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Oct 29 2011

Why I am an atheist – Cathy Oliver

In July of 2003 I was pregnant with twins. I was happy, excited, and nervous, and looking back on it now I feel like I was in a state of pregnancy-related ignorant bliss. I was one of those people who happily use the phrases “I’m pregnant” and “I’m going to have a baby” interchangeably and I could foresee nothing but a happy ending to the story.

I was 18 weeks pregnant when my water broke. My husband rushed me to the hospital and the doctor told us we had less than a 5% chance of things working out well. Indeed, the next day an ultrasound showed that both babies had died, and the following day labour would be induced.

About an hour after I gave birth to my babies, a nurse came in to talk to us about ‘coping with our loss’. We were understandably upset and in a bit of shock, and I wasn’t really listening to everything she was saying, but I did hear her ask if she could call a priest, or some equivalent, for spiritual guidance. Being atheists we declined her offer, but she persisted and asked how we could possibly cope without religion in our lives. I politely assured her we would be fine, but she was not content to drop it. She sighed and told us that it would “be much harder to manage without God’s help” and she promised to pray for us.

I was already an atheist when I met this woman, but I didn’t really know why. I’d always known that nothing about religion made any sense. Surely, if God wanted us all to obey him, wouldn’t he make the rules clear to everybody? If God had given us our brains, didn’t he expect us to use them to question the world around us? Since the religious answers to those questions always seemed to be somewhat unsatisfactory, I didn’t believe in any of it, but this woman showed me why.

I’m really an atheist because religion is selling ignorant bliss – and I don’t want it. She wanted me to accept, on faith, that I needed God to make everything better. She wanted me to avoid grieving for my babies by believing that they were in heaven and that God had a plan. She wanted me to take the easy way out, so that I would feel better. As long as I ignored all the contradictions in the bible, the lack of evidence for any sort of higher being, and all the problems caused by religion meddling in this world, I could be happy all the time because eventually we’ll all be in heaven – problem solved.

If I have to trade a bit of happiness for the ability to think for myself – done. Yes, I was ignorantly blissful about pregnancy, and losing my babies took a lot of time and work to cope with. But I did it. I went through those feelings of sadness, anger and unfulfilled potential that make up grief and (eventually) I came out the other side stronger. That strength helped me to cope with the stillbirth of my daughter the next year, and then the births of my son and daughter who are now 6 and 3, and I wouldn’t change a minute of any of it.

There are a lot of terrible things in this world, and each of us has to go through some real crap, but I won’t trade any of it for instant happiness if the price is ignorance. I don’t mean to make light of anyone else’s suffering, and I don’t pretend for an instant that it’s an easy choice for everybody. I just know that it is possible to cope without believing in Santa, and it’s possible to cope without believing in God. To me, that makes religion not only implausible, but also unnecessary; atheism is the only thing that makes sense.

Cathy Oliver
Canada

66 comments

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  1. 1
    Julien Rousseau

    I’m sorry for your losses and glad to hear that you managed to have kids eventually.

  2. 2
    ManOutOfTime

    That’s a powerful and important statement. I can’t imagine the pain you went through – we lost a baby at eleven weeks and I was depressed for weeks – not twins and would not have been our first child, either. It’s a commendable and brave thing to face the ups and downs of life with integrity and without superstition. Your kids are lucky to have such an intelligent mom. I’m happy for you.

  3. 3
    José

    In 1,2,3, here they come saying you didn’t loose two babys ’cause they were not babys at all..

  4. 4
    Jeff Thompson

    Well said. Religious people don’t realize how annoying and insensitive their comments can be sometimes.

  5. 5
    redwood

    What a great statement about how to make and keep ourselves strong. “Ignorance is bliss” indeed and how would any of us like to live the rest of our lives in bliss, unaware of reality? It sounds good, just like the idea of heaven sounds good, but is it really? We can’t enjoy the ups unless we’ve had some downs to make us see how special they really are. Thank you Cathy–wonderfully written and a powerful point about the hollowness of religion and the blindfolds it places not only on our eyes but on our lives.

  6. 6
    Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis

    I am sorry to hear about your loss, it’s impressive how you did cope with that.
    You raise an important point which I’ve previously heard in relation to “psychics” like John Edwards who claim to talk to dead loved ones, but which as you show applies just as well to religion: Namely, that the stories they offer are actually harmful because they impede the process of mourning. Though I’ve read that in some cases of extreme trauma, it is actually better to not relive the event and that a certain amount of suppression of memories is helpful, but I don’t think this applies to substituting superficially comforting tales in cases of a personal loss.

  7. 7
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    A touching story. Thank you for sharing, Cathy.

  8. 8
    Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis

    So José, am I reading you correctly in that you are trying to use Cathy’s emotional attachment to her offspring as a lever to argue against women’s reproductive rights? That’s classy.

  9. 9
    DLC

    Sorry to hear of your loss. God belief wouldn’t really have helped you, but you know that.

  10. 10
    echidna

    In 1,2,3, here they come saying you didn’t loose two babys ’cause they were not babys at all..

    Well, they weren’t, not yet, but they had the potential to be. They weren’t yet capable of living outside the womb, that’s why they could not survive. We grieve over unrealised potential in many different aspects of our lives, not just offspring.

    The point of the story, though, is in the nurse automatically hijacking natural grief into some religious fantasy, where the aim of the game is controlling peoples lives as you extract money from them.

    No thanks.

  11. 11
    mirax

    In 1,2,3, here they come saying you didn’t loose two babys ’cause they were not babys at all..

    Already trolling?

    Death is one of the hardest issues to cope with – I lost a brother last year – and it is the one area so many people seem to need a religious crutch to get through. People do seem to be helped and comforted by the rituals, prayers and afterlife beliefs they hold. One relative at my brother’s wake was shocked that I did not even believe my brother had a soul let alone a belief in some kind of afterlife. He thought that I was some kind of monster. That my love for my brother was less than what it should be. That from a nutcase who believed that the Sai Fucking Baba was a living god.

  12. 12
    Zugswang

    He thought that I was some kind of monster. That my love for my brother was less than what it should be.

    It really says a lot about someone when they use their faith to insult and try and make you feel even worse than you already do.

  13. 13
    gregbruna

    Thanks Cathy. This story bring up a lot of memories and anger for me. When my two year old daughter died in 2002 someone in the hospital sent a priest in to talk to my wife and I, in my grief all I could do was glare and sneer at this “man of god” trying to console two atheists. I truly wanted to do him physical harm when he started talking about “gods plan” and I think he got the message even though I never said a word to him because he didn’t stay long. I could understand if they had sent in or scheduled a meeting with some sort of “grief counselor” but to send in a priest without asking us first made me furious at a time when I really didn’t need or could handle any additional emotions.

