Suicidal Thoughts, Generally Low Self-Esteem and Atheism

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  • RationalMadman
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    I won't go into myself too much here but I'll confess to having experienced genuine depression in my life and during that time, I was the closest to atheist I had been. I was always agnostic overall but what changed was when the nihilism and pure lack of meaning and purpose hit me, infected my brain so much that I wondered why I was alive and didn't want to get out of bed each day and was sad I woke up.

    I am serious when I say that this thread is not meant to be about me. I want to truly understand how a round-earth believing atheist can possibly fathom themselves to be anything other than a worthless being on a spinning ball in the middle of nowhere hurtling through infinite nothingness for absolutely no true purpose and that everything good or worthwhile in their life was a ridiculously futile chemical reaction in their brain just deluding them to stupidly think there was any reason to feel fulfilled for it.

    This is not made to mock; it's something I, as a Pagan/Taoist thinker find the biggest drive away from even indulging in the notion that there is/are no real deity/ies or spiritual realm in life that give my morally good actions meaning and anything I ever did a permanent, pure and irrefutable purpose as at the very least I impressed the god(dess)/(e)s watching.



  • SirAnonymous
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    --> @RationalMadman
    Been reading Nietzche?
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @SirAnonymous
    No, I heavily dislike Nihilism.
  • SirAnonymous
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    --> @RationalMadman
    I'm not a fan of nihilism either, but Nietzche did have point. Nihilism is the logical result of naturalistic atheism.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @SirAnonymous
    I am asking atheists who aren't Nihilistic to explain.
  • zedvictor4
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    @RationalMadman

    Atheism, nihilism  and theism are all abstract concepts,  which we utilise either more or less relative to our own conditioning and data processing tendencies.

    In reality we are neither atheist of nihilist we are just human beings whose primary focuses are survival and sex. Everything else is is as relevant or irrelevant as we individually make it.

    For me, atheism and theism are similar considerations that do not impinge upon my existence at all.  They are no more than interesting concepts to discuss for an hour or so in the morning, and then forgotten.

    I have a life full of other more demanding considerations and interests, which will continue to make my short existence on this planet purposeful.

     
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @zedvictor4
    You essentially either adhere to Hedonism or Stoicism then. Which version of the shallow-fulfillment seeker are you?

    This is not about insulting, I want to prove to you that you do consider philosophy in what you do, it's just short-circuited.
  • zedvictor4
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    @RationalMadman

    Neither hedonism nor stoicism.

    Just a bloke that gets up in the morning and goes to bed in the evening....Contentment is my goal.

    And philosophy is as simple or as academic, in as far you care to take it..... The same with any  thought application.....I enjoy listening to music occasionally, but I do not strive to be an orchestral musician, and neither do I flog my self with disappointment at not achieving such.

    Worrying philosophical overthink does not achieve contentment.


  • Mopac
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    --> @RationalMadman
    All atheists have gods, they are simply in denial of them. Even the hedonist has made some type of pleasure their god.

    Believe it or not, self esteem is not something that is valued in orthodoxy. Better to think of oneself as the dirt that people walk on rather than something great. Self esteem is only valued when pride is a virtue. Pride is not considered a virtue in Christianity, it is considered a vice.

    If you consider yourself a taoist, this book will change your life.


    If you like it, buy it from St Herman's press and support the monastery.

  • Sum1hugme
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    --> @RationalMadman
    As an absurdist, i accept that we exist in a chaotic, purposeless, universe. As an existentialist however, I believe that we exist before we have a purpose, rather than the other way around. So the meaning in my life isn't written divinely in the stars, my path is my own to forge. It's an exciting idea to me.
  • Mopac
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    --> @Sum1hugme
    Absurdism is a direct result of nihilism.

    There is no absolute truth. No ultimate reality. Therefore, I make my own reality.

    This path will only lead to delusion.
  • Sum1hugme
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    --> @Mopac
    Not what I said was it lol? The truth is what the facts are and facts exist independently of our ability to observe them. I never claimed to make my own reality only that I can carve my own path In the reality within I exist
  • secularmerlin
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    Its pretty simple really. I don't need the permission of any god or human to find meaning in my life and my family connections. Maybe some god(s) exist and maybe they don't but if any does they don't seem overly concerned with my belief in them and my life is just as fulfilling now as it was when I was a theist.
  • Mopac
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    --> @Sum1hugme
    "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps."


