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I'm just curious how many people out there are BP and still believe in God, (no specific form persay, just a God or Gods)? Personally I believe in some wild and crazy stuff (and which sometimes even changes from day to day). So I often wonder if BP'ers find faith comes easily or not?

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That's a good question. To really find out you'd have to take a random sample of bipolar people, since it could be that people who are religious will be more likely to be interested in responding here, or it could be the other way round, who knows.

I don't know of any relevant research. I went looking earlier this semester to supplement a lecture on religion and psychopathology, and all I could find about bipolar disorder and religion was that when manic people are psychotic they're more likely to have religious delusions than psychotic schizophrenic people are. And religion helps protect depressed black women from suicide.

There's not an actual psychological area of study on religion, so the available research is scattershot when not nonexistent.

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For a long time I really really wanted to believe in God, but I could only try so hard. I think that might have been a bipolar sort of hypomanic obsession. I still don't and I still can't. I don't know if the bipolar gets in the way or not. At this point maybe I walk the line of thinking that there is anything godly or isn't anything godly in existance.

And it bothers me. When I get crazy, there's no greater Thing for me to focus on. I was thinking that might be comforting, if I were to believe in that sort of thing, that is.

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I definitely believe in a higher power and have faith in that. I tend to use the word 'god' because I'm familiar with it. I am attracted to Buddhism, but can't claim to know all about it or practice it regularly. But I really think of it as universal love that people interpret as whatever or whoever they need to believe in. Whatever works for people. I believe I should be a good person--see my signature.

I haven't had an issue as to why 'god' did this to me. I hope that my experiences with this illness can be used to help someone else, even if it is just one person.

Oreo

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i do believe in god, in a higher Source, in a higher power. i'm Wiccan in particular, but you could say i'm Unitarian-Universalist in mentality. i believe that all positive faiths lead to the same Source.

so yes, i believe in god.

sunshine brings up a good point, in that she believes her bp makes her faith stronger. i'm really pondering if it does a thing at all to my convinctions...the only impact faith has on my convictions is that i believe in reincarnation, and if i mess up this life i'll just have another one to make up for it, and i don't want that ;):)

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I'm a Jew and I believe in G-d, I believe He has a plan for my life and anything that comes along to get in my way is part of a challenge from Him that I have to overcome. One of my favourite quotes is "I know G-d will not give me more than I can handle, but does He have to have so much faith in me?". G-d has much more faith in me than I have faith in myself, but it gives me hope that ultimately everything will work out.

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I didn't used to believe, but I had a spiritual expereince when I was manic. It was a beautiful feeling that everything was inter-connected. I've chosen to keep this as my belief. That there is an energy that flows through everything that I call God.

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When I get crazy, there's no greater Thing for me to focus on. I was thinking that might be comforting, if I were to believe in that sort of thing, that is.

Me too. I would so much like to believe and I think it would be very comforting to do so, but I just can't. I call myself an agnostic, meaning that I believe there may be some higher power out there, but I don't feel that any of our religions or spiritualities have really understood or apprehended it. And - please believe I mean no offense to anyone's beliefs, because I don't - but I really believe that if there is some hp, he/she/it is not concerned or involved on a personal level with individuals' lives and needs.

I've tried out a lot of different approaches to religion, some for extended periods of time, including Catholicism (my family's religion), Judaism, Buddhism, Pagan and Native American worship, and even attended a Sufi retreat. (I don't know what, if any, relationship my BP had to this. I know friends and family found my various enthusiasms trying at times.) I find Buddhist meditation extremely helpful and centering, and of course one can practice it without buying into any particular belief system.

I began to question after September 11th. Not the attack itself - human nature being what it is, that was, sadly, not too hard to comprehend, except in its scale. But in the weeks and months afterward, seeing people so desperately searching for their loved ones - and hearing people who had escaped talk about having experienced a miracle, or their families saying "I prayed for them and God delivered them"...didn't they think most or all of the families of those who perished were also praying fervently for their loved ones to be found? I think the people whose loved ones were safe were just talking out of relief, but I started wondering...how come God gets all the credit for the good stuff and none of the blame for the bad stuff? I know different religions have different answers to this question, but none of them satisfy me anymore.

Anyway - I don't mean any offense to any believers, and I certainly respect that we each have our own understanding of these matters. This is just MHO.

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I believe that all good things come from God and that nothing bad comes from God.

During my worst times with Bipolar Disorder, I've raged at and pleaded with my higher power. There have been so many times that I asked why!!!

I don't know the answer to that question but I DO know that God HAS worked in my life. No doubt about it.

I believe that my higher power shows itself best through the love of people. And probably through some animals too. When I feel love from others I mostly attribute it to the God in them.

My highest purpose in life is to love others as best as I can with confidence that love works through me. I believe that my higher power=love and the more I seek God's presence the more I am able to love. For me,. this is a tall order and the most challenging thing I have ever tried to do.

My higher power has helped me with Bipolar II Disorder by the extreme love of a few people.

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I believe in brain and behaviour, but I don't believe anyone else should or should not believe that. So with respect to my disorder, I believe that any spiritual, meditative, or athletic activity that promotes blood flow and neuronal activity in key regions of my brain is beneficial. Simply put, I believe spirituality/religion is all in your own head but its ALL GOOD no matter what form you practice.

