Elizabeth, I understand your concern about the attacking of your beliefs, and I respect that. My intent is NOT to tear down anyone's beliefs, simply to offer them to others so they may make their own opinion. I know that I myself hold beliefs many would disagree with and possibly feel compelled to attack them. No, utter scrutiny and complete closed-mindedness towards your, or anyone else's, beliefs is not my intention. If you would like to read what is completed of my story thus far before choosing whether or not to share your views, feel more than free to e-mail me and let me know, I will gladly e-mail the file to you.
jboulder, you have a good point about legalistic religions; perhaps that is just what my case examplifies. And being wrong is not exactly something most people, as a general human rule, like to be told. Disallusionment is perhaps too often accepted over the fear of being "wrong." "Subjective" was kind of used in a sarcastic way in my original message, perhaps I should apologize and clarify. By "subjective" I meant beliefs of any religion that is disputed by other religions; like the Jehovah's Witnesses and their view of the cross. Truly subjective beliefs may be helpful to me, but nowhere near so useful as generally accepted beliefs whic are "objective" to one religion, but "subjective" to another. Again, I extend the offer of e-mailing you the portion of my story.
Brad; "I think religion of any kind should be approached as openly and as honestly as possible." I couldn't have said it nearly so well. And I think I would also have to agree that "aetheism" is indeed not a religion. Perhaps a philosophy, but many who claim to be aetheists could not agrue the philosophy behind their supposed belief (or lack thereof.) My girlfriend, for example, proclaims to believe in aetheism. I have kind of tried to put myself in her place and attempt to understand why she feels the way she does about "God," and I cannot. So many things, and one in particular screams attention, if I had been in her place, would have almost demanded the belief in "something more." My older brother also proclaims aetheism, and he had the same relgious background as I. We are only 14 months apart in age, and I have also tried to understand why he believes in aetheism. Our father was an alcoholic when we were children, and neither of us have forgiven the man for it. My brother has used this situation as a basis for his disbelief in "God." His stance is the usual, "If there really was a God, all of the bad things that happen in this world wouldn't happen." I myself do not think that the case. The hardships we endure throughout our lives are in part, I believe, self-made. I believe that while something could be preordained, not everything is. If everything were written in stone before we were even born, what would be the point of existence? I would liken it to this: Standing atop a hill with a forest spread out at the bottom of the hill. A single path leads into the forest, but in the distance one can see several, perhaps infinite, paths leading out of the forest. One must choose which paths to take, but once one decides which path to walk, they will see whatever trees (life events) which are planted at the path's edge. We can choose which path to go along, but we cannot choose which trees we will see. Does that make sense?
Okay, I've said enough for now, I think. Thank you all for your responses; they are much appreciated.
Tout s'en va, tout passe, l'eau coule, et le couer oublie.
[This message has been edited by Alain DeLaCendres (edited 06-01-2000).]