The kind of moment I hoped would never happen.

It happened.

The moment that I will never forget where my son's life flashed before my eyes. I was seconds away from losing him....

I took the kids swimming....my son and 2 other children who are now like family, ages 7 and 2....

My son didn't want to swim, he just wanted to watch, and throw the balls at us and squirt us with water guns...

My attention was on 3 places at once. I thought I could handle it safely....

Then....I heard a splash.

My son was in the water. He did very well. He was basically swimming on his own! But I saw him take in some water. I got to him in what seemed like forever but was only a couple of seconds. I got to thinking....

What if I hadn't seen him before it was too late? A HUGE wave of guilt came over me and I cry as I type this.

I have to admit.

I thanked God for drawing my attention to him so quickly. A couple of seconds later, and....

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How are you doing now Belle? Feeling any better? Worse? More or less confused? Closer to "god"?

Thanks for asking friend. See my comments below :) http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_humanity_s_stairway_to_self...

You may too enjoy this :)

Belle,

After reading this, I couldn't help but think about how much it sounded like a "relapse" back into your old ways. The same way that a drug addict might instinctively go for a hit after a traumatic experience. It doesn't mean that maybe, just maybe, they you right all along, and that getting that hit of "faith heroin" is actually a good thing for you. It just means that it is a habit to break and that it won't go away without serious effort. This is something that any Christian-turned-atheist struggles with. You aren't alone in this.

I recently lost two work buddies only eight days apart. One of them died on the operating table during a routine gall bladder surgery and the other fell off a cliff while hiking only eight days later. It wasn't easy to see everyone around me praying and asking god why it happened. I had moments when I thought about "relapsing" and praying right along with them. Then my common sense returned to me and wondered why these people were praying to a god who, doubtful as it is that he even exists, would allow two excellent and respectable people to die for no reason. It only reassured me that I had made the right decision in rejecting such an idea. People die because accidents happen. The surprising thing was that an accidental slip, whether it be the doctor's hand while performing surgery or my buddy's foot on that rock, could cause people all around me to openly wail and moan to their deity had me feeling embarrassed for them. I wasn't going to be the one to go around telling everyone to stop praying because they are all idiots. I like to think that I have more tact than that. My guilty pleasure during that time was seeing some other friends of mine NOT bow their heads in prayer at the memorial ceremonies. There were very few of us, but it was noticeable. There was no disrespect in the room other than our refusal to participate out of peer pressure to their superstitious nonsense.

All of this being said, I am so glad that your kid is okay. Just remember that religious tendencies only come up because we have been force-fed the bullshit for so long that it is automatically what our brains revert back to.

Thanks for sharing!!

Derp, thanks for opening up about what you have gone through, that is so tragic!!!! You may enjoy this video as well,

http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_humanity_s_stairway_to_self...

I learned a lot from it. HUGS!!!!
I found the answers to my questions, and it really makes me smile that it is actually rooted in sociology, (my favorite subject.)

This ted talk explained (to me) what was behind my experience, but more importantly, why it came about to begin with. Those of you who argue that I just "lapsed" backwards are not seeing the whole picture. I knew that was not the truth and so I searched further. The answer is that we have in fact evolved to experience these types of feelings because group cohesion has been a survival necessity for humans. This video explains what I mean:

http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_humanity_s_stairway_to_self...

It is worth the watch. I don't agree at all that I was somehow relapsing like a drug addict. That point of view as far as I am concerned is as useless an explanation as any and it lacks insight into what we really could learn about ourselves if we don't simply diminish out legitimate feelings into worthless nuisances. If there is anything I have learned that is a profound lesson in life it is to never ignore your feelings. They are there for a reason. I am not afraid of challenging anyone or anything that might try to tell me that my feelings on any given matter are deluded. I know that they are not, and only by searching deeper within myself can I unlock the true freedom that I am able to give to myself, and give ultimately by example to my son.

I will not ever forget what happened, but I will not suppress my feelings either. I am still working through them. But after this discussion and my own investigation on the subject, I am no longer ashamed of them. Thanks everyone :)

I didn't mean to be rude back there, I was just trying to get you to think, so I hope my rough tactics were of some benefit.  

I think we should always listen to our feelings because they are there for a reason: to tell us something.  What do you think?  I find that when I explicitly acknowledge my feelings, they lose their grip on me, as I believe they've done their job at that point. 

Thank you for the excellent Jonathan Haidt TED video.  It is fascinating that he's saying that anything sacred is bound up in losing yourself in communal activity.  This idea is basically the heart of my moral theory.  I love the way he presents material, and his explanation of group selection and the free rider problem is very clear.  I'm putting a link to this talk on my website.  

"So how did I know that splash was my son?"  - mothers' intuition is not to be underestimated.  I've had a couple of phone calls from my mum when I've been in tight situations. 

Intuition is one of those words that has a woo connotation in the minds of a lot of people, like it involves some sort of psychic connection.  But I don't think there is anything supernatural about it.  Every minute of every day we take in millions of tidbits of information from all our senses.  Some of it is conscious, but most of it is subconscious and we don’t even register it on a conscious processing level. 

Maybe there was the tiniest yelp a split-second before the splash, a yelp that only a mother could recognize, both as her son and as an indication that something is not right.  

Intuition, but not supernatural.  

True.  There's peripheral vision, and also, it's said that we never forget how someone moves. 

Simon I am glad you liked the video. :)

RE: I didn't mean to be rude back there, I was just trying to get you to think, so I hope my rough tactics were of some benefit.

Don't apologize!! You did help me think things through... Besides when have you known me to fall apart under ridicule? :)

You know when I was a Christian any time I would have questions or seek "god" many times there was a inference that my faith would grow stronger as I developed a more "mature" relationship with God; as if there was a pinnacle to be reached.

I somewhat avidly reject that being an Atheist works the same way. Once I realized that my Christian beliefs had no root in reality, I let go of them in a second. It didn't affect me emotionally. I have had a hard time letting go of being submissive, passive, and being able to stand up to people who would want to hurt me but I honestly attribute that less to religion, and more to the environment in which I was raised and the experiences I had way before I became a Christian.

I do accept that my feelings are rooted in either healthy, or unhealthy thought patterns. Those unhealthy thought patterns were not because OF religion, but we're STRENGTHENED BY religion. Because Christianity has no teaching that allows you to honestly examine yourself, but rather teaches self-loathing. For a person (like me) who never learned that I was "normal" and always felt that I was (already) inferior, this was very poisonous to me. But now that I am an Atheist I do not "lapse" or "delude" myself. That is impossible. I don't start to "magically" believe in god again. That is impossible. I did however have an experience like what he described on the above video using the staircase analogy. I reasoned there must be a scientific explanation for what I felt, and I believe (for now) that what I experienced was rooted much more on evolution than emotional reactions. In fight or flight situations there is no time to consider your feelings.

I hope I made some sort of sense, it is still early!!!!
"I reasoned there must be a scientific explanation for what I felt"

Now isn't that just a wonderful sentiment? You've really unleashed your mind, honey, and it's terrific to be a witness to how you're developing :)

The truth is a beautiful thing isn't it?

Wow, Strega. What a powerful concept. That idea is far more freeing than anything I have ever heard of in any religion.

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