We have brain stems and mid-brain structures just like reptiles and other mammals respectively. What sets us apart from all other animals is these huge frontal lobes that we have. It is now scientific fact that certain areas of the brain are way lit up through positive meditation, prayer, acts of love and compassion, as well as certain "athletic" activities like Ti Chi, yoga, etc.

Even before globalization, virtually every culture on this planet has had some form of spirituality. If you believe in evolution this directly implies that spirituality provided an evolutionary advantage to the gene pool. Please note it doesn't matter what religion, just that some religion is beneficial for our survivial as a species. Morality also falls into this. Confuscious, for example, was the first written example of the Golden Rule and 500 years or so later Jesus said the same thing. A good moral law requires no religion, but it fits nicely in a religious context as well.

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Adaptations are successful because they lead to the genes that make up those adaptations being more widely-replicated than others. I'd rather they were successful because they promoted the welfare of the group, but they don't. They do, on the other hand, bring about prosocial motivations because others tend to behave better toward you when you are acting prosocially for non-self-interested reasons. So people will be motivated to give for the sake of giving, and will get back useful returns even though that's not the psychological motivation that caused them to do it.

There's some fun cognitive science looking at religious beliefs as arising from cognitive capacities that did not develop for religion, but for other things like thinking about others' beliefs and intentions. I recommend Justin Barrett's "Why Would Anyone Believe in God?" although I do not recommend the last chapter to people who are easily offended, because Justin is religious and wanders out of science and into pro-monotheistic advocacy in the last chapter. The preceding chapters are good, clear, unbiased summaries of research.

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Adaptations are successful because they lead to the genes that make up those adaptations being more widely-replicated than others. I'd rather they were successful because they promoted the welfare of the group, but they don't. They do, on the other hand, bring about prosocial motivations because others tend to behave better toward you when you are acting prosocially for non-self-interested reasons. So people will be motivated to give for the sake of giving, and will get back useful returns even though that's not the psychological motivation that caused them to do it.

There's some fun cognitive science looking at religious beliefs as arising from cognitive capacities that did not develop for religion, but for other things like thinking about others' beliefs and intentions. I recommend Justin Barrett's "Why Would Anyone Believe in God?" although I do not recommend the last chapter to people who are easily offended, because Justin is religious and wanders out of science and into pro-monotheistic advocacy in the last chapter. The preceding chapters are good, clear, unbiased summaries of research.

In terms of pure genetics, these adaptations would of course have to lead to some sort of desire for more sex, as well as reproductive efficiency. It's entirely possible that religious dogma (e.g., "Be fruitful and multiply" in Christianity) and general spirituality would engender one to try and have children.

...

And as for me personally, I'm a deist (believing in God as the force that drives everything in the universe) who's agnostic to God's Theistic abilities (i.e., whether God really cares about humans). My spirituality doesn't have much to do with my bipolar, anyways. My hypomanias are mild and my mixed states are brief (<2 days). And I'm fairly sure it had nothing to do with my depression, though who knows, something subconscious could be going on here. My mother is very superstitious (in a general Buddhist sort of way) and believes in karma, the evil eye, etc., and sometimes that briefly rubs on to me.

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I believe. Or, try to. Of course, my belief comes from a lifetime--well, a lineage, really. It has nothing to do with bp. It's family. Generational. Deep and rooted. One might think, being steeped in it from birth, it would come easy--but it really hasn't. And, to an outsider or nonbeliever, of course it's all "wild and crazy" (or just fucking stupid).

But it's been there from, shit, before I was born. And it'll be carved on my headstone, by God. My faith comes hard, if at least in part because it's attacked by the world at large. But never because of bp. If anything, faith gives me firm ground to take on the challenges that bp throws at me--in the very darkest times I had, I can truly say my faith and my Church were my guiding light.

Of course there's also that damn tenacios, pissy bastard part of me that won't let those other fuckers win. But the one can't get to the end without the other.

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I've spent many years looking for an explanation for the things I feel and see and now feel comfortable with Paganism and Buddhism. I didn't grow up in a religious house but did attend a couple of C.O.E schools. I've never "jelled" with Christianity or the other major religions.

When I was really manic I believe I was a God and could change weather, control people etc.

I believe everything is connected like a web. (Like Chief Seattle said) And my illness gives me the ability to see that. Plus talking to my animal guides and stuff.

At the atomic level we are just waves/particles of energy. But belief systems and how we act is what makes us human.

Hawk

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I believe in reincarnation and a universal source for everything. There is actually a book: Journey of Souls by Michael Newton that resonated with me. I have faith that there is more, but I just can't accept a single solitary individual as a god. It just doesn't make sense to me. I believe that you make your own choices and nothing is "making it alright" except for yourself. I did try to believe in the Christian god for awhile; but it just didn't fit. I don't know if religion has any slant in MI.. but for me personally; I seek to find the truth in things just as I seek the truth in my own mind. I just never found anything that convinced me that God existed. The rest is just pure speculation.