  14. 14
    Brian V.

    Cathy, Thank-you for sharing this story and your courage in enduring what amounts to bullying in the midst of your shock and grief. That so-called health professional acted very unprofessionally.

  15. 15
    Koshka

    Jose,

    Thank you for further proof that religious fuck wits don’t give a shit about individuals.

    I pity you.

  16. 16
    Echidna

    There’s why one is an atheist, which can be circumstancial, and then there is the process of becoming aware of why religion is harmful. This story is the latter. Thank you for a powerful piece of writing, Cathy.

  17. 17
    José

    FYI, I’m an atheist too, and I think the nurse was way way out of his way. I only tried to point that we can praise a woman’s atheist experience (as we are doing with cathy) even if she conceives his fetuses as “babies”.

    I wonder, then, why don’t you argue against her, then, for using the word “babies”?

  18. 18
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Cathy:

    Thank you. That was a moving post. And quite unsurprizing that a death cult fanatic would use a time of grief as a chance to force said death cult on someone..

    Jose:

    Thank you for showing Cathy’s essay in an even better light. Peddle your death cult elsewhere.

  19. 19
    Koshka

    Jose,

    You deny you are a religious fuckwit.

    Guess that makes you just a fuckwit.

  20. 20
    Echidna

    Part of the game of parenting is to imagine your child at varying stages of development, even before conception,, so.that can plan your actions within a context. It is perfectly proper for Cathy to be thinking of fetuses in terms of babies, as this construct helps her plan. Similarly, an student or apprentice can usefully think of themselves in terms of what they will be, even though they are not there yet, so they can plan properly.

    Cathy has the right to plan ahead as she wishes. You, Jose, have no say in Cathy’s life or planning at all.

  21. 21
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Jose, you have no point except showing us your ignorance and delusional think. We and Cathy see the world just fine. You don’t.

  22. 22
    Mr.Kosta

    Touching story, Cathy. I’m sorry for your losses, but as you well know, life goes on and it’s the only one we have. At least you’ve been able to overcome the pain, and I’m glad to read it.

    @ Jose: Go play in the highway, scum. Using the tragedy of stillbirth to push your christian “pro-life” propaganda shows what a parody of a human being you are.

  23. 23
    jondean

    Jose, I don’t care what religion you identify as – you aren’t “Only trying to point out”

    that we can praise a woman’s atheist experience (as we are doing with cathy) even if she conceives his fetuses as “babies”.

    You’re just being a jerk.

  24. 24
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    José, fuck off. I realize from your trolling that women’s bodily autonomy means jack shit to you, but the OP’s babies were wanted, and, yes, her opinion over what is happening in her own body is what makes the difference.

    Cathy: I am sorry for your loss. I hope you reported that nurse, because it is exceedingly unprofessional to foist one’s religious beliefs on a patient. Greg Bruna, #13, my sympathies for you as well, and likewise I hope you and your wife complained to the hospital — even if it was a Catholic hospital.

  25. 25
    Sam Chapman

    I have been a nurse for 21 years with most of it as a Hospice nurse and I’m appalled at this nurse’s behavior. I hope you said something to her supervisor but I certainly understand how you could let this ride during this time of grief. I’m sorry for you loss and this horrible experience. As an Atheist, I have offered a chaplain to those who expressed religious beliefs but I would never presume nor have I seen co-workers at the hospital I work at do so. At the Hospice I worked at–maybe a little.
    In the future, for any Atheist who is confronted with such a situation, ask for the patient rep if you feel your rights are being infringed upon. It is completely and utterly unethical to insist someone receive religious counseling. Please, if you have it in you, complain.

  26. 26
    Otrame

    Jose

    Taking you at face value for a moment (even though I suspect, like others, that you are a liar):

    What the hell are you talking about? Yes, they were fetuses. Yes, had she chosen, she would have been within her rights to terminate her pregnancy at that time.

    What part of CHOICE don’t you understand? Having chosen to complete her pregnancy, their potential as babies was fulfilled in her mind, even if it didn’t work out that way. To her, at that time, they were babies. They were her babies to me too, because she chose to undergo the rigors of a twin pregnancy and wanted the resultant babies.

    What kind of cold hearted bastard would say such a thing in response to that story, would not empathize with her pain? Sociopath atheist or theist would be my guess. Which are you?

  27. 27
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    Cathy, thank you for this amazing essay. I am so sorry for your losses. I am so glad that you had the inner strength and perseverance to cope with personal tragedy while enduring the unnecessary aggravation of inappropriate religious pressure. Congratulations on fulfilling your hopes for a family after these painful losses. Your son and daughter clearly have an extraordinary mother.

  28. 28
    Matt Penfold

    Otrame,

    Thank you. That was what I was wanting to say, but could not articulate as well. I had several goes, but was happy with none of them.

  29. 29
    cag

    Christians really do practise galloping assumption* or is that conspicuous assumption*.

    * That is galloping/conspicuous (wrong) assumption.

    For the non-English speakers, “Galloping Consumption” and “Conspicuous Consumption” can be googled.

  30. 30
    Dianne

    My first impulse on reading this (besides, of course, saying “I’m sorry for your loss”) is to suggest a hypercoaguable workup. Some mid term pregnancy loss can be due to hypercoaguable states and, if so, lovenox can improve the chances that the next pregnancy will end with a live baby, born at term. Emotionally, this response is probably completely awful, but it’s more likely to prevent future loss than all the belief in god in the world.

  31. 31
    kenduddle

    Interesting read. I have linked Feeds to my blog and reposted some articles. Heres my effort in this link because I can’t see where to set up a freethought blog.

    http://bloomingjournalist.blogspot.com/2011/10/who-am-i.html

  32. 32
    Steerpike

    I lost my darling daughter to a car accident when she was 10 years old. There is no pain in this world that compares to the loss of a child you love, whether as an infant, a child, or an adult.

    After she died, I had to put up with dozens of friends and relatives who said things like, “She’s in a better place now,” or “She’s with Jesus now,” or the worst, “God needed another angel, so he called her home.” I never challenged any of these well-meaning sentiments, because I know they were only trying to comfort me. I have been an atheist my entire adult life, and I was raising Erica to be one as well. The idea of her lying in the arms of Jesus, playing a harp in heaven would have been as ridiculous to her as it is to me.

