you think they'll force you into a losing position: do you believe that Boghossian must either be promoted to tenured positions or fired between that 5-7 year period? If so, please cite the legally-binding document that decreess that it be so.

>Your own sources support that research being required is the default position in most cases.

Only if promotion is sought. You are now disingenuously attempting to insert yet another axiom: that Boghossian is actively seeking a tenured position.

Once again, you are trying to bullshit your way out of a lost dispute, and I'm not stupid enough to fall for it. This isn't a surprising tactic, but it's certainly interesting to note how carefully you quote around inconvenient words, like "generally". Pure cowardice.

>illusory superiority

Ah! Another new buzzword to stand in for a coherent thought process. I wonder how many times you'll trot this one out...

Three. All in close proximity. Fascinating...

>The Null hypothesis would be Boghossian not being different from other assistant professors

I agree, which means:

>he would be expected to produce research to be able to advance in his position and not be terminated

You have no evidence that this false dichotomy is correct. In fact, You have cherry-picked a quote around evidence that proves that it is untrue. Boghossian has no set time limit on his role by which he must either seek tenure or leave. That's how long that role "generally" lasts, but it is not a mandatory action.

Your entire reply seems to have been predicated upon this non-sequitur (note the correct use of that term). On top of that, it requires that he wants to seek a tenured position, and I previously outlined verifiable data that suggests that this is not the case. I'm going to bet that you won't even try to address any of that.

>research is one of the easier ones of the list

It really isn't.

>provide evidence of him having done the other methods to support your argument

You mean such as:

>> The mid-level position is usually awarded after a substantial record of scholarly accomplishment (such as the publication of one or more books ...)

...is that the kind of thing you mean? Then this will suffice. And, as I mentioned last time, he has another one out this year.


>you wish to use a very small sample size to represent it

Fine, then you can do so for everything he has published. Please read through all of his published works and cite examples of things he did to produce those papers that may have required sponsorship. Because, as established previously, I have no call to address anything in his papers until you can cite something within them that I need to check. You need to read it all, not me. I was trying to save you some work.

>I had at least 3

I'm not going to buy any of that nonsense from you, so don't bother trying.

Now, that aside, you continue to claim that Boghossian is directly impacted in his regular duties by being temporarily denied sponsorship. With that in mind, please present some evidence that Boghossian's work over the last five years actually requires some form of financial outlay in order to produce it. If not, he requires no sponsorship and any research he feels like doing remains unaffected. If you can provide no examples of this being a potential limiting factor then it is not a limiting factor.

In a similar vein, you have asserted that conducting research is a fundamental part of his job, despite the fact that his position is routinely understood to only rarely confer a mandatory research target. As such, please present evidence that Boghossian has a research quota to meet as part of his regular duties. Please do this with specific reference to the work he has produced within the past five years while at PSU. If you can find no such evidence then you have no basis for insisting that his position differs from everyone else who shares a similar role.

Oh, and have you found out why I'm finding one of your cited papers so funny yet? I was more than a little disappointed that you never tried to read it to see if he did anything that required sponsorship, but the fact that you still mistakenly think that it remains valid is almost as humorous. Do you need that hint?

u/deakannoying · 7 pointsr/Catholicism

You are describing our identical paths -- I left the church shortly after confirmation, which was solidified by my classes in philosophy at a university. I spent the next decade or so slowly working my way back.

All I can tell you is that the Spirit, via the Blessed Sacrament, never let me go, never gave up. It took several years of my wavering between suppressing that voice and listening to that voice for me to finally "give in." In my case I needed a retreat weekend that continually broke down the emotional and spiritual walls I had built against the voice of the Spirit.

From the intellectual perspective, I can tell you that without true conversion of the heart, nothing you read or listen to is going to stick. One cannot reason one's way into a loving relationship with God -- I know, I tried. One must simply say "Ok, I give up, I give you my intellect, my heart, my emotions, my soul, my life," and one's paradigm will shift.

All of a sudden all those works that did nothing to build my relationship with God started...building my relationship with God. Instead of reading from a skeptic's perspective, I read from a believer's perspective and everything made sense.

In any case, if you do want to try to reason your way back, start with Edward Feser then move to Stanley Jaki's Cosmos and Creator, while interspersing G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy and Heretics. This represents a cross-section of high-level material on metaphysics/Thomism, cosmology and scientific methodology of the universe, and modern philosophical/theological reflection on religion, respectively. You could also read Aquinas' Summa summa and Augustine's Confessions, as well as Boetheus' Consolation of Philosophy. I found Confessions to be particularly compelling as a skeptic / agnostic who was fighting internally.

Edit: I forgot my favorite blogger / sci-fi writer / ex-militant-atheist-turned-Catholic John C. Wright.

u/redtape20 · 1 pointr/raisedbynarcissists

>"If you and Mom sit here and take his shit, then that's on you guys. It's not my fault if you don't want to stand up to him."

this is a good sentiment because you'd just be enabling his bs. Eventually they will enable him or get tired of it.

>I can't dye my hair, get piercings, or get tattoos which to me are all things that are beautiful. Plus being overweight. I don't even want to try to lose weight because I feel like I still won't be beautiful and like I'm never going to be able to be myself and love myself.

You seem really concerned with your outward image and it seems like a lot of energy is spent worrying about this. If you feel so negatively about it, then you should do what you can to improve it instead of doing nothing. This is a big problem for you that you have the power to fix, SO FIX IT. less shit on your plate, know what I mean? And you don't have to have a strict regiment of working out and stuff. Just change your diet, go walking, and the fat will fall off. Use myfitnesspal to log your calories too. also don't weigh yourself all the time.

It seems like youre stuck in a depression and it sucks but in order for things to be different, YOU have to be different. It will seem pointless at times, but work towards the change you want to happen. You say that you believe your image limits your income and you generally don't feel happy about it? Diet and exercise is a good place to start.(I lost almost 40lbs when I became a vegan last november. I never go to the gym, but if you do this make sure you are eating for nutrition too)

As for work, look into retail sales merchandiser positions if you have a car. Most have super flexible schedules.

You may not have anyone that understands, but that's okay because you have yourself. While corny, true happiness comes from within. Those that cant find it in within themselves waste time and energy constantly searching for the next thing to provide them pleasure in things that are impermanent. this is a good book

Understanding yourself and taking wisdom from where you can is paramount, for the applications derived from both are innumerable

u/silentmonkeys · 2 pointsr/UFOs

Leslie Kean published an excellent book called UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record and she and James Fox have an updated documentary based on this book called UFOs on the Record.

A lot of people disparage the alien encounter phenomenon but the late Dr. Mack's books on the subject are excellent, most recent: Passport to the Cosmos - it includes Dr. Mack's interviews with the students at Ariel school who had a mass encounter.

Hunt for the Skinwalker by Colm Kelleher and George Knapp is one of the most fascinating books - and definitely the freakiest - that I've ever read. It takes a clinical and journalistic approach to a completely bizarre collection of phenomena centered on the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah.

In the quote section, don't forget the astronaut from Apollo 17 who told Houston there was definitely something out there.

My advice on the website as a whole is to separate substantiated stories from unsubstantiated (like the Eisenhower meetings) - that's not a comment on whether or not these stories are legit, but I think it's more helpful for people unfamiliar with the phenomenon to have a resource of airtight reportage to look at.

Good site though - good luck!

u/dust4ngel · 2 pointsr/changemyview

i would recommend free will by sam harris, which is brief and unusually lucid for a work of philosophy - you could read this in an afternoon. his take is that free will as it is commonly conceived is an illusion, and that we need to come to terms with how free our will is not in order to become effective decision-makers.

freedom evolves by dan dennett is more technical and dense, but tries to make a compatibilist case that, though our actions are physically determined, we still have freedom in a meaningful way; i.e. the kind you are talking about.

reading about free will will surely blow your mind, even if it doesn't change your mind :)

u/darthrevan · 1 pointr/Buddhism

>what does the Buddha mean when he references his teachings simply as a raft meant to cross a river in Chapter 6[1] ?

This is actually a very deep simile, rich with many layers of meaning. I've sat here for a while and typed out several explanations, then deleted them realizing none of them captures all the levels of what the Buddha was saying here. That would be an entire essay, really.

The essence of it is that the Buddha did not want people to get caught up in his words, thinking that by analyzing his words they would attain enlightenment. He had to use words because that was the primary way he could communicate the Dhamma, but what he was teaching is beyond words.

This connects to your second question, because later in the Diamond Sutra the Buddha said:

>Subhuti, as to speaking truth, no truth can be spoken.

A clue to understanding this is given by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh when he wrote in The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching (emphasis mine): "Right View is the absence of all views."

So when you ask, "Here is my view now, is it valid?" The answer is most likely "No."

The Buddha taught purely out of compassion. He didn't teach because we lacked something, or he needed to "save" us, or any of that. He sat for days after his enlightenment deciding what to do, because he realized that there was nothing to do. And that is why he says there is no teaching, and that to consider the teaching as having an existence is false.

You are therefore right to connect no-self with the non-existence of the teaching as well. The teaching of no-self, anatta, is something also deep and requiring a good teacher to go through with you. I am definitely not a master or teacher of that caliber, so all I can do is recommend this video on non-self that might help you understand it.

u/AGayViking · 1 pointr/WhereDoIStart

Heyo! A little late to the thread, but I have two sources I like to point people to as an introduction to Buddhism and the Buddha himself—they're both secondary: one being a book, the other a documentary.

The book: an introduction to Buddhism, What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula. It was written, primarily, for a western audience unfamiliar with the teachings of Buddha and perceived it as part of "the other." A great starting point (was mine)!

The documentary: it is available on Netflix or on the PBS website, The Buddha by filmmaker David Grubin. It's a great informative and introductory documentary detailing the life of Buddha and his most basic teachings. The narration is wonderfully done and the visuals are titillating.

I hope these help!

u/Emuuuuuuu · 1 pointr/mildlyinteresting

I got there slowly over time but I found this book on my father's bookshelf and it got me thinking differently. It's not a self-help book, more of a concise summary of this guy's philosophy but it's not difficult to read:


That said, different approaches work for different people. Finding a good yoga teacher (one that actually guides you through a meditation every class) can be really motivating... for others mindfulness therapy is a good option.

What it really takes is for you to demonstrate to yourself that you can change your mood and thought patterns if you need to, and then to be curious about how far you can take it.

A simple way to demonstrate this to yourself is to find a quiet place, get comfortable, and try to focus on something in the present moment (an object, your breath, a sound, etc...). You will lose focus, but that's exactly what you want. When you lose focus, just respectfully bring your attention back to your object.

By doing this you are getting better at two things: your ability to control where your attention is, and your ability to observe where your attention is. That last one is key. It elevates you above your thoughts to the level of a passive observer. That was the most life-changing tool for me. From this place, you can choose which thoughts to grab onto and which ones to let fly by. You learn to let the bad ones fly past you and let go of seemingly good thoughts that make you act badly when you entertain them. This place is my center... where i go to when i feel unbalanced.

It's important to make sure you have lots of time available, or you will get distracted by obligations. If you don't have any free time then that's probably the first thing you need to change if you want to grow in this way.

