Are you more religious?

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cldlhd

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Pellicle... I hear you loud and clear in all you have said. All of these things are indeed hard... difficult... especially if we have an expectation and desire that it should never happen. That tells us that we have an ingrained desire for there to be no death, no hurt, no loss, no anger, no a lot of stuff. That desire doesn't appear out of thin air. It is there for a reason and with purpose.

There is no way I can, or will, go through your entire post and answer every single topic/point, and you bring up a lot of good and legitimate and REAL questions. What I will say, to take it all to a foundational point, is that if and when somebody, anybody, can explain how all of what is in existence just came into being, and from nothing, and how we somehow came from that to this, surviving it all, then we can have a serious conversation about there being no God. If someone can explain how and why they have such a serious belief that life came from death (scientifically impossible), then we can have a serious conversation about there being no God. I believe that it is incredibly ludicrous to suggest such a thing, if we really look objectively at what is actually very simple and basic truths about what is staring us right in the face.

Nobody discredits a surgeon for their work if and when they thank God for their successful surgery. They simply see God at a more foundational level. The surgeon absolutely did what they did. But within the realm of the existence of God's creation. You can legitimately thank God and the surgeon, both at the same time.

We have a difficult time embracing God while all of the loss, hurt, pain, etc., is going on in this world. I would submit, though, that we probably have a bigger problem with the suggestion of sin, and what it entails, rather than actually having a problem with there being God. We are the problem, not God, and I mean that about every single one of us, myself being #1.

If there is no God, no basis of morality, no established right or wrong, then why do we even care what happens? Why does it hurt when we lose somebody, if there is nothing truly out there that gives us that ability to love, want, need? It hurts for a reason, and it isn't by random chance that it came about.

That suggests a lot of things. That suggests a lot of reality, things we cannot ignore or try to explain away. Interestingly, is that it is also our natural posture to first say "No" to a higher power, and all the while here we sit, existing, with a mind to even ask the question. We are ALIVE, a living, breathing soul, with the capability of loving someone enough that it would cause us that depth of pain, disappointment, hurt, for such a loss.

The fact that you and I are sitting here having this discussion is a suggestion that even in the face of such loss, there is still hope, still light in the darkness, still a reason to love just as deeply as you did before.

I appreciate that you shared the true depths of your heart in what you said. I read it and hear it, vividly. The fact that you said that you wish you could block this thread, that tells me of depth. I guess that's why I am here, right now, talking with you about it, Pellicle. I hope you understand the depth of what I mean in saying that. It isn't in any cynical nor negative sense, but quite the opposite.
First of all I want to say any disagreements I have are done respectfully. Also I don't claim to know anything and I actually hope there is an afterlife, assuming I go to the right place but...... The argument that this couldn't have all just come into existence on its own at least equally applies to God. In other words if something is complicated as a universe couldn't just happen to occur then how did a being complicated and powerful enough to create such a complicated universe by themselves just happened to come into being? It's the same problem I think just saying "oh it's God" is just a neater easier way of summing it up.
As for the morality thing and why do we care what happens and such There are clear evolutionary reasons for that. In other words our concern for human life clearly benefits our species, if we were willing to eat our own children just as easily as we're willing to eat a pig then we would have one extinct a long time ago. It is perfectly fine to murder a cow but not a fellow human, but why? So imagine if there was a species of human that had no issue murdering and eating their own? They would go extinct. Just like most religious rules and codes regarding handling of food, kosher springs to mind, come from the desire to avoid sickness and disease.
One could argue that religion co-opted morality.
 

cldlhd

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No, actually my surgeries made no difference to my religious pathway. Like Michelle I became over the years more cynical of organised religion and see it as a political entity.

I have over my lifetime seen and experienced life events which have shown me that organised religion is nothing more than a political system; indeed worse its one which does almost no good that a proper liberal democracy does not do better (building roads, administering the law with human justice and providing health care).