    When I returned to work after a couple weeks of grieving, an atheist friend of mine was a little bit leery of approaching me about the subject, concerned that the experience might have had the effect of leading me “back” to religion, as a way of comforting myself at my loss. I explained to him that if anything, the opposite would have been true. How could anyone put their faith in any god who would “take” a beautiful, sensitive, intelligent child like my Erica, and leave monsters like GW Bush, Saddam Hussein and Jose alive?

    Hang in there Cathy. Religion may offer some false comfort in the short run when you’re feeling desolate and vulnerable, but I agree with you that in the long run, freedom from ignorance is far preferable,

  33. 33
    mikee

    Cathy,

    Thanks for sharing such a deeply personal story and sorry your loss was compounded by the insensitivity of the nurse involved.

    And I’m sorry for you Jose, if all you can take from this story is the need to quibble over when life really begins. Your lack of empathy and social ineptitude must be a real challenge in life.

  34. 34
    Loreo

    “There are a lot of terrible things in this world, and each of us has to go through some real crap, but I won’t trade any of it for instant happiness if the price is ignorance.”

    Right fucking on.

    That’s courage, right there.

  35. 35
    Mary Davidson

    Dear Ms Oliver

    I say ‘right on’ lady about being an atheist! I have had supposed friends sorrowfully say that I would be able to cope better with an abusive partner if I JUST BELIEVED! Personally, I consider that nothing but BS and a willingness to dump your problems onto some mythical shoulders. Hurrah for you for having the courage to say it loud and clear. I live in the middle of fundamentalism, so I have to be careful what I say
    Sincerely,
    Mary Davidson
    Cornelia, GA

  36. 36
    Great American Satan

    I admit I’ve only been skimming most of these articles and reading the ones that look interesting, but based on that limited knowledge,

    This is the best “Why I’m an atheist” article yet.
    You are an original bad-ass. Thank you!

  37. 37
    Arakiba

    Jose — you clearly do not understand the concept behind reproductive choice. People who are pro-choice do not automatically want to abort every potential child; and you are blinded by your intolerance of the progressive, pro-choice viewpoint if you can’t accept this. Shame on you for bringing your political agenda to intentionally add to Ms. Oliver’s pain.

  38. 38
    Peter Wagenaar

    A beautiful post, Cathy. To echo others, my sympathy on your loss and my delight that you now have two healthy children. I plan to borrow some of your words in the future, viz.

    “There are a lot of terrible things in this world, and each of us has to go through some real crap, but I won’t trade any of it for instant happiness if the price is ignorance.”

    “I’m really an atheist because religion is selling ignorant bliss – and I don’t want it.”

  39. 39
    Hazuki

    Life does not begin at conception, or the first heartbeat, or birth. Life began around 4 billion years ago and has never. Ever. Stopped. Since.
    It makes me sad that the religious can’t see and feel the complete, utter, wondrous joy of that statement. Maybe they don’t like it because it doesn’t guarantee that they themselves as individuals live on. Oh well, tough titty.

    Cathy, this is the best of the stories sent in so far IMO. I can’t even imagine the pain you two must have been in over this, and your resilience is impressive. Your points about religion “selling ignorant bliss” are also dead-on; there’s always been something very used-car-salesman-ish about the whole thing. You are a strong person to stand up against it in the face of such awful pain.

  40. 40
    Pteryxx

    I find it telling that chaplains rarely ask their clients to volunteer how they wish to be comforted.

  41. 41
    LightningRose

    Jose,

    It’s “lose”, not “loose”, you moron loser. For fuck’s sake, they aren’t even homonyms!

  42. 42
    Twist

    “I wonder, then, why don’t you argue against her, then, for using the word “babies”?”

    How about, because they were hers, that’s how she saw them, and because most people here aren’t callous fuckwits?

    I wonder if Jose is one of those people who are unable to comprehend how anybody can be both a mother and pro-choice?

    Cathy – I’m sorry for your losses, and congratulations on your family.

  43. 43
    mikecline

    Cathy,

    Thanks for sharing. It’s always weird to see total strangers sum up one’s own thoughts so perfectly.

  44. 44
    peterwhite

    I gain a little more strength as an atheist with each of these stories. The number of ways to become an atheist seems almost limitless but no matter which route was taken we all ended up in the same place.

  45. 45
    Laurence Topliffe

    For all those who are atheists, I suggest you read The Yoga Aphorisms (or Sutras) of Patanjali, Jesus Lived in India, the commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, The Upanishads and the Vedic literature.

