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 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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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.

Yes Belle, keep on doing what you're doing, because you're a great inspiration to a lot of people. 

I'm interested in your experience re: the staircase analogy (watch the video for those who don't understand).  What was it like?  Was it a mystical-type experience, did you feel superhuman, did time slow down? 

I believe that we can have a calmer, everyday version of this if we just consider other people as we consider ourselves when we act - if we take responsibility for our actions.  This is another way of dissolving ego boundaries. 

I still think it was rooted at least in part in self-esteem issues where somewhere deep down you don't feel you're good enough and so it couldn't be you who were alert enough to save your child, so it must have been some outside force.

Let me ask you this: if your child had drowned, would you have as quickly blamed God? No, I think you would have blamed yourself. Why, because that would fit with that deep down low opinion of yourself.

Unseen, is that just because you know of me to have had low self esteem in the past? Do you assume that any time I doubt a situation that it is rooted in low self esteem?

It's a conjecture, not an assumption.

At the same time, what is your answer: If you reflexively thanked God, would you have blamed him or yourself had your child drowned?

I don't want to let my mind go there, it would not be good for me to try. I don't know that we can predict our response to a tragedy unless it happens any more than I could have guessed my reaction to what did happen.

Don’t be too quick to dismiss the comparison with addiction as being a useless explanation.  Addiction is more than just making bad choices.  It involves changes in brain chemistry and changes in neural pathways, meaning it alters the ability to make choices. 

One way to conceptualize a neural pathway is like the path that gets worn when you take a shortcut across the grass instead of walking around on the sidewalk.  The more times you do it, the deeper and more pronounced the path becomes.  After a while, the existence of the path almost LURES you into taking it; why walk around when a path is there already?  With addiction, the path becomes a rut - almost unavoidable.  It can be avoided with great effort, but every time you walk that way you see the path and have to consciously remind yourself to walk around on the sidewalk.  It takes a long time for the grass to grow back over the path.  You may always be able to tell where the path once was, even after years go by. 

Thought patterns ingrain themselves through repetition.  You see it with addiction, with low self-esteem, with depression and anxiety, with highly specialized occupations, etc.  Why not with religiosity?  Religion is insidious; its tentacles reach into every part of one’s mind.  Even years later, one can still find traces of the old pathways.  

We all have moments of weakness, it happens. Don't worry.


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