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I was 9 years old cutting the lawn of my grandmother's back yard when I thought "That's not logical, I can't believe it." I believe God exists within the skulls of some humans but not this one; and that he will die when you do. I had as much say in his absence as others in his creation; I did not choose it. God is a slave to man; everything God thinks, says and feels has always been dictated by man. Before I was born I did not live and there was no Dan. When I die I will not live and there will be no Dan. The two states are the same. The only scientifically acceptable answer to the question "where did we come from; why are we here" is "i don't know" anything else is an invention, not an answer. Can you find the strength and courage to get through this life without faith? Is fear a reason to believe? Is not faith anesthesia for those fears? Is that not why so many "try" to believe? Faith is based on feeling, not fact.

What gives reason and purpose and meaning to my existence is the look in my wife's eyes after I make love to her. And that's based on feeling, not fact. Here is where it all gets a little silly. My lack of belief is a belief system. Some have searched and searched and searched and found God. I have searched and searched and searched and found those brown eyes and messy hair. Is that not my anesthesia? Doesn't that exist only within my skull? So there ain't no church of "post-sex-eyes-with-messy-hair" maybe there should be..with sermons of how to pleasure your loved one and readings from "messed up hair 3:16". I dunno. I feel like life is a commercial for itself that we all buy because we are the ones who are selling it. Can a consciousness achieve self awareness without a reason for a finite period of existence without going mad? Darwin put a chip in our brains to delude us into believing that life is something precious that we need and need to justify and rationalize. We search so hard for meaning because there is none. We stretch our minds all the way to God for this need. Why do we need life? Who coerces "need" Who defines "need" Where is free will? If we were truly intelligent beings would we not call bullshit on it all and give the planet back to bacteria who have no choice? In 5 billion years the sun will expand and fuse every record of our existence and God with it. we can't stop it; He can't stop it...anymore that He could stop the holocaust. Thank god for those brown eyes, that messy hair. She needs me. She defines need. That will do for me.

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I'll preface this by saying I'm irritable and blunt today. ;)

Paraphrasing Socrates very loosely: I've lived a good life so if there is life after life, I'll benefit. If there is nothing after death, I'll be dead and not know there is nothing.

I'm an agnostic of sorts. I very much believe each individual's spirituality is a unique characteristic that should be valued, respected, and appreciated. That said, my general beliefs are:

* Man created god in his image.

* Society cannot function without religion (recognizing that religion and spirituality are not the same).

* There is no god responsible for the good or bad. Shit happens, no rhyme, no reason unless men tinkered.

* The theory of evolution does not preclude life beyond life. We do not even know how to design meds to fix mental cooties. Even if we one day identify the mechanisms of consciousness we will still will not be able to unlock the puzzle of spirit, not definitively.

* No one knows the answer, therefore, everyone is right.

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First, I'm sorry I didn't read everything up there and on the first page. It's just too much. I might read BXT's because everyone seemed to like it.

I'm an active christian but the meds give me spirituality probs. I feel flat, but I still believe. But, I'm a bit of a kook, a silent kook, compared to those I hang out with religiously. I think that, say, the Virgin of Guadalupe is a demon or something. I think people who see UFOs, Mothmen, etc. There's too many sightings to say it's fake. But, UFO crap, the aliens lie to the people. Flat out lie to them. I think these are some sort of entity that likes to trick people. Not fond of that. And here, anonymouslike, I can say this stuff. My wife knows I think this way, and am scared of it, but no one else. I believe in evil. Most people don't.

I'm also a big believer that people are usually trying to do the right thing. So I cut them slack. Who am I to judge? I'm a really mediocre at best christian. I mean, I am the hypocrite. Makes me want to cry.

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Funny because when I'm hypo, I usually believe I'm just one step away from evolving into god.

I made a personal decision about a year ago to embrace agnosticism--not cause I don'tt believe in gods, but because I don't believe in men. I only share this because as folks that share such a wierd condition, I don't think we're the most objective sources for anything outside the mundane.

But hey, that's just my non hypomanic pouty self talking :-P

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Because of my grim fundamentalist upbringing. I do not trust organized religion. It had a lot to do with screwing up my life, and it has even more to do with bringing enormous suffering to humanity and to everything else that lives on this planet alongside us. I often suspect that those who call themselves believers simply choose a world concept that brings them COMFORT and then declare it to be TRUTH. There is of course nothing wrong with the pursuit of inner peace, but intellectual honesty demands that we call it what it really is. It has nothing whatever to do with truth. Religions that teach a long list of irrational beliefs (from immaculate conception to 70 virgins in the sky) are forcing their members to twist their brains until they are ready to believe anything. In return, the members receive a delusionary assurance of a pleasant heavenly after-life.

I do believe that mental illnesses and religion have much in common: delusions feature prominently in both. For that reason, it may be easier for beepers and others dealing with mental illness to accept the delusion of a God who created this world only to sit back and gleefully watch the suffering of his creatures. (He does, of course, intervene on occasion to hand out rewards and punishment, commit a little genocide etc.).

I am stumped by the fact that traditional beliefs can still claim followers today. Brainwashing in childhood may be one of the reasons. Mental illness may be another. But mostly, I suspect, people love to find certainty --even if it is totally imaginary -- in an uncertain world and an uncertain life.