Sorry for the stream of thought, but i figured it might be helpful :)

u/Coloradical27 · 3 pointsr/philosophy

Hi, I have a degree in Philosophy and teach Philosophy/English to high schooler. The following advice and recommendations are what I give my students who are interested in philosophy. I would not recommend Kant as an introduction (not that he's bad, but he is difficult to understand). Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar is a book that explains philosophical topics and questions through humor and uses jokes to illustrate the concepts. It is accessible and thought provoking. If you are interested in logic you might enjoy Logicomix. It is a graphic novel that gives a biographical narrative of Bertrand Russell, an English philosopher whose work is the basis of all modern logic. It is not a book about logic per se, but it does give a good introduction to what logic is and how it can be used. Also, Russell's book A History of Western Philosophy is a good place to start your education in philosophy. If you are interested in atheism, read Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion. This book goes through the most common arguments for the existence of God, and debunks them using logic and reasoning. Good luck and read on!

u/monkey_sage · 7 pointsr/Soto

Hi Steve!

I would recommend reading Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki who was a Sōtō Zen monk and teacher who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the West. I would also recommend The Mind of Clover by Robert Aitken which is an excellent guide on Zen Buddhist ethics (and important part of the practice).

If you haven't already started, I would recommend you pick up a regular zazen habit, sitting daily even for just five minutes if that's all you can manage. Sitting zazen is the most important thing in the Sōtō school and Master Dogen could not recommend it enough!

Books are good but practice is much better!

Beyond that, I'm a big fan of all of Brad Warner's books. He has a great approach to Zen, I think, and makes understanding some of its more obscure and hard-to-penetrate ideas easier to digest.

And of course you can always come here and ask as my questions as you like!

u/mnsh777 · 2 pointsr/religion

(courtesy of /u/lightnlng):

Check what you like from this list of Resources. I recommend starting with the Quran and a biography of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). If you want books, these ones are popular:

u/phreadom · 1 pointr/atheism

What on Earth are you talking about? This isn't about being stoned (which I don't do anyway). It's about being well educated about evolutionary biology and pointing out that your assertion that humans will be like this forever is inaccurate.

What is so difficult to grasp about that simple point?

Further, as I've also pointed out multiple times, understanding the neurobiological reality of the human mind right now has important implications for how we treat our fellow human beings right now in relation to society, the justice system, etc.

That is very real and very much right now.

I'm not sure how to make myself any more clear.

If you're not smart enough and/or educated enough to grasp modern neurobiology and neuropsychology, on top of my explanations that should be explaining clearly enough the ramifications of those modern day objective realities... that's your shortcoming my friend, not mine.

I can suggest a couple books to help you get a better grasp on this subject... two very approachable and enlightening books I can recommend are "The Moral Landscape - How Science can determine human values" by Sam Harris (a doctorate of cognitive neuroscience) and "Braintrust - What neuroscience tells us about morality" by Patricia Churchland

Is there some other way I can get you to grasp that these are contemporary issues of objective scientific understanding of our own minds right now and how they function right now and how that relates to what we believe, how we relate to each other, how our societies function etc right now?

I understand that you feel the chronospecies issue doesn't have any real bearing on issues right now. I've agreed with you on that in every comment I've written. But that doesn't change the validity of everything else I've said, and for some reason you just seem postively obtuse on that point.

I'm seriously not trying to fight with you, so I'm not sure what has you so upset and so stubbornly resistant to grasping the simple objective realities I'm pointing out, which include some that are very much relevant to right now in our modern society.

u/CutieBK · 12 pointsr/askphilosophy

Mark Siderits has written a wonderful introductory overview of many key features of Buddhist philosophy in a book that I would consider a must-read on the subject. It is called Buddhism as Philosophy and offers both great depth and critical examination of the arguments at play in many of the Buddhist traditions.

I would also recommend Owen Flanagan's The Bodhisatva's Brain for an insightful discussion on some of the problems facing the very hyperbolic and enthusiastic view that many contemporaries express when discussing the effects of Buddhist practice and meditation.

If you are interested in a broad and concise overview of Buddhist thought from a Buddhist scholar, I'd recommend Walpola Sri Rahula's classic What the Buddha Taught. This book is very lean in terms of metaphysical speculation and portrays the Buddhist path in a philosophically austere and precise manner.

Since there is no one universally accepted interpretation of Buddha's teaching I would highly recommend reading wide and deep on the subject. There are many contemporary philosophers who have done great work in interpreting and examining Buddhist philosophy through the lens of modern day thought. To name a few: Miri Albahari, Jonardon Ganeri, Evan Thomspon and Matthew Mackenzie. Galen Strawson has also engaged with Buddhist thought in his writing on questions of selfhood and consciousness. Have a look at their respective academia pages and you should find much ongoing discussion on the subject and recommendations for further reading in their published articles.

Hope this helps!

edit: spelling

u/Pickleburp · 23 pointsr/Thetruthishere

Sure. :) I was trying not to hijack the thread, but I'll just put the list here and that way anyone can have it. Keep in mind, these aren't all collections of stories, some of them are research topics, but none of them that I've browsed through look like bad reads. The ones I have read I've tried to note.

Iroquois Supernatural: Talking Animals and Medicine People - Michael Bastine, Mason Winfield - most closely related to thread topic

Life After Life - Raymond Moody - Very good intro to Near Death Experience research

Reunions: Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones - Raymond Moody

Journey of Souls - Michael Newton - Read this one, it was great, changed my views on reincarnation

The Day Satan Called - Bill Scott

Hunt for the Skinwalker - Colm Kelleher, George Knapp - read parts of, need to finish

The Vengeful Djinn - Rosemary Ellen Guiley - I've read this one, it's really good too, has a large "slow" section in the middle that quotes the Q'uran a lot, but some good creepy Djinn stories.

The Djinn Connection - Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Ghost Culture: Theories, Context, and Scientific Practice - John Sabol

Zones of Strangeness - Peter A. McCue

Lost Secrets of Maya Technology - James O'Kon

The Mythology of Supernatural - Nathan Robert Brown - this one might sound cheesy, but I've read a book on world mythology by the same author, and apparently the writers of the show did their research

Holy Ghosts: Or How a (Not-So) Good Catholic Boy Became a Believer in Things That Go Bump in the Night - Gary Jansen

u/Lizardman_Gr · 2 pointsr/islam

You should read the Qur'an. That might help increase your faith. Also, read about Imam Ali (a.s) the son of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his progeny). There is a good book called "In the footsteps of the Prophet (a.s)". You can look it up to see how our Prophet lived. Also look up the Nahjul Balagha, or "Peak of Eloquence" which is about Imam Ali (a.s). This book has strengthened countless people's faith in God. There is a hadiths which I roughly translate saying "If I am the city of knowledge, then Ali is the gate".

We are translating from Arabic to English, so if anything upsets you please send me a message. I have come across bad translations, and passages which need clarification. That said, this is my favorite English Qur'an, because it is so well translated, and it's language is not Old-English.

This is a free online link to the Nahjul Balagha. I have not read it, but I do have two copies of this book with different publishers. One of them slanders Imam Ali (a.s), because of the terrible printing job they did. Know that this man did not commit any sins, because he is a part of the household of the Prophet that was purified by God. This is a major event, and you can research it. Tell me if there are errors, and I can try to send you a better link InshaAllah. I highly recommend going to the sayings, and then going back to the lessons.

Again Arabic can be poorly translated, and context is often left out in these quotes. For ex. There is a saying where he compares women to scorpions. I told my friend, and he told me it meant bad women, and not all women. ( phew )


This book is pretty clear, and is also popular. The guy is an excellent translator.

u/shiekhgray · 2 pointsr/atheism

If you're leaning towards trying to talk him out of it and want some resources, I'd highly recommend reading Peter Boghossian's "A Manual For Creating Atheists" I just finished reading it a few days ago, and it talks you through using the Socratic Method. The main idea is that you just ask pointed questions until the arguments fall apart and look silly. You never ever state what you want them to believe, you only ever offer alternate possibilities, and even these you just ask if they are reasonable possibilities or not.

Obviously, he's his own man and might be too tied up with this girl to react to reason, hormones are strong, strong things. But approaching life with reason instead of faith is the best we can do, and it follows that helping others to do so is the best for humanity. Good luck with whatever choice you make!

u/barrakaflackaflames · 1 pointr/atheism

I appreciate you responding to me and taking me up on a debate. I can tell that you really put time and effort into thinking about these particular issues and thats great.

I think in order to get the whole gist of buddhism you should try to look it through the view of someone else who claims to know about buddhism https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Buddhas-Teaching-Transforming-Liberation/dp/0767903692/ref=pd_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=A88VX0WPXS0XGDAPBRNF this book is great for plenty of reasons, goes throughout the history of how we know what we know and what that means.

I would say that your view of karma is correct in a sense, however its not the whole idea. To be honest I think a lot of the things in Buddhism can get lost without proper practice. That reading on the idea of emptiness and reading on the idea of no-self can be disconcerting and misunderstood. The only way to fully grasp these ideas is to practice. By practicing the ideas taught through meditation we can fully understand and embrace the teachings.

In terms of reincarnation I believe reincarnation to be true (maybe not in the same sense that you believe), and true we cannot scientifically test this to be true. But I do believe I have a intellectually rational view on the subject.

I think if you are interested in Buddhist philosophy you should try meditation and "buddhist like practice", its scientifically proven that meditation does great things and you can even approach the meditation from a secular point of view.

If you need any resources let me know. I would also not mind continuing this discussion if you are inclined to do so.

u/vestigial · 1 pointr/Meditation

People are free to follow their own path, but forcing myself to believe things that seem unlikely is not part of my path.

I was going to a sangha for a while. It was very Western, so I thought I'd be comfortable. Then I heard a sermon about the after life, and I noped right out of there. I'd spent enough of my time as a Christian ignoring or tirelessly interpreting religion so I could fit it so myself, of fit myself to it. I'm not entering that pretzel logic of self negation again.

I'm reading a great book now, Buddhism Without Beliefs, that strips Buddhism down to the bare essentials, and that, happily, does not require taking anything on faith.

I'm taking some time reading, and shoring up my foundation of meditation practice; but ultimately I'd like to join a more belief-neutral Zen group.

u/SK2018 · -1 pointsr/Christianity

I can recommend some books.

For general theology:

u/EpistemicFaithCri5is · 1 pointr/Christianity

Yes, you can choose to believe something that you don't have evidence for. From a previous discussion on this issue:

Belief formation is under our conscious control just as much as flexing our muscles is under our control. That there exist some things you can't choose to believe is no more interesting than the fact that there exist ways you can't bend your elbow. Your inability to do whatever you want with your joints doesn't make them any less under your voluntary control. So when you or others object, "Uh, I can't believe that 1+1=3, or that the sky is red, or ..." it's not a real objection at all, it's just noise, and it gets tiring.

We all choose to believe things on scant or absent evidence all the time. Scientists call these "hypotheses". We form the belief that this person has the mental state of disliking us by one choice of words or one insignificant scowl. We form a multitude of beliefs about the other drivers on the road ("That guy is an asshole!" and all that entails) because of one minor interaction in traffic. We form the belief that our loved one is sad or bored based on a simple sigh. None of this is even remotely convincing evidence, which is many times proved by the simple act of continuing the investigation, or even just thinking about things more. But that doesn't make the belief illusory: it was a real belief, it was a real propositional truth claim that we chose to accept even at the time it arose. It didn't just happen to us, and anyone who meditates or prays knows full well that the mind itself is something that we can control and direct just as we can our own muscles.