    Hindus believe that it is very important to know the exact hour of one’s death in advance, because the thoughts one is thinking at that moment will to some degree determine the na¬ture of one’s afterlife.
    24. By making samyama on friendliness, compassion, etc., one develops the powers of these qualities.
    The reference Here is to aphorism 33 of chapter I: “friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous.” The yogi who mas¬ters this samyama has the power of giving joy to every¬one he meets, and relieving him from pain and care.
    25. By making samyama on any kind of strength, such as that of the elephant, one obtains that strength.
    26. By making samyama on the Inner Light, one ob¬tains knowledge of what is subtle, hidden, or far distant.
    The Inner Light is the light of the lotus within the heart, referred to in aphorisrn 36 of chapter I.
    27. By making samyama on the sun, one gains knowledge of the cosmic spaces.
    28. By making samyama on the moon, one gains knowledge of the arrangement of the stars.
    29. By making samyama on the polestar, one gains knowledge of the motions of the stars.
    It has already been remarked that there is a strong resemblance between the cosmology of Patanjali and the theories of modern atomic physics. Yet the ancient Hindus had, as far as we know, practically no scientific apparatus of any accuracy. This fact alone would seem to offer some proof of the validity of the psychic powers. For how else could these sages have formed such a correct and comprehensive picture of the nature of the universe? Their knowledge cannot have been based, as ours is, simply upon sense-perception assisted by instru¬ments.
    30. By making samyama on the navel, one gains knowledge of the constitution of the body.
    31. By making samyama on the hollow of the throat, one stills hunger and thirst.
    32. By making samyama on the tube within the chest, one acquires absolute motionlessness.
    The motionlessness, for example, of the snake or the lizard. This enables the yogi to meditate undis¬turbed by the involuntary rnovements of his body.
    33. By making samyama on the radiance within the back of the head, one becomes able to see the celestial beings.
    The radiance within the back of the head is not to be confused with the radiance of the seventh lotus, the highest center of spiritual consciousness, which is sit¬uated at the top of the head (see 11, 50)¬
    34. All these powers of knowledge may also come to one whose mind is spontaneously enlightened through purity.
    When the mind has reached a very high state of purification, the psychic powers may come to it spon¬taneously and unbidden, without the making of any samyama.
    35. By making samyama on the heart, one gains knowledge of the contents of the mind.
    36. The power of enjoyment arises from a failure to discriminate between the Atman and the sattwa guna, which are totally different. The sattwa guna is merely the agent of the Atman, which is independent, existing only for its own sake. By making samyama on the independence of the Atman, one gains knowledge of the Atman.
    In the ordinary state of consciousness, the highest enjoyment we can know is the joy inspired by the guna of sattwa. This seems to us, in our ignorance, to be identical with the joy of the pure Atman; but it is not. Sattwa, even in its purest state, is still a guna; and sattwic joy still contains a measure of egotism. What we have to understand is that the gunas are only agents of the Atman, and that sattwic joy is only a pale re¬flection of the joy of the Atman, which is without ego¬tism and entirely independent of the gunas. By mak¬ing this samyama and discriminating between Atman and sattwa, the yogi passes beyond earthly enjoyment into the joy of the Atman itself.
    37. Hence one gains the knowledge due to spon¬taneous enlightenment, and obtains supernatural powers of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell.
    38. They are powers in the worldly state, but they are obstacles to samadhi.
    39. When the bonds of the mind caused by karma have been loosened, the yogi can enter into the body of another by knowledge of the operation of its nerve-currents.
    “The yogi,” says Vivekananda, “can enter a dead body and make it get up and move, even while he him¬self is working in another body. Or he can enter a living body, and hold that man’s mind and organs in check, and for the time being act through the body of that man.”
    This recalls a story that is told about Shankara, the great philosopher and saint. When Shankara was still a bov in his teens, there was a philosopher named Mandan Misra who held that the life of the householder was far superior to that of the monk; an opinion which was widely shared throughout India. Shankara deter¬mined to hold a debate with Misra. knowing that if he could convert him he could also convert Misra’s many disciples. After considerable difficulties, he succeeded in making Misra agree to this. It was understood that Shankara, if he lost, should become a householder, and that Misra, if he lost, should become a monk. At Shankara’s suggestion, Misra’s wife Bharati, herself a famous scholar, acted as umpire. After a debate of several days, Misra was ready to admit total defeat. But Bharati said to Shankara: “Wait. Husband and wife are one person. You have only defeated half of us. Now you must debate with me. You may know all about philosophy, but I choose another subject. I choose sex. It is a great science. Be-fore you can claim either of us as your disciples, you will have to debate with me and defeat me on that.”
    For the moment Shankara was baffled. As a monk and a mere boy, he knew nothing whatever about sex. However, a plan occurred to him. He asked for a month’s delay; and this Bharati granted.
    At this time, it so happened that a king named Amaraka lay dying. Shankara told his disciples to hide his own body in a safe place and take great care of it. Then, by yoga power, he left his body and entered the newly dead body of the king. Amaraka apparently re¬vived, and continued to rule the kingdom under the guidance of Shankara.
    Shankara-Amaraka proved to be a brilliant and just ruler, winning the admiration of all. But Amaraka’s two wives soon realized that something extraordinary had happened. For the new Amaraka not only showed astonishingly youthful energy; he seemed as ignorant of sexual love as a baby. Meanwhile, the preoccupations of kingship and domestic life began to cloud Shankara’s mind. He began to forget what he had done, why he had done it, and who he was. He began to believe that he really was Amaraka, and not Shankara.
    Shankara’s disciples learned of this. Since monks were not admitted to the court, they disguised them¬selves as wandering musicians and so came into his presence. Then they began to sing the poem called “Moha Mudgaram,” “The Shattering of Delusion,” which Shankara himself had composed:
    Beloved, strange are the world’s ways and vast thy ignorance. Who is thy wife, and who thy son? Whose art thou? From what place come hence? Ponder this in thy heart and bow to God in reverence.

    The words recalled Shankara to awareness of his own identity. The body of King Amaraka fell dead to the ground as Shankara left it and returned to his own body.
    Later, when Shankara appeared at Misra’s house, Bharati knew at once what it was that he had done, for she also possessed yoga powers, and she admitted defeat without further debate.
    40. By controlling the nerve-currents that govern the lungs and the upper part of the body, the yogi can walk on water and swamps, or on thorns and similar objects, and he can die at will.
    41. By controlling the force which governs the prana, he can surround himself with a blaze of light.
    This is the force which regulates the various functions of the vital energy (prana). One of the brother-disciples of Sri Ramakrishna actually had this power; and it is recorded that he once used it to light the path for Ramakrishna on a dark night. However, Ramakrishna later found it necessary to take the power away from him because it was making him dangerously egotistic.
    42. By making samyama on the relation between the ear and the ether, one obtains supernatural powers of hearing.

    43. By making samyama on the relation between the body and the ether, or by acquiring through meditation the lightness of cotton fiber, the yogi can fly through the air.
    44. By making samyama on the thought-waves of the mind when it is separated from the body-the state known as the Great Disincarnation-all coverings can be removed from the light of knowledge.
    Like aphorism 39, this refers to the yoga power of Withdrawing the mind from one’s own body in order to make it pass into the body of another. In this state of withdrawal, the “Great Disincarnation,” the mental coverings composed of rajas and tamas dwindle away and the light of sattwa is revealed.
    45. By making samyama on the gross and subtle forms of the elements, on their essential char-acteristics and the inherence of the gunas in them, and on the experiences they provide for the individual, one gains mastery of the elements.
    46. Hence one gains the power of becoming as tiny as an atom and all similar powers; also perfection of the body, which is no longer subject to the obstructions of the elements.
    Not only can the yogi become as tiny as an atom but as huge as a mountain, as heavy as lead, or as light as air. And the elements cease to obstruct him. He can pass through rock. He can hold his hand in the fire, unburned. He can walk through water, unwetted. He can stand firm against a hurricane.
    47. Perfection of the body includes beauty, grace, strength and the hardness of a thunderbolt.
    48. By making samyama on the transformation that the sense-organs undergo when they contact ob-jects, on the power of illumination of the sense¬ organs, on the ego-sense, on the gunas which constitute the organs, and on the experiences they provide for the individual, one gains mastery of the organs.
    49. Hence the body gains the power of movement as rapid as that of the mind, the power of using the sense-organs outside the confines of the body, and the mastery of Prakriti.
    Aphorism 48 describes a progressive samyama on all the separate phases of an act of cognition.
    The power of using the sense-organs outside the confines of the body, mentioned in aphorism 49, en¬ables one to exercise clairvoyance and clairaudience. Mastery of Prakriti, the primal cause, gives the yogi control of all the effects evolved from Prakriti-in other words, control of Nature.
    —————————————————–