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Organized religion and those who are its leaders are following the principles of dogmatic rule. Dogma is a dangerous thing. As such, I have a very difficult time with organized religion of any variety. Oddly enough, this is what Martin Luther said in his writings. Nobody should be told how to believe in God, or what to do to worship their God. Only by learning and understanding can one come to have a proper sense of God and religion. Luther believed that each person will find God through thought and learning. Now, this was really quite radical, and the dogmatic rulers of the Church certainly did not want people to be thinking on their own, so they called him a heretic and ran him out of town. Thus, we see the danger of dogma.

All in all, I am a person who cannot ignore the magnitude of our universe and I believe that there are many beings outside of what we can currently see. Are any of them God? I have no earthly clue. Is there life after death? I do not know, I guess I will find out in about 40 or so years (I hope). I understand the need of some people to have a God to believe in, it is a point of comfort and understanding of life for them. I personally would rather be surprised.

On the other side of religion...I do believe that many religions have great aspects that we can all learn from. Most religions teach the virtues of mercy, humility, kindness and generosity. At the same time every major religion asks it followers to help their fellow man, and to help those who cannot help themselves. Good things to teach. Things don't get stupid until you burrow down to the "my God is better than your God" bits and the whole lunatic fringe that believes that texts written over a thousand years ago need to be followed literally.

There, that is my side; to sum up I do not believe in religion and I am skeptical of a God.

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Well, technically, since I try, I'm not a hypocrite, but, really, every time I'm doing what I'm not, and what I believe I'm not supposed to, I would think that momentarily, I would be one. I mean, how can you sin, and believe in not sinning, without being one. Partially at least.

I have no problems with the bible, but organized religion is, uh, very compromised. At least the church I go to doesn't waste it's money on raquetball courts and swimming pools and subsidized trips for the teens to Six Flags. Minimalism. And the preacher better be on the verge of poverty too. And, hey, there ya go.

I don't really feel like discussing the nitty gritty, as no one is really on the same page as me here anyway.

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Faith does depend on emotions. When you have a mood disorder, your emotions are screwy, at least some of the time.

I was very religious before I became very ill. Combined manic overconfidence and apathy shattered my faith in God. I tried to be extremely logical at that time, because I knew I was manic. Too bad I thought my short-circuited thought processes were reliable for logic. I eventually came down off my high horse, fell into the manure, and I've been mucking around ever since.

Aristotle also says you are what you do, so what does that make us? I think it makes us the poster children for grace. Got faith...uh, no...will grace do?

From our bp experience, we should all at least know better than to judge others, unless of course when we are manic and think we know it all and everyone else is just stupid.

I have a bp friend who was raised in a religion and is afraid not to believe in it.

I have another bp friend who keeps changing churches. She is currently in a church that runs a spook house of damnation for Halloween. I have enough guilt on my own, thanks all the same.

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I'm not going to describe this well, mostly because I have difficult articulating these sorts of things or clarifying them in my own mind. I believe in something, I honestly don't speculate too much on what form that something takes. It's enough for me to believe that something exists, and part of that is believing in a soul. I think being around death has strengthened my belief in some sort of power, and definitely made me believe that there is something more in a life than simple consciousness. After death there is something that I can only describe as an absence, it's more than just the loss of consciousness it's the loss of all that was special in that life.

Biology has further strengthened my beliefs. The way that things intrinsically work, just all those random mutations leading to such function, is beautiful. For example, one of my cats is curled up at my feet right now. Looking at him you can pick apart so many amazing interactions that are going on just for him to exist. From a cellular level, up to tissues and organs, the control of heartbeat and breathing, and that pesky little neuronal action that drives his need to deliberately upend every beverage container he comes across. Or sitting in a forest and thinking about all that adaptation, and how so many different organisms work together to make up a larger whole. How there is a balance in everything, and while nothing is static there is an amazing harmony in the changes. That's not to say that the change is directed, or moving towards some grand plan, but simply that so many things work out the way they should - whether or not the blip that is my presence notices or knows this.

I don't see an malevolence in the idea that something created this world and then stepped back from it, allowing it to be what it is. It's nothing personal, my own struggles are not a malicious punishment. They're simply a part of the genetic lottery that I didn't win. I don't think any higher power would care more about me, or humans for that matter, than it would about any other creature. I honestly take comfort in that. Even if there is nothing after death, there is something amazing in having had this life.

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Alissha, you said something that made me think of something I've always felt. I can't stand it when people, like sports teams or reality show contestants, pray to God to help them beat the other team. Cause, what, God loves you more than the other team? Whatever.

Just sayin.

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I'm just curious how many people out there are BP and still believe in God, (no specific form persay, just a God or Gods)? Personally I believe in some wild and crazy stuff (and which sometimes even changes from day to day). So I often wonder if BP'ers find faith comes easily or not?

I believe in God. I also believe that He is not "A" God, but He is "THE" God. More importantly I believe in Jesus Christ His Son. I believe He was who He said He was and that He did what He said He did. I believe that I am a sinner saved by grace and that absolutely anyone who also wants to be a sinner saved by grace can be as well. He died for us all. I am aware that this belief is not always popular. That is okay. It isn't a popularity contest for me. I just thought I would throw in my 2 cents worth. Also, I don't believe that my Bipolar disorder nor my ADD are punishment for my sins. It is just something I live with and yes I do pray for the strength to get through each day. It reminds me that I don't have to try to do this alone.