  • AddledBrain
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    --> @RationalMadman

      We shouldn't make a big thing out of meaning and accomplishments.  In the Grand Scheme of things, with respect to the Universe, indeed simply outside of our Solar System, even our puny Earth, and everybody on it, have little meaning, little importance.

      Meaning and involvement is local.  It's importance to our friends and those who love us .. indeed, to other humans who may or may not know us but are fellow humans none the less.  Purpose is not a grand thing and it doesn't really have to be to be important .. to our friends and our community, to us .. to others who know us and appreciate us.  If we pitch in and involve ourselves in simply our own personal or provincial way.  That's where meaning and purpose reside.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @AddledBrain
    I don't want to argue against that as the mentality and logic you're providing are a good coping mechanism for a depressed and/or socially-anxious person to harness.

    Nonetheless, I think if our brain isn't in a fragile state (not an insult, an observation) and we can afford to risk some unhappiness, when we really search for the 'true meaning' we can only have one if there's a god.
  • Sum1hugme
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    Lol alright
  • BearMan
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    I have had suicidal thoughts without any of these. Hmmm...
  • Intelligence_06
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    I am not suicidal with both of these, weird.
  • Juice
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    Perhaps this is because atheists are more practical and are not blinded by the false hope of a next life in eternal bliss. Being depressed because you are sane and in touch with reality is better than being happy while misled, deluded and clouded from the truth. As to how I am a happy atheist, despite knowing that I am just a small particle in an infinite space with no meaning, I am happy with truth, even though it may not be favourable. 

    It is like the book 1984 by George Orwell. Would you rather be a happy mindless drone who is blinded from truth, or Winston (protagonist), who understands himself and the errors of his society? Though Winston bears the burden of truth, he is enlightened by it.

    I am happy that my happiness does not come from a book written out by peasants centuries ago. I am happy because my happiness does not rely on eternal bliss. I am happy that I do not fear eternal burning. I am happy that I am not morally commanded by a superior being. I am happy that I have the freedom of thought.

    I am happy that I am an atheist.
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @RationalMadman
    I get what you're saying but there's a different question to be asked here. But first let me say this, I don't think atheism or an Atheist are doomed to be depressed or even that their worldview must cause a worthless sense of self existence. A poster brought up a good point in this thread, people can find happiness, self worth and piece of mind finding their own purpose in this physical plane without the need for transcendental beliefs or aspirations. They can find that in family units, passions, hobbies, careers, romance ect ect...the term "purpose" in this sense is simply subjective. 
    You're targeting more or less personality types I believe, and this happens to be an independent issue of personal beliefs or worldviews meaning atheists, agnostics or even theists can posses the attributes you express in the OP. It's not just an issue specific to atheists. An atheistic worldview can cause depression as in your case of course, but it reflects more on personality type not necessarily the belief in and of itself, more of the person reflecting on those beliefs. It might not bother an atheist at all that there is no true transcendent purpose to life or themselves and they may not even dwell on that period. Their "purpose" would be what they make of it rather than something that must be fulfilled.

    The question then becomes.... is the physical experience all that exists? does a soul really exist independent of the physical body? the question in my mind anyways is very significant because the evidence for spiritual/transcendent experience is remarkably abundant. As well the evidence that a soul survives a physical death is almost unanimous looking at the evidence that corresponds with that nature. At minimum, one should be considering the question and looking very intently at it.

    If it's true that there indeed exists a transcendent reality then what we have is at least two distinct experiences. And because of this a person can partake in two distinct experiences, and even only one of the two experiences. So a person can find contentment (depending on who they are) in only one of those experiences. The discontentment then should only arise as a person begins to question the immediate reality that they experience and its limits, and what would be the ramifications/implications of a Creator and a parallel universe, is there good reason/evidence to consider that it could be true?

    Now coming from a Theist, a person is created with a soul and then placed within a physical form/body. And since the soul exists independent of the physical body the souls origins exist with the Creator. So partaking in only the experience of the physical world the soul is doing an extreme injustice to itself not knowing the full scope of what exists and the implications thereof. Partaking of the physical experience alone is very limiting to ones conditioning and growth and so there is a level of concern.
    So while a person can, and is free to find purpose in only the experience of the physical world they miss out on the better quality of their true self and purpose. At least in this life anyways, because even though they limited themselves and their purpose to the physical world they will leave the physical body at some point anyways. At that moment they will see for themselves that the soul truly does exist independent of the physical body, the question becomes then....what are the ramifications of indulging in only the physical world and its pleasures? and in that moment it will be too late to reflect on that.