I suppose this is because to me my surgeries were not "out of the blue" with no explanation. They were expected and I simply did what I had to do (which was less and less each time as more was done for me by the system). I did not pray at all for anything before any of my surgeries , although I was proudly shown by my mother the sheet from church where I was mentioned in prayers. I recall thinking at the time "well none of them actually helped you out" ...)

I have always had a spiritual side and felt that the only thing I took out of my Christian upbringing was that God is more complex than humans can understand. So I do not like to be told what the rules are for understanding God and how God may exist.

As an Australian there have been a number of taboos in social gatherings and one of them is discussing religion. Its considered personal and divisive. Perhaps this is because of the Irish heritage that looms large in an English Colony (and all the hatred and violence that has gone on and still goes on) in Ireland not least due to the Church of England vs Catholic issues. If you were to ask about religion in a pub in the UK you'd likely be met with strange looks.

Australians (and in my experience most people) are quite unlike the Americans who seem to think its proper to drag out such a subject and proudly vociferously announce their stance on such things. I guess its a cultural thing which it seems some feel comfortable with trampling over.

Yet I do detect a section of America (outside the bible belt) who wince at such things.

Were I to cry allahu akbar and declare my conversion to Islam and that I had a holy duty to slaughter unbelievers, adulterers and homosexuals, to either convert or subjugate the Children of the Book (which would be the Jews or the Christians) I would anticipate a bit of anxiety here. So "religion" is not as free as the naïve would like to think.

Some may think that being Stoic is a religion, it is not. It is simply a set of good psychlogical tools that help keep the mind focused.

Many things have occurred in my life which have led me to continue pondering the question of "is there more to life than simply to eventually die". I of course can't answer that question, but I have come up with questions but no answers.

Instead I focus my mind on what I can do, on how I can be a good person both to myself and to those around me. I do this because I believe its what has made humans successful creatures (yes, I appreciate the "creation" implication of that word). Understanding and developing my understanding is what I believe is what nature and society demand of us.

In my life I have witnessed many things, given aid to the dying, helped the living, been loved and loved, and have lost the most precious of gifts.

It is instead not my surgery which has had any influence on my being "religious ", its the experiences of life and death which have made me the antithesis of religious but remaining spiritual and open to my interpretations of what is Nature and Godliness.


To me to tell others what God is, is to pretend to understand what God is ... I am not that guy

Best Wishes
You are correct, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and all that and it's the same here in America. Yes there is more religiosity here than in most Western civilized countries but the reality is most people give lip service to it and here in the suburbs of Philly I don't think it's as pronounced as the Bible belt. It is just a given amongst many people to praise somebody as being a person of faith, which is fine, but the clearly unsaid part is if you are not then that is a negative. I just go more by the golden rule than any set belief in any doctrine. It's like so many dingbats I know who quote the Constitution wrongly have never read it and have no clue what's in it, it's the same with religion with them They talk about how their Christian yet they don't behave according to pretty much any of the rules I am aware of and really don't know much about it. It's more of a way of defining themselves like whether or not they are a Ford or a Chevy guy in my opinion. It's kind of like so many politicians, usually on the so-called conservative side, who wear Christian faith in an overt way kind of like they're over the top patriotism, in my opinion that's usually just soliciting votes. I mean there's guys who have slept with hookers, been married multiple times, cheating on all their wives yet they call themselves Christian and our loved by the Christians. So to me it's just more of a personal identity trap in those situations.
I wonder if your deep dislike of organized religion comes from your experiences in life and also because you said you used to be a believer and were raised that way. Kind of like how they say there's nobody with the religious fervor of a convert or something like that But in the opposite direction.
Cheers, it's Friday
 

pellicle

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I wonder if your deep dislike of organized religion comes from your experiences in life
it most certainly did. I would say it started with the inhman treatment I got by the Nuns, then spilled over to the more inhumane treatment I got at the hands of the Christian Brothers.