I am curious about your name Madgod. Do you feel like you are mad at God?

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Quite the contrary. I have no belief in God so I cannot be mad at him. I'm a believer in Energy. It's not really a concept you've probably ever heard of because I'm pretty sure I came up with it on my own. Energy cannot be created, nor destroyed but it can exist in any form. As such I believe that all things stem from it and go back to it. I believe that anything can be possible through it, it's just a matter of finding a way to... focus, it.

The name is more a personal humor. Long story short it's just a nickname I've come to enjoy being reffered to by.

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Faith does depend on emotions.

I have to respectfully disagree with this statement. A very deep-seeded faith will overcome emotion. Faith is not a feeling but a mindset.

Some of my most 'religious moments' came during psychotic breaks. No one knows for sure but my opinion is that this deep-seeded mindset is engrained even in the subconscious realm and becomes manifest even in the worst of times.

MHO

SZS

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Hey Abi,

You say "I believe in God. I also believe that He is not "A" God, but He is "THE" God." You are, of course, entitled to your personal perspective. But I would suggest that the claim to know "THE" God or to possess "THE" truth has a long history of triggering brutal wars, witch-hunts, inquisitions etc. Any religion or philosophy that considers itself the one and only true religion or philosophy is at best an ideology along with communism, capitalism, fascism, etc. Would it not be better to find solace in your own relationship with the Divine without claiming that one truth excludes all others?

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Well, I'm a kook nutcase Christian who belives that among all the entities which are greater than us, the god I worship, totally kicks ass over all the others. He's the one that sent his son to die. But, I also believe that there are other powerful entities out there that screw with people's heads. I don't believe that ghosts are souls trapped here. I think they are bad/trickster entities which are screwing with us. UFOs? Fake. Tricksters again. MIBs? Same. Mormom gold tablet thing? Tricksters. The most powerful lie the devil ever pulled off was convincing us, including a majority of christians, that he does not exist.

But I got no idea about bigfoots, chupacabras, etc. ;)

I will not try to force my beliefs on anyone, even though I am totally right. Totally. You are all wrong wrong wrong.

The reason I won't force my stuff on you is the same reason I don't you to force your stuff on me. I just don't want to hear it. Let me live my stuff.

And I kind of have to disagree on the starting wars thing. I think that most of the religious leaders in the middle ages didn't so much care that the others were not believers, but that their positions of power were being threatened by competition. Just like our current war isn't about religion, though we are being told that plays a role, it's because these fellows who don't like us and who are just not white enough have lots of stuff we want. I can't get behind that. Warring for oil is a decent reason. But not when we're the theives. Only if we were defending.

Wow, I got off topic. But, to summarize, I would be considered a kook, as I think those who worship demons actually are not totally un-legit, but my god is the real one, the creator. And though I won't/don't expect anyone to believe me, I am totally totally right. And all you's is wrong. :)

Edited for typos and adding the mormon thing.

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I am a Christian. I don't think of myself as an "average" Christian. Whatever that is? I suppose i am mortified by some of the very conservative, fundamentalist Christians. Things seem to be either Black or White for them. I don't believe this world could operate and anything other than a shade of immense grey, with black and white hanging around. I don't want to burn homosexuals, I think sex with the one you love is one of God's greatest and most misused creation's, i don't want to shoot abortionists, or stuff my beliefs on anyone. My beliefs are to Love, above most everything else. It's not any easy way to follow. My illness brings me closer to my God, though sometimes can feel very far. Sometimes I feel it can bring me closer to Him than other "normal" people. I am more about having my own personal relationship with God, as churches are filled with humans and even the Bible warns of putting your faith in man, as people are human and will usually disappoint us. Good topic..

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There is no god, just illusory phenomenon. Nothing exists substantially, because every perceptual phenomena including all mental cognitions (whether conscious or subconscious) are all impermanent; that is having a beginning, middle, and end. Everything is continually begininng, middling and ending. 'You' are a convenient fiction, that is your deluded notion of having an actual 'self.' No self. This is conventional truth. Everything comes into existence through a vast network of causes and conditions, so vast that only a Buddha with the panoramic perspective of an enlightened mind can comprehend it as it is. Reality is the wheel of dharma. Giddy up karma. Its the law.

And so, beyond all that dogmatic fluff that I just randomly regurgitated, I wanted to pass my philosophical/experiential realizations along. I've been meditating (both informally and in groups doing visualizations, analytic meditations, etc) for about a year and a half now. I am not disciplined enough yet to do it everyday, but I meditate for at least 45minutes a week. I have to say that as a technique it has enormous potential to radically change my capacity to perceive ordinary reality in more alternative, creative and focused ways. It can lead to a worldy liberation (nirvana). I'm BP and ADD, and obviously as we all know kinda sucks ass and also rocks, and my main mission is to overcome the force of my anger through Tantra. I have a long road ahead. There is this book called Destructive Emotions: How Can we Overcome Them? A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama, in which the idea of 'neural plasticity' is touched on, basically saying we can re-program our own brains. They do MRI scans comparing a yogi with "normals" and find radical evidence of the yogi having control over his reptilian brain response (from the amygdala ... correct me if im wrong cuz i think i am). The reptile brain is responsible for emotions and the fight or flight response, i think. Theres some intriguing paralells between modern science and Buddhism, and so I recommened checking out this kind of stuff for any secular MI person who is interested in a radical shift in perspective via intellectual study and systematic discipline. I'm thinking of meditation as a way of potentially not needing meds in the future (though I'm not against meds at all, and if I do need them forever than so be it).