The very idea of "convincing evidence" is a misnomer. There are a wide variety of standards of evidence that we apply throughout our lives. Juries are here another good example: the standard of evidence in a criminal trial is "beyond a reasonable doubt" but the standard of evidence in a civil trial is much lower, just "the preponderance of the evidence". And in our own lives we often apply far more lax standards of evidence, though we rarely make them explicit, they're often something like "Not logically impossible" or "At least some evidence for it." Scientists often begin with a belief that they hold simply because "the world is more elegant that way" and then form hypotheses and design experiments to prove what they already believe. The belief precedes the evidence.

There is not a thinking person on this planet who is "convinced" of every proposition they hold to the be true. We all hold beliefs that we aren't convinced of by any evidence, and it will take you only the tiniest bit of introspection to find such beliefs in your own life. You still choose to hold those beliefs. You may hold them weakly, and you may choose them arbitrarily, but they are beliefs and you do hold them.

Some particular cases worth pointing out: you probably believe that you and other humans have free will, despite the evidence to the contrary. You probably hold many beliefs about ethics and what constitutes ethical behavior, despite the inability of evidence to apply to those beliefs. If you recognize the reality of these beliefs and the voluntary control you exercise over them, then you should likewise recognize that you can apply such voluntary control over your beliefs about the existence of God. If "God exists" seems to fall into the bucket of "Things I can't choose to believe, like 1+1=3" then that's a different discussion to have.

u/OuRR_World · 2 pointsr/IAmA

I'm not sure if Jerry's gotten to this one yet, but I'll post also just in case.

  1. The God Virus
  2. Godless
  3. The Magic of Reality
  4. Letter To A Christian Nation

    Also there are great podcasts, of course we are partial to Living After Faith (our official Podcast with Deanna and Rich Lyons), and there are many others as well. For blogs there is always Hemant Mehta's Friendly Atheist, and we're starting our blog this weekend as well, but there are tons of just quality folks out there who have so much to share and offer to the secular world.
u/MoonbeamThunderbutt · 1 pointr/spirituality

I'd really recommend the book Journey of Souls by Michael Newton if you're searching for "meaning of life" stuff. It made me remember why I'm here and made me feel so much less anxious about everything. I know what's truly important now: learning lessons, growing as a person, and enjoying the masquerade of life here on earth.

Human life is a dream that we forget isn't real, because getting sucked into the role is fun and it's how we learn. We are so much more than what we appear to be, but it's ok not to remember. Just do the best you can and enjoy life for what it is: an opportunity to feel the sunshine on your face, help others, try new things, and overcome struggles.

u/tyinsf · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

Stephen Batchelor, a former monk in both the Tibetan and Zen traditions, wrote Buddhism Without Beliefs, an explicit attempt to separate the baby from the cultural bathwater in Buddhism. It's been ages since I read it, but if memory serves I believe Batchelor argues that Buddhism is a matter of practice and inquiry, not belief.

The history of Buddhist art tells you a lot about cultural accretion. Found this from the Met. "In the earliest Buddhist art of India, the Buddha was not represented in human form. His presence was indicated instead by a sign, such as a pair of footprints, an empty seat, or an empty space beneath a parasol." Compare that to florid Tibetan iconography.

What's great about Buddhism is that it adapts so well to cultures it merges with, from spiritually athletic Zen to belief-based pure land to compassion-based Mahayana to insanely ritualistic Vajrayana. There are all these "skillful means" based on the varying needs of sentient beings. Why would you want to limit yourself to what the historical Buddha and his contemporaries did or believed?

Edit: You might be interested in the way Tibetan Buddhists conceptualize the various vehicles or "yanas" of Buddhism, from renunciation - the original vehicle - to great compassion to radical acceptance. There are scholarly explanations, but Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche wrote an excellent one that compares them to ways of being in a cinema. Here

u/uncletravellingmatt · 1 pointr/atheism

>I'm hoping to hear from others, especially Liberty grads, who have had similar experiences of losing/leaving faith while or shortly after receiving an evangelical Christian education.

Not exactly what you asked, but I really enjoyed the book The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose -- Roose was actually just a college junior at Brown when he decided, instead of doing a semester abroad like many other students, to instead transfer to Liberty university for a semester, even though he wasn't a fundamentalist, as a kind of cultural exchange that he could write about. This wasn't really a de-conversion story, like Dan Barker's Godless, but it still provided an interesting perspective and I won't spoil the last chapter for you but there were some surprises based on what happened while he was there.

u/Blu64 · 1 pointr/OpiatesRecovery

for me, prayer is trying to get in touch with something greater than myself I don't have to know what that is, and I try not to dwell on that part of it. Most days I have no clue about god. But I try to keep an open mind. Maybe prayer is just a roundabout way of talking to myself. I have given up trying to figure out what everyone else believes, and just set up my own belief system. Do what works for you. I think that the idea is to seek some sort of peace. This book has really helped me, it doesn't espouse the religion of Buddhism, but it has some awesome ideas in it. For me the second most important thing after staying clean is to find some measure of peace in my own head. Good luck and stick with it.

u/MadmanPoet · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Yeah, do some research. We have a pretty solid reading list started over on the right hand side. (It's only two books long, but they are good books.) I don't know your level of knowledge about Buddhist thought and teachings so I would suggest you look up this one or this one.

I am sure there are some less expensive places to find them, half.com is an eBay company and I have found some really great books for like .75, soooo go has a look.

I wouldn't avoid reading Sutras first off. But I wouldn't make that the central part of my study as they are often very difficult to read and can be confusing. I mean, yeah read some Sutras, but read some other material as well.

Also, go to tricycle.com. Pretty solid website.

u/greywardenreject · 1 pointr/books

Upvoted for a really great response.

I would second crillbilly's recommendation of reading Dawkins', specifically The God Delusion. He deals with pretty much every question you've asked here. Complexity and mystery don't necessarily equal a God. If that were true, you could throw anything into those "gaps" in our knowledge. I believe that's where the infamous "spaghetti monster" came from. I could tell you he existed, and if you never find him, that just means you haven't looked in the right place.

There will always be things we won't know, and one can always hold those "unknowables" hostage as proof that there's just one more layer we've yet to peel away in our search for God. But my philosophy on that is: belief is what you want it to be. Its importance is only what you ascribe to it. You don't need it to live a happy life, only if you've talked yourself into believing that you do.

tl;dr - Read Contact by Carl Sagan. Striking a balance between faith and science is pretty much all he did, and he did it well.

u/Bwongwah · 8 pointsr/satanism

1: [Amazon](The Satanic Bible https://www.amazon.com/dp/0380015390/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_C.Hgzb5J3HQQ5) or call your local bookstore to see if they have one in stock. My Barnes and Nobles only carries one at a time to prevent people from vandalizing it.

2: You can say Hail Satan to anything. I said it multiple times today, my wife and I say it when something cool happens or something works out in our favor. Essentially it is the vocal equivalent of "praise god", but since we don't believe in god or Satan and we praise ourselves, saying Hail Satan is like "yay me" or an affirmation.

As far as Lucifer, one of the titles for Satan, no we(LaVeyan) do not worship Lucifer. Luciferians on the other hand revere Lucifer as a liberator character but also a deity who they do not worship.

If you have more questions I would be glad to answer them through PM at any time. :)

u/spaycemunkey · 1 pointr/worldnews

> In my opinion it should be the goal of society not to discover objective moral truths, but to create the best possible framework upon which a moral system can be established.

This is where everything about this view breaks down. By what basis can you possibly call one framework better than another if there is no objective better and worse to begin with? It makes no sense.

If good is to mean anything, than it means an increase in the well-being of humans, or even more broadly to all conscious creatures. And there are near infinite ways to improve overall well-being, and near infinite ways to make it worse, and it's up to us with our limited understanding and instrumentation to try to make the most sense of it-- but to a much more scientifically advanced civilization wellbeing would be as quantifiable as apples in a barrel.

A book called The Moral Landscape builds an even stronger case against moral relativism. If you haven't read it, it's well worth picking up and if you have I'd be genuinely curious to hear how you can square that circle and keep your perspective.

u/swiskowski · 2 pointsr/vegan

Read A Manual For Creating Atheists by Peter Boghossian. Talking to people about God is an entirely different subject. If they are using theism to prop up their decision to eat meat you have to address theism.

Also, watch some of Peter's lectures on YouTube. He teaches to debate/question/query not about facts but rather how one knows what one knows. Theism is based on faith which is an unreliable method for arriving at truth. Illustrate that to be true, or better yet, ask great questions so that your subject discovers it to be true and theism will crumble.

u/thesunmustdie · 4 pointsr/atheism

Peter Boghossian's socratic questioning approach is very in vogue for this sort of thing — a great way you can engage with theists and get them to question their own faith without risk of them feeling affronted. I highly recommend you read this book: A Manual for Creating Atheists.

If you find the book useful (which I have a great deal of confidence you will), there's complementary resources like the Street Epistemology Youtube channel and the Atheos iPhone/Android app.

u/HermesTheMessenger · 5 pointsr/atheism

[related repost from a different thread]

>> So you sound like you began to explain how to make someone have solid seeds of doubt about God and then didn't go any further than the first question. Could you perhaps elaborate on what further questions should be asked and good explanations should they ask something in return?

The question and the follow up steps are there to understand what someone else means. If you try and use what you learn to convince them that they are mistaken, they will start to spout propaganda as a defense mechanism. I covered that a bit when I wrote;

> Why are they convinced? Almost always, they are convinced because they felt something or experienced something. That's it. Yet, if you criticize them or mock them or simply point out why a personal feeling or experience is not very good evidence, they will just switch back to telling you some of the BS about scripture, or the wonders of nature, or some philosophical puzzle; they will stop talking about what they think and they will only focus on the BS.

If you want to get them to change their minds, you have to use an entirely different set of questions and comments but the basis is still on understanding the individual even if their ideas are not (ever?) unique.

> Could you perhaps elaborate on what further questions should be asked and good explanations should they ask something in return?

While there are only a few things that I usually do, I assume that I will not have enough time to deconvert someone. To be honest, if I can get them to stop giving money and time to organizations that do bad deeds, I'm happy. I have no personal interest in deconverting them and it would take a few weeks to do it even if I found it a compelling goal to reach. The time needed is mainly because people tend to take a while to absorb these ideas, and if you are over aggressive they will just reject them and double down on their personal biases out of comfort or to have a sense of certainty.

The primary goal in any conversation is to have the conversation. You don't want to have them drop into a propaganda loop where they just repeat the words and/or ideas they have been indoctrinated with. So, you have to keep them off of their script.

You also have to keep in mind that very few thoughts are constructed in the moment. Our brains don't work that way. Instead, we piece together bits over time and our nerves are biased towards keeping the old structures in place. To change someone's mind over a deeply held socially taught construct takes time and if you rush it they will just re-write the old structures and make them stronger. You want cognitive dissonance. You want them to think things through on their own time for their own reasons, not to robotically reprogram them even if that is exactly how they were trained before to adopt those bad ideas.

So, what are the few things that I discuss with them?

  • The moral value of facts; that all moral decisions by humans require facts and that obedience/subservience is not morality.

  • How do they know what they say is true (when they pop back into the BS; I do not challenge the intuitive felt experience ... at least initially).

  • I listen and I show that I understand exactly what they mean and why they say what they say.

    To tie those three things together, I point out that while we are in agreement on these points -- that I am not debating the facts nor am I challenging their personal conclusions -- I have reached a different conclusion. With that in mind, I ask why can I understand all that they think, agree with the details, and yet not come to the same conclusion? What is the difference?