I would say that the obvious sexual child abuse that was going on in my school (which I became aware of after grade 8) formed a factor too because it was denied and covered up (both actively and passively with "you are too young to understand such things") by the entire community. That parents were ignoing what was being done to their children was breathtaking.

That some of those are now in prison for convictions of same helped the commuity to begin to see what we (the children) were talking about. However many still believed it is all a victimisation of the church.

At about that time I became aware of the appaling treatment my mother had at the hands of the church when she was a boarder at a (different sect) Nuns School.

The complete disreguard of the same clergy of my parents plight was also a factor.

I could go on, but the information which I came to see is all out there and frequently in the news

One 'mild' one from Canada

I was regularly verbally abused, beaten and told (by my educators) I was too stupid. It was with some satisfaction that I got very high state entry to university scores and went on to succeed in my life.

No thanks to them ...
 
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cldlhd

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Life is suffering and suffering is life. Every human relationship ends in tragedy (death, divorce, moving away); it's part of life. Most people take comfort in some spiritual things such as their religion, their god, their philosophy, nature, etc.. All humans have a coping mechanism, you have stated that yours is stoicism.
I agree that as a coping mechanism it must be helpful. My problem is that doesn't mean it's true. So my inability to believe in religion makes it difficult to derive comfort from it.
 

ddwheeler

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I believe I do ... and my thanks to you for a thoughtful reply.

Best Wishes
Thank you, bud. I'm glad to see/hear you say that. That being said, I am always a listening ear and am more than glad to chat with you privately. I won't try to impose myself upon you. But I do want to be very clear, that I am more than happy to talk.

Cheers!
 

nobog

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I would say it started with the inhman treatment I got by the Nuns,

Boy, I can second that ! Talk about mean.... (and then to have to take piano lessons from them - gad!)
 

pellicle

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That being said, I am always a listening ear and am more than glad to chat with you privately.
That's very kind, but I am blessed with sufficient good friends, who've known me most of my life. Most of them are wiser and more intelligent than I. So all the background is shared as well as common culture.

Best Wishes
 

ddwheeler

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First of all I want to say any disagreements I have are done respectfully. Also I don't claim to know anything and I actually hope there is an afterlife, assuming I go to the right place but...... The argument that this couldn't have all just come into existence on its own at least equally applies to God. In other words if something is complicated as a universe couldn't just happen to occur then how did a being complicated and powerful enough to create such a complicated universe by themselves just happened to come into being? It's the same problem I think just saying "oh it's God" is just a neater easier way of summing it up.
As for the morality thing and why do we care what happens and such There are clear evolutionary reasons for that. In other words our concern for human life clearly benefits our species, if we were willing to eat our own children just as easily as we're willing to eat a pig then we would have one extinct a long time ago. It is perfectly fine to murder a cow but not a fellow human, but why? So imagine if there was a species of human that had no issue murdering and eating their own? They would go extinct. Just like most religious rules and codes regarding handling of food, kosher springs to mind, come from the desire to avoid sickness and disease.
One could argue that religion co-opted morality.
Thanks for the conversation, firstly. I appreciate having good, civil dialogue, especially on matters such as these.

The explanation given for God is that He is eternal. He has no beginning and He has no end. Interestingly, even based upon scientific evidence, we can see that our entire universe has a beginning, and evidence also suggests that it will one day have an end. The debate arises at when the beginning occurred, and how and when the end will occur.

Sure, we can find positive outcomes from abiding by what we would determine to be moral behavior. I would agree that there are natural benefits from doing so, and negative consequences from not doing so. It is interesting, though, that mankind always seems to find a way to try to steer the ship toward that "natural consequences" direction, and excuse it by saying morality is relative. "What is wrong for you might be right for me", etc. What some insist is moral solely according to their own relative view, IS destructive, harmful. So, yes, taking the moral high ground (shall we say) usually has natural benefits, and immorality typically has inherent consequences.