I like this thread alot. I hope more crazyheads post.

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There is, to me, a power, and the earth itself is alve, repreented by those names given it by the old ones. What we send out comes back three-fold. It is my obligation to harm no one, but I can also keep someone from harming me by simply helping the earth send back the evil sent out.

I do believe stronglyin reincarnation--some of us are such old souls, some are so young. And I believe that those souls who have a special connection in this earth, this space do reconnect--but I think thats rare, because that kind of love and devotion is so rare.

I came from the Old Religion--I knew that the first time I set foot in Scotland and Caithness. I am one of those people who believes intent is all. I gotta laugh at the "foo foo wiccans" and the ones who would have you removed if you wear the wrong color robe. If I wanted all those rules, I'd have stayed a Presbyterian!

I have been a Unitarian Universalist Pagan for over 35 years-- but if being "pagan" is your choice of religion this week, then perhaps you will learn even one small thing to make our world better, because we have a charge to respect and protect Guia. Or not--and you will move on till you find your path, your spot on this earth.

The earth is our charge, the moon is my sister, the sea is my solice and relief. There are majical places I have been--I knew it at once. Its kinda like the first spiral dance I ever participated in--in a big lodge on a mountain top. A cloud actually came in the room and joined us. And I remember smilling till my face hurt and thnking "This is what I have looked for--this joy."

I wish you all to find your own joy, no matter your path--each of us goes our own path, and we cross and stray and go some more. The Earth turns in a spiral as we find our path--

blessings

china

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The reptile brain is responsible for emotions and the fight or flight response, i think.

I sometimes think of BP as overactive fight or flight. That thought may have started after a really pissy manic episode (fight.) I think of hiding away from the world in depression as "flight."

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blah blah blah. religious people should be rounded up and put in camps.

Well, myrkky, if you did that, wouldn't you be lowering yourself to the level of the worst of them? Two wrongs do not make a right, and neither do two witchhunts.

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I'm agnostic and accept anyone's faith (faith being different than religion).

If there is a cosmic something and our souls transcend life, cool. That's non-judgmental and a force of nature.

If there is a personal diety out there watching over and influencing lives, then I can see it no way other than judgmental and cruel.

If we are the some of our molecular biology, that's okay, too. From nothing, to nothing, not exactly anything to fear.

No one knows the answers. The purpose of life is whatever you ascribe to it. Fundementally, that is my belief.

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Remembering from my younger days, Religious people rounded us up and put us in camps - every summer! ;)

It still didn't cause me to believe them.

I never lost faith. I just eventually realized that some of the people actually believed what they were saying!

At that point I had a realization that I knew they were wrong.

This was probably around 4th grade.

After that I just got in trouble for arguing with them.

Never anything but an athiest. I did try the polite route of saying I was agnostic for a while. But I'm not.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Quote

"...my mental illness.

It makes sense to me."

Apologies - because I'm really not trying to make fun of you or your beliefs - and I know I'm pulling somewhat out of context and this was not what you were trying to say -

but I don't know if the way it hit me was just bizarre, or some universal truth! ;)

Take care of yourself - for whatever reasons that help.

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Well, I'm a kook nutcase Christian who belives that among all the entities which are greater than us, the god I worship, totally kicks ass over all the others. He's the one that sent his son to die. But, I also believe that there are other powerful entities out there that screw with people's heads. I don't believe that ghosts are souls trapped here. I think they are bad/trickster entities which are screwing with us. UFOs? Fake. Tricksters again. MIBs? Same. Mormom gold tablet thing? Tricksters. The most powerful lie the devil ever pulled off was convincing us, including a majority of christians, that he does not exist.

But I got no idea about bigfoots, chupacabras, etc. ;)

I will not try to force my beliefs on anyone, even though I am totally right. Totally. You are all wrong wrong wrong.

The reason I won't force my stuff on you is the same reason I don't you to force your stuff on me. I just don't want to hear it. Let me live my stuff.

And I kind of have to disagree on the starting wars thing. I think that most of the religious leaders in the middle ages didn't so much care that the others were not believers, but that their positions of power were being threatened by competition. Just like our current war isn't about religion, though we are being told that plays a role, it's because these fellows who don't like us and who are just not white enough have lots of stuff we want. I can't get behind that. Warring for oil is a decent reason. But not when we're the theives. Only if we were defending.

Wow, I got off topic. But, to summarize, I would be considered a kook, as I think those who worship demons actually are not totally un-legit, but my god is the real one, the creator. And though I won't/don't expect anyone to believe me, I am totally totally right. And all you's is wrong. :)

Edited for typos and adding the mormon thing.

I certainly don't have the monopoly on the truth, I'm seeing through a glass darkly. But I feel the same as Nick, I do genuinely think Jesus is the one who shows me most completely the best way to live, or, why would I live it? You can believe your opinion is right and not force it on others at the same time. Chinacat or Madgod can believe they are right, but they don't force it on me, it's mutual. I don't believe anyone who has a faith but claims it's all a big guess and it could all be totally wrong, cos like, they don't know.