    The difference is their intuitive felt personal experience that they attribute to some deity or proxy for a deity. **Yet, wait ...* that's the exact same thing that they said in the last wall of text, so what has changed? Nothing, actually, except for the time you have spent talking with them.

    As an experiment, go and ask other atheists that used to be firmly theistic (religious or not) if they have had some similar personal felt experience when they were theists. Many will say yes or that they attempted to have that and failed. Of the atheists that had that experience, many of them did not realize that it was possible not to think any gods existed. They thought that everyone must think that gods exist since that is what they have been told.

    So, by showing that you have the same facts, and understand the same ideas, yet you are not personally convinced that any gods exist, you demonstrate to them that what they have thought about what others think is not entirely true. That opens up the possibility that they themselves can also change their minds. So, do they? It depends on many factors, and while emotions are a factor so is the need to be honest about what can be known and how conclusions should be reached.

    I don't know if this method is similar to Peter Boghossian's book, but it is likely to be complementary. I've listened to his interviews and his emphasis on epistemology overlaps with some of my 3 points, but I have not read his book yet so I can't say how much of an overlap there is.



  • http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/2bpzri/talked_theology_with_a_catholic_priest_over/cj7rc2g

    [Tag: waterfall 1 & 2.]
u/EcclesiaFidelis · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

This objection you've brought up is not new. For a detailed introduction to Classical Theism, I would recommend Edward Feser's The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism. Feser also has a post on his blog that talks about this, although the post assumes the reader already knows some fundamentals of Classical Theism that you may not know.

Another good thing to check out is this blog post on the Aristotelian Argument for the Existence of God. In short summary, if we admit that there is an "unmoved mover" or purely actual actualizer that sustains everything in existence at any given moment, then we must also attribute what Scholastics have called the "divine attributes" to it - that is, it is immutable, eternal, immaterial, incorporeal, perfect, fully good, omnipotent, intelligent, and omniscient. The arguments for why this is the case build upon each other and take a lot of reading to understand, so that's why I recommend checking Feser's books out, since he often writes with an atheist crowd in mind.

If we work from the Scholastic conception of God, that rules out many possible religions, such as paganism or Eastern religions like Hinduism. It doesn't, though, prove that there is any divine revelation, however looking at the attributes which we can philosophically discover about God, the only revealed religions that make the most sense are Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Deism could also be an option, although it depends on which variation you're talking about (the clockwork god of the Enlightenment thinkers would not fit make sense in a Scholastic framework). From that point on, I would say only other kinds of evidence, whether historical or experiential or otherwise, can bring one to believe that God has revealed Himself somehow.

u/haha_thats_funny · 3 pointsr/Psychonaut

So far, my thinking has led to be believe these are core things I aim to achieve:

  • Intense focus and concentration
  • Highly increased ability to learn
  • Highly increased ability to unlearn
  • Better (in terms of efficiency and a better correlated model to the things I'm thinking about) abstract thinking
  • Achieve a better and faster (read: more efficient) way to analyze and think about things
  • Meta-cognition


    > The 4 Hour Chef

    Very interesting. I've actually been taking cooking courses on Rouxbe (presumably the best online cooking school).

    > Moon-walking with Einstein

    I actually bought this book recently. I'm been developing my mental palace, which got me interested in this book. I plan to read it, but is second to my current book I'm reading on Epistemology, Prometheus Rising. It's quite interesting because the book has a list of exercises to better understand the contents of each chapter, and I've already meditated for over an hour by chapter 2 as it's exercises have requested. Regardless of the book, I've been putting in at least half an hour a day.

    I agree with you that exercising seem to the the key.

    > Shamata-meditation

    There are a variety of <something>-meditation it seems. How would one go about finding the best type?
u/christgoldman · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> The idea that the mind is in some way non-physical.

The mind is a product and an element of the physical brain. It may not be concretely tangible (i.e., you can't hold a mind), but that does not mean it is not a part of the physical universe. Physics explains the mind quite well, actually. The neurons in our brain are developed in compliance to the laws of physics and biology, the neurochemicals in our brain are physical substances, and the electric currents in our brains that communicate signals between neurons operate in compliance to the laws of physics.

Evolution also provides insight into the development of consciousness. While, sure, humans are the only terrestrial species with advanced enough consciousness to develop religious and philosophical ideas, we know now that many animals have forms of consciousness and proto-consciousness like what we would expect if humans evolved consciousness from simple origins. The mind is perfectly explainable through naturalistic sciences, and our naturalistic model of human consciousness makes predictions that are falsifiable.

I'd suggest reading Steven Pinker's How The Mind Works. Here's a talk he gave on the book. I'd also suggest his The Stuff of Thought, The Language Instinct, and The Blank Slate.

I'd also suggest Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. While it's main thrust is to show how science can inform morality, it offers some pretty decent layperson explanation of consciousness, and it is written by an accomplished neuroscientist (whatever your opinion on his religious works may be). His pamphlet-esque Free Will also covers some good ground here.

> All able-bodied humans are born with the ability to learn language.

Not at all true. You can be able-bodied and learning disabled. There was a nonverbal autistic student at my middle school years ago who ran track. Trivial point, but still incorrect.

> I would argue humans also have a Spiritual Acquisition Device.

I would argue that this argument is SAD. (pun; sorry.)

You're positing a massively complex hypothetical neurological infrastructure to link human brains to a divine alternate universe or dimension that has never been shown to exist. Not only has this neural uplink never been observed, but it is entirely unnecessary, as neuroscientists and psychologists have a perfectly functional, testable model of consciousness without it. You're adding a new element to that model that is functionally redundant and untestable. Occam's Razor would trim away your entire posited element out of extraneousness and convolution.

u/islamchump · 1 pointr/exmuslim

heres for your 4:34 here you go, these are passages from the study quran book that i have. i'm sure youll find your answers here

Heres a video from nouman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1azySjz4edk

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 628 Narrated by Abu Hurayrah The Prophet (saws) said: Among the Muslims the most perfect, as regards his faith, is the one whose character is excellent, and the best among you are those who treat their wives well

idk the answer to your first question allah knows best.

u/Mysterions · 1 pointr/AskReligion

What you are going through is actually pretty typical given your age and environment.

Something similar happened to me. I grew up in a liberal Catholic home and then when I became a teenager I started to think it was all non-sense. Then I studied Buddhism, and after that Hinduism because both of these religions allowed me to find spiritual meaning without the question of the existence or non-existence of God. This went on for the majority of my adult life, and I considered myself agnostic the whole time. Then a couple of years ago I started having experiences within Islam. Now, I do believe in God, and it's something that's important to me (I haven't quite converted to Islam - there's a major rule I don't think I can follow) and I work on. So don't let it stress you - in the long it'll help you discovered a lot of cool and meaningful things.

But to answer you question directly check out the book Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit. It's a good balance between Eastern and Western spirituality. And if you want to study Buddhism on its own I highly recommend What the Buddha Taught - it's probably the best primer on Buddhism that I've ever read.

u/rrrobottt · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

The most lucid expositions I know of for original buddhism are Walpola Rahula - What the Buddha taught and Paul Williams - Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition.

I read them years ago, but I remember that what I particularly liked about them is that they are pretty clever in clearing common objections that a modern student may have, they don't dumb it down (while still being clear and concise), and they don't avoid the sides of Buddhism that may be scary for people (in other words they won't present Buddhism as a good-vibe, let's just chill out and love everybody style of life, like many books do to cater to wide audiences).

u/appletonoutcast · 2 pointsr/atheism

If you want a good book that will help her feel she's not alone in her search of things other than a god, I HIGHLY recommend "Godless" by Dan Barker


Dan was a former Evangelical minister, grew up with believer parents, and was as steeped in evangelical, fanatical thinking as you can get. Then one day, he started to think for himself. After a divorce from his then wife, and many other things that ruined his life at that time, he is happier than he was ever during his time in the church. He is happily remarried and is now a co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.


The book tells the story of his early life in the church, his fall from grace as it were, the reasons he believes Christianity is faulty, and what he as an athiest has to look forward to in life. One o fthe best books I've read in a long time.

u/mbregg · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

There are some scathing reviews in there. Especially the one where he's talking about levitation.

I have to say that I don't completely disagree with some of the reviewers' complaints. Lama Surya Das is a decent writer in my opinion, and the book is entertaining. But as others have said, it really is more of an autobiography. And while he has led an interesting life, this is not why I originally read the book. He definitely tries to put a "Western spin" on Buddhism, and this is obviously because westerners are his target audience. But what winds up being produced is a new-age self-help kind of book.

If you are interested, my top 4 recommendations for easy to read, entertaining books that cover some different aspects/sects of Buddhism (in order of my personal preference) are as follows:

  1. What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula.

  2. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.

  3. The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh.

  4. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.

    As I said, those are my personal favorites and will give you a good look at some of the major Buddhist traditions.
u/The_Dead_See · 1 pointr/Buddhism


I would recommend Buddhanet's Basic Buddhism Studies as a starting point.

After that, try listening to some of the Dhamma talks by Gil Fronsdal and others over at Audiodharma.

In terms of books. Believe it or not "Buddhism for Dummies" is actually a surprisingly accurate primer/overview that covers most of the popular schools.

What the Buddha Taught is frequently recommended. It covers the core Theravadin philosophies and is very well respected. However, it can be a little dry and scholarly if you're not the literary type.

Other books to look at, imo, are anything by Pema Chodron, or anything by Thich-Nhat-Hanh. The books with the Dalai Lama's name attached are usually alright, but tread with caution as some of them are ghost written or co-authored by others and misinterpret or misrepresent some of the concepts.

For plain old mindfulness and meditation without the metaphysical trappings, try Wherever you go, there you are by John Kabat Zinn and the free online book Mindfulness in Plain English by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana.

Then check out the world Buddhist directory on Buddhanet and see if there's a school near you that fits with whatever style of Buddhism resonates most with you. Almost every town has a Zen center or a secular mindfulness center, but if you want more traditional schools like pure Theravada or Tibetan, you may or may not need to travel to find a school.

Hope that helps!

u/kukulaj · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

I really like https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Buddhas-Teaching-Transforming-Liberation/dp/0767903692/ as a good introductory book.

It's great to go to practice with a group, but even better if possible is to go practice with several groups, to get a feel for the variety of the traditions within Buddhism. You can then pick the one that feels best for you. Also, as your practice evolves, maybe you will start to feel a bit stuck somehow, and you will know about other groups that might help you get unstuck. Really Buddhism is like a vast toolbox or medicine chest. Use what helps you. As you evolve, your practice can and should evolve.

u/GodEmperor · 1 pointr/atheism

I think an excellent book for any questioning christian to read is Godless by Dan Barker. He used to be a fundamentalist evangelical christian, and he clearly articulates and lays out his reasons for his eventual deconversion. He has some excellent youtube debates as well. He's a great guy.

The reason I often enjoy some of his talks more than other big name atheists is because he knows the bible and christianity backward and forward. He has a strong understanding and knowledge of the bible, and is therefore quite easily able to dismantle its credibility and legitimacy.

u/lurk_moar_diaries · 2 pointsr/TiADiscussion

This reminds me a lot of how people talk about trying to de-convert people. They try showing them evidence of how a particular religion is false, but no matter how much they push the point home the person they're talking to doesn't listen.