I would ask, though, what about when someone makes a deliberate choice to sacrifice themselves (in a laundry list of ways... covering the complete spectrum... from the minimal all the way to the supreme sacrifice) for another person, simply because they love them? That actually defies evolutionary thought. Yet, it is sometimes immeasurably powerful.
 

pellicle

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firstly. I appreciate having good, civil dialogue, especially on matters such as these
You're welcome, I too enjoy conversation when it doesn't cross too many boundaries.

We can all benefit from hearing other views, be it like this or about valve choice. Sadly in the past that was a highlight polarised topic.

Myself I think there is room for both and that properly identifying a good choice for someone does require confronting the idea of honesty in an honest non partisan way.

On your question I can say I've thought long and hard about that topic as I would readily have given my life to save my wifes, however I have reflected on that thought many times since she died and I can't get past the idea that it would be putting her in the situation I am in now.

I have had no clear and lasting stance on this other than her mother, her father, her sister (and niece) and so many more family and friends of hers would not have suffered as they have and do. You can perhaps from life experience know what sort of huge effect that has had on them. (For background she died suddenly and unexpectedly of an undiagnosed brain tumor. She was returning to Finland to help her grandmother who fell and broke her hip. Her parents were in the midst of a harvest and there was no one else. We discussed it and she left with my full support. She had a seizure and died in a hospital)

I'm an only child and my parents are deceased now.

Best Wishes
 
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cldlhd

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You're welcome, I too enjoy conversation when it doesn't cross too many boundaries.

We can all benefit from hearing other views, be it like this or about valve choice. Sadly in the past that was a highlight polarised topic.

Myself I think there is room for both and that properly identifying a good choice for someone does require confronting the idea of honesty in an honest non partisan way.

On your question I can say I've thought long and hard about that topic as I would readily have given my life to save my wifes, however I have reflected on that thought many times since she died and I can't get past the idea that it would be putting her in the situation I am in now.

I have had no clear and lasting stance on this other than her mother, her father, her sister (and niece) and so many more family and friends of hers would not have suffered as they have and do. You can perhaps from life experience know what sort of huge effect that has had on them. (For background she died suddenly and unexpectedly of an undiagnosed brain tumor. She was returning to Finland to help her grandmother who fell and broke her hip. Her parents were in the midst of a harvest and there was no one else. We discussed it and she left with my full support. She had a seizure and died in a hospital)

I'm an only child and my parents are deceased now.

Best Wishes
Thanks for the conversation, firstly. I appreciate having good, civil dialogue, especially on matters such as these.

The explanation given for God is that He is eternal. He has no beginning and He has no end. Interestingly, even based upon scientific evidence, we can see that our entire universe has a beginning, and evidence also suggests that it will one day have an end. The debate arises at when the beginning occurred, and how and when the end will occur.

Sure, we can find positive outcomes from abiding by what we would determine to be moral behavior. I would agree that there are natural benefits from doing so, and negative consequences from not doing so. It is interesting, though, that mankind always seems to find a way to try to steer the ship toward that "natural consequences" direction, and excuse it by saying morality is relative. "What is wrong for you might be right for me", etc. What some insist is moral solely according to their own relative view, IS destructive, harmful. So, yes, taking the moral high ground (shall we say) usually has natural benefits, and immorality typically has inherent consequences.