    So really it's just a matter of individual growth and experience not the mental state of the individual. In my eyes, there is some good things that can come of growing weary of the physical experience and questioning ones self worth or purpose. Because if one is truly a truth seeker they should be considering what I wrote above and taking it seriously. The soul will always ponder and be curious about its limited physical observations because in reality the true nature and origins of the soul are hidden with the Creator. And because of that the soul will never find full contentment with anything within the physical plane, at some point it will need more and want more (maybe even cause depression). The physical experience is very restrictive and only serves to satisfy the carnal nature of man, but it only panders to one limited level not the full scope of mans potential.
    IMO a soul who finds contentment in only the physical experience is a soul who is also immature and that's not meant to insult anyone, it's just that once the soul wakes up from the illusion that this world is all its made up of it will begin to reach for more out of life. Until that moment however there's not much that a soul can do in terms of having greater observations. The soul must learn for itself the limitations and disappointments of the carnal world, then it will have the urge to seek out more.

  • Stephen
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    --> @Juice
    Perhaps this is because atheists are more practical and are not blinded by the false hope of a next life in eternal bliss.

    And are content with the fact that to be dead actually does mean dead and have resigned themselves to the fact that they will never be coming back. And they  accept it  because they -as you say- have not been blinded OR duped  by people  that believe in such nonsense as coming alive again after being physically dead for three days or more .

     I have found that the more these religious types of people can convince others that the dead do rise from their graves, the stronger their own belief becomes.

    I think it is cruel,  not to mention  sadistic to tell an orphaned child for example that they will one day  see their parents again if only they believed in the  murderous psychopathic god  that took them away in the first place and   the same  god that can walk on water but only cure one or two  lepers and cured a blind man  when he could have simply eradicated ALL  leprosy and eradicated ALL  blindness from the world for ever?

    I suppose the realisation of the falsity of it all and waking up to the fact that one has been duped could cause anyone to feel suicidal. but you will get no pangs of conscience or empathy from the theist.  No. instead he or she that does commit suicide will be condemned to the everlasting flames by the very people that caused their misery in the first place. .

     I have never research it but I would wager that there was a correlation with suicide and religion.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @EtrnlVw
    I understand what you're saying:

    1. Anyone (of any belief system) can experience depression.
    2. You believe Theism is a fact, not opinion.
    While 1 is true, 2 is where most would debate you but I don't want to debate that because if you believe that who am I to disqualify your experience and comprehension of reality?

    I am not sure that the form of depression I had (which wasn't so much insecurity and low self esteem as it was a deep emptiness, it was the kind of depression where you feel empty and angry rather than sad and insecure) is the kind of depression that Theists reach if they experience depression. If a true Theist experiences that kind of depression they are in the transition towards atheism because it almost always involves fury towards the god(s) they worship(ped) and a mixture of anger and emptiness as their faith is struggling to be maintained. That kind of emptiness and deep suffering is usually experienced when people feel absent of any true meaning and deeper reason to do anything good or long-lasting in life.

  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @Juice
    Perhaps this is because atheists are more practical and are not blinded by the false hope of a next life in eternal bliss.

    For starters one worldview is no more "practical" than the other in terms of what each person accepts as true. You also can't really label Theism a "false hope" unless you know for a fact a Creator does not exist and I see no reason to have such surety in that. It's simply your opinion which doesn't make for any real argument. Eternal life isn't really why people accept Theism that's irrelevant altogether, it just happens to be the implications of believing in God due to the nature of the Creator and the soul.

    Being depressed because you are sane and in touch with reality is better than being happy while misled, deluded and clouded from the truth. As to how I am a happy atheist, despite knowing that I am just a small particle in an infinite space with no meaning, I am happy with truth, even though it may not be favourable.