    Where Science and Spirituality Meet—consciousness
    (from Light of Consciousness, Autumn 2009)

    Thousands of years before Einstein, Vedic sages revealed that there are six dimensions: three of space, three of time. The fourth dimension is of time only. In the fourth dimension you do not sleep or get hungry or thirsty or tired. You do not have attachments or obsessions. It is similar to deep sleep or dreaming when you are unaware or unconcerned about your home, your family, your job, money, friends or enemies. The fourth dimension opens our consciousness to clairvoyance and clairaudience. Your third eye opens and you can see light-years away. You can disappear here and instantly reappear in another galaxy.
    The fifth dimension is beyond description; no language exists there. It is a state between dreams and deep sleep. Your consciousness remains in a seed form. The sixth dimension is where your ego exists without a physical or astral world. This is a beautiful point: normally when we talk about ego, we are talking about third-dimensional ego. But where it really exists is in the sixth dimension; there you come face to face with your actual ego.
    If you don’t want to trouble yourself with dimensions, then simply go to the cause of your being, the cause of your existence. What is the cause of your existence? It is ego. Any limited existence is the creation of the unit called “I.” If you transcend this I-ness, you go beyond the conceivable, beyond dimensions, to Enlightenment. When you come to Enlightenment, actually you come to space. This may surprise you: space is nothing else but light. Space throughout¬ limitless space-is all light. All these stars that you see shining in the night seem to be the brightest points in space, but that is fallacious.
    You see the light from the sun and moon and stars rather than in space because you are living in a three¬ dimensional world. When your consciousness opens to the fourth dimension you will see that space is more dazzling than the stars. Take an example on Earth. Let’s say each one of us is a star and in between there is space. Between each of us there is light but we do not see it. In full Enlightenment you will see the light within each of us, and outside us. When you realize the Light within you, the Kingdom of God within you, it does not end in your six-foot body. It is everywhere.
    The potential to reach higher dimensions is within you. You get glimpses through dreams and other experiences, because that potential wants to open. You shut it off for reasons of practicality: your job, family, home, ashram, money, food, credit cards, insurance, bank balance. These are real to you in the third dimension, but that is not the end of creation. Therefore Jesus said: “There are many mansions in my Father’s house.”
    In the meantime you are beset with many identifications, and that is the work of ego. Even if you travel into outer space it is ego-identification, only it is rarified. Therefore Enlightenment remains far away. Enlightenment is virgin space, where there is no identification. It is beyond stars and galaxies, beyond form or creation. If you go by scientific calculations, that virgin space is billions and billions of light-years away, what we call the unknown, the unmanifested, avyakta in Sanskrit. Now compare that with how we are struggling to give up ego in these three dimensions. This physical dimension is one percent of creation and another ninety-nine percent is needed to give up ego. Just imagine even touching ego where it really is, in the sixth dimension.
    If you want to have fun-”Let me see what is out there”- it will require billions of light-years just to see another galaxy. And there again you are beset with ego, which means you have not known the truth. Whatever equations and formulas Einstein and other scientists have given, you will never know the secret of creation until you lose your ego, until the subjective¬-objective relationship is transcended. When you are observing space or whatever phenomena, you are thinking or believing you are separate. This is a fallacy; you are trying as one phenomenon to observe all other phenomena. You will never know the secret of creation by that method.
    The day you become aware that this whole creation is not outside you or separate, you will touch upon the unified field. One corner of the whole can only know the whole when you merge into the whole. When you merge into that unity of which you are a part, you are giving up ego. But you are trying to know the totality while maintaining ego. We say, simply merge and find your unity. This is not spirituality versus science. On the contrary, at that point spirituality and science merge. Science will one day come to this realization: that we cannot know the truth objectively. Whatever we observe, we are creating. There will never be a time, without exception, when we will know the secrets of the universe while maintaining a separate identity.
    Shouldn’t we struggle to find out? If you want to experience, fine. But if you are truly intent upon
    knowing the secrets of the universe, how this creation all started, then there is only one answer: realize the unity of which you are a part. That means we are talking about egolessness. Creation is a never-ending phenomenon. Even if we travel billions of light-years to the end of the universe, the same question will arise: What lies beyond? It is limitless Light everywhere-you can hardly conceive it. The very conceptions you are making are the barriers between you and your truth. To break those barriers, you have to give up conceptions. Then you and your truth will be one, indescribable, beyond time and space. There is no language there. You cannot know the truth. You become the truth that you already are.
    To know, you have to be. At some point even scientists will say, “We tried everything. We reached where we could. It gave us many experiences, but the secret of creation is still elusive.” It will always remain elusive as far as ego can perceive. You do not have to worry about where or when the universe started. Where it starts is space; when it starts is time. The totality cannot be calculated within time and space.
    Time and space are conceptual; therefore truth cannot be known within time and space. When you are one with the truth, your very questions will not arise. The solution is not in answering your questions, but where questions do not arise.
    When time and space conceptions are lost, no dimension exists. It is all-pervading Light, infinite and eternal. If we build telescopes of immense measurements-let’s imagine one that is a thousand light-years in diameter–we will see fantastic, unimaginable things, but even then it will never end. Our resources will end but we will not discover the source of creation. If you really are bent upon knowing the truth of the universe, you need not go anywhere. Just drop your ego. Know thyself, you will know everything.
    To know the truth, you have to go deep within to samadhi. There you transcend your ego; you transcend dimensions and come to pure space, pervading Light. That is Consciousness; that Light is indescribable. In this third dimension it looks like darkness because your limited consciousness cannot behold it. An example of this is when you sleep: your room is dark and your eyes are closed. With what light are you seeing your dreams? Even if you say it is a hallucination or imagination, you are seeing something. That is called astral light. Just try to imagine what would be that Light beyond illusion, beyond dreams.
    All these millions of suns are pale before that Light of Consciousness. Therefore we preach detachment, because unless you get detached from this dimension you cannot see that Light. And you do not need an apparatus to see that Light. If you know the secret of Light you can reach billions of light-years away in an instant. Just imagine it and be there. Even at the speed of light, it takes four and a half years to reach the nearest star. How are you going to make it to the end of the universe? In your lifetime, what can you do?
    Unless you travel beyond the speed of light, you cannot possibly find out all that you want to know. Now here is another aspect: if you could really travel at the speed of light, your body would disintegrate. You become energy. As you become energy, where is your body identification? Now we are talking about detachment! Enlightened ones have been telling us to be detached from body identification. Science is saying the same thing. They are not telling you to be detached; they are saying that we will achieve the speed of light where matter will be energy.
    You can never know the secret of creation unless you travel instantly. Any speed will limit you. But if Light is there, billions of light-years away, and that same Light is also here, why go there? Since centuries we have been thinking that space is there and Earth is here. But now we know that we are already in space–where else could we be? This fallacy occurs because we are identified here. As soon as we are not identified here, we will see it is here too. If you were living light-years away on some other planet, you would like to reach this Earth. When we are here, that unknown is desirable. This is what we call, in polite language, ignorance, because that which you want to know is with you already. Why don’t you search there first? That Light is everywhere. If you cannot know it here, you will not know it there either.