(Here's a concrete example for that: Consider someone who believes in a literal interpretation of Noah's Flood [God creates the earth, doesn't like what people are doing, decides to drown them all in a global flood, chooses one man {Noah} and his family to build a boat and collect up 2 of each animal into said boat, they float around on water covering Mt. Everest for 375 days, all animals depart to repopulate the earth]. This story has a list of problems so long in boggles the mind, but ask how Noah and his family simultaneously kept the penguins cold and desert foxes hot without refrigeration, keep the carnivores from eating the herbivores, or whatever else and you get a whole raft of rationalizations if they don't just claim you hate god or are an agent of the devil sent to deceive them.)

What I've learned so far about this problem is that it requires a different approach than facts and evidence. It requires instilling a sense of doubt in what one knows, and how one knows it and modeling an intellectually honest framework for answering such questions.

In the religious example how one knows the truth of claim x is usually answered with faith. They have faith that god helped Noah in every way he needed to get that boat stocked and taken care of. And how do they know their faith is true? To put it one way: They know that they know that they know. It is felt with the same level of conviction that one has asking if they exist.

I hope this was helpful without rambling too much. I am mostly taking from A Manual for Creating Atheists Which I found to be a useful source of information about changing people's minds even outside of religious contexts.

Edit: Please know I'm not trying to hassle anyone about religion here. There are goals worth banding together for and finding ways to help get people out of toxic and counterproductive mindsets is one of them.

u/swjd · 1 pointr/islam


Lives of other Prophets Series

  • [Video] Lives of the Prophets - Series of 31 lectures by Sheikh Shady on the lives of the Prophets from Adam (AS) to Isa (AS).

  • [Video] Stories Of The Prophets - Series of 30 lectures by Mufti Menk on the lives and stories of the Prophets from Adam (AS) to Isa (AS).

    End times, Death, Hereafter

  • [Video] Death and the Hereafter - Series of 10 or so lectures by Sheikh Shady on what happens during and after death. Also, the minor and major signs that would occur until the end of times.

  • [Video] Signs of Day of Judgement - Series of multiple lectures on the signs of the day of judgement by Sh. Yaser Birjas.

    Seerah (Life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)

  • [Video] Seerah - Series of 47 lectures on the signs of the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) by Sheikh Shady.

    Understand the Quran

  • [Video] Story Night - How Allah(swt) wrote/directed the Quran with analogies to popular works of flim and stories. Another way of looking at it is that why does it seem the Quran is out of order sometimes? Noman Ali Kahn mainly talks about the story of Musa (AS) and how ayats pertaining to his story are written.

  • [Book] The Qur'an by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem - Translation of the Quran with modern English vernacular.

  • [Book] Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations by Michael Sells - There's a chapter that goes in depth about how the pre-Islamic Arabs previved the concept of love and the female beloved character layla and what Islam changed about this concept.

  • [Book] No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam by Reza Aslan -- Covers lots of topics, excellent writing overall.

  • [Audio] Fahm al-Qur'an - Tafseer of the entire Quran in very simple English. The commentary is by a female scholar, Amina Elahi so it's a good tafseer for gatherings with a lot sisters but obviously anyone can listen. Best way to make the most of this tafseer and others like it is to have a translated copy of the Quran in front of you and some highlighters, sticky notes and a dedicated notebook and just scribble away as you listen. BTW, if you have a Muslim friend(s) who is/are interested in Islam and you don't have access to a teacher or w/e, have a listening party/gathering with these lectures once a week. Since each lecture is 2 hrs long, in 30 weeks, you will have finished the tafseer of the entire Quran and you have a notebook filled with notes and a translated Quran that is now colorful and filled with notes.
u/somerandomguy2003 · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

> I [...] was wondering if there were any books out there [...] about how living peacefully without [religion] is possible.

Maybe I'm just being cynical and reading into the phrasing here too much, but do you really need to read an entire book to convince you that it's possible to be an atheist and live peacefully? Shouldn't that be a given?

At any rate, there are only three types of atheist-related books that I'm aware of - counter-apologetic books (books that deconstruct arguments made by apologists), anti-theistic books (books that attempt to demonstrate the problems with religion), and what I'll call post-theistic books (books that address the issues that religion likes to claim a monopoly on - issues like ethics and morality).

I'm assuming, based on your question, that you are opposed to reading anti-theistic books. As such, I'd suggest Godless. Besides Dawkin's introduction, it's pretty light on the anti-theism. The first half is really more of a deconversion narrative than an argument, and it's pretty sympathetic to Christian believers. Also this video series might be of interest to you.

u/tesformes · 2 pointsr/videos

Well, if you are interested, we have an excellent community here on Reddit. /r/judaism would be glad to answer any questions you have. Just remember that Judaism encompasses a wide range of opinions on many issues, so there is very rarely any one answer to any one question. For example, a lot of the more mystically-minded Jews believe that the souls of the departed "rest" in heaven for a while before being reincarnated and sent back down to Earth. Our Talmud is the record of the ancient debates and discussions that rabbis of the past had on a multitude of biblical topics. There is a saying that when you ask two Jews a question, they'll give you three opinions!

We have a nice little FAQ about Judaism you can read if you're interested.

Here is an article they wrote on why we don't believe in Jesus, and another on the differences between Christianity and Judaism. I really recommend reading that one.

If you want a book to read, Jewish Literacy by Joseph Telushkin is one that is frequently recommended on our sub.

u/foreveranewbie · 4 pointsr/Buddhism

First, check out the directories on DharmaNet and BuddhaNet. If you're lucky you'll find someplace close to you. If you're really lucky you'll find a good teacher who you connect with. I think that is important. My practice gained a new depth once I found a teacher.

If you're not so lucky, there are still great resources out there. Both the websites I mentioned above have a lot of good stuff on them. One of my favorites is Buddhism in a Nutshell.

If you're willing to spend the money (or have a good library system) two of my favorite books are Mindfulness in Plain English and What the Buddha Taught. Personally, I recommend buying both of them.

Mindfulness in Plain English is an amazing "how to" guide to get you meditating. In the absence of a teacher this will take you quite a ways. What the Buddha Taught is very much from the Theravada perspective and is a fantastic introduction to the most important concepts. It can be a bit textbookish at time but it well worth the read.

u/GumGuts · 2 pointsr/depression

Opening the Hand of Thought and Zen Mind, Beginners Mind have both been very helpful to me. Especially the second one, but the first one is a little easier to understand.

In Zen, there's sort-of an oddity. How-tos are often blended with Introductory texts. Both of those books have sections that describe the practice of Zazen more then sufficiently enough to begin.

There's also the r/buddhism and r/zen subreddits, which both have plenty of helpful recommendations and explanations.

Good luck :)

u/Midwest88 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Fuentes is good for some things, like fighting SJW's. He's well-meaning when he defends his Catholic faith, but definitely isn't that competent at it. He's more well-read on political philosophers (he even states this in his earlier vids), so like many, many young Catholics he has a lot to learn about his face on a philosophical and theological standpoint to better understand and defend it. This is not to say that he isn't worth listening to, just to be aware of his strengths and what he needs to work on (of course what's stated above is my own observation; you may think differently).

I haven't read every comment directed to you, but if it hasn't been listed I'd say look at these to become a staple in your "spiritual warfare toolbox":

  • Purchase a rosary. I got mine at ruggedrosary.com. Learn how to say the rosary and try to incorporate it every week for a month then daily the next (like a spiritual/praying workout). Get it blessed by your local priest.
  • Purchase a scapular (various colors means different things). Get it blessed by your local priest.

    Books/Lit (if you have the funds):

  • Bible (I suggest the Douay-Rheims or Knox translation)
  • Baltimore Catechism
  • The Last Superstition by Ed Feser

    Also, read/listen to stories about atheists who turned Catholic:

  • John C. Wright
  • Leah Libresco
  • Holly Ordway
  • Jennifer Fulwiler
u/spiritualdissonance · 1 pointr/exchristian

After reading some of your comments below, my initial response was going to be to come back when you have an open mind. I don't think you'll get anything out of your pursuit until you do. But then I remembered myself in a similar mindset several years ago. If you'd really like to challenge your faith and develop a more rounded perspective here are some of the things I did that finally opened my eyes and helped me break free from the oppression of religion;

  • Read a book like The God Delusion. I read this when I considered myself a Christian. I only made it half way though because I thought it was full of presumptive anti-Christian propaganda. And I honestly still don't have a great opinion of the book, but it got some gears turning for me and challenged me to examine my beliefs honestly.
  • Read Rob Bell's series, What is the Bible?. Again, the quality of the content may be questionable, but it gets some gears turning in a good way.
  • Expose yourself to diversity. Meet, and get to know friends from other cultures. Christian friends are fine. Be vulnerable with them and open to their perspectives. I don't think mainstream Christianity can survive honest confrontation with other branches of Christianity. Yes, they mostly all believe Jesus was God and died for our sins, but beyond that the vary widely in their application.
  • Stop making excuses for God. Be honest with yourself and ask if you've ever had an experience that you can prove was an interaction with God. Christianity is a religion that claims God wants a relationship with individuals, so you should have had direct tangible experience of that somewhere in your life.
  • Read The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. This one is fairly solid, and a very harsh critic of Christianity. If you do none of the other things on this list, read this. It's free online too.

    Good luck.
u/SophisticatedPeasant · 1 pointr/SanctionedSuicide

Oh I think who we really are is most definitely eternal, and we incarnate to play, to learn things that are necessary for our spiritual evolution, and that ultimately we stop incarnating once we have learned enough lessons and become light beings or spirit guides to help new souls:


I've had this gut level feeling before reading Michael Newton's works, the thought of there being absolutely nothing when we die is completely ridiculous. Existence, the Cosmos, is infinite yet we only have 60 years and then it's eternal nothingness? Utter blasphemy!

I also enjoy and recommend the philosophy of Alan Watts. In this segment he gets into existentialism a bit:


I also completely agree with everything you said except the bit about this life being all there is, as Alan Watts would say, YOU'VE BEEN BAMBOOZLED.

Think about it this way, at our current state of evolution and technological development what do we truly enjoy the most? SIMULATION. It is why we read novels, why we play video games, why we view movies etc. Now imagine if we were light beings, still within the same cosmos, and we also, partly out of boredom and partly out of curiosity, sought the ultimate virtual reality experience, an experience so compellingly real that YOU TRULY BELIEVE THAT IT WAS ALL THERE WAS TO REALITY, TO EXISTENCE. What would that look like? It would look like having the human experience, right here, right now.

Wake up! You are immortal! Rejoice!

I feel the same way you do, I am thoroughly disgusted with this life, I've been dealt a rotten hand and am nearing the end of how much maneuvering I can do (about to be homeless in a week, returning to living out of my car in the SF Bay Area, I am a combat veteran who grew up in 9 different foster homes and who never knew my biological father to briefly sum things up).