    Why do you get to be the arbiter of truth just because you're an atheist lol? again, it doesn't really matter what is favorable, it matters what exists. However, I do agree Theism is favorable, but not because it's a delusion or a false hope or even a promise of some eternal bliss. It's only favorable in the sense you get to understand the true nature of what you are and the implications of the soul existing without end. This again is not a fancy way to impart some form of hope, it is the very ramifications of an existing soul if God exists.
    Actually, there's a good measure of comfort in an atheistic worldview as well, it's much easier to believe that we just vanish into nothing when the physical body perishes because of the dynamics of Theism. To have to face the reality that everything we do abides under the laws of cause and effect not just in the physical world but in the afterlife as well is not always easy. In many ways atheists get to take the easy way out, at least temporarily.... especially in a changing world where many times people are mocked because of their beliefs.

    It is like the book 1984 by George Orwell. Would you rather be a happy mindless drone who is blinded from truth

    This is where you lose any form of good conversation and often the path atheists love to delude themselves with, as if they are the higher species who are not in any way blinded to the truth lol. Let me remind you, your personal worldview is not superior, it's simply your personal choice of what you believe exists. That doesn't make you any less a mindless drone. Theism doesn't really equal happiness anyways, beliefs in and of themselves cannot produce such things. Happiness is derived from the quality of life one lives regardless of belief, so an atheist could be perfectly happy too and a Theist miserable.

    or Winston (protagonist), who understands himself and the errors of his society? Though Winston bears the burden of truth, he is enlightened by it.

    I am happy that my happiness does not come from a book written out by peasants centuries ago. I am happy because my happiness does not rely on eternal bliss. I am happy that I do not fear eternal burning. I am happy that I am not morally commanded by a superior being. I am happy that I have the freedom of thought.

    The question is not "are you happy" (at least from my point of view). The question rather is are you reaching the full potential of what you truly are and the implications of that, have you accepted an error about reality..... You can be happy atheist or theist because beliefs will never make you happy, the truth can make you feel satisfied but you may not even know what truth is when you see or hear it. You believing atheism is truth may give you a sense of pride because you think it is true but you could be dead wrong. In this sense objective truth simply evades you. Just because you're an atheist doesn't mean you stand for truth.

    I am happy that I am an atheist.

    I believe that (to a certain extent), but have you considered what it means to be created by a Creator? and what would that mean for you personally?
    BTW, you're not going to burn anyways that's a misconception. The universe is run by the laws of cause and effect (Karma) and beliefs are irrelevant to cause and effect. What's relevant to cause and effect are the things you actually do. The biggest lie told in religious circles is that non-believers burn in what they call hell lol. Most will be surprised to know Theists spend time in prisons located in the afterlife as well. That's because prisons are reserved for crimes committed not personal beliefs and Theists are not removed from the consequences of their actions just because of what they believe (although mercy does exist it is not a free ride to rewards). God is not so immature as to burn souls over beliefs and I don't care what any book says or what religions tell you, souls are only punished for the things they do and even those punishments correlate with the type of crimes done.

  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @RationalMadman
    I understand what you're saying:

    1. Anyone (of any belief system) can experience depression.
    2. You believe Theism is a fact, not opinion.
    While 1 is true, 2 is where most would debate you but I don't want to debate that because if you believe that who am I to disqualify your experience and comprehension of reality?

    Yes, that's simply my own observations of life, it is my personal worldview but it is not what makes me "happy". 

    I am not sure that the form of depression I had (which wasn't so much insecurity and low self esteem as it was a deep emptiness, it was the kind of depression where you feel empty and angry rather than sad and insecure) is the kind of depression that Theists reach if they experience depression. If a true Theist experiences that kind of depression they are in the transition towards atheism because it almost always involves fury towards the god(s) they worship(ped) and a mixture of anger and emptiness as their faith is struggling to be maintained. That kind of emptiness and deep suffering is usually experienced when people feel absent of any true meaning and deeper reason to do anything good or long-lasting in life.

    The point I was making is simply that atheistic beliefs don't necessarily make for a depressed person. So in this thread your argument won't go very far because it is not a unanimous claim. It can I agree, but not always. I think it depends more on the individual and what they have experienced in life. Like I said, there's ways to find purpose in life independent of Theistic beliefs. We could argue that they are ignoring the reality of what they are, but we can't argue they have found meaning in life. At least in the physical world.
    I think in your case, it's possible it was your time to grow spiritually because souls usually start to have a sense that something is really missing about themselves when it is their time to move beyond just indulging in the immediate physical sense perception game. 
    This does not apply to everyone at all times is the mistake here, I think you are making a decent observation but not much of an argument.