    If our purpose is to know the secret of creation, whether the Big Bang happened or not, then there is another way. You can know that here and now. We are made of that same Light. You cannot know that Light objectively. You have to merge into it. And the most amazing part is that when you know everything, you will see that nothing has ever happened. There is no speed. There is no traveling. Just as in the fourth dimension the other three dimensions are absorbed, in the fifth dimension four dimensions are absorbed, in the sixth dimension five dimensions are absorbed, and in transcendence, no dimensions exist. And where no dimensions exist, no creation exists. Therefore nothing has ever happened. In this third dimension, if I say nothing has ever been created, you will think I am foolish; there is no way I could prove it. Realized Souls and Prophets are often considered crazy because they are talking beyond dimensions. Things are practical to you on three dimensions, and they are talking from beyond dimensions, where those are not practical. When you reach that higher stage, you will understand.
    This Earth is moving at tremendous speed around itself and around the sun. We forget that we are actually sitting on a spaceship, only this spaceship is big, therefore we think it is static. “My home is number sixty-seven on Third Street. My office is there.” We get identified. But if you could see through the window of this spaceship, I assure you that you would never get attached. Do you get attached to an airplane when you fly? You don’t, because you are seeing out its window. Earth is moving around itself and around the sun, and the whole solar system is moving around itself and around something else. Whole galaxies are moving, spirals within spirals. Any conception is a barrier between you and your truth. If you want to know the truth, go beyond ego and conception.
    You cannot see God or the Light with these eyes. Vedic sages have called it anir vachaniya-indescribable. But then, paradoxically, God or the Light is so knowable if you just go within. When the Prophets and sages preached detachment, they did very well. But you disbelieved, so God sent science to make you believe. In universities, schools and colleges, students are studying the secrets of the universe. Though they are learning academically, it is the same thing. Physicists and astronomers are trying to know the secrets of the universe. An astronaut goes into space without belongings and attachments, whether his wife or children weep or not. If someone tells him, “Sir, your country has changed, generations have passed, five hundred centuries have gone by,” he will say, “Is that so?” You cannot go there without renouncing this world, which is what the sages have been saying. I am not telling you to renounce; I am simply saying to give up untrue identifications.
    Ego is a barrier between you and your truth. Conceptions are fictitious curtains. You do not need speed to know the truth, even light speed. You get into energy and Consciousness. It is easy to know the creation once you are egoless-very easy. You will not have to tax your brain. Surrender your ego unto your Self, unto your God, and you will know the whole truth, here and now, wherever you are. There is no greater science than this. Some centuries back, people were executed for saying that the Earth rotates around the sun. The Earth was believed to be the center of the universe. Sages call this egoistic. Every person thinks, “I am important.” It is the same phenomenon. There is no center of the universe. Five hundred years from now humanity will see the truth of it. Once you have made a center you are making a circumference, and you are creating a limit to the universe, which is absurd. Where is the center? You and I are centers. Wherever you are is a center. Between you and me it is all-pervading Consciousness and Light. Where is the center of that Light?
    When we say that man is the highest species created by God Almighty, humble sages say that is ego speaking. You do not know the universe, whether there are other beings or creations. Why are you assuming we are the highest creation? And if we are God’s highest creation, why are we miserable, diseased, lamenting, complaining and mortal? If we are made in God’s image, then He is also miserable. With all of our poverty, diseases, wars, battles, failures, disappointments, depressions, nervous breakdowns, wanting and not having-all of this cannot be the best creation. Where is that eternal bliss and peace? Where is that immortality we talk about? That must be the center. The truth is, there is no center because there is no limit. Infinity and eternity have no center; it is everywhere ¬pervading Consciousness.
    Any conception has to have ego existent. And if ego is existent, you cannot know the truth. God is within you. Your Allah, your Christ, your Buddha, your Krishna is within you. If you know yourself, you know everything. But you cannot know yourself while retaining the ego. Ego is actually the basis for whatever miseries we experience. Sages have very clearly said, “Ego is the cause of all problems.” Trying to solve problems without giving up ego is an exercise in futility. Just know yourself and you will know everything. You do not need telescopes for that. Your third eye will open and that is your telescope. God has given us this instrument with which we can see through the universe and beyond-instantly. You can see, feel, hear, touch and smell through the third eye. I am not against science; I am simply saying that the same things can be known more easily and quickly by knowing yourself. Jesus said: “The Kingdom of God is within you.” Socrates said, “Know thyself.” In the Upanishads the sages revealed: “Brahman’ is within you.”
    In the ultimate analysis, truth is beyond your ideas, conceptions and words. It is indescribable. You are that already. You have to realize what you are, not what you will be. What you will be cannot be realized. That is changing. It is tied up with time conception. Truth cannot be known within conceptualization, whether it is scientific conceptualization or religious conceptualization. Whether it is scientific dogma or religious dogma, both are barriers. Science can be as dogmatic as religion. A scientist can be as dogmatic as a priest. To know the truth, you have to go beyond all these conceptions.
    It is easy, but if you are going elsewhere to know, you are delaying. If you say, “Let me think about it, experience it, then I’ll meditate,” you are putting it off, as you have put it off for so many decades or births. That which is always with you, there is nothing else to do except realize. To realize is to give up ego, whether it is a Jewish ego or Hindu ego or Christian ego or Muslim ego; whether it is an American ego, Indian ego, African ego or European ego; whether it is a male ego or female ego; whether it is a white ego, black ego, or any color ego. Whether it is a scientific ego, a religious ego or a Swami ego, you have to go beyond what you are to get into Consciousness, into Light. It is you who have to realize that God is there. He has never left you.
    What is the real address of God? Go on asking all over the galaxies. Then when you get very fatigued and go somewhere to rest and relax, you will find peace. Somebody tells you, “Unless you become a Hindu or a Christian or a Buddhist you cannot realize God.” Okay, then you change your religion. Go on changing your religion, God is never there. You have to forget even where you are, what you are– any identification, whether it is religious, scientific, national, political or economic. This is where you go beyond “isms” and dogmas, when you are not bound by any habitual conception.
    Light shines everywhere, within and around you. Whether you are a sinner or a virtuous person; forget these conceptions. What you have done is done. You have to realize what you are. Go into that transcendence, you will see that it absorbs everything. It is all Light. Nothing has ever happened. An atom shines here, here, here in such a consecutive manner that it forms a succession that you call speed. It is not really so. Speed is an illusion. An example of this is a motion picture. People and images seem to be moving but it is an illusion. The entire universe is the same. From atom to atom it happens in such an accelerated way that to your gaze it looks like motion, but it is not. A time will come when scientists will tell you that nothing is traveling.
    When we preach about detachment and disinterestedness, non-possessiveness, non-greediness, it is only to release your consciousness from the bondage and clinging with which you are identified. When you release your consciousness, you are Liberated. And then if you want to go there and know, instantly you can vanish here and reappear there. The very next moment you could be billions of light-years away. You transcend speed and motion. Nothing else will give you satisfaction and bliss. We have tried everything. Any station in life, any possessions or relationships-do they satisfy us fully? Whether through science or spirituality, you can never be satisfied with untrue identifications. The simplest truth is: Know thyself. Just go within and know who you are: your spirit, God, is within you.