I would ask, though, what about when someone makes a deliberate choice to sacrifice themselves (in a laundry list of ways... covering the complete spectrum... from the minimal all the way to the supreme sacrifice) for another person, simply because they love them? That actually defies evolutionary thought. Yet, it is sometimes immeasurably powerful.
I agree it is nice to have a civilized conversation regarding these things, unfortunately it's not always the case.
Regarding the beginning and the end of the universe and the possibility of other universes, I just think we are too limited in our scientific understanding at this point to know. As for God being eternal there's really no way to get into that. I always just looked at that explanation as a easy one, like where did He come from?
As for the dying for others the question. It can be a difficult one to answer and as a human being is hard for me to separate myself from my own emotions and thoughts, as in the fact that my son's life is more important to me than anybody else's but I know my neighbor feels the same way about their child. That's where I come back to the passing on of the genes biological imperative but obviously as a caring human I don't necessarily like that explanation because we all want to think of ourselves and our lives as having some deeper meaning. It's not very consoling to think that we're just fulfilling a biological imperative, that's one reason, others being things like fear of death and nothingness, that religion has such an appeal. The gene thing explains sacrificing yourself for your offspring but not for a spouse or other. That's a bit more complicated but the love for his spouse can, to an extent, be similar to the love for a child. So maybe it activates a similar part of the brain? As for a stranger or other I also think there is an evolutionary benefit to this as well- the tribe or the species of human that believes in an afterlife and is willing to die, and unfortunately usually more important to kill, for their own tribe is probably going to be more successful then the pacifist tribe. This also explains why so many cultures glorify soldiers and the military, getting a free ride to Valhalla or Paradise after your sacrifice springs to mind.
 

ddwheeler

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I agree it is nice to have a civilized conversation regarding these things, unfortunately it's not always the case.
Regarding the beginning and the end of the universe and the possibility of other universes, I just think we are too limited in our scientific understanding at this point to know. As for God being eternal there's really no way to get into that. I always just looked at that explanation as a easy one, like where did He come from?
As for the dying for others the question. It can be a difficult one to answer and as a human being is hard for me to separate myself from my own emotions and thoughts, as in the fact that my son's life is more important to me than anybody else's but I know my neighbor feels the same way about their child. That's where I come back to the passing on of the genes biological imperative but obviously as a caring human I don't necessarily like that explanation because we all want to think of ourselves and our lives as having some deeper meaning. It's not very consoling to think that we're just fulfilling a biological imperative, that's one reason, others being things like fear of death and nothingness, that religion has such an appeal. The gene thing explains sacrificing yourself for your offspring but not for a spouse or other. That's a bit more complicated but the love for his spouse can, to an extent, be similar to the love for a child. So maybe it activates a similar part of the brain? As for a stranger or other I also think there is an evolutionary benefit to this as well- the tribe or the species of human that believes in an afterlife and is willing to die, and unfortunately usually more important to kill, for their own tribe is probably going to be more successful then the pacifist tribe. This also explains why so many cultures glorify soldiers and the military, getting a free ride to Valhalla or Paradise after your sacrifice springs to mind.
One fact remains in all of this, in that not one of us will be able to definitively prove either point of view, unless one accepts (or does not accept) "proof" as being all things being in existence, in and of itself. How it came into existence is one question. Why is another, and even bigger question. We will continue the same discussion that has existed throughout history, I presume.

One very interesting fact about "religion" is that we/mankind can take something (anything, for that matter) and make one huge mess of it, manipulating it toward our own advantage, and use it as an excuse for sometimes reprehensible behavior. The fact that some individuals have done exactly that, and still do, to this day, abusing it and using it toward personal enrichment, an excuse to execute evil upon other human beings, etc., just serves as yet another example to help further confirm the base nature of human beings. We all have an inherent nature toward evil, be it at a great or small level (lying, stealing, etc., etc.). Why we even do that is a very large question, alone, outside of any/other question(s).

It will be an unending discussion that I guess we will only ever definitely know the answer when it all comes to an end (which it one day will). Meanwhile, let's continue to be open to discuss, like we are doing, in a civil and understanding manner. I would say it as God having put us here, with our paths having crossed, for that purpose (among others). 🙂
 

cldlhd

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One fact remains in all of this, in that not one of us will be able to definitively prove either point of view, unless one accepts (or does not accept) "proof" as being all things being in existence, in and of itself. How it came into existence is one question. Why is another, and even bigger question. We will continue the same discussion that has existed throughout history, I presume.