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Guest Guest_patheral_*

I'm agnostic. Tried the Christian thing for a while and it didn't sit well with me. Tried the pagan thing for a while, and that didn't sit well with me either. Neither rang as "true". Since I'm not sure what to believe, I believe leave it at that.

I've read the texts. I've talked to believers, and I've studied what I can. So I can see how people believe as they do (Christians, Muslims, Athiests, Pagans, Buddists, whatever...), but that doesn't mean I feel the same.

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i have always believed there is a"higher power" and for years I struggled to find the path to understanding that being that suited me.

For me it was catholicism....I like the sameness, the routine, it appeals to my particular OCD...

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God exists to me and I live my life as close to the teachings of Jesus as I can interpret from the gospels in the Bible and with the guidance of Paul, who brought the power of Jesus's life to the gentiles. I believe that I must try to live my life in peace, which is easy for me where I live. I use this lifestyle to help me endure what is, to me, a living hell. I sort of compare my life to Job, and hope that I can enjoy a life without illness and to live in peace with God. If anyone here has an online Bible study I would be interested in joining in. God Bless and Merry Christmas, Happy New Year

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yeah...even after everything i've gone through i do believe. i'm not so big on church anymore, but something more private. and some cross between the pure words of jesus and the ideas of buddhism. it helps me.

and i still buy the idea that whatever doesn't killyou makes you stronger. and i've never had a cross to bear that TOO strong for me. i mean, i am still in the game, still fighting my ass off. every day. i remain optimististic. i believe things will get better. that's the hardest thing of all, but if i lose that...i lose everything. and a higher power helps me with that belief.

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Religion and BP... ;)

Was born into a fundie Xtian house and suffered tremendous abuse, first because I was artistic (fiction is a lie, writing isn't work, if it's not worshipping jayzis it's of the devil, yada yada yada) then because I had Tourettes... later when I got dx BP2 it was my punishment for moving to that hotbed o' sin Californika. Mmkay... converted to Judaism, lived in Israel, but after 9/11 I've been hiding out with a bunch of Lakota.

Basically, the lesson I've learned from my own experience is that human beings are biological organisms responding to ecological pressures (a whole hell of lot of which comes from other human organisms). As such and thanks to our wiring we tend to label anything beyond our comprehension divine or whatever. We do project some kind of shit, good and bad for us or others and then we call it miracles and whatever. Groovy, long as it's not killing people, good luck with that. If it's killing people, like much of fundie Xtianity, islam and judaism, I'm your worst fucking nightmare because we're 6 billion people on an overcrowded cosmic island so there's no room for 8th century mindset bullshit anymore. That and you fundies hurt me so I'm mean and looking to fuck you up to get my revenge :cussing: .

Beyond all that, my BP has taught me, I'm no longer god-calling, I'm no longer looking for spirits telling me what to do. I'm only interested in what works right now and ethics, well, maybe that and the 5 laws of ecology. Beyond that, that's too much info in the funnel and I gotta get work done if I wanna be paid. (which is hard to do at the moment because WGA's on strike).

In terms of religion itself as a human organized effort to control ourselves (but mostly others), Philip Pullman said it best when he accepted an award in 1996, that stories are preferable to religions and their rules: "'Thou shalt not' is quickly forgotten, but 'Once upon a time' lasts forever."

:)

stevec I love your avatar... awesome!

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atheist here.

as long as theists aren't trying to convert me, i could not possibly care less what they believe. worship trolls and unicorns if that's what helps you get through the day.

if challenged about it, i tend to turn into one of those angry atheists who has examined religion from a historical and sociological standpoint and believes very strongly that i should not be subjected to any self-important discourse on the subject.

i have no problem with theists. i just ask that they save that particular subject of conversation for someone who doesn't find the whole business of religion nonsensical. and if it can't be left alone, then unfortunately they will be met with a very condescending exposition about the bible being the most popular work of fiction ever.

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  • 2 weeks later...

yeah...even after everything i've gone through i do believe. i'm not so big on church anymore, but something more private. and some cross between the pure words of jesus and the ideas of buddhism. it helps me.

I was interested in your comment b/c I'm crossing Taoism with Christ's teachings (I'm a "sort of" Christian right now as someone said earlier in the thread) myself right now. Are there any books or such that you recommend?

- Kiki

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I am a Christian of sorts. It's hard and it's easy at the same time. Jesus makes it easy for me.

Karuna:

I consider myself a "Christian of sorts" or a "sort of Christian". Was just curious if you wanted to share anymore about your faith. I am deeply troubled by organized Christianity, do not take the Bible literally (I grew up evangelical and left that behind). Have not found my "place" yet in religion. Perhaps I never will.

- Kiki

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Hi Kiki,

Obviously I am not Karuna but I'll put my 2 cents in anyway. ;)

You sound just like me. I stayed away from organized religion many years because I thought I had to believe everything they said and of course I didn't. I won't ever find that because I will not ever believe EVERY THING and EXACTLY what an organization believes.

In my case, what works for me is having a one on one relationship with Christ.