This piece by Charles Eisenstein really sums up how a growing majority of Humanity feels as we are confronted with the frightening consequences of modernity / Industrial Civilization:


"Reality is a merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

u/jadedapprentice · 1 pointr/exmormon

I'll start with an author whose work in comparative mythology is exceptional and deeply spiritual in a way that's very conscious of the difference between organized religion and spirituality. He's got a lot of books, some more scholarly and others much more approachable. Two examples here:

"Since lies are what the world lives on...those who can face the challenge of a truth and build their lives to accord are finally not many, but the very few"
--Joseph Campbell, [Myths to live By] (http://www.amazon.com/Myths-Live-Joseph-Campbell/dp/0140194614/)

“Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.”
― Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor

Next, if you really want to stretch there's a remarkable series of books created from first-hand accounts from hundreds of individuals under hypnosis to map out the nature of what might be termed our spiritual home or "life between lives" - I find this to be more credibly presented and much more consistent with the many well-documented near-death experiences that are continuously being studied by groups like NDERF and IANDS and Dr. Newton's methodology makes these books a compelling read:

Michael Newton, Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives

Michael Newton, Destiny of Souls: More Case Studies of Life Between Lives

These aren't for everyone, and the idea that there is a proper place for spirituality can be hard to swallow for those who feel scarred by organized religion, but they've been helpful in my own personal journey to stay grounded while I escape a church that's obsessed with sexuality, the pursuit of money for itself above even the welfare of its members, and even the smallest perceived deviation from its accepted belief system and practices.

u/LevantineJR · 3 pointsr/slatestarcodex

You said you "don’t believe in [reincarnation or] paranormal forces." ... Every time you do a links post, "I am very careful to double- and triple- check everything, and to only link to trustworthy sources in the mainstream media, a couple of my links end up being wrong."

You also [said](
https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/11/07/concept-shaped-holes-can-be-impossible-to-notice/), "there are concept-shaped holes you don’t notice that you have."

There are mainstream sources that suggest you have a paranormal-concept-shaped hole. I'll list some of them. To make it clear at once: the words "must-read" or must-watch" make me feel like fainting. I don't believe in such "must"-s. In addition, I myself have not read the books I'll list. I'll point them because whenever I choose to avoid looking in a certain direction, I wish for a dry account of what's there, and here I want to give you what I wish for myself.

  1. “First UFO related book I've ever heard of that isn't batshit and actually puts an emphasis on the historical significance of the subject rather than lending credibility to insane theories that have no grounds in the real world. An objective look at objectively documented and cataloged phenomena and how the government(s) responded.” “a calm, rational, sober, scholarly approach to analyzing some of the best government reports on record” – say the reviewers of this book: link
    The author is a retired professor in natural sciences explicit that his studies have made him believe in the paranormal: his blog.

  2. A mainstream journalist has collected testimonies about UFO encounters from generals, pilots and government officials from several countries: link

  3. A former policeman collects mainstream media reports of cases of people's disappearances that are intractable and challenging to the basic modern notions of how the world works: [link]
    (https://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-keywords=david%20paulides%20411). Whenever an author who is grossly wrong becomes popular, there appear people who explain why he is wrong. This author has risen to popularity almost a decade ago and I'm yet to see any substantial attempt to debunk him.

  4. [EDIT: added to end on a lighter note:] When Whales and Humans Talk

    Well, that's enough, for what it's worth.

    Can you say in a few words what makes you disbelieve in the paranormal?
u/holyschmidt · 10 pointsr/atheism

If you value your relationship (long term), i would suggest taking a different approach.

I went through a similar situation with my GF (now wife). We were both pretty confident YEC's (then i took a Critical Thinking class and boom). The method i used was explaining my thought process and asking her what she thought about it. It's important not to make the issue adversarial, but to make it a conversation. No debate will make her change her mind (or better yet see where you come from).

The problem is not god/religion/church (not directly anyway), but faith. Faith is what causes logic/critical thinking not to work. It allows for magic. Faith is a bad epistemology (how you know what you know). My old CT professor wrote a book about it: A Manual For Creating Atheists. (foreward by Michael Shermer)

The edgy title is a little misleading, the book is about critical thinking and about how you know what you know. It tackles the issue of faith. The method advocated (honest, non-adversarial conversation etc) is pretty well demonstrated by this guy on youtube.

My relationship was very important to me and i almost lost it because of difference of belief. She was also reasonable and agreed to hear me out. Now we both still share utter incredulity that we could have ever held those views. Don't listen to the "just dump her" comments. Relationships with people are too important to just discard.

*full disclosure Amazon link is Smile link to support the skeptic society.

u/Bounds · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

> I'm looking for reading material, lectures, anything that can help me in my journey back to the church.

I believe that the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, will be the greatest help to you. In the sacraments we encounter Jesus, instead of simply learning about him. Learning is important too, of course.

That said,
more (free) lectures than you can shake a stick at:

Some spiritual reading (Paid):

How to Resist Temptation A short book that does an excellent job of clearing up some common misconceptions about temptations and how we respond to them.

The Last Superstition A polemical book, which can be off-putting to a meek soul, but it provides a very accessible explanation of the philosophical framework of the Church.

Some spiritual reading (Free):
Story of A Soul The story of St. Therese of Lisieux's "little way," which saw her promoted to be a doctor of the Church.

The Practice of the Presence of God Brother Lawrence describes his spirituality, which involved being in constant prayer.

The Great Divorce A gentle, fictional introduction to Purgatory.

Is there a specific topic you want to read more about?

u/trippinglydotnet · 3 pointsr/Psychonaut

Start with: How to Change Your Mind (start with this detailed annotated summary). The pop culture starting point these days. The summary is all you need to read to understand the entire book but the book is well worth the time.

After that you'll have more ideas where to do. Below is a lot of stuff. I've watched/read all of them, so happy to answer any questions/give more guidance.


Study the "classics" by taking a look at these (skim the long ones to start):

Seeking the Magic Mushroom (first western trip report on mushrooms)

My 12 Hours As A Madman (another historically important trip report)

The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based On The TIbetan Book of the Dead (classic book on guided trips)

LSD My Problem Child by Albert Hoffman

Al Hubbard: The Original Captian Trips


Docs to Watch:

The Sunshine Makers (documentary)

Orange Sunshine (documentary)

Aya: Awakenings (documentary)

Dirty Pictures (documentary)

A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin (documentary)

Hoffmans Potion (documentary): r/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFfblVjCwOU"


And a whole lot of others:



The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide – James Fadiman
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction – Gabor Mate
Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream – Jay Stevens
Psychedelic Psychiatry: LSD from clinic to campus – Erika Dyck
The Natural Mind: A Revolutionary Approach to the Drug Problem – Andrew Weil
Acid Hype: American News Media and the Psychedelic Experience – Stephen Siff
Acid Dreams: The complete social history of LSD – Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain
Drugs: Without the Hot Air – David Nutt
A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life – Ayelet Waldman
Neuropsychedelia: The Revival of Hallucinogen Research Since the Decade of the Brain – Nicolas Langlitz
The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America – Don Lattin


Terence McKenna discusses the stoned ape theory

A Conversation on LSD – In a video from the late 1970s, Al Hubbard, Timothy Leary, Humphry Osmond, Sidney Cohen and others reflect on LSD’s heyday

Alison Gopnik and Robin Carhart-Harris at the 2016 Science of Consciousness Conference

The Future of Psychedelic Psychiatry – a discussion between Thomas Insel and Paul Summergrad

Documents, Articles & Artifacts

Al Hubbard’s FBI file

Remembrances of LSD Therapy Past – Betty Grover Eisner’s unpublished memoir about her role in developing psychedelic therapy

LSD, Insight or Insanity – Transcript of excerpts from hearings of the Subcommittee
on the Executive Reorganization of the Senate Committee on Government Operations [concerning federal research and regulation of LSD-25] May 24, 1966

The Brutal Mirror: What an ayahuasca retreat showed me about my life —A Vox writer’s first-person account



Ayahuasca.com: Includes experience reports, discussion of spirituality, ecology, healing, and recovery by means of the vine are collected here. A place to learn from members of ayahuasca churches, as well as a few foreign language channels.

Bluelight: A 20 year old online harm reduction forum that fosters open and factual discussion of drugs and provides support for those seeking recovery from addiction.

DMT Nexus: A hub for underground psychedelic research on botanical sources of tryptamines and other psychedelic compounds.

5Hive: A newer forum devoted specifically to 5-MeO-DMT — synthetic, botanical or toad-derived.

Mycotopia: All things mycological — discussions of edible, wild, and psychoactive fungi.

The Shroomery: A forum  devoted to cultivating psilocybin-containing mushrooms and sharing trip reports.

TRIPSIT: A 24/7 online harm reduction resource.  Users can chat instantly with someone about their drug experience, or questions they may have about about the safe(r) use of a wide variety of controlled substances.

u/Brodano12 · 7 pointsr/canada

No God but God by Reza Aslan is a great scholarly view on the history of Islam.

The Study Quran is a great Quran and Quranic analysis/annotation.

However, with religion, it is important you are critical of everything you read, and you try to check sources on everything, because there is a lot of misinformation out there due to 1400 years of translation and interpretation errors. Even my own interpretation could be wrong, although I've tried to make it as accurate as possible.

Also, be open to having your own interpretation of the Quran instead of looking for others'. The whole point of Islam is that it's a personal spiritual journey, so the interpretation has to be your own. That doesn't mean you can choose to misinterpret clear directions (like don't kill people), but it does allow for some flexibility in the belief system. In the end, a holy text is only what you want it to be - it's a reflection of your own state of mind. Misguided people will have a misguided interpretation, while good people will have a good interpretation.

u/rooowdy · 2 pointsr/schizophrenia

There have been dozens and dozens of really profound sightings of UFOs throughout history by some really credible people.

I have not personally seen a UFO myself but the evidence is there. A great book I can recommend is https://www.amazon.com/UFOs-Generals-Pilots-Government-Officials/dp/0307717089 this one.

It covers all the big sightings that everybody interested in the field should be familiar with. Betty and Hill abduction, the disappearance of Frederick Valentich off the coast of Australia and many many more are covered in detail. That's just to name two I know off the top of my head are covered in said book.

I've been interested in the phenomenon since I was a kid, so it probably has nothing to do with my schizophrenia. It's just a thing I have always believed in.

A great channel on Youtube is secureteam10. They regularly post sightings sent in by people from all over the world. I'd encourage you to disregard the stuff about how the moon is hollow and what not, though.

u/odawg21 · 0 pointsr/pics

Spirit energy is never destroyed. It is recycled, takes on new shapes and forms. Where one life ends, another begins. The cyclical nature of energy and the amazing design of our universe implies that there would be no waste. Also, the fact that our lives as humans seem to just be a series of tests and events which become "lessons" or opportunities for spiritual growth lead me to believe that one life is simply not enough to break into the upper echelons of enlightenment.

Highly recommend Journey of Souls by Michael Newton PH. D. Very interesting stuff, studying both past lives, and what our spirits are up to in between lives. That last part is really what blew me away.

Also, great book just for life in general- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle- this book continues to help me in my day to day life and I haven't read it in years.

u/iHaveAgency · 3 pointsr/atheism

Your best bet is just to tell him to shut up about religion, and make it clear you're serious about it. That's something that might work better than trying to alter his views, which is rarely easy.

If you are really interested in trying to change his mind, use a method that is known to actually work once in a while: it's called Street Epistemology. SE was started by a guy who read Peter Boghossian's book, *A Manual for Creating Atheists. Boghossian is professor of Philosophy at Portland State U. Boghossian has also created a mobile app called Atheos. The first module is free and I would recommend it. Its purpose is to help you through the process of changing someone's mind by preventing you from being sidetracked by the person you're working on (sidetracking is one of the very few tactics they have at their disposal, so they tend to use it a lot).

u/ThinkerSociety · 2 pointsr/AskNYC

Dar-Us-Salam located at 486 Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn.

They have a wide collection. If you are looking for easy-to-read Arabic, I would say it is best to read an English translation separately along with a Qur'an with large Arabic font, since the translations are usually by each line. One good translation is the Oxford World Classics edition of the Qur'an, by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem. It's highly recommended.