One very interesting fact about "religion" is that we/mankind can take something (anything, for that matter) and make one huge mess of it, manipulating it toward our own advantage, and use it as an excuse for sometimes reprehensible behavior. The fact that some individuals have done exactly that, and still do, to this day, abusing it and using it toward personal enrichment, an excuse to execute evil upon other human beings, etc., just serves as yet another example to help further confirm the base nature of human beings. We all have an inherent nature toward evil, be it at a great or small level (lying, stealing, etc., etc.). Why we even do that is a very large question, alone, outside of any/other question(s).

It will be an unending discussion that I guess we will only ever definitely know the answer when it all comes to an end (which it one day will). Meanwhile, let's continue to be open to discuss, like we are doing, in a civil and understanding manner. I would say it as God having put us here, with our paths having crossed, for that purpose (among others). 🙂
Agreed. Who knows? I think people have a tendency to lie and steal because they perceive it in their best interest at the time, also they tend to like to help others through things like charity and let everyone know about it which also helps them.
As for us finding out in the end I would also say who knows? I mean if there is absolutely nothing after this then we will be dead and we won't even know we're dead. The sadness of this to me has always explained the desire to believe in something after. The idea of all of my cherished memories of friends and family and experiences of a lifetime just disappearing 5 minutes after I'm gone is not a comforting thought. Thinking that I will be in a better place with loved ones who have passed knowing that in the future I will be reunited with ones I left behind sounds much better. That is part of the reason why I am naturally skeptical I guess, the old "if it seems like too good of a deal that probably is" mantra. But who knows maybe you're right That would be preferable to be honest.
Either way I'm glad things could be discussed in a reasoned civil manner. Have a good one
 

tom in MO

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I was schooled by brothers and nuns for my elementary education with no abuse of any kind.

This thread is now so off topic and out of the realm of valve replacement surgery, even I think it should be shut down.
 

ddwheeler

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Agreed. Who knows? I think people have a tendency to lie and steal because they perceive it in their best interest at the time, also they tend to like to help others through things like charity and let everyone know about it which also helps them.
As for us finding out in the end I would also say who knows? I mean if there is absolutely nothing after this then we will be dead and we won't even know we're dead. The sadness of this to me has always explained the desire to believe in something after. The idea of all of my cherished memories of friends and family and experiences of a lifetime just disappearing 5 minutes after I'm gone is not a comforting thought. Thinking that I will be in a better place with loved ones who have passed knowing that in the future I will be reunited with ones I left behind sounds much better. That is part of the reason why I am naturally skeptical I guess, the old "if it seems like too good of a deal that probably is" mantra. But who knows maybe you're right That would be preferable to be honest.
Either way I'm glad things could be discussed in a reasoned civil manner. Have a good one
One comment you made triggered a thought toward a particular passage of Scripture from the Bible, concerning why we even think or have a desire toward something beyond this earthly life. This is from Ecclesiastes... written by Solomon (son of David). This is from chapter 3, which is where the familiar passage, from which comes the lyrics to that famous song by the Byrds (Turn! Turn! Turn!)... a time to give birth and a time to die... etc..... But in verse 11 it says..

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."

I have a study Bible I like to use, which has notes for this particular passage:

everything - Every activity or event for which a culmination point may be fixed.

beautiful - The phrase echoes "God saw... it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). Even in a cursed universe, activity should not be meaningless. Its futility lies in the fickle satisfaction of man and his failure to trust the wisdom of sovereign God.

put eternity into man's heart - God made men for his eternal purpose, and nothing in post-fall time can bring them complete satisfaction.

That being said, each of us are born with an innate sense and desire for something beyond this life... certainly not just a temporary existence that truly has no valid purpose, other than just "being" and then "not being". How depressing a thought is that? Ugghh...
 

cldlhd

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One comment you made triggered a thought toward a particular passage of Scripture from the Bible, concerning why we even think or have a desire toward something beyond this earthly life. This is from Ecclesiastes... written by Solomon (son of David). This is from chapter 3, which is where the familiar passage, from which comes the lyrics to that famous song by the Byrds (Turn! Turn! Turn!)... a time to give birth and a time to die... etc..... But in verse 11 it says..