    In Vedic wisdom, Brahman is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, Supreme Reality.

    *2009 by Truth Consciousness. Teaching from the basis of eternal Truth, the message of Swami Amar Jyoti’s Satsangs (Sanskrit: communion with Truth) is one of deep spiritual unity. His way is not to espouse a particular creed but to impart a spiritual way of life. During four decades (1961-2001) He awakened and uplifted countless souls around the world to God Consciousness, disseminating the timeless Truth underlying all traditions and faiths. Swami Amar Jyoti has authored several books and over seven hundred recorded wisdom teachings illuminating the classical path for modern times are available. This Satsang is edited from Beyond Time and Space (0-17). A catalog of Satsangs and Retreats by Swami Amar Jyoti on CD and audiocassette is available at truthconsciousness.org. Or call 520-743-8821 for a free copy by mail. Please see page 70 of this issue for further information. Photo 0n Page 2: Swami Amar Jyoti at Desert Ashram, Tucson AZ, 1984.

    Autumn 2009 Light of Consciousness
    ———————————————————-
    Quote by Guru Dev -
    “To get a human body is a rare thing – make full use of it. There are four million kinds of lives which a soul can gather. After that, one gets a chance to be human, to get a human body. Therefore, one should not waste this chance. Every second in human life is very valuable. If you don’t value this, then you will have nothing in hand and you will weep in the end.

    Because you are human, God has given you power to think and decide what is good and bad. Therefore, you can do the best possible kind of action.

    You should never consider yourself weak or a fallen creature. Whatever may have happened up to now may be because you didn’t know, but now be careful ………
    After getting human body, if you don’t reach God, then you have sold a diamond at the price of spinach.”

    - GURU DEV -

    Quote by Buddha -

    “Rare it is in the universe to be born into a human lifetime; rarer still is it to hear of the dharma; rarer still is it to accept the teachings; rarer still is it to act on the teachings; and even rarer still is it to realize the truth of the teachings.” “To even hear of enlightenment is already the rarest of gifts. Anyone who has ever heard of enlightenment will never be satisfied with anything else.” David Hawkins M.D., Ph.D. in ‘The Eye of the I’

  46. 46
    Amblebury

    Laurence,seek help – from a therapist with lots of time.

  47. 47
    Hillary Rettig

    Cathy – I was moved by your grace and courage; thank you for sharing.

    Your story also reminded me about how, on 9/11, my then-husband and I were in the car when the first tower fell. We returned home and then stopped by our elderly neighbor’s house to see if she was okay. We were in her living room watching tv when the second tower dropped. I gasped aloud in horror, at which point she turned to me and said something like, “That’s why you need religion – to cope with things like this.”

    I don’t think she was a bad person, and she was probably horror struck and acting out of reflex, too – but it was an obnoxious time to put someone down for not sharing your religion.

    Not nearly as bad a story as your nurse, but similar in theme.

  48. 48
    truthspeaker

    Mary Davidson says:
    29 October 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Dear Ms Oliver

    I say ‘right on’ lady about being an atheist! I have had supposed friends sorrowfully say that I would be able to cope better with an abusive partner if I JUST BELIEVED! Personally, I consider that nothing but BS

    Dangerous BS. Abusive partners should not be coped with, they should no longer be partners. And they should be incarcerated when they commit assaults or other illegal acts.

  49. 49
    one

    i am amazed at all of the comments. It is interesting to hear an atheists view on all of this as I lay in my bed now after having lost my 4th baby. I know God but it’s interesting how I don’t feel like all of u describe these “religious” people. I was brought up by an atheist & my mother didn’t want me being Christian. I dont feel like I’m any less grievous of my babies but I do feel like there is a reason & I trust God through the pain. May e it’s because of my beliefs & faith that I have seen God do miracles from the loss of my babies. I am happy that you stand for what you believe in (even if it’s not what I believe). But I believe what I do for reasons unknown to you. That doesn’t make me stupid just because I believe different. Everyone thinks Christians are so close minded & not respectful of others but that’s not all if us & I know it’s the same from atheists but all I’ve heard my whole life was how stupid it is to believe in God. I was kicked out of my home because I became a Christian. I have seen God work in ways that I can only describe & I’ve truly seen miracles happen. I can’t deny Him because I’ve seen something more. I’m not stupid, & neither are you. We just believe different things. And I believe my babies were in Gods care before they were ever conceived. I’m not living in bliss because I still lost my babies. I still grieve. Believing in God is not some instant gratification & as a matter if fact my life has been very difficult through the years but I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing in my life.

  50. 50
    'Tis Himself

    Laurence Topliffe,

    Godbotting is not appreciated here.

  51. 51
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Laurence Topliffe says:
    30 October 2011 at 12:55 am
    For all those who are atheists, I suggest you read The Yoga Aphorisms (or Sutras) of Patanjali, Jesus Lived in India, the commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, The Upanishads and the Vedic literature.

    No thanks I’ll stick to reality.

    I get plenty of wishful thinking watching sports with my friends.

  52. 52
    Carlie

    one, I’m very sorry for your losses and the way you were treated. Keep in mind, though, that a lot of us used to be very ardent Christians ourselves. The reason we no longer believe is not that we just don’t understand what you’re talking about. It sounds like you’re in a state right now where you need to take care of yourself and let those around you take care of you, not get into arguments on the internet.

    Cathy, that was a very moving story.