If you want both English and Arabic, the most comprehensive exposure I've personally had is with the following two:

  1. Holy Qur'an by Abdullah Yusuf Ali - It has a great commentary of historical narratives in addition to the translation.

  2. The Noble Qur'an by Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan - It's pretty comprehensive in explaining the translation.

    All 3 books can be found at that book store. You may call them to confirm, just in case.

u/QuietBravePhantom · 1 pointr/Incels

Ohhh, I thought you were someone else. Anyways here read this


(you can find an ebook version online easily)

TL:DR - Objective Good exists and it is God. This is proven and demonstrable through logic and reason.

You exist and you can become a child of this goodness if you so choose. This is fulfillment and meaning as a human being and we exist to enjoy this infinite Truth and Love. We aren't aimless creatures mere byproducts of chance but divinely created beings loved immensely.

u/lotictrance · 13 pointsr/videos

LaVeyan Satanism is fairly reasonable. It's basically just atheism with certain philosophical tenets added in.

...mostly. I should mention that there's a big current of occult practice in most Satanism; LaVey himself wrote out a lot of 'spells' in his books, for whatever reason. How Satanists justify that basically comes down to personal preference (if they do so at all).

Philosophically, though, Satanism is pretty sane stuff. I identified myself as a Satanist for years, I still would but 'secular humanist' fits more accurately now, I think.

Edit: For those curious, there are, more or less, three major camps of Satanism, with varying degrees of differentiation.

LaVeyan Satanism is largely based on the works of Anton LaVey, and is more or less represented by the Church of Satan. The Satanic Bible basically outlines its essential positions. Like he says in the video, this form of Satanism is essentially atheist, using Satan as a metaphor for human potential and drive, as well as other things. By nature it tends toward iconoclasm, and many people (myself included) use LaVeyan Satanism as a transitory period between theism and atheism.

Setian Satanism is an offshoot from the 1970s of LaVeyan Satanism that's directed by the Temple of Set. It's an officially recognized religion in the US which even boasts chaplains in the military. Unlike LaVeyan Satanism, Setians focus very heavily on magickal and occult doctrine, and the Temple's organization mimics many other magickal orders. It's very ritual-heavy and there's some debate about whether it's atheist or not (mainly, whether Set is a symbol or an entity). The ultimate goal is Xeper, which (more or less) comes from the Egyptian word Kheper, a dung-beetle deity who's name symbolized transformation.

Luciferian Satanism is a decentralized, theist form of Satanism. The different approaches to Luciferianism are too wide to list here, but they commonly identify with a literal Satan figure to whom they pray, in the hopes of achieving a transhumanist, Promethean transformation (similar to Setians). Traditions vary between Hebraic Satanism to Norse and everything in between. There are many organizations based on Luciferianism, but none really have the size and weight of either the Church of Satan or the Temple of Set.

Hopefully someone finds this interesting.

u/kjdtkd · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

>I've downloaded CS Lewis' Mere Christianity maybe this will help.

This is a pretty decent and easy to read introduction to Christianity as a whole, so good start!

>Also, for someone who is at times skeptical regarding deities. How can I cement my faith once and for all?

Cementing your faith will never be a single irrefutable argument; It's more of a process than anything else. However, if you're looking to approach God from an intellectual standpoint, then Edward Feser is a great contemporary philosopher and writer. His book The Last Superstition was my introduction to the intellectual support for God and my first real dive into realism.

>I'd like to know what being a good Catholic is all about. Like what can I do today to be a better Catholic?

I don't have a specific book off the top of my head, but I'm sure someone else here can point you in the right direction.

u/aw232 · 1 pointr/exmormon

I've recommended this book on this sub before, but it really is a fantastic read and helps talk to other people and even get some movement on talking with people in the church. It's A Manual for Creating Athiests by Peter Boghossian. It is excellent.

Essentially it teaches people to use the Socratic method to help people understand just how bad faith is at determining what is real. You can also look up "street epistemology" to find other sources and videos of people employing Dr. Boghossian's techniques.

u/drak0bsidian · 4 pointsr/AdviceAnimals
  • Jews, God, and History would actually be a good pairing for your book now - while Johnson is more Zionist and philosemitic, Dimont takes a stance similar to Spinoza, which - while still of course being 'pro-Jew,' is more cultural in the context of the world than religious as the 'Chosen People.'
  • Jewish Literacy is what you are guaranteed to find on every single rabbi's shelf on Earth. Telushkin is an excellent writer, and is concise in his explanations of why we are the way we are and why we do what we do. It's less about a strict history than explaining all those things, but it's still valuable if you want to really get to your roots.
  • History of the Jewish People - I read this in college. More of a text for students, but valuable all the same.
  • Josephus is a historical text by one of the greatest historians from the turn of the first millennium. If you choose to get this, I highly recommend having Wikipedia open as you read it.
u/savetheplatypi · 1 pointr/vipassana

Thanks for your response Shuun. I've been exposed to these by this book (get the audio if you can as Ben Kingsley's read is wonderful). https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Buddhas-Teaching-Transforming-Liberation/dp/0767903692

Ty has done a lovely job updating the precepts for modern living too including things like how what you eat effects the climate of the world and how sensory entertainment effects right mind.

Anyhow, I am definitely putting these into practice daily, it's definitely a process which is why I was meant to find the word Kenshō.

In the chan tradition, they have what are known as an Upāsaka a lay person who abides by the precepts without need for ordaining or staying within the temple. This is definitely the middle path I'm taking.

u/tortus · 4 pointsr/Buddhism

I just finished reading Buddhism Without Beliefs and overall found it to be great. He really gets into personal struggle, frustration of living, what we all internally feel but rarely (if ever) talk about, and how to find meaning and purpose in our lives, all from a Buddhist perspective and without any mention whatsoever of after life, rebirth, gods or creators. The book hit me pretty hard several times.

Another thing I loved about this book is it's very simple and draws from the teachings of the Buddha himself. It doesn't get involved in any of the later developments that Buddhism evolved into.

Be warned though, the author is a bit in love with his own words and at times the book seems to be a bit hoity toity for the sake of it. Other than that, I loved it.

u/YordeiHaYam · 2 pointsr/Judaism

What stream of Judaism interests you? Or do you not know? Either way, a good starting point is Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's book Jewish Literacy.

Assuming you're interested in Orthodoxy, you will need to know (at least) about day-to-day ritual activities such as prayer and blessings, the basics of keeping the Sabbath, and the various festivals and how they are observed. You will need to show commitment to Judaism and to developing ties with the Jewish community.

You will also frequently be asked why you want to be Jewish, so that's another thing to "know" (although you need your own answer for this). Some (very) basic conception of Jewish dogma is generally required, but it is important to note that we're an action-packed religion to a large extent.

You will also need to make a commitment to Torah study; especially if you are a male.

This can take as little as a year or it may take several years, depending on your pace and the rabbi and conversion court (בית דין) that you go through.

For further questions and support along the way, you may be interested in /r/Giyur .

u/obiwanjacobi · 5 pointsr/conspiracy

It depends on what you're interested in really. You can get the general explanation of Federal Reserve, Illuminati, 9/11, CIA, NSA, etc from just about any YouTube video. Some books that have recently opened my mind to other topics, however include:

The Source Field Investigations by David Wilcock - The best written and most well-sourced book I've read concerning alternative history, conspiracy theories, suppressed science, and a host of other topics. Main thesis being that consciousness is a nonlocal field.

Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock - Some of the best evidence out there for a lost civilization which fell out of power and memory sometime around the end of the ice age. A bit outdated, but a sequel is due this year.

Genesis Revisted by Zecharia Sitchin - Read this if you want to understand why some people think the Annunaki are a thing. Some interesting info, but I don't really buy into it that much.

Dark Mission by Richard Hoagland - Occult history of NASA, coverups of what was found on the Moon, Mars, and some suppressed science.

The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot - Exactly what it sounds like

Rather than reading about the same theories in different words over and over, these books gave me perspective on possible reasons why TPTB do what they do. And an idea on what some deeper purpose for their intensive consumerism propaganda might be for, other than profit. Additionaly they exposed me to new/old ideas on what the universe fundamentally is and how it works, with some good science to back it up. Highly recommend all of these books.

u/massimosclaw · 5 pointsr/exmuslim

I know how you must feel. I went through the same thing. I was threatened by my mother, grabbed by the chest, and threatened to be kicked out of my house. I refused because I had no place to go, as my dad tried to calm her down, luckily they had to leave. I've learned a lot since then, and went back into the closet (though you seem to have a job, and security, so I'd say you don't have to do that) I think there's one effective persuasion technique that you may have not been exposed to - but maybe now it's too late because you're out of the closet. You might even be going through what many people call "an angry atheist phase", this can cause you to become more tribal which can send you into a downward spiral of anger and pain, and suck time like hell.

Here's the effective strategy I came across - this must be approached after you are both cool and preferably the other person doesn't know you are an atheist (but again, to me, it just seems too late):

It's called Street Epistemology. It's most concisely put in this book "A Manual for Creating Atheists", and you can see a good example of it on video here.

If you were an American Indian and you were dancing around the fire with feathers in your head gear, and I walked up to you and said "What are you dancing around the fire for?" You don't take your hat and throw it on the ground and say "You know I never thought of it that way!" We can't do that, we look at the world with our background, we have no other way of doing it.

Why is it that a Nazi gets a lump in his throat when he sees a swastika, and an American feels anger? The difference is the environment they've been brought up in. And if you're brought up in an environment with misinformation, you will behave that way.

No Chinese baby was ever born speaking Chinese, no matter how many generations of Chinese.

A child never writes his own alphabet

I believe, all behavior and actions that all people take are perfectly lawful to their environment and background. How your wife reacted, while it is very harmful to you, and I certainly empathize all the pain that my family has caused me specifically, is perfectly appropriate to her background and upbringing. Not saying what she did to you was beneficial. I'm saying that that is perfectly appropriate to the way she was brought up, and because of her indoctrination, it requires a different approach if you would like to change her beliefs and behaviors.

Over the years I've discovered a better way to convince believers. It's not hard either. It just takes some reading, and understanding on how human behavior works and how people are brainwashed. And how they are victims of that, not acting with their own free will and their own ideas.

A few books that helped me with convincing believers were: Nonviolent communication by Marshall Rosenberg, and semantics to clear language, the easiest book: Language in Thought and Action by Hayakawa. To understand psychological biases check out You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney

But perhaps the most helpful person was being exposed to Jacque Fresco - I shared some of his thoughts above. I highly recommend him - his ideas have changed my life.

I shared this snippet from Jacque Fresco on another post in this subreddit, but it bears repeating:

Conflict occurs when a person doesn’t seek your advice but you advise them.
So the way to get along with people is to let them be what they are unless they say I don’t seem to get along with pollocks whats my problem? Very few people say “What do you think of my value system?” If they do that and it’s sincere, not an ego thing...
If they ask a question, thats where you can get in and suggest but if they don’t, don’t s superimpose your values even if they’re better

If you suggest, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

and they say I don’t like 4 and 5,

don’t argue.

Your question is: How different is the persons background than yours? And does the person seek information? And if they did, don’t feel like you’re instructing them.
If you come home and you brother is using a shovel in the lawn, and he's struggling with it and you come up to him and say "That's no way to use a shovel!"