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."

I have a study Bible I like to use, which has notes for this particular passage:

everything - Every activity or event for which a culmination point may be fixed.

beautiful - The phrase echoes "God saw... it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). Even in a cursed universe, activity should not be meaningless. Its futility lies in the fickle satisfaction of man and his failure to trust the wisdom of sovereign God.

put eternity into man's heart - God made men for his eternal purpose, and nothing in post-fall time can bring them complete satisfaction.

That being said, each of us are born with an innate sense and desire for something beyond this life... certainly not just a temporary existence that truly has no valid purpose, other than just "being" and then "not being". How depressing a thought is that? Ugghh...
It is a bit depressing but I guess believing that it is temporary makes it more special in a way. I don't think activity is meaningless, I mean it has meaning to us while we are engaging in it. I'm not sure if a thousand years from now things I'm doing today will really matter to anybody, at least not consciously to them. As for him making us for his eternal purpose, I guess maybe that's where I fail to understand Maybe that's my limited human mind not being able to comprehend, but I always found that sort of thing odd. Like he can make an entire universe so what does he need us for? But hey to each his own. Cheers
 
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cldlhd

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I was schooled by brothers and nuns for my elementary education with no abuse of any kind.

This thread is now so off topic and out of the realm of valve replacement surgery, even I think it should be shut down.
You say "this thread is now so off topic" But it was off topic of valve replacement from the very first post. Clearly. It had nothing to do with the technical aspects of surgery, choices to be made and recovery and simply about religious feelings before and after. I haven't really seen any nastiness or arguing either so.
 

Tteale

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I had a Cardiac Arrest at 17yrs, was clinically dead for 2+mins, resuscitated and Defi’d back to life. I’m 26 now.

It was a strange 2 mins
 

ddwheeler

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It is a bit depressing but I guess believing that it is temporary makes it more special in a way. I don't think activity is meaningless, I mean it has meaning to us while we are engaging in it. I'm not sure if a thousand years from now things I'm doing today will really matter to anybody, at least not consciously to them. As for him making us for his eternal purpose, I guess maybe that's where I fail to understand Maybe that's my limited human mind not being able to comprehend, but I always found that sort of thing odd. Like he can make an entire universe so what does he need us for? But hey to each his own. Cheers
I hear what you are saying concerning one's limited mind. Mine is the posterchild of "finite-ness". :) Sometimes I'm glad I don't "understand" some things that go on in this world, though. I don't ever want to grasp and "understand" some things that some people do to other people.

Indeed, there is a massive universe out there, and as far as we can see, we appear to be the only life within it... at least, that is all we are able to see/hear/detect. If He made it all, He is indescribably majestic, for sure. If He made it all to display His glory and majesty to us, He certainly didn't pull out any stops in doing so. Who would have thought of something so vast and literally immeasurable?

On the topic of why He made us, if he could make an entire universe, and how this is supposed to be resolved with our limited mind and His immeasurable majesty... I read this in a book written by a late-theologian named Arthur W. Pink. The title of the book is "Attributes of God". This is actually quite an interesting, "deep thought" work. I find it extremely interesting. The opening chapter of the book begins:

“In the beginning God” (Gen 1:1). There was a time, if “time” it could be called, when God, in the unity of His nature
(though subsisting equally in three divine persons), dwelt all alone. “In the beginning God.” There was no heaven, where His glory is now particularly manifested. There was no earth to engage His attention. There were no angels to hymn His praises; no universe to be upheld by the word of His power. There was nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for a day, a year, or an age, but “from everlasting.” During eternity past, God was alone: self-contained, self-sufficient, self-satisfied; in need of nothing. Had a universe, had angels, had human beings been necessary to Him in any way, they also had been called into existence from all eternity. The creating of them when He did, added nothing to God essentially. He changes not (Mal 3:6), therefore His essential glory can be neither augmented nor diminished.