  53. 53
    'Tis Himself

    one #49

    I dont feel like I’m any less grievous of my babies but I do feel like there is a reason & I trust God through the pain.

    You apparently need god to get you through your grief. People usually need some sort of help in dealing with grief and in your case you use god. Other people in similar situations, like Cathy and gregbruna, don’t need god.

  54. 54
    'Tis Himself

    Thank you for your story, Cathy.

  55. 55
    Hazuki

    @49

    One, I’m terribly sorry for your loss. Four babies? Four? That’s horrible. See an ob-gyn specialist who will take you seriously; there may be some organ-level problem or inborn error of metabolism at play here.

    But, unfortunately, Yahweh is not the God in question here. I know the religion has been a great comfort to you, but in my experience this is so to the people who don’t know the history and problems with it. You are stronger than you know, and you got this far on your own, even if you chased an illusion to do it.

  56. 56
    sumdum

    I think religion doesn’t help one cope with death, it’s the denial of death, denying that anything truly ends by imagining the living go somewhere when they stop living.
    And Laurence, you have to realize, we’re atheists, not a-Jahweh-ists.

  57. 57
    Finisterre

    Cathy

    I also lost twins (at 17 weeks), last year. Luckily for me, I am English and there was no question of religious comfort being imposed (although I think it was offered). I am sorry you had to run the gauntlet of religious intrusion at what I know must have been an incredibly difficult time.

    I am also atheist, and pro-choice, but of course I think of the foetuses I lost as my babies! It doesn’t matter to me what others call them or how they think I should refer to them. They are my firstborn, lost little ones and that’s all that counts.

    Steerpike, I am so very sorry for the loss of your daughter.

    One, sorry to hear about your latest trauma and I really hope you have a healthy baby one day.

  58. 58
    crowepps

    This was put up at Alternet yesterday and has quite a few comments there.

    http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/687285/why_i_am_an_atheist/#paragraph3

  59. 59
    Phere

    My heart is breaking for those of you who have last your babies, be they still in the womb or ten years old – I can’t imagine surviving that, I have no idea how you manage to smile or feel joy or love – but you do, and that gives me more hope than any silly supernatural belief ever could. We are so fragile yet unbelievably resilient all in one soft lumpy package. It’s not much, and I don’t subscribe to many rituals, but sometimes symbolism can be comforting – I have lit a candle for all those lost little ones – it doesn’t mean anything more than “I acknowledge your pain and won’t forget what you have gone through.”

    When I was 20, I ended up pregnant. The dude was a jerk and I was in no way ready to raise a child. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. That decision was ripped out of my hands when at 10 weeks I had a miscarriage. I was horrified, yet amazed at the development that had taken place just in 10 small weeks – hints of fingers and toes – to this day I wonder who she would have been (have always thought of her as a she), and will sometimes think to myself “she would have been 19 now”…I would have most likely had an abortion, but it would have NOT been an easy decision like these pro-life cocksuckers would have you think. Rather, it was my very understanding of just how precious and rare life is that made it a difficult decision to contemplate.
    That loss all those many years ago still affects me, I truly can’t even begin to understand how to survive what you guys have

    I have a baby now..18 month old boy…and if anything ever happened to him, and he was taken from my life, the person who mentioned that this was “god’s plan” would likely end up needing medical attention. How fucking DARE they.

  60. 60
    Jess

    A close friend lost her first pregnancy at around 10 weeks, and her second at around 12 weeks not long afterwards. She and her husband are devout Christians, and even she said that the last thing she wanted to hear about was ‘God’s Plan’. (Or, for that matter, the religious-lite ‘Everything Happens For A Reason’, or the part-biological, part-teleological ‘It Was Probably Defective Anyway’.)

  61. 61
    Koshka

    Phere,

    I know you mean well, but when people tell me they are lighting a candle for my dead child (or something similar) I believe they are actually lighting the candle for themselves.

    Also you say you wont forget – but you probably will. I never will, but I hope you do.

    To me “I acknowledge your pain” is all that is needed.

  62. 62
    Koshka

    I told a grief counselor that if I was not an atheist before my child died, then I would be now.

    Her response was that most religous people, instead of getting comfort from their religion, actually feel that God is punishing them. She also said that atheists tend to handle loosing a child better than religous people.

  63. 63
    Phere

    Koshka,
    As a mother, I know that tragedy can strike at any second. I am acutely aware of that, even when I feel myself getting frustrated, or wish I had more time to myself, or a full night’s sleep…I remind myself that there are parents out there who would give anything just to have their babies wake them up at night, or smear peanut butter on the tv, etc. – motherhood is not something I take for granted. Reading your stories today hurt my heart. They will stay with me for a long time. Someday, yes, they will get covered with more memories – but there will always be parents out there having to face the cruelest thing that can happen in life – losing a little one. So, I was filled with emotion, for you- for the people in my personal life who have experienced this, for those who will – my act was sincere – I guess I should have kept it private as I can see how it can some off as insincere and almost cliche. I am embarrassed and I apologize to you.

  64. 64
    treefrog

    Cathy & others, thank you for sharing.

    This is my worst nightmare. When my son was 5, he took off before I could stop him and ran across a busy street. Although he survived being hit by a car, I replay it in slow motion in my head in painful detail that I’ll keep to myself. It’s been 15 years, and I can barely talk about it even though my son is now 20 and doing well. I cherish every moment with him, and stories like yours remind me how lucky I am. I think of myself as a strong person, but I can’t imagine surviving the loss of a child.

    And worse to be subject to such insensitivity over your beliefs. “Used car salesman” was an apt description. It’s trying to take advantage of a weak moment to sell you something. Despicable.

  65. 65
    Koshka

    Phere,

    I believe you are sincere.

    Other people may appreciate you lighting candles and I am not asking you not to do it, I am just pointing out that, to me, it does not improve on “I acknowledge your pain”.

    I appreciate you listening to me.

  66. 66
    Cass

    I too am sorry for your loss. My first son nearly died at birth. What a horrible feeling! I had 3 boys and ended up losing them anyway. They all have autism and one day I had a complete nervous breakdown because of the stress and had to place them outside the home. I cannot visit because the state wants an exorbitant amount of child support so its hard to try to hire an attorney to request visitation. They also want to adopt them out, if possible. I was once a devout christian, but they judged me harshly after my kids were gone. They also don’t believe in psychology, which I use to treat my post traumatic stress disorder. I no longer think christianity is logical or helpful. However, my dilemma is that while in church, I experienced supernatural things, like an invisible force that pushed me to the ground. Also, when I was 18 I dabbled with a ouija board and saw objects fly. I’m not crazy. So now I’m confused and don’t know what to believe:(

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