So as not to get confused by the bible, I mainly concentrate on loving God, myself and others.

I do find comfort and inspiration in some of the Psalms.

In organized religion I have to keep it simple. I take what I like and leave the rest. I do enjoy the security and comfort of worshiping with a community of people that believe in a higher source.

Now, if I could just make myself get back to church! It has been several years and they are still waiting on me. They still pray for me every week. Not too many places would hang in there with me like that. I'm grateful.

Love

SO

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My beliefs vary dependant on mood but... euthymic = I am kind of agnostic I guess. I don't have a word for it. I believe in a force of energy that permeates everything - be it dog, or cat, or human, or tree. We are born from and die into it, and live our lives within its field, though without a conscious "soul" that is eternal. Life continues, and always will, with or without humanity.

I respect all beliefs and believe that there is a seed of truth in every religion: each religion sprang from a deep inner need in everyones "soul" so how can they be entirely "wrong"?

Its really hard to tell how much of my beliefs are coloured by my Bipolarity however - I have had many "religious" experiences even when my beliefs were atheist (have believed I was God (of varying kinds) at various times, and the Antichrist once)

Interesting thread. A multitude of beliefs, but why can they not all coexist like the colours of the rainbow? Thats one thing I just can never understand: the need for people of one religion to try to convert others, or if they fail to convert... to exterminate them.

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I have found that the more manic I get, the more religious (to the point of obsession) I become. When I am healthy and stable, I am non-religious--officially agnostic but inwardly basically atheist.

It was a long journey, but the tipping point came when, finally properly medicated, I realized that all the prayer and bible reading and blah blah blah had done NOTHING to get me better--modern medicine was the only thing that worked. And don't say, "Well, god gave us the ability to come up with these medications," because then where was god for the millennia leading up to now when there were no effective treatments? Didn't he care about the agony those people had to go through? Wasn't he paying attention? Or (applying Occam's Razor)...he WASN'T there.

My "religious barometer" is one way I know how I'm doing. If I am totally apathetic about religion, neither on fire for or against it, I know I'm in the zone.

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i beleive in God with all my heart and i believe in the power of prayer like nothing else. in fact, ive decided to leave my pdoc today after telling him of my faith and him telling his student dr that there are many studies that prove that it doesnt really work and is basically hogwash. what a d-head. he may not be a believer but i cant believe hed tell a patient whos only hope is in the almighty that theyre basically crazy. isnt his job to encourage me and support me even if its not something he believes in? at least id expect a little encouragement. and besides, he can have all the studies he wants but at this point in my life, its ALL ive got to hold on to. screw him (the dr)!

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When it comes to religion, I really am still waiting to be struck by lightening, then I'll decide.

I do know that my blind deaf sister( diabetic, polycystic ovarian syndrome........) and her blind husband who recently lost one of their very good friends who had oestiopetrosis, which is a disorder where your bones thicken and basically crush you from the inside out, he was 22, came up to my hip, weighed over 60kgs, his jaw had been completely crushed, he had a gamy leg, his head had formed absesses in his head to release the pressure on his brain, he smelt like necrotic flesh, and was in constant pain from haveing his organs being internally crushed, oh and he also bleed from his eyes ears and nose. This is all true, he said with me for 3 months.

Well as I was saying, they keep saying that when they die, they got a major bone to pick with god.

Which I don't blain them.

My mother had lymphoma and breast cancer, my grandmother had breast, colon and ovirian cancer. Both had mieseners diesease. My grandfather has prostrate cancer, my uncle was admitted yesterday as he as leukemia, all treatments have failed. His sister has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor(she has two girls under the age of ten).

I don't want to start on mental illness.

My school church group, said there is a bigger plan?

I'm failing to see it, but hey i might be surprized.

I'm not anti religion at all, but there are a few questions II have been pondering?

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I belive in God and Have even considered going back to a church again my roommate Melissa asked me if I would go and I said I would like to check it out and see if they had a sunday school class or Singles group that meets regular for fellowship at some restruant or someones house for bible study during the week I dont know how I feel about this before I would go but I would go if she went and we could checkit out together

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I have found that the more manic I get, the more religious (to the point of obsession) I become. When I am healthy and stable, I am non-religious--officially agnostic but inwardly basically atheist.

....

My "religious barometer" is one way I know how I'm doing. If I am totally apathetic about religion, neither on fire for or against it, I know I'm in the zone.

This describes me exactly. When manic, my delusions almost always center around something religious in nature, although I am not religious at all when "sane". Like you, if I'm not thinking or obsessing about religion, I know that I am okay.

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I have found that the more manic I get, the more religious (to the point of obsession) I become. When I am healthy and stable, I am non-religious--officially agnostic but inwardly basically atheist.

....

My "religious barometer" is one way I know how I'm doing. If I am totally apathetic about religion, neither on fire for or against it, I know I'm in the zone.

This describes me exactly. When manic, my delusions almost always center around something religious in nature, although I am not religious at all when "sane". Like you, if I'm not thinking or obsessing about religion, I know that I am okay.

I've heard this before and it totally makes sense to me. However, I'm just the opposite. I turn away from God when manic or depressed (especially when manic) and have a good relationship with Him when I'm more stable. Interesting.

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