God was under no constraint, no obligation, no necessity to create. That He chose to do so was purely a sovereign act on His part, caused by nothing outside Himself, determined by nothing but His own mere good pleasure; for He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11). That He did create was simply for His manifestative glory. Do some of our readers imagine that we have gone beyond what Scripture warrants? Then our appeal shall be to the Law and the Testimony: “Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be Thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise” (Neh 9:5). God is no gainer even from our worship. He was in no need of that external glory of His grace which arises from His redeemed, for He is glorious enough in Himself without that. What was it that moved Him to predestinate His elect to the praise of the glory of His grace? It was, as Ephesians 1:5 tells us, “according to the good pleasure of His will.”

---- End of excerpt

Now, I know, having read it in several places within this ongoing thread, already... what does this have to do with me having a faulty heart valve? I go back to the original question where it was asked if people find themselves "more religious" based upon your personal diagnosis. My answer would be that my heart valve situation (as well as any other health issue I have had, will have, etc.) is one part of the bigger picture of my life, my existence, my limited understanding (which I am truly trying to improve, each and every day) of "all of this". Having serious health issues being diagnosed certainly bring some things to the forefront, within our minds. We feel bullet-proof when we are young, living a sometimes reckless life, pushing life's boundaries to try to find out what is out there, wanting to not be deprived of what life has to offer. But when you come to see your doctor and they say to both you and your wife, "Let's have a seat", and they begin to unfold the TRUTH of what is going on inside of you... your temporal existence in this life becomes a front-burner topic... whether you like it or not. In the minds of a LOT of people (I would like to think that most, if not all, people), temporal life takes on a vivid presence and reality, and it stands starkly against the backdrop of what is an innate sense about ourselves... our temporal life measured against eternity, i.e. how and why does it have an end? And in our individual case, "when" will it end, and "how"?

I don't know about you, but when I was given my heart valve diagnosis, as well as my slight aneurysm at the base of my aorta, where it attaches to my heart, my mind wandered, thinking "Is this how it will end?"

We used to have a Bible study group to meet at my house on a Friday evening. There was a lady who came, who had lost her husband, unexpectedly some years prior. But to add to that, six weeks after her husband died, her teenage son was in a car accident. He and his friends all survived the accident. In fact, they were all up walking around at the scene of the accident. An EMT advised her son that he should probably lie down on the gurney, though, as he may have internal injuries and they need to take precaution. So, he did lie down. Unknown to them all, he had a broken rib. As he was lying down, his broken rib punctured his aorta, and he quietly, peacefully, unexpectedly, lay there and bled to death... at 17-years-old... 6 weeks after his father/her husband had died.

It so rocked this poor woman's world. But I will never forget what she said as she shared this story with us, sitting downstairs in my living room. She told us that she had said, "Lord, I don't know what it is that You have for me to learn or grow or understand through all of this. But, I love you, I trust you, and I will always serve you." She said that in probably the most unstable point in her life, when the entire world around her was a completely indecipherable storm of immeasurable proportion. More importantly, she really meant and truly believed what she put into words.

Over the following years she remained steadfast. She remained trusting and obedient to His word and what He has for us in this earthly life.

A short few years after telling us all that very story, she remarried, meeting and marrying a man who loved her in the way we're given instruction to love our wives. She was able to retire from her business (her business is yet another story, in and of itself, as she had been a stay-at-home Mom for a good 25 years when her husband died unexpectedly). After several years of her marriage, one night in her sleep she died unexpectedly, quietly, and peacefully, in her own bed, of a ruptured aneurysm.

Despite my heart valve, my ever-so-slight aneurysm, my other known health issues, my ever-increasing age... I have complete peace and contentment, simply knowing what is the bigger picture, and my hope and trust in what is yet to come. Surely, this wreck of a world full of broken people like me, and all of us, is not all there is to the story.
 
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