That's not going to change him. If, however, you say nothing - and he comes up to you, and says "I can't seem to use this shovel efficiently, can you help me?" then you can instruct them but don't feel like you're instructing them so you say "I used to do it that way, then another person taught me to push it down with my foot, and that was easier"

Sometimes people don’t want advice. They feel they’re being put down. So stop giving one another advice, that produces antagonism, unless they ask for it.
You can’t point out “The trouble with you is you don’t listen to anybody” That doesn’t cause em to now listen. They’ll go on with their same pattern.

Unless they say to you “Am I inattentive? Or Do I appear inattentive?” Very few people talk like that. That’s what sane means. Sane means when a person comes over “I’m not familiar with that jigsaw. How do you use it?” Then you instruct them. If they come over everyday and ask you - watch them and guide them through it.
Making a comment “Your’e dimwitted or slow. The trouble with you is you have no imagination.” That doesn’t alter behavior, it only increases conflict.

In order to avoid conflict don’t generate it. You generate it when you offer something to somebody that they didn’t ask for. Let them be. Whatever they say. Unless they turn to you.

If someone says “I’m a catholic” Say “Do you fully accept everything in the catholic doctrine?” “yes!”

The door is shut. It’s welded.

But if he says “Im not sure” thats an opening.

That goes for any subject. Check for openings before you talk. If you’ve had conflict all your life cause you believe that what you say enters their head the way you want to - thats projection. When you tell something to somebody for their own good. “If you keep drinking the way you are - you may become addicted” But if you come at a person and he says “fuck you” then shut up.

If I’m talking to religious people I would say “The bible says thou shalt not kill” How do you handle war?

I would say “The bible says love thine enemy - if a man strikes you turn the other cheek” How do you deal with that?

u/poorbadger0 · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

There is a slight irony to seeking an explanation to whether or not everything requires an explanation.

Putting that aside, one might need to be clear on what exactly an "explanation" is, especially when it comes to figuring out questions of "purpose". Once we are clear on what exactly explanations are, then we could compare those conditions with human capabilities or the human condition. But if we just take our intuitive understanding of an explanation, the question you pose is somewhat ambiguous. Are you asking whether or not humans have the capacity to understand or explain everything? Or are you rather asking, is there an explanation for everything, outside of human understanding (if such a thing is possible). If what you meant is the former, from an evolutionary perspective, one could argue there are limits to human understanding. Human beings as subjected to evolution are built in a particular way for a particular set of environmental conditions. Just as we have limits to how high we can jump, due to the structure of our bones and muscles etc., perhaps we have limits to what we can understand about the world (limitations on the structure of our brain for example). Indeed this is a line of thought that Noam Chomsky has expounded especially in reference to the mind-body problem. You can find some of his writing on this topic here, and a lecture here. Chomsky makes a very interesting claim. He claims that when it comes to what we take as our most fundamental understanding of the world, the ideas expressed by physicists, we have already given up on understanding the world, and instead have settled for understanding our theories of the world. He also assumes that when it comes to understanding the physical world, our criteria for intelligibility is something like the old philosophy of mechanism. If we can't see how something works in terms of colliding billiard balls, and a series of parts like that in a watch, then we can't "understand" it. Colin McGinn has a similar take when it comes to the mind-body problem as well.

If what you are asking is the latter question, i.e. is there an explanation for everything, outside of human understanding, i'm not sure where to refer you to, as i'm not sure I understand the question. Maybe what you are asking is, can something exist, like the green bottle on my table, but not have any reason or explanation for why or how it exists on my table? Not that it has an explanation that I as a human cannot understand it, but that it lacks an explanation all together, even in the eyes of God we might say. That i'm not sure about, so hopefully someone else can help out here.

This SEP article on Scientific Explanation or IEP article on Theories and Explanation, may be of interest.

>"koan" which is like a paradox that the mind is eager to understand but which is impossible to get a specific meaning

This reminds me a little of Albert Camus' characterisation of the human condition which he labels Absurd: the conflict between the desire we have to understand the world and find meaning in it, with our inability to find such an understanding or meaning. You may be interested in his book The Myth of Sisyphus, although it's not exactly an easy read, and will be something you will probably have to return to multiple times. Or watch Gregory B. Sadler's short series on the book here.

>Many buddhists claim that you don't have to seek for a purpose and apparently they don't have any meaning at all.

From my understanding of Buddhism, which is limited to the book What the Buddha Taught, and a 10 day Vipassana retreat, Buddhism does expound a purpose to human life, and that is the attainment of nirvana, the cessation of dukkha, and there is an ethic that goes along with it.

u/egypturnash · 1 pointr/Psychonaut

Discovering the Illuminatus! trilogy in my college years really changed the way I look at the world. Well worth reading. It's got some definite Problems - it's very much a thing of its time, and its attitude towards women is pretty objectifying. That said, it's still a great mind-opener.

Be sure to read the appendices. They lay out explicitly some of the philosophical and magical ideas alluded to in the book.

And then if you need more, go grab RAW's Prometheus Rising which is more explicitly about How To Play With Your Brain For Fun And Profit.

u/Raptor-Llama · -1 pointsr/Christianity

I am in such a relationship at the moment. My advice: make it clear that marriage is not an option if you don't reach an agreement in regards to this matter, and set some physical boundaries. I hope you really love this guy, because these relationships are not easy. The level of physical intimacy between Christians and non-christians is quite different and you'll probably have to figure that out. I'm still trying to do that.

It sounds like unfortunately he's got a bad case of New Atheism, which is philosophically bankrupt. The people he's reading are routinely mocked in all serious philosophical circles by philosophically inclined atheists and theists alike. The question of God is not one which even in principle could be proven with empirical evidence. It is a question squarely in the domain of philosophy. If you want to give him a good dispelling of that give him this. At the very least after reading that hopefully he can come up with some better arguments.

I don't know what sort of christian you are, though I'm assuming you're a protestant. I have had the honor of witnessing several non-religious people began converting to Christianity recently. In my experience at least they tend to go for more of the High Church, Eastern Orthodox, some Roman Catholic, perhaps even some Anglo-Catholics, though I personally don't know any. If he finds your version of Christianity lacking, and feels like he wants to delve into these things deeper, consider suggesting the resources of these churches.

I am not asking you to try to convert him, I don't think you should try to convert anyone. St. Seraphim of Sarov said "Acquire peace and thousands around you will be saved". But do not gloss over this issue. You don't want a marriage where you disagree on these things. Make finding agreement a necessity. That means either he converts or you apostatize. I wouldn't recommend the latter (unless it meant conversion to Orthodoxy!), but I don't know if you've changed your views in your past. My relationship exists in part because I did convert from something, namely Evangelical Protestantism to Holy Orthodoxy, and so I knew my worldview was subject to change, and my girlfriend also has had her views changed before. We are also both philosophy majors so we can pretend we're equipped to deal with these things. I do not know your situation, your grounding in theology, or your philosophical or theological background, nor his. If you are not well grounded this might be a great opportunity to learn more about your faith.

I wouldn't recommend sweeping it under the rug. You need to learn how to discuss this respectively (I've been trying to learn that myself), but this has to be a conversation you guys have. If you don't it's going to bottle up and lead to problems later. You don't have to talk about it all the time, and that's difficult to do, but don't totally avoid talking about your faith. It's a tough thing to do but it's necessary.

God bless, it's a difficult thing but speaking for my own case, it's worth it. You have to examine your case and see if it's worth it for you though. This is a very difficult situation. All I'd say is don't take it lightly.

u/Underthepun · 13 pointsr/Catholicism

You're welcome! Another piece of advice I have is that while I firmly believe conversion is a result of grace, breaking down intellectual barriers to belief is absolutely critical for many atheists. I found I had a lot of baggage and bad history/bad philosophy in my overall worldview previously. I didn't know what I didn't know or believe in. To me, God was a silly, antiquated idea used for control and comfort. Things like classical theism, divine simplicity, act/potency, essentialism, forms, four causes...were either completely foreign to me or unintelligible.

The first part of getting past that was classical philosophy, as I previously mentioned. I don't just mean Catholic thinkers like Aquinas either (though he's the mastermind!). It was studying the metaphysics of Aristotle, the forms of Plato, Ockam's pre-nominalistic, how enlightenment philosophers shifted the thinking towards epistemology and metaphysics; that I think really broke those barriers for me. It turned out that the materialism, reductionism, naturalism, and empiricism that I took for granted...were not on the strong ground I thought they were. Indeed, philosophers like Ed Feser, David Oderberg, Peter Kreeft, GEM Anscombe, Roger Scruton, Bernard Lonergan, James Ross, and even Thomas Nagel (himself an atheist!) have been articulating strong arguments against those things for years. I never knew the power of logic, deductive reasoning, and philosophy. I took the view of scientism as the default truth without ever challenging it. But just knowing how strong the intellectual arguments are against atheism/materialism are, and for theism; has helped immensely in growing in God's grace. And that is to say nothing for my moral realism, courtesy of Alasdair MacIntyre and C.S. Lewis, that was the initial crack in my previous worldview.

For those of us who are more head than heart, like I suspect you and your wife are, this kind of deep dive into philosophy is a crucial aspect of conversion. If you can articulate the strength of theism and weaknesses of atheism from just a purely intellectual standpoint, you may at least get her to be more understanding of your shift in thinking. I think reading this book is a good start and that this one is slightly more thorough. Feser isn't the world's greatest philosopher but he is very articulate. This book of his helped me greatly in beginning to solidify and defend my own epistemology and metaphysics.

u/AnimalMachine · 2 pointsr/books

There are several popular 'flavors' of Buddhism, but unfortunately I have not read any general overview books covering all of the sects. Most of my generalized knowledge has come from podcasts like Buddhist Geeks and Zencast. Gil Fronsdal and Jack Kornfield are both enjoyable to listen to.

But back to books!

The most accessible Zen book I've read was Nishijima's To Meet The Real Dragon. Other overviews like Alan Watt's What Is Zen and Shunryu Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind are good but a little obtuse.

And while I can't give it a general recommendation because the writing style isn't for everyone, I really enjoyed Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen and Sit Down and Shut Up.

Of those mentioned, I would go with To Meet the Real Dragon unless you prefer a much more informal style -- then I would pick Hardcore Zen.

u/Johnny_Poppyseed · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

To attain right view is to really understand by experience (wisdom) the teaching of the four noble truths.

Right resolve/intention, would be that the backbone of your practice and desire to learn more about buddhism etc, is to help ease the suffering of all beings (including yourself).

Right action, speech, livelihood are basically that you behave accordingly with right view and intention. Etc etc.

Honestly i dont like the way of separating each into groups like that. All the eightfold path are completely related and dependent on one another. To have one, you need them all.

Here's a book recommendation. Great thich nhat hanh book, that does a phenomenal job explaining the core teachings.


u/jty87 · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Here's a brief series of videos, a few minutes each, of Thich Nhat Hanh discussing the Buddhist concepts of the Buddha, karma, dharma, nirvana, impermanence, eternalism/nihilism, and meditation from his own very naturalistic perspective.

Nhat Hanh has studied Buddhist scriptures extensively, especially the earliest ones thought to have been transmitted with the fewest errors like the Satipatthana and Anapanasati Suttas, and developed his own lineage with an emphasis on openness, non-attachment to views, and freedom of thought. If that sounds like something you may be interested in then be sure to check out http://plumvillage.org/, or perhaps his overview of Buddhism recommended in the FAQs, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching